Saturday, June 25, 2016

It's not's just for now

I am stopping for awhile.

But, it's not forever -- it's just for now.

I keep a running tab of all of the classes and webinars that I attend and listen to.  I also keep a list of all of the classes and webinars that I present.  
Peggy presenting at the OGS Conference in Sandusky, Ohio -- 2015.
It was just last November that I began to assemble the list into its final form.  I do this so that when I am applying for my renewal for Accreditation through ICAPGEN, I can show that I am keeping myself active and current.  As I tallied the list for 2015, I counted up 62 presentations that I have given in that year alone.

That is not counting webinars.

And, it's also not 62 different trips.  Sometimes I am at a venue for an entire day or more, and there may be several presentations.  All in all, they added up to 62.

And, I'm a bit tired.

After talking it over with Mr. Kerry, I decided to fulfill all of my commitments up through the end of June 2016.  Then, I'm done for the year.  There are actually still a couple of webinars, and a local presentation, plus one in Kentucky.  Those presentations are completed, and I will revamp them leading up to the date.  That won't take long.

So today, I gave my last presentation for awhile.  It was at The Ohio Genealogical Society, which I love and live close to.

For the next six months, I am going to concentrate on me.  I have unfinished projects that need to completed.  Those are difficult to do when I'm in constant preparation and heading out the door.  

I am also going to refresh some of the 30+ presentations that I have listed on my website, and work on the 9-10 I have in various phases of completion.  They need some work, too. 

Now, I'm not out of the picture.  I will continue to be very active on Facebook, and listening to webinars and online learning any way that I can.  I must do this, for I want to keep my mind active and learning for as long as I can.

I will come rolling back in 2017 stronger and rested up, for I have already booked well into that year, plus a couple into 2018.

Now, please don't worry about me.  There is nothing wrong with me -- I am simply recharging myself.  And, I'm grateful I am able to do this, for we still have Mr. Kerry's pension coming in.  Last year alone, I doubled our income.  

So, as of today, I'm putting my feet up, not wondering which city I'm waking up in, eating food from my own kitchen, and getting ready to do some fixing-up around here.  It needs it.

I'll be back!  I promise!!  And if a local society really needs a presentation, I can probably be talked into it.  We'll see.

Love to you all...
Peggy wearing her dad's fishing hat.
After he died, I pulled all of the fishhooks out of it, cleaned it up, and glued a flower on it.
It's my very favorite hat!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Don't Forget Me!

Several years ago, my sister Betty found a death certificate on FamilySearch that she had not been aware of before.  It was a death certificate for her mother-in-law's little sister, who was born at 5 1/2 months into her mother's pregnancy, and died the same day.
"Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1911 > 33211-35940 > image 2018 of 3256.

Betty kept asking me to help her get it into the computer and onto FamilySearch, but time kept slipping away.  It turned into a "one of these days things".  I was partly at fault, for this was my brother-in-law's family, and it wasn't at the top of my list of things to do.

Then, my brother-in-law passed away in Oct 2015.  

Sister Betty became immersed in all that is required around the death of a spouse, but continually kept running across this certificate.  One evening, she called me and asked me to help her again.  I responded, "Let's do it right now!"

Me:  Where did you find the certificate?
Betty:  On FamilySearch
Me:  What name is it listed under?
Betty:  Baby Schueneman
Me:  What year did this happen?
Betty:  1911

That was all I needed at the time to arm myself for a search.  And, I found the certificate in no time.
"Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 21 May 2014), 1911 > 33211-35940 > image 2019 of 3256.
Or, so I thought.  

Because of the advent of modern technology, we have the capability to magnify and enlarge our screen images.  I saw a word after the cause of death that "looked" like it said "twin".  
I quickly called Betty, and told her to get her hard copy of the certificate out, along with her magnifying glass.  I waited while she located them, then told her to look very carefully at the copy that she had.
There was no question that these were two separate and distinct certificates, with Baby Schueneman's certificate numbers being 34908 and 34909.  And, until it was enlarged, I actually thought the word in parenthesis was "Irwin".

