Gene Notes

Some random and some not-so-random thoughts on family history.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I'd Rather Be Researching

DH and I have lots of stuff on the agenda over the next couple weeks. This week of course we are prepped for having the driveway sealed. That means at least 24 hours of parking somewhere other than the garage or drive. I'm also waiting for the return of my recliner, which is more comfy than the couch. The bad thing is I really like the current furniture arrangement which has the couch floating in the room rather than being on the wall with the double window. I would love to talk DH into a sectional and a smaller chair in the living room to keep this arrangement. I'm sure the furniture place will call us tomorrow in the middle of sealing to pick up the chair, which will have to be carted across the grass and into the house. Hopefully the lawn will be dry by then instead of the muddy mess it will be today.

Then next week, DH has to take his dad for partial denture fitting, I visit the hygienist and we need to do some spring cleaning. DH's cousin from Buffalo visits the following week. Because it is spring here, the trees are throwing off their seeds and our deck and table and grill are covered by them. I want it to dry up enough so that we can blow that crap off the deck and get it ready for company. It's impossible to not track this stuff into the house and I am constantly sweeping it up. It is one of the curses of a wooded lot.

Older daughter has found a new apartment and will be moving next month. She wanted a first floor place, but will be moving into an end unit second floor apartment. This means she will have no one over her. Since this is an outside entrance apartment, she has a balcony with its own little gate. I can't wait to see it. Too bad she graduated from Tech last year as this apartment is only three blocks from Tech and is across the street from the Farmer's Market.

I am enjoying the bird feeder immensely. The indigo buntings are back and they are just so vivid! Right now a male bunting is sharing the bird feeder with a female cardinal. And a new yard visitor  is a squirrel with a blonde tail! Whoa.

Since it looks like I will be trying to squeeze a little research and letter transcribing over the next couple of weeks, my blogs my be brief.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Best Laid Plans ...

DH and I have been trying to schedule a short trip up the pike to Lexington, Kentucky. I want to visit Lexington Cemetery and the Lexington Public Library. He likes to walk the town and he likes their business section. We'd also like to make a stop on the bourbon tour.

However, things like doctor's appointments, dentist appointments, driveway sealing, and the weather keep getting in the way. I've come close to actually printing out my to do list for the Lexington Public Library.

Hoping that soon I can throw my suitcase and research in the car and go!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Family Search Upload & OCFRD

Okay, so the letters my grandparents wrote can wait! The Family Search Record Search site has been upgraded as has the New Family Search beta site. While they have uploaded TONS of records, it appears they haven't added any new images. I hope they will soon.

In the meantime, I have taken the opportunity to check some states that are new to the site. Like New York, Maine, Vermont - for vital records that is. I am finally filling in some maiden names and it feels good.

However, I won't be up until 2:30 am like last night!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Percival Focus & Thinking Outside the Box

I have been working on South Carolina Percivals. To be specific, those residing in Charleston and descended from John and Susan Fuller Percival. I've had quite a bit of luck with them. Found their marriage record in North Carolina, found their death records in South Carolina, census, etc.

Then I found their son John D. married to a Jessie Percival. Now, sometimes John D is referred to as J.D., not to be confused with Jessie D. Percival who married Carrie Rose in another South Carolina county. But I hadn't found Jessie's maiden name, nor a marriage record.

Since I had her birthdate from her headstone of March 12, 1861, I thought I would check for "Jessie" born in 1861 +1/-1 on the 1870 census. I found two Jessies born in 1861, both living in an Orphan Home for children in Charleston. One was Jessie Fasch and the other was Jessie Broughton.

Due to my OCFRD* I took up the gauntlet and searched for Jessie Broughton in South Carolina. And there she was paired up with John D. Percival on Delayed Birth Certificates for Charleston.

