Category Archives: Research

10 More Facts About Cemeteries

whisperingMy husband and I had dinner with some good friends the other night. They know about my obsession with all things Genealogy so the talk quickly turned to their search for ancestors. During the conversation, I whispered to my friend “I love visiting cemeteries, especially old ones”. I wasn’t sure how she would respond as most people think it is creepy to do this. Her face lit up and said, “Me too!”. The next hour was devoted to “Cemetery” talk. Ancestor Hunters have no problem discussing this topic so in honor of that, here are 10 interesting facts about cemeteries.

♦ Located on Route 80, near Tombstone, Arizona, the Boot Hill Graveyard became the Tombstone-Boot_Hill_Graveyard-Graves_of_Billy_Clanton,_and_Frank_and_Tom_McLaury_2final resting place to over 250 gunslingers, miners, and other fearless wild west pioneers. Humorous headstones are scattered over the hill. Those like “Here lies George Johnson, hanged by mistake 1882. He was right we were wrong. But we strung him up and now he’s gone.” and “Here lies Lester Moore, Four slugs from a .44, No Les No more.”

♦ What is the difference between a cemetery & a graveyard? Graveyards are in the “yards” of churches and is always adjacent to and part of a church.

♦ Arlington is the only national cemetery to hold servicemen from every war in U.S. history. Although the first military burial at Arlington National Cemetery didn’t occur until 1864, the burial ground holds the remains of those who fought in every war since the Revolution. In 1892, soldiers killed in the Revolutionary War were re-interred from a Georgetown cemetery, and casualties from the War of 1812 have been reburied at Arlington as well.

♦ In 1876 a handful of mobsters botched a morbid plan to kidnap the body of Abraham Lincoln and hold it ransom. The hapless grave robbers were arrested just a few days later. Fearing another attempt, the government secretly hid the body of the sixteenth president in an unmarked grave for 25 years. Then in 1901, under the urging of Robert Lincoln, the president’s only surviving child, Lincoln’s body was dug up and placed inside a steel cage, lowered into a 10-foot-deep vault, and buried under tons of concrete. He’s still there today, in his tomb, on the grounds of Oak Ridge Cemetery.

Hollywood forever cemetery♦ Cemetery tours are now big business. One such cemetery, the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood California has maps to the Star’s graves available for tourists. This is also an old cemetery – established in 1899, and filled with tall, old-fashioned headstones and towering monuments, including a few unusual ones shaped like obelisks and a rocket ship. Many tour companies in Los Angeles offer tours of the many “celebrity” graveyards in the area.

♦ Family (or private) cemeteries were a matter of practicality during the settlement of America. If a town or religious cemetery had not been established, settlers would seek out a small plot of land, usually in wooded areas bordering their fields, to begin a family plot. Sometimes, several families would arrange to bury their dead together. While some of these sites later grew into true cemeteries, many were forgotten after a family moved away or died out. Therefore, some of our ancestors’ graves from the 1600’s may never be found.

♦ Visitors to loved ones interred in Jewish cemeteries often leave a small stone on the top of the headstone. There are prayers said at the grave site, and the stone is left on the visitor’s departure. It is done as a show of respect; as a rule, flowers are not placed at Jewish graves. Flowers are fleeting; the symbol inherent in the use of a stone is to show that the love, honor, memories, and soul of the loved one are eternal.

♦ Columbarian walls are a common feature of many cemeteries, reflecting the increasingColumbarium walls use of cremation rather than burial. While cremated remains can be kept at home by families in urns or scattered in some significant or attractive place, neither of these approaches allows for a long-lasting commemorative plaque to honor the dead nor provide a place for the wider circle of friends and family to come to  mourn or visit. Many cemeteries now provide walls (typically of  brick or rendered brick construction) with a rectangular array of niches, with each niche being big enough to accommodate a person’s cremated remains. Columbarium walls are a very space-efficient use of land in a cemetery compared with burials and a niche in a columbarium wall is a much cheaper alternative to a burial plot. A small plaque) can be affixed across the front of each niche and is generally included as part of the price of a niche.

