01 December 2008

Getting Started With Research, Lesson #2

In this lesson you will begin to do research. You will conduct your research in your own home. You will be looking at family records, bibles, newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, et c. In addition to these are the stories you've heard-the oral traditions that have been passed down. The objective is to gain the skill and ability to look at these things and other things in a way you haven't before, to glean every bit of information from them, and then to evaluate, analyze, and verify it.

We all have stories that circulate through the family about things that happened way back when and how it used to be in the good ol' days. These stories have sometimes been exaggerated and embellished over time to make an event more interesting. sometimes things are completely fabricated. Other times things are downplayed, especially if of an undesirable nature.

Think about these stories. When did you first hear it? And from whom? Was this person involved, did they witness it first hand? Did it happen a long time age? Most stories are based on a true event, but do not count them as fact until you can verify the information with documentary evidence. Sometimes it isn't possible to verify things, but that doesn't mean you should disregard the story. It is still part of your family's heritage and should be kept and cherished and passed down, just don't pass it on as fact until you can prove it.

Perhaps you are lucky enough to have a family bible that has been passed down. What a treasure this is, especially if someone took the time to actually record events. It may be the only source of some events, stuff that happened before records were being kept by government entities.

Look at your bible. When and where was it published? Try to find out who it originated with and its subsequent owners. Look at the information that was recorded. Did events happen before the bible was published? Is the handwriting all the same? If so, it would indicate that just one person entered all the information and it may not be accurate. Are events recorded in the order they occurred? Were dates or names added in later? Remember these names, dates, relationships, et c. are not facts until you can prove them.

Take these same questions with you when you look at other family records, papers, and photographs. Look for letters, diaries, military papers, photographs, religious certificates, school certificates, organization papers, newspaper clippings, family announcements or newsletters, et c. You need to have an unbiased eye and mind when analyzing these things. Think about answering who, what, where, when, why, and how while going through these things. Look at your photographs. Even if there is no written information on your photos, you can still get some information from it. Can you date it based on the type of photo it is? How about the clothing people are wearing, is there a vehicle in the photo, what time of year is it, is someone pregnant in it, can you tell where it was taken, can you read street signs or license plates? Really look at your photos, use a magnifying glass.

After you have gathered your family papers, stories, and photographs, make a list of where you obtained these things or from whom. Make a list of genealogical information you have found in each. These are the things that will now need to be verified. You will learn how to verify these things in subsequent lessons. For now, just make the list and then put things aside for a couple days. Go back to your items and give them a fresh look-you will probably come up with more information. Read your list-sometimes it will trigger a thought of what to look for in another paper or photograph. Go over all of it again if need be. You will be surprised at the information you can get from these records.

Work on this and be ready for lesson #3 in about a month.

30 November 2008

Remembering the Victims of Our Lady of the Angels

1 December 2008 marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in recent US history, the deadly fire at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic grade school in Chicago, IL.

This event took place a couple years before I was born. My parents lived in Chicago at the time, my mother pregnant with my older sister, and a nurse at a nearby hospital. My father also worked at a hospital, St. Anne's, where many victims were taken. Our Lady of the Angels was my parents own parish, where they went to church each Sunday. My mother remembers having to work a 3-11 shift that day. She remembers riding the bus to work and hearing the sirens wailing outside. She remembers the unspeakable tragedies that befell the school and overtook the whole city. She remembers the terrible pictures printed in the newspaper, particularly one of a burnt staircase with one small tennis shoe on one of the steps. She has not forgotten and she mourns to this day, as do I.

This fire claimed the lives of 92 children, aged 8-15, and 3 nuns. There is a very informative website dedicated to honoring the victims of the fire. I encourage everyone to please visit Our Lady of the Angels Fire Memorial and read about this terrible event as a way to remember these children, their teachers, and the brave people who tried to save them.

23 November 2008

My Thanksgiving Day Greeting

I would like to direct everyone to one of my other blogs for my Thanksgiving Day greeting to all of you, sorry to do it this way, but it is a long greeting and you'll know what I mean when you get there. So please visit Live, Love, and Be Free

I'll be back Friday night!

20 November 2008

Caring for Old Photographs

If you are like me you love old photographs. I love them enough to collect and rescue them from thrift shops, yard sales, estate sales, antique stores, et c. when I know good and well they aren’t pictures of my relatives. Some of these photos are labeled with names and locations and I try very hard to reunite a photograph with its rightful owner or descendant.