Ever find one of those records that you have no idea why they filed it? Case in point, Florence Emily Percival, daughter of John D. and Jessie Percival, born Feb 23 1882 in Charleston, South Carolina.  Yes, this is the Birth Return. Even if you click on my
enhanced version of it, you can't read a darn thing. I was discouraged.

So I scrolled down the page and found the attached affidavit. When you click on it, you will find Jessie's maiden name - Broughton.

There were three things I did that help when searching for maiden names.

1. I searched by first name only and a birth year of 1861 give or take a year.
2. I gambled and searched for Jessie Broughton. Let me state here that when I searched for the father, John Percival, it gave the mother's name as Jessie Percival on the index.
3. I looked at the whole image! This was the key.

Happy Hunting!

OCFRD* - Obsessive Compulsive Family Research Disorder.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 26, 2010

Relatively Speaking-Cousins That Blog: Distractions

A few nights ago while Karen and Carol and I were doing the email thing we do in which we generate lots of email in a short time, and were discussing what was on the Family Search site and what was no longer there and what would be in their upgrade this week, a record caught my eye.

I saw the name Percival and Massachusetts in reference to a death certificate in South Carolina. Further investigation led me to Sarah Percival Rumley, daughter of John Percival of South San(d)wich, Massachusetts and Susan Fuller of Beaufort, North Carolina. Between Ancestry and the LDS site and Find-A-Grave, I have a really good idea of all their children and their marriages.

Yes, I know I am working on a project of scanning and transcribing all those letters of MY John Percival, but am enjoying working on these fourth and fifth cousins for now. After all, you can only transcribe so many letters per day!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Happily Distracted

Yesterday, having posted about Mariah Pinkerton Percival adopted daughter of "Mad  Jack" Percival, I decided I would look into this Lawrence family a bit more. Since my favorite reference books are Vital Records of Sandwich Massachusetts to 1885, I thought I would take a peek and see if I could find anything.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Lawrence family was from Sandwich and not Barnstable, since I don't have a set of vital records for Barnstable. Also, the LDS has been working on their Family Search Record Search site and I hope they complete the series of marriage and death records (1841-1915). Between the LDS site, the Massachusetts Archives vital records site, Find-A-Grave, and Cape Cod Gravestones and by using Ancestry, have pretty much figured out the family of Isaac Lawrence, son of William and Anna Lawrence.

Sure, this is distracting me from the family letter transcription project I am working on, but I just did not want to add this to the to-do list for the family. I like to work on things while they are fresh in my mind.

Now if I can just come up with a Relatively Speaking blog.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 23, 2010

Where Did They Go?

Every so often you stumble across a little gem, like this one: 

Now, as far as I know, the only children Capt. Mad Jack Percival and his wife adopted were the Lawrence children, his sister Anna Percival Lawrence's children. I do have a Mariah Lawrence and this could be her. Having a hard time proving it, because this is the only mention I have of this couple, no census or anything else.

Oh the joys of genealogical research.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Florida Confederate Pension Records

Every so often, I follow my own advice. I know that is a radical thing to do, but, hey, sometimes it works.

This advice was to google a name. Well, googling William Magill brought up hundreds of thousands of hits, a lot of them good.

Bingo. You see, William Joseph Magill was a graduate of the Citadel. Actually he was in the first class of graduates in 1846. The class numbered six. I found this information by googling his name and getting a hit on the history of the Citadel. I was actually able to find an obituary for him here, which was good since all other sources failed me. Then I googled Florida Confederate Pensions. What did I find when I searched Florida Confederate Pensions? I found a widow's pension application. Bless her heart, Mary gave her marriage date and location and her husband's death date. It's 9 pages long and I am busily transcribing it.

Census information from 1860 shows that he is a professor of mathematics at the Georgia Military Institute. Heaven only knows why I can't find the family in 1850, when he should be in Kentucky. However, I have tons more than I had the day before, so I won't complain.

