Monday, December 13, 2010

Inventory of Beginner Genealogy Books at Wake County Libraries that Circulate

I’ve been interning for several weeks at a fairly big Wake County library in Raleigh and I was pretty surprised to see that their genealogy collection was pretty non-existent.

No Raleigh Regional Library

I think the only genealogy-related book I was actually able to put my hands on was the Genealogy for Dummies book.

I wanted to do a book display at the library on genealogy to celebrate Family History Month back in October. However, in order to do so, I would have to request genealogy books from other libraries because as I mentioned above, my library just didn’t have any.

When I started searching for genealogy books I kept running into the same roadblock – all the good ones were locked up tight at the Olivia Rainey History Library. Well, not really, this just means that they do not circulate, which would not be a good fit for my book display as the point of it was to get people to take the books home with them and read them!

I did an inventory of some of the basic genealogy books held throughout the 20 or so libraries in the Wake County system.  I ended up with a random collection of 13 books that are available to check out from these libraries along with 13 books that are only available at the History Library (that do not circulate).

Organizing your family history search : efficient & effective ways to gather and protect your genealogical research / Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. 1999

12 copies, 1 DNC at ORL

American genealogical research at the DAR, Washington, D.C. / by Eric G. Grundset and Steven B. Rhodes. 1997


Unpuzzling your past : a basic guide to genealogy / by Emily Anne Croom. 1995

5 copies, 1 DNC at ORL

Going to Salt Lake City to do family history research / J. Carlyle Parker. 1996


Uncovering your ancestry through family photographs / Maureen A. Taylor. 2000

2 copies, 1 DNC at ORL

Courthouse research for family historians : your guide to genealogical treasures / by Christine Rose. 2004


North Carolina research, genealogy and local history / edited by Helen F. M. Leary and Maurice R. Stirewalt. 1980 (older edition)

2 copies, 1 can circulate

Professional genealogy : a manual for researchers, writers, editors, lecturers, and librarians / editor, Elizabeth Shown Mills ; editorial board, Donn Devine, James L. Hansen, Helen F.M. Leary. 2001


Crafting your own heritage album / by Bev Braun. 2000

Several copies available

North Carolina Research : Genealogy and Local History / Helen F. M. Leary, C.G., F.A.S.G., editor. 1996

5 copies, none circulate

The researcher's guide to American genealogy / Val D. Greenwood. 2000

Several copies available

Land & property research in the United States / by E. Wade Hone.1997


Genealogy 101 : how to trace your family's history and heritage / Barbara Renick. 2003

Several copies available

Ancestry's guide to research : case studies in American genealogy / by Johni Cerny & Arlene Eakle.1985


Genealogy for the first time : research your family history / Laura Best. 2003

Several copies available

The Source : a guidebook of American genealogy / edited by Arlene Eakle and Johni Cerny. 1984. 1997. 2006

DNC at ORL; DNC at other Libraries too

The family tree guide book : everything you need to know to trace your genealogy across North America / the editors of Family Tree Magazine. 2003

Several copies available

The handybook for genealogists : United States of America.2006


The everything family tree book : research and preserve your family history / Kimberly Powell. 2006

Several copies available

Red Book 2004


A genealogist's guide to discovering your female ancestors / Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. 1998

2 copies, one at ORL, one that circs

Ancestors : a beginner's guide to family history and genealogy / by Jim and Terry Willard with Jane Wilson. 1997


The complete idiot's guide to genealogy / by Christine Rose and Kay Germain Ingalls. 2005

Several copies available

A genealogist's guide to discovering your immigrant & ethnic ancestors : how to find and record your unique heritage / Sharon DeBartolo Carmack. 2000


The weekend genealogist : timesaving techniques for effective research / Marcia Yannizze Melnyk.

Several copies available

Evidence explained : citing history sources from artifacts to cyberspace / Elizabeth Shown Mills. 2007


So from the look of this list, maybe we are not so bad off after all? I was thinking that because we had a dedicated History Library that the genealogy selection for the mainstream libraries which could circulate was reduced; However, it does seem like the beginner genealogist wouldn’t have to go very far to get their hands on some good quality books, albeit they might have to do some finagling to get them sent to their local library.

Transitioning from beginner to intermediate genealogist might present more of a problem, however.  Books like The Source, The Red Book,  and The Handybook are only available at the History Library. And any kind of specific type of research book covering records at the DAR library, cemetery research, immigrant research, land and property, court house, or North Carolina research is also only available at the History Library.

I was glad to see that Carmack’s Organizing your Family History Search, Greenwood’s The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy, and Rising’s Family Tree Problem Solver were available for circulation through a couple of local libraries. Next time I will inventory the Durham Public Libraries’ genealogy collections. Durham County does not have a dedicated History Library, although they do have an “NC Collection Room” where they keep all of their non-circulating genealogy books.

How about your local library? Does it have any genealogy books that are available to be checked out? If not, are there other public libraries in your area from which you can request genealogy books be sent?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Family History Expo

 This weekend I attended my first genealogy conference. This 2-day Family History Expo conference was held at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth, GA, just outside of Atlanta. Here are a few pictures I took:

Driving into the Gwinnett Center

Walking into the Gwinnett Center

Getting on escalator headed to registration
On the first day I met up with the other bloggers at the Beacon of Bloggers Table. I think it's great that the bloggers have been so well represented at conferences now! I met Amy Coffin of We Tree, Linda McCauley of Documenting the Details, Thomas MacEntee of Geneabloggers, Drusilla Pair of Find Your Folks, Valerie of Begin with Craft', Tonia of Tonia's Roots, Angela Walton-Raji of My Ancestor's Name, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist, and of course DearMyrtle of

Day 1, I attended 5 classes:

  1. Finding Your Female Ancestors by Lisa Alzo - I learned that most records were created by and for men and that it is difficult to track women because their surnames changed when they married. Lisa offered suggestions including to take inventory of the keepsakes we have and to ask everyone we know about them (including photos); and to let everyone know that you are doing the family genealogy so they won't throw those records and heirlooms away. She highlighted the importance of the Social Security SS5 application which can be obtained for $27 and one thing I did not know was that a person can have an SS5 but not be in the death index. Oh yeah, and make a timeline and include World, National, Local, and Personal events!
  2. Traditional DNA Testing by Elise Friedman - I attended this seminar to learn more about ftDNA's Family Finder test which looks very promising for people who want to connect to cousins and expand their genealogy research base. There have already been a few genealogy success stories since its release in August. 
  3. Want Land Will Travel - Southern Land Records State by State by Arlene Eakles of the Genealogy Institute - Arlene reminded us to look at the rent rolls of MD, military bounty lands in TN, bounty land records in KY (for service in VA) for stockade or fort building, Marriage bonds and Pauline McCubbins index cards in NC, survey records in VA; Also note boundary line changes: DE was a county of PA and the Northern Neck of VA was part of Lord Fairfax's estate. 
  4. Birth, Marriage, and Deaths in the South by Arlene Eakles - this wasn't too informative for me, but I'm looking forward to seeing the handouts Arlene will be sending in the mail. She talked a lot about how to read indexes. Look for the Bible Records of the Southern States Volumes 1-7 by Memory Lester and don't forget to look through your periodicals!
  5. Citing your Sources - this was supposed to be done by Christine Scarborough, but Arlene taught this one again and by this point I was pretty tapped out with Arlene. However I did take home a reminder to record where you looked for stuff, what you found and what you didn't find so the next person can start where you left off (or you can tell Arlene yes or no when she asks you if you looked here or not)
Day 2:

