Category Archives: Certification

Sourcing Is An Art: Using Location For Organization

We all know that sourcing is an art, not a science, right?  And there is no one way to write a source. Lots of wrong ways, but also correct variations that allow you to find your source and the information it contains again. Also you allow others to assess where the evidence came from and how credible it might be.  Or might not be.

But I also use my sources as an organizational tool.  I’ll bet that you use Find A Grave in your normal genealogy routine.  When I write my sources, I start with the name of the cemetery:

Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge, Virginia,  James C Donald (1836 – 1899), Find A Grave ( : accessed 16 Mar 2015), Find A Grave Memorial no. 34,346,979. Memorial by Thomas Daniels, photo by anne mitchell; photo and maker legible.

Now when I look at a listing of all of my Find A Grave entries, I can easily scan the list and see everyone in my tree who is buried in the same cemetery:


I also do the same thing for census records. It allows me to look within a county and district and see more or less who seemed to live near each other.  If I were going to publish a census citation, I would make it follow the Evidence Explained format, but for examining data to show people in relation to each other, this suits my needs.  And I can find what I need to write the full citation as needed, when needed.


Usually you find people living near each other as expected, but sometimes you find people who surprise you.

Ready Cash and William Wallace appear on separate, consecutive pages in the 1840 census, but in a source listing, the “nearness” pops right out.  Charlton Wallace was very likely living in the household of William.  Martha Jane Cash was very likely living with her father Ready.  In 1842, Charlton married Martha Jane.  Wonder how they might have met!? 🙂


Finding new ways to organize your data and use what you have, usually brings new insights.  And this one, is pretty easy to implement.

A Conflicting Evidence Case In Parts: Death Records

I’ve talked about my grandmother, Jennie Elizabeth Payne in past posts: How Eight Children Ended Up Living Alone in 1930 and The Questions a Record Begs Us to Ask

I’ve always had trouble with the conflicting evidence around the birth of her youngest brother Otto.

Otto Baxter Payne is believed to be the youngest child of James Robert Payne and Eva Georgia Baxter.  Otto’s gravestone states that he was born December 16, 19231.  James’ death certificate states that he died on January 23, 19232. If these two dates are correct, it is highly unlikely that James is Otto’s father. If Otto was born in 1922 it would be possible for James to be his father.

Now I obviously could order the birth certificate, and assuming it was correct know the answer. But basic methodology says you need two sources from separate informants. AND I could use some practice in conflicting evidence. So I’ll begin my search using just online evidence.

Today, I’m going to look at the death records I have found.

Death Records for Otto Baxter Payne

1. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 17 Oct 2013), memorial page for Otto B Payne,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 11082230, citing Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, North Carolina.

Comment: The tombstone states that Otto died on November 3, 1993 at the age of 75.  He was born on December 16, 1923. The source of the information is unknown.

Genealogically significant facts:

  • Name: Otto B Payne
  • Birth: Dec 16, 1923
  • Death: Nov 3, 1999
  • Served as a TEC 4 in the US Army  and a SSGT in the US Air Force in World War II and Korea
  • Has a Christian Cross on the tombstone
  • Buried in Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, NC

2. U.S. Veterans Gravesites, ca.1775-2006, database, ( : accessed 17 Oct 2013), entry for Otto B Payne, died 3 Nov 1999; citing National Cemetery Administration, Nationwide Gravesite Locator.veterans-gravesite-otto-baxter-payne

Comment: This is an index to veteran’s tombstones and the informant is unknown.  It is possible that the information in this index is taken from Otto’s Tombstone.

Genealogically significant facts:

  • Name: Otto B Payne
  • Birth: Dec 16, 1923
  • Death: Nov 3, 1999
  • Service Info: Tec 4 US Army World War II, Korea
  • Cemetery: Mountain Rest Cemetery
  • Cemetery Address: S Dilling St Kings Mountain, NC, 28086

3. Social Security Administration, “Social Security Death Index,” database, ( : accessed 17 Oct 2013), entry for Otto B Payne, 1923, SS no. [REDACTED FOR PRIVATE USE].ssdi-otto-baxter-payne-2

Comment: It is very likely that Otto supplied the information on his SSN application.  He would have applied before 1951 and at that time he thought his birthday was December 15, 1922.

Genealogically significant facts:

  • Name: Otto B Payne
  • Last Residence: 28111 Monroe, Union, North Carolina, USA
  • Born: 15 Dec 1922
  • Died: 3 Nov 1999
  • State SSN issued: North Carolina (Before 1951)

4.  “MONROE – Otto B Payne,” Charlotte (North Carolina) Observer, 4 Nov 1999; online transcription, “Newspaper Archives, 1690-2010,” ( : accessed 22 Oct 2013).