One such photograph I acquired from free-cycle. A lady gave away a big shoe box full of old photographs. The oldest one was a portrait of a 6 month old baby taken in 1908. I put a query out on Ancestry.com
and got a response several days later. I was totally thrilled and so was this little fella's granddaughter. I sent the photo half way across the country to her. Her family did not have any photographs of her grandfather as a child, much less alone a baby. It was so very fulfilling to make that happen for them.

The subject of this post is how to care for these photographs so they can be honored and enjoyed by generations to come.

Photographs are sensitive to their environment. Changes in the temperature and amount of moisture in the air can cause them to shrink and swell, weakening them. Excessive moisture can cause them to mold, while being too dry can cause the photographs to crack, break, and split. Photographs should be kept in a temperature and humidity controlled environment, such as under air condition, but not too low. They can stand up to lower temperatures, but when brought into a warmer room for viewing condensation forms and that is a problem. Most generally, storing on the first floor of your house on an inside wall is best as it has the least amount of temperature and humidity change. As stated, high humidity is not good, but low humidity, even though it can help prevent certain chemical changes like oxidation, is not good either. Try to keep photographs at 30-50% relative humidity.

Acid is very damaging to photographs. Acid is found in the very paper the photographs are printed on, but it is also found in materials that they are stored in and also on our fingers. You can see this damage when you inspect your photographs, they will be discolored and darkened or yellowed. Acid must be removed from the surroundings or it should be neutralized or buffered.

The best choice is to use archival quality materials for anything that touches the photographs. This means the items are acid-free and lignin-free. These products are widely available from archival supply stores, craft stores and camera supply stores. Look for mat boards, storage boxes, glassine sleeves, et c. Check out Light Impressions or Archival USA, Make sure that any plastic used is polyethylene, don’t use PVC. Never use those sticky magnetic pages, those are sure disaster for photographs.

For framed photographs, use UV protective glass or UV filtering Plexiglas to protect against dust or mishaps, but make sure you use spacers or a mat board to keep some space between the glass and photograph. Metal frames are better for photographs than wooden ones, as wood is organic and releases substances harmful to photographs. Store or hang your photographs out of direct sunlight and rotate them to limit their exposure. Loose photographs can be kept in glassine envelopes and stored flat in acid-free boxes.

Negatives should be stored separately from the photographs for a couple reasons. They release acidic gases as they age which will break down the photographs. They can be stored in glassine envelopes as well. It is also a good idea to keep them separate from the originals in case of fire or some other event.

Consider making copies of your precious originals for display and keeping the originals in dark storage. Only use pencil for writing on enclosures or, only when absolutely necessary, on the backs of photographs. Always wash your hands before handling photographs and consider wearing clean white cotton gloves to prevent oil from fingers to get on photographs.

Following these methods will give your photographs the best chance of a long life.

12 November 2008

Knowing your Medical History

It is not a new concept to try to find out how so and so died way back when, even if just out of curiosity. We know that many medical conditions are hereditary and that is a much better reason for finding out how your ancestors died. Granted sometimes it isn't always easy to find that information.

I have found that cancer runs pretty prevalent in my family, as do aneurysms, heart disease, and DVTs. I don't know if any of these can be considered a hereditary thing or not, although family history of cancer increases one's risk of developing it. I have found a rather disturbing medical condition on my Mother's side. It was discovered by another genealogically-minded family member, my Mother's cousin.

George and Anne Turner, date unknown

probably in the early stages of the disease

George Turner was born 12 Jun 1825 in Essex England. At the age of 4 his family moved to Canada, where he resided for a good many years. In 1848 he married Anne O'Brien and started a family. They had seven children. In 1857 they made the move to Michigan and in 1865, moved to Humboldt Co. Iowa.

George was a hardworking man and held several occupations during his life: shipbuilder, blacksmith, railroad contractor, and farmer. He applied for 160 acres in Humboldt Co. under the Homestead Act in 1865 and in 1871 this land was officially his. He farmed this land with his sons for many years.

