Blog 2022 05 08 2022 Genealogical Acts of Kindness

If you are a regular researcher then there are probably times you need something but are unable to travel somewhere to get something or it is just not financially feasible.  What do I mean?

You want a picture of a grave marker that is not on Find-a-grave or a court record from a local courthouse.  Maybe you need someone to look for some index books on court or church records from a county on the other side of the United States because those records are not indexed online.

Find-a-grave has an option where you can request a photo of a grave that is not already photographed or has a bad photo.  If you are a registered member (it is free), then you can log in and if you going to a cemetery or at the cemetery, you can see if anyone has made such a request and you can help them by finding the grave and taking a picture of it.  You can also drop a GPS grid pin while standing by the grave to make it easier for others to find it.  If you do make the request, please enter all the information possible so the other person knows they have the right one.  I remember seeing a request for “Infant Thomas” in a cemetery with over two dozen such graves.  If you know or have an approximation of, the dates the individual lived, put it in the request.

Do you regularly go to a local genealogical library?  If you are also a part of a local genealogical society, then ask if they get requests for someone to do a simple look-up at the library or courthouse.  The society often gets such requests but too many societies ignore them because they do not have any members willing to help people.

Such requests do not take much time and do not require you to be an expert in the field of genealogy.  Just a simple Act of Kindness to fellow researchers.  It is what we call a ‘Record Pull’ and the more we are willing to help other researchers the more they might be able to help you.

Many of you have a full-time jobs and may not have a lot of time to help others but what I am suggesting is that when you are already planning a trip to a genealogical library, cemetery, or courthouse, see if someone has a need that you can do while you are already there.  It is built in for Find-a-grave but you will need to check with the local genealogical \ historical society to see if they have any requests.

If you are a user of Facebook and other social media that has genealogy groups, join them to follow what is being asked, learned, and requested.

It is always great to be kind to someone else.

Blog 2022 05 01 2022 Don’t let facts get in the way of a good family story

I am writing this from Chattanooga where I had the honor to be a key-note speaker and give two additional presentations at a family convention.

This particular family originated in Essex County, Virginia in the mid-1700s.  From there, the family migrated in three distinct directions, north towards New York; straight west to Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois; and southernly to Georgia, and then on west to Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.  However, they have an interesting family story about an incident that occurred with one of the family members who originated in Georgia as many of the children began moving west.

I will not retell the exact story here but what I wanted to point out is that the story of this one sibling born about 1827 and had served a tour in a Georgia regiment during the Civil War fled west with his family after his initial tour to presumably avoid further service.  At the same time, several brothers moved to two different places in Louisiana, and cousins moved to Arkansas and Texas.

The interesting thing is, that the story of this one individual’s alleged crime and escape from prosecution has been passed down through the generations to this very day.  While some details are a bit different from family branch to family branch, it seems plausible that all or portions of this tale are true.  Whether they can determine exactly where in Texas this incident occurred and then find records from during the Civil War may be what will separate fact from fiction.  But still, it is a pretty good story and as I stated, the interesting thing is that descendants of his, his siblings, and cousins who lived near him in Chattooga County, Georgia all passed the story down.

So most of my blogs are about finding facts and proving our cases but with family stories, that is not always possible.  Take one that concerns how my father and his older brother, Ralph, ended up in Chicago.  My grandfather, Joseph Henry Thomas (1890 – 1982) [i], was a farmer as was his father, grandfather, back to our progenitor who moved us to Georgia around 1754.

According to a story that my grandfather told me, he wanted to go to medical school.  He had a successful uncle after whom he was named, Joseph Henry Thomas.  Uncle Joseph was a prominent lawyer who went on to be a state circuit judge and granddad asked his uncle to help pay his way to medical school.  His uncle stated he would be happy to pay for him to attend law school.  A few back and forth, and granddad realized the only school that his uncle would help fund was law and he did not want to go.

In 1926, my great grandfather, General Jackson Thomas, died. [ii] He left, 9 children, one of whom was a minor and living with her mother.  A couple of his sons were living and working in the shipbuilding industry in Brunswick, Georgia.  By 1932, no one had bought the old farm so granddad did and began to farm it, something, remember, he did not want to do.

