Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - In the bottom of a pond

Clifton, Rose Mary and Buford White in the bottom of a new pond, circa 1940

Tuesday, February 26, 2013 doesn't belong to you

I love I've been able to locate death information on countless ancestors and make connections that I would have had to visit cemeteries across the country to pull together. I have also saved many of the photos on the site to my collection and even posted some on my tree and on this very blog. However, I just made the realization that Find A Grave doesn't belong to me...or you.
A photo that I took and don't care who knows it.
I'm a little embarrassed that I never thought about it, but the truth is that all photographs uploaded to the website belong to the individual that shot the photo. (I'm sure that many of the photos uploaded were done so without the express permission of the "actual" photographer, but I digress). In order to use the photos on Find A Grave for your personal tree or blog you are required to ask permission of the submitter. The Legal Genealogist discusses these copyright issues in the great post Grave terms of use, so I will not try to explain here. However, I will complain here.

If you have read this blog for any amount of time you know that I hold copyright very dear to my heart. I have posted numerous links to public domain photos and content. But I believe that Find A Grave should be in the same realm. The photos are uploaded by users for the intent of sharing content. If they didn't want them shared with the world they wouldn't have posted them in the first place. I have posted numerous photos and have seen the same photos on several trees on I don't care because I wanted to share the images to help other people. After all, that is the intent of the Find A Grave site.

From the FAQs page:

Why did you create Find A Grave?
We believe this information is important for many reasons. It is of great historical importance to have a record of all those who have been a part of our collective humanity. Burial information is a wonderful resource for people researching their families (genealogists). Most importantly, visiting a gravesite is a way of keeping the memory of someone alive. We aim to create a comprehensive 'virtual cemetery' where loved ones can visit graves, leave flowers, etc. when they cannot do so in real life due to geography, finances or other circumstances.

So, what is the issue? If Find A Grave is a free site whose content is loaded by its end users, why the need for the copyright restriction? I completely understand Find A Grave's need to cover themselves with the copyright mention on their facts page. However, I believe that in order to post images to the site the users should comply to an agreement that the photos they upload become part of the public domain available for use by the general public. After all, we're talking about photos of gravestones, not something you are going to sell at an art gallery. As for photos of individuals and newspaper clippings, that is the user's choice, but newspaper clipping images don't technically belong to them either.

The bottom line is this: If you want to retain copyright to an image and squirrel it away for yourself, don't post it on a publicly accessible and free website. It's that simple. I don't think there is any need, in this instance, to request the use of the photos. I think it should be inherent. What are your thoughts?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Military Monday - Arlus Moyer, WWI mystery album

As I mentioned here a few months ago I was able to score some great old photo albums on ebay. I must admit that I got carried away and spent more than I should, but I just felt drawn to these albums. My hope is that one day I will be able to get them to family that will treasure them. So today I will feature some items in one of the albums in the hope of connecting with someone and to honor a military hero.

Arlus Ruben Moyer was born in Prospect, Marion County, Ohio on October 21, 1895, to Frank and Ada (Kirts) Moyer. He had an older sister, Ruth, born March 24, 1894.
The above registration certificate is glued into the photo album. Arlus registered for World War I on June 5, 1917. Note that his father was the registrar.

According to the book Ohio Soldiers in WWI 1917-1918, it appears that Arlus joined the military on October 6, 1917, though it is unclear whether he was drafted or chose to enlist.

Arlus served with the 158th Depot Brigade, out of Ohio from his enlistment to February 24, 1918. He was then transferred to Company B, 6th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division. He was a bugler and was promoted to Corporal on March 22, 1918. Arlus was at the two large battles at St. Mihiel and the Meuse-Argonne and was overseas from April 19, 1918 to July 22, 1919.  He was honorably discharged on July 30, 1919.
1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, July 1919. Presumably taken as the Battalion prepared to return to America.
A leave pass which seems to give Corporal Moyer the run of the land.
The photo album includes several mementos from Arlus' service and many family photos. Unfortunately, the photos are pasted into the album and I'm a little leery of pulling them up.

