The Power of Photographs

I just read a wonderfully powerful story. One that would not have been possible with out photographs.   The heroine of the story is Annie Correal,  a reporter for the New York Times.  I am so happy that she took the time to rescue this precious photo album and return it to the family members it was connected to. It was quite a lengthy search.

I hope that the photographs I take today, will continue to tell the story of my family.  It’s also a cautionary tale about labeling pictures with dates, full names and locations.

Read it for yourself and tell me what you think.

Love & Black Lives

 

9 Top FREE Genealogical Websites – Day 9

  1. Find a Grave  http://www.findagrave.com/

R   S   FREE

Dig up ancestral burial information from millions of tombstone images here. Search by an individual or cemetery name. Users are encouraged to upload additional tombstone photos and submit biographical information for memorial pages. You can even create virtual cemeteries to connect loved ones buried in different places.  I was able to find my paternal grandmother using this site. I also found the headstone of a civil war soldier. We were blessed that the Company and Regiment were marked on the grave.

Code services offered: H 
=how-tos, R =records; S =share your data and T =tools.

This is the last  day of the review of my top 9 genealogical websites.e Thanks for hanging in there with me and reading all the posts.   Please continue to share what you are learning from the reviews of the websites. Or maybe you have a website that you think SHOULD have made the list. Feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Hunting!

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle ~

9 Top FREE Genealogical Websites – Day 8

  1. FamilySearch.org  http://www.familysearch.org/

H   R   S   FREE

This is one of the best free online resources available. Search millions of digitized and indexed records from around the world. Some results point to offsite sources for digitized records. Don’t ignore the Learn tab; it’s packed with keyword-searchable articles and online courses. The Catalog tab takes you to the most extensive genealogy library catalog in the world. Microfilmed holdings can be rented for use at a FamilySearch Center near you (see the FamilySearch Centers tab). Share your family tree at the bottom of the home page; learn how you can contribute to online records access under the Indexing tab.

Code services offered: H 
=how-tos, R =records; S =share your data and T =tools.

This is day 8.  Including today’s post, we have 2 resources to go. I would love to hear what you are learning from the reviews of the websites. Or maybe you have a website that you think SHOULD have made the list. Feel free to leave a comment.

Happy Hunting!

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle ~

9 Top FREE Genealogical Websites

As I was preparing for an upcoming genealogical presentation, I did an internet search for the top FREE genealogical websites.  Specifically, I was looking for sites that were suited for the beginning researcher. This is a short yet, comprehensive list that will allow you to explore (or for some revisit) a large range of resources that will help you on your journey.

Over the next 9 days I will highlight a different website. Take time to visit the website and see what it has to offer. Every researcher should create their own toolkit of resources. This toolkit should expand and change overtime as your needs and research changes.

Happy Hunting!

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby

Nichelle ~

USGENWeb

  1. USGenWeb Project  http://usgenweb.org/

H   R   S   FREE

Explore a directory to websites containing free genealogical resources for every US state and most counties. Quality, content and design varies from site to site. You’ll commonly find what local resources exist and how to access them, along with indexes to cemetery, marriage and other local records. Share your own records on these sites, too. This is a site with a lot of depth. You can search by state and by county as well as connect to researcher who are searching specific areas.

Code services offered: H 
=how-tos, R =records; S =share your data and T =tools.

Bonus – http://www.kygenweb.net/ KYGenWeb Online Kentucky Genealogy Resources.

 

USGENWeb

 

Female Ancestors 1/2 of the puzzle

ImageAnyone who has done even a tiny bit of research in the distant past, knows how difficult it can be to learn about female ancestors. There is a frequent tendency for women to be identified as Mrs. James Curtis in public documents. This makes it very hard to find women’s first names and often impossible to find birth surnames (maiden).

 

I have been blessed, in that I know most of the first names and birth surnames of my female ancestors. If you are only researching male ancestors you are missing 1/2 of the puzzle.

 

Today I’m going to shine a light on Mary Martin Hayes Williams, one of my direct female ancestors. She was born February 1884 in Kentucky and died November 1964 at the age of 80.  She married Hubert Hayes and the couple  had 5 children. Four girls and 1 boy.  According to one of her grandson’s she was a kind and loving woman who cared deeply for her family.