These babies had no entry on or on  Betty contacted the cemetery where the babies' grandparents were buried, and found they were buried in the same plot with the grandparents, but had no headstone.  

Their parents were buried many years later in a cemetery approximately fifteen miles away.  I have since made entries on FindAGrave that connect the babies with their parents.  

Thanks to the persistence of an older sister who was trying to do the best she could with her husband's family, she kept after me until I finally gave in and found the time to help her.  

Otherwise, Baby Schueneman might never have been included in the family records.  

Lessons learned:
1.  When something is pressing on your mind concerning your ancestors, pay attention to it.  This was not pressing on my mind, but it had always been in the back of my sister's mind.

2.  Learn to examine every record carefully.  Use magnification tools to enlarge and enhance.

3.  Make an effort to find a burial site, and connect them on FindAGrave.  In this case, these two babies were buried alongside grandparents.

4.  And, most of all, don't forget them!  One of these babies would have been left out and forgotten if there hadn't been followthrough.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

It Takes Time

Genealogy research takes time.

Sometimes a little.  Sometimes a lot.  But, it does take time.  

I have the opportunity to present genealogy lectures across the country and on many webinar platforms.  I can't begin to express how much I love doing this.  It's something I never, ever thought I would be doing, for all I ever wanted to be was a wife and mom.

And, that took time.

Case studies are particularly informative.  I love listening to others' journeys into solving a family history problem, and present several of my lectures using that same format.  They seem to be well received, for they show the attendees the bread crumb trail that leads to solid information on an ancestor.

But, they take time.

I recently presented a webinar for Legacy Family Tree Webinars, and have received many comments about it via email and Facebook.  It represented my grandmother's family lines straight back into the late 1700's.  Some of that information led to a lengthy court case that extended down to her day.

But, it took time.

It's important for attendees to recognize that when looking at someone's case study, they may be looking at what took years and years of research, and not an afternoon of sitting down looking at hints from various big name websites.  Those who enjoy doing jigsaw puzzles will understand this perfectly!

So, don't become discouraged when research doesn't fall into place in a short amount of time.  Most case studies demonstrate research that has been done over a period of time, where the information gathered has been carefully perused and put into place.
I love giving webinars!  
This was taken last year while giving another webinar for Legacy Family Tree Webinars.
It's how I usually do research, too -- except I have moved all of my folders, papers, and books to make me look good.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Searching for Ethel

My sister Betty, who is closest in age to me, was born in Ethel, West Virginia.
Betty Lee Clemens

Except there is no Ethel, West Virginia.  Well, there isn't now.
1940 Census, Middle Rex Camp, Fort Branch, Logan, West Virginia
Chester and Ida Clemens (she was asked supplemental questions, hence the "x")
Sisters:  Fern, Gene (actually Jean), and Bittie (Betty)

One of the advantages of driving to a genealogy conference is the freedom to stop at places along the way.  Mr. Kerry and I use this time to take side trips and see the countryside.

I was a presenter at the National Genealogical Conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and we made the drive to and from there.  It was a long drive, and it was wonderful.

As we entered West Virginia, I wondered how far off the beaten path Logan County would be for us.  It was only an hour, so off we drove into some of the deepest hills of Appalachia I've ever been to.  The trees formed a canopy that made it hard for the little bit of sunlight to penetrate.

My parents and two sisters moved to Logan County, West Virginia so that my father could find work in the coal mines.  Sister Betty would be born after they arrived.  I have written about parts of their lives here and here.  The second story particularly mentions the Battle of Blair Mountain that took place when my dad was just a boy.

We drove into the county seat, Logan, and began to look around for the house my family lived in.  I asked a few people, who weren't real anxious to talk to me.  I finally went into a McDonald's and put my "twang" on.  Suddenly, I became one of them.  They weren't sure where the street was, but I eventually found a policeman who took us right to it.

I asked him how to get to Ethel.  
He said, "Ma'am, it ain't there no more."  
Me:  Can you point me in the vicinity?
He said, "You turn up there where ___ used to be."
Me:  I don't know where ___ used to be, for I haven't been here in 50 years.
He said, "Just follow me, and when I wave my arm, you turn left."
Me:  Got it!

