Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Microsoft Office timeline graphic

Last week I wrote a post about my ancestor Marcellus White where I explored his life using a timeline. I had several people ask how I created it so I have included step-by-step instructions here. I should note that I originally mentioned in the comments that I used the SmartArt illustration tool available in Microsoft Office. However, when I went back to look at my work it turns out that was a bold-face lie. I do use SmartArt to create graphics and I will include a tutorial on that in the next couple of weeks.
For this timeline I used the Shapes tool in Microsoft Excel and built it myself. You can use any Microsoft Office program to create a timeline graphic, as the Shape tool is available in all of them. For reference this tutorial is built in Excel Office 2007.
To start your timeline click on the Insert tab and then click on the Shapes drop down menu. For the timeline above I started with a block arrow.
When you draw your shape, you will notice that the program automatically opens the Drawing Format tools options. You can adjust the colors of your shape here. I've created this one to match the colors of my blog.
The next step is to insert some text boxes for adding your timeline information. In the example above I used one text above the arrow and one below.
Using the Drawing Tools/Format tab again, I changed the colors of the text boxes to match my arrow. Microsoft has made it easy to choose colors with the Theme Colors options. (Which pleases me because I'm all about the ombre look all over Pinterest.)

Next, I "connect" the two boxes using the Elbow Connector, found in the Insert/Shape tab under Lines.
The Elbow Connector tool makes it easy to connect two shapes to show their relationship. When you hover over the first shape, four red "connectors" will appear, indicating the centers of each side of the shape. Click on the connector that fits your design and while holding the mouse button hover over the connector you want to choose on the second shape and release the mouse button. Now your shapes are linked. You can change the weight of the line under the Drawing/Format tab.
Once your shapes are "connected" with the Elbow Connector they will remain connected no matter where you move the shapes. This is helpful if you need to make more room along your timeline.

Next I group the three shapes (the date box, the elbow connector line and the event box) by Grouping the objects together. Select the three items and then choose the Group option under the Format tab.
The last step is to copy and paste your "group" to create as many events as necessary. Change the information and align them to your timeline arrow.

There is a lot of versatility in shapes, color and format that you can create through your Microsoft programs. I like creating my timelines in Excel because I can put the backup information for the timeline in additional tabs. It suits my OCD. Of course, you can also freehand something like this in Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop, but it is so much easier in Microsoft. 

Let me know how this option works for you!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Elizabeth Beard

As I posted here, I have decided to focus on my 32 3rd great grandparents as my research focus for 2013. I decided to start with the ancestor that I knew the least about and in a quick browsing of the list I stopped immediately at Elizabeth Beard.
I am related to Elizabeth through my paternal grandmother, Lois Burnett. As I looked through my files I realized that I have absolutely no information on Elizabeth Beard or the Beard line. The only information I have comes from her daughter's, Martha Ellen Landis (or Landes), death certificate.
It notes that Elizabeth's maiden name was Beard and that she was born in Staunton, Augusta County, Virigina. But that is where the leads stop. I looked for Elizabeth in the 1850 census, but there are several families of Beards in Augusta County and Elizabeth was a popular name. I haven't been able to link her to any particular family.

I did find Virginia marriage records for two of her daughters and found that her middle initial was F. It possibly stood for Frances. A genealogy submitted to the FamilySearch website lists her parents as Abraham Beard and Mary King.

I do know that Elizabeth and Samuel moved to Johnson County, Missouri sometime between 1870 and 1880. At least two of their married daughters and their families moved along with them. By 1900, Elizabeth was widowed and living with her daughter. She died in 1901 and is buried next to her husband in the Kingsville Cemetery, Kingsville, Missouri.
I've posted queries on both the Beard surname and the Augusta county, VA message boards in the hopes that I get a hit. So I'm off and running on my goals!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

2013 genealogy goals...with the added suspense of "will they happen?"

Here we are again. A new year with hope and promise for being productive on the horizon. We'll see. Last year I was not very productive with my goals {sad face}. Let's take a look.

Genealogy Goals for 2012

1. My grandmother's 80th birthday is in July and I would like to create some type of "life to this date" memento for her and her guests.
2. Finally order the two Sicilian films from the LDS that I have very much procrastinated on.
3. Research first hand accounts of migration from Virginia to Kentucky to Missouri. Many of my family lines made this trek, and while I have no way of knowing what precipitated their moves specifically, perhaps I can find some explanations in the accounts of other migrants.
4. Determine the origins of my Tosh, Bodine, Creed and Reece family lines.
5. Begin a study of occupations of my ancestors.
6. Actually write some posts for my Civil War Remembered series (and yes, this may mean "backdating." It's my blog and I can backdate if I want to.)
7. Change my blog layout. I'm bored.
8. Attempt to track down living relatives in order to locate photographs, stories, journals or just to share what I have.