I learned Mary’s full name from one of her grandson’s. From there I was able to find her death certificate which gave the full names of her parents.

When Mary was born women didn’t have the right to vote. According to Historyorb.com  on,  “Mar 8th – Susan B. Anthony addresses the U.S. House Judiciary Committee arguing for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution granting women the right to vote. Anthony’s argument came 16 years after legislators had first introduced a federal women’s suffrage amendment.”  And the Civil War had only been over for 19 years. I can only imagine what life was like for a woman of African descent living in Kentucky. How I wish I knew some of her thoughts and feelings.

This is just a tiny bit of the story of her life. I challenge you to document the story of the women of your family. Learn their birth names and that of their parents. I am blessed to speak her name and have her picture. For today that will be enough.

 

Image

 

 

 

 

Free Memorial Day Records Available

There are quite a few websites that are making some of their military records available for free this weekend. Today I took a sometime to review the records at http://pages.myheritage.com/memorialday/  .

I attempted to find records for a few of my ancestors. When performing a search of an online collection, it helps to keep the search broad and then narrow it to find valuable information. The is also a good time to introduce the concept of a research log or notebook. By documenting what collections you have searched and for what individuals you can avoid duplicating your work months or years later. It can also help to illuminate areas you might have overlooked or want to review more closely.

For example according to your current research you believe that your ancestor’s name is James L. Curtis, date of birth (dob) Kentucky, 1927. If you limit your search to those parameters, the search results might miss the person you are searching altogether for  or return no results at all. Utilize the option of using a range of years (if available) , ie.  + or – 5 years, within the search function. It normally is better to omit middle names or initials. Middle names or initials, may or may not be mentioned in the record.

Every collection you search will not necessarily contain information on one of your ancestors. It’s good to remember that records are not always accurate, nor do they all contain the same information. The information is only as accurate as the person who provided the information.  The person could be wrong, misinformed or trying mislead the person or organization collecting the information.  That’s why it’s important to use more than one source to verify information. I often say that, “genealogical research is often about finding a preponderance of evidence, rather than a direct smoking gun with fingerprints and gunpowder residue.” (I watch a lot of crime shows. LOL)  Just because a piece of information conflicts with what you’ve previously learned, doesn’t mean it’s false. It might be good idea to file it under “further research needed”.

Shortened Transcript of Record that I was able to find on one of my ancestors.

TC
Birth: 1921

Residence:
Enlistment: Apr 9 1943

Serial #: xxxxxxxx
Grade alpha: Pvt
Grade code: Private
Branch alpha: No
Branch code: No Branch Assignment
Term of enlistment: Enlistment For The Duration of The War or Other Emergency, Plus Six Months, Subject To The Discretion of The President or Otherwise According To Law
Army component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
Race and citizenship: Negro, Citizen
Education: 2 Years of High School
Civil Occupation: Semiskilled Chauffeurs and Drivers, Bus, Taxi, Truck, and Tractor
Marital status: Married
Source: Civil Life
Box #: 0900
Reel #: 3.322

I was told previously that he served in the military, however I didn’t know what branch or when he enlisted. This gave me quite a bit of additional information. Excited!!!  His birth certificate states he was born in Louisiana. However I know he lived in Texas for part of his childhood. The name, birthdate, residence and enlistment information all match. This tidbit will encourage me to request his full military records from The National Personnel Records Center. Previously, I’ve requested and received my father’s and my maternal grandfather military records.

Happy Hunting! I hope this blog has inspired you to do some research or perhaps preserve some stories from a veteran in your family.

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grand-baby

Nichelle ~

 

Memorial Day

AUNTRO_1151
My Aunt Rosie’s Headstone.

As the holiday fast approaches many people are planning cookouts, family gatherings and enjoying time off. For a lot of people part of the holiday tradition includes visiting cemeteries and placing flowers on the grave stones of loved ones.

