Memes

My New Koonce Surname Study Site

A couple of weeks ago I shared that I’d joined the Guild of One-Name Studies. This is Week 6 of Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series and how apropos that this week’s prompt is “Favorite Name.”  Guess what name I choose? KOONCE! A perfectly timed prompt for launching my new site dedicated to the Koonce surname. My interest in my Koonce surname is, after all, what sparked my curiosity of those that came before me.  Thus, it is my favorite name.

I am very pleased with my new site.  The design is Template 15 of the TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Site-building software and I like the segmentation of the page. I have a link to my Mailchimp email distribution for updates I share with other Koonce researchers and family members.

The database has about 4,000 individuals and I’ve created sections for both white and black Koonce lineages along with indications to their regional areas. The Koonce to Koonce newsletters, published by my buddy John P. Koonce, are featured on the front page and I could not help but put a picture of myself browsing the newsletters as my “contact” picture.

My next step for the new site is to start re-attaching media files. I made a conscious decision not to transfer them in batch because I needed to do some cleanup. But the sources are all there so at least others will be able to see those.

I love working on my surname study. I enjoy connecting with other Koonces and researching Koonce families.  If you are a Koonce descendant, I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

In the Census: I’m Ready for 1950

A view of my presentation

Yesterday, I was delighted to present a session on Researching African American Family History & Genealogy on behalf of the Nashville Chapter of the Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society. This is our fourth year partnering with Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage to conduct part of their Black History Month programming and it went well! We had a turnout of more than 60 people and during our post-presentation consultation sessions, had a chance to interact individually to help answer research questions.

This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series prompt is “In the Census.” Well, a standard part of my presentations on getting started in your research is that the first set of records to go to are the US Census records. It never ceases to amaze me just how much information can be gleaned when working backward consecutively through the years. During the presentation, I explained how the 1950 census will be released in 2022 and I thought to myself – wow- we are so close!  I did quite a bit of transcription for the 1940 census and I am looking forward to hopefully being able to do the same for 1950.

I am already beginning to think about who I’ll search for first in the 1950 census and it will definitely be my grandparents:

  • maternal grandmother: Alice McNair – in April 1950, my grandmother had given birth to my uncle Stanley. He was born in Brooklyn, NY so I expect to find her and him there; he was only 6 weeks old on census enumeration day. The address on his birth certificate is 44 MacDonough Street in Brooklyn, so I expect to find them there.
  • maternal grandfather: Herman Robinson – my grandfather discharged from the US Navy in 1946 and would marry my grandmother in September 1950. I expect he will be in New York somewhere, but I do not know where. I wonder if he will be near his own mother, Lucinda Lennon Robinson – she would be living on Harlem River Drive in Manhattan.
  • paternal grandmother: Cora Mae Lawhorn –  she married my grandfather in 1951, so I expect to find her still living at home with her parents in Craven County, NC.
  • paternal grandfather: William Koonce Sr. – I also expect to find him still living at home with his parents – also in Craven County, NC.

I will then search for my great-grandparents as 7 of the 8 were still alive in 1950. Until the 1950 census is transcribed, we will need to navigate them by knowing the enumeration districts, so check Steve Morse’s One-Step site for those details.

1950 Craven County, NC Enumeration Districts

And so that I don’t forget my plan, this blog entry is going into my calendar for the first week of April 2022. Are you prepared?

 

 

 

 

The Longest Living Person in My Genealogy Database: Zeola L. Portis

It’s Week 3 of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series and this week’s prompt is “Longevity.” For this prompt, I decided to check my genealogy database and find the longest-living person.

I use TNG: The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding for my primary software program and it is easy to run statistics and find the longest-living person. This calculation can only be done when there are definitive birth and death dates, so as it stands right now, the longest-living person is Ms. Zeola L. Portis. She was born January 6, 1902, and died September 19, 2008. She was 106 years old when she passed away.

Zeola L., age 8, in the 1910 Calvert, Robertson County, TX census as the youngest child of her mother Hattie.

I learned about Zeola from a fellow genealogist who contacted me after finding my information online about my ancestors from Edgecombe County, NC – specifically, relatives of my 3rd great-grandmother, Mariah Wimberly.  Zeola’s grandparents were Reddin Battle and Amanda Wimberly and we suspect Amanda and Mariah are related – possibly sisters. If Amanda and Mariah are sisters, then I would be Zeola’s 1st cousin three times removed.

Zeola and her family were from Calvert, Robertson County, Texas. And, upon being contacted by the other genealogist and doing research, I discovered that one of Mariah’s brothers moved from Edgecombe County, NC down to that area of Texas; I’ve been able to definitively source his move and his family; in addition to tracing several other Edgecombe County families to that same area.  It is through a conversation with Zeola that my geneabuddy was able to learn about the family’s migration from North Carolina, so Zeola’s oral account, and the documentation I’ve located so far converge.

My research on Zeola and her family is far from complete, but I should re-focus and consider what steps I can take next to seek out more evidence for Amanda’s relationship to my family. I will definitely have to put my thinking cap on.