We drove to a place that had a street sign that said Ethel Hollow, and an even bigger sign that said, "No trespassing!"  Mr. Kerry, who values his life, thought it might not be a good idea.

Oh, alright.

Further up the main road was a coal camp, where a guard was sitting in a shack.  I asked him if he knew where Middle Rex Camp used to be.  He asked how long ago.  I told him my family lived there in Ethel in the 1940's.  He told us to go back down where the No Trespassing sign was.

Me:  Will I get shot at?
Him:  Depends.  Can you shoot?
Me:  You bet I can.  And, I don't miss.
Him:  You'll be fine. 

Good grief.

With trepidation, Kerry drove back to the No Trespassing sign, and we drove back even deeper into the hills and hollers of Appalachia - exactly where my family lived, and where sister Betty was born.

These signs are certainly a reminder of the hazards coal miners face on a daily basis.
You can still see veins of coal in this abandoned coal camp.

This structure looked like the corner of a building, or perhaps a chimney.  I didn't dare get close enough to find out.

There was certainly no cell service back in the holler, but when we drove out I was able to call Betty for just a few seconds before we lost contact.  I was describing to her what we found, including the above structure.  She told me it had been the company store.
As my  mother would say, "That's groundhogs making coffee."

 The Hatfield and McCoy Feud has provided somewhat of a boost to a very depressed economy in this part of Appalachia.  The road to Ethel is used by ATV's to get back to the trail.
I don't think I've ever seen a speed limit sign for this amount.

But, when those loaded coal hauls come barreling down the roadway, you know to get out of their way.  They can't stop, and fly straight out onto the highway.

So, did I find Ethel?  I found what is left of Ethel.  There isn't much, but years ago, a poor coal miner and his wife welcomed another baby girl into the family back in Ethel Hollow.

My dad, Chester Clemens, after a day of working in the mines.
He used to say that you went to work with blacks, whites, and Indians.  But, when you came out, you were all the same color.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Do I Really Need to Join My Local Society? I Have No Ancestors From My Area...

I have no ancestry from Ohio.  

It is my home state, but I am the only one who was born and raised here in my ancestry.

In the 1880 U.S. Federal  Census, I have a set of grandparents that are found in Darke County, Ohio.  Research into this family has occupied a good portion of my time, but I have not been able to find a single reason why they moved there from eastern Kentucky, are enumerated on one census, and are found back in Kentucky again.
Darke Co., Ohio, Image from Wikipedia
I lived in the north-central area of the state.

I also have another set of grandparents who, along with an entire neighborhood, left Grayson County, Virginia to settle in Ironton, Lawrence Co., Ohio.  More than likely, it was industry that brought them all to that area.
Ironton, Lawwrence Co., Ohio, Image from Wikipedia

Except for family members who moved north into the Youngstown area about the same time my parents came to Ohio, there is no one else.

So, why would I entertain the thought of joining either the Ohio Genealogical Society, or more especially, my local chapter here in Richland County?  I understood more clearly than ever when I attended a monthly meeting this past Saturday.  

I know many of the local members of both the local and the state societies.  They are good people, and their leadership is stellar.  They work hard to provide quality educational programs for their members, as well as activities and publications.

This past Saturday, I was fortunate enough to attend a meeting where the President of the Ohio Genealogical Society, Margaret Cheney, was presenting a program on "Women's Westward Journey".  It was one of the best gifts I could have given to myself, for not only is Margaret an excellent presenter, I was immediately drawn right into the lives of the women she talked about.  Her visuals were stunning, and I felt like I was walking along the plains with these women.

This link will give you an idea of the programs and offerings of my local society:

Nearly every society I have presented to has someone who is in charge of arranging speakers for the year.  That is their focus - to educate the members of their society.  And, there isn't a one of us who doesn't need a refresher course every now and then.