♦ Stamps Cemetery (Witches Cemetery), Tennessee. This cemetery is old, unconventional, creepy, located around backwoods and less popular. The tombstones are lined in Zig-zag pattern and some of those stones are marked with pentagrams. It is believed that that cemetery belongs to dark witches. There are lots of eyewitness who saw strange appearance around the area

♦ Meaning of symbols on Headstones:

  • Arch: Rejoined with partner in Heaven
  • Book: Faith, wisdom
  • Peacock: Eternal life
  • Tree trunk: The beauty of life
  • Crossed swords: Life lost in battle
  • Garland: Victory over death
  • Anchor: Steadfast hope

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Cemetery, Death, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Funerals, Genealogy, Graves, History, Research, Uncategorized

Now That Was Embarrassing!

thankfulSometimes I am thankful that most of my “Genealogy Finds” are ones that no one else will find out about. At least not until I am gone and they inherit all my research. Today I found a mistake in my paternal family tree. You could say it was an honest mistake on my part, but it was a mistake nevertheless.

I must admit that lately I have been too busy to spend quality time working on busyGenealogy. I have written a third book that has nothing to do with Family History. It has taken up almost all my normal research time. As a result, I have divided my trees into groups of ancestors so I can work on them more efficiently. So, with my “spare” time this morning I decided to work on my Strother line.

Beverley Strother Randolph is my 4th cousin 4 times removed. Born July 17, 1851 and died February 5, 1929 I didn’t have much more information other than that about her! Image my surprise when I found her marriage information. According to their marriage license Beverley married Mary Strother Jewett on April 20, 1882! I was so confused. After all this was the 19th Century, this was not done.

shockedUpon further research, I discovered that Beverley was not a female as I had assumed. Just because he had a feminine sounding name I had entered his gender wrong. I have heard of other males with this name but it never struck me that this may be his case when I added him to the tree. After correcting his gender and finishing my other updates I began to wonder what other mistakes like this one have I made.

There are a lot of names that could be used for either gender. Take my name for instance. Here in the States, Valerie is a feminine name, but in Russia it is a male name. My youngest son’s name is Starr which can be used for either gender. Names like Chris, Angel, Terry or Kelly can also be for either one.

I guess now I should find the time to take a second look through my trees to make sure that I haven’t made this mistake anywhere else!

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Corrections, Documentation, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, How-to, Mistakes, Names, Oddities, Personal Stories, Research, Uncategorized

Look What I Found Cleaning Up My Trees!

I have a tendency of working mainly on my Dad’s side of the family. I had a horrible relationship with my Mother due to her mental problems. I believe this is the reason I dosmith not feel compelled to really dig deep into my “Smith/McGowan” side. When I first started using Ancestry.com for my main Family Trees site I was still new in the Genealogy world. I was one of those people who thought the information I found in an ancestors file was correct, so I spent months adding any and all data I found to my trees. I added thousands of names all the way back to 500’s.

When I became a Professional Genealogist, I learned about documentation and citing source information and I realized the mistake I made by doing that. I have literally spent the last several years cleaning up my trees in between jobs. I felt pretty confident that I had done a great job. That is until yesterday.

-Citation_needed-I got one of those “shaky leaf’s” attached to an ancestor on my Mothers’ side. It led to another one, then another one and soon I was making an unsettling discovery. Apparently, I had grossly neglected cleaning up this side of the family! I spent many hours deleting name after name! As I was doing this I found that not only had I added unsubstantiated ancestors but also people who were not even related to me. I have read lots of posts about these but I had never seen any before. Here are 4 that I found.

James Everett Shoaf

1882–1948

husband of 2nd cousin of wife of 3rd cousin 2x removed

 

William B Howard

–1934

husband of aunt of wife of 3rd cousin 2x removed

 

Raymond Wallendorff

1930–2000

husband of 1st cousin 1x removed of wife of 3rd cousin 2x removed

 

Lula Reimers

1885–1940

wife of nephew of wife of brother-in-law of 2nd cousin 3x removed

 

I must admit, I had a good laugh when I read these. Although I enjoyed the humor in thislaughing girl I really wish I would have known about not adding information that have no proof or sources cited to my trees. It was a good lesson to learn  and I gladly pass it on to anyone who will listen.

