Dec. 4th, 2010

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What a pleasant surprise to wake and find that Jenny had given my blog the Ancestor Approved award.


Thank you, Jenny.

The award comes with a couple of requests:
1. List ten things that you have learned about your ancestors that surprised, humbled, or enlightened you.
2. Pass the award to ten other genealogy bloggers.

What I've learned:
1. My Burrises did not move from Arkansas county to county in the 1840s and 1850s, as I thought they did - the county lines moved. Lesson: the rotating census maps are my friend.
2. One of my paternal great-great grandfathers had a second family about a half mile down the road from the family compound in Pope County, AR.
3. Corollary to #2 - you almost never have the whole story with the "official" family oral history. Be open to those contacts and questions from other people seeking their roots.
4. My Callaways are *not* descendants of Daniel Boone. Not.
5. The story about great Grandma Maxie (Meek) Williams beating the Yankee solider over the head with a buggy whip as she was taking the cotton to market is not true. Grandma Maxie wasn't even a gleam in her daddy's eye during the Civil War, and she didn't grow up on a cotton farm, or marry into one. And my cotton growing ancestors did not take the cotton to market in buggies - they didn't even own buggies as far as I can tell.
6. The probable cause of Cedric Hazen Williams' reputation as a misfit and ne'er-do-well was most likely due to a brain injury he suffered as an 11 year old boy, when a wagon rolled over his head.
7. My branch of the Chapins, although descended from Deacon Samuel Chapin, did not remain in Massachusetts, and were not wealthy all their lives. They were, however, highly skilled wood workers who made fine cabinetry.
8. Great-great Grandma Mary (Dunn) Callaway Williams was Indian, as we had been told by my grandmother. DNA testing recently sought by one of my aunts has confirmed that. We do not know what tribe Mary's mother came from.
9. The Burrises did not own slaves, as I would have expected. The Callaways did, and increased the number of slaves they owned when Jonathan Owsley Callaway married Emily Hemphill, whose father, John brought many slaves with him to Clark Co., AR from South Carolina about 1818.
10. The innate curiosity of "reporting" runs in my family, and comes to me from my Baldings.

I'd like to present the Ancestor Approved award to these bloggers:
My Ancestors and Me
Nolichucky Roots
Our Georgia Roots
Little Bytes of Life
The Turning of Generations
Slowly Bring Driven Mad by the Ancestors
AncesTree Sprite
Hanging from the Family Tree
Tangled Trees
From Little Acorns
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All the preachers in my family have had that characteristic booming voice.

I could hear the voice of Rev. Edwin Hubbell Chapin in my head, as I read the lengthy article published on 28 Dec 1880 by the New York Times on the occasion of his death.

This time, he lowered his voice.


He never was troubled again with signs of dissent...

I just bet not.
dee_burris: (Default)
If you are like me, and are trying to cut down on the volume of paper that naturally comes with genealogy (I'm scanning as fast as I can), then you probably leap at the chance to get historic documents in a digitized format. Especially when long texts are searchable...

If you are an Arkansas researcher, or know one, I have two Arkansas Goodspeed CDs that came to me by mistake from Arkansas Research, Inc.

I ordered one set of CDs, and what I got was two others, Goodspeed's A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region, and Goodspeed's History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, etc. Counties of Arkansas, which were destined for a woman in Utah.

I contacted the owner of ARI, Desmond Walls Allen, as soon as I realized what happened. My name was on the priority mail envelope, but the Utah order was inside.

I asked her how to go about getting the Utah order to its destination. Desmond told me not to worry - it was her mistake and she'd fix it. She said if I had no use for the CDs to donate them. I already have all the Goodspeed everything-that-was-ever-written-about -Arkansas CDs.

My order arrived two days later.

I've offered these CDs to the Arkansas History Commission, and since they have not replied to my email, I am offering them here.

If you are not familiar with the Goodspeed Publishing Co., here's the Wiki page on it.

They are a hoot - besides providing some really good historical background and biographical sketches of the movers and shakers of designated areas of the US in the 1880's, the flowery writing style of the time just cracks me up.

Anyway, if someone wants the CDs, leave a comment and we'll figure out a way for me to get your snail mail address without breaching your privacy...

ETA: The CDs have been claimed. They will have a good home.

I just love it when that happens.
dee_burris: (Default)
Since I just had to make the request for a government gravestone for two of my ancestors buried at Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, I thought I'd post the form and instructions here for any others who might need it.

Read the instructions carefully - you have to send supporting documentation with the request, and the cemetery where the soldier or vet is buried has to sign the form also.

The gravestone is free. Installing it in the cemetery probably is not, and that's on you.

Click here for the forms... )
If you prefer, here is a link to the forms at the government website.
dee_burris: (Default)
When my mother died a few years ago, I inherited a multiple leaf dining table from her. It had been my grandma's table and had been in her dining room as long as I could remember.

Grandma and I had a shared love of plants and gardening. When she died, my mother, my sisters and I, and our cousins gathered at her house to divide up the things that had not already been promised to a specific person. I asked for, and was gladly given, her gardening hand tools. Everyone else looked at me like I had lost what was left of my mind - after all, there were Oriental rugs, solid silver flatware, gold rimmed china, and solid wood pieces of furniture, ornately carved, still up for grabs. Why would I pick a bunch of hand trowels, shears and those weird looking wire hands when I could choose my share of that other stuff? (The wire hands are just neater than snuff - they have a crook at the end of each of them for hanging on your clothesline after you've stretched your wet gloves to dry over their wire fingers.)

My mother took the table, and for several years afterward, she dropped both end leaves, stored the two center leaves, and used the table as a sort of telephone desk in a corner of her dining room. She already had a large table with matching chairs in there.

And now I have the table. In Grandma's house, I remember it always being covered with a tablecloth, and candlebra in the middle of it. Around here, that would last as long as it took for me to leave the room. Four cats would make hash of that. So at my house, the table sits nude in the kitchen, with the end leaves dropped and the center leaves in.

At Grandma's house, you knew you had "arrived," and had stepped over the threshold from child to young adult when you were allowed to eat your meal at the table in the dining room, instead of the kids' table in the kitchen.

I was talking the other night with a woman who knew my mother and was friends with her since they both had been in their early teens. I asked her if she remembered the table. She did.

She said one of the first times she recalled eating at the table was at my mother's 14th birthday dinner in 1951. She was pretty sure Grandma had gotten the table for her brand new dining room in her brand new home in 1949.

Over the years, it has acquired some scars. Some are deeper than others, and I can feel them through the soft cloth I use to apply lemon oil to it every couple of weeks. Grandma probably would wince slightly at some of them, but I think overall, she knew that the journey through life brings with it the scars of experience.

Here in my own kitchen, I sit at the table and contemplate the journey as I suspect my grandmother also did on occasion. There is a feeling of groundedness in that old wood that provides a sense of connection, not only with Grandma, but with an ancient life force and spirit that imparts wisdom along the way.


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Dee Burris Blakley

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