 

 

Upending Google Photos: An Organizational Strategy for Digital Photos

Just a tad bit late, here is my second post up for the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  The Week 2 prompt is “Favorite Photo,” but rather than sharing a specific photo from my family history, I want to share an organizational strategy I’m using as I continue my mission to get my photos (physical and digital), completely re-organized.

Since 2014, I’ve been using Google Photos as my primary location for all the digital photos I take. Prior to its release, I’d been manually storing all digital pictures into folders categorized by year and month. Then, when Googe Photos came out, I was pulled into its allure and the application of intelligent searching across my photos. However, I found over time that it made me less efficient in finding photos I needed.

As I’ve embarked on my re-organization project, I decided to change my approach to using it. I now use it more for the “camera roll” it is and on a regular basis, move my photos out of the specific folders allocated for “Google Photos” and into my manually constructed folders. Thus, my pictures are now going to be in “Google Photos” folder only temporarily.  Then, I finally turned on the function offered for Google Photos to include all pictures in Google Drive and this, in combination with my enhanced metadata, is now really making it easier for me to find the photos I need.

turning on Google Drive settings in Google Photos

So now, I have the best of both worlds – the magic search of Google Photos AND the efficient organization of my manual system.  If I need to search, I do it Google Photos. And, if I know exactly what I am looking for, I go directly to it in my folder hierarchy. Perfect!

 

 

 

Our Visual Address History

As Amy Johnson Crow begins her 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series this year, I finally decided to take the plunge and participate! The goal of the series is to do something with the genealogy research that I, and so many others, obsess about 🙂 ; to make it more interactive and dynamic than just names and dates in a genealogy program. I have been blogging about my genealogy for about 10 years, but have slacked off the past few years; it is my hope that participating in the series will help me pick that back up also.

This weeks prompt is “Start.” To that end, I’d like to share a project I’ve just started to document an aspect of my family history. Using Becky Higgins’ Project Life app, I started a scrapbook to document all the places my parents have lived, and all the places my siblings and I grew up.

The scrapbook starts with my maternal grandmother, Alice McNair Robinson, and where she lived when my mother’s oldest brother, Stanley, was born.  She lived on MacDonough Avenue in Bronx, NY and we even have family pictures taken outside the apartment.  I’ve put together some photos and stories from that time period to put the page together.

my scrapbook page

I recently shared an update on my photo organization project and I am reaping the benefits already! As I consider how to put these scrapbook pages together, I know what pictures I have to match the time frame and the location. It has been immensely helpful.

I have plenty to do as I build the scrapbook; growing up, we lived in a lot of places and my siblings and I went to many different schools. I will continue to move through the years and document various aspects of our lives. I am having regular conversations with my parents to gather information for the scrapbook and I am already learning so much family history that I did not know. I plan to include family memories and stories along the way so I know that doing this is going to be a wonderful experience! And, as a final outcome, I’ll have a book that I can gift to my parents and siblings; definitely will make the history tangible.

If you have done a family history scrapbook I would love to hear about it; I’m always on the lookout for inspiration.

Tech Tuesday: My Digital Photo Organization

A couple of days ago, I posted an update on my 2017 New Year’s resolutions; particularly, my work to organize my physical photo collection. Throughout this year, I’ve also been working on my digital photo organization as I liked what I was doing with my physical items and transferred the concept to my digital photos.

Just like my physical photos, I have 3 groupings:

  • Taneya’s Family (pictures of my side of the family and my childhood)
  • Kalonji’s Family (pictures of his side of the family and his childhood)
  • Our Family (photos from the time I met Kalonji and of our nuclear family with our 5 kids).

Also like my physical photo organization system, I have some groupings by decade and then as we move closer to present time, yearly divisions. Example folder directories may include:

  • Kalonji Family 2017
  • Kalonji Family 2018
  • Our Family 2017
  • Our Family 2018
  • Taneya Family 2017
  • Taneya Family 2018

If you were to look inside my “Our Family – 2018” directory, I have subfolders for each month. I start each folder name with the year followed by the two digit number for the month, then followed by the month name. The reason I use numbers at the beginning of the file name is so that the folders will easily sort by date. Example file directory names may include:

  • 2017-01 January
  • 2017-02 February
  • 2017-03 March
  • 2017-04 April

Here is the inside of the “Our Family – 2018 / 2017-02 February” folder. My individual file names also start with the year, two digits for the month and if I know it, the exact date. I try to put descriptive text for the rest of the file name, but when I take multiple pictures for one event, I give them all the same name and use two digits to number them at the end (e.g., 01,02,03). The reason to use two digits is for proper sorting once the number goes into two digits.

  • 2017-02-01 Dinner at Rainforest Cafe 01.tif
  • 2017-02-01 Dinner at Rainforest Cafe 02.tif
  • 2017-02-01 Dinner at Rainforest Cafe 03.tif
  • 2017-02-02 Taneya playing solitaire with the kids.tif
  • 2017-02-05 Parthenon at Centennial Park.tif

For each photo, I add IPTC metadata information for a handful of specific fields. Check Alison Taylor’s RootsTech 2017 presentation for more information about editing photo metadata. Using metadata, specifically IPTC metadata, is key for capturing the details of each picture. The reason to use IPTC metadata is that it is an industry standard; it can be read by many different photo management/editing programs.

