30 October 2010

Initial Results

     Yesterday I sat down with my dad's sisters, my Aunts June and Charlotte, for a genealogy interview. Before meeting them, I made research notebooks full of family group sheets and copies of original documents for each of them. I also prepared a small list of questions that I wanted to ask about our family history, as well as memories of their childhood. In the end, I recorded over four hours of conversation. Over the next few weeks, I'll edit the audio together into more streamline information and turn it into little videos. For now, here are a few facts I learned:
Charlotte & June Craft
  • My paternal grandmother had a family bible, but it was destroyed in house fire in the 1960s along with all other family possessions.
  • My Great-Aunt Ollie was married three times, not two times. 
    • My Aunt Charlotte has the obituary of Ollie's only child that died as a baby and we don't know any details about.
  • My aunts recounted what they knew of the tornado the family survived when they were toddlers.
  • My grandparents house sat on the county line. The front door was in Elbert County, but the bedroom was in Hart County, so my Aunts birth certificates state "Hart County."
  • Viewing Google Maps, we saw my Great-Grandparents house and a small country store that my aunts visited as children.
  • My Great-Grandfather Nathan Britt could pick cotton faster than anyone else alive.
    • Also, he was married a second time that I didn't know about 
  • My grandfather farmed cotton, raised chickens and had a cow and a goat for milk.
  • My Aunt June was married in February of 1961 and graduated high school two months later.
     These are some of the things I can remember off the top of my head right now. I'll be going through my notes and the audio to organize everything I learned.

26 October 2010

My Genealogy Day

     My boss told me that I could take a day off today and use some sick time, which I never get to use and an about to hit my cap on. So, I thought I'd spend the day doing some genealogy. And I did kinda do that, but not the way I'd planned.

     So, my original plan was to visit the local Family History Center. I've never done this before, even though they are only about five minutes from my house. I spent yesterday evening browsing the online catalogue and finding resources that might be valuable to me. I was specifically looking at researching the Albea family of Lincoln County, GA and Iredell County, NC before that. I printed out some sources and a bit of family tree info and planned to go by the next morning.

     However, in the morning I checked my email and saw that my associate degree diploma was ready to be picked up. Yay! This pretty much trumped any other plans for the day. By the time I drove halfway around Atlanta and back, got home and ate lunch, the FHC was closed. However, they open for a few hours in the evening, so I thought I'd go then.

     But then, I got a call from my Aunt June (my dad's sister, as opposed to my mom's sister, also named June). She had previously mentioned that her sister, my Aunt Charlotte, would be in town sometime soon and they wanted to get together and talk genealogy. Now she knew that my Aunt would be in town starting tomorrow, so we set up a time to meet this Friday. This was a bit earlier than I'd expected, so I wasn't prepared.  I have since spent the rest of the night creating reference notebooks for each Aunt.

     As I was printing out my records about their Dad (my grandfather), I started thinking about some comments that my dad had made earlier in the day. From my grandfather's WWII army separation notice, we know that he received a WWII victory medal and an Occupation Ribbon for Germany. My dad had asked my aunt about these, but she didn't have them and, logically, she's the only person that would have them.  Since she doesn't, it's assumed that they were destroyed in the house fire in the 1960s.  So I thought I'd look into possibly ordering replacements for these. After about 10 minutes on the National Archives website, I had finished doing so. I'm not 100% that we'll receive the medals - the form just seemed too easy! But, we'll see what happens.

     I'm now sidetracked with putting together genealogy information for my aunt's visit, so the FHC visit has been put on pause. Hopefully I'll get to it next week, when I legitimately have Tuesday off.  :) Does anyone have any advise for me or tips on what to expect?

25 October 2010

Thomas Craft in the CCC - Amanuensis Monday

     My Grandfather was in the Civilian Conservation Corps as a young man. We're lucky to know this because no one ever mentioned it or spoke of it. However, there's a photo of him dressed as a chef with at note about the CCC and North Carolina written on the back. With this information, I was able to send off for his records (see the photo and the from here). If you have an ancestor who participated in this program I recomed you send off for their records ASAP - they are full of info. Here's a transcription of the first two pages.

