Monday, February 29, 2016

How are You Spending Genealogy Leap Day?

I just may have found the most interesting thing having to do with my genealogy ADD.

I was looking at things on one surname before I went back and concentrated on a different one. See? I'm leaping around?! Genealogy Leap Day! Yeah, that was bad. Anyway. I'm looking through old copies of the Sparks Quarterly and what do I find? Best Name Ever - Archibald Wimpy Sparks. I thought, "Ok, I need to investigate this more.  Forget what I was originally doing!" Mind you, I have no connection whatsoever to this person.  The name just caught my eye. He went by Wimpy and was born in 1843 in Lumpkin County, GA. There was a family near his boyhood home with the last name of Wimpy so there is likely some connection. 

He enlisted in Phillip's Legion Infantry, CSA, Company E, known as the Blue Ridge Rifles. The ages of the members of the BRR ranged from 13 to 47 years of age.

Wimpy was killed in action on 23 Aug 1862 at Beverly's Ford, VA on the Rappahannock River by artillery fire.  This doesn't say where he's buried.

By the time I got to this point, Wimpy became more than just a fun name. Within 15 short minutes, he became real to me. He became flesh and blood. And within 15 short minutes, I felt loss.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Crawford, Crawford, Who's Got the Crawford?

Drinking coffee and browsing these books. Rambling thoughts:
First off - I am not disputing anything that has previously been put out there by other genealogists.  I am merely stating what I have found in these books. This can be found in "The Brothers Crawford, Volume II, Pages 341 - 346."   This is something that I will be researching as well.   Do not kill the messenger!!

Two volume set. While Volume I is about Col. William, Volume II is about our Valentine Jr. I'm reading Volume I right now. Will work on Volume II later. If you're unfamiliar with Col. William Crawford, do a Google search on him - tragic end to his life. These brothers were friends of George Washington in their younger days. Letters between all three are in the National Archives.

Their father, Valentine Sr., traded in Redemptioners (white persons unable to pay their passage over the Atlantic who were sold for seven years of service - indentured servants). I have problems with this.  I know, I know.  I'm bringing my 21st Century sensibilities to this (which I tell people to never do in genealogy).  His wife was Irish.  Is that how she came over?  Is this how he met his wife? Was she one of these Redemptioners? See what I mean by for every question answered there are 5 more asked? One of Crawford's Redemptioners was Richard Stephenson. He married Crawford's widow so there's an assumption (you know what they say about assuming) that there was a civil relationship between him and at least a few of "his" Redemptioners.

I will say this. Volume II suggests a different parentage set (an extra generation) for Frances Crawford, second wife of Isaac Sparks, Jr. Mind you, I'm concentrating on Miss Frankie out of the bunch of these prolific Crawfords as she's the one from which I sprung forth.  The problem, as with other genealogy research in the region, is the fact that there are large families and everyone is named after everyone else. As a result, you end up with many people named the same thing.

Volume II suggests that Josiah/Joseph Crawford b. c. 1742, VA, d. b. 1830, Estill County, KY. married 1) UFN (Unknown First Name) Isaacs; Married 2) UFN Townsend (Some say first name Betsy).

Children from the first marriage:

Valentine Crawford
Archibald Crawford
Gideon Crawford
Austin Crawford
Oliver Crawford
William Crawford
Martitia Crawford
Cecelia Crawford
Lucretia Crawford

Children from the second marriage:

Maude Crawford
Anne Crawford
Ida Crawford

Valentine Crawford, born in 1770 in Albemarle Co., VA and died in 1860 in Estill Co., KY. He married Susan/Susannah Ray/Rhay in Madison County on 21 Jan 1800 d/o Benjamin Ray/Rhay. On 06 Mar 1815, Valentine purchased 5,491 acres on Millers Creek in Estill County. According to this book and the documentation within, Valentine and Susan had the following children:

Frances Crawford (wife of Isaac Sparks, Jr.)
Robert "Ripper" Lee Crawford
Valentine Vance Crawford 
Oliver Crawford
Harrison Crawford
Joseph Crawford Jr. (married Nancy Gray; buried in Sparks Cem)
Martitia Crawford
Daughter Crawford
Nancy Crawford
William Crawford
Syrildia "Quilda" Crawford
Armilda (Arminda) Crawford 
Lourana Crawford
Elizabeth Crawford
Laurinda Crawford
Hardin Crawford

Valentine and Susan are both buried in the Crawford Cemetery located in the Crystal community in  Estill Co., Kentucky near the Estill/Lee Co. Line.  This is a family cemetery with several of the older graves being unmarked.  It's located on the land that he originally purchased in 1815 and deeded to his descendants.  I've been there once, but I didn't know at the time they were possibly my ancestors.

Now, is this true? Or were Joseph and Betsy (Townsend) Crawford Frances' parents? The only thing that is going to prove either one is more research.

