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dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, August 8th, 2011 11:01 am
My sister and I were talking last weekend about when we wanted to get together.

We each had a few chores to get done before we could kick back, and one we had in common was the laundry. She mentioned she liked to get hers done early in the summer, so the clothes dryer didn't heat up the house.

I mused about that as I started my own laundry.

About a time when doing the laundry was truly a chore.
All photos below from the Library of Congress.

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Happy Laundry Girls, 1891

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1900, location unknown

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1918-1920

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New Orleans courtyard, 1920-26

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61st Street, NYC, summer of 1938

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laundry room of a model home in Greendale, WI, March 1937
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, July 10th, 2011 10:44 am
I got a contact about my post on the very old Freeman place from a descendant of William Aflred Freeman.

She was excited to see the photos, which I invited her to copy for her own use. And she also gave me some more information about Freeman descendants.

Which I have dutifully researched and added to my GEDCOM.

We aren't cousins, but I keep up with the ones who married into my family anyway.

Because you just never can tell when someone might need some information.
I've spent some time this morning working on another family tree I manage for a dear friend.

Right now, I'm messing with Joseph Wesley Roach, born 16 Dec 1884 in Missouri and died 4 Jan 1978 in Randolph Co., AR.

My friend's mother is a Randolph County Roach. I know Joseph Wesley figures into her line of Roaches somehow - there were quite a few who stopped off in Missouri on their way south from Illinois to Randolph County. He named his sons some of the favored male Roach names - Jesse, James, Arthur.

I just can't find his parents.

Yet.
I'd love to be graving.

But it is just too fricking hot.

Every day, I get my Weather Channel text advising of dangerous heat indices. Not that I need the official notice.

We have reached that time in Arkansas summer where you can step outside your front door and feel that the air has mass from the combination of temperature and humidity. The cottage has not received any measurable rainfall since June 28.

I've been looking back at the family photos I have of ancestral homeplaces. Thinking about how it was that they tried to beat the heat of Arkansas summers before the days of air conditioning.

Like the Williams' home in Russellville.

Or the Herrington homeplace in Clark County.

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In the two photos above, you can see 1) the shed behind the house, and 2) part of the covered front porch of the house.

The Williams home also had covered porches.

Did they sleep on them in the summertime?

More things that make me say, hmmmm...
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, May 1st, 2011 08:15 pm
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)
Saturday, March 5th, 2011 03:15 pm
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)
Monday, February 21st, 2011 07:42 pm
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.

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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)
Saturday, February 5th, 2011 10:13 am
My family, yes. "My" family, no.

Because it's also the family of my parents, siblings, cousins, and all other descendants and collateral relatives whose direct ancestors married into it.

Unless all your ancestors were only children who married only children, who bore only children, who married other only children, and begat more "only" children...

Well, most all of us know where I am going with that, huh? With possibly one two notable exceptions.

I've left the comments up.
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, January 8th, 2011 10:48 am
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.
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He got his license to practice law in 1917.
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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...
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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.
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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.
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011 08:44 pm
Even before I started digging into my family history, I've loved old things. (A couple of my husbands used to grimace when I would say that.)

Where other people would look at a table with scratches on it, and head for the sandpaper, I don't have to have everything pristine. A gently loved piece of furniture or quilt just has a feeling that money cannot buy. If it's come down through the family, so much the better.

I lived in a house during my third marriage that was built right after the turn of the century for the then-mayor of Argenta (now North Little Rock), Arkansas. We went to an estate sale at the house, and found out the home itself was for sale. We bought it on the spot.

I used to stand at various windows in the house, looking outside and wondering what the view held for the first woman who stood in that spot. Was the mighty oak tree I saw just an acorn then? Had she planted it? What did she think about as she stood at the kitchen sink, washing dishes and looking out the window?

As I gather information about the women in my family tree, those kind of questions sometimes take me off the main path on my journey onto a side road. Sometimes I stop in my research about *her* and take a look at the place in history where she was.

