Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tap, Tap, Tap...

I found more today on my Smith side. My great-great grandparents are John William Smith and Jennie Ella Mobley, and their son Maurice Warfield Smith is my great grandfather. His brother Shelby Russell Smith has been one elusive uncle to find anything about, mostly for a lack of looking.

Just a few weeks ago, I discovered Shelby and his wife Iva Logan Smith in the 1930 census, but sadly their information was very sparse. Either Shelby was being stingy or the census taker was asking the neighbor, because it gave almost no pertinent information. But I did find that Shelby and Iva had two children, Jane and Shelby Jr.

Today as I was emailing back and forth with my uncle, I decided to poke around Rootsweb and when I looked at Shelby's death index record, I found Shelby Jr's right underneath it. It gave his birth and death dates and places. Pretty exciting! That's more than I've ever had about this family. Shelby's sister, Jane Smith, will be slightly harder to find, as she likely married and died with a different last name, but if they want you to find them, they'll help make it happen.

I enjoy getting those little taps on the shoulder. "Look in this record and see what you find..."

Sunday, October 01, 2006

I found the coolest thing...

So, after the meeting last month, I'm doing the "go through every single person in my PAF file and fix all the errant names, dates, and places" thing, and trying to find missing counties or European states. We were given a wonderful handout written by a Family History bigwig from the Church (I don't know his name) that gave very specific instructions. Maybe I've already mentioned it but it's that cool - it deserves another mention.

I have some Canadian family members and have tried, several times, to locate an online Canadian county finder with no success. But, when I typed a German city into my search engine, out popped this fun little site (it's actually HUGE) that has maps of every country in the world, along with a list of each city and the state or county or region it's in. Hello??? How awesome???

So I put it in my links - it's called "Maps of the World." Look out, Canadian cities... you're getting new counties soon.

In other news, I leaned on my Dysart relatives - aunts, uncles, cousins - and have put together a new genealogy page to send to everyone. Not everyone was able to open it, so I'm wondering what's up with that, but Uncle Doug emailed today that he'd received it and even passed along a correction. Yay! Now for the Smith side to send in their stuff.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

It Was A Happy Night

I had a lady write to me last week after visiting my online family tree, asking about Archie Newton Watson and Doris (I had her first name as "Daisy") Audrey Simpson. FOUND 'EM TONIGHT. Doris' family lived in the same place for over 40 years. Ahhhh... I love it when they do that. I was able to send the lady four census images and Archie's WWI draft registration card image. Love the unlimited access to at the FHC. LOVE it.

THEN... along came a sister from the other stake who needed some help finding information in the IGI. I hooked her up with PAF Insight and sat with her for over an hour, helping her plug in the new information she found. It turns out that Bri dated her cousin in Tri-Cities, where she's from. Small world. She was very happy about the results and asked if I would be there next week. Yay!

In the meantime, a fellow staff member was helping a young man find a relative and coming up empty, so I joined them on another computer and BAM had a census records in just a few seconds. YES. My staffer teased me about not puffing myself up. I was like, "you're welcome."

I love helping people. I was thinking about doing this as a business but it's so much more fun to give it away for free. :) Who knows, maybe I still will... but as long as I have this calling, I think not.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Last Night's FHC Meeting

What an interesting time it was... and may I just observe, there's nothing like going to a Family History Center staff meeting to make me feel like a fetus. Sister R. even said, "I've been serving at the FHC for 30 years now... I started when I was the age of that young lady right there" and pointed at me. It was a wonderful thing to hear after the conversation I recently had with my mom - "My baby girl's going to be 40!" THANKS. She's just lucky she doesn't have anyone around saying, "My baby girl's going to be 60!"

Sister R. talked to us about the recent changes the Church has made about our program. For one thing, we're no longer "staff members" belonging specifically to the FHC - we're Family History Consultants now, and our responsibilities reach farther. We now belong to our respective wards and work under the jurisdiction of the HP group leader. We'll not only continue to work our shifts at the FHC but will also work in our wards, going into the members' homes to teach them how to do family history work.

