The Resemblance Is There

On Wednesday I posted a montage of pictures and asked if anyone could see resemblance among them. I got two comments on the blog, plus I shared the picture with someone else that I know who is very good at looking at people and seeing similarities. Consensus: there are similarities and I’ve confirmed that I’m not making it up just because I want there to be :-)

The people in the picture are from L to R:

1) General William Blount McClellan
2) Champ McClellan, my husband Kalonji’s great-grandfather
3) Idora McClellan (the General’s daughter)
4) Frances McClellan, Champ’s daughter and Kalonji’s grandmother

I’ve posted before that I have suspicion that one of the General’s sons may have fathered Champ, and there were comments that Champ does favor the General.  My “offline” friend commented that she in particular saw great similarity in the shape of Frances’ face and the General’s face. 

So, more info to add as I work towards getting the DNA test. Unfortunately, we still have not had the kit done just due to trying to balance family expenses, but I have it as part of my 5 year plan to get it done and track down male McClellan descendants in order to see if one of them would be willing. 

I was inspired to do this initial post upon being contacted by a researcher who is doing thesis work on Idora.  She even sent me a picture of the Idlewild Plantation that was the home of the General and his family.  

I wonder if Champ was ever there?

Gravesite of Betty Sanders

In follow-up to my post earlier this week on Kalonji’s great-grandmother Betty, I was indeed able to go to the cemetery today and take a picture of her headstone.  The Oak Hill Cemetery here in Evansville maintains a database of all those buried there, so they make it rather convenient to locate your loved ones. It is a huge cemetery so, it is quite necessary.

Betty is buried in Section 54 of the cemetery and here is her headstone:

Since we had the exact section information, Kalonji and I were able to find her literally in less than a minute.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that one of her children, her daughter Elnora, was buried next to her.  The year of birth on Elnora’s headstone is 1920, but the records I have so far suggest 1919.  I’ll have to sort that out later.

While I was visiting the cemetery, I took a few pictures at random to see if they were needed for FindAGrave.com and I ended adding Betty, Elnora and about 12 strangers up to FindAGrave.

Betty Sanders (1901-1982)

Today is the anniversary of the death of Kalonji’s great-grandmother, Betty Sanders.  She was born July 16, 1901 in the Hebbardsville community of Henderson County, Kentucky and died on this day (June 23) in 1982 in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana.


Currently, the family is unsure of who Betty’s father may have been, but her SSA has the name of a Parker Sanders.   Her mother’s name was Marge and from Kalonji’s mother, I understand that Marge was a former slave and lost her foot due to frostbite. This interestingly enough, is similar to a family story that one of my great-great-grandmother’s also lost part of her foot due to frostbite. I’m sure this must have been a common happening when access to proper footwear may have been an issue.

I do know that Betty’s maternal grandparents were a Willis Sanners and Betty Collins. I am unsure about the spelling of the “Sanders/Sanner” last name – are they two different names? Or, are they the same name with different spellings? The record trail that I have for the family so far makes it difficult to tell. Will & Betty had at least 5 kids, Marge being one of the younger ones.  Marge herself would have around 8 kids if I have the tree right.

Kalonji’s mother knew her grandmother well and has shared tales of how wild Betty was – she always had two or three boyfriends, was always on the go and always down for a good time. Kalonji’s mother always went places with her and has very fond memories of her grandmother.  In July of last year, Kalonji and I took a trip to the new African-American Museum in Evansville, which is located on a block next to where Betty used to live.   I still haven’t posted Part 2 to that post, but in the post, I included pictures of where Betty’s house used to be located.

As I take a moment to review my research on Betty and her family, I see many potential places for further research.  Betty was a member of Nazarene Baptist Church in Evansville – I wonder if they have any records, old programs, etc. where she may have been included?  Betty is buried in Oak HIll Cemetery and I have not yet been to take a picture of her gravesite. We are going to Evansville this weekend, so I must make an effort to visit her gravesite.

McClellan Cemetery

Last weekend we went to Talladega and I took pictures at the cemetery where Kalonji’s great-grandfather, Champ McClellan is buried.  The cemetery is across the street from the house that Champ’s mother lived in and where Kalonji’s uncle currently lives at now, just off McClellan street.  The cemetery, McClellan Cemetery, had no entries in FindAGrave, so I’ve gradually over the past week added pictures of what I took to the FindAGrave site. I did not get every headstone, but I’ll continue when we next go back.

