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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Intro to Genetics on FTF post

Everett Combs family in 1923My latest Family Tree Firsts post is up and you can read it here.  It is the first in a series of posts on genetic testing for genealogy chronicling my families experience with the process. 

The picture is the oldest Combs family picture I have.  It shows my great-grandparents Frank and Sylvia Combs with their children.  My grandfather is on the right, standing next to his mother.  His mother, Sylvia Freeman, is the great-great-granddaughter of John Foote from the previous FTF post.

There is a plethora of information out there on genetic genealogy and I don't want to rehash what you could find easily on your own. You can read up on it to your hearts content online and in books.  However, one thing I have noticed is that these companies don't really give you the tools to understand the results.  Not that I expect to be hand held through the process, but having a bit of a guide so that you understand what all those numbers and letters mean would be a great thing.  I took classes in genetics and was confused at some points.

My absolute favorite class in college was microbial genetics.  LOVED IT!  The lab was like a candy store for me and I couldn't wait to get there (4 hours twice a week).  We studied all sorts of DNA, learned various techniques and procedures, and then for a treat at the end of the semester we cloned our own DNA for a study.  WHOOT!

Now all I wish I could do is get into a lab and do these tests on my whole family... I really wonder what is hidden in our genes.  Could something be in there help us make a connection to another family?  Could I finally get a break in jumping the pond?  So many questions.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What? It is already the end of MAY!

That was my reaction to the calender this morning.  The last few months, in fact this year, have just flown by.  Crazy-hectic-mom schedule doesn't help the matter at all.  My oldest has already got the itchy feet and antsy twitches that come with a kid that sees the end of the school year just a few weeks away.  I have the antsy twitches and tick of a mom that will soon has both kids home for 11 weeks. 

To top it off, Mr. Man will be starting middle school and Mr. Bear is entering Kindergarten this fall.  I just have to make it to September to receive my reward of freedom from children eight hours a day five days a week.  Think about all the research I will be able to do! Oh, and mani-pedi's; can't forget the occasional spa day you know.

However, we have to get through almost three months of summer first. Mr. Man has all the places he wants to visit this summer outlined on a piece of paper that was handed to me yesterday.  Battlefields, museums, and various historical sites in a four state radius.  I had to inform him that I didn't think we would be able to make it up to Boston this summer (talk about disappointed looks from the two of them). 

Included in the summer plans is a historical summer camp put on by the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation called Broadsides Camp.  We have our week booked there, both boys are going to both camps, and it should be fun!  They both did it last year and they begged to come back this year.  Who can say no to a history camp?  Logistics are the only down side as it is three hours from home and we have to stay in a hotel for a week.  Ah well, could be worse.

One of the best parts:  on day three of the Jamestown camp they will be learning about the Tempest and how some ships were blown of course and shipwrecked in Bermuda.  Among those colonists was Stephen Hopkins and his family, ancestors on my husband's side.  Mr. Man is so excited to be learning about his family at CAMP!  Mr. Bear is excited to drill with the soldiers at Yorktown and the go to play with mud and fish at Jamestown. 

Wish me luck... I may need a rescue by the end of the summer!

*Images taken by me.  Toys on the beach at Virginia Beach, and Statue of John Smith at Jamestowne Island, 2011.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Warring Grandfathers, next FTF post is up!

File:Battle of Guiliford Courthouse 15 March 1781.jpgMy next post at Family Tree Firsts is up.  You can read it here.

I have to say this was one of the more interesting discoveries that I have made.  In the United States you here stories about opposite sides of the family fighting against each other in the Civil War.  Brother against brother, families torn apart, and the like, but how often do you find stories of families on opposite sides of the Revolution?  Usually the people who stayed loyal to the British left their homes after the Revolution and you have to search another country.  I have a soldier leaving the army to stay here!

Reading John Foote's story it tugged at my heart strings.  To think he took his mother on a family visit and was ripped from the family.  I keep wondering about him, his mother, and the Foote family.  Did he ever write to her and let her know that he was alive and where he was?  As a mother the thought of someone taking my son is unimaginable.  The anguish would tear at me.