Around 1879, at the age of 54, George started exhibiting signs of something being wrong. I imagine that the first signs of his disease went unnoticed by most or explained away as they were probably vague, and could have been occurring for some time before 1879. These early signs were personality changes, irritability and anger, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems. He could have had slight balance problems, clumsiness, and involuntary facial movements.

As the disease progressed these signs and symptoms became quite severe. The jerky involuntary movements gave rise to one of its names: St. Vitus' Dance, as it was known in those days. Today it is known as Huntington's Chorea or simply Huntington's disease.

Huntington's disease was first documented in 1872 by George Huntington, an American physician. It is a progressive and degenerative disease of the nervous system. It is inherited and it has no cure. It usually doesn't manifest until middle age after most people have had their children and have passed the gene on. Children of an affected parent have a 50% chance of getting this gene. Anyone who gets this faulty gene will eventually get the disease and die from it.

I think in 1872 the cause was not known. According to George's obituary, "he received a kick from a mule which caused his nervous trouble known as St. Vitus Dance, from which he has suffered ever since and which was the final cause of his death."

I don't know about George's parents. I know nothing of his mother. I have one record that states his father, also named George, died from apoplexy, an old term for stroke or cerebral vascular accident (CVA). As already stated, George had seven children. Two of his daughters were afflicted. One daughter, Sarah was a victim, as were 5 of her children and several grandchildren. The other daughter, Elizabeth, was a twin. I don't know whether her twin got it or not. If they were identical twins I assume she would have it too. To my knowledge, Elizabeth had only one child and it is unknown whether the gene was passed to him.

George is my great great grandfather. I descend from his son, Edmund, who did not carry the gene.

For more information on Huntington's disease try the Huntington's Disease Society of America or The Hereditary Disease Foundation.

And although it is interested in heritage markers which reveal family relatedness and doesn't do medical DNA testing on any samples, check out Ancestry.com DNA testing.

03 November 2008

Getting Started With Genealogy, Lesson #1

Genealogy is the study of the origins of individuals and their relationship to family members. Most people interested in genealogy start out researching their own family. They start with the known and work backward.

Genealogy research involves collecting data, analyzing it, and evaluating it. It involves dealing with the information at hand, with the best information available, without taking anything for granted, and being unbiased regarding the information.

The basic information to start acquiring is the dates and places of life events, such as birth, marriage, and death. Generally speaking there is a guideline for one to follow when doing research, as follows.

It is important to identify what you will be working on during your research session, a question you want to answer. You cannot get sidetracked on other things, but at the same time you don't want to not collect something pertinent that you happen to see about another family member. Just remember to follow through with the original project and exhaust all avenues for it.

You need to ask yourself, "what kind of records or documents are best to answer my question and where can I find them?" It is also a good idea to have a 2nd best resource, or 3rd, in the event you can't find the answer in the 1st.

You will now locate the information. Make copies or abstracts. Critically analyze and evaluate the information and the sources. Decide how this fits with other information you've gathered, to see if it holds true.

And lastly you will make a record of this information. It is crucial to keep records of your research. You will need to record what, where, and when you researched, of course the outcome, whether good or bad. For instance if you checked the court house for a birth record and couldn't find it there, you will want to record that the record isn't there so that you don't waste time and money looking for it there in the future.

A word on using repositories: please respect their rules regarding their materials so that they can stay preserved for future generations. And when making an abstract that you don't have to write every word or punctuation mark, but be sure to keep the same spelling of names and places even if incorrect, and keep the same dates.

To begin, get a pedigree chart and fill out what you can on it. An excellent site for all your genealogy needs is Ancestry.com
Once you get on Ancestry's site click on Learning Center at the top of the page, then click on Get Started. Once there, click on Ancestral Chart toward the bottom on the left side.

You can also find a chart through a Google search of the Internet. I have a Google search bar near the bottom of this site for your convenience so you don't have to leave this page. Print a 4 generation chart.

When filling out your chart follow the same format with every one. Print neatly. Make sure to use pencil at first until you are very sure of the information. Get into the habit of signing and dating forms when you fill them in. All letters in surnames should be capitalized such as, George WASHINGTON. You should use maiden names for females. Include county names with city and state, enclosing it in parentheses, like this: Chicago (Cook) IL. Use the following format for dates: 25 Dec 2008.