Certification in lieu of lost or destroyed
Certificate of Discharge
Civilian Conservation Corps
To all whom it may concern:
Know ye that Thomas S. Craft serial no. CC4-236405 a member of company 1499, Civilian Conservation Corps, at Albemarle, South Carolina [North Carolina] who was enrolled on the Twenty-Sixth day of October One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty-Seven at Athens, Georgia was Honorably discharged therefrom on the Tenth  day of September One Thousand Nine Hundred and Thirty-Nine by reason of Expiration of Term of Enrollment.

Given under my hand at St. Louis, Missouri this Twenty-Third day of October Two Thousand Eight

William D. Bassman [signature]
William D. Bassman
Chief, Reference Service branch

National Archives and Records Administration
National Personnel Records Center (CPR), St Louis, Missouri

Individual Record
Civilian Conservation Corps
I. General Information
Serial No. CC4-236405
Junior White Georgia
(Class) (State)
1. Name: Craft, Thomas Spurgeon
2. Address: Rt. 3, Elberton, Georgia
3. Date of birth: December 26, 1919
4. Birthplace: Elbert Co. Georgia
5. Nearest relative: Bennie Craft, Rt. 3, Elberton, Georgia
6. Citizenship: (Native born); naturalized
7. Color: White
8. Military or naval service: [blank]
9. Height: 70 Weight: 125 Complexion: [illegible] Color of hair: Red
     color of eyes: Blue Scars or identifying marks: [illegible]
10. Education (circle highest grade completed: Grammar school 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8; high school, 1 (2) 3 4
11. Occupational qualifications: Occupation: Farm Length of Experience: 8 Years
12. Were you previously a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps? No

II. Oath of Enrollment
I, Bennie [Thomas] Craft, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that the information given above as to my status is correct. I agree to remain in the Civilian Conservation Corps for the period terminating at the discretion of the United States between Oct 2? 1937 Apr 25 19?? unless [?] released by proper authority, and that I will obey those in authority and observe all the rules and regulations thereof to the best of my ability and will accept such allowances as may be provided pursuant to law and regulations promulgated pursuant therefore. I understand and agree that any injury received or disease contracted by me while a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps cannot be made the basis of any claim against the Government, except such as I may be entitled to under the act of September 7 1916 (39 Stat. 742 [illegible] provide compensation for employees of the United States suffering injuries while in the performance of their duties and for other purposes), and that I shall not be entitled to any allowance upon release from camp, except transportation in kind to the place at which I was accepted for enrollment. I understand further that any articles issued to me by the United States Government for use while a member of the Civilian Conservation Corps are, and remain, property of the United States Government and that willful destruction, loss, sale or disposal of such property renders me financially responsible for the cost thereof and liable to trial in the civil courts. I understand further that any infraction of the rules or regulations of the Civilian Conservation Corps renders me liable to expulsion therefrom. So help me God.

Place: Athens, Georgia
Signature: [too faint to see]
[Illegible] 26th day of October, nineteen hundred and thirty seven
Charles A. Hope,
1st L.T. Cavalry-Reserve
Enrolling Officer

Thomas Craft - CCC Camp Thomas Craft - CCC Camp

My Family on My Kindle

     There are a number of different things my Kindle (ebook reader) is good for besides just reading books. Among those, just about all are useful for genealogists.

     The simplest, and most obvious, feature is the Kindle's ability to read PDF documents. Just about every genealogy software program should be able to create charts and reports that can be saved as PDF documents. These documents can be loaded onto the Kindle via email or a USB cable. Once on the Kindle, I can view these just like I would a book, flipping through the different pages. Also, because these documents are PDFs, I can zoom in for a closer look.  This is a great feature that will allow you to cary around your family tree without carrying around stacks of papers or a computer.

     Here are a few shots of my cascading pedigree chart on my Kindle.


     Here are a few other ways to use your kindle for genealogy:
  • Collect sets of photos and save them into a PDF document
  • Use a hack to set family photos as screen savers
  • Save podcasts and other audio files, which can be played using the mp3 player
  • Browse websites, blogs and email using the web browser
  • Publish your own family history book and publish it on Amazon or send it as PDF for free to family and friends to read on their Kindles
  • And of course, read Genealogy books you buy from Amazon or other ebook retailers
     These are just the different things that I can think of right now. Anyone else have any suggestions?