Therefore, he urged all of his children to get off “the farm” and do anything but farm.  My father, born in January 1931, was close to his brother who was born in April 1928.  Both were intrigued by electronics where the radio had been the leading form of mass entertainment and televisions were just beginning to hit the market.  So they decided that Ralph would go to Chicago first and obtain training and dad would follow once he graduated High School in 1948.  However, Ralph died while riding my father’s motorcycle early on the morning of 19 September 1950 when an allegd drunk driver collided with him.

Dad decided to continue the plan and stay in Chicago and pursue a career in televisions where he worked for a while at a Zenith factory and then as a repairman.

There is no ‘evidence’ that pertains to uncle Joseph refusing to pay for my grandfather to go to medical school and there is no ‘proof’ that he urged the kids to not become farmers.  The only proof is what granddad told me and what my father told me about why he and Ralph went to Chicago.

Nevertheless, we need to remember them, write them down and pass them along to our kids.

[i] Bleckley County, Georgia, Certificate of Death/State of Georgia, State File Number, Death Certificate of Josephe Henry Thomas, Bleckely County Probate Court, Cochran, Bleckley County, Georgia, copy in author’s possession.

[ii] Glynn County, Georgia, Georgia, Georgia State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics, Registered No. 3280, Death Certificate of General Jackson Thomas, Glynn County Probate Court, Brunswick, Glynn County, Georgia, copy in author’s possession.

Blog 2022 04 25 2022 When Direct Evidence Does Not Exist Part 2

We looked last week at a case where we lacked direct evidence connecting Daniel H. Ricks to his father, Richard Ricks, Sr.  This week we will examine another case

Is Perman Weldon the son of William Dale Weldon?  Once again, no direct evidence has been located.  Note, Pierman’s name was often spelled in a myriad of ways.

William Dale signed his will in Hart County, Georgia, on 13 April 1860 and it was proved on 6 August of the same year. [i]  William does not list Pierman or Perman as a son but the will does not list all children, just the daughters, and two sons. The children he does list are Wilburn and Jonathan as executors, Mary Weldon, Sarah Shirly (sic) the wife of John N. Shirly, and Nancy Freeman, the wife of Edward Freeman.  He also made special provisions for a daughter, Dicy Luvinia, which indicates she may have had special needs.  The absence of any other children is not an indication that he did not have additional children.

However, in 1813 William Dale Weldon purchased 348 acres in Pendleton District, South Carolina by making his mark. [ii] In 1839, Perman signed a bill of sale for 100 acres of land that appears to have been a portion of that 348 acres. [iii] But that is still not sufficient enough.  What else do we know?

William Dale Weldon sold 229 ¾ acres of the same tract of land on 7 February 1828 even though it was not recorded to the county court until 1839. [iv] This land was now located in Anderson District of South Carolina.

The U. S. Census records prior to 1850 only list the head of household and the number of people living there based on gender and age.  Purman’s 1840 census shows one male (Purman) over 20, two females between 5 and 10 (most likely incorrect), and one female between 15 and 19 (most likely his wife).  Additionally, he was living next door to a “Wm” Weldon.  William was listed as 50 to 60 years old and could be his father.

The 1850 U. S. Census lists the household of Pierman indexed as ‘Rannan’ Weldon in Madison County, Georgia. [v]  A closer look at the record shows it is a Pe, not an Ra.  While William D. Weldon is living in the next county over of Franklin. [vi]

Since they are recorded next to each other in the 1840 U. S. Census or possibly together but enumerated as two separate households in Anderson County, South Carolina.  The two families departed South Carolina within a few short years and move to nearby counties in Georgia.  William D. to Hart County and Perman to the neighboring Madison County where they appeared in the U. S. Census for Georgia in 1850.

There is one other bit of information to support this concept.

William Dale Weldon’s parents were Jonathan Weldon and Mary Elizabeth Hanks. [vii] Jonathan died early leaving a young widow, Mary.  We have a record of a Mary Weldon marrying a William Pearman on or after the filing of a marriage bond on 18 August 1785 in Pittsylvania, Virginia. [viii] However, if the grave marker of Weldon PEARMAN, who was reportedly their son, is correct, he was born in July 1785 a month before the marriage bond. [ix] Some contend it was Jonathan’s daughter Mary who married William but she was most likely still too young and additional resources would be required to determine exactly which.

