Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Friday, August 8, 2008

    Hometown Customer Service

    Today I visited the Montgomery County Courthouse. Once inside, I ask the first person I saw where I might find the marriage records, she said, "Follow me, I'm going that way." As luck would have it I happened to ask one of the employees who worked in the Probate Office, just where I needed to be. Since she had her lunch in her hand, the other lady in the office offered to assist me. I told her what I was looking for she led me to the records room. Looking around the room I was amazed at the large collection. Seeing the look on my face, she then explained that the county was formed in 1793 and that the Courthouse had never been destroyed, therefore they still had the majority of their original records on location. At this point I am dying to see what was there, on her way out the door she gave me an index and ask me to write down the book and page numbers of the marriage records I wished to copy. Thumbing through the index In noticed page after page of Cauley, Calhoun, Connell, Darley, Hamilton, Newsom, marriages. I was overwhelmed... Since I needed to get the most out of my visit I had to make a decision as to which ones to copy. Asking a genealogist to do this is like asking a child to pick only one piece of candy at the candy store! After deliberating a few minutes, I decided to focus on my direct lines. Once I complied my list I informed the ladies in the office I was ready. The first lady was still eating her lunch so the second lady offered to make my copies. She was very friendly and we struck up a conversation while pulling the records. She shared she was a lifelong resident of the county and she too did family research. She recognized many of my surnames and began telling me about some of my family members who lived in the area. After a while she had to assist other patrons and so she left me alone to continue my copying. Once I finished my copies, I went back into the main office to pay. That's when I read the name plate on her desk "Rubie Nell Sanders, Probate Judge". Having the Probate Judge make your copies...Now that's what I call home town customer service!

    Saturday, July 12, 2008

    Be Nice to the Person behind the Counter...

    My family and I are in Columbus Georgia visiting relatives. After lunch today we had some extra time on our hands so like most genealogist we decided to squeeze in some research at the local public library. My husband was looking for a book which he thought was located at this library. I wasn't looking for anything in particular just along for the ride. There is one thing I have learned about info turns up in least expected place. My stepdaughter, Darla was tagging along as well. She has been visiting with us this summer and has taken an interest in her family history. Particularly her mother's "Leger" family from Acadia Parish, Louisiana. While looking through the stacks, I was quite surprised to find several books on Acadia Parish. I shared them with her and she began marking pages to copy. When it came time to make her copies, I offered to help. While at the copy machine I began talking with one of the library staff. Out of curiosity I asked her did the library have any submitted family files, she pointed to the file cabinet where they were located. She then explained they were not filed alphabetically but numerically and that she would have to located the index. After a few minutes she came back over to the copier where I was standing and said she could not locate the index and if I wanted to look at the files I would have to go through them one by one. I smiled and told her it wouldn't be the first time. She smiled as if she too had dug through a few unindexed files in her day, then we both walked over to the cabinet to began looking through the folders. She seem to regret not being able to locate the index and offered to help. As she began thumbing through the folders and she asked, "What surname are you looking for?" About that time her hand was on a "Newsom" folder and I said, "Well, we can start with the one in your hand." She remarked. "This Newsome file?" I responded, "Yes". Then she asked, "Are you related to John Newsom?" I responded, "Possibly -- I'll have to look through this info to be positive." Then she looked at me and said, "Well then, we must be related." Boy was I surprised with this comment! What are the odds of this happening? We began filling each other in on our family histories and discovered that we had a common ancestor, William Newsum. Once we determined this, I knew we were related so, I asked her to write down her direct line so I could figure out how. I sat down at the table where I was working earlier and began comparing the folder contents to my genealogy database. A few minutes later she was at the table with a completed 8 generation family tree chart. I began inputting her line in my Family Tree Maker software and discovered we were ninth cousins! We both hugged and at the same time said "Hello Cousin". I took our picture and she began sharing info about an upcoming Newsom reunion. By now it is time for the library to close so we began gathering up our things to leave all-the-while cousin, X and I are still talking. We paid for our copies and I told her it was nice meeting her and that I appreciated her help. As we are walking out the door she yells back, "Hope to see you at the reunion, cousin." I turned and smiled and waived good-bye.

    Remember the next time you are visiting a library be nice to the person behind the counter, you never know they might be family...

    Friday, March 30, 2007

    Yes, Robert there really is a Santa Claus...

    Today we left civilization--no cell service (thanks to Nextel)...Thank God for an Internet connection here at the hotel.