  1. Family History Books: Editing, Design & Publishing by Nancy and Biff Barnes - Collecting stories for a family history book is a lot of work for one person to do, so enlist the help of family members. Give them tasks and then plan a family reunion so you can collect all their stories at the same time without having to travel individually to them. Write either topically or chronologically. Watch out for publishers who can collect monetarily from your book and who can also decide to stop printing of your book. If someone gives you an ISBN number, they are a publisher! 
  2. RootsMagic: Sharing and Publishing Your Family Tree - I was hoping to learn something new from this class because I'm a fairly new user to this software, but it was for beginners who had never opened the software before. I did get to see what the shareable CD would look like though - that looked kind of cool!
  3. Juicy Family History: 25 Ways to Write Compelling True Stories by M. Bridget Cook - By far my favorite speaker and presentation. I so wish I had attended her dinner last night and received a copy of her book! Very good ideas about how to capture the true life stories of our family members which can also be applied to ourselves. I can attest that this works because I've been enlisting some of these ideas with interviewing my Grandmother and I've learned a lot!
  4. The DAR Library for All: Near or Far, Member or Not by Jennifer Dondero - This class was a great session about their website and visiting the Library in D.C. The website is difficult to maneuver so this class was a must!
  5. Researching the Common Surname by Deborah Campisano - She gave a lot of great ideas, however I've already been using these records in my research.
With the exception of the writing classes, much of the research methods and records searching information was not new to me which was what I was afraid of.  This was a good experience overall though because I finally got to see exactly what a conference like this entails and it was very cool to be able to talk about GENEALOGY (and some about technology) for two whole days!!!! I would definitely do it again but maybe do these things differently: 

  • Bring more snacks
  • Choose my classes BEFORE I get there and print out syllabus for those classes
  • Take more pictures
  • Bring a friend (although I was able to find a couple of buddies to traipse around with :-)
Did you attend the conference? What were your thoughts? 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What I do When I'm not Doing Genealogy...

The Presence of the PastThe Presence of the Past by Roy Rosenzweig

Wow. This book gave very good insight into how Americans viewed the concept of "History" and the Past. I was not surprised to learn as a genealogist that most Americans valued the beliefs and oral history of family members over books, TV, and "experts," especially around National events. They believed family members who had "been there" and "seen firsthand" what happened during these events were the most credible sources. This is a recurring theme in the genealogy world.

A very surprising theme, however, was that most Americans believed that the History they learned in school was rubbish and a waste of time. HOWEVER, today they believe it is IMPERATIVE that their child go through the same process in school today and they propose no changes to the curriculum.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Motivation Monday

Just a quick blog post to say no, I haven't been hiding.  I've been reading reading and more reading for class class and more class.  I got a little bit stressed out last week, but I nipped it in the butt when I knocked out a bunch of reading on Friday night and I was able to pop in on Miriam's Scanfest on Sunday!


I've been fighting with RootsMagic4. It's not as nice as everyone made it out to be. At least not for me. When I imported it from Family Tree Maker 2009, all of the sources disconnect from the person's names. A nice person from the RootsMagic user group mailing list took my database and put it back together again and reattached the sources.  Of course now I can't run my narrative reports because the footnotes that are created from all of the sources that are attached to each name is crashing the software. Sigh. Strike 2. However, I am liking the correspondence and repository list and reporting system that RM4 has to offer. Has this been implemented in Family Tree Maker yet?

Godwin DNA Project....

I joined the Goodwin/Godwin family Surname DNA project as a co-coordinator last month and am slowly getting my feet wet and working my way around the reporting system.  We have a LOT of DNA participants. I am trying to get everyone in order and pedigrees posted and arranged before I start another big recruiting process. Last year I recruited 4 or 5 people and that was enough to send me into shock with trying to analyze and compare paper trails and results and figure out mutations and all that jazz. I juggled with the idea of attending the ftDNA conference in Houston at the end of October, however registration has already closed. It would have been an expensive trip anyways. Instead, I decided to go to the Family History Expo in Atlanta in November.

Genealogical Society...

I'm still pulling teeth with my local genealogical society. They have agreed to let me put up a facebook page, however I have not had time to do so.  We have secured Colleen Fitzpatrick as a speaker at next month's meeting. I'm really looking forward to hearing her speak and meeting her! I'm debating whether or not to run for office. They really have a lot of stuff to do to get back into the swing of things, although I'm still proud of what they have been able to accomplish so far this year.


I haven't blogged much at all. I've got the blogger blues because it seems like no matter what I do - participate in memes, comment on other people's blogs, and follow their blogs, I still feel like no one is reading my blog posts. Although I am at least getting a couple of comments a week, which is great. Finally. I couldn't even get that before! It's not an egotistical thing going on, I assure you. Sometimes I simply like to have input. Sometimes I wonder if the information I'm posting is completely wrong. Like the DNA stuff. I discuss it with experts beforehand, but I still lack confidence that what I'm posting is 100% true. It's nice to have others to bounce ideas off of. Oh well, I'll get off my soapbox now. I'm gonna go back to blogging for me now.  So I'm in this Public History class - by the way - it reminds me that Public History is what I really want to be studying - and not necessarily Library studies, although LS can certainly be a key aspect of the field.... Anyways, my Professor secured a grant to build this interactive website, a kind of blog, in which there is text and clickable links and photos and videos and oral histories and such, that is linked to other university archives. I am very excited to be working on this project because it is what I like to do with my own blog. I have toyed with the idea of learning flash and learning how to jazz up my blog a bit. I was surprised, however, that out of the 30 or so undergraduate and graduate students in my class, only one person blogged and used Twitter, besides the Teacher and that person was me! I couldn't believe it! So it looks like I will get to stand out somehow after all at least in my class as a person who already knows how to blog!

Ok, well speaking of class, I need to get back to it. Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

DNA Results for Wilson Ulysses Godwin

In an earlier post, Godwin DNA - Two New Participants, I mentioned that a descendant of Wilson Ulysses Godwin was interested in participating in the Goodwin/Godwin DNA surname project. He submitted his 33-marker test and his results were uploaded to the DNA database on March 6, 2009. His results were listed at the top of my own 37-marker DNA match results, so they were easy to find. My own DNA was tested by ftDNA and I manually uploaded my results to's database. Here's a screenshot from

My 37 Marker DNA Results (2011) - Names are redacted for privacy

You can see that the results from my 37-marker test are in the color gray across the top. The results for Wilson Godwin's DNA are listed right below mine. If our marker values matched, a check mark was inserted in the box. Wilson Godwin's DNA test only included 32 markers, to my 37 that were tested with ftDNA, so there are 5 empty boxes beside Wilson's name. did not test 5 of the markers that were tested with my ftDNA test – CDYa, CDYb, DYS570, DYS576, and DYS607.  

Even though Wilson’s descendant was tested with and there were some discrepancy between markers being tested, we were still able to include his results in the Goodwin/Godwin DNA Surname Project at that is hosted by ftDNA.  Wilson Godwin’s results were included in the Group 2 Godwins which matched up to 11 other Godwin lines at the time of this post (Updated 9/7/2010).

DNA Results posted to the Godwin Surname Project at (2009)

Again you see the 5 missing markers from Wilson’s results. We cannot assume that these markers would have been identical. However, we tested many Godwins from the VA/NC area and have not seen any results that differed at these markers (Except Alexander Godwin). In all, if we count all of the same markers that were tested between the two testing companies - 32 total - Wilson Ulysses Godwin was a 32/32 or 100% match to the modal of Group 2 Godwins.
According to results, there is a 50% probability that our families were related within 2 generations or 50 years. We can decrease this window if we tested more markers. The more markers you test, the more precise the prediction is.

