Saturday, August 20, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Genealogy Research through I Ching

Leave it to Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings to come up with another fascinating project to keep us busy and out of trouble on Saturday night. This week’s mission: 

  • Go to and ask a question relating to your genealogy research. You can "throw the coins virtually" or "throw the coins by hand." You have to click the "throw" button six times, then click on "Read."
  • Report the question you asked and the answer you received, in the form of the Cast Hexagram (which explains the situation you are now in, or what has gone before), to your readers.
  • Does the answer make any sense to you? How do you interpret the answer?

I have NO experience with I Ching so here goes! 

My question: Will I ever find the parents of Ellender Vickers?

I throw the I Ching coins (virtually) and receive Cast Hexagram 56 – The Wanderer:

The first part of the Cast Hexagram says: 

Lu/The Wanderer

Fire on the Mountain, catastrophic to man, a passing annoyance to the Mountain:
The Superior Person waits for wisdom and clarity before exacting Justice, then lets no
protest sway him.

Find satisfaction in small gains.
To move constantly forward is good fortune to a Wanderer.

The second part, the Situation Analysis, reads:

You are a stranger to this situation.
It is your attraction to the exotic that has led you here, but you will move on to a new
vista when this one has lost its mystique.
Because much of this environment is foreign to you, you must exercise only the best
You don’t know the custom here, and it’s too easy to cross a line you don’t know is there.
Because you are the foreigner in this setting, you have no history to acquit you.
Watch, listen, study, contemplate, then step lightly but decisively on.

The way I see it, the I Ching is telling me I don’t know the answer to my question (duh), but when I find it, I’ll move on to the next question (right). I take the part about the foreign environment to mean (correctly) that I don’t know much about the South in the early to mid-1800s. So I guess I will take the advice in the last line and spend my time (more wisely) following the steps required to meet the Genealogical Proof Standard!

Or maybe I’ll call a genealogy psychic or tarot card reader! (Just kidding!)

© 2011 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Read All About It!

Have you read a newspaper lately? Maybe. But it’s more likely you get your dose of the daily news via the Internet or television. But in days past, our ancestors read published papers which carried the news of happenings at home and far afield. When you read historic newspaper accounts of their  lives, your ancestors become more real.

Yesterday afternoon, I found the following headline about my mother (I’m saving the article for another post):

Fairbanks (AK) Daily News-Miner, March 21, 1964, page 7
Accessed at, 15 August 2011.

This morning Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings gave us the following Tuesday's Tip:
Use the Old Fulton NY Post Cards website ( to search for articles in New York newspapers.
I’d heard of the site before, but had never taken the time to look at it. Since my YAWMAN ancestors came through New York, I decided to check it out today.
I found the following news about the sad deaths of several YAWMAN children:

The Caledonia [NY] Advertiser, January 21, 1886

And the following marriage:

The Caledonia [NY] Advertiser-Era, January 22, 1925
And a high school photo:
The Caledonia [NY] Advertiser, February 22, 1934
And a lucky draw:

The Caledonia [NY] Advertiser-Era, October 15, 1885

And there were many more articles as well!

This is not the first day I’ve spent hours looking at old newspapers, and I’m sure it won’t be the last!

If you’re not reading historical newspapers, you’re missing out on a wonderful source of genealogical and historical information about your ancestors. Check out Cyndi’s List for lots of newspaper resources.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – True Confessions about Genea-Assets

Here is this week’s challenge from Randy Seaver at GeneaMusings:

Hello there, genea-collectors - it's SATURDAY NIGHT, time for more GENEALOGY FUN. Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:
1)  Think about this:  Is all of your genealogical material, which you've gathered over the years, well organized?  Do you have papers, certificates, photographs and other ephemera squirreled away somewhere in your genealogy cave center?  Do you have forgotten digital files, including documents, photographs and notes hiding in your computer file folders?  It's Saturday night, do you know where ALL of your family history information is? 
2)  Give yourself a grade (from A to F) on how well you've done with your filing of tangible and digital genealogical assets (two grades, one for each).  Brag about your organizational prowess if you deserve it - you can be a good example to the rest of us.  Bemoan your situation if your files are like mine.
3)  Look through your tangible or digital genea-assets and find something you've "lost," forgotten or overlooked that might add to your knowledge about one or more families.  Tell us what you found, how will it help you, and will you commit to analyze it, source it, and use it?  
4)  Write a blog post of your own, make a comment on this blog post, or enter a Facebook Status or Google Plus Stream item concerning your "find" and what you're going to do about it.

What is the world coming to as geneabloggers resort to “True Confessions"? At least we are keeping it to genea-assets and not getting into more sensitive areas such as source citations and methods! Before I took up genealogy, I had the reputation of being the most organized family member, but my reputation has certainly been tarnished as I have collected stacks of books and papers and other stuff!

Part 1 

Recently, I started organizing my genealogy resources (books, magazines, etc.) and even recorded my holdings on LibraryThing. It’s not any where near complete. I have digital books that haven’t been included yet. I know I have books that must still be in boxes in the garage, having never been unpacked since the last move (3 years ago). But I’m working on it! 