You should always have a hard copy of your records filed away for safe keeping. But, you can use an online service to make a tree online, and that is a great way to share and get contacts from others searching your people. If that interests you, go to Start Your Family Tree

All pedigree charts are assigned numbers, as are all people. Let's work on this chart, call it Chart #1. For the sake of this lesson, put your name on the left most line. Note: on some charts this line is the center line of the left most column. Number yourself #1. Your father goes on the line above and is labeled #2. Your mother goes on the line below your father and is labeled #3.

Continue filling in chart from left to right, top to bottom with grandparents and then great-grandparents in the final column. Males get even numbers, females get odd numbers. Males' numbers are twice their child's number. Females' numbers are twice their child's plus one. So the wives' numbers are one more than their husband. Follow the same format, husband on top line, wife under him all the way down the column. If you don't know the name to fill in you still have to number the line.

Most charts ask for the same information: name, date and place of birth, death, and marriage. Only record marriage information under the husband, not wife. Fill in as much as you can.

Some charts have a spot for the spouse of person #1, some do not. I recommend adding this information even if there are no specified lines for it.

Check over your chart for accuracy. Make a file folder for your chart or place in 3 ring binder.

If you happen to know more ancestors, such as great great grandparents (and as your research progresses you will discover them and more) you will need additional pedigree charts. I will be discussing these charts in upcoming lessons. They are filled in the same, but the numbering is different and I will save that for later.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions. Be sure to look for lesson #2 coming soon regarding searching for clues to the past in your own home. If you send your email address, I will let you know about upcoming lessons.

The 1940 Federal Census

The Federal Census is an invaluable tool for genealogists, without which many of us would be lost. Here in the United States the census was first taken in 1790 and was then taken every 10 years thereafter. Of course, most people know that the majority of the 1890 census was destroyed and is unavailable to us, much to my chagrin. But, all of the others from 1790-1930 are available. They are released 72 years after they are taken. The latest release was the 1930 census, which became available in 2002.

Most large city libraries with a genealogy section have census rolls available for viewing, if not, they can probably order them. Don't forget to check with the LDS library as well. There are census records available online as well, some for a fee, but many are free. You can find those through an Internet search site, such as Google. I have a search box toward the bottom of this page for your convenience so you don't have to leave the page. You can also check out online subscription services, such as Ancestry.com Click here for the Ancestry.com Free Trial

Most genealogists wait anxiously for the next release. The 1940 census is due to be released in April 2012. It is a long wait still. The 1940 census is the first to have a statistical sample, meaning that 5% of the people were asked an additional 16 questions. The 1940 census is also the first census that had a separate questionnaire for the housing status. Here is a list of questions for both parts of the 1940 census.

1. Population

Street the person lives on
House number
Number of household in order of visitation
Is the home owned or rented?
Value of the home, if owned, or monthly rental, if rented
Does the person's household live on a farm?
Relationship with the head of household
Color or race
Age at last birthday
Marital status
Did the person attend school or college at any time in the past year?
What was the highest grade of school that the person completed?
Person's place of birth
If foreign born, is the person a citizen?
In what place did the person live on April 1, 1935?
For persons who, on April 1, 1935 was living in the same house as at present, enumerators were to enter "same house" into column 17; they were to leave the rest of the columns in this section blank. For persons who lived in a different house, enumerators were to fill out the columns with information about their 1935 residence.

City, town, or village
For villages with fewer than 2,600 residents, and all unorganized places, enumerators were to enter "R."
State or Territory
Was this house on a farm?
For persons 14 years and older - employment status

Was the person at work for pay or profit in private or nonemergency government work during the week of March 24 - 30?
If not, was he at work on, or assigned to, public emergency work (WPA, NYA, CCC, etc.) during the week of March 24 - 30?
If the person was neither at work or assigned public emergency work: was this person seeking work?
If not seeking work, did he have a job or business?
If the person was at work in private or non emergency government employment: how many hours did he work in the week of March 24 - 30?
If the person was seeking work or assigned to public emergency work: what was the duration, in weeks, of his unemployment?
What is the person's occupation, trade, or profession?
What is the person's industry or business?
What is the person's class of worker?
Number of weeks worked in 1939 (or equivalent of full time weeks)
Amount of money, wages, or salary received (including commissions)
Did this person receive income of more than $50 from sources other than money wages or salary?
Corresponding number on the Farm Schedule of the person's farm

