Research

Ancestry Profiles

Last week Ancestry made changes to their member profiles pages – see announcement on their blog.  I’ve taken a few minutes to update my profile and after doing so, I think this is a good move. The comments on that blog post are filled with a lot of negative comments, but I’m pleased by what I see. Do I think it’s ideal? No. But I like!

The profile now has

  • the ability to add you surnames of interest and the counties they are linked to. Though, it seems you can only have one county per surname and I’d appreciate being able to attach multiple counties to one surname
  • links to all of your posts on the Ancestry message boards
  • can add you picture! Though, the picture box is way to big
  • shows the images and docs you’ve recently added
  • shows all of your public family trees and how many people, photos, and sources are attached to them
  • links to your favorite message boards
  • profile shows date of last login – i like that – lets me know if someone is active or not
  • you can also state how you can help others (looking up items at local repositories, take pictures at cemeteries, offer research assistance, etc.)

Here’s a screenshot of my profile page.

Ancestry states that by beefing up the profiles they will be better able to offer connection suggestions – to do so, you have to go to their Main Community Page once you are logged in.  I did so and based on the names and locations I put in, it showed me how many Ancestry members lived in that area, how many Ancestry members were also researching my surnames, and even of those, how many were researching that surname in the area that I am also researching. Very cool.

I did notice a discrepancy though in the connections.  The location field is not restricted to the county, state, country format I’m used to seeing. You can enter either a city or you can enter either a county.  Therefore, this can create issues when matching connections. A few of the surnames I entered are for Washington County, NC, but the connections page shows me people living in Washington City, North Carolina which is in a different county.  Methinks they should standardize this field better.

I wonder if Ancestry will continue to add to the profiles – like having “friends” and being able to send out messages to all either in your city, or all your friends, etc; in short – become more like Facebook.  You can find my profile here.

I have also explored FamilyLink in the past and while I was initially excited, everytime I go there I get frustrated because I don’t quite fill it lives up to my expectations. Hmm.. I’ll keep exploring though.  For now, you can find my Ancestry profile here.  I also have my Footnote profile here about which I’ve blogged about before.

Genealogy Social Networking – i love it!

A Graphical Representation

I just spent some time researching some of the white Koonce lineages I’m tracking for possible slaveholder relationships. Tonight, I found maps in Wikipedia of Lenoir, Craven and Jones counties of North Carolina and merged the three together. This helps me have a better visual for determining locations. Locations are important to me as I try and narrow down a possible Koonce slaveowner.

My Koonce ancestors are from the Dover area (Township 3) and Township 9 area of Craven County. In the 1860 slave census, there are only a handful of white Koonce slaveowners and the closest ones are JCB Koonce, Amos Koonce, Calvin Koonce and John S. Koonce — they owned plenty of slaves and were from the Beaver Creek area of Jones County. As you can see on the map, the areas are quite close. So, this was the impetus for me following these particular Koonce’s more closely.

This map will also help me in my indexing project of an area newspaper, the Kinston Free Press. I’m going to love this!

New Books!

I’ve got some new books over the past few days to add to my genealogy/history library. As my interest in genealogy has given me a new zeal for history information in general, I love to look for historical books. We are visiting my parents in Greensboro, NC and since I did live here for years growing up as a child, I’m going to also start reading to familiarize myself with some of the history of Greensboro. My new books include:

Time to schedule myself?

The past few days I have been occupying my time by working on several of my genealogy projects. Most notably, I continued to work on the Merry genealogy and then I’ve also added some content to my blog I keep for a newspaper of Plymouth, Washington County, NC. In light of this, I think I may have to brainstorm about how to rotate my time among all my projects so that I “touch” them more frequently and more systematically. Let me start by making a list…

Genealogies

  • My own genealogy
  • Kalonji’s genealogy
  • Waddell genealogy
  • Walden genealogy
  • Clancy genealogy
  • Lee genealogy
  • Walker genealogy
  • Fry (white) genealogy
  • McClellan (white) genealogy
  • Orick genealogy
  • Davis genealogy
  • Roberson genealogy
  • WF’s genealogy
  • MacNair (white) genealogy
  • Wimberly (white) genealogy
  • Koonce (white) genealogy
  • My stepmother’s tree