This is one of my families traditions. Since, I was a child, I’ve visited the cemetery with my Mom, Aunts and Grandmother  to honor our loved ones. As we walked among the graves my relatives would describe ancestors who passed away many years before I was born. This helped me to get to know my ancestors beyond names and dates and black & white photographs.

Now that I am older, I realize how precious that tradition was and is. My beloved Granny (Anna Mae) used to walk the graves with us. She is no longer with us and I visit her grave now which is beside my Grandpa. My Daughter and Son walk with me and pay honor to our ancestors. I hope this is a tradition that they will maintain and pass on to their children.

This is a great time to document the location of headstones, grave and row and what cemetery they are located in. It also helps to take pictures of the headstones in relation to landmarks (fences, trees).

Have a safe Memorial Day !

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grand-baby

Nichelle ~

Image
My Uncle’s Headstone.
Image
My family surrounding my Father’s Headstone.

 

A Wedding . . .

 

 

Weddings encompass many things, a legal contract, a spiritual contract, a party, a joining of 2 people and a joining of 2 families.

I recently attended the wedding of one of my nieces in California.  There wasn’t much time to plan, however I was blessed to be be able to attend.  My brother, sister-in-law and niece were very happy to see me and my youngest sister.

It’s always great for people to be happy when you arrive and sad when you leave. (Make sure you don’t outstay your welcome. :0) )

I have attended many weddings during my lifetime. I have taken in recent years to pray fervently for the couple and try to remember their wedding anniversary with a card, call or text. It’s important to celebrate the wedding but even more important to celebrate the MARRIAGE and the COUPLE.

Weddings are a wonderful time to build on established relationships while forming new ones (with the new in-laws).  My new nephew is a very kind and loving person and I think he and my niece will be very happy together.

I hope that my visit strengthened the bond with my brother and his family while building a new bond with my newest nephew.

In the coming weeks I will update the family tree with the wedding date and and my new nephew.  Why don’t you take this opportunity to find out more about a marriage of one of your ancestors. Share this with the rest of your family!

Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbabby

Nichelle ~

 

Wedding Tiki's
Wedding Tiki’s

 

 

Tell Me Now . . .

Sisters
Sisters

Today was the Homegoing Service (Funeral) for my Great Aunt Louise. She was the youngest sibling of my Grandmother, Anna Mae. We were not particularly close. However, I did enjoy seeing her, no matter how infrequently. She always had a warm smile and big laugh and I was always glad to see her. She and my Grandmother talked weekly and always knew what was going on in each other’s extended family. This closeness didn’t really manifest itself to my generation.

She had been sick for sometime. Auntie (my mother’s oldest sister) kept me apprised on her general wellbeing. Auntie had told me several weeks ago, that nothing else could be done to deal with her illness. I dutifully placed her name on the prayer list of my church, and continued to also pray for her myself.

The day arrived when she made her final transition. I knew she was no longer in pain and had gone onto a better place.

As I read her life history, I marveled once again how fleeting life is and how small things overtime build a life. Where we were born, what school we attended, where we worked, civic activities and who we leave behind to mourn us. It’s very hard to truly convey one person’s life. There are so many relationships, jobs, family members and other triumphs and set backs along the way.

As I watched my Uncle Clarence, her only brother and the last remaining sibling say his final goodbye to her earthly shell. I wondered what does that feel like to be the last person standing. He has children and grandchildren, but nothing is quite the same as a sibling, someone you’ve known your entire life. The persons(s) you fought with and protected and shared confidences with. I wonder what it will be like for him to carry on without her.

In 1989, I lost 2 Aunts and my Dad, All in one year. It was quite a blow, one that took years to recover from. From that time I learned that we don’t have as much time as we think. We shouldn’t put off telling people how much we care.

Many years ago I found a poem titled, Tell Me Now. It said, don’t wait to tell me you love me. Don’t wait till I’m gone to cry for me and try to embrace me.

If you have any tender feeling for me, express it now. I’ve searched for that poem, but it has eluded me. Nevertheless, its meaning stays with me.

I would encourage you to hug your family, make up with your enemies and savor the sweet taste of life that we currently enjoy. The only constant is change, these are the good old days

Sisters
Sisters

.

Nichelle
Anna Mae’s Oldest Grandbaby