If you have information, stories, photographs, etc., to share about anyone in my family, please contact me - howardka at earthlink.net. If you use anything from this blog, please contact me for permission to post/use elsewhere. I don't mind sharing but would like credit for these original posts and family photos.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Lot of Learning Can Go a Long Way

It's been way too long since I last posted to this blog. I've not stopped researching my ancestors. I've actually done a lot in the past 18 months. One thing I've concentrated on is my ongoing genealogy education through classes. That's what I want to write about this post.

Since I moved to North Carolina after retiring from 30 years in education, I've become a student. After starting in the fall semester of 2009, I've taken a total of 13 classes, plus two I'm taking this semester. Tri-County Community College, where I take my classes, has a very knowledgeable and experienced instructor who teaches all the classes . . . Larry Van Horn. Everyone who's taken his classes over the years has not only gained a lot of knowledge but also knows his family almost as well as our own. These classes have been the best thing that could have ever happened to me as a budding genealogist.

Here are the classes Larry's taught and I've attended since 2009.

Beginning Genealogy
Searching for Your Family History on the Internet (Have taken this class three different years because what's available on the internet concerning family history changes often)
Advanced Genealogy
Legacy Genealogy Program Basics
Researching an American Genealogy, Part 1
Researching an American Genealogy, Part 2
Google Earth (how to use for genealogy)
Hidden Sources
Discovering Your Female Ancestors
Genealogy - DNA (Spring 2014)
Introduction to Ancestry dot com (current class)
Genealogy - DNA (Fall 2014 - starts in October)

I also go to a Genealogy Discussion Group that meets once a month and a Legacy (genealogy program) SIG, also a monthly meeting. Thanks to Larry and my genealogy friends, I'm getting a fine education. I'm so glad to have found a community of friends through these classes and groups.

 If you are interested in finding out about how to begin your family history or you have already started, I recommend that you educate yourself on how to research properly by taking classes, using genealogy websites research help or using excellent print resources. Learning good research techniques is very important. Also see if there is a genealogy group that meets in your area. Not only will you find others interested in genealogy but also experienced people who can help you. At least, that is how the group I go to operates.

First, my favorite website is Ancestry dot com. You have access to Ancestry's educational programs without becoming a paying member. You have to have an account which you can get for free. On the home page you can click on the Learning Center tab for webinars, first steps and more. Check your local library to see if they have Ancestry Library Edition. If you have an Ancestry account (again, it's free), you can use the site at the library to search for your family and download records. You can also use their international side as well. You don't get all the privileges of a subscriber, but you can get a lot of information, records, etc. This is how I started out on Ancestry before I decided to become a subscriber (US only). It's worth a trip to the library to try it out. Make sure you take a thumb drive in case you want to download anything. Just make sure you learn how to research correctly by taking time to go to the Learning Center. You can also put a family tree on this website to keep track of who you've found.

Another good website is FamilySearch dot org. It is free to register and use. They have a lot of indexed records but also many digital records to search and to download. The Wiki tab will take you to the how-to's of how to do genealogy and more. Again, it's good information.

Find a Grave is another excellent resource. Go to findagrave dot com. This information is from their website. "Find a Grave's mission is to find, record and present final disposition information from around the world as a virtual cemetery experience. Find a Grave memorials may contain rich content including pictures, biographies and more specific information. Find A Grave is a resource for anyone in finding the final disposition of family, friends, and 'famous' individuals." Put in some names of your ancestors to see if their information and even some photos are on the website.

Besides the above online resources, there are two good books I recommend. The first is Genealogy, 2nd Edition, by George G. Morgan. The back cover says, "This genealogy guide helps you tap into the wealth of global ancestry records and offers proven strategies for both traditional and electronic research. It explores basic rules of genealogical evidence, evaluation of source materials, research methods, and successful techniques for web-based research."

The second book is, Genealogy Online, 8th Edition, by Elizabeth Powell Crowe. On the back cover it says, "Using this guide and your computer, you can successfully embark on a genealogical research project, locate family roots, and possibly find new family members. You will discover how to begin your search, find specific types of genealogical information on the Web, and use online tools effectively and efficiently. Techniques for tracking, organizing, analysing, and sharing research are included."

If you've ever wanted to find your roots, give it a try. Be warned, though, that it can be an addictive endeavor. I went from knowing very little about my ancestors to learning so much about them, and I haven't stopped yet. You might like it, too.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Mr. and Mrs. Green Berry Jowers

Green Berry and Caroline Hicks Jowers, my paternal great grandparents

Sometimes in this family history journey I'm on, surprises pop up and a typical response is "What in the world!" This happened to me last week.

I'm taking a genealogy class at my local community college in Murphy. It's called "Searching for Your Family History on the Internet." It's the third time I've taken the class, and no, I didn't fail the first two times. There is always something new to learn. Websites add more records and information. New websites appear. Also, each time I've been at a different place in my research and knowledge, and what I heard a time or two before is finally getting through.