Have you ever added someone to your tree with making sure they belonged?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Corrections, Documentation, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, How-to, Research, Shaky Leaf, Source Citations, Uncategorized

Lineage Societies or Family Groups – A Great Resource

our family historyAnyone who has been researching their Family History for many years knows and understands the importance of Lineage Societies or Family Groups. However, I have come across many Genealogists who never heard of them. To be honest, I just discovered them about 8 years ago when I made a research trip to Missouri. I met a cousin I had just contacted while planning my trip. She had tons of information on a line I hadn’t done much research on. She also introduced me to the concept of Lineage Societies and Family Groups.

My 6 times Great Grandfather Edward Coffey came over from Ireland in 1690. His line here is long and expansive. As a result, the family put together the “Coffey Cousins Clearinghouse” Group started by Leonard Coffey in 1981. Over the years, Coffey Cousins from all over the globe have joined this Clearinghouse and shared their research, stories and photos. Now because of their efforts if you find the name Coffey/Coffee in your line you may be able to discover new information about your ancestor and meet some cousins!

One of my 7 times Great Grandfathers is Peter Rucker. He came over from Bavaria we are familyGermany in 1661. He became a naturalized citizen in the State of Virginia on April 24, 1704.  The Rucker Family has participated in every war since the Revolutionary War. Since the early 90’s this society has been having reunions every two years, publishing their newsletter and sharing information and photos! What a resource for anyone who has a Rucker in their family line.

Some Societies or Family Groups have dues but they are usually minimal. They help you to find distant relatives and connect us to information we may never have any other way of finding. Spend some time Googling Societies or Groups associated with your Ancestors names and see what you may discover.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Brick Walls, Cousins, Edward Coffey, Family Groups, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, History, Lineage Societies, Personal Stories, Peter Rucker, Research, Uncategorized

Another Internet Surprise

computer-image-ort-hiOnce again, the internet, specifically Facebook has helped me to fill in some holes in my Family History. I wrote a blog ( tinyurl.com/y8c99wur  ) 3 years ago about my Aunt Nellie whose husband was murdered in Lexington Missouri in 1930. I had tried to do research before I wrote it but there wasn’t much information available. My sources were a newspaper article and the story told me by a cousin. Yesterday, I received                            a message on my Authors Facebook page and I was astounded!

The Great Grandson of the man, Irvan Menaugh who murdered my Uncle Virgil, sent meLexington MO Courthouse information about it and the trial. He told me stories he had heard from his Dad and from a Grandson of Irvan. He even took the time to give me the dates and the outcomes of the proceeding trails associated with the murder. There are still a lot of questions about the entire case, ones like “Why wasn’t Irvan convicted of this murder?”, “Where are the missing court records?” and “Was the presiding judge bribed with a land deal to find Irvan not guilty?” I plan on writing a new blog on this new information and maybe more facts can be found.

I have read a lot of arguments between Genealogists about whether to allow our Family Trees to be seen by the public and to limit the information we use in our Blogs or to make it all public. I understand both sides, the pros and cons etc. All I know is several times, because of a Blog I have received vital pieces of information I needed to fill in the gaps. 20 years ago, when I first started researching my Family History this could never happen. I would have never known this kind gentleman even existed. My advice is to use the internet to its fullest extent, reaching out to others with any information you may have or to ask others if they have additional information that could help in your research. All I know is I am so thankful to the generous Genealogy Community.

Have you had someone contact you with much need information about an Ancestor because of the internet?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also                              connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Death, Facebook, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Hughes, Lexington MO, Memories, Missouri, Personal Stories, Research, Story telling, Uncategorized

Genealogy Oddities

question markI always find it fascinating how as we travel back in time through our Family’s history we can find so many things that seem “odd”. Odd things that happened, odd relationships and somethings that are just plain odd. I have come across a lot of really odd things through my lines. The oddest thing I found just this week.