And I wonder all sorts of things. Didn't the women in the 19th century know - surely, they did - that every time they gave birth, it could be a moment of both life and death? What was it like to live in a home with a dirt floor? Which kid got in trouble if the firewood was wet?

For far too long, women's views of their living history were given short shrift by authors of history books. That's why I was so delighted to see the publication of Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey, by Lillian Schlissel, in 1982. I snagged a copy of it and devoured every page.

It was that book that gave me perspective on why on earth a woman would agree to pack up and ride, walk, bump, jolt and swim hundreds or thousands of miles west from home when she was pregnant. According to Schlissel, and borne out by the diarists themselves, although pregnancy during an overland voyage may have been a topic of discussion, it certainly didn't prevent women and their families from making the journey.

That was illustrated in my own family tree with Cynthia Ann Ashmore, whose husband, John Burris, decided that moving 400 miles from Lawrence Co., TN to Pope Co., AR in the fall of 1838 was a grand idea. Since child number 6 and daughter, Saba Ann, was born in February 1839 in Pope County, my guess is that Cynthia was either in her late first or early second trimester of pregnancy when the ox drawn wagon train started its trip.

Now I wonder about that trip - was there a ferry on which you could cross the Mississippi River? Or was that why you crossed in the fall, when the river was lower?

After I read Women's Diaries, I went in search of other "diary" books, and found Pioneer Women: Voices from the Kansas Frontier, by Joanna L Stratton, published in 1981.

More words from the mouths of women who lived it.

I have now discovered the trilogy of diaries edited and compiled by Kenneth L Holmes that comprise all three volumes of Covered Wagon Women. The series contains partial and complete diaries of women who traveled west during the years of 1840-1851.

How I would love to find a diary in my own family...Be still, my heart.
dee_burris: (Default)
Saturday, January 1st, 2011 06:44 pm
I put on my apron a while ago to wash dishes and deal with other sloppy stuff. It took me back.

To a time I vividly remember, when both of my grandmothers, and the one great-grandmother who was living, just automatically tied their aprons on when they entered the kitchen.

When did we quit doing that - when wash and wear came out and women were no longer slaves to a day (or more) of ironing for a large family?

I liked their aprons better than mine.

They were softer.

And they had rick-rack.

I want rick-rack.
Tags:
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, December 31st, 2010 11:31 am
This time of year, I am considering the cycles...the seasons of life around and within me.

The year past - what did I accomplish? What of it was really necessary? What might have worked better from another perspective?

I ponder those things, and then...

I let it go. I still cannot "unring" the bell. No one can.

So regret is not part of my paradigm. Particularly not in the autumn of my life.

Because I have learned some things my green spring self did not know, and things my growing summer self had not fully assimilated.

One of the most important things I learned to do was say no, and if I say yes, to stay in a thing until the goal is accomplished.

As far as shakin' my family tree goes, I am in it for the long haul.

I've been reading other geneaology blogs this morning.

People are making lists. They are excellent lists.

I need a list like that. I'll probably make one.

But my list has to easily fit into one of the other important things I've learned.

Life has to be fun. Not necessarily the fun of my youth. But still...

Interspersed with all the woulda/coulda/shoulda has to be an element that has the possibility of making me grin real big, and laugh out loud.

It's very cool that genealogy has some *very* fun things in it.

Like road trips - to a cemetery, old homeplace, courthouse, family history lecture...


Here's hoping your New Year is happy, healthy, and generously laced with fun.
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 04:22 pm
Today has been a low-key day for me, by design.

In good news, I am fairly flying along on tracking a friend's ancestors, quite an interesting mix of Serbians (who were Serbian Orthodox in terms of religion) and German Catholics. Most seemed to have immigrated to the United States between 1847 and 1870, with the Vuletics arriving around the turn of the 20th century. Most of them were steel workers who lived in Cambria County, PA. Fabian Kessler and some of his sons were stone masons.