Now the good stuff.
The descendants of Wilson Ulysses Godwin have been trying to connect to the family of Elijah Godwin for several years now. Elijah Godwin was born c. 1801 and Wilson was born c. 1820, both in Randolph Co., NC. Both families were found in southern IL and northeast AR at the same time*. These DNA results provide evidence that a close relationship definitely existed between the two men. It is predicted that they were brothers and both were sons of Nathan and Sarah (Latham) Godwin. The DNA results correspond with the paper trails we have composed.
* Be careful not to assume that just because two men were in the same place at the same time that they were necessarily related as I gave an example of how this was not true in my post about the DNA Results of Wilkerson Godwin

Cornelius Godwin was also thought to have been a son of Nathan and Sarah (Latham) Godwin. He was living in Perry County, Illionois when Nathan and Sarah were living there in 1830s and 40s. This would be another great addition to our DNA project. Goal: Find a descendant of Cornelius Godwin to participate in the DNA surname project.


Wilson Godwin's descendant took another 67-marker DNA test with ftDNA in 2011. His results have been posted to the Group 2 Godwin DNA Surname project and compared to the rest of the Group 2 Godwins. He matches to my Grandfather in that they both display a mutation on marker 444. To date, no other Godwins have this mutation, therefore, this indicates that my Wilson's line and my Grandfather's line (Ancestor Elijah Godwin) are very closely related, and supports my hypothesis that they were brothers. There is, however, another mutation between Wilson's descendant and my Grandfather on marker CDYa which is a fast-mutating marker. It is not uncommon to have mutations occur between lines of brothers, especially when there is such a big difference in ages. My Elijah Godwin was born in 1801. Wilson, a presumed brother of Elijah Godwin, was born in 1820. It is also possible Wilson was a son of Elijah, however Elijah was not married until 1826 and Wilson fits more in line as a son of Elijah's father, Nathan, than as a son of an unmarried or previously married Elijah Godwin.

Here is an updated pictorial of the Group 2 Godwin DNA results:

You can view these results online at the Goodwin-Godwin DNA Surname Project here:

Monday, September 6, 2010

DNA Test Results of Wilkerson Godwin

Ancestor of the Hot Springs, Arkansas Godwins

Wilkerson/Wilkinson Godwin was born 15 May 1786 and died 24 Jan 1837 in Union Co., IL. He married Nancy Beggs (b. 12 Mar 1790) on 11 Apr 1809 in Logan Co., KY.  He was one of the first settlers of Union Co., IL in the early 1800s. Here is a copy of a transcribed census page of the 1818 State Census of Union Co., IL showing “Wilkson Godwin” on line 6: 
There was one free white male over the age of 21 and 5 other white inhabitants living in the household in 1818 according to this census.
The children of Wilkinson and Nancy Godwin were:
1. Alexander Godwin, b. 26 Mar 1810, KY, md Jemima Echols, 15 Aug 1832 in Union Co., IL; He died about 1858. Their sons Benjamin and Finley Thompson Godwin moved from IL to AR (Hot Springs)
2. Josiah Godwin, b: 8 Aug 1813 in Illinois, md. Louisa Jane Blocker, 29 Jun 1837, Randolph Co., AR; 10 Children. 1st child, William Riley Godwin born 8 Jan 1838 in Union Co., IL. 2nd child Martha M. Godwin, b. Aug 1842 in Stoddard Co., MO; Other 8 children born bet 1846-1862 in Arkansas, with one child born in Texas in 1856.
3. George Godwin, b: 16 AUG 1815
4. Willis Godwin, b: 17 Jul 1817 in IL; Lived in Cape Girardeau Co., MO 1860-1880; Married Dorcas Hill, 25 Feb 1841. 1 child listed: Hezekiah Godwin, b. 9 Mar 1851, MO.
5. John Godwin, b: 20 AUG 1819
6. Sally Godwin, b: 20 DEC 1820
7. Henry Godwin, b: 29 OCT 1821
8. Lucindy Godwin, b: 20 JUN 1822
9. Nelly Godwin, b: 9 APR 1830
10. Nancy Godwin, b: 19 FEB 1833 
I had been corresponding with a descendant of Wilkerson Godwin for a few years.  We thought he might have been tied into my ancestor, Elijah Godwin’s line because they were both living in Illinois in the 1830s and 40s.  Wilkerson’s sons and Elijah Godwin both settled in Arkansas. 

The mystery was finally solved when a descendant of Wilkerson Godwin took a DNA test.  His results came back and were not close to my Godwin results at all, therefore our two lines were not connected, at least not within any significant genealogical timeframe. You can see from the screenshot on the left here that we differed on many markers (I put an aqua box around them).
Wilkerson’s family was not without hope, however because his descendant’s DNA did match up with two other Godwin families – descendants of John Godwin and possibly Thomas Godwin of England! It will be up to them to compare paper trails in order to determine who their common ancestor was. 
I’m glad we did the DNA test because otherwise we would have continued with the incorrect assumption that the family of Wilkerson Godwin and Elijah Godwin were connected simply because they were both in Illinois about the same time.

This is an excellent example of how you can’t assume two people are related just because they show up in the same place at the same time. DNA doesn’t lie!

Related Posts:

Our Godwin DNA Test Results

This is a repost from February 2009 highlighting the beginning of my journey through the DNA process.

My grandfather submitted his DNA to the Goodwin/Godwin DNA Surname Project back in November of 2008. I sent an email to all of the researchers of his Godwin family to let them know that all of the descendants of Elijah Godwin are now represented by my Grandfather's DNA test. They do NOT have to submit their own tests because if they are a Godwin male descended from Elijah Godwin, then they should have the same exact y-chromosomal DNA as my Grandfather does! Y-chromosomal DNA is what is passed from father to son each generation. Each family has its own set of mutations that occur that also get passed from generation to generation – these mutations are tested and recorded by companies like family tree DNA and they distinguish between family lines.

My grandfather's 37-marker DNA test was a 100% match to the DNA of the 2nd group of Godwins in the results table

Our ID number is G-43
Group 2
G-4 Descendant of David Godwin b. c1740 of Bladen Co., NC
G-29 Descendant of Samuel Godwin b. c1742 of Johnston Co., NC
G-30 Descendant of Thomas Godwin b. c1745 of Johnston Co., NC
G-32 Descendant of Thomas Godwin b. c1745 of Johnston Co., NC
G-34, 48, and 49 Descendants of Nathan Godwin b. c1807 NC (possible grandson of Nathan b.c1760 of Sampson Co., NC thru his son Jonathan, b. 1820)
G-8 Descendant of Alexander Godwin b. c1795 NC d. 1881 St. Clair, AL
G-43 Descendant of Elijah Godwin b. 1805 NC d. 1884 Lawrence Co., AR

For a 37 marker test match, there is a 90% probability that the descendants of Elijah Godwin share a common ancestor in the last 5 generations with the other lines above.  Elijah is the last known ancestor we can prove to be descended from. It is my belief that Elijah was the son of Nathan Godwin who was the son of Jonathan Godwin and Rachel Bullard, however this is widely disbelieved by some Godwin researchers. 
So now all we have to do is try to find paper trails of familial connections with these other Godwin lines of NC in group 2 in order to determine who our common ancestors were.

And what about those elusive Godwins I've come across in my research out in the Midwest who have been trying to connect to my line? Can we get them to test for DNA as well? Will their results come back to having a common ancestor with my Grandfather? If so, how do we determine who the common ancestor was?

We are still looking for descendants of Wilkinson, Dred, and Wilson Ulysses Godwin to participate in the surname project to see if we can connect them to our line. 
Related Posts:

Funeral Card Friday: Louise Benson Lasiter

Funeral Card of Louise Lasiter, Fort Smith, AR - Privately held by Ginger R. Smith, September 2009.

