Category Archives: Uncategorized

Family

This interim has been great. I have learned things about my family that most of my family didn’t even know. I made closer connections with my family than i had before this class. I am hoping to continue my family tree. I have met a relative off of ancestry and i hope to get to know him better he is very interesting and i would like to know how he got all of his information that is on his tree.  

I know i have been working on my webber and bentley side the most. The webber because both of my parents have that common ancestor and i wanted to know where there ancestry met up. I did manage to find that and i was really proud i have connected them on my moms side but i haven’t found where it links in on my dads and i hope to find that soon. 

My granddaddy Joe wants me to look back in to the Jones and Norris side of my family and i hope to be able to find things on there for him. He had two older brothers one was 18 years older, Frank, the other was 10 years older, Bob. Both have passed away and i am glad i got to know my uncle frank before he died. i never got the chance to meet uncle bob but i am told that he was a character and he would have gotten along with me very well.  

Find a Grave Pay Off

I began corresponding with two find a grave volunteers out of sheer luck! I messaged one user to suggest a link between my grandfather and his father and I put in a photo request for my great grandmother who is buried in Wake County, North Carolina. Maybe a day later I got emails back from both users so happy to help and turns out i’m sortof related to one of them! I assume the man who accepted the photo request is in his 80’s ish; he was so fun to talk to. I think my great grandmother was similar to our classes’ William’s mystery so sharing information back and forth with him, in some extent, made this class worthwhile. It felt good to help. I was able to share what I knew about her husband and where he is buried (unfortunately not with Esther in NC). In return, he sent me pictures of her grave and information he collected from the funeral home and other archive sites. The coolest part is that somebody recently left flowers on her grave which means I may have a potential relative only a state over! I would love to find whoever that is and figure out the connection. A new journey ahead… Image

Road Block

While on ancestry i was researching my ancestor who was beheaded in Germany and it was because he had married a russian woman. He had his wife flee to america with his two sons.  I found this guy that was through the same son of Wolford that my family is. He had more of wolfords family that my family did and it was really cool getting to trace back my family back to the 1100’s in England. 

As of right now i have hit a road block on people i can place on my tree but i am hoping that i will be able to find more people and add them. I am going to continue to work on my tree even after this class is over. My family has been so supportive in this and glad that i am spending my time making our family tree. They all have been helping me to the best of their ability which is really nice. They have looked through closets and boxes attics and other places that this information could be in. They have taken me to family cemeteries and told me stories of my family at least what they could remember. I have gotten closer to my family through this experience and I am so glad for it. 

Never Stop Learning

Over the weekend, I have been doing some more research, and have found some new information. Although I have added many new names to my tree, I have learned a lot about the religious background of my dad’s side of the family. This side was part of the ARP Church, or the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, which I had heard about, but never really looked into. Recently I learned that my great grandfather started Bonclarken, which is an ARP conference getaway in Flat Rock, NC. Just like Montreat or Kanuga, Bonclarken is very important for the church. On the other side of my family, I have still been looking back into my relative who started the fortune 500 company Sonoco.

I really enjoying Skyping with the Nelson brothers about their distillery and business. It is inspirational that they have turned their family history into something they are so passionate about and are able to make a living off of it. I know some connections in alcohol distribution in South Carolina, and would really like to help them spread their product here.

Full Circle

Discovering my family tree has been an eye opening experience. The late night research, numerous hour long phone calls, and slightly obsessive 23andme.com stalking has come with its ups and downs. However, this has only made me more interested to find more. Now that I have been researching for a little over a month I have hit those walls and learned that their are always ( for the most part ) new leads. If their is one thing that I learned from Dr. Lawton’s cousin in class Friday is that these new leads wont happen over night and even if you are lucky over the course of a month but will mostly likely happen over years and decades worth of research.

So far the most interesting part of research as i am sure for most of the others in the class is the stories that go along with each person. These stories shed light on how each person lived and make them more then just a name of a page. Most of the stories that stick out in my family tree come from my paternal grandfather. Mostly because for one he is good at telling these tales and that like I, he enjoys collected the family documents and heirlooms. The coolest thing i have seen was his fathers original inscribed boy scout book from when he was a child. This original book is about 90 years old! I hope to continue to stumble upon these items and documents and hopefully be able to relay these stories to my kinds and grand kids!

On another note, this class has allowed me to explore my maternal side. A side that until the start of interim i had known very little about because it wasn’t something we normally talked about. But after inquiring, i have found loads of info that has allowed me to link to  a 2nd cousin of my maternal grandfathers side that has shared a bunch of pictures and documents that i had never seen! These new pictures and documents have also sparked a new mission for my mother. She has begun to look and ask more to things she wasn’t so sure about. This has not only helped me but has allowed her to research on her own! Overall I am glad that i choose this interim and hope that everyone has a chance to do what i did over the month of January at some point over their lifetime!

Internet Stalking 101

I will openly admit that I haven’t been focusing on my family tree as much lately. Instead, I’ve pretty much taught myself the art of internet stalking. Believe it or not, it’s harder than you’d think.