My sources:

1. The History of the South Carolina Military Academy, with Appendix, by John Peyre Thomas, published in Charleston, South Carolina by Walker, Evans & Cogswell in 1893.
2. Florida Confederate Pension Application Records. Great site.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

How Did They Get There?

Yesterday, quite by happy accident, I came across a death record for one Leonora King while searching at the pilot Family Search Record Search Site. What caught my eye was her parents surnames, Magill and Percival.

At first I thought I had found another child for William J. Magill and Mary E. Percival, however, further investigation elicited the information that this was Mary L. Magill and that she used the name Leonora. Great. What information I didn't have was that she married and the name of her spouse. The Ohio death record site had her husband's name on the death certificate. I found them on the 1900 Census, enumerated just down the page from F. J. Magill, his wife Anna, two nieces and F. J.'s mother Mary Magill. Sweet. I hadn't found F. J. on the 1900 census before, as I had been searching for Frederick or Fred J. The "J" on the 1900 census isn't even readable.

But I digress. I found no Edward B. King or Leonora King on any census between 1910 and 1930. Leonora died in 1938 in Ohio; Edward died in 1953 in Florida. I was reasonably sure it was him, but searching on Find A Grave nailed it, since there I found Leonora and Edward in Fort Lauderdale and her headstone read Leonora Magill King. So that was great, I found them in 1900, 1938 and 1953 and their resting places, but absolutely no sign of them between 1900 and 1938.

Periodically, I will check Genealogy Bank for which I have a subscription, to see if any Florida newspapers will have an obit for this line. I was fortunate enough to find not only an obituary but the funeral notice for Mary E. Percival Magill. Mrs. Magill died in 1914 and was survived by her son, and a daughter, Mrs. E. B. King, of Havana, Cuba. Well, that certainly explained why I couldn't find them on the 1910 census.

Leonora's brother, Fred, died in 1917 and in his obituary, she is still living in Havana. Back to Ancestry and the US Passport applications give me results for Leonora Magill King, Edward B. King and daughter Elizabeth Percival King for 1919 and that Edward is in Foreign Service and employed by Western Union. His application shows him in Cuba from 1906 to 1916 and again from 1916 to present time (1919) and that is what he had been doing for the last several years and would explain why I can't find them on the census.

Mystery solved.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Blast from the Past or Is That a Family Trait?

I am transcribing a letter from my grandfather, John Percival to his fiancee, Mary Percival, and this sentence caught my eye:

     "I know you enjoyed having Frances with you, I know how it is when the Percival family gets together."

It both makes me laugh and puzzles me. The laugh part is because when my branch of the Percival family gets together we are out of control. We laugh, we tease, we tell stories on each other.

The puzzle part is that at this time in his life, my grandfather had his mother, father, and sister. His father's only brother had disappeared in the mid 1890's in Los Angeles, never to be heard from or seen again. His name was Herbert Percival and he was a doctor. His "widow" married Herbert's cousin William Percival, also a doctor. My grandfather's grandparents were long gone. His grandfather, John Percival, died during the civil war in Arkansas. His grandmother, Susan Percival Holt, nee Davidson died in 1886 before my great-grandparents got married. Unless by "Percivals" grandpa meant his father's extended family - the Holts, his grandmother's step-children from her second marriage to Thomas Holt. Or maybe he meant when the Percivals and the Maitlands got together, because the Maitland family was huge!

I had hoped to glean some genealogical information and the only thing my grandfather mentioned was the death of his Uncle Ralph Oliphant, who died in 1919 while grandpa was overseas. He mentions by name his fiancee's sisters and brother in-laws and children as Mr. Jamie (Rankin), Miss Bess (Bowman-Rankin) and James (Rankin, son of Bess & Jamie); Frances (Bowman-Rogers) and Hugh (Rogers).

I can so identify with that line "I know how it is when the Percival family gets together."

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 19, 2010

Happy Birthday - Colleen.

