Sunday, April 8, 2012

Project submitted

A week ago Friday I submitted my four generation project for accreditation with ICAPGEN. I have worked on the family lines I submitted off and on for the last 20 years. It is very satisfying to have the project at a place where it was ready to be submitted. If you're not familiar with the accreditation process, may I suggest that you go to their website and see what's involved. Everything has to be very well documented and cited.I'm hoping my report will pass on the first try but I know many have not done so and so I won't be too disappointed if it doesn't. I know I will be in good company.

The fun part of my report is the information on the last generation where I could not find one piece of direct evidence to tie the three brothers who went to Henry County, Tennessee from Wake County, North Carolina. As a result, there is a large body of indirect evidence that was used to tie the families together. Among these were deed records, probate files, and marriage records. I even found evidence of a slave that was given to the wife of one of these brothers mentioned in both the father-in-law's will and in the estate inventories of my relative, his son-in-law. The will was made in Wake County. The probate of the son was in Henry County, Tennessee.

I love genealogy and especially when you can put together a project like this. Wish me luck in passing the review of the report on the first try!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Tennessee North Carolina Connection

Last week I had three three days to work on my Crowder family research. As part of the process of trying to receive Accreditation as a professional genealogist, I am working on a four generation project about this family who lived in Arkansas, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. The project as well as the accompanying report has to be well-documented and stand up to intense scrutiny. My problem has been how to prove that three Crowder brothers born around the turn of the 19th century in Wake County, North Carolina are the same three Crowder men who later live and die in Henry County, Tennessee?

One obvious solution would be to find a deed record that said that Hardy, James, or Isaac Crowder, of Wake County, North Carolina had purchased land in Henry County, Tennessee but such a record does not exist.

The next possible solution would be to find some sort of vital record such as a death certificate or a marriage record that would state where these men were from. A primary source record like this also has not been found but I did however find a cemetery record for Hardy that stated that his parents were Thomas Crowder and Fanny Rhodes and that he was born in North Carolina.This sounds great but no source is given for this information but it does form a start for the construction of an indirect evidence case.

Census records for Hardy and Isaac who both lived past 1850 indicate that they were born in North Carolina. James did not live to see 1850. Land records show that Hardy and James both lived in the same area of Henry County, along the same watercourse. All three men were trustees for the Methodist Episcopal Church South which bought land to construct a house of worship to be built in their area of the county. So now we've got more evidence linking the three men together.

The next searches involved court records, such as probate and civil cases, which found that Hardy Crowder was an administrator for the estate of James and if my memory is accurate, Isaac was involved in the probate of Hardy's estate. (I don't have the records in front of me right now to verify).

It would seem we have a pretty good case for the three being brothers, or closely related. but how about connecting them back to the family in North Carolina. One of the men had a wife who was given a slave in her father's will. The name of this slave appears in the probate records of her Crowder husband. Another brother had a son who went all the way back to Wake County, North Carolina to marry his first cousin, the daughter of his uncle (brother's brother). This same couple was involved in land transactions in Henry County, Tennessee.

All of these little pieces of evidence have helped to build an indirect evidence case for the three brothers from Wake County, North Carolina being the same three Crowder men who went to Henry County, Tennessee.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Diary of a Southern Lady: Georgina Francis Barrett Devlin, 1852-1912

Recently I had the opportunity to read excerpts from a diary written by Georgina Francis Barrett Devlin. She was born in 1852 and lived until 1912. In her diary she helps us readers to visualize what it was like to live in Mississippi during the Civil War and after its devastating effects on the South. We get glimpses of what it was like to be a woman during that time raising children and participating in the community. The diary was transcribed and edited by Katharine M. Jones and the author of the diary was her ancestor. If you’re a fan of history and have always wanted to travel back in time and see things first hand, I think this diary is the next best thing. Here’s a brief description by the publisher about the book.

“In 1852 Georgina F. Devlin was a young English immigrant with two small children when she began to keep a record of her life. She continued until 1912, when she was a great grandmother living with her widowed daughter and her family. She noted both items of historic interest and of everyday happenings within her large family. She recorded the Civil War swirling around the home in Yazoo County, Mississippi, when she and the children hid in the woods and her husband's cotton was burned. She visited her brothers in Canada and saw the famous tight-rope walker "Blondin" cross Niagara Falls. She went from traveling in a stage coach, to riding on a streetcar, to riding in her son-in-law's automobile. This well footnoted diary will be of interest to anyone with a particularly interest in Southern history, the Civil War, and the developments of rural and small town life during this period.”