 

Other things to know:

  • I currently use ACDSee as my primary photo management software. At about $40 it is cheaper than Adobe’s’ products and it has been around for more than 20 years. I used to use it before Google’s Picasa came out and went back to it once Picasa was retired.
  • I save all my images in TIFF format (or, if I have only a jpg; convert it to TIFF) as TIFF is the recommended standard for archival quality images. Anytime I need to share a photo I make a jpg from the TIFF file.
  • When I take pictures, my phone automatically backs up to Google Photos. Google Photos has its own subdirectory in my Google Drive account. This means I periodically need to go through the Google Photos subdirectory and move pictures to my their proper directory.
  • I save ALL of my stuff in Google Drive – which is great because I have access to it across multiple devices. I use SpinBackup to backup my Google Drive account.

With this organization plan, not only do I feel much more equipped for finding and locating pictures when I need them; it also greatly helps my digital scrapbooking hobby too as my scrapbooking is largely chronologically-oriented.

This is all part of my master plan to be ultra-organized with my genealogy files. I have so much more to do but I enjoy seeing it come together over time. I’m sure I’ll have more posts with updates in the future!


Image credits: file folders

Wordless Wednesday: Jesse Kilpatrick Sr.

This is one of my great-great-uncles – Jesse Kilpatrick Sr (October 23, 1931- September 25, 1995).  He was a brother of my great-grandmother, Pearlie Mae Kilpatrick Lawhorn. I never met him, but he shares a birthday with my sister.

Wordless Wednesday: Old Country Store

Love this picture! A colorized photo by Dinamichrome. circa 1939. Makes me think about what it could have been like for my family who knew the family of a work colleague of mine. That work colleague’s family member owned the local country store that my family frequented. I blogged about their connection as I learned of it from my first find in the 1940 census. 

Technology Tuesday: Awesome New Tab Page

Last week, in the Facebook group Technology for Genealogy, Thomas MacEntee shared a link to a MakeUseOf.com article about the Chrome extension, Awesome New Tab page. Since iGoogle is going away, this could be a possible replacement. 

I’ve never really been a user of iGoogle – though, I did have a page configured. I never really cared all that much for the look and feel of it. However, I did like it for accessing my Google Bookmarks (which I am in the process of switching to Chrome Bookmarks).  I tended to mostly  just use the apps view of Chrome as my default homepage. But, I decided to give Awesome New Tab a twirl and I’m so glad I did!

click to enlarge

This is my current new tab configuration. I have easy access to my favorite websites & Chrome Web apps, all creating a colorful display.  As the MakeUseOf article states, it is “..no longer just icons.” 

I have set it so upon Chrome launch, this comes up + a page for my gmail – this is a timesaver for me.  The images you see can either be from the Web Store, added yourself, or even use a screenshot. 

I love the access to many Google services all from the green box near the top left corner.  That box is bordered by several small icons for Google services – including Reader, News, Drive, Play, Picasa, YouTube, Google Image Search, Google News, and so many more!

I’ve not configured all the spaces (the black spaces) and that gives me room to grow. Additionally, I can drag the page to the right if I want more space. There is an icon already marked for the Chrome Web Store to get more to add and I’m going to enjoy myself the next few weeks getting everything finalized. 

With this very Windows 8 look, Awesome New Tab page is quickly becoming my new best friend. 🙂

 

SNGF: My Maternal Grandfather’s Paternal Line

Randy Seaver’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun exercise tonight is as follows:

Find a living male person in your database from your maternal grandfather’s patrilineal line who could take a Y-DNA test.  

Then, we are tasked to answer several questions.  Here are my responses – fortunately, this was a very easy topic for me given all the testing I’ve been able to do under the auspices of the 23andMe’s Roots Into the Future Initiative.

1) What was your mother’s father’s name?

Herman Robinson.

2) What is your mother’s father’s patrilineal line? That is, his father’s father’s father’s … back to the most distant male ancestor in that line?

Herman (1926-1986)  –>  Lewis “Christopher Columbus” Robinson (1886-1928) –> William Robeson/Robinson (1830-?) –> Bob Robeson (1800-?).    Bob & William were former slaves from Columbus County, NC as best as I have been able to determine to date.

3) Can you identify male sibling(s) of your mother’s father, and any living male descendants from those male sibling(s)? If so, you have a candidate to do a Y-DNA test on that patrilineal line. If not, you may have to find male siblings, and their descendants, of the next generation back, or even further.  

Yes, I can identify living male descendants and one of them has already been tested – my mother’s brother.  His 23andMe results show his paternal haplogroup to be E1b1a8a, a haplogroup with deep origins to Africa.

This post is a reminder to me to upload his info to Gedmatch.com so I can check his yDNA against others. I’m off to do that now!