Supplementary Questions

Person's father's birthplace
Person's mother's birthplace
Person's mother or native tongue
Is this person a veteran of the United States military forces or the wife, widow, or under-18-year old child of a veteran?
If the person is a child of a veteran, is the veteran father dead?
Which war or military service did the veteran serve in?
Enumerators were to mark "W" for World War I; "S" for the Spanish-American War, the Phillipine insurrection, or Boxer Rebellion; "SW" for both the Spanish-American War and World War I; "R" for peacetime service only; or "Ot" for any other war or expedition
For persons 14 years old and over

Does this person have a federal Social Security number?
Were deductions for federal Old-Age Insurance or railroad retirement made from this person's wages in 1939?
If so, were deductions made from all, one-half or more, or less than one-half of the person's wages or salary?
What is this person's usual occupation?
What is this person's usual industry?
What class of worker is this person?
For all women who are or have been married

Has this person been married more than once?
Age at first marriage
Number of children ever born

2. Census of Occupied Dwellings

Location and Household Data

Number of structure in order of visitation by enumerator
Dwelling Unit number within structure
Line number on the corresponding population questionnaire
Block Number
Name of head of family
Street number and address
Apartment number or location
Color or race of head
1.) White
2.) Black
3.) All other races
Number of persons in household
Does this family live on a farm?
1.) Yes
0.) No
What is this family's home tenure?
0.) Owned
1.) Rented
Value of home of monthly rental (in dollars)
Estimated rent of owned non-farm home (in dollars)
II. Characteristics of Structure

Type of structure in which this dwelling unit is located
Structure without business
V.) 1-family detached
0.) 1-family attached
1.) 2-family side-by-side
2.) 2-family other
3-or-more-family structure without business (list number of units)
Structure with business
Other dwelling place
Originally built as:
1.) Residential structure with the same current number of dwelling units
2.) Residential structure with a different from the current number of dwelling units
3.) Non-residential structure
Exterior material
1.) Wood
2.) Brick
3.) Stucco
4.) Other
Is the structure in need of major repair?
1.) Yes
0.) No
Year originally built
Number of rooms
Water Supply
1.) Running water in dwelling unit
2.) Hand pump in dwelling unit
3.) Running water within 50 feet of dwelling unit
4.) Other supply within 50 feet of dwelling unit
5.) No water supply within 50 feet of dwelling unit
Toilet facilities
1.) Flush toilet in structure, in exclusive use
2.) Flush toilet in structure, shared
3.) Non-flush toilet in structure
4.) Outside toilet or privy
5.) No toilet or privy
Bathtub or shower with running water in structure
1.) Exclusive use
2.) Shared
3.) None
Principle lighting equipment
1.) Electric
2.) Gas
3.) Kerosene/Gasoline
4.) Other
Principle refrigeration equipment
1.) Mechanical
2.) Ice
3.) Other
4.) None
Radio in dwelling unit?
1.) Yes
0.) No
Heating equipment
1.) Steam or hot water system
2.) Piped warm air system
3.) Pipeless warm air furnace
4.) Heating stove
5.) Other or none
Principal fuel used for heating
1.) Coal or coke
2.) Wood
3.) Gas
4.) Electric
5.) Fuel Oil
6.) Kerosene/Gasoline
7.) Other
8.) None
Principal fuel used for cooking
1.) Coal or coke
2.) Wood
3.) Gas
4.) Electric
6.) Kerosene/Gasoline
7.) Other
8.) None
Is furniture included in the cost of rent?
1.) Yes
0.) No
Estimated cost of rent without furniture (in dollars)
Average monthly cost of...
Other fuel
Value of property (in dollars)
Number of dwelling units on property
Is there a mortgage on the property?
1.) Yes
0.) No
Present debt
On 1st mortgage (in dollars)
On 2nd mortgage (in dollars)
Are Regular payments required...
1.) Monthly?
2.) Quarterly?
3.) Semi-annually?
4.) Annually?
5.) On another regular payment plan?
6.) On no regular payment plan
Amount of each payment (in dollars)
Do payments include an amount for the reduction of principal?
1.) Yes
0.) No
Do payments include real estate taxes?
1.) Yes
0.) No
Interest rate now being charged (in percentages)
Holder of the first mortgage (or land contract)
1.) Building and loan
2.) Commercial bank
3.) Savings bank
4.) Life insurance company
5.) Mortgage company
6.) Home Owner's Loan Corporation
7.) Individual
8.) Other

And to view the actual blank census forms, click on 1940 Census Questionnaires.