Since I was already teaching the family history Sunday school class, my job isn't going to change that much - and going into the ward members' homes was on my agenda to start doing. All of the FHC staff members from our ward will be meeting with the bishop on Sunday to talk about it, and at that time Blaine & Marilyn will probably opt out, as she is also the RS Education counselor. Which means they won't be working with me on Tuesday nights anymore. I'm sad about that.

Then we learned exactly how to enter names, dates, and places in PAF. And even I, who have considered myself a stickler about this, learned a few new things - things I'll have to go into my PAF file and correct. YOWZA. How humbling. ;)

I've received a few emails regarding my Rootsweb family tree, so I need to go through and check those out as well, and probably upload a new one soon. I also found out that my grand-aunt Irene passed away this week and will be keeping an eye out on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer online to see if I can catch her obituary. She had Alzheimer's disease and I imagine she must be quite a bit happier now that she's with her husband, parents and other loved ones. With all this and the new PAF data entry fixes, I have a lot to keep busy with.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

New Developments

1) I met a "new" cousin this week. Charlene's actually older than I am, but she found my family tree entry at Rootsweb and sent an email. It was fun to hear from her. She's going to help me update some things about her family. Our common ancestors are Frederick Hetrick and Elizabeth Doverspike. LOVE this online genealogy thing.

2) As a result of Charlene's letter, I finally figured out how to edit my Rootsweb family tree information. I can now add new people as I find them. I was able to ditch the idea of a separate blog for each great grandparent, which was not a fun or easy task. I also wrote to find my old username and password for my old defunct email address, so I can delete the other family tree I'm no longer proud of.

3) I'm going to try and make a website sometime soon - maybe tomorrow. I signed up for the free web page account at Rootsweb as well.

4) I linked my Rootsweb family tree and my genealogy blog together. SCARY. I also uploaded my husband's family tree and linked it here.

Pretty good work for one day.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Yowza, What a Night

I serve every Tuesday night at a local Family History Center with other staff members. I go early every week so my husband can have the car for soccer practice, and this provides lots of great research time.

I had such great success last night that I commented to one couple that there's a reason why I was called to work at the FHC - all the great books I now have unlimited access to. "You get called to work here and you start finding stuff you wish you would have found 20 years ago," the husband agreed. It's so awesome. There are three different sets of volumes about colonial families, just at my little FHC, that have provided a ton of information.

PAF has been messing around with me... it stopped reusing deleted records, and pretty soon, adding new people, I noticed the RINs were creeping up in the 13000s. I knew there was no way I had that many people, so I made a new file. Sure enough - I'm right around 12,100. That's a tad more manageable.

A few years ago, I found Lorette Proctor's family tree in Familysearch and downloaded it, and the colonial families information has come in handy for verification. Good stuff. Last night I found lots of Dimmock information, some Byam, and a ton of Kendalls. For the Dysart side, I found some Tillinghasts.

Other great finds were this Dimmock website, another Proctor website starting with my earliest known ancestor, Evan Proctor, and directions to the Fiske Library in Seattle. Mary Fisk married Abraham Byam Jr.; they had Mary Byam; Mary married Moses Proctor. It would be a fun day trip, running up to Seattle and finding the book about Evan Proctor I found on their website.

And that was my night - Yay!!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Bigwigs

I'm fascinated with the family trees of famous people. Abraham Lincoln... Laura Ingalls Wilder... Louisa May Alcott. Louisa's is particularly interesting because of her famous family members. She is related to John Quincy Adams and Oliver Wendell Holmes - all through the Quincy line.

Who were these Quincys anyway, that so many of their offspring should leave such an indelible mark on our history? Pretty nifty.

As yet I can't find any way I'm related to them (not that I'm looking, but it would be cool), but just looking at Louisa's family tree last night and thinking it would be fun to figure out how she and John Quincy Adams were related, I found this website. It threw in OWH for good measure. Pretty exciting!