The given name of Perman, although spelled somewhat differently, begins to appear in the family after the above William or Weldon PEARMAN first appears.  Whether it was William Dale’s mother or sister who married William PEARMAN, it is this surname that begins to appear as given names in William Dale’s descendants as well as many of his sibling’s descendants.

A legitimate question might be, how well can we trust a Proof Argument as conclusive?  The answer is this until something comes along to disprove it, we can stand on it.  I know that sounds pretty shaky, but that is the view of professional genealogists worldwide.

The dangerous pitfall we run into is assuming the wrong relationship.  It is possible Pierman was a nephew and not a son but then why was he allowed to sell that land?  Unfortunately, no deed could be located that moved the ownership from William D. to Pierman and that further supports the idea that Pierman was a son.

What is the conclusion here?  Do not let the lack of direct evidence keep you from drawing legitimate conclusions.  AND, do not jump to the conclusions you want when there is other contrary evidence.

[i] Hart County, Georgia, Will Book A (1847 – 1894), page 40, William Dale Weldon, Hart County Courthouse, Hartwell, Hart County, Georgia, image,, ( accessed 24 April 2022).

[ii] Pendleton District, South Carolina, Conveyance Book Q, p. 74 – 75, William Shirley to William Weldon, Anderson County Court House, Abbeville, South Carolina, image,, ( accessed 24 April 2022).

[iii] Anderson County, South Carolina, Conveyance Book X, p. 428-429, Pierman Weldon to Thomas Branigan, Anderson County Court House, Abbeville, South Carolina, image,, ( accessed 24 April 2022).


[iv] Anderson County, South Carolina, Conveyance Book W, p. 205 – 206, William Weldon to Thomas Wakefield, Anderson County Court House, Abbeville, South Carolina, image,, ( accessed 24 April 2022).

[v] 1850 U. S. Census, Madison County, Georgia, population schedule, 56th subdivision, p. 56 (inked), dwelling and family 424, hld of Rannan Weldon,, ( accessed 24 April 2022), citing NARA publication M433, roll 76.

[vi] 1850 U. S. Census, Franklin County, Georgia, population schedule, district 32, p. 278 (stamped), dwelling and family 3, hld of William d. Weldon,, ( accessed 24 April 2022), citing NARA publication M433, roll 76.

[vii] Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Will Book 11, page 129, will of  Jonathan Weldon, Pittsylvania County Probate Court, Chatham, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Transcript,, ( accessed 24 April 2022).

[viii] Pittsylvania County, Virginia, Marriage Bonds (loose papers), Pearman – Weldon (1785), Pittsylvania County Courthouse, Chatham, Pittsylvania County, Virginia, image 491/850,, ( accessed 24 April 2022).

[ix] Find a grave, database and images ( accessed 24 April 2022), memorial # 24321513, Weldon Pearman born 7 Jul 1785 and died 15 Feb 1868.

Blog 2022 04 10 2022 When Direct Evidence Does Not Exist

Too many people will take tradition or the easy answer as facts.  I spoke a couple of weeks ago about how two consecutive census records a Rosa Lee as a Corker and indicates she was the daughter of a Gordon Corker. [i] By looking at her marriage application in 1948 we learned that she was never a Corker but a Myrick and that her mother had married a Holly Myrick, who died, before marrying Gordon. [ii]

The easy answer would have been to accept the direct evidence found as being correct but truly “Reasonably Exhaustive Search” as defined by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) requires looking for any additional evidence which might shed light on the question.

What about when there is no direct evidence.  Then we rely on indirect and I will give you some examples below.

Was Daniel H. Ricks (Circa 1795 – 1878) the son of Richard Ricks (Circa 1765 – 1844) and Elizabeth Herring (1767-1819)?