This is the Funeral Card of my Great-Grandmother Louise Benson Lasiter.  The card reads as follows:

In Memory of
Louise Lasiter

January 1, 1912
Avant, Oklahoma

Departed this life
December 27, 1996
Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fentress Mortuary Chapel
Tuesday, December 31, 1996
10:00 A.M.

The Reverend Andy Allen

Forest Park Cemetery
Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fentress Mortuary
Fort Smith, Arkansas

Louise was buried beside her husband, James Putman "Put" Lasiter in Forest Park Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.  He had died about 22 years earlier in 1974 and had a double headstone placed on the plot he purchased for he and his wife.  Here is a picture of their headstone that I highlighted in a Tombstone Tuesday post.  James' Putman family was also buried in this cemetery, however James and Louise were not buried with them, probably because the family plot had already been filled. Check out this huge stone marker his Putman family had placed at the site of their family plot. James and Louise weren't buried too far away from his family plot though. Click here and here to see photos of James' Grandparents, Thomas A Putman and Martha Ward Putman's, grave markers that I highlighted in previous Tombstone Tuesday posts.

As you can see, my Great-Grandmother, Louise Lasiter, died shortly after Christmas.  I wasn’t able to visit with the family that Christmas, but my Mother had made the trip.  I do not remember if Louise had been hospitalized during the Christmas holiday or not, but I believe so.  My Mother got to spend some time with her before she passed, which was good because they were close. Unfortunately, Louise passed away as my Mother was making the 15 hour drive back home to Atlanta.  Needless to say, she had to turn around and go back.  This time I think she flew.  I didn’t go to the funeral either.  I had never been to a funeral and I still wasn’t ready to go to one either.  The last visit I had with Louise was about 5 years earlier in 1992. 

I’ve written about my Great-Grandparents in previous posts.  Here is a post from Wordless Wednesday with pictures of them shortly after they were married and about 40 years later.  And my favorite is a 5-generation picture taken when I was born of me, my Mother, my Grandmother, Great-Grandmother Louise, and her Mother, Grandma Benson (Eva Dennis Benson).

This post is part of a Monthly First Friday blogging theme called Funeral Card Friday suggested by Dee Akard Welborn. Dee encourages geneabloggers to highlight our funeral card collections on the first Friday of each month. You can join the fun on Facebook here as well!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Follow Friday

I came across Michael's Daily Genealogy Transcription blog after I re-subscribed to the Transitional Genealogists Forum mailing list and he posted a link to his blog.  He posts various examples of handwriting signatures and asks that his readers write a comment with a best guess of what the name says. His site is very popular with 159 followers and anywhere from 5 to 10 comments a day! Check it out! 

Friday, August 27, 2010

DNA and the “Process of Elimination”

This post is two-fold: It talks about how I used the process of elimination through my focus on the “other” family and how it led to my interest in using DNA to distinguish between individual kinship lines.


I have spent the last several years trying to determine who the parents of my ancestor, Elijah Godwin were.  I got it narrowed down to one couple - Nathan Godwin  and Sarah Latham of Randolph County, North Carolina with little uncertainty. 

In the course of my search I employed what I like to call the “Process of Elimination” technique whereby I study the records of all nearby same-surname families in order to eliminate them as “possible” matches.  In doing so, I came across Nathan’s brother, Etheldred Godwin (1776-1852).  Both Nathan and his brother Etheldred Godwin removed from Randolph Co., North Carolina to Putnam Co., Indiana in 1828 with their children.  However shortly after 1830, the two brothers went their separate ways  and Nathan Godwin removed again to Perry Co., Illinois where he died in 1833, however, many of his children stayed behind in Indiana.

I had to study both families in order to sort through all the Godwin descendants I came across in Illinois, Iowa and Indiana and to place them with the correct ancestor, Nathan or Etheldred.  The fact that the names Nathan and Etheldred were passed down through the generations in both families made it even more difficult to place them into their respective families. 

I was eventually able to trace all seven of Etheldred Godwin’s descendants through deed records recorded by his heirs after his death in 1852.  I wrote a series of posts highlighting this endeavor in:

 Finding the Heirs of Etheldred Godwin

Eliminating these Godwins as possible descendants of the Nathan Godwin I was interested in allowed me to focus on the Godwins who were left over as better candidates;  And to identify them as a significant relationship to my ancestor, Elijah Godwin.

The “cousins”….

While I was focusing on sorting through Etheldred Godwin’s line (which was NOT necessarily a bad thing because after all he WAS a brother of my ancestor, Nathan Godwin), I met several other researchers who were trying to place their ancestors as descendants of Etheldred Godwin

Through collaboration and the deed records I found, as I said earlier, we were able to place their ancestors as children of Etheldred Godwin.  There was one small snag, however.  One of his 7 heirs, Sarah Godwin, who sold off her 1/7th share of his land after his death, was married to her first cousin, Jonathan Godden.  It is still unclear about whether Sarah Godwin was Etheldred Godwin’s daughter or Granddaughter. At this time, however, it is not really a concern. 

The significant part of this relationship is on Sarah’s husband Jonathan Godden’s side.  According to family letters and census records, Jonathan Godden’s father was Enoch Godden, also of North Carolina.  I wrote about Enoch Godden last year and you can read that post here.  In that post, I postulated that Enoch Godden was another brother of Nathan and Etheldred Godwin who moved from Randolph Co., NC to Putnam Co., IN in 1828.  The only difference is that somehow Enoch Godwin changed his name to Godden and moved with his son Jonathan Godden to Boone Co., Iowa in 1852, after the death of Etheldred Godwin, who was possibly Enoch’s brother and Sarah Godwin Godden’s Father or Grandfather.

There are several descendants of the Jonathan and Sarah Godden family who are interested in genealogy.  They have even written some books on this family! So we certainly had plenty to share with each other! They were especially interested in how their surname came to be known as “Godden.”  Before I came into their lives, they assumed this was their original surname.  They were even trying to connect to other Godden families! One family of particular interest is the David Godden family of Fayette Co., Iowa. I had come across this family previously in my research as some of his descendants showed up in parts of Indiana. It was also rumored that this David Godden may have been descended from Levi Godden, also of Ohio.  My pool of “cousins” had now extended from just a few to somewhere in the number of the 30s!

The Big Picture….

Ok, so now in the overall Big Picture, we have three possible brothers, Nathan, Enoch, and Etheldred Godwin from North Carolina.

(1) Nathan Godwin thought to be the Father of my ancestor, Elijah Godwin;
(2) Etheldred Godwin had 7 children, 3 sons and 3 daughters and 1 unknown - reference Sarah Godwin; All of the descendants interested in researching this family are from his daughters.
(3) Enoch Godwin, now Godden, has a descendant, Jonathan Godden who is married to his first cousin, Sarah Godwin; His descendants are interested in verifying Enoch Godden was his father and Enoch Godden’s relationship to Etheldred and Nathan Godwin. They are also interested in connecting to other Godden families from the OH-IN area.


The “Plan”… DNA? Huh?

As you may have guessed, this turned into  quite a big research project that spanned over the course of a couple of years, however not without results.  About this same time, I got involved in the Goodwin Surname Project at ftDNA’s hosted site, There were already some 50+ participants who had submitted their DNA to the combined Goodwin/Godwin project and several “groups” had already been formed by lumping similar results together.  My grandfather took the test and submitted his results to the project and his results matched 10 other participants 100%!!! I was so thrilled by this experience that I wanted to share the excitement with my new cousins.