    After leaving Jackson, we drove to Doty Springs Cemetery in Attala County Mississippi where Robert's family is buried. When we arrived, there was a lady and three men at the cemetery building a gazebo. I spoke to the lady and introduced myself. After talking a few minutes we discovered she was a cousin of Robert's (I should have known). She was very helpful and told us of some folks we needed to speak with -- specifically her 89 year old mother who help maintain the cemetery for 30 years. They went back to building and we began photographing headstones. We finished two and a half hours later after 272 of them. What a workout -- try squatting 272 times in 100 degree weather -- who said genealogy was made for wimps! We can now call Robert an official "red neck". His neck is so sun burnt he can barely move.

    By this time it is lunch and we are making our usual trip around town trying to locate something for Robert to eat. By this time, he has officially decided to "fast". i.e. there are no typical fast food restaurants here--LOL! He ended up eating a box of Vanilla Wafers and drinking a Dr. Pepper for lunch. I didn't mind, I was wanting to get to the county courthouse. I can always put my stomach on hold for research time. By this time, he is getting ill and asking why I want to go to the courthouse anyway. He actually made the statement, "I really didn't plan on stopping there." My response was something to the effect "Carpe diem" i.e. Seize the Day, HELLO we may never come here again! After several choice words he agreed to stop by...

    At the courthouse we were able to get copies of his family's original marriage certificates. I had copied them at the Mississippi Archives but the microfilm copies were horrible! Glad we were able to use the digital camera. The staff was hesitant about me looking through the tax records so I had to stop. I asked where we could find property records and they sent us down the street to the "Chancery Court Building". There we found property records of Robert's great grand parents. While looking through the property indexes, I came across references to a book I could not locate and began asking the staff where I could find it. After the third inquiry I learned it was in the basement! She volunteered to go look for the book -- of course I couldn't stand it and had to ask if I could walk down with her. When she opened the door I almost screamed when I saw what was there!
    She and I looked for a few minutes and was not able to locate the book. She said she had to leave to pick up her children from daycare so I asked if I could stay and continue to look. She agreed. When she left I did the genealogy dance -- you all know the one I'm talking about :) There were so many records, I could not look fast enough! I ran back up stairs where Robert was making copies with the staff and told him I needed his help. He said he would come down in a minute. I went back to the basement and browsed through more stuff. Impatient within a few minutes I ran back up stairs and quietly as possible told Robert, "You really NEED to come help me... NOW!" While walking down the stairs he was fusing about me interrupting his copying -- I said, "Hold that thought....wait til you see what is down here!". They had all the county newspapers dating back to 1897 bound in binders, every Order, Minute, Docket book you can imagine, land plats, and original Confederate Pension applications signed by the pensioners! All this and more and we had only two and a half hours before they closed -- a genealogy overload! After a few minutes of me bouncing around showing him everything thing I had found, he smiled and said "Guess we're coming back to Kosciusko, Mississippi after all!"

    Thursday, March 29, 2007

    Mississippi Archives Day Two...

    No drama our during our second day at the Mississippi Archives. By this time you are use to all the security and fall into the routine. I guess I am trainable.

    Robert copied the "Ray" book I found yesterday. Document feeders are not allowed because it could potentially damage the pages, therefore he had to copy one page at the time :) It took about an hour to copy the book. The book is a 1974 version of books we have created in genealogy class! It has charts, group sheets, pics, obits, bible records and newspaper clippings, etc. Now, I am even MORE excited about finishing our book project. I know now more than ever how VALUABLE it will be to future researchers!

    I forgot to mention in my last email that Robert also found a 300 page book on his Vanlandingham's on the way out the door Wednesday. No he didn't copy the entire book but he did transcribe several pages into his FTM.

    At the end of the day we discovered their genealogical family files i.e. family charts, group sheets, etc. donated by individuals. No exciting news here but I always look because you never know what you might find.

    I spent the most of the day researching my family. Believe it or not I found several bits and pieces of info on different lines.

    All in all it was very productive day however we may have to get a loan to get home (.20 cent copies add up after a while).

    Wednesday, March 28, 2007

    God Bless Mississippi...

    Robert and I visited the Mississippi Archives today. Upon our arrival we had to go through the usual check in process. When asked for my photo id ... after several minutes rummaging through my purse and a few eye rolls from Robert I realized I left my drivers license at home in Florida. I was told "No Photo ID, No Research." I pulled out every card I had on me, Social Security, Insurance, Voters Registration, etc. trying to convenience them I was just a avid genealogist and not a terrorist. After a while they gave in and agreed to issue me a research card. Once you complete the "Research Card Application" and agree to the "Rules of the Room", (i.e. no pens, highlighters, bags, purses, cameras, scanners, personal books and papers, envelopes, etc.) you are issued a card. Our laptops and cords, 2 writing tablets were all they would allow in the room. You were issued a pencil! I thought I had entered the military! Needless to say we placed everything else in several lockers. After swiping our "new" research cards we were finally allowed to enter the "Research Room". We were greeted at the desk and asked to sign in.