I believe that the Soldier in the photo above is Arlus Moyer. I also think that the four women are all related to each other because their faces all have the same shape.
Esther, myself and Ruth
In the above photo I believe that "myself" and Ruth look so much alike that they could be related. Arlus' first wife was name Esther and his sister was Ruth but there are too many women in these photos for me to make connections based on the information I know.
The second half of the photo album is filled with military action photos. Each one is generic and they were probably available for purchase to Soldiers overseas.

Arlus Moyer died in 1961. His headstone states that he earned the Silver Star, a very prestigious medal for bravery. I'm not sure how he earned this award, but I am very proud to have this album of keepsakes from a hero. If you know anything about Arlus Moyer or his descendants I would love to hear about it and try to return this album where it belongs.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Surname Saturday - Happy

Some of the more recent Happy generations.
Last week I wrote a post about Marcella Reed who married in to my Happy family line. Queen Bee, of The Bees Knees Daily, asked if I knew the origin of the surname: Happy. It was a good question and one that I quickly realized I didn't have an answer for.

Based on a biography of my third great-grandfather, Elijah Happy, I know that the family lived in Kentucky in the early 1800s and moved to Missouri sometime in the 1840s/1850s. Elijah's parents were James Happy and Catherine Vaughn. James was born April 25, 1804 and Catherine was born August 20, 1809, both in Fayette County, Kentucky.

And that is the end of the wealth of information I have on the Happy line. There are a myriad of trees on the Internet that trace this family back to Germany, but not a single one (that I have found) lists any references for this information. I have searched through the Kentucky Historical Society, Kentucky Secretary of State, posted messages on the genealogy boards and surfed various and a sundry sites for Fayette County, Kentucky, all to no avail. Once the family moves to Missouri they are easy to trace but I can't seem to get any further back. Any suggestions are welcome! It's funny, I never realized this was a brick wall until Queen Bee reminded me!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for February 22, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.
My Genealogy Hound bringing free biography info to genealogists
Couple reunited with long lost WWII love letters
Kathryn of Kathryn's Quest blogs her surnames by county...a great idea!
Cold War Mania at Many Branches, One Tree
A Japanese passport mystery at Discovering my Lane Family Roots
Part 4 of an in-depth military ancestor search at My Tapley Tree...and its Branches
Adventures in Genealogy shares a link to the Library of Congress Railroad map collection
A "Little Country Boy" and his presidential correspondence
Metal tube family treasures at Jana's Genealogy
Yet another great site for public domain images

Thursday, February 21, 2013

What are your thoughts on cemetery behavior?

This past weekend I was reading through the online version of the Kansas City Star and came across a Dear Abby column where the writer lamented the behavior of children at cemeteries. In short, the author was disturbed by parents that allowed their children to use a cemetery as a playground.

I was also disturbed by the thought of children running through a cemetery, pulling up flowers and taking the mementos left on the headstones as their own treasures. That is clearly a parenting issue. But the more I thought about it, the more I began to think that Americans seem to have a very "Victorian" idea of death. It's something we don't talk about and we haven't changed our ideas on death in a very long time. The author made me feel as if I must walk through a cemetery as if I were part of a constant death march.

Please don't misunderstand, I firmly believe that a cemetery should be a place of reflection and respect for those that have passed before us. And I don't believe that children should be climbing on headstones or "treasure hunting" among mementos. But I also don't believe that myself or my children must remain quiet as a tomb as we explore cemeteries. Unless, of course, there were a funeral taking place. But in that instance I would wait to explore the cemetery at another time.
My little one leaves a treasure for his 3rd great grandparents.
I take my children with me to cemeteries because I often don't have a choice. But I also believe that they must understand what death means. And they also need to be exposed to cemeteries so that they can be taught the proper way to behave. If it is a beautiful day and my son feels like skipping through the grass while we hunt for an ancestor, I don't have an issue with that. After all, life goes on, and I think this simple type of act is the embodiment of that. What do you think?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Minnie with her baby

