dee_burris: (Default)
2013-07-12 08:18 pm

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: F is for Family Feuds


In addition to the hundreds, maybe thousands, of scans of old family photos I have, I also have framed portraits and framed prints of some of the scans. After I scanned the tintypes of my Meek ancestors, I had them framed to preserve them. Tintypes are not original photos I throw away after they have been digitized.

My dead relatives' gallery is spread throughout my home. From time to time, I wander through looking at them, peering intently to see if I can find physical similarities between the ancestors and descendants.

And occasionally, I pause in front of one or two. The Jefferson John Meek family is a good place to stop for contemplation.
In this entry, I talked about my black sheep great-great grandfather, James Alexander Meek, who left his family in 1868, and was apparently vilified by his son ever after, even down through two more generations.

It was the letter by James' great grandson, Joe Thomas Meek, that made me realize I have no photos of James Alexander Meek dated later than 1868.

 photo JamesAlexanderMeek-1.jpg

James' daughter, Maxie Leah Meek - my great grandmother - never knew her dad. She was born on 10 Feb 1869, after James was gone. Her mother, Mary Emily Conner, remarried before Maxie was two years old, and the new blended family moved to Russellville, AR.

 photo MaxieLeahMeek.jpg

Maxie had quite a few photos of her dad in the photo album given to her and the man she married - Jo Desha Williams - the Christmas before their marriage.

That's where the tintypes were - in that album.

I think it's unlikely that Maxie's mother permitted her as a child to travel back to Mississippi to visit the father who abandoned her. Perhaps Maxie had a relationship with her paternal grandparents before their deaths in 1889 and 1891, when she was a young wife and mother.

She got the photos from someone. Maybe she inherited them when her father died in 1917. Her brother would not likely have wanted them, given his animus toward their father.

The photos of James Alexander Meek, as well as those tintype photos which were taken long before Maxie was born, make me feel the wistfulness of a daughter who wished she'd had a dad.

I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-05-10 08:44 pm

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: E is for Export


Exporting the GEDCOM to whatever online service you use.

I do this a couple of times a week.

Okay, some weekends, a couple of times a day.

Because once you start shakin' the family tree, it's real hard to stop.
These days, you'll find me in the garden on all but the coldest and rainiest of days.

 photo eastgardenpm.jpg

I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-04-09 09:04 pm

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: D is for Death


You cannot explore your family history without encountering it. Death is part of the cycle, and family history is a marvel of cycles.

Still, there are stories that just tear at your heart.

This entry is re-published from the original entry on 6 Nov 2010, entitled Sometimes I don't know how they did it...
Sometimes I don't know how they did it.

The ancestors, that is.

No air conditioning or indoor plumbing.

Chamber pots under the bed at night.

Dinner was running around out in the backyard until you took a hatchet to it. Or went out in the woods with a shotgun. If you weren't faster than your prey, there probably was greens and cornbread. Again.

And you were thankful for it.

Wardrobe choices were easier, I guess.

And all those kids. Sometimes as I am adding them one after another to the database, I have to smile...there were only three of us and my parents would get confused.

Dee - I mean Vicki - I mean Lorraine...I mean, whoever it is, CUT THAT OUT!

And then, there are somber moments that accompany all those names and dates. Moments when I feel, even for just a split second when the horrible details come together, like I've been sucker punched.

Meet Charles Hardin Patterson...
The year before he married Polly Ann Wharton (my second cousin, 3X removed), Charles had what was probably the worst year of his life.

He married Sarah Ann Cowan in the fall of 1877 in Johnson County, Arkansas. The leaves were probably turning fiery reds and glittery golds when they got hitched. Johnson County is gorgeous that time of year.

They made a farm and babies, including fraternal twins Nancy Ellen and her brother, Jesse Washington, in June 1886. Sarah Ann was 28 when the twins were born, her fifth and sixth children.

Ida Bell was born in October 1888, and William, the eighth and final child borne by Sarah Ann, arrived on 11 Jun 1890.

Something must have gone horribly wrong.

Charles Hardin Patterson became a widower five days later, alone with a newborn son and a toddler daughter, both of whom shortly would become very ill. He was 32 years old.

On 5 Aug 1890, baby William died. His sister Ida followed him to a tiny grave in Buckhorn Cemetery on 23 Aug 1890. In the space of just over two months, Charles Patterson lost his partner in life and two youngest children. His oldest child was 11 years old.

I cannot begin to imagine his pain.

Sometimes it's hard to see the path through the tears.

But the journey is good.


