Saturday, August 27, 2011

Books for Soldiers - Camp Atterbury

This post isn't directly related to genealogy but is a good cause. I found a good classic book, Hudson Bay, by Robert M. Ballentine written in 1848. I don't know how I lucked out on this find. My sister works on the military base, Camp Atterbury in Indiana. She told me on my last visit, you have to go with me to see this little library, they have some really good stuff. I'm sure other military bases must have the same set up for its soldiers. They have a small library housed in a mobile home type building. Their policy is that all military and base personnel can come to the library and take as many books as they want - no charge. They can take as much reading material as they can carry when they go overseas. The books come into the library mainly as donations.

What surprised me was their historical collection. About 1/4 of their collection consists of all types of books on American and World History, Politics, WW1 and WW2 historical accounts, and even a few books on genealogy related subjects. There is one section on American History that stays at the library for all to come in and read.

Back to my book, the title grabbed my attention because it was a semi-historical account of the Hudson Bay Company. It was written as a fiction but by a writer that was a member of this aged company in the early 1840s. Another selfish reason is that I have Hudsons in my family and have always wondered if there is a connection to Henry Hudson for whom Hudson Bay was named. But that is a future research subject. I'm just three chapters into the book and am totally engrossed. I think it will give me a good historical view of those times in the history of our continent and its exploration. If you have some good books laying around donate them to military base libraries.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Romancing the Stone

Photographing our small local cemeteries is one of my side projects that I do whenever it seems to be a beautiful day to go tromping around in a cemetery. I had started this day on an old cemetery just down the road from my house, called the Melott Cemetery. I had walked down two rows and was photographing each stone. I came to two identical stones sitting next each other; clearly none of the other stones in the nearby rows were close to them. They were beautiful in their simplicity and design. They were simple stones both made of marble with an oval design cut on the face. The lettering was all inside the oval and was of the same style. The problem was that the second stone was broken and part of it missing. I searched everywhere for it. Being a genealogist I decided that to correctly record this cemetery I should find out as much as I could about who these stones belonged to. This is the first time I had taken this much time. I had become captivated by this pair of stones.

To find out who the broken stone might have belonged to, first I had to find out about the person on the stone that was still intact. It was on the left facing west. It read:
Hannah M., wife of John Moody,
Born Mar. 9, 1820, Died Nov. 11, 1863,
Aged 42 Ys. 8 Ms. 2 Ds.
Odds are the broken stone belonged to John Moody her husband, but I needed more proof. All that was legible on the broken stone was:
67 Ys. 6 Ms. 16 Ds.
There was nothing left of the top of the stone. For all I knew it could have belonged to anyone else. I checked our Brown County Cemetery book and Hannah was the only Moody in the book.

The next thing to do was to find a John and Hannah Moody in the census. That proved to be harder than I expected. I did a search on Ancestry in the 1860 census for Hannah Moody. Going by her age calculated from her stone she would have been about 41years old. None were even close to her age with a husband named John. This is the most trouble I have ever had finding anyone. I was about to give up and thought, why don’t I just record the stone with the information I have and go on. But I’m tenacious and I’ve learned sometimes you have to be creative in your searches. That’s why I like using Ancestry’s soundex searches.

I finally found what I thought was my couple in the 1850 census in Wood County, Virginia. The family members were John Moody age 51, Hannah age 31, Lysander age 19, John age 12, and Jacob age 8. Hannah’s age was a little off from my calculations but this seemed to be the closest family I could find. I needed to find them in the 1860 to help prove this was the same couple and to check her age. This time I used one of the sons’ names, Lysander as it was an unusual name. I found a family that seemed to match the couple in the 1850 census. In Brown County, Ohio the family was Jacob Moody age 68, Jacob surely didn’t look like it was John though. The wife was Mary Moody age 56 or 36. I couldn’t quite make it out. But a couple of the other children seemed to match up. In the household was Jacob Moody age 17, the right age to match the Jacob in the 1850 family. Lisander age 32 was living in the next household. But what really convinced me it was the same family was that there was another boy in the family by the name of Jonathan Hines. The Hines name leaped out at me, there was a Hines family in the 1850 census living next to John and Hannah Moody. That had to be them. I also remembered that on Hannah’s stone her name read as Hannah M. Moody. The M had to stand for Mary! But how did I know this was still the couple that belonged to these stones?

