Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Strangers in the Box

Thanks to Robert Ragan of the Treasure Maps newsletter for including this piece:

Strangers in the Box

Come, look with me inside this drawer,
In this box I've often seen,
At the pictures, black and white,
Faces proud, still, serene.

I wish I knew the people,
These strangers in the box,
Their names and all their memories
Are lost among my socks.

I wonder what their lives were like.
How did they spend their days?
What about their special times?
I'll never know their ways.

If only someone had taken time
To tell who, what, where, when,
These faces of my heritage
Would come to life again.

Could this become the fate
Of the pictures we take today?
The faces and the memories
Someday to be tossed away?

Make time to save your pictures,
Seize the opportunity when it knocks,
Or someday you and yours could be
The strangers in the box.

Copyright 1997 by Pamela A. Harazim. All Rights Reserved.
May be used in unchanged form for non-commercial
purposes if accompanied by this copyright message.


Saturday, June 27, 2009

Every Trip Needs a Cemetery Visit

Anyone doing family history research knows you can't just drive by a cemetery with an ancestor, even if it is a little out of the way.

This week my DH and I took a short trip from Norfolk, VA, to Abingdon, VA, in the farthest reaches of our state, to witness our niece and nephews at a Suzuki violin camp. This is an awesome thng to see, so many young violinists, learning to play in the mountain beauty. Our travels took us through Carroll County, VA, where lies my 5th great-grandfather, Capt. William Bobbitt and his family.

County histories1 tell a little about William. He lived near Hillsville and the Mountain Plains community of Carroll County. He had several positions of responsibility in the community--surveyor for a road, Captain of the county militia and Justice of the county court. William died in August, 1817.

Finding the cemetery is an adventure. The Quesinberry-Bobbitt Cemetery is located on a small hill, near the intersection of Rte. 682 and Rte. 52 south of Hillsville, next to a cow pasture. The Bobbitt marker is the big modern one amongst all the broken headstones. Very disappointing, but I'm glad to see someone took the time to remember the families buried there. It appears that the Bobbitt headstones have all been broken over time. I guess it won't be a good source for my research, but the photos are still nice to have. Also listed here is his wife, Nancy Ann Mackenzie and their children.


1. John Perry Alderman,Carroll 1765-1815, The Settlements (Alderman Books, 1985) 77-78

Monday, June 22, 2009

It's a brick!

I guess family historians collect strange things. I know that if I find out something belonged to an ancestor, it becomes a treasure and off limits to any downsizing we might undertake. Consider my latest acquisition.

It's a brick. A lovely orange-red, with "Kokomo" on its face, brick. It came from a building, formerly in Elwood, Indiana, called the "DeHority Building". A member of the Elwood Pipe Creek Genealogy Society was kind enough to let me know that the building was being torn down to be replaced by a CVS pharmacy and its parking lot, and also kind enough to go down and get a brick for me, package it carefully with copies of the newspaper accounts of the demolition, and put it in the mail (Thank you, Linda!). How sad! But the building was pretty sad, too. It had pretty much fallen into disrepair in recent years, as you can see from a picture I took a few years ago.

The last DeHority that I knew of to use the building was Robert DeHority, who had an insurance business there, along with other small shops. I don't know what it was before that. The family started a bank, had a general store of sorts, and other enterprises, and maybe some of them were in that building, too. Someday, when I get time, I intend to research the building. That will be after I break down a few more "brick" walls.

For now, my momento will take its place in the garden with my other "Elwood bricks". These I got years ago from an Elwood antique shop. The proprietor told me they once were used as pavers in the streets of Elwood. Aren't they fine?!


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Just Make Up Some Lyrics Challenge

Bill, at "West in New England" has issued the Make Up Some Lyrics Challenge. The song above represents the best a musically challenged family historian can do...but it sure was fun!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Saturday Night Fun--Sunday A.M.

As much as I would like to participate in Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Fun on Saturday night, I never seem to make it. But I always enjoy the read on Sunday morning.

Here is what I learned this week:

  1. I already loved maps and knew of their importance to research, but I found this Cool Map documenting the population center for the U.S. over time...it pretty much follows my ancestors' travels. I also have a new blog to follow.
  2. Since Ancestry's launch of the Canadian censuses, I've been prowling for my husband's Canadian ancestors online.
  3. I got a brick in the mail....it's a meaningful brick, and the subject of a coming blog entry. Stay tuned.


Monday, June 8, 2009

Fair is Fair

I have no horse in this race. I do not descend from Native Americans. All of my ancestors are "come-heres" and probably didn't consider Indians as friends. But fair is fair.

If you don't live in Virginia, or don't have Native American ancestry, you probably don't know that the Virginia tribes--Nansemond, Eastern Chickahominy,Pamunkey, Mattaponi, Rappahannock, Upper Mattaponi, Chickahominey, and Monacan-- have yet to gain recognition from the federal government.

Say, what? That's right. The tribes of Powhatan and Pocahontas are not recognized by the federal government, which means that they get no part of federal money that some tribes have used for college tuition, housing loans and health care.