Richard was married twice, first to Elizabeth Herring and then to an unknown lady also named Elizabeth and will be shown in a moment.  Shortly before Richard died, he signed a will and as happened all too frequently, he neither named his wife nor any of his older children. [iii] We learn his wife’s name was Elizabeth when she sells her Dower a few years later. [iv]

To find the older children takes doing a timeline on the elder Richard and seeing all of his interactions with other Ricks or Herrings.  In 1811 Richard was given land from his brother-in-law, Abraham Herren, son of Arter and Elizabeth Herren, in Laurens County. [v] Land that was formerly in Wilkinson County.  The record states that Richard had been residing in Montgomery County, Georgia.  At the same time, Abraham gave a slave to his nephew, and son of Richard RICKS, John RICKS. [vi]

Between 1826 and 1837, several plats were drawn for various RICKS’ who appear to be part of a family. [vii] In January 1835, Arthur RICKS had 643 acres surveyed and the Chain Carriers (CC) were Richard RICKS and Daniel H. RICKS.  Also in January, Daniel H. RICKS had 1,000 acres surveyed, and Arthur RICKS and Daniel H. as CC.  Another in January was 115 acres surveyed for Richard RICKS and Richard are CC.

Finally, Daniel H. Ricks’ next appears as a witness to a couple of land sales involving Richard RICKS, Junior. [viii] Plus, Daniel H. first appeared in 1817 as a witness to a land sale of Arthur HERRING. [ix] We have determined that Arthur was Richard’s Father-in-Law and Elizabeth’s grave marker further states she was the first wife of Richard and daughter of Arthur a Revolutionary War Veteran. [x]

Therefore we can conclude this Proof Argument

Since Daniel witnessed the sale of land belonging to Arthur HERRING in 1817 when he would have been about 22 and is Elizabeth’s father, and in 1811 Richard was given land from his brother-in-law, Abraham Herren, son of Arter and Elizabeth Herren, in Laurens County. [xi] Plus all the interactions between Daniel R., Arthur, Richard Jr., Richard Sr., and John, we can conclude that he must be another son of Richard and Elizabeth.

Next week, another proof argument using indirect evidence.


[i] 1920 U. S. Census, Bibb County, Georgia, population schedule, Macon City, Supervisor’s District 6, Enumeration District 23, p. 7 A (inked), Family 161, Dwelling 166, 317 Harris Alley, Household of Willie Brenn and 1930 U. S. Census, Bibb County, Georgia, population schedule, Macon City, Supervisor’s District 8, Enumeration District 11-10, p. 2B (inked), Family 49, Dwelling 58, 220 Division Street, Household of Gordon Corker, image, ( accessed 3 April 2022), citing NARA T625, roll 23 (1920) and T626 roll 23.

[ii] Bibb County, Georgia, Application for Marriage Licenses, Sarah Lee Duncan, Bibb Probate Court, Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

[iii] Laurens County, Georgia, Will Book 2 (1840-1868), page 15-18, Will of Richard RICKS, Laurens County Courthouse, Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, image, ( accessed 18 April 2022).

[iv] Laurens County, Georgia, Deed Book L, p. 164, RICKS – Yapp, Laurens County Courthouse, Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, image, ( accessed 18 April 2022).

[v] Laurens County, Georgia, Deed Book C, page 4, Herren-RICKS, Laurens County Courthouse, Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, image, ( accessed 18 April 2022).

[vi] Laurens County, Georgia, Deed Book C, page 5, Herren-RICKS, Laurens County Courthouse, Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, image, ( accessed 18 April 2022).

[vii] Emanuel County, Georgia, Plat Book B, pages 290-291 and 331, and Book K, pages 204, 346, and 347, Laurens Courthouse, Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, image, ( accessed 18 April 2022.)

[viii] Laurens County, Georgia, Deed Book H, page 44-45, and 46, RICKS-Young, Laurens Courthouse, Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, image, ( accessed 18 April 2022.)

[ix] Laurens County, Georgia, Deed Book E, page 234, HERRING – Fountain, Laurens Courthouse, Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, image, ( accessed 18 April 2022.)

[x] Find a grave, database and images ( accessed 18 April 2022), memorial # 78222662, Elizabeth HERRING RICKS, birth 1767, death 1819.

