Notes from the past…


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An Easter egg hunt in the rain!

Randy doesn’t get to have all of the fun on Saturday nights! His latest version of Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is an Easter egg hunt, of course. The rules:

1. Pick a place that you have ancestry, but don’t know much about.

2. Go to Google (or your favorite search engine) and put in the place name, the state name, and the words “genealogy” and “society.” For example my search string is going to be [mccook nebraska genealogy society]. Don’t use mine – use your own!

3. Go to the web site that looks the most interesting or promising, and search for data about your ancestor(s) that lived there.

4. Did you find anything new or interesting? If so – those are your genealogy Easter Eggs! Enjoy them – browse some more! If not, try again with another place name.

5. Tell us all about it on your blog, or in comments to this blog.

Ok, step #1, a place with my ancestors that I don’t know much about. Well, I cheated here. I have been studying my McBurnett ancestors from Carroll County, Georgia. So I decided to stay in Carroll County and really look around.

Steps #2, #3, Google that area’s genealogical society. That search popped up several sites,  so I chose the one that might have some military info. According to Ancestry.com, my 4th great-grandfather James McBurnett fought in the War of 1812 as a rifleman with Alexander’s Battalion of the Georgia Militia, and his wife Nancy had filed for his military pension. Ancestry didn’t have any original documents to support these, so that’s what I went looking for.

Step #4, what did I find? Nothing (yet) related to the War of 1812, but I did find a huge list of Confederate Muster Rolls for Georgia:

Most of the muster rolls in the Georgia Archives’ holdings are from units formed by the State of Georgia before they were turned over to Confederate service. Units not already in Confederate service by April 1862 were transferred by the first Confederate conscription act. Some of these units were renamed upon entering Confederate service. There are also rosters from the Georgia State Line, organized in February 1863, and other local defense troops whose service was confined to the State of Georgia .

Confederate officers and clerks were inconsistent in their use of names for units on official documents. Georgia troops were mustered under several different state and Confederate laws for different lengths of time and for different purposes.

The main page lists units for which muster rolls are available online. The hyperlink for the unit leads to another list of muster rolls for that unit, in chronological order. This list includes the name of the unit commander, the inclusive dates of the muster roll, a hyperlink to the image, and the image’s file size. Both sides of the documents are online unless the reverse is a blank page. Additions will continue to be made to this digital collection. Please watch for them.

These are the actual documents, folks! Here’s an example,

Georgia Army (Regulars), 1st Regiment Infantry “Muster & Descriptive Roll of Recruits at Dalton and Calhoun”, 1 April 1861:

Pretty awesome!

This site has limited searching available, so I’m gonna have to browse each and every image to see if my 2 McBurnett great-great uncles, Thomas & Joshua, are mentioned. Both where killed in the Civil War.

Step #5 of the Rainy Day Easter Egg Hunt is complete. True, I didn’t find anything about James McBurnett’s War of 1812 military involvement. But there is usually more that 1 prize egg at an Easter Egg Hunt, now isn’t there?


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Monday Madness

Today, my insanity is not associated with a particularly sneaky ancestor. Oh, there are several that are still being difficult, for sure…knock, knock…someone’s at the door…excuse me for a second…well, hello guys!…it’s Dovie’s 5 husbands at my front door!…oops, daydreaming again… :)

No, today I am stressing about (not really stressing, more like intense consideration) 2 things:

  1. The set-up of this blog
  2. Subscription genealogy sites

Sressor #1- I’m still not satisfied with the layout of my genealogy blog. Oh, no! I used that black-listed term, “genealogy blog”! Please forgive me! And please, please, please don’t pay attention to anything you read here or to any photos, documents, newspaper clippings…because they are USELESS TO GENEALOGY RESEARCHERS! But I digress…

I can’t decide how to set up the pages for those afforementioned photos, documents and newspaper clippings. As the blog is now, to actually view, for example, the newspaper clipping about Dovie’s marriage to Ollie Stanley, it takes 3 mouse-clicks and 3 pages, SURNAMES>McBURNETT>Dovie C McBURNETT, to actually be able to view that clipping. Too many clicks! I’m considering leaving all of the images in my Picasa Web Album and just linking to that album. At Picasa, I’ll set up a separate folder for each person. Currently I have 1 album per surname, instead of per person. With my free 1GB storage at Picasa (500 pix max per album), I am allowed 250 albums. That’s more than plenty for now. Eventually I may max out, but that will probably take years. I can upgrade to 1000 albums with 1000 pix per album- 10 GB is $20/year. Very reasonable.