    After he gave our computers, cords and note paper a look he then began explaining the library's processes and location of materials. I was impressed with their system your research card is used for making copies. You simply preload your card and swipe it at the copy machine. After hearing about all the different technologies, I was getting excited and of course had to ask, "Do you have wireless Internet access?" I was told, "No ma'am." What a let down. After taking a deep breath, I then ask, "Do you have Internet access on the computers here in the Research Room?" He responded, "No ma'am". I'm thinking what a crock! Why have all this technology and not have an Internet connection! It did not make sense. I think I even made a similar comment to the nice gentlemen behind the counter. His response was something to the effect, "We are assuming you have done your Internet research before you arrive and that is why you are here." I don't think he was being a smart a** but it sure did sound that way. Now at this point I was ready to turn around a walk out the door. Robert conveniences me to hang around. If I didn't love this man so much...

    Robert stayed in the library section looking at books and I headed to the microfilm room. By lunch I had printed several Confederate Service records and Pension applications. After lunch I discovered they have Death Certificates from 1912-1943 which may be printed for a meager .20 cents each! On microfilm I found marriage, tax and court records and newspapers, etc. Needless to say they have a tons of stuff! At the end of the day while waiting for Robert to finish his copies I decided I would look to see if there was any Ramsey or Wester info in the family genealogy section of the library. What did I find? Of course not my Ramsey's but a 200 page book on Ray's (one of Robert's lines)! After a short debate, we decided to return tomorrow. And yes Robert is copying the entire book!

    After such a successful day...I realized the "nice gentleman behind the counter was right". I do need to stay off the computer and look at what resources are available elsewhere. I am missing valuable info. Can't wait to share the rest of the story...

    Until later..

    Friday, September 3, 2004

    Grandma Julia's Headstone

    For years I have looked for the grave of my paternal great great grandmother Julia Grantham Ramsey. I recently discovered she was buried at the Shady Grove Cemetery in Jackson County Florida and immediately planned a trip. I have visited this cemetery numerous times over the years – twice this year to attend funeral services – and I'm still in disbelief that I managed not to stumble across her headstone. Once my husband and I arrived we immediate jumped out of the truck with cameras in hand and set out to locate the grave. Since it was sundown, we split up to cover the cemetery quickly. After a while I heard Robert calling for me. Once I found him, I realized he had located Grandma Julia’s headstone. The cement headstone appeared homemade with stamped text engraving. The “N’s” and “S’s” were engraved backwards which made the transcription difficult. It took us several minutes to decipher. Once we agreed upon the text, Robert made a video transcription of the headstone while I took several digital photos. The headstone read:
    Juley TODD
    6 Feb 1857
    4 Mar 1922
    A precious one from us is gone
    A voice we love is still.
    A place is vacant in our home
    That can never be filled.

    Finding this transcription so unique and considering the condition of the headstone I decided it would be a good idea to do a rubbing. However I was unprepared to do this so we we would need to find a local store to purchase the supplies. After a several unsuccessful stops to local retail and grocery stores we ended up at Wal-Mart where I purchased crayons and white wrapping paper and then headed back to the cemetery.
    It was dark when we arrived, Robert asked did I want to wait and come back another day. I insisted on staying. Even though the cemetery is located on a paved road in the Shady Grove community there are no street lights. Needless to say, the cemetery is not lighted nor does it have structured paved paths. So here we are driving in pitch dark trying to navigate back to Grandma Julia’s headstone without running over any graves. We finally stopped the truck and set out on foot stumbling through the cemetery with our flashlights. Robert was enjoying the fact that I was already a little spooked, so he took advantage and managed to get a few screams out of me during our search. After a while we managed to find her grave and he held the flashlight while I began making the rubbing of the headstone. That’s when all the commotion began. Neighborhood dogs began to bark – the louder they barked the more attention they got. In the distance porch lights started turning on…doors began to open and shut and we knew they were wondering what was happening in the cemetery. I said to Robert, “What if they think we are dealers selling drugs in the cemetery?” “What if they call the cops?” “Do you think they will believe what we are doing?” We kept talking about possible scenarios, each more ridiculous and before we were done, we were laughing hysterically.