Tuesday, August 19, 2008

(Re)Jump-Start Your Research

If you are like me, there are times when you have to put your family research on the back burner, either because family or work circumstances dictate it or you just need to take a break from genealogy. While I don’t foresee the latter ever being the case with me, I have just come off of several months of relative inactivity in my family research due to the press of family needs. Picking up where I left off hasn’t been easy, but several things have helped me get back into the swing of things and have even made my research more active than it was before in several areas.

First, just try to get back into the routine, even if it involves some of the more tedious aspects, such as looking up and transcribing census information or transcribing articles and documents. This is the work that eventually turns up a piece of information that can “bring your research to the next level.” Humble census work has done this several times for me. Recently I found some important items on my Sisson line in this way (and hope to publish the results in a separate post), including a clue to the father of a great-great grandmother and evidence that her husband, William T. Sisson, is the William T. Sisson listed in Company H of the 25th Alabama Infantry in the Civil War.

When you need to take a break from this kind of research, which often involves close reading of texts and deciphering of poor to awful handwriting, browse your favorite genealogy blogs or genealogy message boards to find research tips and new search tools and resources. In just the past two weeks I have found the Family Search pilot webpage and the digital images of Texas death certificates highlighted below, the inclusion of many digital images on the South Carolina Department of Archives and History webpage, and a new search resource offered by the Greenville Library’s South Carolina Room through which you can search an online index for obituaries which appeared in the Greenville News from 1917 to 1993.

Write to some of your “genealogy buddies,” relatives and fellow researchers with whom you have corresponded to share the results of your research. Find out what the latest news is in their research, or ask relatives questions about their lives or family history. This kind of correspondence almost always adds something to your own research, whether it is new information or ideas for a new avenue to pursue. If nothing else, there is always plenty of family news to enjoy.

Start a blog or open up an account on Facebook or a similar site on which you can post pictures, articles, and transcripts. This is a good way to help organize your research as well as share it. Some of the items you post on a blog may turn into articles that you may want to submit to genealogy journals for publication. In the course of doing genealogy-related searches, other researches may get hits on your blog and get in touch with you (that is something that I hope will eventually result from this blog). My daughter pointed out to me another benefit of posting pictures online, which is that it is an additional backup for these images in the even t of computer failure (and failure to back up through other means).

Each of these four approaches has yielded tangible results for me in the course of just a few weeks.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Texas Death Certificate images at Family Search pilot webpage

Here is an image of my great-grandfather Harlston Perrin Moore's death certificate.  You can search and bring up images like this one at http://pilot.familysearch.org/ recordsearch/start.html#.  This is a terrific research tool.  In just a short time I have found lots of these certificate images for people in my family tree, with a great deal of information that I did not have, although obviously caution must be exercised -- I can see that there are mistakes -- but the items such as parents' names, date of birth and death, cause of death, and so forth are a great starting point for research or can simply be used to support other sources for the same information.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Greenville, SC Historical Records Search

I have added a link for the search page of the Greenville County Government website. This is a wonderful service that can be used to search thousands of images of original documents in the following six categories: Council Commissioners, Court of Common Pleas, Court of General Sessions, Probate Court, Register of Deeds, and Sheriff's Office; each of these categories has several subsets of types of documents. The years covered vary by category, but chances are, if you have ancestors in Greenville County, you can find something in at least one of these categories. After selecting the category, there is a view page box at the top; you can move through the images using the arrows or by entering a page number in the box and clicking on GO ... Some of the categories include indices to help you figure out which page a document pertaining to your ancestor may be found. Some of the images are quite old and difficult to read; for some of the wills, you may be able to find an image of the typescript of the will on the website for the South Carolina Department of Archives and History (the URL is http://scdah.sc.gov; from there, click on "Research & Genealogy," then "On-Line Records Index," then "Search Page").  Some search results will indicate "Online images available." Clicking on that will bring up an image of the document. It's the next best thing to actually going to the courthouse or archives.  

