dee_burris: (Default)
2012-04-21 08:55 am
Entry tags:

Haven't been around in a while...

Bless her heart. Nancy at My Ancestors and Me left me a comment in an entry, wondering where I had been and if I was all right.

I had a rollover accident in my SUV on February 22, described in my other blog, here.

The surgery to fix my wrist went well, but then I developed a complication called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, RSD. It's also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS.

I was referred to a neurologist, who has a God complex to the nth degree, and am now trying to get a referral to another one.

I'm not 100%, and probably will not be for quite a while. Typing is still difficult, although I do manage much better than this time a month ago.

I have also gained an enormous amount of respect for the thousands of people living with chronic pain disorders.

One of the things I haven't been able to do is get out with my camera in cemeteries. I've been back at work since March 12 - 10 days post-op - but have multiple weekly medical appointments including physical therapy 3 times a week. My PT is my hero, because he's the one who saw the beginnings of RSD and galvanized my ortho doc into action.

Thank you, Nancy. I appreciate your concern more than you know.

ETA: Thank you to all the geneabloggers and the grapevine.
dee_burris: (Default)
2012-03-24 09:57 am
Entry tags:

Things that make you say, hmmmm...

Something in Jenny Lanctot's March 22 Ancestor Spotlight post caught my eye.

Aside from the fact that the post was interesting and well-written. Jenny sets the bar pretty high in that regard.

No, it was what she said before she ever started telling the story of Charles Crowe.

For now, I will try to spotlight at least one ancestor per month, (hopefully) alternating branches of my family. I think they get a little touchy when I spend too much time on the "other" side, which is why I think I have such a hard time finding information. (My emphasis added.)
No one really talks - or blogs - about that.

You know, those "moments" when something unexplainable happens while you are plowing - or plodding - along on your research...

Like the time I was trying to figure out where the family of my maternal great-great grandmother, Catherine C Mueller was in between 5 Sep 1832, when they stepped off the boat in New York, and sixteen years later, when Catherine married Jacob Williams in Franklin Co., KY.

I was using Ancestry to search historic records for each member of the family listed on the passenger list for the ship Elisabeth, which had sailed from Bremen, Germany.

And I looked up from the keyboard and saw that all the search fields were written in another language. I knew it had to be German, even though I don't speak, read or write German.

But Catherine did.

Instinctively, I knew I was entering the correct data in those fields. ~ tab, type, tab ~

As I stared at the computer monitor, I got that prickly, tingly feeling in the crown of my head that I nearly always get when something otherworldly occurs.

And I knew the moment was about to end if I looked away.

It did as soon as I did. Back to English.

I could only recall three fields. I scribbled them down on my handy-dandy scratch pad, and went to Google Translate.

Geburtsdatum - date of birth
Geburtsort - place of birth
Todesdatum - date of death


I've kept that piece of scrap paper in my hard copy Mueller family research file. For years.

I've never been able to re-create the anomaly.
Then, there are the dreams.

Especially the dreams that occur just before or after unexplainable events.

I have a Black and Decker programmable coffee-maker. Over the years, I've had several of them. What can I say? It's my brand, and I like having my coffee ready when I rise in the morning.

I stayed up way too late one night shakin' the family tree, looking for some Wingfields. When I realized how late it was, I got my butt in gear and shut down the cottage for the night.

Including setting up the coffee-maker.

I had a dream. Three of my ancestors showed up to confront me.

Including the woman on the left in this photo, looking much as she does in the photo.

Photobucket


She was my paternal great-great grandmother, Mary C Dunn Callaway Williams.

I don't know who the other two were, but Grandmother Mary wasn't pleased.

She told me not to forget her (she's one of my toughest brick walls). She also said I was spending too much time on "those people." I protested meekly. She was having none of it, and repeated herself.

When I awoke the next morning, the coffee-maker had not. I got the prickly, tingly scalp feeling, but told myself it was late when I went to bed and I probably had forgotten to program the appliance.

That night, I made sure I hit the program button, and wrote it on a post-it note that I stuck to the kitchen counter in front of the pot.

No coffee the next morning either.

Since that time, I've plugged that pot - and two other identical ones - into outlets in three locations in my kitchen.

