Notes from the past…

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I am stunned, speechless and almost in tears!

Yesterday I posted that the Texas Deaths, 1890-1976 database had returned to the FamilySearch Record Search site, after a brief trip into cyberland. I had just made a quick check, saw that the database was back, then I had to go to work. Well, I just got home from work and was checking my Bloglines, and Beyond Fiction had posted that the database was indeed back, including the actual death certificates, not just the index!!!

I raced back to the site and started looking up the ancestors that I knew to be in the index…

There are death certificates for every ancestor that I have checked on! THE ACTUAL DEATH CERTIFICATES!!!

It’s currently 2:35 am and I’ll probably never go to bed!

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It's Happy Dance Time again!

Also known as “The-Civil-War-Union-Pension-File-of-Isaac-Turner-Just-Arrived-


-To-Get-Here” Dance!

I’m so excited, and so proud of myself, too! Why excited? I’ll get to that in just a sec…

Why so proud of myself? Because I was cutting the grass in my front yard when the very nice UPS man arrived with said Pension File…and I finished cutting the grass before I opened the envelope!!!

Ok, enough silliness…What about the file?

Well, to start out, it was a $75 gamble just to request the file, because I had no clue that any of my direct ancestors fought on the Union Side in the Civil War. My ancestors are from Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, Texas- all essentially Confederate states. The Civil War Pension file index listed Isaac Turner’s widow as Sarah S Turner of Texas, which were all the correct names, but still, I wasn’t 100% sure it was my Sarah S Turner.

When the file arrived this morning, the first thing I did (after cutting the grass!) was fish through the papers to find an address or location in Texas for this Sarah S Turner. There it was: Abbott, Texas! A bit more fishing and I found her three minor children named, as well as 2 older sons and a son-in-law.


(dancing, dancing, dancing…)

The file contains 55, mostly hand-written pages of documents, so it’s gonna take a spell to get through it all. But a quick jog through the pages has yielded some interesting finds:

  1. I have the wrong date of death for Isaac Turner in my database- there are several documents, including one hand-written by Sarah herself, and other by the doctor who attended Isaac Turner when he died from “Typhoid Malarial Fever” on 20 Sep 1888, not 21 May 1887, as I previously believed!
  2. There is a “notarized” copy of Isaac & Sarah’s marriage license from Cannon County, Tennessee!
  3. There are several statements from friends and neighbors of the Turners testifying to Sarah’s financial situation.
  4. There are 2 statements, one from Sarah, about one of her daughters who went insane and was committed to the “lunatic asylum”! I’m pretty sure this was Edna Lenora Turner, who died at age 33 after being “an invalid for several years”. This is one item that would probably not be well-known, as things like that weren’t talked about.

I haven’t decided if Sarah actually got the pension, yet, as it was first rejected because she owned too much property, apparently. That’s where all the testimonials from the neighbors came in.

Here’s Sarah’s 3-page, hand-written deposition:

Sarah S Turner Pension Appilcation Deposition, Page 1

Sarah S Turner Pension Appilcation Deposition, Page 2

Sarah S Turner Pension Appilcation Deposition, Page 3

Fascinating stuff! I know these images aren’t the best. The pages are too big for my scanner, so I snapped these pix with my digital camera, and it needs a bit of adjustment for this task. I’ll redo them later, I promise!

My next task is to transcribe this entire file…if I can stop dancing long enough to type!


It’s Happy Dance time!

May I introduce my second great-grandparents, Dr Nathan Blunt Kennedy and Susan William Lee Martin Kennedy!

A few weeks ago, my cousin Susan gave me some old photos scanned onto a disc, that she was using for a family project. Several of the images I already had, but there were also several that I had never seen before. This was one of the new ones. I have been studying this ever since and have been hoping against hope that it might be Dr Kennedy! I had sent a message to Susan and she was trying to find out from her mom (my Aunt Kathy) if she knew who these folks were, as Kathy has the original images.

Well, when I got home from work this evening, there was an email from Susan, and…


This photo is Nathan Kennedy and his wife (my namesake), Susan William Lee Kennedy.  Are you doing a happy dance yet???  LOL!”

I AM SO EXCITED!!! I am going to print this image out full-size and find a very special frame for it! It is such an amazing shot! Even the veins in the good doctor’s hand are visible! Dr Kennedy was born in 1837, and he looks to be no more than 40 years old in this image, probably younger. Dr Kennedy and his family moved to Hillsboro, Texas in about the spring of 1871, so this image must have been taken very near to that time period, soon after arriving in Texas.