22 October 2010

Where's My Brother?

     Tamura Jones has a great article about genealogy software and the way they present, or should I say fail to present, families. Everyone, especially software makers, should read this article and evaluate their own genealogy software. As stated in the article, "The problem with genealogy software based on the traditional nuclear family is not just that it fails to support other families, but also that it force-fits everything and everyone into its limited model of the world."

     Just about every genealogist has experienced this in their research, even if they haven't put it into so many words. Everyone has someone in their tree that has re-married with children involved, or never married but had children, or perhaps is in a same-sex relationship. How are these relationships presented in genealogy software? Usually in an incomplete way.

     When I look at myself in my genealogy software, Reunion, I often have one sibling: my sister. The problem is that I have a brother, Allen, as well. Technically, he's my half-brother, but I never use the word "half" unless I'm explaining to someone why we have different last names. In Reunion however, I often don't have a brother at all, when viewing my own information. And when I look at my brother in the program, my sister and I often don't exist. To explore this problem, I thought I'd evaluate the different views and reports in Reunion to see how far a simple, and extremely common, family situation like this is not accurately represented.

     In reunion, the default view is the family card. In this view, we are concentrating on a couple, as well as one generation above and below them. In this situation that would be my mom and dad. Above them, you can see four buttons, one for each of their parents. Below the couple you see buttons for their children. In this case, you see my sister and I, but you don't see my brother, because he is not a child of the exact same parents as I am. In order to see my brother, I need to navigate to the family card that shows my mom and her first husband.  I can do this easily, by utilizing the red arrows next to my mom's name. But again, this will be an incomplete view that won't show me or my sister. Nor does it show Allen's other half siblings from his father's second marriage.

     So, looking at the available reports, where can I see myself as well as my brother? I created the available reports in Reunion. When looking at each report, I created it in the best way to possibly display my full family.
  • Family Card for My Parents: No
  • Pedigree Chart for Myself (with siblings): No 
  • Relative Chart for Myself (with siblings): No
  • Relative Chart for My Mom (with siblings): Yes
  • Descendent Chart for My Parents: No
  • Person Sheet for My Mom: Yes
  • Family Group Sheets for My Parents: No
  • Register Report for My Mom: Yes
  • Family History Report for My Parents: No
  • Descendent Report for My Parents: No
     So, three reports and views in which my brother and I appear together and six in which we don't. One of the main problems with viewing myself and my brother in the same report is that many of the reports focus on my parents as a couple. With reports such as the Descendent Chart and Family Group Sheets, my parents are locked together.  In reports where my mom appears as an independent person, my brother and I both appear together. 

    Why can't I look at just the descendants of one person? It just doesn't make any sense! Many times in my family I have a person who married multiple times and had children with multiple spouses. I should be able to see all of the children at once. 

     I would love to see genealogy programs expand their report functions to better display these complete families.

20 October 2010

32 Years

     Happy Anniversary to Mom and Dad! Today marks their 32 wedding anniversary. If you didn't see it earlier, check out mom's memories of her wedding day.

kenneth & ruby craft

19 October 2010

Atlanta Expo Ticket Winner

     As previously posted, today I'm announcing the winner of the two free Atlanta Family History Expo tickets. First, thanks to the folks running the Expo who allowed me to give the tickets away. I'm very much looking forward to the Expo this November and I hope to have lots of fun and learn a lot.

    Now for the winner, which I picked using a random number generator. The winner is actually Comment #1 from Suzanne. Congratulations! I'll be contacting you, but also feel free to send me an email (vrc84@yahoo.com) if you don't receive my communication.

     If you didn't win here, there are other bloggers that are also giving away tickets. Check out the contests at Georgia Black Crackers or Tania's Roots.

     Again, I'm looking forward to this expo and seeing everyone there! Good luck with your research until then.