I’m not totally happy with this idea, either. I wish I could set up albums-within-albums, nested albums so that all of the individual McBurnett surnames would be in 1 big McBurnett album. Picaca doesn’t do that, unfortunately. As I read through the Picasa Help pages and user discussions, nested albums is an active topic. Perhaps the Google minds are listening…

Stressor #2- Subscription genealogy sites. I currrently have a 1-month trial to GenealogyBank. In the past, GenealogyBank has been a major, sporatic source of my research findings. I say sporatic because, depending on who I am researching at the moment, GenealogyBank is an all-or-nothing deal. Right now I am studying my McBurnett surname, and I have found a big bunch of newspaper clippings in the Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star-Telegram archives. I have been able to knock down a few minor McBurnett brick walls, thanks to GenealogyBank!

The same with my Stanley and Kennedy ancestors in the North Texas area. The Dallas Morning News and Fort Worth Star Telegram archives contain numerous references to these folks.

But only for North Texas ancestors. For surnames in other areas, I have found very little at GenealogyBank. I’m certainly not complaining! I love GenealogyBank! And what I have done in the past is sign up for the 1-month $9.99 trial. That usually gets me all that I can get for that particular surname.  My current 1-month trial will expire on Wednesday. I’m trying to decide whether to upgrade to the 1-year subscription for $69.95, for continuity’s sake. I have probably found almost 100 items total for all my surnames from GenealogyBank, so on a per-item basis, it’s the best deal in town!

I also have annual subscriptions to Footnote. com and Ancestry.com.

Footnote has been a gold mine of Civil War records, much cheaper and quicker than the National Archives for the same documents. I have downloaded Civil War service records for many ancestors, again for $69.95 per year. Also a fantastic deal! That subscription exires next month.

Ancestry I use mostly for the census enumerations. They also have a lot of indexes to other records, which alert me to the existance of particular documents that I’m looking for. Then I can send off for the actual records. Ancestry is more expensive than Footnote and GenealogyBank, but still very useful.

The abilty to access these sites at any time of the day or week is invaluable to me! If I had to wait until I had time to actually make the physical journey to these types of record sites to do my research, I would never get anything done! Maybe when I retire…


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Dovie update

I’m so excited! When I got home from work last night (actually 1:30 this morning), I found an email from Ruth from Carter Co, OK, a very nice RAOGK (Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness) volunteer, containing the marriage certificate of Dovie McBurnett and Husband-#-1-And-My-Great-Grandfather William Earl Hall!


Also, a couple of days ago I found a newspaper “snippet” at GenealogyBank about the marriage of Dovie and Husband-#-2 Ollie P Stanley! From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, page 8, dated 20 July 1913:


Don’t you just love the term “copper”? Through further search at GenealogyBank, I found out that Ollie P Stanley was a rather “well-publicized” Fort Worth Police officer, a very colorful character in his own right! He ran his own detective agency and worked as an investigator for the Tarrant County District Attorney. In his later years, in the 1960′s he was the administrator of a gentleman’s estate and there was some type of legal controversy involving Stanley’s management of that estate that went all the way to the United States Supreme Court. Stanley and the judge presiding over the case here in Fort Worth got into some type of argument over the case and Stanley kicked him “in the seat of the pants”. And guess who went to jail? Not Stanley, but the judge, for contempt of court! A pretty famous case here in the 1960′s. I saved several articles, I just gotta go back and read ‘em all to get the whole case figured out.

I also checked the Calhoun address from the snippet against Ancestry.com’s U. S. City Directories to verify that I have the correct Ollie Stanley.

The snippet about the Stanley/McBurnett marriage dates the ceremony to be 11 July 1913. Not in concrete, of course, but now I have a date to look for at the court house.