Today is my niece Colleen's birthday. Like my Older Daughter, she has just turned 30. I remember Colleen's mom thinking her baby had a head of hair. Unfortunately, our mother had to break it to Diane that compared with my newborn, her newborn was bald.

One of the benefits of having our daughters so close together was that when we used to watch each others kids, they had instant playmate.

Earlier this week, Colleen and her hubby, Sean, became the proud parents of Gus and Wall-E, two beautiful longhair kitties!

Happy 30th Colleen!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Heads UP - Relatively Speaking.

First - check out my alter-ego here today.

Monday - check out Carol's blog at Reflections from the fence. It's her turn for Relatively Speaking. I think she'll take a time out from playing with her new camera to come up with a topic!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Happy 30th Birthday!

I can't believe she is 30 today. That sweet, tiny little bundle with the dark, curly hair is all grown up - well mostly!

When you bring that precious little bundle home from the hospital, you have no idea of the fears, tears, and joy they will bring. You hope, you pray and then you live through it all, good and bad and love them like crazy.

Then one day you turn around and that sweet little baby has turned 30 on you!

Happy Birthday, Sara!

Or is it her birthday? See, she was born when Daylight Saving Time was at the end of April and was born at 11:27 p.m. Now DST occurs in March, so my best guess is that her birthday is April 18th at 12:27 a.m.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 16, 2010

That Stubborn Streak and Other Family Traits!

I will admit that my family has a stubborn streak. Even my kids inherited it, although they come by it from both sides of their family.

In transcribing my grandfather's letters, I am discovering he was pretty single minded himself and stubborn too. It was kind of a relief, because my dad did remember his mother and always said she was a real lady. She may have had a stubborn streak, but it wasn't evident in anything I have ever read.

My point? My dad was really stubborn and according to his recounting, was expelled from the local public schools in Detroit for fighting. So to see evidence that his father was somewhat stubborn explains a lot.

Grandpa was also single-minded in his love for my grandmother and in that too, my father was like his father. Once my parents met, my dad was determined to marry my mother and he did. I don't think the families thought it would last, my mother being Catholic and my father not. My dad eventually converted and my parents were together almost 57 years before my dad passed.

I wish more letters from Grandma had survived, there are only about five. Those date from Grandpa taking the job in Detroit and getting settled in there. I can't wait to get to them.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 15, 2010

That and 50 Centimes Will Get You ...

This one small boot box of letters written by my grandfather is really a treasure trove of little odds and ends. The other day I pulled out an envelope expecting it to have pictures or a letter in it and I was surprised instead to find scrip worth 9 francs and 600 centimes. This scrip was issued in 1917-1919. There is some from Nancy, Nice, Strasbourg, Colmar & Dijon.

I've been comparing notes with my sister, Middle-Aged Woman over at Unmitigated and she also has some interesting material from our grandfather.

Anyway, I have included scans of some of the nicer looking scrip.

One of my favorites is the 50 centimes from the Region Provencal. If you click on them, you can see the front and back view of that particular one. Very intricate.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Letter Project

Sunday, I transcribed the last of the letters from 1918. In fact, this letter was written a week before Christmas and John (my grandfather) laments to Mary (my future grandmother) that he hasn't any gifts to send, or Christmas cards, because none are to be found in the area and he hasn't been paid since August anyhow.

John was with the 23rd Regiment of Engineers, but was on detached duty  from September 2nd until after the Armistice.

In the last few letters I've learned that my grandmother took a job in Jefferson City, Missouri, but unfortunately her letters from this time do not survive, so I can't say exactly what that job was. Go Grandma!

I've often said that I never saw this softer side of my grandfather, the side that he showed to his first wife, Mary Bowman. In almost every letter that I have, he tells her he loves her more and more every day. I really love this because it is almost word for word what my DH and I tell each other on a daily basis.

On a historical note, I discovered that Mary's sister Frances & her husband Hugh Rogers both had suffered from the influenza during the great epidemic. Both recovered. This is actually the only account I have of the flu in these letters. 

