… Just not all the one’s I expected to.

On Dad’s side, I found Great Aunt Rachel pretty much where I expected her to be, She was just outside of Warren in Bradley County Arkansas, teaching school. And better yet, it’s the first time Uncle Fred is officially listed as doing barbering work. I’d kind of hoped that my grandmother and aunts would be listed with her, but no such luck. And on further research I’ve only found the eldest of those aunts with another family member.

1950 US census, Bradley County, AR, Bradley Quarters, ED. 6-14 Sheet 43, line 3, Fred Elliott family; US National Archives.

And for Mom’s family I found the residents of 223 Maple St. My step-great grandfather, great grandmother, great uncles and great aunt. Grandpa Bill was in the service at this point. He’ll be much harder to find without complete indexing.

1950 US census, Kent County, MI, Rockford, ED. 41-77 Sheet 73, line 16, Harold Bailey family; US National Archives.

And I found my Grandma Ethel living with her mother and siblings in Grand Rapids. That’s the best example of my factory worker family that I’ve ever seen.

1950 US census, Kent County, MI, Grand Rapids, ED.87-159 Sheet 77, line 16, Cora H. Shea family; US National Archives.

Have you been searching the 1950 Census?

Happy hunting,

Jess

Time flies when you are interested in everything (and probably overinvolved) but… I will be presenting three sessions for the Ohio Genealogical Society Conference 27-30 April 2022 at Great Wolf Lodge, Mason, Ohio–which feels like it’s suddenly right around the corner.

Follow the link for all the pertinent registration and housing information. Please Note: The Early Bird Pricing Ends March 18th!

I’m looking forward to getting out of my house, talking to people in person, and listening to a bunch of great speakers.

My talks are:

  • T24 The Tuberculosis Epidemic and Your Family Tree
  • F19 Scandalous Ancestors
  • S29 Occupational Records: Finding Gems in Work-Related Paper Trails
Image of real photo post card showing female tuberculosis patients on the patio and balcony of a brick hospital. Reads: Cottage, Ohio State Sanatorium.

I’d love to see some of you there!

Happy hunting,

Jess

I am continually telling myself that I’ve got to jump on here and at least say I’m alive and well… because mostly I am. But I’m also not as focused or as able to hop back onto the computer (after a day at work on a computer) as I used to be… at least not consistently. All that said, baby steps…

Also, it’s easier to talk about someone else sometimes to get started so… my home library, Capital Area District Libraries, is putting on a genealogy series starting March 5th featuring a group of presenters I respect and really enjoy listening to. Please consider checking it out!

Corner of CADL pdf from 2021 Genealogy Series flyer. Reads: Capital Area District Libraries, Everything... right here.

Virtual Family History Open House Series

Celebrate Genealogy Day during the entire month of March! Join us for a series of presentations that will help you discover your family’s story. 

Registration required; call 517-367-6350 or click on “Register.” Email required.

Registrants will be emailed a link to our Zoom meeting a few days before.

Saturdays • 11 a.m.-12 p.m. EST

March 5: Genealogy 101 with Ginger Ogilvie

Ginger Ogilvie is a professional genealogist and loves connecting people to their roots. Learning about our ancestors can help us better understand our stories. This workshop will share genealogical best practices and step by step strategies for people who are new to family history research. We’ll cover basic terms and traditional tools.

March 12: Introduction to Military Records Research with Katherine Willson

Professional Genealogist Katherine Willson will discuss how you can determine which major military conflict your ancestor might have served in, which records may have been generated during that time, and where they are held.  We’ll learn about the various places we might look to determine whether an ancestor served in the military and what we might expect to find in his or her military records.

March 19: Understanding the Ethnic Ancestry in Your DNA Test with Richard Hill

Richard Hill was the first adoptee to identify his birth family through genetic genealogy DNA tests. He shared his story in an award-winning book, Finding Family: My Search for Roots and Secrets in My DNA. Richard’s presentation will focus on the ethnicity reports included with many of the DNA tests. He will explain why results often don’t match expectations, why different testing companies yield different results, and why Native American DNA is so rare. As an example, he will show and compare the results where the same person did eight different tests.

CADL Lansing Libraries

This is just a quick thank you to the Grands in my life! I love you all, think of you often, and I am so happy to be able to talk to one of you still.