17 October 2010

In the Cemetery

     I haven't been doing a whole lot of genealogy lately. Rather, I have been trying to help others with their genealogy by photographing headstones and uploading them to findagrave.com. I've been concentrating on two local cemeteries, Old Shadowlawn and East Shadowlawn, which are adjoining cemeteries near downtown Lawrenceville, GA.  My Uncle Wayne is buried in East Shadowlawn's veteran section.

     Yesterday morning I had just finished photographing one section and was getting in my car to move around to another when I was interrupted by a gaggle of geese. They had decided to leave the pond and walk across the road right in front of my car. Silly geese. I had to wait for them, but at least it gave me a few minutes to sit in the air conditioning before getting back out into the sun.

13 October 2010

1,500 Memorials Added

     Today I added my 1,500th memorial to FindAGrave.com. I don't really remember when I joined this amazing website, but apparently it was 5 years, 9 months and 5 days ago.  

     In that time I've been highly active at some times and inactive at others. I've walked and recorded two entire cemeteries that I have ancestors buried in (Bethel and Bethany). Less ambitiously, I've added random graves from larger cemeteries that I visit during my research. 

     Whether they've added just one grave or over a hundred thousand like the top rated folks, everyone who adds burial listings to this site is amazing. I'm sure everyone reading this post has used FindAGrave and has been helped by it. If there is anyone reading this who hasn't added their ancestors or burials from their nearby cemetery to this site, I recommend that you do so right now. Who knows who you might end up helping?

12 October 2010

Walking in Oakland Cemetery - Tombstone Tuesday

     On Sunday my sister and I went to Oakland Cemetery and took the guided walking tour. If you live in the Atlanta area and have never been to Oakland before, head over as soon as you can. They offer guided tours at a minimal cost that really covers a lot of Oakland's and Atlanta's history. Or, you can simply walk the cemetery on your own, discovering beautiful architecture and history.

     Here are some photos from my visit:

. .

I love the jewish graves:
Jewish Graves at Oakland

This building was destroyed by the 2008 tornado:
Tornado Damage

11 October 2010

Ree's WWII Memories Pt2 - Amanuensis Monday

     More of the interview my mom and aunt did with my Great-Aunt Ree, regarding her memories of World War II.


"June: Were y'all scared - when you heard it [Pearl Harbor]? Was it scary? You didn't understand what was going - 
Ree: No, I didn't - you know, I, I knew what he was saying, but I wasn't old enough to, you know...
Ruby:  To understand. 
Ree: try to make any, you know...
Ruby: The impact.
Ree: Yeah. You, you know, you heard it and you knew it, but it's just like death. When children - people die. Children, they know it. It's happenin', but they don't understand it. Or they don't - 
June: They don't understand what it means.
Ree: What it means or - you know. I remember, clearly, what happened then, that's never left me. I guess 'cause it was just such a devastating thing for the whole country. But um.... Yeah, we had our little Victory Garden across the street in the field. They give everybody a little piece of land to grow vegetables. [laughter] 
June: [jokingly] So then you wouldn't starve? 
Ree: Oh, yeah, well... It helped too, when they sent all the things to the, to the boys fightin'. And, you know, and we were on rations. We had ration cards for each person in the family got so much. So, you know. And you had to use your stamps out of your book to get certain things. And if you run out of stamps, you couldn't get no more until you got your next book, you know. 
Ruby: So, how often would y'all get a new book? Is it...
Ree: Every month. 
Ruby: Every month?
Ree: Mm hm. 
Ruby: At the beginning of the month? Yeah, that's one of the things she had down here [referring to interview questions]. 
Ree: Mm hm. Yeah, there was um.... I don't know where it is now. I don't know why - it was with Daddy's things, with his billfold things. It wasn't in the billfold, but it was with - with 'em in the box. But it was one of the ration books. It still had a few stamps in it. 
Ruby: Did it?
Ree: Yeah, and I've had it all these years...
Ruby: Did you have any, like, metal drives or rubber drives or anything like that?
Ree: Uh... Well, everything was, uh, rationed. And, people saved their grease. They used the grease for somethin'... for the war. But, everybody, uh, when they fried meat or bacon or anything like that, they had these cans that - well, they took vegetable cans and things and filled 'em up with grease and then turned 'em in. Yeah, they uh... you know everything was rationed. Then, uh... they did say that grease... I'm tryin' to think what it was - what they used it for. It was somethin' durin' the war.
Ruby: I think they used it with the bombs - to make bombs with. 
Ree: Well, everybody saved...
Ruby: To make glycerin or somethin'.
Ree: Yeah, everybody saved their grease, they did.
June: What'd they do, turn it in somewhere?
Ree: Yeah, I don't remember where we turned it in, 'cause see, still I was a little girl and I didn't pay much attention to Mamma and Daddy. Yeah, and I didn't know what they did with it, I just knew they saved it and turned it in somewhere. Everybody did that. And uh... 'cause.... we bought, uh, stamps. The children in school bought war bond stamps. And uh, they called um...
Ruby: Saving stamps? I think they called 'em saving stamps?
Ree: When we got enough stamps in you got a...
June: Savings bond.
Ree: Yeah, after we got - we got, uh, enough stamps, you could get a that size [gesturing] bond. Then you could trade your stamps in bond. Everybody was investing in the country. You know, even the kids were buying the stamps."