[xi] Laurens County, Georgia, Deed Book C, page 4, Herren-RICKS, Laurens County Courthouse, Dublin, Laurens County, Georgia, image, ( accessed 18 April 2022).

Blog 2022 04 10 2022 Navigating the 1950 U. S. Census before the indexing is complete

Shall I start with the obvious, Good Luck?

Depending on where your person or family of interest was living in 1950 will determine just how difficult it might be.  For instance, I wanted to see if my father was still living at on, on the farm, or if he had already joined his older brother in Chicago, IL.  That rural part of the town of Surrency, outside the city, in Appling County, Georgia was 25 pages and it was really easy to go page by page.

What I discovered was that he was not listed as residing there; plus, his oldest brother was living back at the family farm with his wife and two young children.  Something I did not know.  My uncle’s youngest child was two on the 1950 U. S. Census is a cousin I am in contact with and asked her if she knew this and she replied she did because she was born there.

I did notice that the enumerators of 1950 were not any better than others in US history at getting facts correct.  Since my uncle, born in 1923, and a veteran of WWII had the WWII annotation crossed out and changed to reflect his served in WWI, five years before he was born.

But what about a more metropolitan area? 

Let’s take a look at Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.  I was looking up the family of a client.  However, I need the enumeration area.  To do this, I need to know where they lived.  I have their address according to the 1950 city directory.

Steve Morse has a website that helps with this (most people only think of his website for immigration) and it is:

I can plug in the state, County, City, and then address and it will bring back the enumeration district or districts to search.  Then it is back to going page by page.  It took me a few minutes because the city directory method of displaying the address in 1950 was confusing since the city had just renumbered most of the addresses and renamed many streets.  But, I eventually found what I was looking for.

What if you do not have an address?

That will depend on how unique the name is that you are researching.  I just took a chance looking for my father in Chicago and found him on the third option, out of 233 possibilities.  My father’s name was Odis Thomas and I searched for Odis.  He is right where I expected to find him, with his brother Ralph, and Ralph’s wife, Dolly.  Ralph’s name was on a line that was ‘randomly’ selected for additional questions.  Here, the enumerator, probably due to lack of knowledge, states he completed 12 years of schooling which is not technically correct.  The enumerator probably asked Ralph if he completed High School and Ralph replied in the affirmative.  However, Georgia used to graduate kids after the 11th grade and did not add the 12th grade until 1950.  All of my Thomas grandparent’s kids graduated before 1950.

However, another person in Chicago I am looking for, his surname should be rather unique but it brings back 173 and that one may take some time.  I was not necessarily going to go through all 233 pages to look for my dad for this blog, it just so happens that it came up, on the third one.


Blog 2022 04 03 2022 We learn something new all the time!

Even professionals can learn new tricks.  I have been researching a Rosa Lee Corker who appears on both the 1920 and 1930 U. S. Census as the daughter of Gordon Corker and Alene Daniels Corker. [i] When Alene dies in 1942, it is Rosa Lee Duncan who is the informant for Alene’s Death Certificate. [ii]

Rosa has a daughter, Sarah Lee Duncan who was most likely named after Alene’s mother, Sarah. [iii] Rosa remarries in 1948 several months after her daughter, Sarah Lee marries a William Thomas.  Researching William and Sarah Thomas would be extremely difficult due to the popularity of those names and I was in Macon contemplating a strategy.

My friend, and the Genealogy Librarian at Washington Memorial Library in Macon, Ms. M. Jackson suggested I obtain the marriage applications as well as the marriage certificates.  I had never thought about obtaining the application.  However, it will typicaly list parents’ names and whether they are still living or not.

In Bibb County, Georgia, where Macon is located, the cost for a certified marriage license is $30 but I did not need a certified one, just a copy.  That was $1 per page.  The application would take several days to get in, however, it came in the following day.  Again, $1 per page.

To my surprise, Rosa Lee was never a Corker.  I learned that Alene had married a Holly Myrick who was Rosa’s father.  Holly died and she then married Gordon Corker.  It further states that Rosa’s first marriage to James Duncan ended in divorce because of infidelity.

So now we have another tool in our arsenal in researching our elusive ancestors.