Edward Arvin choose to enlist.  He was able to make the decision to fight for his country.  You can read about his journey at a site written by my cousin (a couple times removed) on the Arvin Family.  Check it out.  We share the same lineage to Henry Arvin and our lines split with two of Henry's sons.

*Image from wikimedia commons

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Letters with results, next FTF post is up

My latest post over on Family Tree is up.  You can read it here.

I am in the process of writing back to Miss. Hilbert. She has always been such a nice woman and I enjoyed talking to her when I was younger.  If possible I want to meet up with her on my next visit home to Indiana.  Still working on scheduling, but it will be a great big genalogical adventure when I go.

The picture posted was from a Combs family reunion in the mid 1950s.  I thought it was a great picture of my dad and all his first cousins at that time.  He, his two brothers, and sister were among the oldest there, but he said he remembers it very well.  Now, being able to remember all the other kids in the picture from nearly 60 years ago is a bit harder.  Dad turned 73 last week, so I will forgive him that he can't identify which of his cousins was the baby that year.

In the post I copied the note she gave me about a portion of my mother's family line.  There is one name I do not recognize on it.  Who is Ann?  I don't have an Ann Sanders listed anywhere.

G. Grandmother Wildman name
      was St. Clair Burton
G. Grandmother Sanders
      name was Gamble
Grandmother Wildman
      name Mary Francis Moberly
      died April 30 1864
Grandmother sanders
       Name Elizabeth Denning
       Born May 27 1827 Died June 13 1880
Grandfather Armstead Wildman
       Born Dec 6 1829 Died Mar 15 1900
Grandfather James Sanders
       Born Sept 8 1829 Died Jan 30 1913
Aunt Ann Sanders died
       Sept 22 1937 Wednesday 6.30 O Clock

Many of the names on this list I had discovered through census, marriage, birth, and death records.  I have to admit that it is nice to have confirmation on them from a source about 2 generations back from me.  A source who probably knew most, if not all, of the people on this list.  A few of the dates I have are off by one or two years, but that is better than ten!

I am curious to see what else Miss. Hilbert and I will talk about in the future.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Cousins Hoarce and Adolphus Greeley

Okay, everyone this may make my mother-in-law's day.  It is one of those rare occasions where I prove and not destroy a family myth.  Love those kinds of days.

On one of the very first pieces of paper she gave me for my genealogy quest was an interesting hand written note.  It was the story of three brothers.   Stop laughing, you know who you are.  I will get to the three brothers in a  minute.

The note stated "Uncle Charlie told me this. -Ruth."  (Ruth Greeley was my mother-in-law's great aunt.)

The Greeley Tree
There were three Greeley brothers settled in New Eng. in early days

Horace                                                              Chas. Greeley, Sr.                                       General
Greeley                                                                   (deceased)                                             Greeley

3 gen. Chas. Greeley's alive
1. Supt. of U.S. Reform School
  District of Columbia
2. Grad of Maine State College

File:Greely.jpg
General Greeley
I know from researching the Greeley line that Charles Greeley was the Assistant Superintendent of the Boys School off of Bladensburg Road in Northeastern Washington, D.C.  The mystery that always hung in the air was the connection to Horace and the General.  Were they cousins through the same line?  Through Different lines?  Through three brothers?  I said stop laughing, it could happen.

In case you are not familiar with the two famous Greeley's listed here, let me catch you up.  Horace Greeley is largely famous for being the editor of the New York Tribune and is quoted as saying "Go west young man" in reference to western expansion.  General Greeley is Adolphus Washington Greeley known primarily for his polar exploration. 

File:Greeley-Horace-LOC.jpg
Horace Greeley
I stumbled on the cousin connection to Horace Greeley this morning while I reading an older post from one of the blogs I like..  It was on the Nutfield Genealogy  blog .  It is written by Heather Rojo, and she only talks about this area’s history and genealogy in the blog.    In her post from March 12, 2010 she writes about Horace Greeley, in Horace Greeley Remembers, and at the bottom of the post is his lineage. 