09 October 2010

Going to the Atlanta Family History Expo?

     Right now, the California Family History Expo is under way. I'm sure everyone over on the West Coast is having tons of fun. Over here in the East, we have only a little more than a month until the Atlanta Family History Expo (Duluth, GA) on November 12-13th. As I previously wrote, I will be attending this expo. In fact, I have been invited to attend as a Blogger of Honor, which is very exciting. I've never attended a genealogy event before, which makes this event even more exciting for me. 

     Also, thanks to the folks at Family History Expos, I have two free tickets to give away for the Atlanta Expo! I would like to encourage everyone who is interested in genealogy, from the thinking-about-getting-started to the professional to attend.  Because of this, I'm going to make this very simple.

     Details: To enter to win these tickets, simply post a comment to this blog post by October 18th at 11:59 PM EST.  Please submit only one entry per person. Please make sure that your comment consists of coherent, complete sentences so that I know you're not a spam-bot. I will draw a winner at random, using a random number generator. I plan to announce the winner on October 19th, so please check back to see if you won and for more information on claiming your tickets. 

07 October 2010

You're a 2nd cousin... no, it's 1st but removed.... no, ....

     Today, Ancestry.com announced a simple, but useful, addition to their Public Member Trees: a relationship calculator. Most genealogy software programs offer this, and now so does ancestry's online program. It's pretty simple to use. On each page, there is a link that reads "View relationship to me." Click the link and a box pops up, detailing the people and relationships that connect the you and the other person. The relationship information will also appear under the relative's name on the profile page.  (This is assuming that you've identified yourself in your tree already. If you haven't you can do so under the "Tree Settings" screen.)

     I think this is a great new feature, but it could be improved in two ways: 1) make this an automatic feature that can be turned on or off. As it is now, you have to click this button on every page to turn it on, and then hit another button to turn it off (though I don't know why you'd want to). This can only be done one page at a time - which just seems to be time consuming and redundant.  2) Allow for relationship calculation between two people of my choice, not automatically between myself and another person.

    Here's a screenshot of the new feature:

04 October 2010

Ree's WWII Memories Pt1 - Amanuensis Monday

This past Saturday my mom, Ruby, and her sister, June, went to visit their Aunt Ree. I had to work, but I sent along my audio recorder and some questions about World War II that I wanted to ask my Great Aunt. Here's part one of her response, first in a video and then transcribed below.