Also, in this last letter of the year, he tells her he wants to work in drainage engineering in Minnesota after he is discharged and he is making plans with another fellow who was from that area to work there. I don't think this plan panned out since in February of 1920, John was again in Iowa just prior to his marriage to Mary. And instead he ended up working in Detroit, see my post for Monday, April 12th.

Finally, the best line in this letter is John talking about celebrating of the Armistice on November 11, 1918. He presumed Mary and everyone he knew in Missouri celebrated, but he was saving his celebration when he could see the Statue of Liberty from the Jersey shore!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

The first season has yet to show the last two episodes - and NBC has renewed it for a second season. I have to admit, I had my doubts, but I think the show is extremely well done, and as Lisa Kudrow puts it, each episode has a goosebump moment.

I can remember having moments like that back in my early days of looking at microfilm searching for that elusive obituary because there just didn't seem to be a death record; of finding someone on a ship manifest after years of searching and finally locating that birth record early in the 19th century in Germany for one of my great-great grandfathers, the last of my ancestors to emigrate to America. And having those goosebump moments. There are still finds that cause that special "ohmigoshIcan'tbelieveIfoundit" reaction and I hope there are many more.

Well done, NBC!
Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Little Bit of Detroit circa 1930

I have a picture of something that few living people in Detroit have seen. The water tunnel that was constructed from 1928-1930 under the supervision of John Percival, resident engineer. He was my grandfather.

The caption reads: Above is the new tunnel, blasted out of solid rock far below the Detroit River, which will become part of the new system (Waterworks park pumping station). The circular line indicates where the concrete is to go. Inspecting it from left, John Percival, resident engineer; E. A. Prokop, designing engineer; Torris Eide, assistant engineer; George H. Fenkell, board general manager; William T. Skrzycki, commissioner.

 New $800,00 Waterworks Pumping Station Opened. The caption reads: After Two Years Work, the new low-lift pumping station at Waterworks park was thrown into operation officially Wednesday by members of the board of Water Commissioners. The new equipment will be used as an auxiliary to the old pumps, which are soon to be torn down for an overhauling.

Those are 1928-1930 dollars. The pumping station and the tunnel are eighty years old in October.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Relatively Speaking - Cousins that Blog!

Karen's turn is tomorrow and I haven't a clue as to what her blog will show. Lucky Cousin is planning a research trip. Check her out at Genealogy Frame of Mind.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Project

For the past week, I have been working on transcribing a box of letters written by my grandfather for the most part to his fiancee during his time in the Army during the Great War (that's World War I.)

I was moving along just great, when I realized grandpa had misdated a series of letters. These were letters from January and February 1918 from Betancourt, France. I didn't realize until I got to the first April 1918 letter that he had just then gotten to France and that the others were misdated. It isn't a huge deal, but since I saved the image files as 19180102 JSP to MB (date in reverse order; JSP is grandpa and MB is grandma) followed by a, b, c, d, etc indicating the page. So now I have to find those five letters and rename them, make the correction on the transcribed copy and refile them in correct chronological order.

I've had this box probably for about 3 three years? I'm sure I moved them from Michigan to Tennessee when we moved here. It may even have been a little longer. I am really glad to have them and have enjoyed transcribing them.

I've sorted through the other treasures in that box and will photocopy, preserve and figure out what to do with that stuff too, when I am done with the transcriptions.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 9, 2010

Historical Context

As I may have mentioned once or twice (chuckle), I am transcribing letters written by my grandparents to each other during the period of 1917-1919, and in 1927.

Of course, the letters written in the 1917-1919 time frame were written by my grandfather to his fiancee back home. While most of his letters say, he is busy, he is fine, the weather is fine, and Mary's (my grandmother) letters were mighty fine to receive, in some letters, he gives little details of the towns he was billeted in while in France. He resided in Nevers, Recicourt, Betoncourt, and Langres, so far in my perusal of the letters. I discovered  he did not care for either Vin Blanc or Vin Rouge. He was amazed that most of the French dwellings were made of stone with slate or tile roofs.