When I don't get my morning coffee automatically, I know I need to pay some attention to the Callaways...the pot works fine after that.
Sometime, I'll tell ya about my haunted printer.

I have a witness to its hijinks.
The journey is good.

The ancestors will guide us if we let them.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-06-05 10:19 am
Entry tags:

Cycles on the journey...

It's only 10 a.m. and already the mercury has risen to 86 degrees F.

I have an umbrella on the table on my southeast facing front deck, so it's still shady there.

Every year when the seasons seem to change before the solar cycles do, I think about covering this deck.

And after giving an appropriate amount of thought to what would be a major disruption for me, I move on to other thoughts.

The cicadas are back.



They emerge every 13 years, with males announcing their presence before they move on northward as the soil temperature rises.
I've been here 17 years come this fall.

So I've sat out in front of this home, and heard the cicadas before.

I think that's a record for me.

The first time I've been in the same home when the cicadas began their serenade.
Because I've been here that long, my garden has matured quite a bit. It thankfully doesn't take all the heavy lifting it used to.

My back isn't what it used to be. That's just part of the cycle.

So I'm learning to ask for help when I need it.

That's a lesson in the cycle.

I think it's neat how the cycles work...I've moved into a cycle where it is good and necessary to slow down, have a seat on my deck under the umbrella, and review the framework I've completed over a period of time.

Does it need some tweaking here and there? Does something need to be ripped out, recycled, or re-done in some way?

That works equally well in the garden...
The journey is good.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-05-01 08:15 pm

Random musings...

The last couple of weeks have been trying.

At work I am working on a very sad case involving abuse and neglect of children with developmental disabilities in a psychiatric hospital.

And then coming home to consecutive nights of sitting in the cottage, listening to the wail of tornado sirens, one of which is only several hundred yards from my front door.

Morning drives the horror home.

Such devastation. You simply cannot appreciate the totality of the devastation from the media photographs.

In order to fully grasp it, you have to stop the car. Get out, and smell the pungent pine scent combined with gasoline fumes coming from the chain saws that assails you as you pick your way around toppled trees so huge that you and your best friend couldn't wrap your arms around no matter how hard you tried.

You have to stand at the bottom of the ladder and hand one tarp after another up so the next door neighbor can help nail them down over the gaping holes in the roof.

The ones with a roof - even part of one - are the lucky ones.

You have to rock silently as a young woman you just met at Backyard Burger sobs on your shoulder because she doesn't know how long it will be before she can get back to see what's left of her home. If there's anything left at all.

Some of them want to talk. Some of them can't yet.

You need to put some money in the jar at the corner store to help pay for the baby's funeral.


So I've been preoccupied and not paying attention to the ancestors lately.

And they are letting me know they want some attention.

I haven't seen anyone else blog about that. Maybe you have, and I just haven't read *that* entry.

Don't panic. I only see dead people in my dreams.

But there are things that happen here at the cottage that I have come to accept as normal, and they always have to do with researching my ancestral lines and finding answers.

I have a haunted computer printer, coffee maker and bathroom light switch. All three operate independently of me.

Not all the time. Only when I have been working very hard on an ancestral line, or need to.

I'm a very linear thinker, so when these things started happening, I naturally looked for rational answers.

I taped the bathroom light switch in the off position. I'm on the third coffee maker, plugged into a different outlet.

My cousin heard the printer start working all by itself when she was visiting, and left shortly afterward. (I had told her about it, and although she was very polite when I did, I knew she was skeptical. But seeing and hearing is believing.)

And today, all three of them did their stuff.

So I guess I should get back to work, huh?

Wonder who I'll see in a dream tonight...

The journey is good.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-03-05 03:15 pm

Musing on a rainy Saturday...

It started off in spectacular fashion about 3 a.m.

Complete with lightning and thunder, and the tell-tale clacking noise of the tops of very tall pine trees crashing together in the wind. Think mega-supersized bamboo wind chimes.

I got up, looked out at the storm, filled cats' food bowl, and went back to bed. I noticed as I walked down the hall that my next door neighbor was up, with several lights on. She gets nervous when it storms.

If it's my time, then it will be my time whether I am conscious or not.

But I did have on decent underwear.