I also found the Hildreth website last night and between it and the others and the huge stack of papers I copied from books at my FHC, I have plenty to keep me busy. Where to start???

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Una & Candace

I just finished a mega phone call with my brother Ernie (nicknamed "Una" by my sister Melanie). He called and asked me about our Scottish ancestors a few weeks ago and I told him about PAF and downloading it free from the Church. Today he downloaded it, and I sent him a GEDCOM of our stuff. He's going to Ireland and Scotland later this year and wants to have some background so that he can enjoy his trip even more.

He told me about his experience with googling Ninian Beall, one of our Scottish ancestors, and had me do the same. I found the wonderful page about Ninian that I put in the links. It's fun having a sib that's ALMOST as interested in family history as I am.

Close on his heels is Cousin Candace, Uncle Doug's oldest daughter and my closest cousin on Mom's side of the family. She's awesome.

Good stuff, man. I love family history. I should get paid to do it, I love it so much. Which reminds me, I need to call Marcie.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Big Find

I serve in a local Family History Center, a branch of the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One evening I discovered a seven-volume set of books called "Colonial Families of the United States," and wouldn't you know it, I'm related to a good fourth of the people listed.

How awesome.

Since then I've added about 1,000 people to my PAF file. My Gran would be so proud.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Family History Wrap-Up

(Every day of the week has to have some theme-y thing now, doesn’t it?)

This is my new weekly series, a journal about what I did last night at the stake family history center. Last July, I was given the calling to serve there on Tuesday nights, and I ADORE it. Unless you’re related to me and/or a member of the LDS church, it probably won’t have much relevance – so you can skip this, or read it and go “HUH?”, or you can eat an entire tube of frozen chocolate chip cookie dough for lunch (I once caught Sue L. of CH ward doing this), or you can run screaming through the WinCo parking lot wearing a red mullet wig, or you can… Oh, you choose.

The other thing you need to know, if you’re not a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is that I am a Mormon, and Mormons do genealogy. Part of the reason why we do it is because we want our deceased family members to receive proxy ordinances – which we believe to be saving ordinances – in our temples. We have other reasons for doing genealogy, but temple work is the most important. The belief is that when a person dies, he is still alive (his body is just not attached at the moment), and still retains his mind, personality, soul, spirit, whatever you want to call it – and having these ordinances performed in his behalf DOES NOT guarantee that he will want or accept them. But if he does want the ordinances, he is happy when they are performed. We do it as a service to our family members, and they might not want that service, and are under no obligation to accept it. It does not “make them Mormon” and we do not count them as members of the Church.

So – down to business. Last night at the local family history center, only one patron showed up (Arleen F., who came with Blaine & Marilyn B. and me), so I had the whole two and a half hours to myself for research. Well, make that 2 hours and twenty minutes… Brother B. likes to leave promptly. Boy, is he prompt. I believe I called him “efficient” last night, which was meant as a compliment but inspired giggling from the rest of the sisters. It’s become a running joke.

As usual, I didn’t try to find anything. OK, that’s not really true – sometimes I have specific goals in mind – but after years of doing genealogy, I’ve learned not to expect anything. Otherwise I’ll be disappointed. Usually, what I do is sit down at a computer, stick my jump drive into the USB port, pull up my PAF’s pedigree chart page, and look at my ancestors. I run the mouse over their names, waiting to see if “BEPSC” pops up for anyone. BEPSC stands for Baptism, Endowment, sealing to Spouse, sealing to Parents, and Children’s work (BEPS) is finished. It is the ultimate, the top of the heap, the … thing you really, really want to see beside your ancestors’ names. (Sorry – my blood sugar must be low.) When I don’t find BEPSC, I concentrate on that family and see what information I’m missing.