As I’ve mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I’ve been wanting to get in touch with someone who I think may be my half brother. Since then, I’ve been Facebook stalking and Googling anyone I can think of that is associated with him. My first step was of course to try to contact his mother and/or step-dad, but that failed when I figured out that they’re both currently incarcerated. After further searching ties to the family, I found his step-dad’s father and…well, he’s in jail too.

So without any other close family members to contact, I messaged some aunts and uncles. Surprise! None of them have had contact with him or his mom and step-dad for years. Just when I thought I didn’t have any other people to contact on Facebook, I remembered that he had a girlfriend about 2 years ago from seeing photos from a Christmas album on his mother’s Facebook profile. Thankfully, she’s active on Facebook and messaged me back. Now I’m currently trying to get any information I can. In fact, a few days ago, I found out that he’s staying with a friend and she might know how to get in contact with them.

I’m getting closer and closer, you guys! (: I’ll try to keep everyone posted, even after the class is over.

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In other news, on my Ancestry family tree, I’ve been trying to add some pictures to living persons from Facebook and such. Here are some examples:

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My Aunt Cathy (left), my mom (middle), and my great-grandmother (right)
Taken from Facebook.

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Me and my grandmother
Fact: They still have that truck, and it still works.
Taken from Facebook.

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My mom and dad’s marriage photograph. They will be celebrating 20 years this summer and are renewing their vows. Excited! (:
Taken from Facebook.

Solving Mysteries and Finding Closure

As I was talking to my grandparents this week and showing them the things I had found, I got to experience them making connections they never thought of before. My grandma said that she always knew that her Jeter side of the family was always close to a seemingly unrelated family known as the Kerns. Through my research, however, I was able to find out that her Great Grandmother was a Kerns and that her Great Grandfather, a Jeter, lived with his wife and her Kerns parents for a period of time.

I was also able to hear old stories about relatives and the diversity of that side. It turns out that I have white relatives down in Newberry, SC. So far surnames I know of are Hunter, Rice, and even some white Jeters. Grandma also told me of the nicknames relatives were called, like “Uncle Dan”, Pork Chop (My Dad) and others. There was also a great aunt who was part Native American. If she saw a snake go into a hole she’d stick her hands in after it to keep it from going out the other side.

Lastly, I was able to solve a personal request from my Grandma. She knew that her Mom had a sister, but they were split up after her mother died. It so happened that her mother was taken in by her grandmother’s side (the Free side) while her mother’s sister was taken by her grandfather’s side (the Spearman side). Through the 1920 census, I was able to find out that her mother had not only had one sibling, she had 2 older sisters. It was Amanda (her mother) and her two sisters Hannah and Lizzie. Now she’s charged me with the task of finding whether they’re still alive to meet them. If they are, they’d be in their late 90s.

nothing new

I have been adding more people to my tree but i haven’t come across anything new.  Except that I found that another member of my family was killed. He was hung for treason against the king i dont know what he did but i thought that it was pretty cool. I hope to find more interesting things but i do not know. We shall see only research shall tell. 

Find A Grave

To my surprise, one of the more helpful resources I have been using is Find A Grave. When I find a relative within their collection of graves, I usually am able to discover their birth date and location, death date and location, and I can further search within that cemetery or graveyard (I know now that there is a difference!) to see if any other relatives are buried there by searching their maiden name and surname. The most helpful instance I encountered was finding my great great grandfather Solomon Klaus who was buried in Chattanooga, Tenn in 1968. His “memorial” gave me a brief biography and a picture of him and his grave. It also led me to his spouse’s and parent’s graves and therefore essentially information about them. This is essential to further support information found on ancestory.com. 

Knowing how these links have helped me, I wanted to help the genealogical community by making sure I could continue to suggest links to relatives I found as well as adding information and photos as I went along! 

Weekend Update

This weekend has been spent doing a variety of things relating to my genealogy project.  I have spent time working on the World Archives Project, setting up findagrave.com request from back home, and working on my family tree.  I decided to employ the help of my father with taking pictures in one of the oldest graveyards in Carlisle PA.  He is going to help me fulfill the request in the Old Graveyard.  The Old Graveyard in Carlisle PA is home to the grave of Molly Pitcher. She was a water woman during the revolutionary war that took over firing the cannon when one of the soldiers was killed.  Her name was later used as a nickname to any woman who fought in the war.

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Next, I continued to work on my family tree but I am hitting a wall.  In my last post, I described how I hit the wall on my mother’s side.  I was trying to uncover the mystery of my Mongolian birthmark but all the research lead to German names.  Next, I believed my 23andme results would help me solve the mystery.  My results were finally in but of course something else went wrong with them and my relative finder won’t be ready for another week.  I then switched to my father’s side but I am hitting a wall there too.  I can’t find anything past 4 generations on the “West” side.  Its tough for me to understand those results because West is a fairly common surname.  It must be my research techniques.

One interesting fact that i stumbled upon was the city directory that shows my father’s residence in 1993.  It shows my old address at our first house in Carlisle Pa (moved from Philadelphia).

Next on my to do list is to call the Huntingdon Historical Society to get information on my dad’s family and to continue to work on the World Archives Project along with findagrave.