Latest Posts

U Can Skype Me

I finally added the Skype button to my blog.  U can now Skype me if i’m online! Whippee!

Now, I don’t suspect it will get much use.  A couple of months ago I experimented with Meebo and I would get incoming messages almost every day. Maybe this is one way that I can establish better contact with blog visitors.  I see from search queries how people land on my blogs, so maybe if they know they can just click a button to get me it would be of help? We will see.

The button is over on the right side of the screen.

Flooded Cemetery

Earlier today while reading a colleague’s blog, I came across a link to pictures showing some of the devastation from Hurricane Ike.  I was moved by many of the pictures, especially these of a cemetery.

I’m not sure if both pictures are from the same cemetery, but the second picture is from the Hollywood Community Cemetery in Orange, Texas.   I looked to see if there were any online transcriptions.  At FindAGrave, there are about 20 names listed.    The USGenWeb page for Orange County has a listing up and I learned that it is an African-American cemetery. does not have any.

I truly hope there are members of the community that may have time in the future to help restore the cemetery. I am sure they have a lot of cleanup to do for those that live in the community and my thoughts are with them.

My New Genealogy Membership

Back during the genealogy games I joined the genealogy society for my area, the Middle Tennesse Genealogical Society.  This week, I received my new member packet with a welcome letter an issue of their journal, the Middle Tennessee Journal of Genealogy & History.  This society covers almost 40 counties in the middle tennesse region. 

In the issue of the journal I received (Volume 22, Number 1, Summer 2008) there are several articles.  These include:

  • a biography of Dr. Charles Frost Pickering, D.D.S.  Looks like Dr. Pickering graduated from my employer, Vanderbilt University in 1915.  He was associated with Vanderbilt Medical Center!
  • accounts as published in the July 7, 1860 issue of the People’s Paper, a newspaper of Manchester County, Tennessee
  • transcriptions of letters of Walter and Fanny Keeble written during his service from 1861 to 1863.  Hmmm…Keeble is a name that is part of Blount County, TN where I coordinate the USGenWeb/TnGenWeb site. I wonder if there is a connection?
  • a biographical sketch of John Bartleson, a soldier in the Mexican-American War. 
  • abstracts from the Southern Claims Commission for some individuals from Davidson County that were deemed loyalists and received payment.  Footnote has some SCC files online, but the ones in the journal in this issue come from rolls that have not yet been filmed. 
  • An article about TN Delayed Birth Records prior to 1908. I’m not sure I knew about these, so I’m adding them to my to-do list next time I visit the State Archives. 
  • A petition to the state legislation in 1841 against Thomas Durham of Sumner County.
  • Information on the Defective, Dependent, and Delinquent Schedules of the 1880 TN Census — part of the non-population schedules.  Again, something else I am not familiar with.
  • Family bible records of the White-Campbell Family
  • Index to Pardons and Paroles from TN State Prisons, 1904-1925. 
  • A quarterly update from librarians at the TSLA. I did not know there were plans for a new facility in a few years.
Overall, very interesting. I’m glad to have joined! The society offers all the past issues of the newsletter for the past 20 years on CD so I may look into ordering that one day. They also sell an all name index.  As I look through their website again today, I see they have a couple of upcoming workshops.  I hope that I may be able to find time to attend one soon; it looks like they bring in some experienced presenters to help teach.  

Easy Ways to Create Citations

During the Genea-Blogger games, one of the categories involved learning how to properly format and use citations.  Though I cite correctly in my professional life, when it comes to genealogy, I’d been very laid back, so this gave me an opportunity to start to clean up my citations in my trees.

While doing this, I used two tools to help make the formatting part easy – Worldcat & EasyBib.

WorldCat – is an online database of what libraries all over the world have in their collections. Therefore, if there is a book you are trying to track down, this is one of the best sources to consult.  Previously, I’ve blogged about the Lists feature, which I find very helpful.  But the citation feature was particularly helpful for this category of the games.  When you do a search in Worldcat and retrieve a record, there is a link that you can use to get the citation of that book (or item) formatted for you in multiple ways.

When you select “Cite this Item,” you then get a pop-up screen that lists the citation for you in MLA, APA, Chicago, Harvard & Turabian styles. All you then have to do is copy and paste.  It’s great!

The other site I used was particularly usefulfor non-book formats. Need to cite a website? Newspaper article? Some other format? EasyBib comes to the rescue.

EasyBib – uses a fill-in-forms to create your citation.  It is free if you want MLA style, but costs 7.99/year for the MyBibPro if you want APA style.  Not a bad price, but for my genealogical needs, not worth it. I’m okay with MLA.  🙂

The first step with EasyBib is select what type of format you have -they offer over 50 to choose from, including podcasts, blogs, letters, comics, and more.