[i] 1920 U. S. Census, Bibb County, Georgia, population schedule, Macon City, Supervisor’s District 6, Enumeration District 23, p. 7 A (inked), Family 161, Dwelling 166, 317 Harris Alley, Household of Willie Brenn and 1930 U. S. Census, Bibb County, Georgia, population schedule, Macon City, Supervisor’s District 8, Enumeration District 11-10, p. 2B (inked), Family 49, Dwelling 58, 220 Division Street, Household of Gordon Corker, image, ( accessed 3 April 2022), citing NARA T625, roll 23 (1920) and T626 roll 23.

[ii] Bibb County, Georgia, Georgia Department of Public Health, Certificate of Death, File No. 498, Alene Death Certificate, Alene Corker, Bibb Probate Court, Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

[iii] Bibb County, Georgia, Application for Marriage Licenses, Sarah Lee Duncan, Bibb Probate Court, Macon, Bibb County, Georgia.

Blog 2022 03 27 2022 Tomahawks and Genealogy?

Last night I went with my favorite female and several others to a place here in the Atlanta, Georgia area called, “Bury the Hatchett.”  It is a hatchet and tomahawk throwing venue and it was really a lot of fun.  I found throwing the tomahawk a lot easier and more accurate than the hatchet.

What does any of this have to do with genealogy?  Great question.  We often discuss learning the stories of our ancestors and here is one that pertains to one of mine.

The time is April 1776 in Screven County, Georgia.  Governor Reynolds, who served from 1754 – 1757, was not a favorite governor but he did set up a court system that started at the Court of Conscience.  Using today’s analogy, it would be a cross between the small-claims court and the misdemeanor court.  When colonists had a dispute with each other, they took it before the Court of Conscience which was presided over by a Justice of the Peace.  When a case could not be settled to satisfaction here, it went before the Governor’s Council.  Very few records exist today for those courts.

Fortunately for me (and others with ancestors in Screven County around that time), we have what appears to be a former Judge’s personal ledger of cases.  The case I am referring to in April of 1776 concerns my ancestor, Gilshot Thomas, Sr.  This is how the story goes.

Gilshot Thomas vs Isaac Cartwright (Gilshot is the plaintiff [his name is first] and Isaac is the defendant)

The Plaintiff complained that the defendant took a Bell of his mare and produced Arthur Sharber as a witness who being duly sworn made oath that he was in Company with Isaac Cartwright in the swamp and heard him say that he would take the Bell off a Mare belonging to Gilshot Thomas.  And the said Sharber heard a Bell throwd in the River which he took to be the Bell of a mare that was on Thomas’s mare and that the mare returned after him without any Bell.  The Deponent further saith he did further hear said Cartwright say “When he was done with his crop of corn That he would take his gun and tomahawk with a wallet full of salt and go into the Swamp and live upon Gilshot Thomas’s Hogs and also upon Nat’l Miller’s Hogs.  The committee taking the above into consideration Judged it Expedient and There fore ordered The He Pay Twenty Shillings ti said Thomas for Sd Offense & Give Security for his good behavior for the Future. Signed by Order of the Committee.

N.B. Joseph Humpries became the Defendants Security for hi good Behaviour to Gilshot Thomas for six months before Signing.

Gilshot and Arthur Sharber are accusing Isaac Cartwright of maliciously throwing a bell belonging to one of Gilshot’s mares in the Savannah River and threatening to live as a squatter on both Gilshot and a neighbor, Nathaniel Miller’s land and hogs.  Gilshot owned about 250 acres of land, most of which was swampland and he raised wild hogs.

If we but look, we can often find interesting and fun stories concerning our ancestors.  Always look in places when the opportunity presents itself.  One thing you might ask at such locations is, “Is there anything else you have from this time period concerning the people of that area?”

This is just one of several stories in the ledger which is located at the Georgia State Archives.  Have you found any such stories about your ancestors?  Have you shared with family members in such a way that makes it interesting to read?  I have begun writing them down as short stories of not more than three pages.  Where I have been able to prove the stories accurate, I state how I can prove or truly believe them accurate.  For example.

I have heard this story from my grandfather, Joseph H. Thomas, my Uncle Charles Forrester, and one other person.  Therefore, I believe the story to be accurate.