Minnie (Dudgeon) White holding Buford White in 1917. The little boy behind her is either Houston or Clifton White.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - SmartArt Excel ancestor graphic

I love Microsoft Excel...spreadsheets soothe my OCD mind. I use them a lot to manage my family history facts and files. I have recently gone nuts with the SmartArt graphic feature in Excel (a tool in all Microsoft Office products starting with the 2007 version). I use this feature to create the relationship graphic that I use in several posts.
The relationship graphic I created using SmartArt.
To create a SmartArt illustration in Excel, open a file and click on the insert tab. You'll see the SmartArt graphic in the Illustrations block.
Your click opens the SmartArt Graphic choice list. There are many options to choose from to illustrate various and a sundry concepts. For the graphic shown above I chose the "staggered process" option.
Click on your choice of graphic and it will be inserted in to your page with the default settings. You can adjust the colors, box shape and font through the SmartArt tools design tab.
To add or subtract boxes from your graphic simply right click on a box and scroll to "Add Shape."
There are endless options for how to customize the SmartArt graphic for your family research. You could change the colors to match your blog, or determine different colors for different family lines. You can use the Snipping Tool to use the graphic on your blog.
No matter how you customize it, I think you'll find that it is a handy option for adding information to your blog or helping to clarify your family research.
Also, check out this post at the Legal Genealogist to read her thoughts on using Microsoft graphics on your blog.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Marcella Reed

Marcella Reed is my 3rd great-grandmother through my maternal side. She was born in 1835 in Montgomery County, Missouri, which is about half-way between Columbia and St. Louis. Marcella was the fourth of six known children.
Marcella's father, David, fought at a young age in the War of 1812. He received a land warrant and when he died in 1853, Mary Reed received a widow's pension. Marcella married Elijah Happy April 21, 1853 in Carroll County, Missouri.
The couple settled in Ray County, Missouri where they had all of their children.
The 1860s were a rough time for the young couple. They lost at least four babies, one after another, in a four-year time period.
Marcella lived the rest of her life in Ray County, Missouri, where her husband was a farmer. At it's largest point their farm was 200 acres. She died in 1891 and is buried in Richmond Cemetery, Richmond, Missouri.

Marcella is one of those ancestors that I have the "bones" for, but no meat. From biographies written about her husband I know that she attended Missionary Baptist Church but that is it. Based on the above information I have the following "due-outs" for Marcella:
1. Find her obituary.
This post is part of my on-going goal of 2013 to research each of my 32 3rd great-grandparents more in-depth. Marcella is #18 on my list.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for February 15, 2013

Favorites is my weekly list of favorite genealogy, history and random finds from across the Net.
A special jewelry box at My Tapley Tree...and its Branches
The shadowy, secret life of WWI Soldier finally revealed
Europeana, Europe's digital popular, it's servers were overwhelmed when it debuted!
The Genealogy Insider shares African American genealogy resources
A Southern Sleuth shares a juicy story: Moonshining in Alabama
Graveyard Rabbit of Sandusky Bay shares a tip for Ohio research
A museum mystery for young detectives: The Tooth Fairy File
Back when Valentines were mean: Vinegar valentines
Randy at Genea-Musings reminds us of the latest updates to the collections
Love and war 1914-1918
A drop-leaf table special to Shaking Leaves
Smithsonian curators share their favorite valentines
All over the news recently: The loving side of LBJ
I can't help it. Here's more love: Swoon Worthy Love Letters from History

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My sweet Valentine

I met my sweet valentine "about" 10 years ago. I say about because neither one of us actually wrote the date down. But based on our best CSI techniques we think it was around February 16, 2003.