Joanne Kimberlin, reporter for the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, VA, is completing a 3-part series for the newpaper entitled “We're Still Here”1on the history of the tribes' efforts for recognition. Unfortunately, you can't see it online unless you are a subscriber. That is too bad, as it is wonderfully written and comprehensive in scope. Some of the high points from her findings are below (the editorial rant is mine):

  • Virginia tribes signed a treaty with England in 1677 which is in force today. The tribes still present the Virginia governor with a payment of rent each year in the form of a deer or other animal offering, as prescribed by the treaty. Other tribes, who made peace with the U.S. much later negotiated a better deal. It seems no good deed goes unpunished.
  • Recognition now involves completion of a process supervised by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, which involves documenting the tribes' history over several hundred years. This effort has been complicated by Virginia's 1924 Racial Integrity Act, which defined “white” as “having no trace whatsoever of any blood other than Caucasian, and everyone else as “colored”. One public servant in charge of vital records at the time, Walter Plecker, made it his mission to make sure that all records conformed to the Act, forever altering the clear lineage that today's applicants need. As family historians who rely on the public record, we should be stunned.
  • The tribes' efforts at legislative support for their cause over the years is an absolute embarassment. Legislators, who are loathe to protect us from lax gun laws, dilapidated interstate highways and crumbling schools, fear that recognition brings the threat of Indian casinos. Supporting the effort when it suits them and withdrawing support at the eleventh hour seems to be their M.O. Absolutely shameful!

So, what's to be done? VITAL, the blog of the Virginia Indian Tribal Alliance for Life, reported on April 22 that the “Thomasina E. Jordan Indian Tribes of Virginia Federal Recognition Act of 2009”, H.R. 1385, passed the House Committee on Natural Resources and is positioned to be considered by the full House. The bill is sponsored by Virginia Congressman Jim Moran. Virginia's Governor Timothy M. Kaine released this statement:

“Today’s vote by the U.S. House of Representatives to recognize six of the Native American Tribes of Virginia is a major step towards reconciling an historic wrong for Virginia and the Nation. While the Virginia Tribes have received official recognition from the Commonwealth of Virginia , acknowledgement and officially recognized status from the federal government has been considerably more difficult due to their systematic mistreatment over the past century.
“We are proud of Virginia ’s recognized Indian Tribes and their contributions to our Commonwealth. The Virginia Tribes are a part of us. We go to school together, work together, and serve our Commonwealth and nation together every day. These contributions should be acknowledged, and this federal recognition for Virginia ’s native peoples is long overdue.
“Virginia’s congressional delegation, including co-sponsors Rep. Gerry Connolly, Rep. Tom Perriello, Rep. Bobby Scott, Rep. Rob Wittman—and especially bill sponsor Rep. Jim Moran—deserve credit for their work on behalf of the native peoples of Virginia .
“I will strongly support efforts to pass federal recognition legislation for the Native American Virginia Tribes in the U.S. Senate and look forward to assisting in any way I can to help ensure this legislation is enacted into law.”

I hope anyone who reads this and feels moved to add their voice to setting this business right will contact their congressman and ask them to support this bill when it comes to a vote. And if you aren't so moved, I thank you for allowing me this little rant.

(Taking a breath......)

Back to genealogy.


1.Kimberlin, Joann.”We're Still Here”.Virginian-Pilot. 7-9 June 2009:A1+.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Puckerbrush!

What a treat to be the proud recipient of the Puckerbrush award! I rather feel like Sally Field at the Oscars! Thanks to Delia's Genealogy Blog for the honor!

Quoting now from Delia's blog on the Puckerbrush:
"The award was created in honor of genealogy blogger Janice Brown by Terry Thornton, author of "Hill Country of Monroe County, Mississippi", who explained that "Janice told us all about the word 'puckerbrush' in an article she posted August 27, 2007 at "Cow Hampshire". Terry elaborated a bit further in a comment: 'On any land allowed to go fallow and left untended, a wild assortment of wild plants grow – in some areas, this wild growth results in such a thicket of plants that it is almost impossible to push your way through the growth.So it is with the growth of blogs --- so many that it is impossible to read them all. But in the puckerbrush eventually a few plants/trees become dominant and influence all who view them through the thick surrounding puckerbrush.And it is those outstanding blogs whose influence spreads beyond just the surrounding rabble of puckerbrush that I'm honoring.' Terry issued this challenge: Henceforth these awards will be called the Janice Brown Puckerbrush Blog Award for Excellence. All blog authors are hereby challenged to name the ten blogs which have influenced their writing the most and list them as a tribute to Janice --- the Janice Brown Puckerbrush Blog Awards for Excellence."

I am inspired daily by bloggers who take the time to share their triumphs and stumbles while pursuing this maddening hobby. Several I have mentioned before and would again here, but someone has beaten me to it: Becky at Grace and Glory,the footnoteMaven,The Small-Leaved Shamrock , Cindy at Everything's Relative. I have nominated these favorites on other occasions and they all deserve a repeat mention. But, new favorites include these five listed below who absolutely represent the Puckerbrush spirit:

1. Craig at GeneaBlogie. His descriptions of his Gines/Guions family research are almost a tutorial on how to develop leads. Plus his Louisiana sojourn is just fascinating reading.
2. Kathleen at Carrow and Faunt Family Tales share with me an interest in families in the DelMarVa. I have learned much from her knowledge of the region.
3. I have only recently discovered Terry at Desktop Genealogist Unplugged. Her vivid narratives bring her ancestors and their stories alive.
4. Debbie, at Debbie's Indiana Genealogy, is a genealogy angel. Her dedication to transcribing records for online access is inspiring.
5. My thanks to M. Murmurd, at Murmurd's Franco-American and
Qu├ębec Genealogy
, for his timely information about common Charron/Ducharme ancestors. When he posts, it is always a must-read.

The blogging community is fast becoming a valuable resource for exchanging information and ideas that promote good research. The days spent at the crank of the microfilm reader are gradually being overtaken by days spent reaching out from the keyboard. I know the microfilm days will probably never disappear, but this is definitely more fun!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Main Street, USA

This is a postcard showing Anderson Street, looking North, Elwood, Indiana. I am not sure of the date, but it appears it was never sent, and someone, probably someone little, left his message on the back in the scratches. From the cars on the front, I would guess it was taken in the late 1930's or early 1940's. Very different from Elwood today.

It certainly seems perfect for this month's Festival of Postcards on the theme of "Main Street".