And more coffee.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Maybe Granny Didn't Know Afterall

I have to hand it to "Genealogy Roadshow" this week.  It hit on a subject that is very important to me and, if I said I have a "cause" in genealogy, this would be it.
There was a young Chinese girl who told the genealogist on the show a story we've all heard.  Paraphrasing her, "My grandmother told me that we were related to < Insert Semi/Well Known Person >.  I want to find out if that's true."
We've all be there.  The last names are the same, they were from the same area.  Hey!  Why can't they be related??  Sounds reasonable!
The problem was, this young lady was concentrating so hard on the "might be", she wasn't seeing the "really was".  Her family arrived in the United States around 1910.  They traveled quite a bit in the States and even back and forth to China a few times.  Even though they were Chinese, their lives during World War II were not easy.  They were photographed and watched.  They had to carry identification with them constantly.  They were interrogated.  And we're talking not just the parents, but the children of the family too.  I remember even seeing an "official" photograph of the baby!!  The expression on the young lady's face was priceless as the show's genealogist detailed event after event and experience after experience.  She said, "I had no idea."  He cautioned her to not be so caught up so that she misses the real story.
Given my family is from the Southern Appalachians, There are all types of "My granny told me...." stories.  By no means am I throwing those out.  Those are wonderful and facinating stories and can offer, at least, a bit of truth; however, don't take your's for gospel.  And don't have the Native American/Daniel Boone/Melungeon blinders on.
For the examples in this post, we're going with the Native American princess one.
Perhaps it was your granny's granny that was the Native American princess.  I'm using that because, currently, that's the most interesting racial/ethnic background to pick from.  That would make the "possible" Native American your great-great-grandmother.  This is what you'd be looking at - 5 generations: 
Yourself > your mother > your grandmother > your great-grandmother > your great-great-grandmother.
By rule of thumb, a generation is approximately 25 years.  Of course, that varies given how old each set of parents were when they started having children as well as what birth order you are and the number of siblings you may or may not have.
I'm going to use myself as an example...mainly because I don't know your birthdays, ect.  I was born in 1962.  My birth mother was born in 1944 (see paragraph above...not 25 years).  My maternal grandmother was born 1915.  My maternal great-grandmother was born in 1888.  My maternal great-great-grandmother was born in 1864.  Do you see the problem with believing what my granny said about her granny?  How many people in East Kentucky be 100% Native American in 1864?
Now for the mathematics section of the article.  I'm sorry for offending you, Mr. Grizzard.  You were right - I really did use algebra (of a sort) in figuring the percentages and such.  You see, a 2g-grandparent gives you 1/16 or 6.25% of your heritage.  Take it back a generation to your 3g-grandparents?  You're looking at 1/32 or 3.125% of your heritage comes from just one person.  4g-grandparents - 1/64 or 1.56%.  5-g-grandparents - 1/128 or .78%.  6g-grandparets - 1/256 or .39%.
And therein lies the rub.  Most people who are looking for a Native American ancestor would be looking at their 4th - 6th g-grandparents.  You're pinning your whole significance on someone who may or may not be Native American and, if they are, only contributed between .39% - 1.56% of your heritage.
By no means am I saying that isn't important.  I know the feeling of the Old Ones calling out to you and suddenly, you realize why you feel certain ways about certain things; however, to quote Freud, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  A line that made me cringe, as having first hand experience, was on an episode of the Breaking Amish: LA reality show.  On the trailer, they showed that one of the Amish girls had been adopted and, while she was away from the Amish community, she pursued finding her heritage and birth family.  She found out her mother was Mexican.  Her response - "So that's why I like Mexican food."  It's nothing quite as trite as that.
What I am saying is, while you're researching, don't overlook the ancestors who, at first glance, don't seem so adventurous or brave.  You just might be surprised.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

And just where have you been, young lady?

I need to apologize.  I've not kept this blog up as I planned to.  It's been over a near since I even gave it a thought.

The last six months of last year were a nightmare.  We faced gall bladder problems, histoplasmosis (my son and myself), cancer scares (my son and myself), various other health scares and the worse - I lost my left leg at mid thigh.

I originally was going to blog about the loss as well as coming back from the operation.  I decided against that.  For friends of mine who follow me on Face Book, most of the struggle has been posted there.

I still have bad days here and there, but I feel myself coming back, stronger each day.  With that, I'm coming back to blogging!

Much love to my family and friends.  Without all of you, I could not have made it.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Local Societies

Local genealogical and historical societies are the lifeblood of genealogy. Members and volunteers give their time and money to preserve local history and promote family history. Tell us about a local society for which you are thankful.


Anyone who knows me, knows which local society I'm going to blog about with this topic.

Most of my maternal, and a few of my paternal lines, center in a small county in East Central Kentucky.  Estill County, Kentucky was formed in 1808 from parts of Madison County and Clark County.  Parts of it were later used to form several other counties through the years.  My earliest Kentucky lines were in present-day Estill County when it was still in Virginia.  The latecomers showed up for the party by 1840.

When I started researching my birth family, I actually started with one of my paternal lines in near-by Rockcastle County.  I'd learned by this time the value of the local genealogy societies and the help they could give.  Naturally, when I started working on my maternal lines, I called the Estill County library to find out if there was a historical society.  Lo and behold, not only was there, the librarian provided me with the telephone number of the then president.

I called her that night and we discussed what lines i was researching.  As with all things in small towns and close-knit communities, it wasn't a matter of IF we were connected, but how many different ways.  There are certain things you learn to accept in genealogy and that is one of them.

She gave me a tremendous amount of information and put me well on the road of this wonderfully frustrating hobby of ours.

When I asked her how I could pay her back for all the help she gave, she told me to "pay it forward", which was well before the movie of the same name, but a great concept all the same.

As a result, I've worked with the Estill County Historical & Genealogical Society quite a bit over the past twenty years.  Their's is the standard that I judge (either wrong or right) all other societies by.  The amount of books they've published through the years is simply amazing.  They have their own museum and research library that covers many counties in Kentucky, not just their own.  The folks there work tirelessly in promoting the history of that area of Kentucky.  

In the fledgling days of Kentucky GenWeb, we on the Estill County Mailing List threw out the thought of meeting for a weekend and researching together.  The thought was that those who were familiar with the county could help the ones that weren't.  ECH&GS helped us out and, fifteen years later, that Homecoming Weekend is still going.

Thank you, Estill County Historical & Genealogical Society.  Thank you for all you've done...and continue to do.