Projects

  • Blount County TNGenWeb site
  • Roanoke Beacon Index/Blog
  • Kinston Free Press Index/Blog – of Lenoir County, NC
  • Talladega Daily Mountain Home Blog – of Talladega, Alabama
  • Nashville Black History & Genealogy Blog

Now that I list it out like this, it doesn’t seem to bad… however, I feel that some of my projects get neglected. So, here’s to me being more conscience and planning out my time distribution a little more evenly. 🙂

This must be the week of the Merrys!

This must really be the week of the Merrys because I had another great find today!  I received a notice in my email today that the Nashville Public Library posted an online index to a listing of more than 19,000 names of people buried in the Old Nashville Cemetery. The listings are drawn from a series of internment books held by the Metro Nashville Archives, 1846-1949. So, I decide to take a look and guess what I find – more Merrys.

It is difficult to be precisely sure of all the exact relationships, but I think it lists another four children of Nelson & his wife Mary, in addition to his mother.  Also, there are some other Merrys that I think may be related as they are buried in Nelson’s plot. I am confused though on precise locations, because, I have been to Nelson’s grave and it is not in the Old Cemetery, but it is listed in this database. I may have to call the Metro Archives or go see the books in person to understand more about locations.  Mt. Ararat, where Nelson is buried, does have an affiliation with the City Cemetery, but I think there is an issue with naming.  But to summarize who is listed in this database…

  • Clancy Cousins – died at age 18, 11 Mar 1850. States that she is free colored female, and sister of Nelson Merry, who is also noted as free. Her cause of death was Fever. It is correct that Nelson was free.
  • Merry, infant boy – died 14 Jan 1851. States that he is the son on “N. Merry” and died of Croope. Now, this could be either Nelson’s son, or a son of his brother, Napoleon.
  • Merry, infant girl – died 6 Oct 1854. States that she is the “daughter of Nelson Merry” who is a free colored man.
  • Merry, infant boy – died 12 Jan 1857. States that he is the son of “Ann Merry” who is a free colored woman. This may or may not be Nelson’s son. His wife Mary’s middle name was Ann, so it could be that her middle name was used in this instance, or the infant’s mother could be a different person all together.
  • Merry, Mrs. Sidney – died 26 Jun 1873. The only note on this one is box paid on Nelson Merry’s lot. This is Nelson’s mother!  From census records, I know that Sidney lived with Nelson in 1870, but she was no longer there in 1880. In the 1870 census, she is listed as being 80 years old, but in the 1850 census she is also listed as being 80. So, given the 1850 census date, I had already estimated her year of birth to be about 1770. This cemetery listing matches that and if she died in 1873, that would make her just around 100 years old! I can’t wait to go search for an obituary.

Now, these dates may be actually burial dates and not dates of death – I need to check that in the source books. But, in addition to these whom I think the relationship is clear, there are others:

  • Two infant children of a Jas. Hoss (or Sloss) that are on the lot paid by “N. Merry”
  • A 100 year old woman named Angeline Thomas that is on the lot paid by “N. Merry.” Her date is 24 Jan 1872.
  • A 29 year old man named William King who is listed with Sidney Merry and is also in “box paid by Nelson G. Merry”
  • An infant boy listed as the son of George Merry, who is listed as free colored man.
  • An infant boy listed as the son of a Francis Merry
  • Merry, Mary – died in 1855. The listing just says “Nelson Merry’s lot.”  She was 10 years old. I’m not sure who she is because in 1850, Nelson & Mary are only listed with one child, John Wesley Merry.

All of this gives me reason to really go back and research other Merrys in I can find them. How intriguing!  Now, the fun is not over. I decided to visit the website of the city cemetery and was happy to see that they are very involved in genealogical causes. They have posted a list of people buried in the cemetery whose descendants have contacted the cemetery, and they have a volunteer looking up obituaries of people buried there and they are providing links to those obits. Very progressive! If only more cemeteries would do this!

