Monday, July 29, 2013

Mappy Monday - Around Oakman, Georgia

After attending the church Homecoming and writing about it in a  previous post,  I wanted to make a map pinpointing some of the places that were associated with my husband's family.  I used Google Map Engine Lite and was able to create this map in just a few minutes.  Map Engine Lite is a free download from Google, and Google provides an easy to follow tutorial on using this map program here.

Below is a little about the places indicated on the map above.

A - Dan Whittemore used to have a country store located at this area.  Family stories say that the town's Post Office was, for a time, located in his store.

Old Oakman School
B - Today the old school is closed, but part of the building is now used as a community center.  The community center was donated to the community in memory of Kip Whittemore.  Through the years, several family members taught at this school.

C - Dan and Bessie Whittemore lived in this house for many years.  Today the house seems to be in good condition with a new family living there.

D - The Oakman-Ranger United Methodist Church was founded in 1870.  The original wooden church was located between the site of the present church and the church cemetery.

Oakman Methodist Cemetery
E - The Oakman Methodist Cemetery is next to the site of the original church building.  There are a number of Padgett and Whittemore relatives buried in the family plots of this small cemetery.

F - Today the house where Uncle Will and Aunt Willie Whittemore used to live is vacant.  The old barn on the farm still stands just south of the house.

One thing I liked about using Map Engine Lite was the ability to add points of interest to a map along with labels and descriptions.  Currently there is not the ability to also add photos to a map, but perhaps that will be available before too long.  I can also choose to make my map private or to share with specific individuals or even with the world.  I chose to make this map private, but when I share it with family members, they can read an extended description, additional information, stories, GPS locations if they click on any labeled point.  Pretty neat way to share family history!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Homecoming 2013

Oakman-Ranger United Methodist Church
Oakman, Georgia

It's summer, time to attend Homecoming celebrations at small country churches across the south.  Time to return to the old family church, time to reminisce with cousins, time to pause by graves in the church cemetery, and time to share lots of wonderful food.

Recently my husband and I attended the annual Homecoming Day at a church where a number of his relatives have been active members through the years.  It had been about 30 years since we last attended this special service at the old church.  When I first started going with him to the Oakman Homecoming over 40 years ago, it was primarily about visiting with the cousins our age and sampling all of that unbelievable country cooking.  This time it was a little different.

We arrived at Oakman almost an hour before church started so we drove around the area with my husband pointing out lots of places important to his family.  Close by was the location of the old Post Office where a cousin had been the Post Mistress.  He showed me where an uncle's country store had been located.  We stopped at the old school, now a community center, where several relatives once taught.  Next we drove by the two homes where relatives had lived, one with a fresh coat of paint and a shiny metal roof, the other sitting empty amid tall weeds.  The houses, less than a quarter mile apart, had been the homes of two sisters and their families and were located close to the church.

Cemetery, Oakman-Ranger United Methodist Church

Back at the church, we walked around the cemetery where I took pictures of the grave markers of his Whittemore relatives buried there.  Outside the church, I heard stories about children sitting under trees in warm weather for Sunday School, then moving to sit inside a car for Sunday School once colder weather came.  Inside the church, my husband pointed out the photograph of the old church built in the1870s and reminisced with his brothers about attending church there, a place hot as blazes in the summer and chilly even with a pot-bellied stove in winter.  Today we were thankful for the new church with central heat and air.

During the church service, I opened my hymnal and saw that it had been placed there in memory of one of my husband's aunts, a lady who was always smiling and often played the piano at church.  My brother-in-law was the guest minister, and he shared some humorous family stories as illustrations for his sermon's scripture.  We also enjoyed some beautiful and heart-felt music from members of the congregation.  It was a good service.

The church dinner was as delicious as I remembered.  You could tell that folks had picked vegetables and berries the night before, just to share at our communal spread.  Unbelievably good!