It was time for research on the local level. There was a marriage record for a Jacob V. Moody to Juliana Foreman in Brown County, Indiana on Oct. 18, 1866. This occurred three years after Hannah’s death so was this the father that had remarried or the son, Jacob that married? The next document I needed to get was the 1870 census to see what Moodys were living in Brown County, Indiana. It showed a Jacob Moody age 32 with a wife named July age 25. So this was the son, Jacob Moody, living in the same area. From this I could deduce that the son, Jacob didn’t belong to this broken stone. The stones were apparently made at the same time both looking to be very old and same weathering. There were the two other sons, Lysander and John, that was in their household in the 1850 census but it is highly unlikely that the stone belonged to either of them as the age on the stone was for a 67 year old. This had to be John Moody Sr. This is what a friend of mine calls "inferential genealogy."

To make a long story short, I posted the information on for John and Hannah Moody. A short time afterward I received a note from a descendent of this couple. She was so thankful that I had found what she had tried to find for years, the grave of John Jacob Moody. She was a descendent of the younger Jacob Moody and confirmed my research results that this was indeed the right couple. I handed over to her the memorial page of the Moodys on Findagrave. A copy of my research results are filed in the Archives of our local Historical Society. My long infatuation with these two stones was over, but I still like to go by and look at them once in a while. I may not be their descendent but I’m guessing I’ll be the only one that remembers where they are and will be a regular visitor.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Family Reunion Preparation

September is a big month for family reunions, especially in my family I have five that I try to attend every year if possible. The first one I went to as a child was my father's family, the Dunns. The best memories were of eating til I was stuffed, listening to an uncle play his banjo, and then going to the playground with my sister and cousins. That's how we got to know each other. I never did know what dad was doing while we were at play, I suppose just spending time with siblings talking.

Now that I'm grown I attend family reunions for a different purpose, collecting more family history and family stories. At first I just asked questions and got little feedback. But I found if you step back and give them some room and put an old family heirloom or a photo album on the table, everyone has some sort of comment or some story to tell. I have put together a binder with old photos of people and places, old homesites, a favorite pet, etc. In between the photos I threw in a few documents to get their attention. The photos attract them, but the documents bring out the latent family historians.

The last reunion that I started going to was a "lost community reunion," from Russell County, Kentucky called the Indian Creek Reunion. These types of reunions give you a different type of view on your ancestors. You can hear stories of their neighbors and possibly distant cousins. This is especially helpful if you don't have many family stories handed down in your own family. Their stories can corroborate the stories in your family. It's interesting to get another family's point of view. Maybe some sort of community event occurred and your ancestors might have played a part in it that you never knew about. You might talk to someone that remembers things that your grandparents had forgotten. I'm often asked "who were your grandparents?" They've said "yes, I remember them, I remember the time your grandfather . . ."

These reunions can be an untapped source of new information. You get a sense of real community between these people. It's going to be hard this year to pick which ones to attend, but I'll try to make them all if I'm not worn out by the middle of September. Check in your area to see if there is some sort of community reunion, or like in my home county here in Indiana, an Old Settlers Reunion. They all have something valuable to offer for you family history.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Full Moon Names - A Fun Topic

Every morning I watch the news and weather, especially the weather. Weather has always intrigued me. As soon as I hear a storm coming I'm the first one out the door looking up at the clouds. One thing that peaks my interest from my local weather forecaster is that he informs us each month on the old names of the Full Moon. I've heard a few of these names before and I'm sure most of you have heard of the Harvest Moon. This morning he said the August Full Moon was called the Sturgeon Moon. My curiosity finally got the best of me this morning, so I decided to "Google-it." A Google search turned up none the less, "The Farmer's Almanac," an old time favorite of our farmers and any countyfolk here in the Midwest. I copied their first paragraph here:

"Full Moon Names and Their Meanings
Full Moon names date back to Native Americans, of what is now the northern and eastern United States. The tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring full moon. Their names were applied to the entire month in which each occurred. There was some variation in the Moon names, but in general, the same ones were current throughout the Algonquin tribes from New England to Lake Superior. European settlers followed that custom and created some of their own names. Since the lunar month is only 29 days long on the average, the full Moon dates shift from year to year. Here is the Farmers Almanac’s list of the full Moon names."

And a description of this month's full moon is here.
The August Sturgeon Full Moon: The fishing tribes are given credit for the naming of this Moon, since sturgeon, a large fish of the Great Lakes and other major bodies of water, were most readily caught during this month. A few tribes knew it as the Full Red Moon because, as the Moon rises, it appears reddish through any sultry haze. It was also called the Green Corn Moon or Grain Moon. names

Monday, August 08, 2011

A Family Displaced

The Conner family were early pioneers in Russell and Clinton County, Kentucky. My grandfather, Alonzo Conner and his wife, Millie Ann Guffey-Conner were born and raised in this part of the country where Lake Cumberland is now located. Alonzo came from a long line of property owners here where his great-grandfather, Lawrence Conner, received a land grant for 200 acres. It was in the fertile river valley of the Cumberland River on Indian Creek tributary. The land was handed down from Lawrence to his son, Cornelius Maguire Conner to his son, William Lawrence Conner and finally to Alonzo and siblings.