Older Black Couple sitting on a couch with 3 grandchildren--toddler, grade school age, and baby around 1979-1980.
Me, Grandma Elnora, my cousin, Grandpa Levie, and my brother.
Older olive-complected woman and two darker skinned children, all dressed for summer.
Grandma Ethel, Me, and my brother.
Older Caucasian man sitting watching darker skinned toddler playing on the ground and baby lying down on front. All in front of a Christmas tree.
Grandpa Bill, me, and my Brother
Older gentleman seated in a dark paneled room and in front of a window.
Grandpa Bailey, who Mom sat me down next to when I started working on our genealogy for a Girl Scout Badge.

Happy Grandparents Day!

Jess

Hey! This is happening!

Clipped image from Event Page including Photo of Bernice Alexander Bennet, with date and cost information.

I feel pretty strongly about supporting this group and program. Ms. Bernice Alexander Bennett will be the featured speaker at the Michigan Genealogical Council’s Virtual Fall Family History Seminar on Saturday, September 18th. Ms. Bennett is a MAAGI Instructor, Blog Talk Radio Host, Author of Tracing Their Steps: A Memoir–the winner of the 2021 New Generation Indie Book Award and the Phillis Wheatley Award. A recent project has also including helping African American descendants identify their Homesteading Ancestors–which resulted in this nifty page documenting my 3rd Great Grandfather Samuel Lindsay.

Sessions for the day include:

USCT Civil War Widows Pension Records Tell the Story will discuss the anatomy of a Civil War Widows Pension file and several examples to illustrate the value of using these records. 

Black Homesteaders at the Crossroad of Freedom will answer these questions: Who were the homesteaders? What is the Homestead Act of 1862? What are the eligibility requirements? What is the application process? and What can you find in the land entry papers? 

What can you find with your Library of Michigan Card? (Presented by Tim Gleisener) Learn about resources available to Library of Michigan cardholders for family history research including the Grand Rapids Press historical archives, the Michigan Chronicle, Detroit Free Press, Detroit News, Toronto Globe and Mail, and Michigan Sanborn maps.

Writing and Telling Your Story. Do you have a story to tell and don’t know how to write or tell it? This session will explore how you can turn your genealogical research into a compelling and engaging family story. 

Follow the Witnesses will show how following witnesses on documents can reveal the community history.

Researching Your Family’s History at the Archives of Michigan. (Presented by Kris Rzepczynski) An introduction to the Archives of Michigan, this program will explore the genealogical collections available there.

Register for the event here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2021-virtual-fall-family-history-seminar-with-bernice-alexander-bennett-tickets-165251498681

Join us!

Jess

As always, I’ve fallen behind here but also have a ton of blog post ideas running around in my head. This one took a while to mull.

Many of you know I attended the Midwest African American Genealogical Institute this year and even though virtual, it was a wonderful experience. I started off right at the beginning in Track 1A Fundamental Methods and Strategies (the equivalent of an intermediate course) run by Dr. Shelley Murphy. Speaking as someone who has been at this since high school and presenting for 8 years, I still got a lot out of MAAAGI and would highly suggest the institute to everyone. I used the time and classwork to step back and really look at how I approach my research and organization.

The courses at MAAGI are such that people may choose to repeat tracks, but also could jump around based on their education needs. But I felt like it was worth knowing how they present the fundamentals before jumping out into the other courses. I think it was a great place for me to start. And again, even virtual, the week afforded me time to learn and reflect on my research surrounded by people who also love genealogy and the challenge of African American research—a major plus of genealogy institutes in general.

My heartfelt thanks to Dr. Murphy, Judy Russell, Nicka Sewell-Smith, Toni Carrier, and Ric Murphy and all my classmates. I hope to catch up with you all at Allen County Public Library for an in person track soon.

A mortgage I finally spent time transcribing and studying from Aug 1870. This section reads: State of Arkansas, County of Bradley
Be it known that I Sandy York of the State and county aforesaid being indebted to E. B. Turner in the sum of sixty-two dollars fifty cents being
one half the value of one certain roan mare colt an in consideration of the sum of one dollar to me in hand paid the receipt where of is hereby acknowledged have bargained and sold and by these presents do grant bargain…

Happy hunting!

Jess

I’ve never been great about sharing my events… I’m working on it… along with blogging more, researching more, and scanning more. Somehow that pesky (but really fun) fulltime job tends to get in my way. That said, I’m stepping out from my (mostly) behind the scenes duties on Saturday to lead off a virtual series featuring three fabulous Michigan presenters: Matt Pacer (3/13), Katherine Willson (3/20), and Ginger Ogilvie (3/27). Click on the image below for the pdf flyer. The four programs will be Saturday mornings in March, 11 am EST. It’s free but you do have to register for the individual programs to receive the program links. Check it out! Registration is open now: https://bit.ly/2OyhWEZ

Happy hunting,

Jess

A very overdue update! I’m hoping 2021 is looking up for everyone!