Got up again about 6:30 a.m. I was meeting my cousin at the Arkansas History Commission to look for obituaries for several of her family members on her dad's side.

I always do a little research before those trips in their online catalog. I hate wasting time trying to figure out which reels of microfilm I need while I am there.

And I hate wanting "this" newspaper for "that" time period and finding out that those are the issues that were missing when the newspaper was filmed decades ago.

I *really* wish Arkansas would come into the digital historic document preservation age.


The Arkansas History Commission has scads of microfilm. And back-up copies. On more microfilm, of course.

Some of it is really, really bad. I told one of the staff that as I returned four reels of completely unreadable film.

Yes... he sighed. I know.

Not only do we not digitize our own shit our own selves, we don't want anyone else doing it either.

There are explanations at just about every historic newspaper website, including the subscription and free ones, about why selected states have so few newspapers online.

The states won't grant access to the folks making the digital copies.

So far, it looks to me like Arkansas will grant limited access to its newspapers, if the newspaper was a flash-in-the-pan, and just a few issues were published.

Or if it stopped publishing a century ago.


So I do what I can to help out.

As I do find old newspaper articles about my family history, I also copy interesting stuff from the same issue.

And little by little, I am digitizing all that stuff in this blog in entries I call bits and pieces.

I know - it's a mere pittance.

But more than we had before.


The journey is good.

Namaste.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-02-21 07:42 pm

Random musings...

The past week was a really good one for wrapping up loose ends on some of the ancestors, and getting a foothold on a couple more who have stubbornly refused to give up much detail at all in their sporadic paper trails.

In addition, I've found tantalizing little bits on a couple of people in other family trees I manage.


These are trees for some very special friends of mine, who having listened to me talk about discoveries in my family tree, have begun to reminisce about stories that came through their own families.

Usually, all it takes is for one of them to wonder aloud, I wonder if there was any truth to that... and I am ready to explain about how to start looking. These three didn't have the resources to start looking. They love the idea of having their trees online, and help me research by asking their families THOSE questions...did anyone ever mention so-and-so?

Because I'm just saying...I'll get as involved in your family history as you are.

So I have four family trees on Rootsweb that have no relationship to mine at all. Three of them are the aforementioned friends - one having a great-grandfather served with the US Colored Troops in the Civil War. Turns out his g-granddad had the same name as another man, almost exactly his age. Both men, named Orange Martin, had been slaves in Arkansas, and fought for their freedom.

It was so ironic to realize when I ripped open the envelope from NARA with Orange Martin's Civil War service record that I had the wrong one. Almost identical dates of birth, but served in different units, etc. And both lived in Arkansas.

It seemed like there was absolutely no one at all looking for the man I began to call The Other Orange Martin.

So I created that fourth tree. It has eight people in it - all of whom were identified in his military file. I keep hoping someone finds it and runs with it...and I hope they email me to say they want his records...


It may sound hokey, but when Todd Fox was preparing Nathaniel and Levi Callaway's gravesites to install their stones, and told me I could have the tops of the numbered concrete columns he took out to lay the markers...

Well...

I jumped on it.

Each was one was about 3 feet into the ground with the numbered top protruding about six inches. Nathaniel's was 102 and Levi's was 140.

Folks, that was a 125 year old concrete marker that was installed on the grave in 1886.

Photobucket


Right now they are on the front porch. I don't know if they will come inside (for protection from the weather in their 126th year) or stay outside.

I do know they are very heavy.


I hope I'm closing in on Margaret Ann Tipps (who married John Dillehay, then John Coffman and finally John Lockhead). If so, I'll probably be posting the saga of a woman who soldiered on against some pretty tough odds. They called her Molly.

Sounds like one of her kids kinda acted up, too. Wonder what it was like to deal with a teenager in the 1880's? At least you didn't have to worry about them wrecking the car.

And yeah, I'm wondering what was up with all Molly's Johns...


I've had my windows open for 4 days now. It has been very mild, and very humid.

And it's kind of weird to go out to my table on the porch with my laptop and not even need a sweater this time of year. But this is the south.

So I just cracked up when I finally figured something out.

I figured out why I had not been able to find the cemetery where Molly Tipps was buried. Everyone remembered being told she was buried in Blues Chapel Cemetery in White County.

