Category Archives: Genealogy

Wordless Wednesday – He’s A Cheeky Fella!

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This is my great Uncle Oscar Harris pinching the cheek of his son, Erby Harris. By the smile on Mary’s face (Erby’s wife) she must have thought this was hilarious. I know I do. I love the look on Erby’s face.

Erby looks like he’s thinking, “Yeah, whatever Pop!”

Oscar Harris, Mary Harris and Erby Harris

Oscar Harris, Mary Harris and Erby Harris

I can never go wordless! Thanks for sharing the photo Nedra!

Category: Genealogy | Tags: ,

Tombstone Tuesday – Alice Magdalene (Harris) Chapman Griffin

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This is the headstone of my great Aunt Sis, as she was lovingly referred to. She was named Magdalene after her grandmother, Sarah Magdalene (Robertson) Davis. Aunt Sis was born 20 Jun 1911 and passed away on 9 Jun 1982. She was the daughter of Major and Mollie Harris.

She is buried in Chapelwood Cemetery, Texarkana, Texas.

Magdalene Griffin Headstone

Magdalene Griffin Headstone

Category: Genealogy

Day Four of My DC Trip

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This was a day I have dreamed of for a long time.

OK, just for about four long years, but Hey!  That’s a long time.

On this day, August 5th, the fourth day of my trip, I went to the Daughter’s of the American Revolution headquarters.

DC -DAR

I became a member this past year.  It took me four years to prove my line of descendancy from my 5th great-grandfather, Thomas Bullard down to me.  Since the first moment I found out that I had an Ancestor that was part of the American Revolution, I have wanted to find out more about him and his role during the American Revolution and I wanted to actively participate in keeping his memory alive for the sacrifice he made in order to secure our freedom, so I decided to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Little did I know then, I had four other ancestors that also played parts during the American Revolution, but I didn’t find them until just this year when I started working on my mother’s side of the family.

If you don’t know this, when you apply to become a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, you have to prove who your parents are, who their parents are, and so on and so on, all the way up to the Ancestor that participated in some way in the American Revolution.  To do this, you have to submit birth certificates, death certificates, marriage licenses, etc., anything that proves your tie to your Ancestor.  This is NOT easy when you get back to the years before states started keeping public records.

What a trip to the DAR headquarters means for either a non-member, or a member of the DAR is that you can search for your Ancestor and if you find them, you can look in their file.  Anyone, who has become a member under your Ancestor, has submitted all the documentation listed above, and then some, to prove their relationship to the Ancestor, and if it’s in the file you can make a copy of it!

So, what did I do? I made as many copies as I could, but you’ll learn about that in a minute.

First, Leslie dropped me off on her way to work, and since I was a little early, they had not opened  yet.

DAR Headquarters

I decided I would walk around a bit and see what all was outside the building.

Here, in the photo below this, I am trying to get a selfie with the building behind me, but it is so huge, just like my head, that I couldn’t get the whole building in the picture.  Probably, I should have gotten more building and less head, but then it wouldn’t be a selfie right?  And don’t even ask what’s up with that hairdo of mine, cause I thought it looked great when I left Leslie’s but this selfie proves I was sadly mistaken!  I’m pretty sure I walked around all day like this too!  I guess that’s what I get for not getting up early enough to do more to my hair.  You will actually see that throughout the whole rest of the trip.  It seems I could never get going enough in the mornings to do much with this mop I call hair.

Me at DAR

Righto!

Next, I walked around to where Memorial Continental Hall was.  I never actually went into Memorial Continental Hall, because Hey! I was here to look up Ancestors and I just wanted to spend as much time on that as possible.

DAR Headquarters

Then on around the building there was this lovely statue.

DAR Statue

Then I looked at my watch, 8:30 am!  Whooo Hoooooo!  Who cares what’s on the other side of the building!

So, I got a move on to the inside of the building.

On my to the research entrance, this was on the ground, so I did pause briefly to get this. Briefly though, I was on a mission!

DAR

Next, I secured my pass for the day.  The dot means I’m a member, and the red means I visited on a Monday.