I left Homecoming with an ever stronger sense of the importance of place in our family history, especially a spot where home, church, business, employment and school were all within walking distance.    Some of the memories, information, and photos from Homecoming have been recorded in my genealogy software.  I'm also plotting sites on Google Maps to share in a future post.  And yes, we had somebody take another cousins' picture of all of us.  For a while that Sunday, we were home.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Military Monday - Samuel Howard Dean

Regimental Flag for the 35th Georgia Infantry, CSA

As I work to clean up some of my earlier, less than stellar citations, I find myself discovering new information about family members.  Take my Second Great Grand Uncle, Samuel Howard Dean, the second son of my 3G Grandfather Lemuel Dean.  I had his approximate birth year from census records, but that was all I knew about him.

My first big leap in information came as I returned to look at a cemetery transcription for Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery in DeKalb County, Georgia.  I had previously noted that Lemuel Dean was buried there.  Now I saw that Lemuel, his wife Elizabeth Howard Dean, and five of their children (including Samuel) were buried there.  The transcription also provided birth and death dates for Samuel and the four other children.

Samuel's death date was listed as July 20, 1862, and Richmond, Virginia as the place of his death.  The date and place certainly suggested that he might have died in the Civil War.  Now Samuel had my attention, and I wanted to learn more about him.

It took browsing through some back issues of the Southern Confederacy newspaper to learn more about Samuel Howard Dean prior to the Civil War.  Information in an article about a meeting of the Georgia Medical Association in April of 1861 listed S. H. Dean of Conyers as a member.(1)  This corresponded with the S. H. Dean listed as a physician living in Newton County for the 1860 federal census.(2)  Apparently Samuel was a physician just like his older brother and my 2GGrandfather, William Hiram Dean.

Next stop was  the National Park Service Civil War Index where I found four Samuel H. Deans listed from Georgia.  I could eliminate one of the four since his regiment wasn't formed until after my Samuel's death in 1862.  The other three were all from different regiments, so I still hadn't pinpointed my Samuel H. Dean as a Confederate soldier.

Roster of Confederate Soldiers in Georgia, vol. 3

The Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia had a listing for a Samuel H Dean, member of Company B, 35th Georgia Regiment, a regiment formed primarily from Newton County, Georgia.  This Samuel Dean was listed as dying in Richmond on July 20, 1862.(3)  Here was my Samuel Dean.

The July 5, 1862 issue of the Southern Confederacy carried reprints of correspondence between Lt. S. H. Dean and Capt. James M. White, both of Company B, 35th Georgia Regiment.(4)  According to the letters sent to the newspaper by Capt. White, both Samuel Dean and Capt. White had taken ill after fighting near Yorktown in early June with Samuel having to be relocated to Richmond for recovery.  Later, Lt. Dean was asked to discuss with the company their feelings on having an ailing Capt. White continue as their leader.  Probably as a result of these events, both Samuel Dean and James White resigned on June 13, 1862.  It was not clear from either the Roster or the letters exactly from what they resigned.  The series of letters made for some interesting reading.  

Southern Confederacy, July 3, 1862

Although Samuel Dean is listed as resigning on June 13, 1862, he was apparently still involved in the war.  He was able to send these personal messages which appeared in the Southern Confederacy to his father Lemuel Dean in early July, 1862 .  I was amazed by how quickly information traveled from the battlefield to family waiting at home, while the message content reminded me of a tweet.

Southern Confederacy, Aug 2, 1862.

As noted in the Roster of Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, Samuel died in Richmond, Virginia on July 20, 1862.  The roster, however, does not indicate how or why he died, only when and where.  Although some issues of period newspapers carried battlefield reports of casualties, the wounded, and the missing, I haven't found one listing Samuel or even one for that date.  The exact cause of Samuel's death remains a mystery.  All that is clear is that his body was returned to Georgia for burial in the family plot at the Indian Creek Baptist Church Cemetery.  By late July, his father Lemuel Dean applied for the legal papers necessary to settle Samuel's estate.