As I have noted with historic documentation on recent immigrants in my own and other family trees I maintain, they left good tracks. Often when I look at the political climate in the places they came from at the time of their departure, I wonder if they were used to being asked by the government for papers, please...


The day has not been without its challenges.

In the last six months or so, my internet service provider - Comcast - has not been providing me with the high speed internet access 24/7 for which I am paying. I mean, if I am going to invest a sum of money equivalent to two of my utility bills each month for lightning speed internet, I'm gonna have it.

Any. time. I. want.

Period.

It took about an hour and a half to get that handled. The email I sent last night when webpages timed out before they loaded paved the way.

Now, we have to decide how much they owe me for all my lag- and down- time...


I had forgotten I'd ordered the Goodspeed's for middle Tennessee on CD.

That was in the mailbox after the Comcast tech left.

I've briefly scanned it, and am ever so (slightly) disappointed that few of my direct forbears made the "who's who" list in 1886. Truth be told, I would not be a bit surprised if William Burris had left owing Lawrence County a sum for back taxes.

I guess he got on the right list.

However, there is excellent background on Lawrence County (and others) that will be useful in putting context to some of the ancestors' actions.

So it's all good.


Had a few minutes of concern about the laptop earlier. Acting strange and then wouldn't shut down to re-boot, so I had to turn it off.

All those files...

It was reassuring to have the DVDs of the complete back-up I did on 23 December sitting on the desk.

And didn't need them...
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, December 24th, 2010 01:32 pm
I've been blogging for the past four years. Even though there were regular commenters to my genealogy entries in my regular blog, for the last year or so, I toyed with the idea of creating a blog just for genealogy.

On Halloween, I had a Nike moment, and decided to "just do it." A few days later, I posted an entry in [livejournal.com profile] genealogy, asking if others had created genealogy blogs. One of those commenters replied in the affirmative, and urged me to check out Geneabloggers.

Boy, am I glad I did.

I have "met" some of the most fantastic people by searching the blogs. My first searches were for other Arkansas bloggers, then among them, for women. (Gentlemen, that is not a slam to you - I just have a thing about reading other women bloggers...)

The depth of the posts, and obvious commitment to telling the stories of the ancestors, combined with generous doses of wit and humor, makes reading these other blogs a joy. I have stumbled on some wonderful tips for breaking down the dreaded brick walls. From the comfort of my little cottage, I have been on trips to faraway lands through wonderful old photos and well-written stories about the people who lived there.

So thank you, Thomas MacEntee, for coming up with a really great way to provide a real feeling of community.

After all, community is good thing, right? And on our beloved topic of genealogy, didn't it make you feel all warm and fuzzy (and not a little relieved) to learn that there were literally hundreds of other people who did the happy dance at the mailbox when the postman delivered death certificates? Or who got misty-eyed at being able to calendar an entire weekend for tramping through the countryside looking for graves? Other people who enjoy sitting in dusty courthouse vaults, gingerly turning the pages of huge ledgers of property records, looking for the pot of gold...

Fairly early on while searching the blogs, I ran into the spoilsport. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, that's someone who gets joy out of spoiling joy for others.

In a departure from my usual practice, I'm not going to identify him by name. And I am not linking to his blog from mine.

In my view, he's already getting way too much traffic from links from other genealogy bloggers. I'm not saying they are wrong to do that - I just think they are playing into his hand.

On the day I found his blog, his post was about how he had a revelation and discovered he is not a genealogist, and couldn't care less about who his ancestors were.

After briefly wondering why, if that were the case, his blog was listed on Geneabloggers, I closed the browser. Even for my "other" blog reading, his doesn't cut the mustard.

Since then, as I have read the blogs of other genealogists, I see he's getting quite a bit of press. I think he's a drama king.