My first goal was to see just how closely related (if at all) my believed ancestor, Nathan Godwin, was to Etheldred Godwin.  Only one problem:  Out of the 30 or so new “cousins” I had met and started corresponding with, not one of them was a descendant of one of Etheldred Godwin’s sons!  Y-chromosome DNA testing requires a direct male to be tested. Ugh

Ok, so it might not always work out the way you want it to.  But then a descendant of Jonathan and Sarah Godwin Godden’s family offered to submit his DNA to the project.  This descendant could possibly be connected to my own Godwin family in two ways because his ancestors were first cousins, however, his DNA will only represent the ancestry of his male ancestor, Jonathan Godwin, the son of Enoch Godwin.  This test was still significant, though, because it showed that Enoch Godwin shared a common ancestor with my ancestors, Elijah and Nathan Godwin in the last 300 years.  You can read about his results in my last post here.

Remember the David Godden family I mentioned above that the descendants of Jonathan and Sarah Godden thought they might be closely related to because they had the same Godden surname?  Well it just so happens that one of David Godden’s (b. 1823, OH) descendants submitted their DNA for testing by last year as well!  I took his results and I put them below the results of my ancestor Elijah Godwin and Jonathan Godden’s descendant’s results (David Godden’s results are listed under “Levi Godden” in the example below). 

Click on image to make it bigger

A screenshot of three sets of marker data for my ancestor, Jonathan Godden’s ancestor, and David Godden’s ancestor. (Some data is missing from Levi Godden’s results because he tested through and the other two tested with ftDNA; the two companies do not test the same markers, therefore making it difficult to make an accurate comparison).

Interpreting the data….

The blue boxes represent markers that do not match.  The markers are listed from left to right no. 1-37. The first marker is 393. The representative value or “modal” is “13 (shown in the solid yellow row).  Below that all 3 sets of testers have 13 as their marker values.  The next value in the modal is 23 for marker 390. Elijah has 23, Jonathan has 23, but Levi Godden has 24 as values. This is the first difference. This is called a “genetic distance.” If you add up the number of blue boxes beside Levi’s name you get 6. However, if you look at marker no. 459a, the modal value is 9, however Levi’s value is 7. This is actually a difference of 2. So you need to add a +1 to the 6 = 7. At this time there are no set standards or rules for determining kinship or how closely related two people are.  The general rule is a genetic distance greater than 3 on a 37 marker test is not genealogically significant, meaning there is probably not a common ancestor within the last 600 years, or since surnames have been in existence.  Therefore, we would not consider Levi Godden to be kin or sharing a common ancestor with Elijah Godwin and Jonathan Godden.

Elijah Godwin and Jonathan Godden do, however, share a common ancestor and it will be up to us cousins to find a paper trail connecting our families. In the meantime, I am on the lookout for male descendants of Etheldred Godwin to participate in the DNA surname project. I am also looking for other male descendants of Jonathan Godden to test because the differences in the marker values between Jonathan Godden’s descendant’s DNA and my Elijah Godwin’s DNA is probably due to mutations that occurred in the last 200 years and the only way to determine when and where these mutations occurred is to look at his other descendants.

Follow Friday

Here are some new and interesting blogs I came across this week:

CeCe left a comment on last week's Follow Friday post I did to let me know that she was also a multiple blogger! It seems there are more and more of us coming out of the woodwork each day. Anyways, thanks to her comment, I clicked over to see what her blogs were all about. I was VERY excited to see that she was a fellow genetic genealogist. Her blog "Your Genetic Genealogist" discusses the basics of taking a DNA test, how to interpret the results, and her own personal experiences with using DNA testing to further her Proctor family research. This is a great blog for both DNA newbies and amateurs alike. (Oh and by the way, she is a moderator for the ISOGG DNA Newbie List). In her other blog "My Tangled Vine," she hopes to do what many of us strive to do: share success stories of genealogical puzzles solved, chronicle research endeavors and tell the stories of her ancestors. This blog is just getting its feet wet, so be sure to check it out and give her great geneablogging welcome hello!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Death Certificate of Nova Martin

Photo of Nova Martin and great-granddaughter, Ginger R. Smith taken in Fort Smith, Arkansas in 1995, privately held by Ginger R. Smith, Durham, North Carolina. 

Nova Lee Peters was my Great-Grandmother on my Mother's Father's side. She was born September 11th, 1908 in the town of West Plains, Oregon County, Missouri to William Edward Peters and Dora King. On November 9th, 1927, she married my Great-Grandfather, Orville Godwin, in Thayer, Oregon County, Missouri. (View their marriage License and Certificate here). Nova died August 22nd, 2000 at the age of 22 in Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas.

Orville Godwin was from the town of Mammoth Springs, Arkansas, just a hop and a skip across the MO-AR border below Thayer, which is where their five children - Lou Ella, Dorthy Mae, Jennie Lee, Lawrence Orville Jr., and Mary (died in infancy) - were born and raised in the 1930s prior to Nova and Orville's divorce sometime in the 1940s. Orville Godwin ended up in Tulsa, Oklahoma working for a sign painting company and Nova ended up in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Orville met an unfortunate death at the hands of his neighbor and his handgun in 1956. You can read about his murder in the Tulsa Daily World here.

Nova remarried to a man named Eddie Martin and stayed in Fort Smith, Arkansas until her death, August 22, 2000. We had just celebrated her 90th birthday two years prior. Eddie had been gone for a long time, but Nova never lost her zest for life.

For this week's Treasure Chest Thursday, I have decided to focus on Nova Martin's death certificate that was obtained from the Arkansas Department of Health, Division of Vital Records. I have one of the original copies given to my Grandfather at the time of her death.

A poor scan of Nova Martin's death certificate, Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., Arkansas, 22 August, 2000, privately held by Ginger R. Smith, copyright 2010. 

Information provided in this death certificate:
Name of deceased: Nova Lee Martin
SS#: 431-16-8832
Date of birth: 11 Sept 1908 in West Plains, Howell Co., MO
Date of death: 22 Aug 2000 in Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., AR. Died in the Fort smith Rehabilities facility in Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., NC.
Marital Satus: She was widowed.
Occupation: a Federal Employee with the US Government
Residence: 1504 Bluff Ave in Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., AR, 72901
Parents: Her father was William Peters, mother was Dora King
Informant:  Lawrence Godwin, Jr. of 1504 Bluff Ave, Fort Smith, Sebastian Co., AR 72901
Undertakers: Putman Funeral Home at 4300 Jenny Lind Rd., Fort smith, Sebastian Co., AR, 72901
Burial: 24 Aug 2000 at Mt View Cemetery in Hackett, Arkansas (View her tombstone here)
Cause of death was "Cerebral Vascular Accident"

This death certificate was instrumental in determining who Nova Peters' Mother was. It clearly lists her parents as William Peters and Dora King. Up until seeing this death certificate no one in the family had any idea what her Mother's name had been. But upon hearing that her Mother's name was Dora King, the family immediately recognized the name and remembered that Dora had died young from a snake bite, around 1912, and William Peters had remarried two or three times after.

I was also able to check off another box in my "My Great-Grandparents" post I published last year in order to help me see what I had and what I was missing in terms of obituaries and death certificates in my collection. I had hoped to have it 100% completed by the end of this year, but i'm not sure if that will still happen.

Monday, August 23, 2010

DNA Results of Jonathan and Sarah Godden of Boone Co., Iowa ARE IN!!!

We have been very fortunate that 1) there have been many willing Godwin participants who have submitted their DNA for testing and 2) many of our Godwin DNA samples have come back similar or closely matched.

The latest batch of DNA results came back from a descendant of Jonathan Godden and Sarah Godwin. According to family history, they were first or second cousins.

This family interests me because Sarah Godwin was a descendant of Etheldred Godwin. She was either his daughter or granddaughter.  In 1852, Sarah Godwin and her husband, Jonathan Godden, sold off her 1/7th share of land she received as legacy from Etheldred Godwin’s estate.  I included her family in a series of posts I wrote last year entitled “Finding the Heirs of Etheldred Godwin” using deed records from Putnam County, Indiana. 

