April 2014

S M T W T F S
  12345
6789101112
13141516171819
2021 2223242526
27282930   

Shakin' the Family Tree on Facebook

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
dee_burris: (Default)
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012 08:03 pm
For details on my Callaway ancestry.

I need to do my dishes.

And I wanted to watch *all* of a Ken Burns documentary on PBS.

But that will have to wait.

Because I found the identities of three mothers, who previously appeared as Unknowns in my GEDCOM.

And now, they are known!

Not only that, but now I know details about the parents of one of the women.

I love it when that happens.
Tags:
dee_burris: (Default)
Monday, February 28th, 2011 07:28 pm
I have images of the divine feminine scattered all around my home.

This one is my favorite. For me, she is Every Woman.




March is Women's History Month. I'll be in my element.

Many historians now acknowledge that the role women played in history has been largely unsung for far too many years.

In March, my blog will be top heavy with information about the women in my family tree, as well as some of those from the other trees I manage.

I'm also going to spend some time "graduating" some of my MNUs to women with complete identities - after all, her history didn't start with her marriage.

And I'm going to try and stop acting surprised when I find women who didn't marry at all - I usually run back over my source information to make sure I didn't miss the husband.

Or the kids. A few of the women in my tree married, but did not have children. I expect some of those chose not to.


The theme for the 2011 Women's History Month from The Women's National History Project is Our History is Our Strength.

Now, how cool is that?
dee_burris: (Default)
Sunday, February 6th, 2011 02:13 pm
As much as I love censuses and other historic documents in digital format, when I think of sitting down and reading, it's never with a Kindle or a Nook.

It's a book...and my library is extensive. Selected volumes get encore readings.


I've finished the first three of the series of Covered Wagon Women books by Kenneth L Holmes.

Loved. Them.

Women's diaries fascinate me, and these were no exception. (I blogged about two other diary compilations I also treasure here.)

I blew through the first one, and then spaced out the reading of Volumes 2 and 3 with some fiction.


Just picked up my March issue of Family Tree Magazine, and looked at the book reviews on page 11.

Tainted Legacy: The Story of Alleged Serial Killer Bertha Gifford (non-fiction genealogical book) and The Quickening, (a work of fiction inspired by family research) should arrive at the cottage sometime this week.

I'm gearing up for Women's History Month...
Tags:
dee_burris: (Default)
Friday, January 21st, 2011 07:26 pm
It's not too early to be thinking about it. March is just around the corner.

Click here to read news from the official website.
dee_burris: (Default)
Tuesday, January 11th, 2011 11:36 am
She is on my maternal side of the family.

I never knew her, as she died in 1932 - two and a half decades before I was born.

Mildred Carlton Williams was the daughter of Jacob Williams and Catharine C Mueller. (It was Catharine's family about whom I wrote on a Mystery Monday recently.)

She was a middle child, if that's what you call the fourth of eight kids.

Born on 30 Jul 1856 in Franklin Co., KY, she was the oldest daughter. Maybe that's why she "handled" so many family issues, beginning with her mother's death in 1876 in Kentucky.

That happens to oldest daughters. From what I know of Minnie (that's what they called her), she met all of her considerable challenges, and soldiered on...


Minnie was a bride of just over one year when her mother, Catharine (Mueller) Williams, died.

She had married Josiah Hazen Shinn on 7 Jan 1875, and had just marked her first wedding anniversary at the time of her mother's death on 14 Jan 1876. She was a new mother herself, having given birth to her first child four months earlier.

One of the thoughts that crossed my mind was that Minnie might have traded her light colored clothing in favor of mourning. There is a photo of Minnie with her husband and son, Roy, that was taken after 23 Oct 1885.

Photobucket


In that photo, Minnie appears to be wearing mourning colors.

As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure of it. Grace Electra Shinn, Josiah and Minnie's firstborn, is not in the photo.

That's because Grace died on 23 Oct 1885, in Russellville, Pope Co., AR, of malarial fever. At that time of year, mosquito season should have been over in that part of the state. Had Grace had malaria since summer?

I just can't imagine having to watch my child die.
Josiah and Minnie only had two biological children of whom I am aware.

But they raised a whole bunch more.

When Minnie's mother died, the newlywed couple took four of Minnie's siblings into their home. They were responsible for five children, aged from birth to 14.

The 1880 census shows the family living in Bridgeport, Franklin Co., KY. The household now included Minnie and Josiah's newborn son, Joseph Roy Longworth Shinn. (By 1882, the whole clan had relocated to Pope Co., AR.)

The same census shows Minnie's father, Jacob Williams, living with his brother, Urban Valentine Williams, who was a phyisican in Bridgeport. In addition to providing for his brother, Dr. Williams' sister, Millie was living with them. (Millie Williams never married. She is buried in the family plot in Frankfort Cemetery in Kentucky.)

I wondered about Jacob. Why had his children gone to live with his oldest daughter when his wife died?

Jacob Williams was only 54 years old when he became a widower. He was a blacksmith in Franklin County who fought in the Civil War.

Maybe he was ill. Perhaps blacksmithing wasn't fetching the income it previously had.

Or maybe he just couldn't raise the children after Catharine died.


I guess you could say Minnie's husband, Josiah Hazen Shinn, was a minor local celebrity of sorts.

A Google search on him brings up all sorts of results.

