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Does It Get Any Better Than This?

Does it get any better than discovering there is (well, in my case, was) a genalogical society for your surname?  


This is an excerpt from the front page of the Koonce To Koonce newsletter of the Koonce Genealogical Society.  I learned of the newsletter last month I think from a random internet search, and then discovered that the Tennessee State Archives has several issues.  At this point, I have not looked to see how many issues were done total, but I will find out.  Koonce’s (from my slaveowners families in Eastern NC) were some of the early settlers in Tennessee and Nashville, so I’m not surprised that TSLA would have these.  I spent quite a bit of time browsing through the issues and I photocopied two issues for beginners. Believe me, I’m going to photooopy them all eventually.   While most of the information is for the white Koonce lines, I was still fascinated.  

When I got home, I showed the newsletter to Kaleya to see if she would recognize the pattern of  the name Koonce.  I taught her that the words on my name badge for work say “Taneya Koonce”, so she looked at it and thought it also said Taneya Koonce.  Well, close enough for me! I was just happy that she recognzied the word Koonce out of context of my name badge 🙂

My First ScanFest

This weekend I participated in my first Scanfest. It was fun! Though, I did do things a little unconventionally. I did not scan anything during the actual time frame, but instead, earlier that day, I scanned in some pages I photocopied when I visited the Tennesse State Library & Archives on Saturday.  Here is an example of one of the things I scanned and posted online – it is an index of a WPA tombstone transcription book from 1938. 

Index to Blount Cemetery Records from the WPA

I’ve decided I’m on a mission to provide as many indexes as I can. The TSLA has a great collection and I feel fortunate to live close to it. I learned this week for the first time of plans for GenSeek (see here and here); I think it would be very cool to be able to submit indexes to those resources that are not available full-text online.

I also scanned in several more that I will be gradually getting online and adding to my Special Projects page by the end of the week.

Music Monday: Spooky

This past week, my cousin was in town and I was able to spend time with her – it was great! “Spooky” is her nickname and we are about 7 years apart. Her mom and my grandmother were sisters and when I was younger, my brother and I used to spend weeks at a time visiting there. She used to come visit us too. Spending time with her this past week has been awesome and it’s made me feel young again.

While she was here, she told me the origin of her nickname, which I didn’t know. Her mother chose the nickname from the popular song “Spooky” written by Daniel Ash. It was popular the year she was born. I found the song online.

Now, before you get to the song, this is the perfect day to post about Spooky being Martin Luther King’s holiday; Spooky was born the very same day he was killed – April 4th, 1968.

Here’s Spooky for your listening pleasure, as sung by Dusty Springfield (in the original, the song was about a girl – she changes it to a boy)

Driving the Train

Today, Obama took  his train ride from Philadelphia to DC.  I watched some of the footage online and while looking at it thought about my uncle.  He drives for Amtrak and has in the past driven the route that Biden would take from Delaware to DC.  He’s talked to Biden on occasion and tells our family that he is quite down to earth. 

Then, I realized I have a blog post worth doing as last year my uncle was in Locomotive magazine.  It was a special issue that came out in late 2007 I believe, and he is featured on page 9 with the following picture. 


At the time this picture was taken,  he was driving near Midway, NJ at 125 mph along the Northeast Corridor route, the route that Obama took today.  Time to put this magazine issue away with my genealogy items before I lose it again. Bad enough I had to think about where it was so I could do this post.  🙂

Funeral Service of Alberta Williams

Among my family papers file I have several items about people that I do not know, but who were known by my family members. I am sure many of us have such files too. I was looking through my files this evening and found an obituary for Alberta LaSaine Williams. Alberta was a member of my grandmother’s church in New York, the First Church of God in Christ. The officiating pastor at her funeral was Bishop F. Clemmons, co-pastor was Ithiel Clemmons. I’ve posted about Ithiel before.


Alberta lived from May 26, 1914 – March 12, 1970.  She was the daughter of Katie Lino and James LaSaine of Georgetown, Georgetown County,  South Carolina.  Alberta moved to New York in 1936 and moved to Winston Salem in 1940 where she married Herbert L. Williams and would have five children.   She moved back to New York in 1951 and joined my grandmother’s church in January of 1964.   Alberta is buried at Bethel A.M.E. Cemetery in Georgetown, SC.   There is a transcription of the cemetery on the Georgetown SCGenWeb page, but Alberta is not listed.