Comment: We do not know who the informant is for this obituary or if they knew Otto’s age or if they were guessing.  If his age is correct, then he was born in 1923 and not 1922.

Genealogically significant facts:

  • Name: Otto B Payne
  • Parents: James Robert Payne, Georgia Ann Baxter payne
  • Died: Nov 3, 1999
  • Died at age 75 [ if his birth day was Dec 15 or 16, then he was born in 1923]
  • Church: Grace United Methodist Church
  • Military: Veteran WWII, U.S. Army
  • Interred: Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, NC, Nov 5, 1999
  • Surviving family: Cindy Payne, Monroe, NC, daughter; Eva Payne Avery, Duback, LA, sister; numerous nieces and nephews.

Analysis of the Records

From the death records, we already have conflicting evidence.  3 records (one is an index) state that he was born in 1923 and 1 states that he was born in 1922.  None of these are definitive in proving what year he was born.  Although I do think they demonstrate the conflict pretty well.

Tomorrow, we will analyze the birth records that are available online.


1. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 17 Oct 2013), memorial page for Otto B Payne,  Find A Grave Memorial no. 11082230, citing Mountain Rest Cemetery, Kings Mountain, Cleveland County, North Carolina.
2. “North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975,” database online, ( : accessed  8 Nov 2009), entry for James R Payne, death date 5 Jan 1923; citing North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, North Carolina Death Certificates; North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

Mary Elizabeth Gillespie Heirs sell to W.P. Gillespie: Setting up Research Plans from Documents

Bound volume of deeds in Amherst County Courthouse 1

Bound volume of deeds in Amherst County Courthouse 1

My niece, Rachel, and I went on an epic research trip in Virginia in July.  We hit 5 courthouses, untold cemeteries, tromped around all sorts of weed filled fields and made a local unhappy when we photographed a deer head suspended from a telephone pole. (That’s a different story.)

We photocopied and photographed countless documents.  Each courthouse had their own rules as to what the methodology was.

Amherst County Courthouse proved to be the most frustrating.  Most volumes were in bound books that did not allow you to pull individual pages out of the book, and the powers that be said that we had to take pictures, no photocopying.  Not all of our  pictures turned out great, but that is what that is.  Looking at the state of some of the volumes, you can guess why.

One goodie I found was a deed where Mary Elizabeth Gillespie’s heirs sold their share of the property to W.P. Gillespie. Transcription:

In margin
Mary Elizabeth
Gillaspies heirs
to } Deed
W.P. GillaspieTax 50COriginal delivered
to grantee Jany
13, 1896This deed made the 4th day of September 1893 between Jeremiah Gillaspie
James R Gillapsie and Amira Gillaspie his wife Geo C Gillaspie Wm H Gillaspie
and Elizabeth Gillaspie his wife, and Hattie Gillaspie heirs of Mary Elizabeth
Gillaspie decd of the first part and W.P. Gillaspie of the second part.
Witnesseth.  That for and in consideration of the sum of one hundred and
seventy five (175) dollars in hand paid, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged
the said parties of the first part do grant and convey with general warranty
to the said W.P. Gillispie all the their right, title and interest in and to a certain
tract or parcel of land lying and being in the County of Amherst in the
State of Virginia, adjoining the lands of Wm L Davis and others and contain-
ing fifty nine (59) acres it being the same land conveyed to the said Mary E
Gillespie by deed from R. N. Ellis Trustee as to fifty six (56) acres said deed
bearing date on the 23d day of April 1878 and recorded on the 20th day of
May 1878, together with three (3) acres conveyed to said Mary E Gillispie by
deed from Alfred Byas dated on the 19th day of January 1878 and recorded
May 20th 1878 which several deeds are recorded in the Clerks office of Amherst
County Court in Deed Book LL page 167 to which Deeds reference is hereby
and for a more particular description of said lands with its metes and
bounds.   The said parties of the first part do covenant that they
have a perfect right to coney said land, that they have done no act to
encumber the same, that the said grantee shall have quiet and peaceable
possession of the same and that they will execute such further assurances
as may be legally required of them to make this deed sure and complete
Witness the following signatures and seals.
Jeremiah (his x mark) Gillespie (seal)
Jas. R. Gillispie              (seal)
Almira Gillespie                (seal)
G. C. Gillispie                 (seal)
William (his x mark) H Gillispie(seal)
Elizabeth Gillaspie             (seal)State of Virginia
County of Bedford } to wit:
I B M Page a Notary Public in and for the
County aforesaid in the said State do certify that Jeremiah Gillispie, Jas. R.
Gillispie, Geo C. Gillispie, Wm H Gillispie and Elizabeth Gillispie his wife whose
name are signed to the foregoing writing bearing date on the 4th day of September
1893 have each acknowledged the same before me in my County aforesaid.
Given under my hand this 7th day of September 1893.
B.M. Page N.P.Bedford County, to wit:
I B.M. Page a Notary Public in and for the County aforesaid
in the State of Virginia do certify that Almira Gillispie the wife of James
R. Gillapsie whose name is signed to the foregoing writing bearing date on
the 4th day of September 1893 has acknowledged that same before me me in my
said County.[p394]
Given under my hand this 23d day of September 1893.
B. M. Page, N.P.
In the Clerks Office of the County Court of Amherst County, November 10th 1893,
This deed was this day received in said office and upon the annexed certificate of
acknowledgement admitted to records.
Teste: Wm. Sandidge, Clerk 2