The class topic was the website FamilySearch.org. The instructor used Alabama, County Marriages, 1809-1950 (among others) to demonstrate how to search/find information on FamilySearch. I used that opportunity to search in class for marriage records for Green Berry Jowers and Caroline Hicks, my paternal great grandparents. I can tell you I was super excited when this time I found photos of the actual records. I downloaded the images right there in class to look at later when I got home. However, what I found when I looked more closely was a bit disconcerting. Check out the images below to see if you can find my concern.

I already had a transcribed index with marriage information I copied a few years ago. Green Berry was transcribed incorrectly.

Name: Grancerry Jowers
Spouse: Caroline Hicks
Marriage Date: 20 Feb 1864
County: Barbour
State: Alabama
Performed By
Judge of Probate
Performed by
J S Williams
Jordan Dodd, Liahona Research 

© 2011, The Generations Network, Inc.
Alabama Marriage Collection, 1800-1969
Source Information:
Ancestry.com. Alabama Marriage Collection, 1800-1969 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations
Inc, 2006.
Original data:
Alabama Center for Health Statistics. Alabama Marriage Index, 1936-1969. Alabama Center for Health
Statistics, Montgomery, Alabama.
Dodd, Jordan R., et. al. Early American Marriages: Alabama to 1825. Bountiful, UT: Precision Indexing
Publishers, 19xx.
Hunting For Bears, comp. Alabama marriage information taken from county courthouse records. Many of these
records were extracted from copies of the original records in microfilm, microfiche, or book format, located at
the Family History Library.
Dodd, Jordan R., comp. Early American Marriages: Alabama, 1800 to 1920.

This database contains marriage information from selected areas of Alabama from 1800-1973.

Barbour County, AL Marriage Index - Green Berry Jowers and Caroline Hicks are on the left side page, third from the bottom

Marriage License - Green Berry Jowers and Caroline Hicks are on the bottom right page

Can you see why I'm a bit concerned? Did you notice on both records that no marriage date is recorded??? What in the world is that all about? It looks like I've got some digging to do to find out if/when they got married. Personally, I think it's just a matter of when. Just another mystery to try to solve.

An added note of interest, the Barbour County, AL Marriage Index also has other Jowers men listed: Berry Jowers/Emma Stricklin (1888, Berry is Green Berry's son), Hilliard Jowers/Sarah F. Gary (1867, Green Berry's brother), H. N. Jowers/Sarah Williams (Green Berry's brother). I don't know the relationship to the other Jowers men listed.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Martha Denny Langdale

My new year genealogy research got off to a great start. I had been looking for my English great grandmother, Martha Denny Langdale, in England's 1891 census for three years and I finally found her. I had found her easily years earlier in the 1901 census living with my great grandfather and five of her children at 3 Portsdown Place in the Maida Vail area of London.

I knew for three years where my great grandfather, Charles Langdale, was in the 1891 census . . . Wormwood Scrubs Prison in London, England. (That's a story for another day.) I was curious about what happened to his family. I searched for Martha Langdale by name, including a name variant, Langdell. Didn't find her. I looked for her parents, thinking she might have moved back in with them. Didn't find them. I looked for her living with other Langdale families. Didn't find her there either. I tried other searches. What I didn't try was using name variants other than Langdell. Thanks to checking the variant spelling box on findmypast.com, a genealogy website I subscribe to, on January 2, she showed up! She was listed on the census as Martha Lansdale.

Martha (24) was living with her three daughters, Margaret (7), Harriett (3), and Martha (1) at 109 Canterbury Road. It was a multi-family dwelling. No occupation was listed for her.

What stood out to me was her son, Charles, who would be 9 in that census, was not listed. Nor was a daughter, Ellen, who was probably born in 1885 and would've been 6 years old in 1891. I have baptism records for both. I did find a death index record for Charles, who died in 1883, less than a year old. I was very sad when I found that record. It also means my great grandmother was about 15 years old when she became a mother. I've not found a death record for Ellen yet. Martha and Charles went on the have five more children: Norah in 1893, Thomas Henry (my granddad) in 1895, Charles in1898, Dennis in 1900, and Frederick in 1901.  Norah died in 1897.

Martha didn't make it to the 1911 census. She died in 1902. She was 36. Her death was registered in the October, November and December Death Index book.  She left a lot of young children behind. Tragedy struck earlier in 1902 months before Martha died. Dennis died sometime between January and March . These were huge losses for this poor family.

In the 1911 census Charles was listed as a widower. A daughter, three sons (including my granddad), and a nephew lived with him.

1891 Census Martha Denny Langdale
Death Index Martha Denny Langdale
Death Index Charles Langdale

Death Index Norah Langdale

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Wonderful Accidental Find

Sometimes I get so excited on this genealogy journey of mine that I can hardly keep from whooping and hollering from the roof top. Let me tell you about what has me so excited this time.

On August 9 I was reading my email from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter mailing list that I subscribe to. I saw a link to an article that sounded interesting to me, so I clicked on it. http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2012/08/lost-photograph-connects-to-familys-long-history.html     This is what I read:

August 09, 2012

Thursday, June 7, 2012

William Franklin Pritchett and Thomas A. Pritchett - Confederate Soldiers

In a past post (November, 2011), I've written about a great+ uncle who was a Confederate soldier during the Civil War . . . William Ashley Gilley. There are others I haven't written about yet. The BIG news is I've now found a direct ancestor who was a Confederate soldier, William Franklin Pritchett, my grandmother's grandfather. I've written about him in previous posts in September, 2011. Use the Blog Archive to find them.