My husband and I have a unique "how-we-met" story. In January 2003 we were both deployed to a little place called Uzbekistan, he with the Air Force and myself as an Army Reserve Soldier. Sometime in February that year, I was walking down the path between tents and stumbled on a group of guys playing poker. I asked if I could play and a cute guy said "sure!" I was just joking, but he took me seriously and asked me to come over. I couldn't at the time, but told him my tent number and that he could find  me the next time they got a game together, fully thinking he would forget all about it. He didn't. A couple days later I saw him at the PX (post exchange), and all I could see over the shelf in between us was his bright blue eyes. He came around the corner and he had a flight suit on. My heart fluttered, literally fluttered, and I was in love.

We spent the next few months getting to know one another. We were very lucky in that we were semi-segregated from the world. Outside of our daily jobs all we had to worry about was us. By the time that our deployment was over we were already planning our life together.

As soon as I returned home I drove to Abilene, Texas to be with him and have been here ever since. I believe in fate and I believe that we were brought to that place for a reason. Life isn't always easy, but this was. I am so lucky to have my sweet valentine.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - What is your best blogging advice?

It seems that this blogging thing is catching on. It wasn't that long ago that there were some Saturdays where Geneabloggers didn't have any new blogs to share. Now? There are 15-20 a week. Great news for all of us, I say. You never know when we'll find a new cousin.

Office for Emergency Management. Office of War Information. Domestic Operations Branch. Bureau of Special Services. (03/09/1943 - 09/15/1945), NARA.
That being said, I got to thinking that some of those new bloggers may like to hear some of our lessons learned.

My best piece of advice is to always include an image in your posts. It could be a family photo, a graphic, or a map, but always include some type of image. Written content is, afterall, the whole point, but images really tie a piece together and make it visually appealing. This is especially important if your post has a lot of text. As a reader, it is hard for me to get through even fascinating content if there are no images to break it up. I'm not sure if that is because I'm a visual learner or because I still read picture books! Long posts can also be separated in to more than one post. It's a win-win: you have more posts and your readers don't get lost in a 10-scroll long post.

There are many places to find free images online for your on your blog. See my post here for some great links for open-source images. Also check out this Wikipedia article which includes many links to public domain images.

What is your best blogging advice?

Monday, February 11, 2013

Matrilineal Monday - Louann Lightner

Louann Lightner is a 3rd great grandparent through my father's paternal side. It is also through Louann that I can claim my ancestry from the Mayflower. The research on Louann was done by my great-grandmother, Ruth Butler Burnett, whose work compiles the bulk of this line. I also received a wealth of information from my second great-grand uncle, Adrian Lightner Johnston, who wrote a book on this line available in the Library of Congress.

I say that I have a wealth of information on Louann Lightner, but all I really have is the basic facts: birth, children, where she lived and death.

Louann was born October 24, 1844 in Russiaville, Indiana, a small city not far from Kokomo, Indiana. She was the third of six known children to Daniel D. Lightner and Polly Seward.
Daniel was a state senator for Howard County, Indiana during the Civil War and was an avid abolitionist, despite having been born in Virginia, a slave state. There is enough information about Daniel to warrant his own post.

Louann married Charles O. Johnston in Howard County, Indiana on April 22, 1863.
Soon after, the couple moved to Hobart, Lake County, Indiana where they lived until their deaths.
Louann Lightner Johnston died August 5, 1921 in Hobart, Lake County, Indiana. She is buried in Hobart Cemetery, Hobart, Indiana.
I wish that I knew more about who Louann was, outside of the bare facts of her life. To date I have found nothing, but I'm determined to keep looking.

Based on the above information I have the following "due-outs" for Louann:
1. Find her obituary.
2. Request a photo of her headstone through
3. Search for her in the Hobart, Indiana newspaper to find out more about who she was.
This post is part of my on-going goal of 2013 to research each of my 32 3rd great-grandparents more in-depth. Louann is #16 on my list.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Surname Saturday - Henry Clay Hankins

Henry Clay Hankins is #23 on my 3rd great-grandparents 2013 goals list. I am related to him through my mother's paternal side.