 

In the past, I discovered that my Dad’s family and my Mother’s family have been crossingMayflower paths since at least the 1600’s.  Two of my 10 times Great Grandfathers came over on the Mayflower together. William Brewster (Dad’s side) was the spiritual leader of the Pilgrims. William White, (Mother’s side) was the father of the first child born in this community. His youngest son, Peregrine was born aboard the Mayflower while docked in the harbor. Also, William White was one of the first to die during the first hard winter. His wife Susanna then married Edward Winslow the newly elected Governor of the Colony.

jamestownAnother odd thing I had discovered was my 9 times Great Grandfather, Captain William Powell (Dad’s side) arrived in America on the Third Supply mission of nine ships, which brought additional settlers and some supplies to the surviving colonists at Jamestown Virginia in 1609. My 9 times Great Grandfather Thomas Garnet (Mother’s side) accompanied William as his indentured servant. Between one-half and two-thirds of white immigrants to the American colonies came under indentures. Indenture lasted usually between 3-10 years. They were basically slaves and were treated as such. Powell was killed by Indians in 1622. Thomas worked off his indenture by 1619 and went on to marry, have children and become an upstanding member of the Colony.

Now to the oddest thing I have discovered. First a little explanation. When I had my oldest son, I made the decision to name him after the only Grandparent I ever met. My Mother’s father John Pleasant. We called him Pleasant until he was 16 years old. At this age, he wanted to be called J.P. When I was about 8 months pregnant with my next son I didn’t have a name picked out. I knew I wanted to have his name include my Dad’s name, Douglas, I just didn’t want it to be his first name. Because my oldest son’s name was unique I wanted this little boy to have a unique name also. So, I chose Starr as his first name. I had my daughter’s name picked out since I was 12 years old. The tradition in our family was my middle name was Jane, my Mother’s middle name was Jane and the tradition went back several generations. Therefore, any daughter I had should also have this middle name. I heard the name Jerusha in the movie “Hawaii” and decided Jerusha Jane sounded good.

My children always give the excuse that I was a “hippie” (I was not!) and that is why their names were so strange. This was the easiest explanation they could come up with. During my research, I discovered that my 7 times Great Grandfather Thomas Starr and his wife Mary Morgan had a daughter and named her Jerusha. Jerusha Starr! Now they can tell everyone they are named after their 8 times Great Aunt!!!

What are some of the “odd” things you discovered in your family tree?

 

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I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Jamestown Colony, Mayflower, Names, Oddities, Personal Stories, Research, Uncategorized, Virginia

Now That Was a Surprise!

surprise 2When I first started my tree online I took some time and looked at how others organized theirs. I noticed that a lot of people capitalized the last name of a direct line ancestor and realizing that this is a great idea I started doing the same. It has made it easy to immediately identify a great or a great+ grandparent.

A couple of days ago I got a “leaf” on my 9 times Great Grandfather Jonathan Brewster. The hint wasn’t for my Jonathan but as I was looking over the timeline I have on him I noticed that 2 of his daughters had their last name capitalized. How in the world did I make that kind of mistake? I was almost positive that his daughter Grace was my 8 times Great Grandmother, so I forwarded through her line and indeed she is.

family tree 1I went back to the original page and began following her sister Hannah’s line. Odd, there were capitalized names going down her line also! Being the “sleuth” that I am I decided to follow this line as far as I could to see where it goes. Lo and behold, I didn’t have far to go.

I discovered that Hannah was also my 8 times Great Grandmother, but surprise, she was also my 8 times Great Aunt. That meant that Grace was also my 8 times Great Aunt.  I took a couple of minutes to let it sink in……. she’s my 8xG-Grandma…. she’s my 8xG-Aunt…they are both my 8xG-Grandmas AND 8xG-Aunts. Oh, the fun I had. Here is how this played out;

Grace m. Captain Daniel Wetherell      Hannah  m. Samuel Starr

Their daughter                                           Their son

Mary m. George Dennison                       Thomas m. Mary  Morgan

Their son                                                      Their daughter

Daniel Dennison m. his cousin Rachel Starr

 

This makes both Daniel and Rachel my 6 times Great Grandparents but they both are also my 1st Cousin 6 times removed!

This scenario reminds me of some bad jokes I have heard!

confused-smileyOut of curiosity I decided to randomly look for more of these types of anomalies in my trees. As of today, I have found 3 more “my Grandma is my Aunt” cases. The hunt continues!

 

Have you found any situations like this in your line?

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

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Filed under 8 times Great Grandparents, Ancestry, Cousins, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, History, Jonathan Brewster, Marriage, Mayflower, Names, Page Family, Research, Uncategorized