William Franklin Pritchett enlisted in Company K, 34th Alabama Regiment in late 1862. He was about 42 years old. While that seems rather old to join the Army, circumstances of the war changed age restrictions after September, 1862.

All healthy white men between the ages of 18 and 35 were liable for a three-year term of service in the Confederate Army. All soldiers already in the army for one-year terms now had their length of enlistment extended to three years. In September of 1862, the upper age limit raised to age 45. The age limits expanded to the age range between 17 and 50 in February of 1864.   Source: http://www.nellaware.com/blog/the-confederacys-conscription-act.html 

At that time William was married to his second wife, Nancy Ann Lindsay, my great great grandmother. They had a daughter, Margarett Emma Pritchett, my great grandmother, who was born November 21, 1860. He also had two sons, Thomas Wiley Pritchett (born February 14 1849) and James Phillip Pritchett (born May 20 1851). Their mother, William Franklin's first wife, Margaret Lena Striplin, died sometime after James Phillip's birth and probably before 1858-1859. So, when he went to war, W. F. left a wife, 32 years old, two sons, ages 13 and 11, and a 2 year old daughter.

Battle Flag of the 34th Alabama Regiment

Provenance Reconstruction:
This flag was probably issued to the regiment in the spring of 1864. It bears characteristics which are common to flags issued to artillery batteries in the Army of Tennessee under General Joseph E. Johnston. The flag of the 34th Alabama Infantry is the only known flag of this size to have been issued to an infantry regiment. After the war, the flag was preserved by Dr. John N. Slaughter of Coosa County who had served as a major in the regiment. It was donated to the Alabama Department of Archives and History by his son Dr. Jasper M. Slaughter on April 20, 1910.
       Curator's Object Files, Civil War Flags, Alabama Department of Archives and History.
       Madaus, Howard Michael. The Battle Flags of the Confederate Army of Tennessee. Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1976.

His unit in the 34th Alabama Regiment also included his younger brother, Thomas. They fought together in the battles at Chicamauga, Mission Ridge and the campaign of 1864 from Dalton to Altanta. They also fought in the battle of Franklin, Tennessee, and Nashville. There the two brothers were captured by the Union Army on December 15, 1864. They were transferred to Louisville, Kentucky, and from there they were sent of prison at Camp Douglas, Illinois, near Chicago. Camp Douglas was known as the Union equivalent of the Confederate's Andersonville Prison. (Can you imagine how these two Southern soldiers taken to a prison camp in Illinois in winter survived? I'm sure it was very difficult for them.)
Camp Douglas was named for Stephen A. Douglas, whose estate provided about 60 acres on the southern side of Chicago. It was originally a training site for newly recruited Union soldiers from the area. The first Confederate prisoners (5,500) arrived in February, 1862. Camp Douglas was one of the longest continuous operating prisons in the Civil War and had the greatest number of prisoner deaths of any Union prison. Disease was rampant within the camp: smallpox, malaria, diarrhea, dysentery, anemia, tuberculosis, rheumatism, scurvy, bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy, not to mention battle wounds and injuries.

It was here that William Franklin's brother, Thomas, died on April 23, 1865, just days after Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox. The cause of death was listed as Intermittent fever. His original grave was #1084, Block 3, Chicago City Cemetery. Later he was buried in Oak Woods Cemetery. The buried Confederate soldiers were moved in early 1867 when the Chicago City Cemetery was closed for the creation of Lincoln Park (on Chicago's north side). One section of Oak Woods is known as the "Confederate Mound". A 46-foot monument stands alone, surrounded by cannon and cannonballs. Buried around it are the greatest number of Confederate soldiers buried north of the Mason-Dixon Line  (about 4,039, maybe more). One of these is Thomas Pritchett.

Confederate Mound Monument, Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago, IL

Confederate Mound Monument Dedication

Thos. Prittchett's name is in the 3rd column from the left, 15th name from the bottom

William Franklin Pritchett was held prisoner until the end of the war and was paroled in June, 1865. He made his way home to Dale County, Alabama, to his family.

Here are Confederate records for William Franklin Pritchett.


 Here are the Confederate POW records for William F. Pritchett.

 Here is the Confederate POW record for Thomas A. Pritchett.

Below is a Confederate Pension ledger page that shows where William Franklin Pritchett signed for his money. His is voucher #14149 in the amount of 25.00. The interesting thing to note is W. F. didn't sign his name. He made his mark "X" and his name was signed by J. J. holes and witnessed by Lincy Crawford. I don't know if W. F. didn't know how to write his name (being illiterate) or if it was because of his age, 91 years old. The cover page said the pension was "for the relief of needy Confederate soldiers and widows of those who have not remarried."

Confederate Pension Record for W. F. Pritchett, Date April 1, 1911 Third column is No. of Warrant, Fourth/Fifth columns are the amount, Sixth column is Signatures, Seventh column is Witness to Signature