Henry Clay Hankins was born September 10, 1858 in Ray County, Missouri. He was the lucky 13th and last child of John Hankins and Emily Sloan.
This branch of the Hankins family began in Bledsoe County, Tennessee where John Hankins married Emily Sloan in 1835. The couple lived in this county and in Marion County, Tennessee before moving to Ray County, Missouri, where the last four of their children were born. John Hankins and at least one of his sons, Thomas, fought in the Civil War.

Henry Clay Hankins married Ella Caroline Webb on October 1, 1885 and the couple had two children.

Henry C. Hankins lived in Rayville, Ray County, Missouri his whole life. He worked in his brother's bank, ran a dry goods store and later in life is listed as a farmer. He and Ella owned their property and I have been told their house stills stands, though I have not seen it.
The 1930 Plat map for Ray County, Missouri. Rayville is just 9 miles northeast of Richmond, the county seat.
Based on this plat map, it appears that Henry had two parcels of land: one of 40 acres and one of 20. The 20 acre parcel adjoins 40 acres owned by C.M. Webb, which just happen to be the same initials of Charles M. Webb, Henry's father-in-law. Charles had been dead three years by the time this map was drawn up, but I still wonder if it belonged to the family.
Henry C. Hankins and Ella (Webb) Hankins home in Rayville, Missouri. Date unknown.
Henry lived to be 96 years old and died . He is buried in Rayville at the Crowley Cemetery.

I have the following "due-outs" for Henry:

1. Find a copy of his obituary.
2. Try to locate a photo of Henry and Ella through distant cousins.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Follow Friday - Favorites for February 8, 2013

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

A great story about the returning of a family treasure: Lost WWI medal returned to family
The Webtrees Genealogist shares a cool new tool: Thinglink
Laughing for the camera, c. 1890s at Two Nerdy History Girls
A Southern Sleuth shares: The Stories Their Faces Tell
Heather at Nutfield Genealogy shares a great list of 1918 Flu epidemic posts
Memorable moments in the life of NYC's Grand Central Terminal, which celebrates 100 this year
Federation of Genealogical Society Announces New Blog for War of 1812 Fundraising
Get help with finding your MIAA (Missing in Action Ancestor) at the In-Depth Genealogist
A great guide to historical newspapers available online
How to build a Family Census Table
A baseball salvaged from a Civil War battlefield
WWII War Paint: How Bomber-Jacket Art Emboldened Our Boys
A movie theater in Queens, NYC that you have to see to believe
Check out Geek the Library and learn how to help fund local libraries

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Growing kids in the field

Buddy, Rose Mary and Sonny White, circa early 1940s.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday's Tip - The Snipping Tool for blogging

Just a few days ago I was introduced to a new handy tool for blogging. I was working on my timeline for Marcellus White, which I created as an Excel document. I wanted to include a screen shot for my blog post, but it needed to be crisp and clear and I didn't want pesky lines showing on my Excel document. My husband came to the rescue, showing me a handy tool: The Snipping Tool.
The Snipping Tool can be found on your Windows PC in the Accessories folder (beginning with Windows 7). This is a simple tool that allows you to create screen shots the easy way, without having to hit the PrtScn button and pasting into a separate program (although there are still times where this tip will be useful). With the Snipping Tool you simply draw a box around the portion of the screen you want to save and the program automatically allows you to save the selected portion as an image.
When you have decided on the screen view you want to save, open the Snipping Tool, select new and use the cursor to select the area you want.
The selected area then opens in the Snipping Tool window.
You now have the option to the save the file, email it, make notes on it or even highlight certain parts. Easy, and it cuts out several steps from the version I have been doing.
More more information check out this post on the tool at

Monday, February 4, 2013

Military Monday - Missouri Division WWI histories online

As I have written about here and here, my distant cousin James Smith Trabue fought and died in World War I. He was assigned to Company H, 356th Regiment, 89th Infantry Division. Eighty years later I was assigned as an Army Reserve Soldier to the heraldic descendant of the 89th ID, the 89th Army Reserve Command (ARCOM) and later 89th Regional Support Command (RSC).
The patch of the 89th Infantry Division as used in WWI. The red portion indicates that the owner of the patch was in an artillery unit.
I feel a special bond to the 89th so I was excited to see that the Missouri Digital Heritage site, in collaboration with the National World War I Museum, has digitized the World War I histories of the 89th Infantry Division and the 35th Infantry Division, both filled with Missouri and Kansas Soldiers, among other states. Explore this great collection of WWI history here.