I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-02-28 08:16 pm

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: C is for Callaway


Mace Callaway to be specific.

He was my great great grandfather.

This is the only known photograph of him that exists in my family.

Allen Mason Lowery Callaway, 3 Jan 1847 - 15 Feb 1877

I know quite a few things about him.

It's the things I don't know that bug me, and even more, that I haven't a clue about how to figure them out.

Like where he's buried.

And if his death at age 30 was related to his service in the Civil War.

And how, since he already knew the man who was to become his widow's second husband as a result of their service in the same CSA cavalry unit - was there some kind of an agreement between the two of them that David Andrew Williams would take care of the young widow, Mary Dunn Callaway, and their daughter (my great grandmother), Julia Ann Callaway?

And why did Mace and Mary only have one child throughout the course of their eleven year marriage before his death?

My C is for Callaway challenge is a challenge in so many ways.

I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-02-03 10:10 am

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: B is for Bits and Pieces


I loved reading this in The Atkins Chronicle, 23 Jan 2013 issue, at page 3.

75 Years Ago
From the files of Feb. 4, 1938
People of Hector will celebrate the installation of electric power Tuesday, Feb. 22. The celebration will begin at 4 o'clock. J M Danley of Scottsville is in charge of the program. H M Cheek of Hector will deliver the welcome address. Other speakers on the program will be W P Strait of Morrilton, Lieutenant Governor Bob Bailey, Judge A B Priddy, Reece Caudle and E W Hogan of Russellville.

Rural Arkansans have always been last to get most of the modern conveniences.

As early as 1913, Arkansas had, in addition to city and town electrical utilities, an electric utility that connected cities on the power grid.

So I imagine that a quarter of a century later, it was a really big deal for the little Pope County town of Hector to get electricity.

In my mind's eye, I see someone ceremoniously flipping a switch, and I hear the "oohs and aahs."
Got this photo in my email the other day.


That's my dad, and one of his favorite hunting dogs - a pointer named Rex. The year was 1972.

Dad always loved to bird hunt - back in the day when Arkansas had an abundant quail population.

Before humans destroyed their habitat.

When I was very young, he had English setters. The pointers came later. Dad and his dogs competed in field trials.

And Rex was a very cool dog.
As I read other blogs, I've noted that most bloggers try very hard to credit information they use in their blogs to appropriate sources, if it's not original content.

It does kind of bug me to see a blogger's copyright symbol displayed on so many old photographs. While I understand that the blogger is probably trying to prevent indiscriminate copying and re-use of photos, just possessing a photo doesn't grant you copyright.

From the FAQ page of the United States Copyright Office:
Copyright is the right of the author of the work or the author's heirs or assignees, not of the one who only owns or possesses the physical work itself. See Circular 1, Copyright Basics, section “Who Can Claim Copyright.”

I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.
dee_burris: (Default)
2013-01-23 04:54 pm

Family History Through the Alphabet: A is for Ashmore


In my line of direct ancestors is Andrew Sawyer Ashmore. He was my 3rd great grandfather.

I don't know where the middle name came from, although some records and other family trees indicate he favored the name enough that he called himself Sawyer. Sawyer Ashmore's mother was Mary Henderson, so it wasn't a case of carrying on the maternal surname.

Here's what I do know about Sawyer Ashmore.

He was born in 1798 (probably in Lawrence Co., TN) to Joshua Ashmore and Mary Henderson.

About 1815, he married Elizabeth McCarley (whose parents are unknown to me) in Lawrence County.

He and his father were listed on the Lawrence County tax list in 1826.

Apparently, he was not old enough to vote in 1818, because only his father was listed in the Lawrence County list of registered voters that year.

In 1838, Sawyer and Elizabeth, along with his younger brother, Robert, and two younger sisters - Cynthia Ann (Burris), and Lucinda (Carrell), moved to Pope County, AR. Members of Elizabeth McCarley's family also made the same trip, as did Sawyer's 78 year old father, Joshua. I have a visual image of the elder Ashmore being helped up into an ox drawn wagon.

Sawyer and Elizabeth Ashmore had four, and possibly five, children, one of whom was my great great grandmother, Elizabeth Adeline Ashmore.

He farmed 170 acres of land in what was Conway County, AR (but is now Pope County) for 15 years prior to his death on 9 Oct 1853.

He was buried in the McCarley Family Cemetery, not far from where my dad lives now.

This is not the original gravestone, and Elizabeth's date of death -
3 Nov 1875, must not have been known by the descendants who placed it.

I am taking the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge, albeit starting a few months late.