OK.  This has some truly awesome stuff in it.

  • Mary died before September 4, 1893.  Jeremiah died after that.  (I have yet to find a will or probate documents for either of them.)
  • Why did Mary own the land? Why was it deed to her from R. N. Ellis Trustee in 1878?  And why the other three acres from Alfred Byas?  Both of those were recorded on May 20, 1878.  Was there something important about that date?  What about Jeremiah?
  • Why can’t my ancestors pick a spelling of Gillespie?  They seemed to like Gillispie and Gillaspie here.  I know Wyatt Paul (the aforementioned W.P.) settled on Gillespie.
  • Neither Jeremiah or William H signed their names, instead they made their mark.  Evidence that they could not write.
  • W.P, Wyatt Paul, is also the legal heir of Mary.  Why isn’t that mentioned here?
  • Why didn’t Hattie (Harriet) sign this document? Why wasn’t her acknowledgement notarized?
  • Did we manage to pull a copy of the deeds from Deed Book LL, page 167?  (I’m still organizing.)
  • The good news is that this deed lists all of the people I expect to be listed with their appropriate spouses.  The only other child that Mary and Jeremiah had, Sarah, died in 1865.

Now what?

  1. Update the timelines of Wyatt Paul and Jeremiah and Mary Elizabeth Gillespie. Need a nice abstract.
  2. Look to see if we pulled the deeds from Book LL, page 167.  Transcribe and post.
  3. Look for other deeds related to this one.  Wyatt Paul marries Laura Cecile Donald in February 1894 in Rockbridge County and eventually settled in Lexington.  When did they sell the land?
  4. What about Harriet and her involvement with the land?
  5. Is there a legal situation where Mary would own the land and her husband wouldn’t in 1878?
  6. Everyone was notarized in Bedford County, Virginia, including Jeremiah.  Need to look for wills, probate and other documents there.


1. DeHaan, Rachel, “Bound volume of deeds in Amherst County Courthouse,” 24 Jul 2013. Copy help by Anne Gillespie Mitchell, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], California, 2013.
2. Amherst County, Virginia, Deed Book UU:393-4, Mary Elizabeth Gillespie heirs to W.P. Gillespie, recorded 10 Nov 1893, Clerk of Circuit Court, Amherst.

Tick Tock, Tick Tock

I knew this was going to happen.  Between work and trying to organize my CG stuff, my blogging has fallen behind.  But the clock has started.

It sounds like a lot of days, doesn’t it.  HA!
I’ve chosen my three couples for my Narrative Lineage and organized the outline of that paper.  They are my grandmother’s family and I did them early on.  Oh my goodness.  What sloppy, sloppy research.  But I think I’ve cleaned it up and identified the families and am in the process of creating my initial Research list.

I’ve ordered more books.  Turns out my library doesn’t have as much on Smyth County, Virginia as it should.  And my husband is giving me those “how many genealogy books does one human being really need?” looks.  Do you know those looks?

I’ve got my conflicting evidence problem picked out.  And the research is done, it just needs to be written.

My transcript arrived and it doesn’t look too bad.  The handwriting was fairly readable.  I believe we aren’t suppose to give any details on those, so no more on that!

I’ve picked out a delightful Chancery Case that deals with gambling debts because I would like to delight the reviewers with something different than the same old wills and deeds I’m sure they see.  It’s either that or a bible page I have, but I can’t figure out what half of it says at the moment.