Alonzo Conner was born March 13, 1885 and wife, Millie Guffey, was born November 1, 1890. They were married November 6, 1907 and had eight children. They began their life along the river in the rich bottom lands farming and raising their family. Their youngest daughter, Mary Anna Grider Conner, was my mother and this is where she was born and raised. By the time all the children were of age and left home Alonzo received a letter in the mail, one that he had been dreading. He had heard that this big government project was coming, but was hoping they wouldn't decide to do it on his ancestral home. The letter read:

War Department, Wolf Creek Dam & Reservoir, December 12, 1947.
Dear Sir: It has been determined that your property located in the 2nd Magisterial district, Russell County will be acquired for the Wolf Creek Dam & Reservoir. It will be acquired prior to 30 April 1948 and negotiations toward purchase will be initiated in the very near future.

By the time all was said and done Alonzo received $850 for 30 acres and a house, and had to be out within four months. If he wanted to keep his home he only had a very short time to tear it down and/or move it somehow to another location. Fortunately his family had more land in which to move to. Some were less fortunate. With time being too short it was decided to build a new home elsewhere. All the memories, the old homeplace, and the beautiful river valley would soon be lost forever.

It's quite sad when I think about it, I will never be able to see where my mother grew up. Their old homeplace along with all the others in this community that were left behind were numbered by the government and put on a list. They were torn down and the land was cleared of all the farm fields, woods, and any traces of the community were erased. Fortunately the Conner's have handed down a lot of family photos which is all that is left of their heritage there. Each year the Conner's hold a family reunion on Labor Day weekend in Albany, Kentucky. There is also one held the following weekend for all the residents who formerly lived there, the Indian Creek Reunion, which is held at the park below the Wolf Creek Dam. Many families lost their ancestral homes as well, some being the Stearns, Griders, McWhorters, Tallents, Cooks, and Agees. The burials in the cemeteries in the valley were relocated to higher ground and many you will find now in the Government Cemetery, or sometimes the Hickory Ridge Cemetery. Whenever I drive across the Wolf Creek Dam I look down on the river side and try to see what little is left of the river valley they lived along. Possibly I'll get a glimpse of some memory that was left behind.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Kinnick Connections

Since I started blogging I've been able to find out more on my Kinnick line. My 4th great grandparents were George and Hannah (Grimes) Kinnick of North Carolina and Indiana. Their daughter, Nancy Kinnick, married Joseph Allen in Davie County, NC. Unfortunately I haven't been able to find a marriage record for them yet. Joseph and Nancy followed her brother, Jabez Kinnick, to Indiana in the 1850s. They settled in Johnson County, Indiana in Clark township and are buried at the Rocklane Cemetery. I made a trip there yesterday and took photos of the two cemeteries that all the Kinnicks are buried in including Nancy's parents, George and Hannah in the Nolin Cemetery.

Last year I met a new cousin who starting attending our Genealogy meetings and she let me borrow her book, "The Kinnick Family" by Nettie Edna Kinnick Waggener. She never would take the book back and told me to keep it. This fine old lady, Charlotte Wyatt, passed away recently and I'm very grateful to her for the gift.

Now, I started searching through the blogs, my new obsession, and found others researching the Kinnicks. This was my mystery family. In the book my line supposedly ends with the death of my 2nd greatgrandmother, Nancy Catherine Allen, Joseph and Nancy (Kinnick) Allen's daughter. But my line did not end - one daughter did survive, my greatgrandmother, Stella Pearl Allen. The mystery is this, there is no known father for Pearl or any marriage record for Catherine. Catherine married a Frank Samuels but that was several years after Pearl's birth. The book reports her as a deceased child. Pearl never talked about her parents, I don't think she knew who her father was. Her obituary said her parents were Charles and Catherine Allen. But there were no Charles Allens living in this area. I think Pearl made this up because she might have thought being a child born out of wedlock was shameful. The only record I could get on Pearl that she had to fill out herself and might tell who her parents were was her Social Security card application. On the application Pearl listed her mother as Nancy Katherine unknown and father as unknown. Ordering this document was well worth the price and the wait. I think Pearl knew she had to tell the truth on a government document. The truth was 'she didn't know'. None of my family knew either. Pearl S. Allen was born Apr. 25, 1879 and died Apr. 19, 1978. Pearl married William Ambro Brown and lived in Brown County, Indiana the rest of her life.
P.S. There's no marriage record for Pearl and William Brown either!(Do I see a clue here as well?)

Now my next task is to track down Hannah (Grimes) Kinnicks' parents.