Category Archives: Inspiration

Start Your Friday with this Awesome Civil War Graphic!

Civil War Trust - Battles of the Civil War

Brought to you by American Battlefield Trust

Random thought of the day…..

There are three deaths. The first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.
— David Eagleman from Sum: Forty Tales of the Afterlife

Treasure Chest Thursday: Let’s Talk DNA

You get out of the habit, and it’s easy to stay out of the habit of not posting.¬† Let’s see if I can work on better habits. ūüôā

I received my DNA results back from (full disclosure, I am an employee).

I was expecting Scottish and German.  Here is what I have:

Every line I’ve been able to track, both paternal and maternal go back to the 1700’s and I’ve yet to find a document that gives me proof of jumping the Atlantic.¬† But given names and other genealogies I’ve seen, I’m pretty sure that there are a ton of Scottish or Ulster Scots in my tree.¬† So that 69% British Isle feels right.

And yes, I’ve got what many have referred to as the “Scandinavian Surprise.” But the Scandinavians many centuries ago spent a good deal of time wandering the British Isles and shall we say, left some of themselves behind.

I have a lot of of what I believe to be German names in my tree.  Feazell, Baxter, Snavely (which may be Swiss).  I suspect they are the Eastern European. I would have guessed more than 17%, but guessing and being are two different things.

Not a lot of “What the heck?” in there.

I’ve also been able to match through trees of mine and others possible connections to my Mary Gillespie branch. I believe that her father was Willis Gillespie but it is all indirect evidence and sort of weak at that.¬† If that connection is true, then I have Smith’s from Amherst in my line, and I found two trees where that is the only overlap.¬† Now I know that doesn’t prove anything.¬† But it is a clue.¬† And I’ll take a clue I didn’t have any day of the week.¬† It does make me want to hunt harder for that evidence or at least work harder to put it together.

But that is all in the background at the moment.  CG work calls.

Wisdom Wednesday — Sure it’s fun and addictive, but it’s not all that easy

So I’ve be blogging for a few months now and it has indeed been a lot of fun.¬† I spent the last couple of days thinking about what kind of posts have gotten some of the best responses.

Posts that have a story associated with them.  Can be small snippet of a story of lengthy piece.  But it seems those with a genealogy bent to their personality love a good or even passable story.

Posts that talk about how I’ve done it wrong. Confessing one’s genealogical sins seems hard at first, but it seems to have brought out some camaraderie.¬† Let’s face it — none of us are perfect.¬† And we all started as really naive and clueless family historians.¬† Who knew a birth record could be wrong?¬† Who knew that vital records don’t exist for everyone and are not readily available?¬† Who knew those stories about Indian princesses are just stories and not facts?¬† But figuring this out and then learning how to fix our errors?¬† That is one of the joys of genealogy.¬† We never stop learning.¬† I enjoy discussing the learning process as much I enjoy discussing my ancestors.

Posts about the forgotten.¬† This was and still is the main goal of my blog.¬† I don’t want my ancestors, good, bad or ugly to be forgotten.¬† They have¬† made me who I am.¬† And remembering those who have left no one behind, such as my maiden aunts and bachelors uncles, seemed to have struck a real chord with many.

So I think I’m on the right path.¬†¬† It’s OK not to be perfect.¬† Which is good, because that is not in my DNA.¬†¬† And sharing our mistakes maybe can make it easier for others.¬† Or at least we can share in our “can you believe I did that?”

And telling the stories.¬† Making the records come to life.¬† That is the fun and addictive part, isn’t it?