From The History of the Shinn Family, written by Josiah and published in 1903, this sketch, which presumably would be a self-portait of sorts (pages 252-254):

Josiah Hazen Shinn, eldest child of Josiah Carlock and Elizabeth Frances (Gilpin) Shinn, was born at Russellville, Ark., 3/29/1849; learned to read at his father's knee in his third year; to Louisville, Ky., in 1854; entered school there in his sixth year, being placed in the third grade; to Cincinnati in 1859; passed through the intermediate and high school grades of the schools of that city; graduated at the Ohio Normal School in 1869; admitted to the bar at Cincinnati 1872, but never practiced; he was examined for admission by Stanley Matthews, afterwards Associate Justice of the U. S. at Washington; Judge Hoadley, T. D. Lincoln and Henry Snow; taught school for eighteen years in Ohio, Kentucky and Arkansas; married, 1/7/1875, at Bridgeport, Franklin County, Ky., Mildred Carlton, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Mueller) Williams.

Mr. Shinn moved to Arkansas in 1882; institute instructor for five years under W. E. Thompson; State Superintendent; President State Teachers' Association 1887; Chief Clerk in office of Secretary of State under Elias B. Moore and Ben. B. Chism 1885-1890; State Superintendent of Public Instruction 1890-1894; received the highest vote cast for any man on the state ticket; established the first State Normal Schools in Arkansas while in this office; organized the Southern Educational Association at Moorehead City, N. C., in 1891, and was elected its first President; re-elected at Chattanooga, Tenn, in 1892; Vice-President National Educational Association 1892; placed specially by the Legislature of Arkansas in charge of the Arkansas Educational Exhibit at the World's Columbian Exposition 1893; appointed Judge in the Liberal Arts Department of the World's Fair by the U. S. Commission 1893; to the Russian Empire in 1894-1895, where he was presented to Emperer Nicholas I, at the Anitchkoff Palace.

Writer for the Little Rock Gazette and Democrat; editor and publisher for ten years of the Arkansas Teacher and Southern School Journal"; established the first Chautauquas in Arkansas at Springdale, Mammoth Spring and Fort Smith in 1898, 1899, 1900, 1901; lecturer 1896 and 1897 in Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Missouri; President of Springdale College 1898-1901; was appointed to the Accounts Division, Indian Office, Department of Interior, Washington, D. C., 1901; to the Indian Warehouse, Chicago, Ill., 1902.

Mr. Shinn has published the following books and pamphlets: "The Public School and the College, 1891; "The South in Public Education," 1891; Vassar College, Pamphlet, 1891; "Illustrated Arkansas," 1892; "History of the American People," 1893; "History of Education in Arkansas," published by the U. S. Government, 1899; "Russia at the World's Fair," in English and Russian, 1894, This was republished by Russian governmental officials. "History of Arkansas," for schools, 1895; "Primary History of the United States," 1899; "History of the Russian Empire," for Libraries, in preparation. Registrar of the S. A. R. for Arkansas, 1892-3-4. Member of the American Institute, 1894; Honorary Member of the Pennsylvania and West Virginia Historical Societies, 1894; Member of the Imperial Russian Geographical and Historical Societies, 1894; Member of the Christian Church, a good speaker and a Democrat.

Minnie also got her due in the book, on page 254, at the end of the entry about Josiah. I was glad to see that, and it suggested to me that Josiah looked at her as a true partner.

Mildred Carlton Shinn, also a member of the Christian Church, was prominent in Church and social circles in Little Rock, and other parts of Arkansas; is a woman of strong convictions, and her influence has always been given to the suppression of liquor selling and other forms of vice; progressive in religious matters, she always favored advanced methods for the propagation of the Gospel at home and abroad; a member of the C. W. B. M. of her own church, and of the W. C. T. U. wherever she has resided; of the Society for the Rescue of Fallen Women at Little Rock; of the Co-Operative Club for the betterment of all classes, in which she took an active interest in Social Science and Economics. At the death of her mother, in 1876, she undertook to rear four of her brothers and sisters; Margaret Williams, now the wife of James W. Wells, Bentonville, Ark; Mattie Williams, for eight years clerk in the office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Little Rock, Ark., and still so employed; Jo Desha Williams, now a successful merchant at Russellville, Ark., and Julian Otis Williams, now and for ten years past a compositor on the Little Rock Gazette and Democrat, Little Rock, Ark.

Through all this labor she found time for every good work of the neighborhood and exerted a good influence over the moral and intellectual status of every place in which she lived. Her own house was always in order, and she always found time to aid every good work with her preserce, her means and her whole soul. Two busier people have rarely ever been united as happily as these, and their silver wedding, 1/7/1900, was a milestone in their lives which showed them the appreciation others had for them. Four hundred silver presents from all parts of the United States made the event one never to be forgotten.

I'd like to have known the woman described in Josiah's book. I wondered if her effort to suppress "liquor selling" ever took her to a saloon? There were plenty of watering holes and stills in Arkansas.

But I've never found an old news article suggesting that she teamed up with Carrie Nation, so maybe she found other ways to express her "stong convictions."

Guess I'll find out on the other side...
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)
Thursday, November 18th, 2010 06:40 pm
As of today, there are 14,539 people in my online family tree in 4,401 families. Of those, 624 are still living.

Burris, which was my birth surname, has 460 entries. Callaway has 471.

The next highest number is 370, and belongs to that strangely all female group whose surname is MNU. They came from Canada, Germany, Yorkshire, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Illinois, Masschusetts, North Carolina, and parts in between.

Maiden Name Unknown.

At one time, MNUs made up over 500 of the people in the tree. I was appalled. I started working on just that "surname," and have whittled it down a little.

I spent lots of time looking for marriage records and fleshing out children's middle names, searching for their mother's maiden name there.

I go back to them frequently, devoting an afternoon to finding out some of their maiden names. Every time I find one, I have a little celebration here at my grandmother's kitchen table.

Everyone has a story.

I am a storyteller.