Of the last dozen entries, seven (58%) have been snubs at genealogy bloggers, and of those seven, three (42%) have been direct slams at Geneabloggers or bloggers who are listed there. In one of those entries, he thanks people who read his blog prior to November 1.

Dude, if you can't capture my interest in the first dozen entries, I haven't got the time to plow through page after page of cyber temper tantrums looking for a nugget of useful or edifying information.

And for the record, sir, you got it wrong in your December 20 entry. I am a southerner, born and bred, so you will just have to take my word for it. I doubt that a native New Yorker would be able to put the proper inflection on either phrase.

When a southerner says how nice, what she means is fuck you.
dee_burris: (Default)
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010 09:04 am
Isn't that the way it always is? You go looking for one thing, and find another instead?

I went to see my folks yesterday. While I was there, we were talking about how it can sometimes be difficult to separate family lore from family history.

My step-mom mentioned that her family had disagreed on the occupation of one of her great grand uncles, George Washington Hayslip. Some said he had owned a cannery in Adams Co., OH. I told her I would do some digging around and look through some of the historic newspaper databases to see if I could find advertising for a cannery there.

Imagine my surprise when my search for Hayslip in Adams Co., OH brought up several articles like this one, which ran in the 10 Aug 1897 edition of the Maysville KY, Evening Bulletin:



So now, I am on a quest to see how that ended. Found another article in the 18 Oct 1897 Marietta (GA) Democrat that said the trial had been postponed to the January 1898 session of the court.

John Hayslip was George Washington Hayslip's brother.

And as far as I can tell, George was a farmer until he died in 1924.

ETA: I have now found an article that says the victim's name was Mac E Gordley. Source: 11 Aug 1897 edition of the Elkhart Weekly Review.
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, December 16th, 2010 03:47 pm
Sometimes I get some contacts that just slay me...

In my email today:

Hi - Do you know if Henry C Boshears had any children and if so can I have there names?

I am the grand daughter of Henry Boshears and I'm trying to see if Henry C Boshears is my Great grandfather.

Thanks


The surname sounds familiar. So I check the family tree database.

Nope, I have Brashears. No Henry C.

Maybe I created an entry on FindaGrave?

Nope.

Maybe I blogged about Henry.

<----- Check blog tags. Nope, I posted a photo of C C Boshears' homemade gravestone. No Henry C.

Why does this person think I know the answer to that question?

I replied and said I had no idea who Henry C Boshears was...


I've gotten other strange contacts about family tree stuff.

Like the one I got a couple of months ago from a former sister-in-law.

She was always such a sweetheart.

She emailed me because she found my online tree, and saw that I had gone back about three generations on her parents' side of the family. She thought that was so neat.

She showed it to her brother, one of my former husbands (there have been five, if any of you are curious).

He did not think it was neat. He was pissed. She wanted me to know that even though he was irate, she was very touched.

I replied to her and told her to tell the old fart that if he wants to get his shorts in a twist, to wait until I separate out all the exes and place them in an online tree by themselves called The X Files...
dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, December 13th, 2010 01:17 pm
There are a whole bunch of little rural towns in Arkansas.

Funeral processions in those places are not often accompanied by police escorts on motorcycles, zipping to the intersection in advance to allow the procession to cross unimpeded.

They aren't needed. Everyone gives way to a funeral procession, pulling as far off the road as necessary to allow all the cars to pass. We even do that in the "big" cities - at least, most of us do. The ones of us who can remember our manners.

Maybe that's just a Southern thing. I don't know.

What I do know is that I was taught from the time I was a little bitty girl that when someone takes that last ride, you show respect.
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 08:58 am
As I've plowed through the mountains of documents that go into researching my family tree, I noticed something.

From all the branches and twigs, a decided decline in the numbers of children after the 1910 census.