Visitor DAR

I headed straight to the room where you can get on the computer and look at your ancestor files.  When you find a page you want a copy of, you hit the print button, and 25 cents later, that copy is in your hand!  I was able to find bible records, the burial locations of some of my ancestors, read obituaries and see some pictures of relatives, all these things that I would have probably never been able to find anywhere else because some of these were personal records submitted by a cousin, that are not public records.

Boosh!!

So, on my first day, this is how much I was able to print off from my Ancestor files.  I got information from the files of John Smith, John Roberts, Abraham Neighbours, William Hooks, and Thomas Bullard.

DAR Papers

Boosh Boosh!!!  Whoop Whoop!!

Oh, did I mention save your money??

Yeah, that’s 25 cents a copy there folks.

Do I regret it?  NO WAY!

Would I spend that much on copies again?  OH YEAH!  ABSOLUTELY!

I printed every single thing I could.  But guess what?  I wasn’t even done!  I had to stop because I wanted time to go in the library.  Plus, I was hungry.  I thought I heard a dinner bell, but my imagination was running wild, it was actually the phone of the girl sitting at the computer next to me.  When I realized it wasn’t, my stomach didn’t care it was growling and I realized it was already after noon!  I texted Leslie, and she brought BBQ (she only works a couple of blocks from the DAR), and we sat in the break area they have and had lunch together.

Then I went into the Library after Leslie went back to work, and Oh my!  I wish I had taken a picture, but I’m pretty sure since they have a strict, and I mean strict, rule about cell phones in the library, I shouldn’t push my luck.  It was amazing though.  Two stories, and I mean an upper and lower level in the library, of information just waiting to be looked at!

I found several things in the library in books that actually cleared up a few things in my genealogy!  Yay!!  First, I found a book called Dennard Heritage by Norris Dennard.  There was quite a bit of information in there about my 3rd great-grandfather John F. Ball and his wife Hellen Dennard Ball.  I also discovered that Hellen’s father Kenady Dennard was in the war of 1812, and his father Jacob Dennard served in the American Revolution.

Wait, what?

Another Patriot!

And guess what, I forgot to look in Jacob Dennard’s file while I was there!  Can you believe that??  I’m still kicking myself in the rear right now.  It’s totally bruised.

Anyway, I copied a few pages of that book, and then I looked through some books about Texas.  Then I looked in some Methodist Books hoping to find something on my 3rd great-grandfather, Rev. John J. Triggs but I just didn’t have enough time.

I soon realized it was almost 4 p.m. and I knew this was when they closed, so I wrapped it up and headed over to their museum to mosey on through it for a minute.  They had an exhibit on the timeline of women’s clothing and had many, many beautiful dresses on display.

Sometimes, I wish ladies still dressed like this.  Then I think about feeding my chickens in a dress and not NO, but you know what NO!

Clothes DAR

I found the Red Cross uniforms to be really interesting.

Red Cross Uniforms at DAR

Did you know the founder of the Red Cross, Clara Barton was a Daughter of the American Revolution?

Did you know the Red Cross is located right next to the DAR?  They have a beautiful campus!

Another interesting piece I saw in the museum was this Life Mask of Gen. George Washington, the first President of The United States.  This was made by Signor Auguste Lenci of Philadelphia and he made it from a mold that was taken by French Sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon at Mt. Vernon in 1785.   Emmanuel Leutze used it as a model for his historical paintings of Gen. Washington.  He’s the one that painted Gen. Washington crossing the Delaware.  Did you know that?

Life Mask of George Washington DAR

Amazing, right?

It’s almost like looking right at him.  How in the world did he sit still for that?

Then, I got kicked out.

Well, not really, but they politely informed me it was closing time so I went outside and hung out for a while until Leslie got off work and picked me up.  We went back to her apartment and she cooked steaks for dinner and we watched Netflix.

It was a great day, and have I mentioned how much fun I had just hanging out with Leslie? It’s the best!

Meeting Cousins and Jersey Shore

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My plane arrived last night in Baltimore and Leslie picked me up at the airport. We drove to somewhere in Maryland to have dinner with Leslie’s friend Dan. I wish I could remember where, but that has left me. Anywho, the food was good and so was the company.
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We sat and chatted for a while and had a great meal then we drove to Arlington, Virginia to Leslie’s apartment. She lives on the 12th floor, which makes me woozy.20130803-000924.jpg
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By this time, it was getting late and we went to bed. We got up this morning and drove to New Jersey to meet Bonnie Ball Harkness Marsh, my 2nd cousin 1x removed, and her son Jim Marsh, who is my 3rd cousin. We got there just in time to eat lunch together and visit for a while.