Returning to a transcription of a cemetery's gravestones started me on the path of learning more about a relative I had previously overlooked.  Without online access to historic newspapers, my image of Samuel Howard Dean would have been sketchy at best, and the Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, all five volumes, will be a great research when I research other relatives.  I've learned a lot, not just about Samuel Howard Dean but also thanks to him.

(1) "Georgia Medical Association" Southern Confederacy, 11 Apr 1861 ( : accessed 16 Jul 2013).
(2)  1860 US Census, Newton County, Georgia, population schedule. p. 401 [written] S H Dean, dwelling 75, family 75; ( : accessed 16 Jul 2013), cting NARA microfilm M653, roll 133.
(3)  Henderson, Lillian.  Roster of the Confederate Soldiers of Georgia, vol. 3. Hapeville, Ga : Longine & Porter, 1959-1964. Digital images. Hathi Trust. : 2013.
(4) "A Card" Southern Confederacy, 5 Jul 1862 ( : accessed 16 Jul 2013).

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - The Seven Sisters

The Vaughan Sisters, 1916, lined up L-R in birth order: Miriam, Annie Laurie, Louise, Clara, Eleanor, Sue, and Charlotte.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Mystery Monday - A New Home For Calder Baynard Willingham

Calder Baynard Willingham
With some inspiration I've received after reading posts from The Organized Genealogist Discussion Group (OGDG) on facebook, I finally started to scan a folder of photos that had found their way to me after a family member had died.  I scanned each picture, cleaning it up as necessary in Photoshop, then saved each photo in the appropriate family group surname folder on my laptop, listing the photo by last name, first name, and any date or place information.

Things were going well until I came across this picture.  Thankfully, someone had written the name of the individual on the back and a note that my Great Uncle Calder Vaughan had been named for Calder Willingham, the gentleman in the picture.  It was all great information except that Calder Willingham was not a relative of mine although he might have been a cousin of Calder Vaughan's mother.  The picture was in fairly good condition, and I knew I wanted to try and pass it on to a Willingham relative.

My first stop was to check for family trees that listed Calder Willingham.  I did find several trees listing a Calder Baynard Willingham who had lived in Macon, Georgia, the town where the photographer was located.  Unfortunately none of the owners of the trees had any type of profile information so there was no way to contact the owners to see if s/he wanted the photograph.

I then posted a request for suggestions as to how to get this photo to a suitable owner, using the OGDG facebook page.  Within an hour I had several helpful suggestions including checking for an obituary, uploading the picture to, and checking message boards on, interestingly enough, lists six people named Calder Willingham, two of whom are buried in Macon, Georgia.    I've posted a message to the person who created the memorial page for the Calder Willingham of Macon, Georgia, who seemed to have been alive during the time the picture was taken.  

As for message boards, I found a number of family trees with a Calder Baynard Willingham on both and  Following a suggestion from a OGDG post, I've added a "post-em note" to the five trees, asking if the tree owner would like the photo.  I've also started a new thread on Ancestry's Willingham message board, asking if someone would like the photo.  

Finally, I've been trying to upload a copy of the photo to several sites mentioned in Cyndi's List.

To date, I've had two responses to all my feelers, one from a person no more related to Calder Willingham than I am, the other from someone who felt he could get the photo to some Willingham relatives though I haven't received a mailing address so that I can relay the photograph.  Perhaps this post will bring a response from a person who would like this photo.

Maybe before too long Mr. Willingham's photo will find a new home.  This whole experience has really been, to paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, about the journey rather than the destination. as I've learned some new ways to think outside the box.

UPDATE: In November of 2014, I received a response from a direct descendant of Calder Willingham. Finally that old phone has a new home.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Warm Weather, Wednesdays, and Webinars

Screenshot from "Canadian Port of Entry, Passenger Lists, and Boarder Crossing" webinar
10 July 2013

Depending upon where you live in the US, it has probably been really hot or terribly humid.  Yesterday's local weather made it a great time for me to stay inside and increase my knowledge of genealogy resources by viewing of one of the free Wednesday Webinars hosted by Legacy Family Tree Software.