Hmm. Well, I attended my grandmother's birthday party. And I did change my blog layout. I did do some specific research on the lines listed and made some dents, but nothing spectacular. But man those goals sure sound great!

So on to 2013.

Genealogy Goals for 2013

1. I am declaring 2013 the year of  3rd great-grandparents. I have loads of them (32 to be exact) and this year will be dedicated to finding more "meat" on each of them. I already know a lot about some of them, like Philip and Bertha Kuhn and Marcellus White. But others have little to no information. I intend to look for information outside of just the census and add some meat to the bones. I will also focus on ensuring that the information I DO have on them is organized. Here are all 32 in all their glory:
2. I plan to continue my Civil War Remembered series
3. I plan to create a page of WWI resources. I'm fascinated by this war, even though I only had one ancestor participate.

There you have it. Very broad, but I like it that way. It's a true nail biter...will they happen?

Friday, January 25, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for January 25, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.

An armless boy's train adventure remembered fifty years later
Wendy at Shaking Leaves share a great ebay find: 1939 Treasure Island World's Fair Rodeo Program
A heart wrenching photo...even so many years later: East German mother passes her baby across the Berlin wall
Two Nerdy History Girls share a good list of museum collections online
"Loss Map" shows devastation of WWI on small village: Map reveals Tynemouth's victims of First World War
A fun website for American memories: Click Americana
O Say Can You See shares Civil War music: Fiddling the Civil War
Linda at Family Archaeologist shares: A World War II draftee -- 70 years ago
Help with a brick wall at My Mother's Family History

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - Google, beyond a name search

I have seen a lot of great posts on using Google to find your ancestors. But today I wanted to highlight a Google technique I use that continually brings great results.

For many of my ancestors I know the "basic" facts that you would find by Googling their names. Actually, Google searches by name often lead me right back to my own blog or message posts. So I now search for items specific to that individual. I have found that when I search for an organization, a job, or a military unit, I find hidden gems that I would have never found if I had just searched for the individual. The key is that I will often come across PDF files or books about the organization, business, or unit that include specific information about my relative. Because these files are not always in a "searchable" format I would never have been able to find them through a simple name search.
Case in point: Not long ago I was working to find more information on a distant uncle, Leroy Philip Kuhn. Through a biography I had found on Dr. Kuhn, I knew that he was a prominent surgeon in the Chicago area specializing in work injuries. To find more I did a Google search for "Kuhn Chicago surgeon" and found the gem above. I had never seen this uncle before and was amazed at the family resemblance.

I have found this search technique especially helpful with finding information on my military ancestors. My uncle Warren Edward Kuhn was killed during WWII and my father was named after him. I knew that Warren was in the 814th Tank Destroyer Battalion which was assigned to the 7th Armored Division. Warren was killed in action March 17, 1945. When I do a Google Search for "Warren Kuhn 1945" I only find unrelated links and my own blog posts. But conducting a search for "814th Tank Destroyer Battalion" led me to more information about his unit which helped me to put his war service in context. 
TEC 5 Warren E. Kuhn
I found a link to an After Action Report for the 814th TD BN which detailed the unit's actions in December 1944...which is the month when my uncle earned a Bronze Star medal. Now I know, from the unit perspective, how he earned his medal.

I was also able to find additional information on the civil war service of my 3rd Great grandfather, Marcellus White, by searching for information on his unit the Salem Flying Artillery.
Have you had luck with this type of search technique?

Monday, January 21, 2013

Military Monday - Marcellus White, Civil War Prisoner of War

Marcellus White was an unlucky fellow. Or at least that is what some local history books would have you believe. Marcellus was a soldier in the 9th Virginia Infantry, Salem's Flying Artillery during the Civil War and it is believed that he may have been a prisoner of war. Twice.

The Powhatan, Salem and Courtney Henrico Artillery (Virginia Regimental Histories Series) by Richard Nicholas and Joseph Servis lists the following for Marcellus:

White, Marcellus F. Quartermaster Sergeant (Also White, J.M.) Occupation Farmer, Resides Salem. Enlisted May 14, 1861 at Salem for 3 years, age 29. Detailed Quartermaster Sergeant, August 1, 1862. Prisoner of War July 5, 1863 at Waterloo, Pennsylvania. Sent to Fort McHenry, transferred to Fort Delaware July 9, 1863. Transferred to Point Lookout October 22, 1863. Exchanged by November 1864. Sick Furlough, November - December 1864. POW, captured with wagon train December 1864, sent to Point Lookout, later exchanged. Paroled at Appomattox Courthouse April 1865 with one horse.