Once you select a format, you are given fields to fill-in and you only have to fill-in what you know. So, no worries if there is a part of the citation for which you don’t know.  Then, there is also a section you can click on to expand the form if you retreived to document the method in which you found it – online?  an abstracts journal? Just select your source

There are also several other tools and features on the EasyBib site.  If you register you can share your lists, and use some of the other features.  They even offer a widget you can put on your website to create your citations without even having to go to the EasyBib website. That’s coolness!

Google Books Index

In case you haven’t happened across this yet, Jennifer at Rainy Day Research has a great resource that she is building – a Google Books Index.

Jennifer creates a list of those books in Google Books that are public domain and focused on genealogical/historical information.  As I come across books that I think would be good additions, I just send them to her, but then I also thought I should write a blog post about it as I find it quite helpful.

Show & Tell

The call for submissions to the 55th Carnival of Genealogy has been announced and the topic is Show & Tell! Participants are charged with sharing an “…heirloom, a special photo, a valuable document, or a significant person that is a very special part of your family history.”

To this end, I’d like to share this picture of my grandmother, Alice Elizabeth McNair as part of her high school graduating class.  To accompany the picture, I also have her original commencement program as well! These two are part of my treasures because of the fact that I have a photo and the program.

My grandmother is pictured 2nd from the left in the front row of girls; as the picture shows, there were 13 graduating members.  Last year, I made contact with a distant cousin of my grandmother’s who is also related to one of the other girls graduating that year.  I’m not sure which one she is, but the cousin informed me that the girl had passed only a few months prior to us talking. I was able to send her copies of this photo and the commencement program for her to share with my grandmother’s deceased classmate’s children.

The high school my grandmother graduated from was Plymouth Colored High School in Plymouth, Washington County, North Carolina.  I am pretty sure that somewhere, I have her diploma as well (or, my mother has it).

The Final Post

My final post for the GeneaBlogger Games. What a joy it has been! I’ve already posted what I’ve done, but let me do my final medal counts for the categories I was going to compete in.

  • Category 1: I did my 50 citations, so I earned a PLATINUM Medal for this one.
  • Category 3: a big fat 0! I knew this was the one least likely to get done because a) I’m fairly well organized anyway and b) it takes me a LONG time to do my organization. I cannot just file. I have to file, check records, review records, seek new info to fill in gaps, etc.  So, while I got a start and did a few of my loose files, I did not focus on this category.
  • Category 4: I did four of the five tasks, thus earning a DIAMOND medal. I enjoyed this category tremendously and it was the most important for me; particularly the pre-publish. I am beginning another Master’s program in September with a very heavy course load and will not be doing much genealogy.  With so many blogs, I took this on to create posts to last through the month. I only did enough posts for two of my blogs, but the remainder of the week, I will focus on getting the others. V
  • Category 5: DIAMOND medal here as well.  I just decided not to bother asking anyone to join Facebook. There are many great people signing up already!

I made a page to track my overall tasks that is here. Overall, I’m quite happy with this experience. I have learned a lot and gotten to read a lot of great blog posts from others about the process.  What an amazing network of genealogists there is online!

The End is Upon Us

So, today is the last day of the GeneaBlogger Games, I have to say this has been an excellent activity to participate in! I haven’t done as much as I’d liked, but I’ve had fun doing what I have done.

I’ve been very busy this past week with work and home life so haven’t done all that much, nor really felt like doing much genealogy actually. But, over this past week, I have completed the following tasks for the games.

  • Category 4: Write a brief biographical sketch of one of your ancestors — There is a new Heritage Series book being published for Edgecombe County. Since my ancestry goes back before 1855, I can submit up to 1,000 words. I have chosen to break this up into two 500 word entries – one for my ancestors Rufus & Mariah (Wimberly) McNair, and one for Mariah’s parents – Allen & Della (Battle) Wimberly.  Prior to the games I wrote my entry for Rufus & Mariah, but this morning I wrote my entry for Allen & Della.
  • Category 5: Participate in an indexing project – I currently am the county coordinator for Blount County, Tennesse’s UsGenweb page.  I recently compiled a bunch of obituary and funeral home records into a database for central searching.  A few weeks ago, a volunteer submitted some cemetery transcriptions, some of which I entered into the database.  I wrote a blog post about her submission and I’ve entered 72 of the 750 names she submitted into the Death Records Database. I do not plan to add any more for she has done the fabulous work of entering them all into FindAGrave.
  • Category 5: Assist another researcher with a research request or lookup – I’mnot exactly sure if this counts, but a few weeks ago, I was contacted by a distant relative of someone I’ve been researching – James Carrol Napier.  I happened to mention to him that I had a copy of the manumission papers for James Napier and his father, William Carroll Napier and he expressed interest. So, I scanned them and will send them to him today.   Hey – it was a request right? 🙂
  • Category 5: Join a genealogical society – for awhile now, I’ve been wanting to join the Middle Tennessee Genealogy Society, so I finally did my application and put it in the mailbox today. Yeah!