I believe this Etheldred Godwin to be the brother of Nathan Godwin; and although I have not officially “proven” it yet, I believe Nathan Godwin to have been the father of my ancestor, Elijah Godwin of Lawrence County, Arkansas.

Ok, so you’re probably wondering why is this DNA test so significant if I’m only interested in Sarah Godwin’s family???  The DNA test, after all, only follows the male descendant’s line, which would be Jonathan Godden’s line. 

Remember when I said that Jonathan and Sarah were cousins?  Well, according to my research, it is possible that Jonathan’s father Enoch Godden was a brother to Etheldred and Nathan Godwin as well!
So my goal was to compare the DNA results from Jonathan Godden’s descendant to my grandfather’s DNA which I presume to have come from Nathan Godwin, Jonathan Godden’s uncle. If Jonathan’s father Enoch Godden and Nathan Godwin were brothers and Nathan Godwin was truly my ancestor, Elijah Godwin’s father, then their DNA should be exactly the same, barring no mutations or non-parental events took place. 

So far there are about 30 Godwin/Gooden/Godden family participants in this DNA study. Of those 30, there are 3 primary groups to which most of them (19 total testers) have been assigned. The remaining do not match to anyone other than themselves. The group to which my ancestor, Elijah Godwin and Jonathan Godden of Boone Co., Iowa’s descendant have been assigned (Lineage II above) is by far the biggest group with 12 members.  Jonathan Godden’s descendant’s results vary slightly from the other 12 members. These differences are represented by the blue blocks. A difference of 3 markers is called a “genetic distance” of 3. You see on the 12th marker, all 11 participants have a value of “29,” however, Jonathan Godden’s descendant has a value of “30.” On the 13th marker, all others have a value of “16,” however he has a “15” and on the 31st marker, he has “15” and all others have a “16.” Alexander Godwin’s descendant also has a genetic distance of 3 with varying values on markers 24, 25, and 35 in this 37 marker test.

At least one of these markers, no. 13 is known to be a rapidly mutating marker, so the difference in its value could be due to a mutation. The other two marker differences would also be due to mutations. Mutations do not hinder or lessen the closeness of two families or the number of years back to the common ancestor. They can actually be a good thing because they can be used to separate lines from each other.  In this instance, the next step would be to find a descendant of another son of the oldest known ancestor to submit their DNA for testing to see where the mutations first show up. 

In this example, the oldest known ancestor would be Jonathan Godden (husband of Sarah Godwin).  The male that we tested was a descendant of Jonathan Godden’s son, Elias GoddenIn order to determine where the mutation occurred, we need to test a descendant of one of Elias Godden’s brothers.  According to my notes, Elias Godden had 4 other brothers: (1) Sion, (2) George Washington, (3) William, and (4) Newton. I have sent emails to all known descendants of these lines asking them to keep a look out for male descendants of these 4 Godden brothers. I hope we can find someone to test.

In the next post, I will talk about interpreting the possible results and what the mutations might mean for distinguishing between lines.  I would like to thank and acknowledge Emily Aulicino of Genealem’s Genetic Genealogy for helping me work through these results and for offering suggestions on how to move forward. Thank you so much!

Exactly which Godwin ancestor or how far back we intersect at a commonality is not yet known. I have two long term goals going forward from here.  The first is to prove or disprove the theory that this line is somehow connected to the David Godden line from Ohio.  This was done and discussed in my "Process of Elimination Post" done in August. The second goal is to find a male Godwin descendant of Etheldred Godwin (Sarah Godwin’s ancestor) to submit DNA as well as a proven male Godwin descendant of Nathan Godwin’s line to compare to my own line to test my own theories that 1) my ancestor Elijah Godwin was the son of Nathan Godwin (I have a substantial amount of evidence supporting this theory) and 2) that Nathan and Etheldred Godwin were brothers.

This schematic is just a rough sketch of what we believe to be the ancestry of the Jonathan Godden and Sarah Godwin family of Boone County, Iowa. I thought it might help my readers to keep track of everyone. The one problem I have with charts like this is what do you do when the Enoch Godwin and Etheldred Godwin above are brothers? Shouldn’t they be on the same vertical line? According to this chart, it looks as if they are separated by a generation.  I tried to change a few things in my RootsMagic software, but I couldn’t get the chart to display correctly.  If anyone has any suggestions, please send them my way.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Cobblestones and Trolley Tracks exposed in Downtown Durham

Exposed cobblestones and Trolley tracks on Mangum St, in front of City Hall, downtown Durham. Photograph taken 21 August, 2010 and is copyright Ginger R. Smith, 2010. 
 A few weeks ago, I came across this post on the Endangered Durham blog about some cobblestone and trolley tracks that were exposed on Kent Street in Durham during a repaving project. I made plans to drive around until I found them before they were paved over.  I never did accomplish this. However, a couple of weeks ago, we were driving through downtown Durham on the motorcycle and my partner pointed out to me the exposed cobblestone and trolley tracks on Mangum Street in front of City Hall. I couldn't believe my eyes. I told her we definitely had to come back and photograph it before they completed the repaving project.

Yesterday we managed to photograph the exposed cobblestone and trolley tracks. It wasn't an easy feat because this is actually a heavily traveled road. Luckily my photographer is great with lighting and centering and took a great picture on the first try. I'm not sure what the passerby's thought of my standing in the middle of the road.

Back to the photo....

Notice how the cobblestones on the left of the picture are laid kind of diagonally but the ones under my feet are laid in a straight line. We were curious to know why this was. Was there originally some kind of aesthetic pattern in the road? Gary actually created a map of the trolley line as it originally went through Durham in the early 1920s here.

I had first heard of this in Raleigh in front of NC State University on Hillsboro Street. There was a big discussion about whether the City was going to rip the tracks up or leave them down and "rebury" them again with the new paving project. They seem to be able to remain intact whilst buried, and I think it's a very cool sight to see when its uncovered! I'm glad we were able to get a glimpse of this part of Durham's history!

Exposed cobblestones and Trolley tracks on Mangum St, in front of City Hall, downtown Durham. Photograph taken 21 August, 2010 and is copyright Ginger R. Smith, 2010. 
This picture was taken a little further up the block. These cobblestones all seem to be going diagonally. The trolley track is on the left hand side of the picture.

How about in your area? Have you noticed any exposed cobblestones or trolley tracks during your city's repaving projects?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Follow Friday

I haven't done much blog reading this week, however I did find some really interesting blogs to read and follow this week. Here's some blogs I was introduced to this week and added to my reader:

Leslie Ann has two very neat blogs - One blog called Ancestors Live Here chronicles her and her husband's ancestors' lives. She has everything from family photos, stories, obituaries and newspaper clippings to name a few; Another very interesting blog is all about those Lost Family Treasures that she comes across at flea markets and antique stores. She anxiously posts pictures of things she finds with hopes of reconnecting the items with their owners.

Another great blog I found that has a good mix of family stories, memes and technology related posts is the Bayside Blog. I especially liked Missy's post on using the Gist software to manage contacts. I even started following her on Twitter!

I'm really delighted to see more people out there who have more than one blog. I was beginning to feel like I was a blog hog or something because I had two blogs. I was also thinking that people were getting my two blogs confused - of course it was easy to do because they had similar names, but I've fixed that problem now. Anyways, most of the people I came across this week also have multiple blogs. I think that's great! Sometimes we just have way too much information.