Using DabbleDB to Keep Track of Sources

I’ve been meaning to blog about this for awhile, but I wanted to share how I manage a problem that I was encountering. Towards the beginning of the year, I began to realize I needed a way to keep track of the published resources (mostly books), that I was using in my research. I didn’t want to lose track of them just in case I needed to refer back to them. Fortunately, I live near the Tennessee State Library & Archives, but even researching their catalog began to be cumbersome as I was needing to do this each time I prepared to visit.

So, I turned to DabbleDB. I first came across DabbleD about 18 months ago I think, and given my preference for web 2.0 tools, the idea of an online database management system was highly appealing to me. At first, I felt limited, but then they opened it up so that you could have a free database as long as you had your information in the public domain. Fine by me.

So, I began to create my database and the current result is a database of all the books I consult, or want to make sure I consult, as I do my genealogy research. The fields I created are for tracking the county a resource covers, what topics it covers, which libraries hold it (not an exhaustive list, but some of my usual suspects), and a citation field so I can create bibliographies.

Then, I have an online link to my reports and then the list can be exported to PDF. Some examples:

  • Let’s say I am about to go to the Tennessee State Library& Archives – I can use my database to create a list of books that they hold so I can have quick referral.
  • Or, what if I get an email from a fellow researcher that wants to know what resources I’m familiar with for Washington County, North Carolina. I can provide them a link to my bibliography. The PDF version is quite nice too.

So far, this is working out very well! Anytime I make a trip to a library, I document the books I’ve consulted in my database. Anytime I’m doing a web search and I find a book that I am interested in, I put it in my database.

What you don’t see in those lists either is my link to Worldcat.org. Having a link in the database directly to the record helps me quickly check for other places to look. Also, Worldcat has an easy link to grab a properly formatted citation for any resource in the catalog so I capture that citation in case I need a formal printed list. Excellent resources and I highly recommend them for keeping track of your materials. If you’re interested in seeing my other reports, I have a link to my overall database in my blogroll list on the side of this blog – “Taneya’s Genealogy Books Database.”

I next need to create a way to track journal articles as I’m starting to use more of these as well. Look for that enhancement in a later post.

Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953

I learned in an email I received today that Ancestry has added a new database that is of particular interest to me. The Kentucky Death Records, 1852-1953 database includes digitized images of the actual certificates! This is great news! So far, I’ve been able to get copies of the death certificates I needed from this time period for just $1 from a woman I’ve made contact with in Kentucky, but this is even better!

Kalonji, my stepmother’s sister-in-law, and Kalonji’s brother all have ancestry in KY, so I should be able to make great use of this. My friend RW also has some ancestry in parts of Kentucky so I should be able to use it for her as well. This is absolutely great!

Trip to Willard Library

I am just now getting around to posting this, but a couple of weeks ago, we went to Evansville during the week and I had an opportunity to spend a few hours visiting Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana. This library is the oldest public library in the state of Indiana. I’d begun to notice over the past several months that many of the resources I was interested in, are held at this library! They have a very extensive genealogy collection and the three hours I spent there seems like such a small amount of time!

So, here’s a recap of what I ended up bringing home with me, though I looked at much more.

