Sunday, December 4, 2016

Perkinson Family Christmas, 1926



It is just a old, blurry, slightly faded photo of the Perkinson family gathered on the front porch of the family home in Woodstock, Georgia ninety years ago. But this was the one, the picture that first drew me into wanting to learn more about my family history.

Looking at the picture. I see how much I have learned about many of these relatives. Some of my research has become the source of some of my posts over the years. I added numbers by some of these relatives so you can put a face with a name in my posts about ...
  1. Mary Louise Perkinson, the subject of this tribute
  2. Oscar Dean Perkinson, Jr, whose story lead me learn more about the Civilian Conservation Corps and gave me a chance to share some old photos
  3. Leila Perkinson Stevens and the story of her wedding
  4. Oscar Dean Perkinson, Sr, local politician, accidental participant in an Inaugural Parade, and warehouse manager as well as my grandfather
  5. Louie Dean Stevens whose college courtship days were interesting to follow
  6. Ernest Vaughn Perkinson whose World War I draft registration lead me to learn about an unexpected occupation
  7. Paul Perkinson and how he read of his death in the newspaper
  8. Jesse Dean Perkinson, a noted researcher into the uses of atomic energy

Finally, looking at this picture also reminds me there are still more stories to research further. Stories like that of the family matriarch, my Great Grandmother, Louela Dean Perkinson, seated in the middle of the photo.  Widowed at 40 with at least five children still living at home, by necessity becoming involved in her late husband's business affairs. Definitely a story for another day. 

Interesting how one old photograph continues to draw me closer to my ancestors and relatives.

Monday, October 31, 2016

What To Do What To Do, What To Do?



Grandmother's Hankies, personal photo



They can be that proverbial two-edged sword. Family heirlooms. We are delighted to have these special items that once belonged to an ancestor or relative, especially those things which provide some special insight into their lives. But then, all too frequently in my case, these items stay stored in a drawer or box. And I continue to wonder what to do with them.

Last week during a visit to our local library, I may have found a few suggestions as to what to do with some of these heirlooms. As I was walking through the craft section of the library, I spied several books dealing with crafting family history and memorabilia. I added them to my check-out pile and then spent an afternoon looking through the books and considering some new possibilities.

Memorabilia Quits by Rita Weiss had some new takes on ways to use family items in a quilt.(1) In addition to the often seen T-shirt quilt and quilts made with family photos printed onto cloth, there were photos of a lovely quilt made with squares featuring "Grandma's Hankies". This made me think of the box in an attic trunk filled with handkerchiefs passed down from my Grandmother to my mother and now to me. All are still in excellent condition, lace and printed design still there; after all, these were used primarily in the Sunday purse when those ladies when to church. A smaller project might be making several pillows using some of the handkerchiefs, together with initials or a monogram. Or ... 

Judi Kauffman had a very interesting book, Memory Crafting Beyond the Scrapbook, which featured a number of smaller projects.(2) One quick project was a "Memory Tray", just a simple wooden tray with photos or cards displayed beneath a piece of glass. That might be a possibility for using some of my mother's handwritten recipe cards or a way to display Christmas photo cards received from family members. Another small project was a "Keepsake Envelope". This was essentially an envelope sewn from satin, lined with a soft material, designed for storing a piece of jewelry, an award, a baby bonnet, etc, together with a card describing the provenance or history of the item. This would certainly be a special way to protect and commemorate the medals my mother-in-law received as a college student in the late 1920s.

I've been an avid scrapbooker for years so I added several books on the topic to my stack to checkout. I especially enjoyed looking through Scrapbooking Your Family History by Laura Best.(3) One of my first scrapbooks was a family heritage book. I know how much time was involved in completing it so I especially liked seeing a number of smaller scrapbook projects in Best's book. For starters, she had a "Family History Jar". The jar contained a number of questions, each written on a strip of paper, together with a notebook for recording the answers. It would be a great conversation starter at family gatherings. She also reminded scrapbookers to provide a key identifying all those family members in group pictures. I loved the idea of a scrapbook page picturing a child along with photos of the person(s) for whom the child was named. Another simple idea was making one scrapbook page on a specific theme or person to hang in a 12x12 inch frame. This could be a page of photos from Christmas or other family gatherings to hang at holiday times, a collection of photos of a grandparent through the years, pictures of various houses where a family had lived, so many possibilities for an easy way to display a little family history.