Unfortunately, the unit history for my cousin's company, Company H, is not available. However, the WWI museum tells me that they are in the process of digitizing their collection and who knows what treasures we will find!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A football family

I was not raised in a "sports" family. We weren't crazy fans and we didn't camp overnight for tickets. But we have always loved our local teams and big sporting events like the Olympics or the 1985 World Series (go Royals!) and my parents loved watching college football (my mom loves Notre Dame).
A fan even at age 6.
As I grew older I started supporting my teams more. I went to many Kansas City Royals and Chiefs games and the Kansas City Wiz/Wizards, now called Sporting KC. Being a die-hard Kansas Citian, I grew in to a huge fan for all three teams.
What you won't do for love. My husband and I at a Broncos game in 2005.
And then I met my husband. Originally from Colorado, he is a die-hard Broncos fan. (There has been no living with him since they acquired Peyton Manning.) Needless to say, we are a house divided. My husband's love for football has rubbed off on me and now we look forward to football season each year. My Chiefs continue to struggle and the Broncos are beginning to thrive. Alas, it doesn't matter who wins because we can enjoy watching as a family.

I love and hate the Super Bowl. It marks the start of the winter of our discontent. The last game of the season. We must wade through the sports black hole until baseball begins in April (note here that I am not a basketball fan). However, it is a fun experience to watch, especially with a group of friends. I have no allegiance to the teams playing, but it doesn't really matter. It's all about the game. Have fun watching today and here's to a quick return of football!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Surname Saturday - James Madison Thomas

I'm back to tracking my 3rd great-grandparents today with #19 on the list: James Madison Thomas. I am related to James through my mother's paternal side.

James Madison Thomas was born in Kentucky around 1848. His family was listed on the 1850 census in Greenup County, Kentucky, so this could be his birth place. His parents were James Madison Thomas and Nancy Johnson and he was one of 14 children. I have only found 11:
Sometime between 1850 and 1860 the family relocated to Ray County, Missouri. I have every census record available for James. After the family moved to Ray County, James spent the rest of his life in Camden, Missouri. 
A map of Ray County, Missouri, 1877, from the Missouri Digital Heritage Missouri Plat Book Collection. Camden is in the far south of the county along the banks of the Missouri River.  
James married Lucinda Megonnigil on October 23, 1870. 
Marriage record in Ray County, Missouri for James M. Thomas and Lucinda McGonnigil.
According to the 1900 census the couple had 8 children, with seven living. I have only found six to date:
I have not found the other two children, but it seems that one of them lived to adulthood and one died young. I found that they also lost their son, Rollie, at age 14 due to an accident. 

James was born in to a farming family, but he became a coal miner, along with at least one brother, John. Coal mining was a large industry in Ray County at just prior to and after the turn of the twentieth century. 
A description of Camden, Missouri from the History of Ray County, Missouri, 1881.
Based on this description of Camden, Missouri, it is possible that James Thomas was a coal miner right in his back yard, though there were mines in other parts of Ray County.

James Madison Thomas died on September 4, 1917, in Camden, Missouri. He is buried in Cravens Cemetery, Camden, Missouri.

Based on the above information I have the following "due-outs" for James:

1. Get a photo of his headstone (I have had a request on for this since 2011, I'll probably just head there myself on my next visit to Missouri).
2. Find out more about the origins of the Thomas family in Kentucky.
3. Try to determine James' and Lucinda's other two children.

This post is part of my on-going goal of 2013 to research each of my 32 3rd great-grandparents more in-depth.