Meet Kristin Williams - She has two blogs - One is called My Cleages and Reeds. She follows her paternal line in this blog. What I like most about this blog are the picture collages she includes in her posts, like her Then and Now Wordless Wednesday post from July 14, 2010. Her other blog is called Finding Eliza and focuses on her research on Eliza Williams Allen of Montgomery, Alabama. Her goal is to eventually write a book about her ancestor. I would like to read her blog and follow her endeavors in achieving this goal. I hope to learn a lot about collecting, compiling, and telling family stories through reading her blogs.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Endangered Durham blog that Taneya sent to me last week. This site is truly amazing. The author publishes old pictures of various houses and buildings around Durham, North Carolina (where I currently live) and then publishes new photos of the buildings as they exist today. Many of these places I drive by on a daily basis. It's amazing to see their transformations. What a great find!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Marriage License of T J Benson and Lulu Bullington

The following copies of the marriage license of Tinie BENSON and Lulu BULLINGTON were made from a microfilm of the Washington County Court House Circuit Clerk's office in Greenville, Mississippi located at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. 

Transcript, Page 1
The State of Mississippi Washington County, To Any Judge, Minister or Justice lawfully authorized to celebrate the Rites of Matrimony: You are hereby Licensed to Celebrate the Rites of Matrimony between Mr. Tinie J Benson and Miss Lulu Bullington Given under my Hand and Seal of Office, this 5th day of July 1878, LPU Watkins, Clk, and By W [unreadable name] JP.

Page 2
State of Mississippi, Washington County, Personally appeared before me Circuit Clerk in and for said County Tiney J Benson who makes oath that he is over and above the age of 21 years as required by law in this State for males to marry. 
 Sworn to and subscribed before me this 5th day of July 1878, Tinie J Benson; L P M Watkins, Clk and By [unreadable name] JP. 
State of Mississippi, Washington County, Personally appeared before me Clerk of Circuit Court in and by said County Tiney J Benson who makes oath that Lulu [unreadable name] over and above the age of 18 years as required by law in the State for females to marry. Sworn to and Subscribed before me this 5th day of July 1878, Tinie J Benson,
LPU Watkins Clk
B [Unreadable name] JP

I found it interesting that males had to be at least 21 years of age to marry but females only had to be 18 years of age to marry. I wonder why this was? And who initiated this law? Also, note the groom's name of "Tinie" Benson - this was presumably a nick name that carried him to the grave. No one knows what his real name was. I tried to evaluate all of the documentation and determine for myself what it was in my "What's In A Name?" Post but I wasn't able to come to any conclusions. Any suggestions? He is one of my BRICK WALLS 

Photos of the Marriage book are privately held by Martha Chernibi, Oklahoma. She obtained copies of the certificate from the Salt Lake City Family History Library but noted that the index said "Colored Marriage Records," because apparently, that's what the clerks in the office called the book. Martha's cousin travelled to Greenville, Mississippi, saw the book for himself and verified that the book does not say this on it at all. Martha sent me scanned copies of the certificate in October of 2008 in addition to copies of the folder titled "Colored Marriage Records."

Related Posts:
1. T. J. Benson - What's In A Name Post
2. Grave Marker of TJ "Tinie" and Lulu Benson in Lamar Co., Texas

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Things to watch out for with DNA testing

In January of 2009, I was contacted by a fellow Godwin researcher I met at the NC State Archives. She wanted to know how to get involved in the Godwin Family DNA testing; she had found a male Godwin descendant who was willing to participate.

I was very excited and sent her off all of the testing details and told everyone that another piece to the puzzle was about to be solved. Her family actually contained a very important piece to the puzzle: she was descended from Nathan Godwin of Sampson County, North Carolina who died in 1821. Her Nathan Godwin is often mistaken for my own Nathan Godwin, born about 1774, who left Sampson County and moved to Randolph County, North Carolina about 1800.

Many researchers believe that her Nathan Godwin was the son of Jonathan and Rachel (Bullard) Godwin – however, I disagree. I have already started posting information about Jonathan Godwin – his estate file here and a deed between him and Abigail Lee here – in an effort to illustrate a strong relationship between Jonathan Godwin and my own Nathan Godwin.

DNA analysis would help us to determine which of the two Nathan Godwins was the real son of Jonathan and Rachel Godwin. First we would need to find a proven descendant of Jonathan and Rachel who has a paper trail, to compare our DNA to.  Then we would need two additional samples – one from my colleague’s line and one from my own line. My family’s DNA has already been submitted and has matched up with 8 other NC Godwin lines. How exactly they are related is yet to be determined. I got my colleague to agree to submit her family’s DNA.

But then I remembered something:  Although my colleagues’ ancestor was a male with the surname of “Godwin,” he was actually the son of Nathan Godwin’s daughter, Tressie Godwin. Tressie Godwin was cited in court for a total of 4 children she had out of wedlock, one of which was my colleague’s ancestor. So in a nutshell, we are not really sure who her ancestor’s father was. One of the men listed in Tressie Godwin’s court documents was a Godwin and one was a Draughton.

When finding family members to participate in DNA studies you must make sure that they are a true descendant of that surname. In this case, meaning their father must have been a Godwin. It is not enough that my colleague’s ancestor, Handy was a Godwin. He had been given his mother’s surname.  We don’t know who his father was. Of course, if my colleague were interested in finding out who Handy’s father was, she could go ahead and get the DNA submitted and compare it against possible surnames (perhaps against the two other men mentioned in the court cases).

So now I need to locate another heir of the older Nathan Godwin’s line to compare my family’s DNA against in order to prove or disprove relation to him and/or to Jonathan and Rachel Bullard Godwin. In addition, we need to find a descendant of Jonathan Godwin and Rachel Bullard to compare to in order to determine if Nathan was a son of Jonathan and Rachel Bullard Godwin.

Any takers?

Related Posts:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Letter from Grandma

On March 15, 1963, Sue Lasiter Godwin received a birthday card in the mail from her maternal grandmother, Eva (Dennis) Benson. It was addressed to Sue at the home of her parents: "Mrs. Sue Godwin, 3720 Park Ave, Ft Smith, Ark." and the sender's address was "602 S. 2nd St., Marlow, Okla." It was postmarked "Marlow, Okla, Mar 12 1963" and had a 5 cent stamp on it.

The card was textured and slightly discolored, even though it had remained in the envelop for the past 47 years. The front cover displayed a nice flower bouquet and greeting of "For Granddaughter on Her Birthday." The back of the card displayed the card manufacturer to be Laurel Cards, Inc out of Waukegan, Illinois, USA.

Inside the card the left side boasts another smaller flower display and the right side with an inscription of the following: "A Birthday "Hello" To a girl who's so dear She's loved a whole lot Every day of the year! Happy Birthday." Sue's grandmother Eva added in her own hand, an address "To Sue" and "Loads of Love, Grandmother" with a small note at the bottom "over."

You might have guessed by now that this was one of those cards that was folded over and comprised a total of 8 pieces instead of just the 4 you see in most cards today. Grandmother Eva took advantage of this to add a letter to her card. She wrote the following:
Dear Sue - How are you and Marilyn getting along? Sure wish you send a line my way some time and give me your address. Hope to see you all sometimes this summer. Yet don't no what time but should real soon. Say Hi to your Bud & all rest for me tell Louise I love her. Also give me add & name Company you work for. Love you all. 

My Grandmother Sue was married to a Marine in 1956. She decided military life was not for her or her little girl, so they moved back home to Fort Smith, Arkansas. Her grandmother might have tried writing to her in the middle of all this when Sue had not yet settled down which is why she mailed her card to her parents' house. The "Louise" she told her to say hello to above is Sue's mother and Eva's daughter.