My paper genea-assets (copies of book pages, computer printouts, etc.) are in numerous file folders and stacks. Last week I took a bunch of them and at least got them organized by surname so I can try to make sense of them and determine whether to keep or trash. The vital records copies are in family folders. 

My digital genea-assets are somewhat better organized into a series of folders based on type of records (birth, marriage, death, property, pictures, etc.). I use a numbering system for each document and the document number is included in the source citation detail in my database. For example, “BIRTH001” might be Mickey Mouse’s birth certificate and “DEATH001” might be Scrooge McDuck’s death certificate. I started using a numbering system because of multiple ancestors with the same name. I do have digital “stacks”—that is, computer folders with documents that have not yet been processed. Having lost digital materials in computer mishaps in the past, all of my digital genea-assets are in My Dropbox. 

Part 2 
  • Tangible genea-assets grade: C-
  • Digital genea-assets grade: C+ 
Part 3 

I sorted a 2” stack of tangible genea-assets and found two items related to my two favorite research subjects, Ambrose Martindale (my great-grandfather) and J. J. Spurlock (my grandfather). 

The first is a copy of a 2010 mailing list posting looking for 8x10 photos of the Past Masters of Greenville (MO) Lodge #107 of the Masons. Ambrose Martindale is one of the men listed. I don’t have an 8x10 photo of him, but I want to follow up with the writer of the post to see if he can give me any information about the dates of Ambrose’s membership in that particular Lodge. If a photo of another size or format is acceptable, I may be able to help after I visit my niece in November. 

The second item is a page from The Jewelers’ Circular, dated 27 August 1919, which carried the following statement under the heading “San Diego, Cal.”: 

J. J. Spurlock, formerly with J. Jessop & Sons, recently opened a school at 725 Broadway for teaching the watchmakers’ trade. 

I need to see what resources might be available to find out more about this school. Perhaps my geneablogger friends in the San Diego area can point me in the right direction!

© 2011 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Tuesday’s Tip – Texas Property Records On-Line UPDATED

If you have ancestors who owned property in the Lone Star State, you may be interested in the following websites that provide free searches of property records and the ability to view or print documents at a reasonable cost. About one-half of Texas' 254 counties are represented on these sites. Coverage varies by county from the early 1800s to the present time. As a key, counties in red cover records back into the 1800s; counties in blue include records starting between 1900 and 1940.

UPDATE 3 August 2011: A reader inquired whether online records were available free of charge on the County Clerk's websites. Of the counties I've researched, only one had free copies available online and those included a watermark of the word "unofficial." For a copy without a watermark, the fee was $1 per page; this is what I have been charged for copies both online and in-person at the courthouse. FREE is definitely better than $1 if things like watermarks are not a concern. Do be sure to check the County Clerk's website FIRST to see if you can get copies at a more reasonable cost than is available at the sites below.

  • Free search
  • Pay-per-Access Members can view/print documents at $1 per page
Counties covered: Angelina, Bandera, Bee, Bell, Bosque, Brazos, Cameron, Cherokee, Coleman, Cooke, Denton, Edwards, Fannin, Goliad, Grayson, Hays, Hidalgo, Hutchinson, Jim Wells, Karnes, Madison, Midland, Nacogdoches, Panola, Potter, Robertson, Rockwall, Rusk, Scurry, Smith, Taylor, Upton, Walker, Wichita, Wilbarger, Wise. 

  • Free login and search
  • Preview document for $1-2
  • Purchase (including view, print, save options) for $2-4 per document or $1 per page depending on county
Counties covered: Anderson, Aransas, Atascosa, Bandera, Bastrop, Bee, Bell, Blanco, Bosque, Brazoria, Brazos, Burnet, Calhoun, Cameron, Carson, Castro, Chambers, Cherokee, Collin, Colorado, Comal, Comanche, Dallas, Denton, DeWitt, Duval, Eastland, Ector, Ellis, Erath, Fayette, Fort Bend, Freestone, Gaines, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Grayson, Gregg, Guadalupe, Hale, Harris, Harrison, Hays, Henderson, Hill, Hood, Hopkins, Houston, Howard, Hunt, Jack, Jackson, Jefferson, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Johnson, Karnes, Kaufman, Kendall, Kenedy, Kleberg, La Salle, Lavaca, Liberty, Limestone, Live Oak, Lubbock, Madison, Matagorda, McLennan, McMullen, Midland, Milam, Montague, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Nueces, Orange, Palo Pinto, Panola, Parker, Polk, Potter, Randall, Refugio, Robertson, Rusk, San Jacinto, San Patricio, Shelby, Smith, Somervell, Tarrant, Tom Green, Travis, Tyler, Upton, Uvalde, Val Verde, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Ward, Washington, Webb, Wichita, Willacy, Williamson, Wilson, Winkler, Wise, Wood.

© 2011 Denise Spurlock, Ancestral Trees Research