Monthly Archives: April 2016

Well, Hello There. Talking To The Dead

bbchurch-googleOn my latest research trip I stopped by Buffalo Baptist Church Cemetery in Blacksburg, South Carolina.  Now I had seen the graves on Find A Grave. And I had looked on Google to see the cemetery.

I could see it was broken into two sets of graves.  But it is always so different when you pull up to a cemetery.  Each one has its own feeling, its own character.

Next to the road in the first graveyard, I found the older graves.  They were starting to turn black and many were unreadable.  The ones that caught my eye were the bright white ones.  They marked the Confederate graves and I believe they all came from the veterans administration.  It was mowed and kept up, but the graves had a forgotten by time feel to them.

The very first grave I saw that caught my eye was Lansford M Hopper.

I actually said out loud, “Well, hello there.”  Do any of you talk to your people when you find them?

Lansford was my 3rd great grandfather who survived the Civil War, but was murdered by his nephew when they were working on a road in 1870.


Looking at his grave marker, I realized he had been in the 18th SC Vol Infantry.  I have him down as being in the 28th North Carolina Infantry.  There is some work to do there.

sc-bb-hopper-lansford-m-1826-1870Most of the white stones that marked Confederate Graves stood in front of the original ones.  My 2nd great grandmother, Delila Parthenia Hopper was born in October of 1861.  Her father died when she was nine.  I can just imagine the family standing in front of the grave.  Susan, Lansford’s wife, was left alone with 7 children.  She was pregnant with number 8. She had raised them throughout the war without him and now she was his widow.

I continued walking through this section of the cemetery.  Maybe 200 stones at most.  And all the Confederates for the most part served in the 17th or 18th SC Infantry.  I haven’t really researched that bunch yet. But this group lived together, fought together, and eventually died in the same place.

I’ve proposed a new class for NGS 2017 in Raleigh, North Carolina titled: Researching the Civil War in the Southern Community.  A small community like this is a perfect example of what I am talking about.  Hopefully it gets accepted!

Tech Tip: TurboScan for copying important documents

document-turbo-scanA couple weekends ago I was traipsing through court houses collecting deeds and other documents for my ancestors.  And yes, it was as much fun as you imagine!

But how do you easily make copies?  And cut down on the expense?  Some court houses charge 0.50 cents a copy!  And that can add up quickly.  Also, the books that you find deeds and other documents in can be very difficult to photocopy.  Sometimes you have to take them apart which is very time consuming; sometimes you have to balance a heavy book on a photocopier.

Not all courthouses will allow you to take pictures of documents.  And you should always ask and follow the rules.  ALWAYS!

But if they do allow it, I recommend an app I use on my iPhone called TurboScan.  It’s available on both Apple ($4) and Android ($5). (And I have no connection to the company at all.)

gha2It takes 3 copies of the image and chooses the best one.  You can then crop it on your phone or use the full image.  You can also choose between black & white, color or photo.  I usually go with photo because I want the detail of how the document looked.  On this map, you would hate to lose the detail that the color provides.

Once I’ve scanned all the pages in the document, I can then save it or my preferences is to email to myself.  I label the document with the book and page numbers so I can source it correctly later, and then when I get home, I can go through my email and start processing the documents.

I think I probably made twice as many copies as I would have if I had gone with the photocopier method.  And save a lot of money.  I must have copied around 250 pages.  At 0.50 cents a page that is $125.  Money better spent elsewhere!

It’s an affordable app and I suspect you’ll be happy with the results.  And thanks to my friend Kathleen for introducing me to it.

Female Ancestors, Chancery Records and Deeds

Last weekend, I was in Wytheville, Virginia doing a little research and giving a couple of Lectures.

On Friday, I was lucky enough to spend time at the Wythe County Genealogical and Historical Association Regional Research Center:


This is their new home.  Wonderful building, with lots and lots of great material.  I spent time digging through notes and researching, including this map which has land owned by a John Snavely that I found in Joseph Cameron’s notes.  Not sure which John Snavely this is, but given that the land was sold to Joe Hounshell in 1833 and I have a John Snavely in my records who lived from 1760-1833, I suspect that it is him.  No known relationship, but it is likely it is related to my Snavelys some how.


Then I hopped over to the Wythe County Courthouse, where my cousin Bev Repass Hoch took me down to the basement and I was able to look through original chancery records, wills and deeds. Heaven! These particular deeds were from the early 1800s.   Didn’t find my ancestors in there, but such a joy to look through these records.


The next day, I was lucky enough to present two lectures.  I’ve included links to the PDFs for the slides below.