A few of you sent me some good case studies, as did a friend, and once I get the rest of this in order, I will respond, I promise!

It all seems doable.

I’m also going to Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana next week to meet with librarians.  It’s a work trip, but I should be able to squeeze some research in, so I’m pretty excited about that.  I’ll try and post from the road.  I’m doing a presentation for patrons while I am there, and once I give it I’ll post the PDF of the presentation on my How To  page.

Tuesday’s Tip — Two New Links You Must Check Out

We all know that family histories, local histories, indexes of vital and the sort are awesome for finding nuggets of gold.  Check out FamilySearch’s Family History Books beta site:

Second link, courtesy of Mark Lowe: Bouvier’s Law Dictionary, which can be found in google books:

Notice the dates? These were the references that law clerks and the like used as reference in the 1800’s in the south.  Want to know about what a drove-road is and what it means? The information is there.

Remember, don’t look if you just have two minutes! Trust me!

Sorting Saturday — Good Source, Bad Source, Exhaustive Search

To abide by the Genealogical Proof Standard you must do an exhaustive search. 1

We know that includes vital records, deeds, probate, tombstones and a wide variety of original and derivative sources.  But in the age of the internet, what else does it include? How many sites should we look at?  Random Google searches are not the answer I do believe, but are sites that we know to hold sometimes questionable research part of a exhaustive search?

A Southern Sleuth mentions in Treasured Find, how a SLIG instructor mentioned that “one of the instructors reminded our class of the value of checking online trees to determine what research may have been done by other individuals.”  She continues to discuss how she has often rejected online trees because there is quite a bit of bad research or just complete fabrication in those trees, but she decided to add them to her list.

A capture of my paternal grandfather’s online tree.

I have also stopped looking at online trees because sifting through them looking for nuggets is much like searching for the proverbial needle in the haystack.

I also received a comment on this blog from a reader who didn’t have a lot of faith in Find A Grave because there is some bad information on the site.  And indeed there is.  There are plenty of memorials without any kind of documentation, even tombstones, and extra information is added without supporting documentation.  This is a function of the site, it is not set up for supporting documentation other than photos.

This memorial of Mary Hartigan Cash, my ggg grandmother’s memorial on Find A Grave has information supported by the picture of the tombstone, which states her birth year, death date and that she was the wife of Ready Cash. 2

Find A Grave Memorial for Mary Hartigan Cash

It also states that she and Ready had three children, Franklin, Mary E and Virginia, and there is no supporting documentation.  This doesn’t mean the information is wrong, it is actually correct, although my gg grandmother, Martha Jane Cash is left out of the list.

So what is a good source? What is a bad source?

SOURCES provide INFORMATION from which we select EVIDENCE for ANALYSIS. A sound CONCLUSION may then be considered “PROOF.”

— Elizabeth Shown Mills 3

When the information is selected from the source, it’s validity depends on the informant and what their knowledge is of the event.  The source itself is not good or bad.  It is just a source.  The question being asked determines if the information is evidence and analysis determines if the information is part of the proof.  Conflicting evidence must be considered and explained.

Whoever supplied the information for Mary’s tombstone, not the Find A Grave memorial,  probably had good knowledge of her death date, 29 Aug 1887.  In fact, he or she may have been a primary informant if present at her death. But given that she was 87 years old when she died, it is doubtful that they were a witness to her birth, so that person was at best a secondary information.

As for the children of Ready and Mary, the person stating the information, most likely did not have direct knowledge of the children and their parents.  However, the supporting documentation may be there, but we don’t know because it is not listed.

So what does all this mean? The Find A Grave memorial may or may not be good evidence, it depends on the question. There are four possible questions that pop to mind that be answered by this particular source:

  1. When did Mary Hartigan Cash die?
  2. Who was Mary’s husband?
  3. When was Mary born?
  4. Who were the children of Ready and Mary?

The quality of the evidence from the Find A Grave source depends on which question you are trying to answer.  To do good quality genealogy you must do a exhaustive search.  You may choose to reject the evidence because of who the informant is, other conflicting information, or lack of documentation.  But you must examine all the sources available to you.  And online trees and Find A Grave and other online sources hold both good and bad information that must be included in an exhaustive search.


1. Board for Certification of Genealogist, “The Genealogical Proof Standard,” (http: // : accessed 25 Aug 2012).
2. Find A Grave, Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 2 Aug 2012), memorial page for Mary Hartigan Cash, Find A Grave Memorial no. 41042042, citing Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery, Lexington, Virginia.
3. Elizabeth Shown Mills, Evidence Explained, Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3d ed., digital ed. (Baltimore, Maryland, Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., 2012), 3.