I noticed something interesting looking at his lineage.  His 4th great grandfather is the same as my husbands 9th great-grandfather and immigrant ancestor Andrew Greeley.  That makes my husband and Horace 5th cousins 5 times removed.  Well what a surprise.  Now to figure out that pesky General Greeley connection.
A few months back one of my mother-in-laws cousins wrote to me about a book in the Library of Congress on the Greeley family genealogy.  Well, I was way to engrossed at the archives in March to get over to the library and have it on my plans to go over there this summer.  I looked for the book on Google Books at the time, but it is not open.  Today I got an itch to go see if I could find it somewhere else. It is!  You can find it online at Open LibraryGenealogy of the Greeley-Greely Family by George Hiram Greeley published in 1905.
Guess what... the General is 5th cousins 5 times removed to my husband also.  However, Horace and Adolphus both have one closer common ancestor than him, Andrew's grandson Benjamin, making them 2nd cousins.  My husband's line is through Andrews oldest son Philip.  Drawn out it looks like this:
Everyone likes having a famous cousin in the line don’t they??  Oh, and look, only 2 brothers make up the line... after they immigrated to the colonies.
Wikipedia Image:  General Greeley, Horace Greeley

Week 20 of Abundant Genealogy

Week 20: Social Media: Which social media tool do you appreciate the most? Has it increased your circle of friends? How has it benefited your family tree?


If you have been reading this blog for any time, you may have realized that I can be a luddite at times.  It takes a long time for me to warm up to, try, and then grudgingly accept a new piece of technology.  If it aint broke why fix it?   Drives my husband, the IT consultant, crazy at times.  When I saw the topic for this weeks post I said "ruh-roh" in my best Scooby impression.  I really don't think I do social media as much as many of you in the genablogosphere do.  Or at least I don't think I do...


I do have a Facebook page, but I only use it to keep close to my friends and family who live all over the place.  As for the other types of popular social media (twitter and Google+) I don't have accounts and I am not sure I really want them right now.  Frankly, I don't know what they are all for.

However, I have discovered that social networking is not the only outlet for social media.  This blog can be considered social media, as well as flikr, wikipedia, YouTube, and so much more.  So it is not just all the friend connection sites? Um, okay.  Look at this diagram I found online:






There are quite a few logos on here that I use on a daily basis.  Which lead me to ask myself "what the heck is social media?"  I wasn't sure.  Are you?

I found an interesting article on WebPro News titled "The Definition of Social Media."  In it the author quotes the wikipedia definition for social media:

"Social media describes the online technologies and practices that people use to share opinions, insights, experiences, and perspectives.Social media can take many different forms, including text, images, audio, and video. These sites typically use technologies such as blogs, message boards, podcasts, wikis, and vlogs to allow users to interact. A few prominent examples of social media applications are Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), Gather.com (social networking),YouTube (video sharing), Second Life (virtual reality), Digg (news sharing), Flickr (photo sharing) and Miniclip (game sharing)."

They further go on to describe social media with all its nuances.  I encourage you to go read it, as I found it very enlightening.  The take away message: social media is a platform for people to share ideas, thoughts, images, news, or make connections in an online setting.

Now that I have an expanded definition of social media I can say that I use it on a daily basis.  It helps my genealogy research by giving me ways to learn more and get great leads to follow.  My circle of friends have increased as I have made contacts with cousins and fellow researchers who have the goals as I do.  With social media I have broken down walls, found documents, taken classes, listened to experts, and had a ton of fun!

Who knew?!


*Image: HubSpot via photo pin cc
*Diagram Image: fredcavazza via photo pin cc

Monday, May 14, 2012

What do you mean scroll down the page??