  • Marriages of Rowan County, North Carolina: 1753-1868 compiled by Brent H. Holcomb. I was looking in this book primarily for surnames associated with my stepmother’s tree (Fry, Reed, Bean, Oneal, Crowell). I found several entries that I photocopied for later analysis.
  • County of Todd, Kentucky: Historical and Biographical – edited by J.H. Battle. – I photocopied a few pages out of this book as this is where my brother-in-law’s paternal family is from. Interestingly enough, he has a 2nd great-grandfather named Granville Waddell (who was a slave) and in this book I found mention of a white Granville Waddell who emigrated to the county and died there in 1852. I have yet to further research this possible lead. Another surname of interest from this book is Talley. Kalonji has black ancestors with the surname from this county and there is mention of white Talley’s in the area.
  • Todd County, Kentucky Obituaries by Tim Pulley – found many obits here for Meriweather’s (white and black), another surname associated with Kalonji’s tree. Also some obits for Talley, Daniel and Wisdom.
  • Todd County, Kentucky Marriages 1820-1879 by Era W. Stinson – another source for looking up Kalonji and his brother’s lines. Found some possible listings of interest. I did find one goldmine – the above mentioned Granville Waddell married Philis Bell 8 Feb 1868 – I finally have their marriage date!
  • Vital Statistics Todd County, Kentucky – by A.B. Willhite – this book had births, marriages and deaths – both black and white.
  • Marriage and Death Notices from the Western Carolinian by Robert M. Topkins – found a few Crowell’s and Reed’s listed.
  • Estate Records of Edgecombe County North Carolina 1820-1850 Vol. II – by Joseph W. Watson – one of the few books they had for Edgecombe County (of interest sfor my maternal grandmother’s line). I am glad I looked here, because I learned more about Edmund McNair than I knew before, including the fact that he had plantations and slaves in more counties than I knew of. I will have to go back to some of the material I’ve collected about Dred Wimberly, but I think I remember that some items mentioned him being born at Walnut Hill. Well, from this inventory information, I learn that Walnut Hill is in Franklin County, not Edgecombe County.

I also photocopied a few Kentucky death certificates in hope of finding more relationships. Overall, a good visit. I really need to get back!

I Love the Tennesse State Archives!

This past week has been filled with a lot of fun hunting for relatives of my stepmother. Her family reunion was this past weekend and I connected with a few of her family members who are also into genealogy. Then, I had a chance to make a quick trip to the Tennessee State Archives and it was a VERY productive 45 minutes!

Some of what I gathered:

  • Abandoned Cemeteries of Stanly County – My stepmother is a Frye and last month, her cousin was able to find the mother of their earliest known ancestor. It turned out that the ancestor, Maggie Fry, is white. So, I’m researching her family, the Fry’s of Stanly County. In this book, I found information on the Fry family cemeteries there, but Maggie is not listed. However, other members of her family are listed. Additionally, another branch of the family, Crowell, is from this county. So, I’m beginning to track the white Crowell families in hopes of making a connection. Found some cemetery listings for Crowells.
  • Stanly County, North Carolina, Marriages – More Fry’s, Crowell’s and a couple of other surnames located. Found the marriage record of a relative of Maggie’s.
  • Kershaw County, South Carolina Cemetery Survey – two days ago, I found a post on the Ancestry Kershaw County board of someone who was willing to do lookups in this book. She provided me with information for some of the Reid’s in my stepmothers tree. So, I had to go look at the book myself after discovering TSLA had it. There are several family members listed in the book along with more clues to follow.
  • Rowan County Cemeteries – this was a multi-volume set, like 8 volumes or something like that! I only had about 5 minutes to look in it, but I struck gold! Tony’ Reid’s burial plot is listed and the book provides the names of his wife’s parents. His wife was Elizabeth “Bettie” Parker and her parents were Wiley and Lucinda Parker. Tony’s birth year as listed in the book is wrong, but that’s okay. I know from census records when he was born.
  • Marriages of Rowan County, North Carolina: 1868-1900 – Jackpot! Found out that Tony Reid and Bettie Parker were married November 15, 1871.
  • Rowan County: a Brief History – was interested in this as it had a few pages on the history of Gold Hill. Gold Hill was the community around the gold mines in Rowan County that were the first docmented gold mines in the US. Tony Reid lived in Gold Hill and in 1880 his occupation is miner and farmer, so I’m guessing he may have worked these mines.
  • Somebody Knows My Name – went back to this classic to get the marriages of Rowan County. Unfortunately, the book does not cover Cabarrus or Stanly counties. Located a couple of people of interest, but can’t be sure of anything yet.

Amazing day! Now, to start analyzing all of this…

Also, I created a database of books that I want to keep track of. I found I was having difficulty managing what books I wanted to make sure I kept note of for future lookups, where they may be located etc. Once I get it more developed, I’ll blog about it more in depth.