Prior to that time, I'd catch myself looking at a census form and muttering under my breath, that poor woman, because she would be mothering anywhere from 10 to 16 stairstep kids. In many cases, they were all her own, but sometimes there were stepchildren from the wife who had lived and died before her. In the case of my great-great grandmother on my dad's side, all fifteen children, including three sets of twins, were hers. (Not counted in that total were the children her husband had with his deceased second wife.)

But after the 1910 census, the number of offspring declined dramatically down to five, four, or two.

What, I wondered, had happened to my formerly fecund forebears? (Say that three times fast.)

I think I may have discovered at least part of the reason.

The latex condom was invented in 1919.
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dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, November 28th, 2010 08:54 am
About this time last year, I had a pleasant exchange of family information with another Chapin researcher on a Chapin surname internet message board.

I woke one December morning to an email announcing a reply to the thread. When I looked at it, it was from someone from the Chapin Family Association, telling me to give her the info I had on "this line," and giving me her email address. She's updating the Chapin books.

The Chapin books, just like the books on any other surname, are produced by the various "family associations" for sale. The various "family associations" are membership associations, with monetary dues required for membership

The family associations haunt threads on surname message boards to find family members to hand over - for free - information the family associations then sell to other members of the family.

I have a problem with that.

I didn't email the Chapin Family Association chick. I did respond to her though - to tell her she could probably find my info on "this line" by searching Rootsweb.

Where I publish my info for anyone to search for free. But I expect them to do their own searches.


One of my Callaway cousins has a very wry sense of humor. And his own perspective on historical associations.

On the trip to Memphis last weekend, we had some time to talk. He knows one of our other cousins has been pestering me to join the County Historical Association, of which she is an officer. I have a couple of problems with that, not the least of which is that the monthly meetings are on a weekday for a luncheon about 70 miles from me.

You're not going to join that hysterical society, are you?

You mean "historical" society, don't you?

Well no...I really mean hysterical society. You can call it anything you want.
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, November 25th, 2010 04:57 pm
Boomerang kids...

Read that one a couple of months ago. It refers to grown children (or children who *look* grown) returning to the parental home for one reason or another.

Sometimes with kids of their own.

The article gave all sorts of tips and tricks about how to prevent the phenomenon, and "tough love" was mentioned.

At the time, I remember smiling and shaking my head as I read it.

Because boomerang kids is as 21st century as empty nest syndrome was 20th century.

Before about 1940, you didn't hear either one. Our collective history has been built on multi-generational families living under one roof, or very close in geographic proximity in a family compound of sorts.

And it worked.

Grandma and/or Grandpa stayed in their own home, as did each generation after them. You left feet first in a pine box.

So I don't think anyone needs to go beating up on themselves, or their boomerang kids, too awfully much.

Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Kind of like that butter/margarine argument. I believe we've come full circle on that one, too, haven't we?
dee_burris: (Default)
Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010 02:55 pm
Every once in a while, I run across interesting little details in the family tree that probably go unnoticed by everyone but me.

Take the family of Allen Dee Toomey and Alice Hucks.

They married on 1 Oct 1899, in Monroe County, TN. Throughout the first 20 years of their married life, they lived in Monroe County. Then, they moved off to Summit Co., OH, and that's where I found them in the 1930 census.

With their children, Gertrude, Gaspard, Gladys and Grant.

I looked at that and blinked. Wondered whether it was Allen or Alice who was such a fan of alliteration.

And muttered under my breath as I entered data for Gaspard into the software...

Your mama must have had a really hard labor with you son...I'm so sorry...
dee_burris: (Default)
Thursday, November 11th, 2010 07:35 pm
Hint: that's Southern-speak for you shouldn't have gone and done that shit...

Some of my ancestors had a really twisted sense of humor.

The 1900 census for Missouri Township, Nevada County, AR and the White family...take a look at daughter number 1 on line 82:

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White, Snow E - W F - Dec 1887 - S


Missing from the page are the seven dwarfs...

Now that's just wrong.
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