I was always under the impression that one could not disclose the location where one was stationed. But apparently due to the lack of censoring facilities behind the lines, if you were NOT in the Zone of Advance, you could tell your family where you were.

I think some of his opinions were definitely colored by war, but he was also in France well after the Armistice. Rumors were rampant about the company being sent home, being stationed elsewhere in France, or being sent to Russia.

There is one extremely long letter - 23 handwritten pages - in which he details everything he did since being sent to France. Another letter tells of tensions between the volunteers and the drafted men. Mostly his letters tell of the plans he was anxious to make with his fiancee when he returned home.

Mostly, his letters tell me what it was like for a man missing his girl, his family and being 4000 miles from home in a land where he didn't speak the language.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Grandpa Invented the Emoticon

Al Gore may have invented the internet (so he said during the 2000 presidential campaign), then my grandfather, John Stearns Percival,  invented the emoticon.

I'm serious. And he did this LONG before Al Gore invented the internet. I'll even put a date on it, although it is entirely possible that this emoticon was invented before this date, it is the first time I see it.

Nope, not in the 21st century. Not in the 1990's or the 1980's but long before that.

My grandfather invented the Emoticon on September 18, 1917.

The first example I see of it is thus:

My dearest Mary:- 

Click on the image to see it! So, see, he did!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The "What If" Game

In transcribing the letters my grandparents left behind I've come across a couple of "What ifs."

1. What if my grandparents had moved to Minnesota after their marriage? My grandfather was considering this while stationed in France during World War I. If he had done so, would my parents have met? Not likely. They only met because Grandpa P took a job in Detroit.

2. What if my grandmother had not died at the age of 45? Would my grandfather's attitude towards my mom and dad's marriage have been different?

3. What if my grandmother hadn't died at the age of 45? Would my parents have met? Possibly, but since they met because my mom and aunt were living in the same boarding house as my dad's father, who was a widower, probably not. That means I wouldn't be here either.

I think this What If game is giving me a headache.

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thanks for the Award

I am the proud recipient of the Ancestor Approved Award bestowed on me by Michelle of The Turning of Generations. Normally, while I am glad to get the awards, I don't follow through with the "requirements." But this one actually touches my heart. If most of these are about one specific ancestor, it is because I am seeing a side of him that I never saw when he was alive. t to know my ancestors!
The Ancestor Approved Award asks that the recipient list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlighted you and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud.

So here goes:


My grandfather, John Stearns Percival was totally in love with my grandmother, Mary Bowman. I know this because I am currently transcribing his letters to her and he tells her so in every letter.

I discovered he entered the Army in September 1917 as a private and two years later managed to be discharged as a Corporal.

He never saw any combat.

His favorite TV show was "The Beverly Hillbillies" which he watched with my cousins in Holland, Michigan.

My grandmother, Mary Bowman, had a good sense of humor. I might even deem it to be slightly on the wild side for someone in the 1920s. I might make her an honorary Wild One. I think I may have inherited some of that.

One of my step-grandmothers was married more than the three times we knew about. Seems she married her second husband twice!


My grandmother, Mary Bowman, was utterly devoted to my grandfather, John Percival. She must have seen something really special that he didn't show to anyone else?

The sacrifices my own parents made especially in regards to me. I was their "sickly" child. For the most part they did not try to keep me from doing normal kids things.

My mother-in-law's dealing with the various cancers that she suffered.


Not so much enlightened as empathetic to my grandfather's behavior and eventual deserting his children.

The ten I am passing it on to aren't necessarily genealogists, but they do make their ancestors proud.