Lisa Bearnson and Becky Higgins coauthored an interestingh book, Our Family Scrapbooks. It deals, of course, with large, heritage scrapbooks, but the book also presents some great small scrapbook ideas.(4) One of the simplest books was a "Family Faces" scrapbook, just a single photo of a relative on one page of an small photo album with the person's name or a short sentence about him/her on the opposite page. This is a great idea for young children whose relatives may be scattered around the country. Another small scrapbook was the "One Memory at a Time" book. This was a perfect way to use some of those interesting old photos like my grandfather working on the family farm or my father in a baseball uniform. This small scrapbook called for a 4x6 inch photo album, one picture on the left and a short descriptive paragraph about the photo on the right page. Finally Lisa and Becky used a similar idea for documenting family heirlooms, again having a photo of an item on one page and brief information about the item on the opposite page. This would be a way for me to provide information about Thomas Nelson's clock, my Grandmother's metronome, or my mother-in-law's college medals.

Several years ago, I started my Pinterest board Celebrating Family as a way to keep and share other projects related to family history. Once again, a trip to my local library stirred my creativity. Now I have more ideas about things that I could do as a way to celebrate and share some of our family stories with others.

Lessons Learned:

  • Our local libraries are filled with so many interesting books and materials.
  • Think outside the box. An craft or creative idea found in one source might be tweeked or expanded a little and become a great means for sharing our family stories or history.

(1) Weiss, Rita and Linda Causee. Memorabilia Quilts: Fabulous Project With Keepsakes and Collectibles. New York: Sterling Publishing Co, Inc. 2007.
(2) Kaufman Judi. Memory Crafting Beyond the Scrapbook: 130 Projects to Sew, Stitch, and Craft. Iola WI: Krause Publications, 1999.
(3) Best, Laura, Scrapbooking Your Family History. New York: Sterling Publishing, 2005.
(4) Bearnson, Lisa and Becky Higgins. Our Family Scrapbooks. Primedia, Inc., 2005.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Slave Name Roll Project*: The Apprenticeship Indenture Rolls of Cherokee County, Georgia


"Power of Words" by Antonio Litterio,
via Wikimedia.org



By 1865 America's Civil War was over. With the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution (the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863) now recognized as law in the former Confederate states, previously enslaved individuals were now free.

While searching through Georgia will and probate records for information about some of my ancestors, I came across a series of documents for Cherokee County, Georgia Apprenticeship and Indentures from 1866-1904.(1) Every indenture for 1866 pertained to a former slave in Cherokee Country, as did most of the listings for 1867. The documents listed "freed negro" boys and girls by name, age, and the individual to whom they were indentured. There is also the statement that these young people had been counseled by the County Ordinary to make this decision. Responsibilities for the young person were clearly stated in the contract as were those of the employer. At the end of the period of indenture (the child having reached his or her legal age), the young person was to have been taught to read and write the English language as well as to have been taught a trade. The now adult was also to be given money (usually $100) and often a new suit of clothing. At the age of 21 for the boys and 18 for the girls, these former slaves would finally be able to live in freedom.

Each record is listed in the following format:
minor freed Negro -- to whom indentured -- age at the time of the contract -- type of work or trade -- # of years of the indenture -- date agreement was recorded
Note: I did not include any record which only referred to the individual as an orphan, likely to come under the care of the county, only those in which the indentured individual was described as being a "freed negro" or "freed child". I have left them in the order of how they were recorded rather than placing them in alphabetical order.