Sometime shortly after WWII, my father’s older sister, Thelma, brought home a USAF Veteran of the War, Charles Forrester.  My grandfather was a farmer in Surrency, Appling County, Georgia and they lived in what wasn’t much more than a log house. 

I can only assume that my aunt Thelma was getting ready and Charles was waiting on the front porch.  Charles stood close to 6 feet tall and my grandfather was short, maybe 5 ½ feet tall.  Charles lit up a cigarette while waiting.  My grandfather thought it was a most vile and disgusting habit and began waiving his finger in Charles’ face, demanding to know why he smoked.  At some point, my grandfather must have paused to get a breath and Charles cut him off and pointed to granddad’s front yard and said, “Why do you grow it?  If people do not buy it and smoke it, you do not get money.”

I reckon no one ever stood up to my grandfather like that and made him stop and think.  After a few moments, my grandfather looked at Charles and said, “If I stop growing it, will you stop smoking it.”  That was the last year my grandfather grew tobacco, he switched to peanuts.  As for Uncle Charles, he also quit smoking.

My advice.  Look for, learn, and write down the stories you find about ancestors and their collateral families and write them down in a fun and interesting way for your grandchildren to learn them

Keep hunting those elusive ancestors and their stories!




Blog 2022 03 20 2022 Are we related?

There are several mobile phone apps and websites which tell you if others who are logged in or have created accounts are related to you and just how they are related.  Have you seen them?

Here is the problem with them.

It is a guess.  In the military, we had an acronym or two that related to this situation.  It was WAG or SWAG.  The S, indicated subjective or scientific, but the rest meant Wild A?? Guess.  The websites and apps may be subjective, but they are still a guess.  In all the years that the most popular one has been out, I have found only 1 who I can truly say I am definitely related to.

Why?  Because I have validated all the generations which appeared on my side of the tree and she had proven all of her ancestral lines to the same point I had.  Since I do not have a complete tree then it is taking information from my tree, merging with the preponderance of other trees or their one-world type tree, and coming up with answers.

However, who to say it is correct?  How far back have you personally taken each line?  Remember, for the typical family, we have 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 2nd great, and so forth.  So by the 5th generation, we are up to 64 lines.  Have you personally proved those 64 lines to that point?

Many of the “relatives” showing up are in the 9-12th cousin range.  That means you have personally traced and confirmed up to 16,384 lines.  I would ask, “really?”  Maybe if it is a direct paternal or maternal line, but all of the others?

My advice.  Treat it as fun and interesting and possibly a new line to trace or finish tracing.  But do not treat the findings there as fact unless you both have confirmed those lines back to the common ancestor shown.

Blog 2022 03 06 2022 Using some DNA Tools

I had a new DNA match show up on, I’ll call refer to him as Mr. D. Manning.  I am thinking, “Cool, another MANNING descendant.”

My hooligan ancestor, Edmund T. MANNING was born in 1841 near Niagara, NY. [i] He was the son of Reverand (and Dr.) Edmund Taylor MANNING and Lucia Reed.  I call him “My hooligan ancestor” because the moniker fits.  He moved to what is now Toronto, Canada sometime around 1880 telling everyone his first wife and children had died of Cholera in Iowa.  He then married a widow, Pheobe ROBERTS ADAMS in 1882 in Toronto. [ii] They had three children and one died at age 4. [iii] Their eldest was Sarah Suzette “Etta” Manning, my mother’s grandmother.

The family story was that he died in 1898 in England.  However, I could never find a record of his sailing to England, any record of his death in England, nor any record of a body returning.  That led me to request his Civil War Pension packet and his widow, Pheobe’s.

While waiting on the packet, I received an email from someone who was connected on the MANNING line.  I asked which of the two daughters born in Canada she descended from and she said, neither.  She descended from the 4th child born in Iowa.  Imagine my surprise.

Turns out, he abandoned this family while his first wife was pregnant with child number 4.  She told me the three eldest children did die from Cholera, but he was saved because he was sent to a cousin’s in another town.  That got me wondering about family number 2.