Contributing to FindAGrave is a great way to give back! If ever at cemetery take a couple of extra pictures, someone may be looking for that gravesite!

My DNA quest begins!

I have previously posted about my husband’s McClellan ancestry and how I wish to do DNA tests to see if there is any match with the white McClellans.  To this end, today, I finally ordered the DNA kit from FamilyTree DNA and the kit will be shipped by week’s end! I’m so excited. To test the proper male descendancy, we are going to test a cousin of my husband’s. I chose the Y25 marker test as a starter. It wasn’t too expensive (especially with the surname group discounts/coupons) and I figured it was a good starting point for the number of generations I’m looking at.  I’ll post more as my experience continues. Now, I need to really do some bona fide DNA genealogy testing research!

Browning Genealogy Database

Today on her blog, Arlene posted a nice review of the Browning Genealogy Database provided through the Evansville Public Library. I was very happy to see this as this database has been one of my best resources! Kalonji’s family is from Evansville, and when I discovered it last year, I had so much fun looking up his family members.

Between the death information and the local history information, I was able to locate so many news items on his family and extended family members. Including, this picture of his mom’s high school graduation picture from Central High School in 1963. The information from the paper tells us that she was in the Future Nurses club, a member of Y-Teens and on the Student Council. Kitty does in fact have the real picture that is represented in the paper, but I did not know of her club memberships until finding this card in the Browning Database.

This database is amazing and I cannot speak well enough about it.

McClellans of Alabama & Arkansas

Over the past several weeks I’ve been in touch with the coordinator of the McClellan Family Tree DNA Project about our interest in testing some of Kalonji’s DNA lineage. During the course of our exchanges, I learned that he had the McClellan’s of Alabama and Arkansas book done by Bobbie Jones McLane, who is a great-grandchild of William Blount McClellan.

This book is absolutely wonderful! It is full of the research she compiled from family documents, records, etc. and I can’t wait to really delve into it.  She put it together in 1962. On the front cover is a picture of the Idlewilde Plantation in Talladega. I still need to find out where this was located. So.. I’ve got enough McClellan information to keep me  busy for the next year!

That’s what I get for going unprepared

I write this blog post from the Talladega College Library. This was not my intention. We came to Talladega this weekend to visit Kalonji’s grandmother and I thought, great! I can go to the public library when we get to town and do some genealogy research on the McClellans! However, upon getting to the library, I saw that they were closed for the holiday weekend. Should have known.

So, I came down the road to Talladega College, a historically black college here in town, and ventured into their library. Luckily, they are open and allow public visitors. Unfortunately, all of their Talladega specific history information is in the Archives, which is closed on the weekends.

So, I’m in the computer lab and since I have a couple of hours to kill, I will do some random genealogy tasks. I wish I had thought to double check, but oh well, at least I can get a few things accomplished over the internet. Change of plans — the cemetery where some of the white McClellans are buried is only about a mile away. I am going to go walk the cemetery. Perhaps I can get some pictures of tombstones that may not already be online and potentially help someone out.

Update @ 10pm — This afternoon turned out well after all! I made my way to the cemetery. Oak Hill Cemetery, in Talladega, Alabama is a HUGE cemetery! I asked a couple of people where I may find out who had a burial plot location and of course being a Saturday, City Hall was not open. I even tried a local funeral home, but could find no one present. So, I decided to park near the section of the cemetery that looked like the oldest part and walk around.

After walking around for about 30 minutes, I found most of the graves I was looking for – the Willam Blount McClellan family section and the Plowman family section. Go back to a few of my recent posts and you’ll see who William Blount McClellan is and why I’m interested in him. Since my digital camera is currently out of commission (a little three year old I know inserted something into the slot where the memory card goes and thus I cannot put a memory card in it) so I bought a few throwaway cameras and had the pictures developed on CD. They came out for the most part okay, but there were some where I was not close enough to the tombstone to read the transcription in the photo.

Here is a picture of the McClellan family plot. Buried here are William Blount McClellan, his wife Martha T. Roby McClellan, sons Francis McClellan and W.W. McClellan, and a few others – maybe 2 infant graves, and then 2 other tombstones that I can’t remember and can’t make out in my pictures. I’m definitely going back with my digital camera next time we are here.

This is the family plot of Thomas Scales Plowman. His wife was a daughter of William Blount McClellan, Magnolia Vinton McClellan. Thomas was a congressman.

And, there were so many interesting headstones, like this one in the McMillan plot.

And, I took some other random photos, so I’ll be uploading images to FindaGrave pretty soon.