Listing for Marcellus White in the Point Lookout roles. He was exchanged October 30, 1864.
Well, that is a wealth of information. I can verify everything from his enlistment through his sick furlough in November and December 1864 through his service records. The history then mentions a second capture while Marcellus was with a wagon train in December 1864. If this is true, what a blow. He had spent 14 months as a prisoner of war only to get a small respite and back into the enemies' hands.

I can find no record of this capture. in conjunction with the National Archives has Civil War prisoner of war records available for searching. The records have been indexed, but the index is only as good as the initial entry. Marcellus F. White is listed as Marcellus F. White, M.F. White, J.M. White and N. White. He may also be listed as Mar. F. White, but I haven't yet found that record.  Marcellus was a quartermaster sergeant, so being captured with a wagon train is a realistic possibility. My next step will be to see if I can find the daily reports for the unit and find details for their movements in December 1864.

I'm also curious about the statement that he was paroled at Appomattox Courthouse. It is true that his unit was there, in fact they are sited has having shot the last round of the war. But I wonder if he was really there for the final blow to the Confederacy or if he was paroled in absentia. We will never know. Either way, Marcellus had a rough go during his service.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Timeline - Marcellus Fulton White

Marcellus Fulton White is my third great grandfather. He was born in 1832 in Virginia, came to Missouri "at some point" and died in Ray County, Missouri in 1895. I have a lot of unanswered questions about my Marcellus. I've written about him here and here.

Marcellus continues to be my nemesis and it seems that his brick wall will never come down. In an effort to rekindle the fire, I created a timeline for him. It helps me to visualize where the gaps are in my research.
A timeline outlining known events in the life of Marcellus White (click to enlarge)
One major inconsistency leaps out, and that is the date of the family's arrival in Missouri. Marcellus' first son, Thomas, is known to have been born on 29 July 1860 in Virginia. His place and date of birth is listed the same in every document I have found for him to include his death certificate. However, his parents are listed in Missouri on the 1860 census...which was enumerated just one day later on 30 July 1860.
An 1860 census from Ray County, Missouri, that may be my White line.
I say a silent curse to the enumerator that insisted on using initials rather than full names on this census. However, here are the first four sets of initials: W.L. (M, 21), M.F. (M, 27), M.J. (F, 22) and E.P. (M, 62). The other initials listed do not match the names I have for siblings, but the ages do. It is possible that they are cousins or nieces/nephews. However, that is another wrench we'll ignore for now. I believe the four individuals listed are the following people:
W.L. (21, M) - Watkins Leigh White (Marcellus' brother)
M.F. (27, M) - Marcellus Fulton White
M.J. (22, F) - Mary Jane White (Marcellus' wife)
E.P. (62, M) - Edmund Penn (Marcellus' father)

At the very least, Mary was not in Missouri on this date because she was in Virginia having a baby. If she had had the child in Missouri he would have been listed. The thing that leaps out to me about this census is that Watkins, a 21-year-old, is listed as head. Why would he be listed first when there are two other adult males older than him in the same household? 

Here is my theory: I don't think that Marcellus, Mary or Edmund were in Missouri in July 1860. I think that Marcellus and Edmund came to Missouri earlier in the year to find land and get things set up and returned to Virginia to get Mary and the new baby. I think that Edmund stayed back in Virginia (he died there in the mid-1860s) and that Marcellus brought Mary and the new baby out to Missouri. And when the Civil War began I think Marcellus headed back to Virginia to enlist to protect his "homeland." I believe that Watkins and the other sisters were left in Missouri to take care of the land and that when the census taker came Watkins listed the others because they were "en route." Maybe he wanted it to seem like there were more people in the house for protection. 

I will never have an answer to this question. The only record that could answer it is some sort of land deed and there are none. Here's hoping that Marcellus comes to me in a dream and tells me himself.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for January 18, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.
The Family History Writing Challenge returns at The Armchair Genealogist
Heather at Nutfield Genealogy shares: her grandmother's version of Downton Abbey
A new website is looking for contributors: Family History Daily Wants Your Stories
Would you have been considered a witch? Take this test and see
A Southern Sleuth shares a sister's plea to her brother: Write Soon Please
Nancy at My Ancestors and Me shares a tip: Accents, Spelling, and Surnames
90 years of Letters from Germany translated at Braunhart Mania
Is your blog shareable? Some tips at Finding Forgotten Stories make it easier for a reader to share
For my fellow Downtonites...enjoy some food from the show: Downton Abbey Cooks
Maybe Someone Should Write That Down discusses her Duck and Cover method for family stories
Help the NARA: Find Signatures in Documents
Jim at Hidden Genealogy Nuggets starts a new blog prompt series: Genealogy by the States

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Blog awards - what do you think?