Then we drove to Jersey Shore, at Asbury Park Boardwalk. This was a really cool place. We had a great time walking the boardwalk with Bonnie and Jim.
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This is Bonnie and Jim.
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We did a little taking in of the sights.
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Then we decided we would walk down the beach to the water and stick our feet in the water. Bonnie stayed on the Boardwalk and waited for us to get back.
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When we got back to the boardwalk, Bonnie was still waiting on us.
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After this we drove back to Bonnie’s house, and had a great afternoon and evening. We traded family stories and genealogies and then we went to dinner.

Now it’s time to crash and rest up for tomorrow!

Who Do You Think You Are? – Kookie’s Review

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For months I have anticipated the return of one of my favorite shows, “Who Do You Think You Are”.  Even if I don’t know much about the featured celebrity, I hopefully will discover a new source for searching or find a hint that will lead me in a new direction.  Last night “Who Do You Think You Are?” made its 2013 season debut and left me with mixed reviews. 

For starters, searching for ancestors just doesn’t fall into place as it is portrayed on the show.  As someone who has done research in libraries, cemeteries and personal interviews over a period of more than thirty years, I can tell you that you may search months, years or decades to locate one document much less the entire life story of your ancestor. Sometimes you come up totally empty handed.

Personally I love Ancestry, the sponsor of the show.  In fact I have three family trees on their site and praise it as my “go to sight” for research.  However, I believe the illusion of how easy it is to discover your past, who you are, and your family’s place in history on “Who Do You Think You Are?” is just that…… an illusion.  The average beginning genealogist, I’m afraid, will get a false sense of tracing one’s tree.  And when disappointment sets in, some will lose interest and their tree will never branch with limbs and twigs.

Sure, if you are a celebrity and have money to travel, it would make the process easier.  If you are one of the fortunate ones that can hire a professional genealogist to do the research for you, oh well, you have just missed the personal satisfaction of a history lesson in places, events and your heritage.  To me, documents from a professional would merely become a piece of paper with names on it.  I wouldn’t have the pleasure of that “ah ha” moment!  There is no greater reward in genealogy than to discover a document or photo and have the feeling of accomplishment in your pursuit.

Kelly and Rachel  Brown, Kookie Stanley Hemperley and Mamie Stanley-4 generations

        Kelly and Rachel Brown, Kookie Stanley Hemperley and Mamie Stanley                     4 generations

Through the generations: Mother, Mamie Martin Stanley and I located cemeteries, interviewed family members, gathered photos and old documents.  My daughter Kelly Hemperley Brown and her husband Scott and I enjoy locating cemeteries off the beaten path documenting headstones as we go.  Rachel, who is about a year old in this photo, is all grown up now and currently is a Deputy Clerk in Caddo Parish Clerk’s Office. She has researched local court records for me and often accompanies me to different libraries searching old newspapers, microfilms and military histories.  In short, my research has included four generations sharing our family’s history and having that “ah ha” moment together.

While I find the celebrities heritage enjoyable at times, if I had my druthers, every once in a while I would prefer Ancestry send in a John Doe…… you know; ordinary researchers like you and me; the people who have brick walls and do not have the luxury of hiring the pros to do the work for us or to travel extensively.  Every person who has walked the face of this earth is deserving of having their story told regardless of their social status.

Another suggestion I would make to the producers of the show is that they allow the person with the most gathered information on the ancestor be allowed to travel on the discovery journey regardless of whether the featured person is a celebrity or a descendant of John Doe. Had it not been for the encouragement of and the companionship of my mother pointing me in the right direction when I began we would have not had the benefit of sharing what we discovered.  She didn’t have to wait until I arrived home with new information; she experienced it right along with me.

In conclusion when the celebrity located the grave-site of her relative of generations past and greeted it with “what’s up”, I thought how irreverent!  The first words from her mouth should have been that she would have loved to have known him and thank him for his contribution to the war, politics and her family.

Kookie

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