Lest you think I’ve disappeared…. Nope! While the pandemic is still seriously unsettling my work flow, I’m still here and slowly but surely making progress on scanning (and posting) pictures. I’m trying something new so please feel free to let me know if this works as a way of presenting a collection for both enjoyment and comment. The first batch have been posted here: Zelma Porter Morris Hanson Reeves Photos. I tried to put them in at least rough chronological order. I think people will be able to comment individually on photos. If you think the id’s are wrong or have any more information about the pictures you’d like to share (place, age, stories, etc.) please feel free to comment or email me.

Enjoy!

Jess

Charles Erwin “Win” Porter on right.

I’ve actually done a fair amount of (virtual) presenting lately which has been different but fun. I haven’t quite gotten my mojo back from the ongoing “fun” of 2020–and don’t see that happening anytime soon. But I’m finding my way and enjoying my research and reading again! That said my Aunt Joan gave me a new project which some of you should get a kick out of. Porter and Holden descendents (plus any Morris, Conant, Eldred cousins out there)–heads up! I’m sorting and scanning Aunt Zelma Porter’s (Morris Hanson Reeves) pictures and I’m hoping to stick them somewhere for family to access.

Happy hunting,

Jess

Photo: Charles Erwin Porter and Lulu Holden Porter, Wedding Portrait, 1904.
This is the wedding photo of (2nd Great) Grandpa and Grandma Charles Erwin and Lulu (Holden) Porter, taken in 1904.

Needless to say, the pandemic has totally thrown my year, but I’ve been sitting on a version of this post for a while. I’m not sure I’ll be able to get back into a more normal run of posts anytime soon, but I will endeavor to at least post more.

Some of you know I was working on a presentation on occupational records and resources for a Virtual Genealogical Association webinar last week. It was another presentation that was truly meant to get researchers out and about looking for information in libraries, archives, and museums. Then… pandemic. But, in the retooling of the presentation, I found so many interesting and cool online resources that I really thought they were going to have to cut me off for going too long. Suffice to say, there is much that can be done online—but you should also be making the list of places to visit when it is safe for you to do so too.

I’ve talked about examples of occupational records/resources on the blog before: Henry R. Massy’s  Police Force Application, Grandpa Bailey’s work photo from Kirkhoff Manufacturing, labor union publications. But being in lockdown gave me time to explore other resources. For example, did you know that Ancestry has record sets like U.S., Baseball Questionnaires, 1945-2005—a collection of self-completed surveys including the likes of Roger Marais, Ken Griffey, Jr  (and Sr.), or former Detroit Tiger Brad Ausmus. Or maybe you need a record set more down to earth? They also have a collection called Wisconsin, Employment Records, 1903-1988—including the four occupations for which one needed a license: education, barbering, watchmaking, and boxing.

Family Search has a variety of collections like the Certificates of admission to the Guild of barbers, surgeons and chandlers, Shewsbury, 1745-1792 (UK), the Business license records (Pike County, Ohio), 1816-1854, 1877, or the Peddlers and Show Licenses, 1852-1866 (Decatur County, Georgia).

Clippings from WorldCat.org entry for the Arkansas Borad of Barber Examiners files of inactive barbers, series III, 1937-1994 from the Arkansas State Archives and a photo of the catalog entry for Fred Elliott, barber.

Searches in WorldCat or ArchiveGrid can net more collections—such as the Arkansas State Board of Barber Examiners files of inactive barbers, series III, 1937-1994 at the Arkansas State Archives including a picture of my Great Uncle Fred Elliott. But so can a search on Google. That’s how I found a number of industry journals with mentions of family members. Like the notice of the fire at my 4th Great Uncle H. R. Rothwell’s barrel, cask and box factory in Chicago, Illinois in on June 9th 1908 in The National Cooper’s Journal  and The Barrel and Box.

Clippings from Barrel and Box, July 1908

“But I only have Farmers!” I hear you. I know. I have my fair share, but check out the community your family is from to see if any of the farm books or store ledgers for the area survived. I can’t promise they’re out there, but it’s worth a look—especially if you’ve hit a brick wall.

Or maybe your find is waiting for a building renovation and will find its way to Facebook, like this. It a grocer’s card that a pizza joint in my mom’s hometown found while renovating. I totally wanted it to be our George, but then it settled in that there were three George Porter’s in town at that time (and we’re only related to two of them)—needless to say that’s the one we have no claim to. But, wow!  What a neat job-related find sitting out there on social media for someone.

Happy hunting!

Jess