I have found that networking with the people I have met around the country gives me the "fix" I need when I want to talk about genealogy.  Many of us have friends and relatives who are just not interested in genealogy - and may never be.  But, to be with like-minded people that can offer suggestions as to research, records, computer help, methodology, etc. is something that can benefit us all.

Plus, they are generally very inexpensive to join.  If you look at the link posted above, it's only $12.00 / year to be a member of my local society.  But, the benefits are worth far more than the amount you pay.  

Genealogy societies sometimes take a "hit", for most people believe that everything you need to research your ancestry is found on the internet.  Membership in the societies decline, and attendance at meetings lessen.  But, the internet is truly the tip of the iceberg, as illustrated in a popular meme that shows up on Facebook occasionally.
FamilySearch, Ancestry, FindMyPast, MyHeritage, and many more are wonderful tools to let us comfortably research from home.  But, think of the vast holdings that will likely never be on the internet; those that are found in teeny libraries that have a local history room.  Or, even better, the information and wisdom that comes people that have lived in a locality for many years, and know just about everything about everyone who has ever lived there.

I plan on attending many more local meetings this year, for even though I am a genealogy speaker, and I am also one who needs to continually keep learning.  I walked away from Saturday's meeting realizing that more than ever.

Give it some thought; and consider joining your local genealogy society.  They need you!

And, more importantly, you need them.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Looking for Beulah

I never knew my Great Aunt Beulah.  She died nearly seventeen years before I was born.
While I am usually working on presentations at this point in my life, I occasionally get to work on my own research.  The examples I give at genealogy conferences are usually from my own family.

So, on this rare Saturday that I don't feel the pressure to meet a deadline, I am cleaning up some of my own records.  

I knew Beulah's husband very well, for he was my grandmother's brother.  Uncle Bethel Gearheart had the kindest voice, and always welcomed me up on to the porch.  He lived in Lawton, Carter Co., Kentucky.

I knew "about" Beulah, but didn't really know her.  Family records indicated that she may have died in childbirth.  Kentucky death records are available for that time period, so I looked.

And, I kept looking.  And, kept looking.

I never did find a death certificate for Beulah Gearheart, but I did indeed find one for Beulah STONE.
I can't fathom a reason why Beulah Gearheart's death certificate would be listed under her maiden name of Stone, for she was indeed married to Bethel Gearheart.

Unfortunately, I probably won't ever be able to prove it, for the area where they were married, Elliott County, Kentucky, has suffered record losses due to courthouse fires.  But, since this was my mother's uncle, she knew him and Beulah quite well.  All I have to go on at this time is her word, and her personal knowledge and acquaintance with both of them.
 You can see where her name is filed under Beulah Stone, and her husband's name is Bethel Gearheart.
And, on a sad note, she died of septicemia following the birth and death of her twins girls, Zelma and Thelma.  They were born on 15 Apr 1938, and died sometime in the same month.

My takeaway:  Look under names you wouldn't likely have looked.  Beulah's death certificate is under her maiden name, not under the name of her husband, where we would normally look.  I don't have the answer as to why; I'm just grateful I was able to locate it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Probate Tickler?

Once again, I have learned something I didn't know that I didn't know.

It's a probate tickler.

I learned about this term from the FamilySearch Wiki, and it was completely a foreign term to me.  Here is a definition from the Washington state page: 

I learned that ticklers are used in many, if not most areas where probate records are found.
The county clerk is usually the custodian of probate records. The records include wills, fee books, claim registers, legacy records, inheritance records, probate ticklers, and dockets.
Content: Probate Records may give the decedent's date of death, names of his or her spouse, children, parents, siblings, in-laws, neighbors, associates, relatives, and their place of residence.
You can obtain copies of the original probate records (such as wills and estate files) by writing to the county clerk at the county courthouse.

Though there may be some checklists available for examining probate records for our ancestors, I haven't run across one as concise as the current one shown above.  Several websites stated they are used to be able to check items off within a time frame.  Many are done electronically today.

Perhaps devising a tickler that can be used for searching ancestors' estates would be a benefit.  Several of mine run across many months, even many years.  This would help me keep track of the process.