This information was retrieved from The US Census Bureau.

31 October 2008

Halloween Trivia

I have always been fascinated with the origins of Halloween and witches, such as the Salem Witches. It is a study of mankind to see how mass hysteria develops and takes place. And aren't we morbidly curious about things like this?

Here is a link to a nice little article about Historic Haunts. Make sure to see all the Historic Haunts articles that are listed on the left side. While you are there check out the rest of the offerings: The History of the Jack O' Lantern, The Real Story of Halloween, and more.

And if you would like, go to Salem Witch Trials to read a little about that. It is very interesting.

Just for fun or maybe to see a little bit about how mass hysteria might have been helped along check out Superstitions: old wives tales, folklore, bizarre beliefs, taboos, omens, lucky & unlucky things.

23 October 2008

My Free Trial Subscription

I signed up again to Ancestry.com. I just have their 14 day free trial so far. I have been using this online service for many years and really like it. But I let my membership go a few months ago because I just didn't have the time to use their services. Now that I have more time I am seriously considering subscribing again. If you are interested in checking them out go to Ancestry.com Free Trial
How long can one not work on genealogy? For me, it isn't very long. I am addicted. So, now I will see if I can stick with the 14 day free trial or will I buy a subscription. I might check out some other online subscriptions as well. Maybe I can find some other free trials.

I have heard of another service called, Footnote. I haven't checked them out yet, but I think I might. There's also genealogy.com, which I think used to be owned by the people who put out the Family Tree Maker software. I think they may be owned by Ancestry now. I'll have to check into that. I use the Family Tree Maker program on my computer and I like it, it is very user friendly.

And there are tons of free sites out there. I will have to write up a little critique of some of them when I can afford the time.

But for now I am going to use up my 14 day free trial and get as much as I can from it. And, I know in the long run I will be back to Ancestry, they really do offer a lot for the price.

17 October 2008

Spotlight on "My Heritage" Website

A friend of mine recently made me aware of this website. It is called My Heritage. It is a free, private, and secure. It is a place where you can share your photos and family tree with whom you choose. It has a search engine that searches the web for you and shows you online databases that have your ancestor's name or similar names. That is very convenient, it will provide websites that you probably didn't even know existed. It also shows other members who are interested in the same surnames.

You can build your own family tree online, create a family website, search for ancestors, and read and leave messages in the message boards. There are lots of tips and advice on doing family research and what to do with what you find, how to organize it.

It has a fun feature, that is rather addicting. You should try this. You can upload a photo, say of yourself, your spouse and your child. Then the program will analyze the photos and tell you which parent the child looks more like. You can upload your ancestors' photos as well. It is fun and interesting. Another feature is the celebrity look-alike, where your photo is matched with a closely resembling celebrity and you can even watch as they morph your photo with the celebrity photo. Pretty neat!

I will be spending more time here to get a better feel for this website, I encourage you to check it out. Here is the address: http://www.myheritage.com/

Have fun and be sure to let me know what you think of the site. I'd like to get your feedback on it.

09 October 2008

William Sisco & Millie Haynes

A few posts back I talked about finding my great grandparents, Bill and Millie Sisco, and I'd like to introduce them to you properly.

William A. Sisco, son of John (1804-1877) and Rachel Sisco, was born sometime between ca. 1834-1837 in TN. They were a large family of 10 children: James, Thomas, Claiborn, John, Julia, William, Joanah, Granville, Mary, and Aaron.

The family lived in TN for the first few years of Bill's life, then they moved on to KY where it seems brother Granville was born ca. 1847. But they didn't stay in KY for long, sister Mary was born in MO in 1849 and then to AR for Aaron's birth in 1851. These dates are approximated and my only source is the federal census. The family was in Stoddard Co. MO in 1850.

Sometime between 1850 and 1860 Bill married his first wife, Matilda Jarrell, daughter of Morgan Jarrell and Sarah Leah Marvell. I don't know much about her, born ca 1835 in MO. They had 5 children: Sarah, Andrew, Mary, NC, and James.