The book is available on Amazon. The title of the book is “The Diary of a Southern Lady: Georgina Francis Barrett Devlin, 1852-1912.” To read more about the book I suggest the following link:

The Diary of a Southern Lady: Georgina Francis Barrett Devlin, 1852-1912

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Masonic death records!

Who knew? I have been trying for several years now to locate the death date of my great grandfather in Arkansas. He died after the 1930 census but he is not listed in any of the Arkansas Death Indexes. I feel fairly confident that his death was never officially recorded in a death certificate. In an effort to exhaust all possible sources available to me here in Utah I came across a book in the Family History Library that had death records of Masons in Arkansas. The book is:

Masonic Death Records from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas by Desmond Walls Allen.

The volume I looked at covered the years 1920 to 1940. Lo and behold there was the name of great grandfather listed as having died in 1938. I took a chance on this book because I had examined another book that covered deaths of Free Masons in Arkansas and found other family relatives listed. I never knew that the male members of this family were Masons. I have visited the George Washington Masonic Memorial in Alexandria, Virginia and loved it. I didn't know at the time that my ancestors shared a love for this order just like many of the founding fathers of this nation.

It's so much fun to learn something new about your ancestors AND find an elusive record!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


Before I begin let me explain the lack of blog posts for a while. I put my house on the market and it sold really quickly and so I ended up having to move a lot sooner than I had planned. Things have now settled down somewhat so I guess I'll get back to blogging more regularly now. (I hope)

A while back I blogged about a research problem I was working on that might need DNA to solve. Just as an update, I haven't been able to get any of the male descendants to agree to be tested but I haven't given up trying.

I am now currently continuing work on this same research problem in an attempt to identify the origins of the immigrant who came to Virginia in the 1600s. Herein lies the Huguenot question. One of his known sons married a woman from a Huguenot family. The immigrant's family lived in the area near Manakintown where Huguenots began to settle in 1700. Is it possible that the immigrant was also a Huguenot?

One of the factors I looked at today was whether or not you had to be a British subject to receive headrights. Headrights was the right to free land based on the number of persons you brought into the Virginia Colony. You could receive it for yourself and for anyone else you might have brought with you. After reading this article, it would seem to me that anyone could receive headrights, British or not.

Now my problem is proving or disproving he was Huguenot and if so how much time, if any, did he spend in England or Ireland before he came to Virginia. I found several instances of others with the same surname (which I can't share here because it's a client) who were Huguenots but I am still left with my mystery.

A check of the DNA chart of the ancestors of those who have been tested doesn't show any connections to what I found today to be a known Huguenot line of the same surname. I guess more DNA test volunteers are needed. Who knows if this will get solved? We can only hope.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ancestor or wannabe?

Often times when doing genealogical research we get so excited when we find someone in a records whose name and location matches with known information about our ancestor that we just assume it's a match! Please beware! Just because the name's the same doesn't necessarily mean it's the right person.

If the record you found your ancestor in has few clues to help confirm his identity without any lingering doubts, proceed with caution. Here are just a few tips:

Do a survey of other records. How many other people are there with that name in the county or locality you're searching?

Can you trace this person through other records to compile enough evidence to feel confident that you've got your man?

Can this person sign his own name and perhaps your ancestor used a mark?

Is his occupation the same as your ancestor?

Did he associate with other people known to associate with your family?

These are just a few things to consider when you think you have your man. Is he really an ancestor or just a "wannabe!"

Sunday, March 13, 2011

DNA Might Solve This One?

I recently worked on a client project that has been worked on by myself and others several different times. The family lived in colonial Virginia and they moved in and out of burned counties. I have gone through deeds, where available, and tracked their neighbors and associates as recommended by Elizabeth Shown Mills. I have come to the conclusion that one of two men was the father and immigrant ancestor but the problem is which one.

A will for candidate number one is non-existent. I haven't had the chance yet to search for the will of candidate number two but I'm sure I will in the future. This is a family that has been extensively researched by others. I have come to the conclusion that perhaps the only way to narrow this down might be a DNA test.

There is a DNA group for this surname and my suspects are both in the same group. So I'm thinking that they might be brothers. I don't know that DNA testing would prove which of the two brothers it was but it will help to determine if I am on the right track in my thinking that one of them is the father of the ancestor.

Have any of you had much experience or success in DNA testing? If so, I would love to hear from you.