The pension packet explained it all.  He did not die in 1898, in 1908 Pheobe filed for a widow’s pension claiming it had been more than 7 years and she wanted him declared dead.  She was informed that a) she was never legally married to him and therefore would not be entitled to a pension and b) the War Department had heard from him in 1906 in Yakima, Washington, once again claiming to be single.

So you can see my intrigue with Mr. D. MANNING.  However, he did not match any of my family on my mother’s side.  That led me to use some of the DNA tools and an email to determine a possible link to how he matches me.  Since I only saw him on GedMatch in the one-to-many test, I had to determine what other family members he matched.  First, I tested him against my father’s mother’s line (LIVINGSTON, PEACOCK, and MARTIN) but found nothing.

Then I checked him against my father’s line (THOMAS and CARTER) and found it matched.  Next, I went back to another generation (THOMAS and WALKER) and found the connection.  My grandfather was General Jackson THOMAS, son of Banner THOMAS and Mary WALKER.  Her parents were Littleberry WALKER and Nancy NEWBERN.

Per a follow-up email from Mr. D. MANNING, Littleberry’s sister, Keziah is in his ancestry.

Problem solved with a little investigating.

[i] Manning, Edmund T. Civil War pension application AND Manning, Pheobe Widow pension application, NARA.

[ii] York County, Canada, Schedule B. – Marriages, p.315, entry 417, Manning-Adams, 1 July 1882, Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Canada.

[iii] York County, Canada, Schedule C. – Deaths, p.700, entry 3409, Henry Ernest Manning, 23 December 1890, Archives of Ontario, Toronto, Canada.

Blog 2022 02 22 2022 Tenacious Research for accuracy

How tenacious are you as a researcher in ensuring your research is accurate?  So often, bad information just gets perpetuate again and again and again.

Take for instance, the trees show a Jonathan Pearman Weldon.  Only one problem, Jonathan had a brother named Pearman A.K.A. Perman, but no middle name of Pearman.  It seems that several of the “researchers” crossed records of his brother with him and thus determining his middle name.  So let’s break it down for you.

In 1850, 29-year-old John Weldon is residing in Franklin County, Georgia just down from his brother Welburn Weldon. [i] This family consisted of John age 29, Amy age 30, Jemima age 7, William age 5, George w. age 2, and James age 1.

In 1870, the family is one county over in Hart County, Georgia, once again where his brother Welborn lives.  So where is he in 1860? [ii]

In 1860, their brother, Pearman (A.K.A. Perman, Pierman) is living in Sumter County and far too many people have attributed this census to John or Jonathan and thus adding a middle name that does not belong to him. [iii]

How do we know?  Simple.  While John’s family appears to have eluded the 1860 census, we find Perman’s family enumerated time and time again once the family left the Hart County area and moved south overlapping the same time frames as John’s.

These are two different people and John does not and did not have the middle name of Perman.  As a matter of fact, we find him listed in the 1900 U. S. Census as Jonathan H. Weldon [iv]

I’ve already written about some people changing my 4th great grandfather’s name from James Thomas to James R. Thomas simply because the 1830 U. S. Census lists James R. Thomas as the head of household.  That is correct, his son James R. was the head and not the 70 year old father.

Please, be tenacious that you a) are accurate in your reporting and b) not perpetuating bad information.

[i] 1850 U. S. Census, Franklin County, Georgia, population schedule, district 30, dwelling and family 555, household of John Weldon, ( : accessed XXX), citing NARA publication M432, roll 70.

[ii] 1870 U. S. Census, Hart County, Georgia, population schedule, Reed Creek District, p. 120, dwelling 911, family 891, household of Johnathan Weldon, ( : accessed XXX), citing NARA publication M593, roll 157.

[iii] 1860 U. S. Census, Sumter County, Georgial, population schedule, Americus Post Office, Districts 16 and 26, dwelling 186, family 189, hld Pearman Weldon,, ( accessed xxx), citing NARA publication M653, roll 136.

[iv] 1900 U. S. Census, Hart County, Georgia, population schedule, Bowersville, District 1116 Hall, supervisor’s district 38, enumeration district 50, dwelling 165, family 166, household of Jonathan Weldon, , ( : accessed XXX), citing NARA publication M623, roll 204.