Ruby: Well, she [Valerie] was wanting me to ask you about - 'cause you has said somethin' - we had, you know, she had asked you about Daddy [Roy Albea] and not bein' able to get into the, the war. And you had said somethin' about all - all the young boys had… once - once Pearl Harbor, uh, the the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, all the boys were wantin' to go enlist. So she was just wonderin', um, what it was like when you first heard about Pearl Harbor and how you found out.
Ree: Oh well, uh, for a while the, uh, President Roosevelt, came on the radio and, and announced it.
Ruby: So you heard it when he made his announcement?
Ree: Yes. On the radio, 'cause that's all we had back then.
Ruby: Yeah.
Ree: And Daddy [Vernon Albea] didn't go in the service because he had four children. They weren't takin' the men that had, you know, that many children. Daddy's health was fine. He - he, as far as a physical, he passed the physical. But he had a different rating because he had four children.
Ruby: So did he go to volunteer or was he, like part of the ---
Ree: Everybody had to sign up.
Ruby: Everybody had to sign up?
Ree: Mmm hmm. They had to sign up and take a physical. And they had to be graded or, given uh, you know, uh…
June: Classification?
Ree: Yeah.
June: That was your Daddy?
Ree: Yeah. I think it - I think that card's in those things you had. He was healthy enough and everything, it was just the number of children he had. [Pointing to a photo] That's Linda right there. [intelligible] lets see… [looking at Vernon Albea's WWII Draft Card] Local board… I need to go get my glasses.
Ruby: So anybody - an - ev - everybody over a certain age had to al - over a certain age had to go sign up?
Ree: Yeah, they drafted… they drafted people and uh, they said when they got to be 18 they had to sign up. Daddy was already older than 18 and why… but I think everybody had to register under a certain age. And uh, this was in… He was 3AH was his classification. 3AH. And he - that, that told him that he was 3A, but he had children children or somethin'. This, this is it [indicating draft card]. If I go get some glasses I can see.
Ruby: I think that the date it was mailed out. July 8th 1943.
Ree: This is Director of Register. This might be part of that. I think this' prob'ly part part of that. Ella Mallard she was our, uh, school principle. That's uh, I think that and that's was folded over.
Ruby: The registration certificate.
Ree: Mm um. And that part of it… registration
Ruby: Yeah, he was s'posed to keep this with him at all - yeah it's his registration certificate.
Ree: This is where he registered to vote [indicating voter ID card]. That's what that is. Well, lets see. Oh, he's 40 years of age. He was registered to vote at Brandon [Mill].
Ruby: And Brandon was the name of the mill.
Ree: Yes. Brandon Mill.
Ruby: And then - and then she asked, um… She was wonderin' if you remember who you were with whenever you heard.
Ree: I was, uh, in the, uh, bedroom at home. And I don't know how many of 'em were in there with me. Uh, me… I don't know. Well, it was… during the daytime when we heard it.
June: You first heard about it on the radio?
Ree: Yeah.
June: Y'all had the radio on all - uh, a lot?
Ree: Yeah, that's all we had. You know, back then we didn't have no TV, no nothin'. We we didn't have no telephone. You know, we just lived in a little four room house with a little fireplace that you burned coal in to keep warm. And uh, it was - it was just - everything was different. This [Vernon Albea's unemployment card]- well, that when he was outta work, he applied for… for uh, you know
June: Unemployment.
Ree: Unemployment. [laughter] Don't mind me!
Ruby: He wasn't unemployed for long, 'cause he's only got one report date on here.
Ree: Yeah. That - they probably somebody gave him a job to keep him from drawin' it. [laughter]
Ruby: And then she's got um… Now, now when he, when he made that radio broadcast did he, he declare war at the same time? I know I've heard that, that broadcast so many times, but I don't remember… or did they come back later and just whatever-
Ree: I don't know, you know I was 11 years old.
Ruby: You were 11? Yeah, that's young. 
Ree: I say I was 11 then in uh, July. That happened in December. So, um… That um, the speech he made about… somethin'… infamy. That one word stuck with me and - and uh, I know that there was words before that and I couldn't used to remember but I can't remember 'em now but that word's never left me. But uh, yeah he said that, um, the Japs had bombed Pearl Harbor. But I don't remember exactly what he said either, 'cause I was so young. But I remember I was in the front bedroom and the radio - it was one you set on the floor, you know, it was a cabinet radio. We just had a little radio - little speakers. But it, it all was settin' against that wall. [gesturing] well, really it would have been that wall because there was [gesturing left to right] a back bedroom, bedroom, living room and kitchen. But um, yeah, I remember it. I was there in that room when that happened.


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