Except there was no such cemetery, and I couldn't find anything that said in the olden days we called it that.

I went back and took a look at the 1930 census, when Molly was living with her son and his family in Grubbs, Jackson County, AR.

That's *real* close to White County. Molly died in 1937.

And guess what?

There's a Ballews Chapel Cemetery in Grubbs, right behind the Ballews Chapel Southern Baptist Church.

Bingo.

I love it when our Southern accents get in our way.

'Cause you can usually get around that.


The journey is good.
dee_burris: (Default)
2011-01-08 10:48 am

Connecting the dots...

I love it when little details come together. They start to knit together that third dimension of my ancestors and other family members.

See, that third dimension is important to me.

Genealogy purists would say that I am not a genealogist. There's much more to my family tree than just who married and begat whom, and what year they did that, in what location, and which piece of paper I have to back that up.

Check.

But dead people don't have to be - and were not in life - two dimensional.

Flat, ya know.
A very neat thing happened this morning.

I slept until I woke up (I love those days), and then I got coffee, a cigarette, fed the cats, and fired up the laptop.

I had the coolest email from my cousin. (I know, I am dating myself by saying something was cool, but go with it, okay...)

She scanned a bunch of the things her mother had given her related to our family history, in particular, our grandfather, George W Burris, and sent them to me.

They are *way* cool, and help to flesh out our (respective) third dimension of our grandfather.

Both of us knew Granddaddy when he was still living, and each of us has detailed remembrances of him. And naturally, both of us are pumping our own parents for their remembrances of their father.

And so we are seeing the evidence of the stories that Granddaddy was a licensed school teacher, and a licensed attorney in Pope County.

He was.

He was licensed to teach for 1912-1913.
Photobucket


He got his license to practice law in 1917.
Photobucket


I don't think he ever used either one to make his living.

But still.

I had always heard that, but only that he was licensed to practice law. Not about the teaching.

Our grandfather evidently placed a high degree of emphasis in acquiring knowledge.

Maybe he viewed both of these licenses as opening the door to other possible careers if necessary.

Maybe not. Maybe he just liked learning and wanted to see if he could get the licenses. I know people like that.

Whatever the case, he valued education. According to one of his daughters, the reason he decided to live in Arkadelphia when he returned from Panama was education.

He hoped to marry and raise a family. If they lived in Arkadelphia, his children would have easy access to either of two colleges in the town, Henderson State College, and Ouachita Baptist.

So Granddaddy was also very much a big picture guy...
Part of my delight in receiving the email from my cousin was a two page letter to Granddaddy from Lee, written in 1950, and talking about their time they worked together at the Post Office in Russellville. In 1910.

Lee was writing the letter to help Granddaddy gather information to complete an application for retirement from the United States Postal Service.

Granddaddy was trying to get credit for the time he worked at the Post Office before it became a civil service job. Lee was supplying him with an affidavit, saying he worked with George also in 1910 at the Russellville Post Office.

Page 2 of the letter...
Photobucket


So I am sitting here, at my grandma's table, thoughtfully sipping coffee, and thinking about Lee.

Who has to be Lee Jones.

Who appears in at least two of my family photographs, one at the Russellville Post Office, and one family photo of a bunch of Burris men at the G W Burris, Sr home in Russellville about 1915.

Lee's the guy to the far left, wearing the dark suit.
Photobucket


So Lee must have been important to my family. He had a connection with Granddaddy that lasted at least 40 years.

Kinda like part of the family.
Yep.

Just like family.

Robert Lee Jones was Granddaddy's first cousin.

Lee's mother was Margaret Jane Burris, sister of George Washington Burris, Sr. Margaret married Cass Jones on 20 Dec 1874 in Pope County. Robert Lee Jones was born 29 Jan 1889 in Appleton, a little community in Pope County. (He must have preferred his middle name - I've never heard him referred to as anything other than Lee.)

Lee died in Sebastian County on 28 Jul 1957, seven years after he wrote his 1950 letter to Granddaddy. He is buried in Forest Park Cemetery in Fort Smith, AR.
Now I have to try and figure out if he married and had kids. If there are descendants, they may want some photos.

And they may have some, too...
The journey is good.