In case any of you were wondering, I am still very new to this whole genealogy thing.  Case in point: did you know that you can search for documents by state and county at Ancestry.com?  Neither did I until yesterday.  You know why I never noticed it?  I never scrolled down to see what was below the search box when I went to "search all records."  Duh, I feel quite dumb.

Someone has probably mentioned this to me at one point in time.  Either a friend, or in a class, or I read it somewhere.  Did it stick?  Apparently not!

Now I have a whole bunch of stuff to look through and see what I can find.  First thing of major importance I found:  the name to my 5th great grandfather connecting him to the family in Indiana.  This is the first recording I have that states who he is and how he is related to the family.  Before now it has just been speculation.  Wahoo!


There are a few mistakes.  Harry Arvin, should be Henry Arvin.  They got his mother Theresa Montgomery correct.  The correct places of birth for all of them.  His grandfather should be Edward not Edwin.  His wife is correct.  Not bad?  Or is this not enough proof?


Image/Source Information: Ancestry.com. History of Knox and Daviess Counties, Indiana : from the earliest time to the present, with biographical sketches, reminiscence [database on-line]. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2005.
Original data: History of Knox and Daviess Counties, Indiana : from the earliest time to the present, with biographical sketches, reminiscences, notes, etc., together with an extended history of the colonial days of Vincennes, and its progress down to the formation of the state government.. Chicago: Goodspeed Pub. Co., 1886.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Week 19 of abundant genealogy

Week 19: Blog Series: For which blog series are you most thankful? Who writes the series and how has it helped your genealogy blogging experience? Be sure to include a link to the series so others can join in the fun.

This was another tough one.  I only started reading blog posts less than a year ago, and have been picking up the feeds to read from friend's suggestions, other blogger suggestions, and when I happen to stumble on a new one in my research.  Narrowing the field down was very difficult.

The very first feed I subscribed to was Genealogy Tip of the Day by Michael John Neill.  He gives you tips, clues, resources, comparisons, and so much more in his tips.  Each one is only a paragraph or less, like genealogical life lessons for you to read and absorb.  He has helped me to realize that you don't need to be long winded and wordy to get you point across.  Sometimes short and sweet is still the right way to go. 

photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com via photo pin cc

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Project for the boys, my next FTF post

My latest post for Family Tree Firsts is up.  This one is about how I want to make a history book for my oldest son.  He loves military history, so what better than making a book about his family through the type of history he loves.

Read all about it here.

Now... do you have any ideas or suggestions on how I should do this?  Several of my friends have started giving me ideas on different publication methods this afternoon.  What ideas do the people of the genealogy community have?

*Image from the Library of Congress: Unidentified boy, seated on park bench, probably in Washington, D.C., holding book

Monday, May 7, 2012

Genealogy via the USPS

I am sure you all remember a few weeks ago that I went to NARA’s 8th annual Genealogy Faire.  If not, you can read the post here.  They had quite a few booths set-up with representatives of the local genealogy community.  One of them was from the Thomas Balch Library located in Leesburg, Virginia.  I stopped and chatted, then made an offhanded comment that I needed to get up to Leesburg to look around their archives for a document and maybe they could tell me where it is located.  Well, the response was phenomenal.

In a few short seconds I was handed a paper and pen, asked to write down what information I wanted, was informed they knew the Archivist there, and if I would be back in the morning they
would have answers for me.  Oh. My. Goodness.  True to their word when I went by their booth the next day I had a brochure from the archive, a business card for the man to contact, and was informed he was waiting for my email because those records were there.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.

I wrote to him told him again what I was looking for and had a prompt reply back.  The reply included a reminder that I could come and look at the records and to give him an email when I was coming so they could be ready for me.  Within 2 weeks of my mailing my check for copies I had my envelope of records. 
These documents are the court records of Loudon County, Virginia where my 5th great-grandfather Edward Darnell Arvin gave sworn testimony that he served in the Revolutionary War while living in Maryland.  A cousin of mine, from another son of my 4th great-grandfather Henry Arvin, has a wonderful website with this document and tons of research on it.  However, there is nothing, NOTHING, like seeing it for yourself.  To me, being able to hold and analysis a document is so much more rewarding than only seeing it on a computer screen.