The webinar I attended was on Canadian Ports of Entry, Passenger Lists, and Boarder Crossings.  It was lead by Kathryn Lake Hogan who has written the Legacy Quick Guides for all of the Canadian provinces, so it had a lot of good information.

The screenshot shown above shows how I attend a webinar.  On my desktop monitor, I join the webinar (on the left), keep the webinar dashboard open on the upper right so I can ask questions, see what others had asked, view links mentioned, etc., then open Evernote for any notes I want to take.  The webinar and Evernote slightly overlap, but it is simple to click back and forth for notetaking.  All of my webinar notes are kept in a "Webinar" folder with the webinar's title or description added.

For me, the really helpful part of this particular webinar was seeing a much more skilled researcher using the various databases related to Ports of Entry, Passenger Lists, and Board Crossings available for free on the Library and Archives of Canada web site.  I had noticed in prior visits to the Library and Archives of Canada web site that there were a number of different immigration databases but not never realized that most were due to the different types of paperwork in use during a specific time period.  Because of this, the databases related to immigration are not all searched in the same way.  Some are searched by name, others require dates or the ship's name.  Now that I know they aren't all searched in the same manner, I just try another search method if my first instinct won't provide any results.

Second, I appreciated Hogan's brief overview of Canadian immigrant and migration patterns.  It helped me see how my grandparents, Michael and Gertrude Myren, fit into the larger scheme of things.

Each Wednesday Legacy provides a different free webinar.  If you cannot view the webinar at the original air date, it is archived by Legacy for free viewing through the next week.  For a list of upcoming webinars and registration information visit the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.  Check out their list, and you will see a lot of pertinent topics as well as knowledgeable presenters.

Sitting comfortably inside with the AC running, sipping some iced tea (after all, I do live in the South), listening to thunder rumbling in the distance, and learning something new - pretty good way to spend a Wednesday afternoon.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Mystery Monday - Two Places at One Time?

Is it possible for one person to be in two totally different places at one time?  According to the 1930 census records, it looks as if my father, Oscar Dean Perkinson, was able to accomplish this.

1930 census, Woodstock, Cherokee County, Georgia (1)
Accorded to the 1930 census record enumerated on 24 April 1930, my father was listed as residing in the family home, living with his parents, two younger sisters, with an uncle and grandmother also listed as part of the family.  Dad is listed as being 22, single, born in Georgia, and employed as a bookkeeper on the railroad.  I know that the age, marital status, and birthplace are correct, and I remember hearing stories of how he worked for a time on the railroad.  This was in the early days of the Depression, and Dad spoke of having a lot of different jobs, sometimes working several places during a period and other times being unable to find work.  Everything seemed to fit with what I know about my dad and stories he had told.

1930 census, Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia (2)
Looking for other information about my dad, I stumbled upon a second 1930 census listing for him, this time living in the Atlanta YMCA along with about 80 other men.  The census information from the YMCA was recorded earlier in April, appearing to be submitted by mail April 14-16, ten days before the census information had been recorded in Woodstock.

The enumeration for the YMCA recorded that Dad was 21, single, born in Georgia, and working as a sales clerk in a shoe store.  If the information concerning age, etc. was given to the census enumerator by perhaps a clerk at the YMCA, this might explain why Dad's age was incorrectly listed as being 21.  After all, all the names for the YMCA are listed in alphabetical order suggesting that it was taken from another list of residents rather than being recorded from information given to the enumerator by each individual.  I cannot recall if my dad talked about living at the Atlanta Y, but he did mention living at a number of different boarding houses in Atlanta and surrounding areas while he worked various jobs and attended business school.  He also had a different occupation on this record, shoe clerk.  This job was one I remember hearing him talk about and one which seemed to cause Dad to always be the one to take me to buy new shoes, even as I became a teen (how embarrassing!).