More Matlocks: Martha Amanda Matlock and Emory A. Gracey

One of my great-grandmother Angeline Matlock Floyd’s younger sisters was Martha Amanda Matlock, who married Emory A. Gracey, a colorful character who is said to have come to Texas when he was 13 years old (apparently following his older brothers Marquis de Lafayette Gracey and Casper Grundy Gracey). He worked as a prospector for the Texas & Pacific Railroad, rode with the Rangers, and served in Company H of the First Texas Cavalry in the Civil War.

Emory A. Gracey
b. 13 Mar 1837, Bond Co., Illinois
d. 3 Aug 1915, Lisbon, Dallas, Texas
& Martha Amanda Matlock
b. Sep 1849, Warren County, Kentucky
d. 21 Aug 1927, Lisbon, Dallas, Texas
m. 27 Aug 1865
| Malvina Isabella “Bell” Gracey
| b. 10 May 1868, Lisbon, Dallas, Texas
| d. 8 Dec 1934, Lisbon, Dallas, Texas
| & Luna M. “Luney” Goforth
| b. 12 Aug 1865, Missouri
| d. 29 Jan 1940, Lisbon, Dallas, Texas
| m. 1888
| Ann White Gracey
| b. 14 Sep 1869 Texas
| d. 27 Apr 1959, San Angelo, Texas
| & Jerile George Dodge
| b. Apr 1869, Kentucky
| d. 29 Jul 1959, Nolan Co., Texas
| m. 6 Nov 1895
| Alvie Lee Gracey
| b. Aug 1871, Texas
| & Lizzie
| b. Aug 1875, Texas
| m. 1899
| Effie E. Gracey
| b. Jun 1872, Texas
| d. 16 May 1956, Deaf Smith Co., Texas
| & Joseph L. Hight
| b. Jun 1867, Tennessee
| Lura Pearl Gracey
| b. Feb 1876 Texas
| d. 9 Aug 1962, Nolan Co., Texas
| & D. D. Potter
| b. 9 Oct 1872, Texas
| d. 29 May 1951, Nolan Co., Texas
| m. 13 Jul 1898, Dallas County, TX
| Addie May Gracey
| b. 3 May 1878, Texas
| d. 8 Jan 1958, Hall Co., Texas
| & William Henry “Billy” Goodnight
| b. 12 Jun 1878
| d. 9 Oct 1940, Hall Co., Texas
| John Emery Gracey
| b. 30 Aug 1882, Texas
| d. 15 Mar 1961, Texas
| & Dora Pearl
| b. 21 Sep 1886, Texas
| d. 28 Feb 1983, Texas |
| Ida Gracey
| b. 1884, Texas
| d. 1884, Texas
| Walter Gracey
| b. 23 May 1887, Texas
| d. 24 Feb 1956, Terry Co., Texas
| & Jennie Lee
| b. 2 Sep 1894, Texas
| d. 27 Jun 1984, Brownfield, Terry, Texas
| Jo Gracey
| b. Aug 1890, Texas
| d. 4 Feb 1916, Dallas County, TX

Missing information for this family: maiden names for the wives of John Emery, Walter, and Alvie Lee Gracey and dates of death for Joseph Hight and for Alvie Lee Gracey and his wife. Also, five of the fourteen Gracey children died in infancy; are there any records for any of them except for Ida? Was Emory’s middle name Anderson or Augustus? Fun facts: Alvie Lee Gracy served as a registrar who did registration of men for the World War I draft; he signed his nephew William Emory Goforth’s registration card. Addie May Gracey Goodnight’s daughter Pauline Goodnight married a man named Clarence Clifton Knight, so that she became Pauline Goodnight Knight.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Matlock Family

This is the family of my great-grandmother Angeline Elizabeth Matlock (my mother’s mother’s mother). The Useful Links section to the left includes a link to a great Matlock site. The main source for a lot of information on this family is Eunice Sandling’s “History of the Floyd Family.” Some of that information is based on articles from the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County, 1892, Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago. Jim Dodd has added some information and I have added a little bit. Below is a descendant chart for the family (parents Absalom C. Matlock and Nancy Malvina Harris and their children). Absalom’s parents were Rial Matlock and Camila Clark; Nancy’s parents were Thomas Highsmith Harris and Martha Elizabeth Skiles. Absalom, Nancy, Nancy’s parents and grandmother Nancy Highsmith Harris, and several of Martha Skiles Harris’ siblings and their families moved to Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas from Warren County, Kentucky in 1852.

