16 February 2015

GRC Followup

     Last week I wrote about the Daughters of the American Revolution resource, the Genealogical Record Index (GRC).  Last Sunday I sent off a fax request for a record I'd found in the index that listed my 6th Great Grandparents, Peter Ouzts and Elizabeth Harling.  I had hoped that it would be a bible record that would help take one of my lines back another generation.

     I received the record only four days later.  Talk about a quick response!  Unfortunately, it wasn't what I had hoped for.  It turns out it was a family bible, but it was for one of Peter and Elizabeth's children.  The only reason that it even had that couples name was because, for some reason beyond comprehension, the folks who transcribed the bible decided to supplement the information with more "facts" from a published family history.  Based on the bible as published, this transcription is actually useless to anyone, since you can't tell where the bible ends and the extra information begins.   Sigh.  I guess they were trying to be helpful?

     Regardless of how this request turned out, I still feel like the GRC is a great resource.  It's an index, so it's something of a game of chance.  There are some Daughters who, through their positions in the society or through their hard work, have earned access to view digital copies of these records.  Going forward, I might reach out to them before ordering a record.

10 February 2015

My Official Invitation - 124th NSDAR Continental Congress Page

     One aspect of my membership in the DAR is the fact that, as a woman under the age of 36, I am a Junior.  This doesn't mean that I'm a second class member, but is a way to give special significance to younger members.  As you might imagine, the average age of DAR members is in the 50s and 60s.  However, the Society greatly appreciates their younger members and the skills and passion they bring with them.

     Part of being a Junior is the opportunity to be a Page at conferences, both State and National.  I haven't taken part in this aspect of the DAR yet, but those who I've spoken to who have paged really seem to have enjoyed the experience.  It seems to encompass many different tasks, from hostess and hospitality, to errand runner and guide, to ceremonial participant.  And you do it all while dressed in white from head to toe.

     Back in the fall I had planned to page at my state conference, but my work schedule would not permit it.  I decided to go for broke and attend the national conference, the 124th Continental Congress, in Washington, DC.  I've never been to DC before and this seems like a great opportunity.  I'm joining other chapter members and other Daughters from Georgia on a state bus trip.  I have to admit that it's not an inexpensive trip, but I think it will be more than worth it.

     Today I received my official invitation to page at Continental Congress.  I need to indicate which days and times that I am available to page, as well as some skills that might be of use as a page during the conference.  I'm going to wait to fill out the form for a few days and get advice from other chapter members during our next meeting.

     After sending in my RSVP, I will receive more information about my assignments.  Until then, I'll be pursuing the calendar of events, exploring maps of DC (our bus is taking us in early so we'll be doing some sight seeing), and shopping for all things white.  I do so love to over-plan.

03 February 2015

Are You Using This Resource? The GRC

     I mentioned last week that joining the DAR had opened me up to new genealogical resources.  One of those is the Genealogical Records Committee Index (GRC).  This is very similar to a service offered through FindMyPast.com's index to the PERSI database at the Allen County Public Library, that I wrote about last year.

     The GRC is composed of records collected and created by DAR chapters worldwide, who transcribed and indexed unique records in their local areas, from census and tax records, to church and cemetery records, to obituaries and family bibles.  There are over 17,000 records in the collection!  These records have been, and are still being, reviewed, and the names included have been added to a searchable index.

     The search is simple, but the results can be vague.  Here's how it works:

1. Fill out the search form with the surname your looking for, as well as a first name and a state.  In this example, I searched for my 6th Great-Grandfather, Peter Ouzts.

2. Here, you can see a number of results.  You can see the name I searched for with the book code to the right and the page number in blue.  Below that is the title of the book, which is the only piece of information that tells you the subject of the book or record.  Review the matches and, when you see something of interest, click on the blue number, which is the page the name appears on.  I clicked on a series of Bible records, in which the name Peter Ouzts appears on page 100.

3.  On the next page, we can see the other names that appear on the page along with Peter.  Only a few names down I see Elizabeth Harling.  It's Peter's wife!  This book looks like it contain the family bible of my Harling ancestors.  Could the John and Kiziah listed above Elizabeth be her parents?

     Unfortunately, the information shown above is the only information I have on this record.  In this case, it's more than enough encouragement to send off and request a copy of this record.  I can do that using the DAR Photocopy Request Form (PDF) and for a fee of $10 for members ($15 for non-members).  For that fee, I will receive 10 pages, including the cover page.  

     Searching the GRC database, I found a number of requests that would be worth requesting.  Not all records are as clear as this one, with regards to the subject of the record.  Based on the title of the book, I know that the above record should be a Bible record.  Other titles are often titled as "Misc Records."  I would be taking a chance ordering these records, but they could turn out to be a gold mine. 

30 January 2015

Don't Go Over the River, But Do Go Through the Woods

     "If you get to the river you've missed it."  Those were part of the directions sent to me by my cousin, Mitch, as we arranged to meet and track down the grave of my 4th Great-Grandfather, Willis Craft, in Elbert County, Georgia.  I had learned of this grave very early on my genealogy research, almost 10 years ago.  A few years back, I'd found a map with the location of the grave: out in the middle of the woods with no roads labeled.  I honestly never thought I'd be able to find it.

     Earlier this month, my cousin posted a photo of a Craft cemetery to Facebook.  I asked about it and, though it was out in the middle of the woods in Elbert County, Georgia, it was a different cemetery.  However, he was able to ask around and he found a lady who knew where the grave was.  He went out to find it, then took me out to see it today.

     I drove two hours, along with my mom, to reach a rural intersection just a short distance from the Savannah River.  I met Mitch and Diane and followed them down a series of gravel roads, which was part of a subdivision that had been partially developed but currently looks stalled. When we reached a cul de sac we got out and walked a few hundred yards into the woods.  On the top of the rise set a single grave that I'd been hoping to find for almost a decade.

     I had seen a black and white photo of the grave before, in which it was laying down.  This stone had been repositioned and was now upright.  Because of this, the death date is now buried.  Despite this, I would think that the upright position is better for the stone in the long run. And I do have the old photo, which shows the date.

     Willis is buried alone, while his wife and a few of his children (who died within a decade of Willis) are buried not too far away at the Rock Branch Baptist Church.  We speculated about why that was, but could only think it was sentimental.  Did he want to be buried on his own land with a view of the river?

     Standing at the grave, you could see water through the trees on two sides.  We trekked a bit further and found that we were in a bit of an inlet off of the Savannah River.  And boy was it beautiful!  It must have been amazing to live on this land in the 1800s, right along the river.  Hungry?  Go fish!  Mitch told me that the story is that the families used to farm on the islands in the river.  I certainly wouldn't complain to live on this land.

     Mitch also took me over to see the cemetery that he's posted pictures of on Facebook.  It was the burial place of Anderson and Lucy Craft, as well as a few others.  I took pictures of those graves and have updated everything on FindAGrave, including GPS coordiantes.

     Overall, it was a great day.  Who wouldn't drive two hours to meet up with a cousin you've never met before out in the middle of nowhere to go tromping through the woods to find a cemetery?  I'd love to have the chance to do it again soon.


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