Recently I have been blessed to be nominated for two blog awards: The Liebster Award by Nancy at My Ancestors and Me and the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award from Shel at My Genealogical Journey, Debra at In Black and White and Debi at Who Knew?.  I was really pleased to be recognized by these great bloggers.
In doing some research on the origins of these awards, I came across some posts on different blogs where the bloggers were none too pleased about having to respond to the awards. In fact, one even said they thought blog awards were stupid. Hmm. To be fair, I was so deep in links that I couldn't even begin to find my way back to the original post that I found. But it still got me wondering: What do I think about blog awards?

The bottom line is that while I think some of titles for the awards are a bit "stupid," I think the concept is great. I find myself going and exploring the blog that nominated me and finding links to the blogs that they love. Just over this past round of recent blog awards I've started following two new blogs. It has shown me some new reading links and there are many positives for that.

And now that Geneabloggers, our main source of connecting with fellow genealogy bloggers, no longer has "roll-ups" for the daily blog topics, blog awards give us a chance to market ourselves and our other favorite blogs to new readers.

And last but not least, it sure does feel nice to be recognized. I now know that there are several readers that enjoy my blog. My blog is a creative outlet for me, but I have to admit that it feels great to know that others enjoy it too. Blog awards are like a little pep talk to keep chugging and another way for me to give a pep talk to my fellow bloggers.

So, forget the "stupid" names and the extra time it takes to respond to blog awards. Be happy that someone cares enough about your Internet outlet to recognize you! What do you think about blog awards?

(Part of the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award is to recognize some of the blog readers you appreciate. It is impossible for me to highlight just a few, because I appreciate them all! So thank you so much to all of my readers. Thank you for the warm comments and the inspiration to keep chugging!)

Monday, January 14, 2013

Happy birthday, Mom!

Happy birthday, mom! We all love you very much!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for January 11, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.
I can't help it, these photographs are fascinating: 1800s headless portraits
Diary leads to photographer ID at Filiopietism Prism: One hundred years ago today
Yummy family brownie recipe at The Bees Knees Daily: "Mom's Delicious Brownies"
Treasure Chest Thursday at On A Flesh and Bone Foundation: The Emigrant's Suitcase
The National Museum of American History explains: What Civil War Soldiers wore and why
Family Tree Magazine lists The 75 Best State Websites for 2012
GenealogyInTime Magazine lists the Top 100 Genealogy Websites for 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Liebster Award

A great big thank you to Nancy at My Ancestors and Me for giving me the Liebster Award! This is especially nice coming from Nancy because I'm an avid follower of her blog.
Liebster is a German word that means friend, dearest, adored, beloved, chosen one. The Liebster Award is given to bloggers who have less than 200 followers. The whole point is to encourage bloggers to keep chugging along and to help spread the word about interesting blogs to a new audience.

The rules for the award vary. Some bloggers ask for a list of questions or random facts to be answered and some just post their nominees. I think the facts are fun so I've added them to my rules.
  • Thank the one who nominated you by linking back.
  • List 11 random facts about yourself/your blog.
  • Nominate five blogs with less than 200 followers.
  • Let the nominees know by leaving a comment at their sites.
  • Add the award image to your site (optional).
1. I could eat an entire box of Cheez-Its in one sitting.
2. I only know of one blood relative reads my blog (thanks Aunt Mary!).
3. I am not a big fan of lettuce or what I like to call "crunchy water."
4. I have favorite ancestors and I'm not ashamed.
5. My favorite place in the world is Kansas City, Missouri.
6. My second favorite place in the world is Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany
7. I wish I spoke German.
8. I would like to get a Masters in history...I plan to choose my school based on their sports teams. ;)
9. I enjoy moving every three years.
10. I only let my children watch TV shows that don't drive me crazy.
11. I suffer from lazy OCD. I hate clutter, but I'm too lazy to do anything about it.

Here are my nominees for the Liebster Award:
1. Hunting Dead People
2. 2338 W. Washington Blvd.
3. Kathryn's Quest
4. Mine, Yours' and the Other Guy's Genealogy
5. Threading Needles in a Haystack