Absalom C. Matlock
b. 21 Mar 1825, KY
d. 1865
& Nancy Malvina Harris
b. 28 Apr 1827, Warren County, Kentucky
d. 11 Aug 1862, Dallas County, TX
m. 13 Aug 1846, Warren County, Kentucky
| Angeline Elizabeth Matlock
| b. 18 Nov 1847, Bowling Green, Warren Co., Kentucky
| d. 11 Oct 1916, Dallas County, TX
| & Charles Augustus Floyd
| b. 28 Jun 1840, Greene Co., Illinois
| d. 4 Mar 1894, Dallas County, TX
| m. 13 Jan 1867, Home of T.H. Taylor, Texas
| Martha Amanda Matlock
| b. Sep 1849, Warren County, Kentucky
| d. 21 Aug 1927, Lisbon, Dallas, Texas
| & Emory Anderson Gracey
| b. 13 Mar 1837, Bond Co., Illinois
| d. 3 Aug 1915, Lisbon, Dallas, Texas
| m. 27 Aug 1865
| Joseph R. Matlock
| b. Dec 1851, Kentucky
| & Adaline “Addie” [last name unknown]
| b. Mar 1852, Illinois
| d. bef 1920
| m. 1878
| Eliza Jane Matlock
| b. 15 Mar 1854, Lancaster, Dallas County, Texas
| d. 4 Feb 1935, Dallas County, TX
| & Elisha James Mathis
| b. 18 Apr 1845, Tennessee
| d. 5 May 1884, Dallas County, TX
| Thomas A. Matlock
| b. 20 Oct 1859, Dallas Co., Texas
| d. 19 Jun 1925, Petrolia, Clay, Texas
| & Mary Adeline “Addie” Stratton
| b. 7 Sep 1859, Texas
| d. 30 Jan 1936, Houston, Harris County, Texas

The families of each of the children will be dealt with in separate posts. Researchers working on this family are still trying to learn the cause, location, and exact date of Absalom Matlock’s death (1865 was given in the article on Charles Augustus Floyd in the Memorial and Biographical History of Dallas County.) Did he serve in the Civil War (he does not show up in the Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System)? There is no record of his burial, but Nancy Harris Matlock is buried in the Floyd-Taylor Cemetery in Lancaster.

Why Genealogy Bog?

No, it's not a typo, although you'll see plenty of those here.  It was a typo at one time, but I realized at the time that it must have been a "Freudian typo," true at least in part:  the piles of papers, books, binders, photo albums, sticky notes and other paraphernalia necessary for research that line the walls of my office and encroach to an increasing extent on any remaining free space, as well as the idea of getting stuck, both in the sense of getting lured into and captivated by family research and in the sense of getting stuck at dead ends and brick walls.

Great New Resource from the Greenville Library System

For researchers working on families from the Greenville, South Carolina area:  a wonderful new resource has been launched by the Greenville Library - a searchable online index to obituaries that appeared in the Greenville News from 1917 to 1993.  It is very easy to use.  For my Lewis, Moore, and associated families I already have 39 hits; a number of these families lived in the next county over, Anderson County.  See my links section at the left.

South Carolina is a wonderful state for genealogy research, and the Greenville Library has put several very useful resources online.  I will address these and other South Carolina resources in a future post.

Goals of this Blog

The main purpose of this blog, as stated in the heading, is to share information with other researchers.  I have being doing that since the very beginning of my research in 2005 through e-mail, but I this blog should provide an easier, less formal way to accomplish the same end.  In addition, I hope that people researching the same families, subjects, and geographical areas as I am will find this site and will be encouraged to get in touch with me to share research.  Assistance from family members and fellow researchers has probably been the single most important element in my genealogy efforts up to now.  I have also noticed that the most helpful websites for specific families are those in which several researchers have combined efforts; my Links section includes links to a couple of these sites, for the Matlock and Clark families.  So I hope that the people who find this blog will not only collect the information in it, but will e-mail me so that we can work together in the future.  While I will post information and results of research here, it will not be comprehensive; if you want more information, you will have to write to me (see e-mail address at the top of this page).