Best part, reading it and then having a light bulb go on.  There is a connection here between a 5th great-grandfather on my mother’s side and a 5th great-grandfather on my father’s side.  Have to do a little more digging, but this is going to be a great phone call to mom and dad.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Letters, letters, everywhere! Next FTF post is up

My next post for Family Tree Firsts is up. You can read all about my feelings on reading dozens of letters here.

I hope that you all have been enjoying the transcriptions of these paper time capsules.  Right now I have done all the easy ones.  You know ones that were typed or had nice penmanship.  Now I am onto the ones where I need a second (or third) opinion on over half the words.  Jeesh.. I thought my husband's handwriting was bad!

In the post I asked what you all thought our written legacy to our kids and grandkids would be.  Any thoughts?  Technology is morphing our day to day activity in ways we could never have dreamed even ten years ago.  In this digital world goodness know how we will pass on our current day electronic letters to future generations.

Image from the Library of Congress: Old Post Office, Washington, D.C.

Week 18 of abundant genealogy

Week 18: Historical Books: This week we’re going to shine the spotlight on other historical books that benefit the genealogy field. Do you have a favorite book that falls in this category? What makes this book special to you? How can other genealogists benefit from its content?

I am an amature historian in addition to all the other things I like to do.  Reading about the past has always been interesting to me, and at times entertaining.  Picking just one book... wow, that is very hard.  I have bookcases of history themed books.  All time periods, many places and countries, various cultural endeavors, biographies,  and plus much more.  Putting on my genealogy hat for a moment I will do my best to narrow down the selection into what aids me with this field.

The three shelves of Irish themed books jump off at me first.  In college my husband took as one of his electives a course on Irish history.  I wasn't able to squeeze it into my schedule, but we kept the books.  Then, because we loved out trip to Ireland, and have always felt an affinity to the Irish, we kept picking up more books.  To name a few that have come in handy with Irish Genealogy:

The End of Hidden Ireland Rebellion, Famine, and Emigration.  By Robert James Scally

The Irish Experience a Concise History. By Thomas E. Hachey, Joseph M. Hernon Jr., and Lawrence J. McCaffrey.

Journal of Women's History Vol. 6 No. 4 / Vol. 7 No. 1 Special Double Issue on Irish Women.  Winter Spring 1995


Next on my list of must haves is my heraldry books.  Yes... I am a heraldry geek.  If you love looking at devices, but wonder what in the heck all those symbols mean check out An Heraldic Alphabet by J.P. Brooke-Little, Clarenceux King of Arms.  Fantastic book!!!

Those are my top picks.  Of course it was hard even to stop there.  Books are like my children; I want to show them all off!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Happy 1 Month Birthday to the 1940 US Census!

It's your America! Help the ten-year roll call--1940 census, U.S.A.One month ago today the 1940 US Census went live.  Wow, what a wild ride it has been!  What an amazing job everyone is doing with the 1940 US Census Community Project as well!

I hope many of you have been enjoying the images, indexing, arbitrating, learning, researching, and are hungry for more.  Just as a reminder, the 1940 US Census Project is still going strong.  New indexers are still signing up and there is a lot to do.  The more the merrier!  If you have been indexing, remember there is a critical need for arbitrators.  The indexes won’t be out until they are all arbitrated. 

Not sure what indexing and arbitrating are?  Not a problem.  Check out a few of the links below to help get you started, or to brush up on those skills.  I would go first to the Resources Page at the community project website.  Not sure what to look at?  Here are a few of my favorite ones:





Are you all jazzed up and ready to go strong?  Great!  Now don't forget that there are weekly prizes over at the community site. 



Image from the Library of Congress:  It's your America! Help the ten-year roll call--1940 census, U.S.A.

Disclosure:  as part of "the1940census.com" ambassador program this blog post enters me into a drawing for a $100 Amazon Gift Card.