Tuesday’s Tip — Stop Searching, Start Analyzing

I’ve been on Vacation, a girl’s weekend in New Orleans.  So I’ve been away from my blog.  Good weekend!  New Orleans is an amazing town.

So I’ve been working on my Sources.  I really thought this was going to be tiresome, but it’s not.  I’m actually slowing down and looking at the images.  And rethinking about people that I haven’t thought about in awhile.

Mary Elizabeth Gillespie is my great great grandmother.  Here is where she fits in my grandfather’s tree:

And I came to the conclusion quite some time ago that Mary’s parents were Willis Gillespie and Harriet Smith.  But you know what, I have nothing to prove that.  Nothing.

Here is what I know:

  • On Wyatt  Gillespie’s marriage certificate, his parents are listed as Jere and Mary Gillespie. 1
  • Jeremiah Gillespie and Mary Gillespie were married in 1842. Talton Gillespie is listed as Jeremiah’s father, Mary’s parents are not in the index. I suspect it is because Jeremiah was not 21 when they were married. Do I have the original or have I seen it?  I have not. 2
  • My Great Aunt Eva told my father that Jeremiah and Mary were first cousins.3

I choose Willis and Harriet because they seemed to be the most likely candidates. And they may be correct, BUT that is not proof. And now it really vexes me. What if I am wrong? The earlier you find “the truth” in your genealogy career, I suspect the more likely it is that the Genealogical Proof Standards are not being met.

Parents of Mary Elizabeth Gillespie? Back on the list of what I need to prove.


1. Virginia, Virginia Department of Health, Certification of Vital Records, Marriage Certificate, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecil Donald, 24 Jan 1894, Rockbridge, Virginia
2. “Virginia, Marriages, 1785-1940,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 14 Aug 2012), Jeremiah Gillaspie and Mary E. Gillaspie, 21 Nov 1848; citing reference p 408, FHL microfilm 30273.

Citing Your Sources Can Be Fun!

OK, I don’t know if I made it seem fun, but hopefully I did explain it enough to motivate people to try!
The presentation is at: Citing Your Sources Can Be Fun on livestream.

“Wisdom Wednesday: It is what it is, it aint what it aint

As I dig into my family history I’ve run into things that have made me uncomfortable. I have at least six direct ancestors that fought for the Confederacy.  As my niece exclaimed when I told her of this fact: “But that is the wrong side!”

And there is more: the Jim Crow south, attitudes toward women, slavery,  just to name a few. It would be lovely if I could sanitize history and ignore these things.  But the more I dig into the history of the times my ancestors lived in and begin to write it up, well, it is just not all pretty. It is not all comfortable. But I have to write about what was.

But I want to put my ancestors in the context of the time they lived in.  I can’t know what they thought, but I can do my best to understand the events that shaped their lives and indirectly mine.

As we say in my family: It is what it is, it ain’t what it ain’t.

Here is my first draft of my grandfather in the 1910’s and 1920’s.


Gilbert Gillespie in his early teens

Gilbert was born on March 20, 1914 in Lexington, Virginia.  His father, Wyatt Paul Gillespie, was almost 49 years old and his mother, Laura Cecile DONALD, was 37 years old.  He had six older brothers and sisters when he was born, the oldest, Minnie was 17 years old.1

In 1914, Woodrow Wilson was president and WWI was on the horizon.   The family had purchased a lot at 108 Houston Street in 1907 and I imagine by the time Gilbert was born, they were living in the house that Wyatt had built. The address of the house was listed as either 22 and 108 Houston Street.2

By 1920, WWI was over.  On January 17th of that year, prohibition had begun.   Women were granted the right to vote in 1920 by the Federal Government, but Virginia did not ratify the law until 1952; women had been voting  and holding elected office in Virginia since 1920.3

By 1930, The eighth and final child had arrived in the Gillespie household; Helen Mae was born on November 1st, 1918. Wyatt, 54, and Laura, 43, were living with all of their children: Minnie, Ashby, Eva, Clinton, Louise, Fred, Gilbert and Ellen.  Also living with them was Harriet, Wyatt’s older sister who was 69.  Eva, Clinton, Louise and Fred all attended school.4

In 1923, Warren G Harding, died of a Heart Attack in San Francisco, California. Calvin Coolidge assumed the presidency until 1929, when Herbert Hoover became president. In October of 1929, the US Stock Market had crashed. By March of 1930, 3.2 million people were unemployed.5

I know my grandfather completed four years of high school, he probably attended Lexington High School.