Eva Benson lived until 1983. In fact she was still around until I was 6 years old. You can see 5 generation pictures of us here. She had several grandchildren and great-grandchildren who lived near her in Oklahoma to keep her busy enough, but she still found time to come to Fort Smith to visit with my family. I was fortunate enough to connect with this part of my family in OK via email and Facebook, even though they are somewhat scattered throughout the world.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - David Orr Godwin

David Orr Godwin, b. 10 May 1854, d. 24 Oct 1928 - Personal collection of Ginger R. Smith, photograph taken May 1, 2006 by Ginger R. Smith, Saddle Cemetery, Saddle, Fulton County, Arkansas

David Orr Godwin was the son of Agrippa Sprinks Godwin and Eliza Ann Orr. He was born 10 May 1854 and died 24 October 1828, one year before his mother Eliza Godwin died. Eliza lived in Ash Flat, Arkansas and was buried at the Old Baptist Church Cemetery in Ash Flat, Arkansas. Her headstone was pictured here.

David Godwin and his wife, Zilphia Ann Pulley (headstone pictured below), raised their 15 children in Saddle Arkansas, then they sold their farm and moved to a smaller farm in the town of Mammoth Springs, Arkansas where they ran a boarding house in the 1920s.

Zilphia A Godwin, b. 13 Aug 1858, d. 22 July 1930 - Personal collection of Ginger R. Smith, photograph taken May 1, 2006 by Ginger R. Smith, Saddle Cemetery, Saddle, Fulton County, Arkansas
However their roots were still firmly planted back in Saddle, so that is where they were buried, along with several of their children. I will be presenting tombstones of their children in future Tombstone Tuesday posts, so check back here often.

This post is part of the daily blogging theme hosted by GeneaBloggers.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Sampson County NC Deed of Jonathan Godwin to Abigail Lee

Last week I posted about the estate records of Jonathan Godwin, 1791, from Sampson County, North Carolina. According to the inventory taken from his estate, he had 50 acres of land in his possession when he died. I'm going to talk about this mysterious tract of land in a later post.  

For today's post, I want to highlight a tract of land containing 150 acres of land that Jonathan Godwin purchased in 1771 from John Strickland and sold in 1787 to Abigail Lee. I have included a copy of the deed below and a transcript of the deed itself. 

Scan of Sampson County deed from Jonathan Godwin to Abigail Lee, 7 July 1787, from the Sampson County Record of Deeds, 1774-1792, Volumes 5-8 (Microfilm call no. 087.40002) from the North Carolina State Archives, 109 E. Jones Street, Raleigh, NC. 

The following is the transcript of the deed:

North Carolina
Sampson County

To all people to whom these presents shall come know ye that I JONATHAN GODWIN at the county and province aforesaid Know ye that I the said JONATHAN GODWIN for and in consideration of the sum of Sixty pounds specia money to me in hand paid by ABAGAIL LEE of Sampson County and province aforesaid Planter the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged myself hisword truly satisfied contented and paid and have given granted bargained sold conveyed and enforced confirmed assigned and set over unto the said ABAGAIL LEE her heirs and assigns forever.  A certain tract or parcel of land containing one hundred and fifty acres of land lying and being in the county of Sampson and province of North Carolina on the East side of Black Mingo Beginning at a Red Oak thence South 05? East 115 poles to a Black Oak thence North 40 East 155 poles to a pine thence North 50 West 155 poles to a pine on the Swamp side thence the courses of the swamp to the beginning including MATTHEW STICKLAND's improvements it being a tract of land that was granted to TIMOTHY LEE bearing date the 23 day of April in the year of our Lord and was conveyed by deed from TIMOTHY LEE to JOHN STRICKLAND and from JOHN STRICKLAND to ABAGAIL LEE to JONATHAN GODWIN and from GODWIN to ABAGAIL LEE to have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land together all orchards gardens Jenning’s timbers and trees thereon standing or growing all woods waters much all proffits and other things unto the same belonging or in any manner of ways appertaining unto the said ABAGAIL LEE her heirs and assigns forever for and clear form all in cumbrances whatsoever and the said JONATHAN GODWIN for himself his heirs executors administrators doth covenant promise grant and agree to and with the said ABAGAIL LEE her heirs and assigns in manner following that is to say the said JONATHAN GODWIN at the sealing & delivering of these presents that a good sufficient Right and title and estate of inheritance in the premises and that in full power and lawfull and authority do bargain and sell the same in manner as aforesaid unto the said ABAGAIL LEE her heirs and assigns forever and the said JONATHAN GODWIN for himself his hears Executors and administrators doth further promise and warrant that the said land and promises is free from the lawful claim and demands of any pursuant persons whatsoever and the same will warrant secure and forever defend the aforesaid lands and premises unto the aforesaid ABAGAIL LEE her heirs & assigns forever the Quit Rents due to the State Executed.
I on witnesses whereof I the said JONATHAN GODWIN have hereunto set my hand and seal this the Seventh day of July one thousand seven hundred and eighty seven 1787.

Signed sealed and
delivered in the presence of
John Fields

             JONATHAN GODWIN {Seal}
Then the deed was proved in open court and recorded by the County Clerk:

State of North Carolina
Sampson County August Term One thousand Seven Hundred and Eighty seven 1787 then was the within deed from JONATHAN GODWIN to ABAGAIL LEE was proved in open court and ordered to be registered.
State of North Carolina
Curtis Ivey Clk Court
Sampson County represented in the Registers Office of the aforesd county in Book letter M Pages 16 and 17 the 16th day of April Anno domini 1789.  April 10, 1789.  By Owen Holmes Register

This deed provided me with a lot of valuable information. However, first I want to point out what I believe to have been a recording error. The deed mentions that the land was conveyed from Timothy Lee to John Strickland to Abigail Lee then to Jonathan Godwin. There is NO record of this land ever going to Abigail Lee prior to Jonathan selling it to her in this deed in 1787. In fact I can tract the ownership of this land easily through Land Grants and Deed Records. Update: upon further scrutiny, I can see that Abagail Lee was actually crossed out in this copy of the deed. 

The deed says this tract of land was originally a land patent granted to Timothy Lee, 23 April.  I used the NC State Archives online catalog system - MARS - too look up the original land patent going to Timothy Lee.  I found a land grant given from "The Crown" to Timothy Lee, 23 April 1763 for 150 acres on the East side of the Black Mingo, joining the swamp, including Matthew Stricklin's improvement, in what was at that time considered Duplin County, North Carolina. 

On the 17th of February, 1770, Timothy Lee sold this tract of land to John Strickland for 10 pounds. James Godwin and Duct Dees witnessed the deed. 

This tract of land came into Jonathan Godwin's hands in October of 1771, when John Strickland sold the same 150 acres on the East side of Black Mingo to Jonathan Godwin, of Edgecombe County. William Godwin and James Godwin witnessed the deed. That Jonathan Godwin was from Edgecombe County in 1771 was an important piece of the puzzle. This places him in an entirely different familial group and possibly distinguishes him from the Sampson County Godwins. I'm not sure what he did with this 150 acres of land in Duplin/Sampson County. He might have given it to a family member for them to build and live on, or he might have just sat on it. Unfortunately, I have found record of a Jonathan Godwin in both Edgecombe and Sampson Counties from the time he bought this land in 1771 to the time he sold it in 1787. I need to compile my findings into a spreadsheet and see where the overlap is in order to distinguish between the two men, if they are, in fact, two different men. 

This leads us to the land transfer described in the deed above in 1787 when Jonathan Godwin of Sampson County sold this 150 acres on the East side of Black Mingo to Abigail Lee on 7 July 1787. This deed was witnessed by Nathan Godwin and William Godwin. This tract of land was sold right before Jonathan died (his estate was settled in 1791). 

The two 50 acre tracts of land that Jonathan Godwin was granted in Sampson County in 1788 and what happened to them when he died are discussed in the following posts:

The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 1
The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 2
The Distribution of Jonathan Godwin's Estate, Part 3