1. Gathering Dust
2. Saradoxical
3. Unmitigated
4. The Genealogy Gals
5. Reflections from the Fence
6. Genealogy Frame of Mind
7. Speaking in Caps
8. Apple's Tree
9. My Family History Data
10. My Genealogy Research

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Monday, April 5, 2010

Relatively Speaking, Cemeteries & Death Certificates

Last year, friend/cousin Karen at Genealogy Frame of Mind did some cemetery work for me at Cave Hill Cemetery in Louisville, Kentucky while she and hubby Mark were there on business.

If you have never had the pleasure of using the Cave Hill database it can be found here. What is wonderful about this database is that if you find someone buried there, make note of the section and lot and then follow the links from The Cemetery > The Grounds > Map.  Clicking on the section letter/number on the left will bring up a map of the section that shows where the lots are located. That is just astounding. I wish more cemeteries would do this.

Getting back to Karen and Mark doing some Bowman headstone searching for me resulted in the following pictures:

Now, I had an inkling that these people were somehow related to the Bowman's in these lots, but didn't really pursue it. Then I found this record in the 1959 Missouri Death Certificates, a death certificate for Elizabeth Stone Bowman. The informant? Mrs. V. William Borntraeger.  Further research elicited the information that Nelle and Elizabeth were sisters. Not that I had any doubt, but it is nice to know for sure!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Monday is Coming

Monday is Relatively Speaking day and it's my turn. Just a little blurb on cemeteries and death certificates and friends who are nice enough to take pictures in cemeteries!

Also - some of you may have gotten a note from me awarding you the Ancestor Approved Award, stop by on Tuesday to pick it up. 

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Starting a Project

I dug out the box of letters from my grandparents that I want to transcribe. So far, I've discovered my grandmother's idea of dating a letter is to put the day of the week down. Since it seems she wrote Grandpa, who had just started working in Detroit circa 1927, on a weekly basis, I really have to pay attention to the postmark.

And I've discovered not everything in this box is a letter. Included in this little bundle is a small silhouette, probably either of my dad or my uncle.

It's like a treasure chest!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Meanderings

I can't believe how fast this week has gone by. Seems like yesterday was Monday. I've had a lot of stuff to keep me busy in the way of birth, marriage & death records with the odd obituary or marriage announcement thrown in. Let's not forget the census, because it seems like I find at least 30 of those every week. Where do they come from?

I've been using Transcript  (See Thursday's post) to transcribe some newspaper articles and some really long probate records. It's been working really well and I can hardly wait to start on my grandpa Percival's letters. Actually they are letters to and from his wife. The first one I read, basically the only one I actually read from start to finish, showed a side of my grandfather that I had never seen before. The man he was in that letter surely wasn't the one I knew 40 years later.

I remember years ago, reading some letters my parents wrote to each other. Both my parents were still alive and the letters were intensely personal and I couldn't read them. I have no idea if those survived and which, if any, of my siblings have them.

This weekend will be a busy one, Sunday being Easter AND my father-in-law's 91st birthday. You won't believe what we are having for dinner! I hope it doesn't become a tradition!

Copyright 2010, ACK for Gene Notes

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sometimes Someone Tells you about a Gem!

Granny Pam at Granny's Genealogy recommended a program in a comment on Carol's blog Reflections from the Fence for transcribing from images that I downloaded and am trying out for transcribing wills.
The program is Transcript and it is available here. All I can say, is OMG! This is fantastic. I wish I had this program twenty-plus years when my dad and I photocopied over 200 letters, most from his great-grandmother Percival, and I transcribed them all. It was a lot of work, but it would have been made better by this gem of a program.

Right now I am transcribing a probate record that contains 65 pages. Of course, some of the pages are just folder covers, but some are quite detailed. You can set the image to scroll line by line as you hit enter for a new line and/or as word wrap starts a new line.  It will save the document as an .rtf. Right now, I'm typing and then copying and pasting into my genealogy software. It's a beautiful thing and it is freeware.

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