Last night I looked at Gran’s family. I normally don’t do a lot with his or Neenaw’s lines because Gran himself did so much, and now Uncle JR is staying on top of it. Normally I concentrate on Grandma & Grandpa Dysart, but I still look at the Smith side every so often because I like to keep my own stuff updated and find little tidbits here and there. And tidbits I did find. William Raymond Fox and Elizabeth Ann Zane joined the BEPSC club last night: I found their son Harold Germaine Fox’s sealing to his spouse, Ella May Davis. Hooray!

Upon finding this, I wondered if John William Smith and Jennie Ella Mobley were BEPSC-ers yet. They aren’t, but I know Uncle JR is working on them. I poked around (our FHC has a paid subscription so we can use it for free – don’t even get me started on what a rip-off I think is), trying to find anything on John & Jennie’s son, Shelby Russell Smith. Let’s just put aside the fact that his last name is SMITH and I will never, ever, ever, ever find anything about him… Yes, I know that. The census records were not helpful, but I did find him in the California Death Index (1940-1997); he died in L.A. Maybe his wife’s death record is there too. Dang – I didn’t think of that.

While poking around in the Elkton, Todd, Kentucky census records, looking for Shelby and his wife Iva Logan Smith, I found other interesting things: lots of MOBLEYS. Gran always said that we were related to Mary Ann Mobley, former Miss America and wife of Gary Collins, the TV guy. Mobley is just too uncommon a name for us not to be related. I found Jennie Ella Mobley Smith (my 2nd great grandmother) living in Elkton as a widow in the 1920 and 1930 censuses. Both times she was living close to a Gillie Mobley (she was “Martha G. Mobley” in 1920, Gillie in 1930). Gillie was also a widow, which means she married into the family. We don’t have a ton of Mobley research completed so all I know is Jennie Ella’s immediate family, but the Mobleys are pretty thick in that area so I imagine if I dug deeper, I’d find more connections. Gillie may have married one of Jennie’s cousins. I wondered if they were good friends – they spent a lot of years close to each other. In 1930, Gillie had her two children, Ed and Ella Mobley, living with her – both were single; Ed was 60 and Ella was 58 and a seamstress.

More finds: a family of a brother and two sisters, all single, living in Elkton in 1920: Ira B., Ruth and Minnie Mobley. They were in their 40s and 50s. Ira, though youngest, was head of the household – just the way they did things back then. What interesting life stories these folks must have. I also discovered Jennie Ella Mobley Smith’s father, William Ellison Mobley and his second wife Nellie O. Hester Mobley, living in Elkton in the 1910 census. Interestingly, William was a minister, but the census taker didn't specify a denomination. William and Nellie were raising William’s two granddaughters by his son James Blanton Mobley. James’ wife, Americus “Mec” Hester Mobley (probably related to Nellie somehow), died when the second daughter was 3 years old. The girls’ names were Mary and Susie Mobley. Mary died a few years after the 1910 census at age 14; Susie grew up and married Robert McCanless and had two children, Mary Margaret and Alden W (saw them in the 1930 census). I found James Blanton Mobley, the girls’ widowed father, living in a neighboring town in Todd County, in 1920 or ‘30. I imagine it was terribly hard for him to leave his daughters with his father and stepmother, but again – just the way they did things back then. James lived until 1945 and to my knowledge, never remarried.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Family History News

The Church's family history department has a new project going, nicknamed "Scanstone," in which all of the microfilms stored in the Granite Mountain Vault near Salt Lake are being scanned and digitized. This will make it possible for everyone with Internet access to look at every record stored there by just going online.

This is a big deal - microfilms and microfiche are currently viewed only by using viewing equipment located in your local family history center, and only after ordering them from Salt Lake City first (small fee involved). Or you can take a quick jaunt to Salt Lake and spend hours at the Family History Library - my personal preference, but not exactly time- or money-efficient.

When I think of all the hours my grandparents spent driving up to Coos Bay from Brookings (the family history center was there), writing letters, waiting for letters to arrive, calling on the phone, and traveling - not the mention all the MONEY - just to get the records we'll have instant access to, I see what a miracle this is. How much easier does family history have to be, before we'll finally sit down and do it? :) But I know I'm preaching to the choir here.