Sorting Saturday — My Documents Are a Complete and Utter Mess or Yes, Elizabeth Shown Mills is Always Right

In my post Sorting Saturday: Starting a Narrative Lineage, I stated that my grandfather was the descendant of a Civil War Veteran, specifically, the a member of the Stonewall Brigade.  And I left the proof for later.  Here are the statements I need to prove:

  • Gilbert McClung GILLESPIE was the son of Laura Cecile DONALD. 1
  • Laura Cecile DONALD was the daughter of James Calvin DONALD and Elizabeth Jane WALLACE. She was born on February 13, 1877 in Lexington, Rockbridge, Virginia. 2
  • James Calvin DONALD was born June 30, 1836.¬† He enlisted in enlisted in Company H, 4th Infantry Regiment Virginia on April 20, 1861, three days after Virginia seceded from the Union. He served in Company H, until April 16, 1862 when he transferred to Preston’s Company, 7th Cavalry Regiment Virginia. 3
  • Company H was part of the Stonewall Brigade.4

Parents of Wyatt and Laura on Certificate of Marriage

Oh goodness.¬† I can not find a whole bunch of documentation.¬† Ms. Mills tells us to document and summarize as you go.¬† And you know she’s right.¬† And I have stuff everywhere and it is totally unorganized.

I shall take a moment to feel totally sorry for myself.  And I vow to spend 30 minutes everyday to start sorting through documents online and in that big pile in my office and get myself organized.

And never again do I pull documents and throw them on my hard drive or on a pile telling myself I will source and organize later.¬† Probably never. ūüôā

And I am going to get assertion about my grandfather and his grandfather documented.

1. Rockbridge County, Virginia, Deeds, 285: 482, Children of Laura Gillespie to Eva Gillespie, 15 Mar 1965; County Courthouse, Lexington; Copy part of private collection of Anne Gillespie Mitchell.
2. Rockbridge County, Virginia, page 364, line 10 (1894), Wyatt Paul Gillespie, Laura Cecile Donald; Virginia Department of Health, Richmond; states Laura is the daughter of James C and Elizabeth Donald.
3. Where are my Fold3 Documents?
4. Where are my Webpages for this?

North Carolina in the 1920’s

Life in the 1920 is not life in the 2010’s.¬† I went searching for information in the 1920’s, specifically about North Carolina, to try and gather some perspective about the life of Jennie Elizabeth Payne and how her life was different than mine.

I know that prohibition began in the 1920’s and women were given the right to vote. ¬† I wonder if my grandmother voted in the 20’s? Warren G Harding and Calvin Coolidge were the presidents in the 1920’s.¬† What did she think of them?¬† And did the family respect prohibition or was it just something they had to work around?

I found an interesting site NCpedia which had a article Women in the 1920s.¬† It is interesting to note that NCSU began accepting women in 1921 but didn’t actually have one graduate until 1926.¬† UNC also allowed women to attend in 1921, but “the student newspaper headlined, Women Not Wanted Here. ” Yikes!¬† I know that grandmother worked as a nurse at one point, so she probably had some education.

Crowder Mountain was a rural area, and electricity was not the norm and bathrooms were usually outhouses.  I would not have done well.1 Life could not have been easy on the farm.

I know that I saw that some people were working in Mills in the 1930s in the surrounding houses. I need to do a survey of the census and see what people did for a living and how that changed from 1920 to 1930s. Another task for the to-do list.

The Library of Congress does not have any North Carolina newspapers digitized.¬† I’ve had a lot of luck with Virginia newspapers.

GenealogyBank has digitized images of the Charlotte Observer in the 1920’s.¬† I doubt I’ll find any of my Payne’s in there, but it would be good just to get a feel for what was important.¬† I’ll put that on the list for another day.

I’m going to tackle the survey of the census next to try and understand the neighborhoods they live in.¬† And I think it is time for a timeline.¬† Nothing puts details together like putting them in chronological order.

1. Government and Heritage Library at the State Library of North Carolina,”Women in the 1920s in North Carolina, ( : accessed 3 Jun 2012).

Presenting Your Story: Everything I Know About Hyman Victor

Teasing the story out of the records is half the battle.  Presenting the story so it is interesting, well that is something else.

I love this particular example: Everything I know About Hyman Victor (a link from Elliot Malkin’s site

Each piece of evidence, each record is presented as Exhibit.  Each Exhibit has a picture or image and a description that helps the reader understand the image and a bit more about Hyman Victor.

I love its simple yet powerful presentation.¬† It is compelling.¬† And it has the ability to be updated easily.¬† Find a new document?¬† It’s easy to add.

If you are looking for inspiration on how to tell the story of your ancestor’s, look to see what others have done.¬† Inspiration is everywhere.