Joe McAfee -- to John M McAfee -- age 12 -- farm hand  -- 9 years -- 8 Jun 1866
Laura McAfee -- to John M McAfee -- age 6 -- farm hand -- 12 years -- 8 Jun 1866
Evaline McAfee -- to John M McAfee -- age 11 -- farm hand -- 7 years -- 9 Jun 1866
Sanford McAfee -- to John M McAfee -- age 13 -- farm hand -- 8 years -- 9 Jun 1866
Ed McAfee -- to John M McAfee -- age 13 -- farm hand -- 8 years -- 9 Jun 1866
George Wheeler -- to C M Wheeler -- age 15 -- farm hand -- 6 years -- 9 Jun 1866
Albert Wheeler -- to C M Wheeler -- age 13 -- laborer -- 8 years -- 9 Jun 1866
Emily Caruthers -- to Newton J Wheeler -- age 13 - house girl and laborer -- 5 years -- 9 Jun 1866
Lucy Dean -- to William H Dean -- age 10 -- laborer -- 8 years -- 14 Jun 1866
Harriet Hawkins -- to William W Hawkins -- age 12 -- laborer -- 6 years -- 9 Jun 1866
Joe Dupree - to William G Dupree-- age 15 -- laborer -- 6 years -- 14 Jun 1866
George Foster -- to William S Foster -- age 16 -- laborer -- 5 years -- 14 Jun 1866
Joshua Foster -- to William S Foster -- age 16 -- laborer -- 5 years -- 14 Jun 1866
Thomas J Evans -- to Phillip J Evans -- age 15 -- laborer -- 6 years -- 14 Jun 1866
Jane Evans -- to Phillip J Evans -- age 12 -- laborer -- 6 years -- 14 Jun 1866
Nero Underwood -- to Thomas G Underwood -- age 15 -- laborer -- 6 years -- 14 Jun 1866
Bob Strickland -- to Andrew J Covington -- age 12 -- laborer -- 9 years -- 15 Jun 1866
Alexander McCurley -- to George R McCurley -- age 10 -- laborer - 11 years -- 15 Jun 1866
Thomas McCurley -- to George R McCurley -- age 7 -- laborer - 14 years -- 15 Jun 1866
Mariah McCurley -- to George R McCurley -- age 9 -- laborer - 9 years -- 15 Jun 1866
Mariah Sorrells -- to Solomon Fuller -- age 9 -- housekeeper -- 9 years -- 16 Jun 1866
Jacob McGraw -- to George McGraw -- age 12 - husbandry [note: does not specify if it is animal or plant husbandry] -- 9 years -- 15 Jun 1866
Samuel Riggins -- to Sarrah Riggins -- age 9 -- husbandry -- 12 years -- 15 Jun 1866
Fanny Popham -- to William G Popham -- age 7 -- husbandry -- 11 years -- 5 Oct 1866
Sallie Donaldson -- to Joseph Donaldson -- age 11 -- husbandry -- 7 years -- 16 Jun 1867
Jessie Donaldson -- to Joseph Donaldson -- age 9 -- husbandry -- 12 years -- 16 Jun 1867
Edie Donaldson -- to Joseph Donaldson -- age 7 -- husbandry -- 11 years -- 16 Jun 1867
John Fletcher Conn -- to Sammuel Conn -- age 6 -- husbandry -- 15 years -- 16 Jun 1867
John Con -- to Samuel Con -- age 11 -- husbandry -- 10 years -- 16 Jun 1867
Henry Con -- to Samuel Con -- age 10 -- husbandry -- 10 years -- 16 Jun 1867
Emma Con -- to Samuel Con -- age 3 -- husbandry -- 15 years -- 16 Jun 1867
Dian Bruce -- to Burton Bruce -- age 10 -- housekeeping -- 8 years -- 16 Jun 1867
Rachel Pitman -- to William A Trasley -- age about 10 -- housekeeping -- 8 years -- 17 Jun 1867

Although I had previously found records for indentured servants in my research, these were the first I had come across that dealt essentially with children who had formerly been enslaved. These contracts present another view of life after the end of slavery in the southern United States. For this reason, I feel they can be helpful to researchers seeking to learn more about their previously enslaved ancestors.

Blogger Schalene Dagutis, through her blog Tangled Roots and Trees, developed the Slave Name Roll Project in 2015. This project is a means for listing the names of slaves as individual names are located through our research of wills, probate records, and property records. It gives us the opportunity to provide information so that present day descendants can make a connection to their enslaved ancestors.


(1) Georgia Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992, "Cherokee County, Apprenticeship Indentures 1866-1904"; accessed www.ancestry.com.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Slave Name Roll Project*: Estate of William Perkinson, Cherokee County, Georgia


"Power of Words" by Antonio Litterio,
via Wikimedia, org

Among the will and probate records for William Perkinson (1784-1865) of Cherokee County, Georgia, there were several indications that William had owned slaves.(1) In the appraisal of his estate, recorded 1 Mar 1866, the first four listings were of his four slaves:

  • Elias, a negro man
  • Ben, a negro man
  • Warren, a negro man
  • Daniel, a negro man

Additional records indicated that two of these slaves had been hired out at various times of the probate process and thus provided additional income which was included in the assets of William Perkinson's total estate. 
  • negro boy Elins, hired for 9 months to Stephen Terry
  • negro man Ben, hired for 9 months to Stephen Terry
  • negro man Ben, hired for 9 months to T D Perkinson
Among the sale records of Perkinson's estate, there was no indication as to what had happened to the four previously mentioned slaves. By the final return for the estate in June of 1866, the Civil War had ended and all slaves had been freed. This suggests that Elias, Ben, Warren, and Daniel may have remained in Cherokee County, Georgia.

Among the Will and Probate Records for Cherokee County was a list of Apprenticeship Indentures, 1866-1904. Virtually all of the 1866 entries were for freed negro boys and girls, indenturing them to an individual until each turned 18. During those intervening years, they were to be cared for, taught a trade, then released from their indenture. These young people where no longer slaves, but I plan to list their names, ages, and person to whom indentured in a future post.

Blogger Schalene Dagutis, through her blog Tangled Roots and Trees, developed the Slave Name Roll Project in 2015. This project is a means for listing the names of slaves as individual names are located through our research of wills, probate records, and property records. It gives us the opportunity to provide information so that present day descendants can make a connection to their enslaved ancestors.

(1) Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992, Cherokee County, Inventories and Appraisements, 1854-1924, p 341, William Perkinson Estate; accessed on www.ancestry.com.
(2) Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992, Cherokee County, Sales Bills, Vol B, 1855-1929, p 214, William Perkinson; accessed on www.ancestry.com.