So, could my father have been two places at one time for the 1930 census?  It is quite possible, especially since the enumeration dates for the two places were actually 10 days apart.  Plus, Atlanta and Woodstock Georgia are only 20 miles and a short bus or train ride apart.  Family stories support both jobs, and his name, Oscar D. Perkinson, isn't exactly in the common category.  Perhaps he was actually working both jobs, part-time shoe clerk and part-time on the railroad; he certainly wasn't lazy.  

Maybe someday I'll come across a letter written by or about my dad, perhaps written in April 1930, that will shed addition light on this matter.  Until then, I'm willing to say, yes, sometimes a person might be two places at one time.

(1) 1930 U.S. Census, population schedule, Georgia, Cherokee, Woodstock Town, ED 29-5, p.3-B [written],household 61, family 70, Oscar Perkinson [and family]; : accessed 30 Jun 2013, citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 346.

(2) 1930 U.S. Census, population schedule, Georgia, Fulton, Atlanta, ED 61-80, p.12-B [written],household 51, family 70, Oscar D Perkinson; : 30 Jun 2013, citing NARA microfilm publication T626, roll 362.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

July 4 - Let's Celebrate!

Iwo Jima Monument, Washington, DC
personal photo taken 1968

July 4 is a day for parades, family picnics, fireworks, and wearing red, white, and blue.  It is also a day to remember our country's history and the freedoms we enjoy each day.

I feel a sense of gratitude for those ancestors who were willing to fight in the Revolutionary War and subsequent military conflicts, relatives who left another country under political duress and come to America, those who were part of the westward migrations in our country's history, those who chose to immigrate to this country and start a new life,  those who have served as elected officials, and all the teachers, farmers, ministers, and shopkeepers who populate our family trees.  All of you are part of America's history.

We've got a lot to celebrate! 

Monday, July 1, 2013

"O, Canada ..."

Manitoba Welcome Center

July 1 is Canada Day.  Because my grandparents lived in Canada, I grew up knowing about this holiday, hearing early on that it was much like the Fourth of July here in the USA.   At one point, Grandma Myren tried to teach me the words to "O, Canada", the national anthem.  Just check out the Canada Day at Canada Place web site for some of the activities planned to celebrate this holiday.  For me, today is an appropriate time to look at some of the online resources I have used to learn more about the Myren family and their life in Canada.

The first Canadian resource I turned to was the Library and Archives of Canada.  Its genealogy and family history section has links to census, land, immigration, and those other records we research to learn more about our family's history.  Through their digitized records, I've learned where Grandpa and Grandma Myren lived during the 1911 and 1916 censuses as well as information about my grandfather becoming a Canadian citizen.  I also stumbled upon the arrival date at the Port of Quebec for my Great Grandfather Peter Myren, after he left Norway and was heading to Wisconsin .  It is easy to see why I've listed this resource first as well as referring to it in two of my previous blog posts, Maybe There's Another Way and Coming to "Amerika".

For information about specific Canadian provinces, I've use Dave Obee's detailed list of links to provincial resources on CanGenealogy's web site.  Some of the links refer back to the Library and Archives of Canada web site, others to (paid subscription needed), when others are to various government agencies.  It is helpful to have links to all the provinces in one place.

One of my favorite web sites for browsing is Peel's Prairie Provinces, a project of the University of Alberta.  They have a great vintage postcard and photo collection online.  I love looking at the pictures of places I remember visiting in Manitoba as a child as well as comparing postcard images with things I saw on a trip to Manitoba several years ago.  Another great resource here is their digitized books and newspapers from the prairie provinces, some of which are in French.

The Manitoba Historical Society provides a number of helpful links on their web site.  Lately, I've been skimming through their collection of Manitoba History journals to learn more about the areas where my grandparents lived.

Maybe today will be the day the 1921 Canada census is released to the public as Lynn Palermo suggested in her recent blog.  If so, I'll have another resource to use for learning more about my family and their years in Canada.