Bill took a Southern stand during the Civil War and fought with Kitchen's Regiment 7th MO Cavalry, Co. B. During this time he was taken prisoner and transferred from Cape Girardeau MO to St. Louis MO 7 Nov 1864. Then was involved in prisoner exchange 25 May 1865 in Wittsburg AR, where he "left sick with his family-small pox".

Between 1871 and 1880, Matilda either died or was divorced from Bill. I believe she probably died as divorce was rare and all the children are living with him in 1880. By 1880 Bill had married my great grandmother, Millie Haynes.

Millie was born ca 1845 in TN, the daughter of Miles Haynes and Sarah (possibly Fryar). She is the 4th of 10 children. They lived in Hamilton Co. TN in 1850 but had moved to Greene Co Ar by 1852.

Bill and Millie lived in AR with their children, around Lawrence and Randolph Co. They had 5 children: Martha, Parthena, Sam, Birdie and my grandmother, Pearle Mae.

The family stayed around this area and then 28 Feb 1903, Bill died. Millie applied for his military pension in 1908 from Wiley Randolph Co AR. I don't know when or where Millie died, but I have nothing more for her after 1908.

Seems such a shame to chronicle 2 people's lives in just a few lines. I'm sure I can and should embellish this story and I probably will as time allows, but this is a rough outline. It certainly does not give the depth that Bill and Millie deserve. And for that I am sorry. I am so truly grateful to my Aunt Jerri for the portrait of my great grandparents, what a treasure it is.

I am always open to new or corrected information about the Siscos and all my family members, please feel free to contact me.

07 October 2008

Missouri Digital Heritage

Here is a website to let you know about. I think it is pretty fantastic.

It is all about Missouri Heritage. It has lots of information including photographs, exhibits, educational pieces, history lessons, vital records information and images, and much more.

It has images of records such as death certificates, birth records, judicial records, searchable naturalization database, and probate records.

There is information about Lewis and Clark, the Missouri Mormon War, the Dred Scott case, and Jesse James.

There is so much here. If you like history, whether Missouri history or not, you'll like this site.


05 October 2008

Finally Breaking Through the Brick Wall...I Think.

I was researching Millie Haynes. She was born around 1845 in TN. I found a 5 yr old Milla in Hamilton Co TN and a 15 yr Milley in Greene Co AR in 1860, in both cases her father's name is Miles. These were obviously the same family, all family members' names and ages matched up. But this did not prove she was my Millie. I was having trouble proving her parentage.

I knew she married Bill Sisco before 1880 and that they lived in AR. I found them on the 1880 census for Randolph Co AR. They are listed with some people named Littler. I did not know these people and wondered who they were for quite some time. I still was no closer to her parents.

When I thought I had exhausted all avenues, I decided to go back to the Milla and Milley I found in 1850 and 1860. I went through and searched all her brothers, trying to find them as adults. One brother in particular was Alexander. I found an Alexander Haynes in 1880 in Lawrence Co AR, same age and birthplace as Milla's brother. I discovered that he is also listed with people named Littler. And that was it, my connection.

So, I concluded that all these Alexanders are the same person based on location, family members, date and place of birth. I concluded that my Millie and these other "Millies" are also the same person, based on date and place of birth and the fact that both she (after her marriage to Bill) and Alexander had these Littler people living with them. This means that my Millie's father is Miles Haynes. While not 100%, it would be very coincidental to find that these were actually different people.

After making that connection, I have since found other names that connect these people on marriage records and census records. I consider it a success.

But I still don't know who the Littlers are.

The importance of searching collateral lines was very apparent in this case, it was the key to finding the information I needed. So don't ever discount collateral lines.

04 October 2008

A Glimpse of the Past

I am using this media to tell a story through photographs, historical records, and oral histories from those who were there.

As good as these resources are, they are not complete, and in some cases, they are not quite accurate. You may find some contradictions, but overall the gist of the story comes through so I can show you a glimpse of the past.

I have been studying genealogy and researching my family's history as well as other family histories for over 15 years. I have worked transcribing historical records for Ancestry, I have also worked as a proof reader/editor for a newspaper, both of which helped trained my eye to look for and spot details. I will also be giving tips and advice, highlighting articles and information that I find to help you in your search, and also the good and bad in my own research.