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.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My Genealogy Tools

I really enjoy researching my family and here are a few reasons why . . .

I have several tools that are essential to what I do. First and foremost is my MacBookPro. Mostly I use it at home, but I can take it with me anywhere I need when looking for information. This is my Number One essential tool.


I use a genealogy program called Legacy. (Go to http://www.legacyfamilytree.com/ for more information.) It's a PC program. Well, my Mac laptop doesn't take well to PC programs. Jim bought me Parallels and Windows 7 for Mac  which allows me to run PC stuff. I like Legacy a lot. So, that's where I enter and keep my genealogy information and documentation.

The software I use

This is what a family page looks like.

A third tool is my Canon desk/portable scanner. I use it at home and have hauled it on trips to Florida when I visit family. If something turns up, I'm ready to scan in a moment. Great tool!

Canoscan Lide 700F

Another tool is a recent acquisition - a Flip Pal portable scanner. It can be used to scan photo albums when photos aren't easily removable. It can also be used to scan large items. I'm still learning how to use this tool.

Flip Pal

Flip Pal scanning a photo album

 The last major genealogy tool is my HP C7250 All-in-One printer. I use the printer and copier features the most. It's indispensable for sure.

 Family members have been very helpful. Cousin Jane shared her parents' research and documents with me, especially pages from the Gilley Family Bible and a marriage certificate. Cousin Edgar is a source of good information. Newly discovered cousins, Lisa and Wendy, have sent me new information and photographs. Uncle Charlie sent my mother photocopies of their parents' birth certificates, marriage license, and a death certificate that broke my English family research wide open. Family members sharing is key to my research.

I use the internet for most of my research. I have paid subscriptions to three websites: Ancestry (USA only), Fold 3, and Genealogy Bank. Of those three I use Ancestry the most. I also like FamilySearch, which is a free website. I have found many other free resources including GenWebsites for Alabama, Free BMD website in England, Find a Grave, and more. I don't subscribe to Findmypast.co.uk in England, but when they have free access to their site, I'm there. Same with Ancestry's World Deluxe Membership when it has free access from time to time. Google Search is another good resource. I also subscribe to a print genealogy magazine, Family Tree Magazine.

Education is critical to my genealogy research. Taking classes at my local community college, Tri County Community College, has helped me tremendously. I'm taking my sixth class since I moved to Murphy. The current class is "Researching an American Genealogy." Other classes I have taken are: "Beginning/Intermediate Genealogy," "Legacy," "Advanced Genealogy," and two different "Genealogy on the Internet." These classes have had a huge impact on my genealogy life. Ancestry, Family Search, Legacy Family Tree, genealogy blogs and other sites have free tutorials that very informative.

In my next post I'll write more about my research process.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Tale of Two Cousins

In the past month I have met via email and Skype two new second cousins, one on my father's side of the family and one on my mother's side. One lives in North Carolina and one lives in England. I am very happy to meet both because we have mutual genealogy interests.

Just before Christmas I met  Lisa via email. She responded to a post on this blog about her grandfather's  World War I Draft Registration Card. Her grandfather, Green Gilley was the brother of my grandmother, Annie Gilley Jowers. Her grandmother's name (transcribed from the card) was  incorrectly spelled and I had given her the wrong last name (Jowers instead of Gilley). (See previous October post: World War I Draft Registration Cards.) Along with the correct spelling of the first name she gave me her grandmother's middle and maiden name. Great information!

In the next email I received from Lisa, she sent me a photo of Green Gilley! I was soooo excited because I have so few early photographs of my daddy's family (four identified photos and two tintypes of unidentified men, probably of Gilley men). Green Gilley was her great grandfather. Lisa's cousin said that Green died in a logging accident. According to the Gilley Family Bible that accident happened in 1923. He died on June 9th, 1923. (See previous September post: Additional Pages of Thomas Gilley, Jr.'s Family Bible.)

Green Gilley

I hope to meet Lisa soon in person to share genealogy information. She lives a little over an hour from me in North Carolina. According to the Cousin Calculator (a great tool: http://www.searchforancestors.com/utility/cousincalculator.html) we are 2nd cousins once removed.

Through my Canadian cousin, Gill, I met Wendy, my 2nd cousin. Her grandfather, Syd Kirkpatrick and my grandmother, Maud Kirkpatrick Langdale, were siblings.
(I wrote about Sydney Kirkpatrick, my great uncle Syd, in two earlier September posts: Uncle Syd and More About Uncle Syd.)

Wendy and I met when we Skyped on New Year's Day. We had a really good conversation about our Kirkpatrick side of the family and just getting to know a little about each other. We have already started sharing pictures and documents via email. She told me that Uncle Syd and his brother, John, known as Jack, were sent to live in an orphanage when they were young children. They were the youngest of seven children. She sent me a photograph of them standing in front of the orphanage. Syd and Jack were born in the late 1890's in London. I'm guessing the photo was taken around 1900. Wendy sent another photo of Uncle Syd and his sister Emma (aka May), whose married name is unknown to me at this time). It's the first time I'd ever seen any of my grandmother's sisters. (She had three.)

L to R, Sydney and John (Jack) Kirkpatrick standing in front of their orphanage, about 1900

Front L to R, Emma (May) and Sydney (Syd)

I can't tell you how excited I am to have two new cousins with an interest in genealogy AND to receive three great photos. When I started getting serious about researching my family, I never dreamed I would learn as much as I have. The only regrets I have are the questions I wish I had asked of Mama, Daddy, my grandmothers and other relatives while they were still alive. Thanks to the abundance of records and information on the internet, I've discovered some things about those family members who came before me..

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mama's Old Suitcase of Treasures

Happy New Year!

On January 1 and 2 I spent time sorting through an old suitcase that belonged to my mother. My sister, Kimberly, found it last year and brought it to a family meeting in Tallahassee last July. Keith took a few things from it and I quickly scanned those items before he left. I took the remaining items in the suitcase (and the suitcase) home with me. I briefly looked at a few photos inside and put the suitcase in a visible place to remind me I had work to do. I finally got to it months later and I'm glad I did. Walking down memory lane is a lot of fun!

I found lots of treasures . . . photos of my English family from the 1940's and 1950's, cards sent from England for my mother's 21st birthday, a Firestone receipt that showed toys my brother and I got for Christmas in 1949 and 1952, proof of addresses prior to my parents buying their first house, menus from the ship "Queen Mary" when my mother and brother came over from England to the United States, my baby books, and much, much more. My genealogist heart is overflowing!

After looking at everything inside, I decided to sort into piles that made sense: photographs, taxes, Navy stuff, Firestone, miscellaneous receipts, and more. That will help when I scan, and I've got a lot of scanning to do.

The photographs were quite interesting. Most I remember seeing when I was a little girl. I saw them many times, and I'd ask, "Who's that?" I wish I could remember a lot more of what Mama told me because many of the photos have nothing written on the back. She had several formal wedding group pictures of family and friends and then pictures of children of some of those friends. There are photos of her Land Army friends. I found one of my good childhood friend, Billy, who died when he was 10 or 11, and another of my next door neighbor, Becky and her mother, Hazel.

When you look at the photographs of the suitcase, look for my mother's name and address on the inside of the top. The suitcase itself is small:  17 1/2" w x 10" l x 5" h. I wonder if she packed my brother's baby clothes in it for the long trip from England to Alabama.

My sisters, brothers and I often talk about how Mama saved EVERYTHING (well, almost everything), but I'm so glad she did. She left us with with reminders of our everyday life.

Old handkerchiefs on the left and Mama's old purse on the right

You can see one of my baby books on top, compliments of Peninsular Life Insurance Company