Morgan Riley, “Image of the Old Lexington High School” (http://, accessed : 10 Jul 2012), Creative Commons Attribution

In 1930, They owned the farm they were living on, and Wyatt worked as both a Carpenter building houses and as a farmer on presumably his own farm.  Wyatt also employed two other people.  Minnie was a Saleslady in a Dry Goods Store and Ashby was an Electrician in a Power Plant.  They lived in a neighborhood where most people earned their living working for local merchants.6

Gilbert was known to say that jobs were hard to find, you should hang on to them. And I imagine that the family was glad to have 3 family members employed in 1930.


1. 1920 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge County, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington, p. 133, (stamped),enumeration district (ED) 121, sheet 1-A, dwelling 6, family 6, Gilbert M Gillespie; digital image, ( : accessed : 3 Jul 2012 ); citing NARA microfilm publication M432, roll 1906.
2. Rockbridge County, Virginia, photo copy, J A and Nora F Champe to W P Gillespie, 14 Nov 1907, Lexington; copy privately held by Anne Mitchell inherited from father, Gilbert McClung Gillespie; the family story that has been handed down is that Wyatt built the house the family lived in and given that Wyatt was a carpenter I have no reason to doubt this.
3. Encyclopedia Virginia, (http:// : accessed 8 Jul 2012), “Woman Suffrage in Virginia.”
4. 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge County, Virginia, population schedule, Lexington, p. 68,(stamped),enumeration district (ED) 82-6, sheet 10-A, dwelling 208, family 251, Gilbert M Gillespie; digital image, ( : accessed : 3 Jul 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 2458.
5. American Experience, ( : accessed 8 Jul 2012), “Timeline of the Great Depression.”
6. 1930 U.S. Federal Census, Rockbridge Co., Va., Lexington, p. 68,(stamped),ED 82-6, sheet 10-A, dwell. 208, fam. 251, Gilbert M Gillespie; digital image, ( : accessed : 3 Jul 2012).

Sorting Saturday: Starting a Narrative Lineage

I am prepping for my first CG attempt, which I hope to start sometime this year.  One of the requirements is to write Narrative Lineage.  I’m going to practice writing one for my paternal paternal line.

Today, I’m going to write some informative paragraphs and a intro and end.  I’m quite sure I’ll rewrite them but it’s time to start. I’ve got a lot more detail to fill in the middle here. but what I am realizing is how much of this is what I know I do not have sources.  I need my grandfather’s birth certificate and marriage certificate, at the very least

So here goes.


Gilbert McClung Gillespie (1914 – 2003)

My paternal grandfather, Gilbert McClung GILLESPIE, was born on March 20, 1914 in Lexington, Virginia.1  He was the seventh of eight children born to Wyatt Paul GILLESPIE and Laura Cecile DONALD2 His father was born at the end of the Civil War in 1865 3; his mother was the daughter of veteran of the Stonewall Brigade.4 Lexington, his hometown, was the burial place of Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Robert E Lee.   He is buried in the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery in Lexington, Virginia.

Over his lifetime he lived through WWI and II, the Korean War, and Vietnam. The Civil Rights movement and 9/11.  He raised 4 children and lived to see all 8 of his grandchildren. He had 12 great grandchildren, but he died in 2003 before most of them were born.

Family Photo of Wyatt Paul and Laura Cecile Donald Gillespie’s family

He died on November 21, 2003 at the age of 89 in Huddleston, Bedford, Virginia.  His youngest son, Paul, was with him when he died.  He was buried next to his wife, Ann Irene FEAZELL who had died twenty years earlier. 5



1. Social Security Administration, “U.S. Social Security Death Index,” database, ( : accessed 2 Jul 2012), entry for Gilbert M Gillespie, SS no. 224-03-0395.
2. I need my grandfather’s birth certificate to document this.
3. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Wyatt Paul Gillespie (1865 – 1941), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56048050, citing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia; the tombstone is for Wyatt Paul Gillespie and his wife Laura Cecile Donald.
4. This is actually a complicated footnote; leaving for later.
5. Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 6 Aug 2010), memorial page for Gilbert McClung Gillespie (1914 – 2003), Find A Grave Memorial no. 56069420, citing Stonewall Jackson Cemetery, Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia; the tombstone is for Gilbert McClung and his wife Ann Irene Feazell.