In typical fashion of my grandmother, her funeral program is marked up, but I share it here [click here for the full program] in case it is ever of help to potential family members.

Some background on the LaSaine family:

– in 1910, her parents James & Katie are newlyweds, having gotten married about 1909, and they have their first child, James Jr.  They live on Meeting Street.

– in 1920, Alberta is enumerated with her parents in Georgetown, SC, and siblings James Jr., Brock (??), Thaddeus, and Lydia.  Her father’s occupation is as a chauffer to a private family. They lived on  Meeting Street.

– by 1930, father James has passed, and widow Katie and kids (including Alberta) lives with son James Jr., still on Meeting Street.

It appears Alberta’s sister may still be alive, so I think I will send this to her (or maybe her family that may be living there) for them in case they would like to have the copy.   And, though this is not a Music Monday post, my grandmother noted on the program that the solo sung during her service was hymn “When They Ring These Golden Belles for You & Me.”   And though she didn’t sing it for Alberta, here is Loretta Lynn singing it

Update: I asked my mother about her and she VERY much remembers Sister Williams. She said the whole projects knew her!

Rest in Peace Aunt Lossie

One of my ancestors, my 2nd great-grandfather Andrew D. McNair, had two sets of children.  With his first wife, Gracy Bullock, he had 5 children between 1894-1906.  Gracy died between 1906-1910 and Andrew remarried to a woman named Bennie Slade.  With Bennie he would have 5 more children between 1915-1923.   Lossie Viola McNair Mason was Andrew’s youngest child, born in November of 1923 and I learned from a family member last week that she passed shortly before Christmas. 

I never met Lossie, but I am sad to learn of her passing and plan to reach out to her family sometime over the next few weeks.

My Week

This week I have not been very involved with my own family genealogy.  I started classes again this week, so during the week I am very busy with them.  However, this weekend, I did spend some time working on various genealogy related projects. 

On Saturday, I worked some more on a resource I’m putting together on historical newspapers. Since it is slow going, there’s not much to say about it at this point except that I’m trying to figure out the best approach.  I will share more as I get my ideas more fully developed because I would love input form everyone. 

Last night I worked on the Vanderbilt family genealogy some for my Vanderiblt Family Genealogy site.  They are always interesting. 

Earlier this week, I went to a local used bookstore and while there picked up a couple of good gems I think.  One of them was a book from the Images of America series about Chattanooga.  I love these books, but I lament the fact that they don’t have indexes.  For the ones that I have so far, they have been indexed by Google, so I can just search them. However, this one on Chattanooga is not included in Google, so today I created an index.  In light of this, I went ahead and created a Special Projects tab on my blog to house things such as this that I work on.  I am using Scribd to house a PDF version of the index and I plan to share it with the Hamilton County TNGenWeb coordinator and on the listserv. I hope Chattanooga area researchers will find it of use. 

Oh, and thanks to Denise’ s post on Jing, I downloaded that today and tried it out some. I like it so far and it meets a need I have sometimes for easy ways to highlight screenshots. Thanks Denise.

That’s been my week.  Now, one of my cousins will be in town this week, so I will see her and maybe we can talk genealogy more and talk about family history!

Music Mondays: For the Beauty of the Earth

I’m starting a new blog meme for myself – Music Mondays.  Music is very important for me, so I thought it would be interesting to document various songs and their association with various events in the family through music. 

For my first music monday post, I’d like to share a song that was sung at my maternal grandmother’s high school graduation.  She graduated from the Plymouth Colored High School in Plymouth, NC in May of 1944.  I am fortunate to have her graduation program and listed on the program the song For the Beauty of the Earth.  I found this YouTube video of it being sung by children. It’s a pretty song.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

Oriental Beauty: Grace With a new year comes a new theme for my blog.  Here’s one of my cross-stitch projects to go along with the new theme.  I finished this back in 2003.  If you are reading this via a feed reader, come visit and take a look 🙂   


I’ve also moved my main blog from blogger to our domain name – visit us there too at

Death of Innocence

deathofinnocence Today I picked up the book, The Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America by Mamie Till-Mobley. Mamie is the mother of Emmett Till. I’ve blogged previously about a connection I share with Emmett Till – one of my maternal grandmother’s brothers married into the family of Moses Wright – Emmett’s great-uncle from whose home he was taken. I’m looking forward to reading Mamie’s book and learning more about the events of what happened.