Thursday, July 30, 2009

My Great-Grandparents

I have 4 sets of great-grandparents with 8 total individuals.

Set # 1 were my mom's mom's parents: Thelma Louise Lasiter (1912-1996) and James Putman Lasiter (1908-1974)
Set # 2 were my mom's dad's parents: Nova Lee Peters (1908-2000) and Orville Godwin (1905-1956)
Set # 3 were my dad's mom's parents: Kathryne Blanche Hill (1912-1992) and John Brooks Binns (1910-1989)
Set # 4 were my dad's dad's parents: Reba Fox (1920-2003) and Claude Rual Smith, Jr (1919-1996)

I knew and interacted with 6 of my 8 great-grandparents throughout most of my childhood - Louise "Mamaw" Lasiter, Novi Martin, Blanche Binns, Johnnie Binns, Reba Smith and "Big Daddy" Smith. James Lasiter and Orville Godwin both died before I was born. Orville Godwin and Novi Peters were my only set of divorced great-grandparents. Orville Godwin was murdered in his home in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the young age of 51.

The 6 great-grandparents I knew all lived in Fort Smith, Arkansas, with the exception of the Smiths who lived out in the country in Kibler, Arkansas (near Clear Creek State Park).

Obituaries and Death Certificates
I have the obituaries of 7 of the 8 of my great-grandparents that I obtained either from family members or from the Fort Smith Library's microfilm collection of newspapers, including the Southwest Times Record, and associated online archives. I do not have a copy of the obituary of my Mother's Father's Father, Orville Godwin, who died in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I do, however, have a copy of the news article that was published about his murder.

I have four death certificates - Blanche Hill Binns, for Nova Martin, Louise Lasiter, and James F Lasiter Sr.

I created a checklist to see if I had obtained copies of all of the obituaries of my great-grandparents, and also to see if I had scanned and transcribed them, and saved them to the notes section of my Family Tree Maker software and created source entries for them. Here are my results:

Obituary Resources
NameFTF Notes?FTF Source?Scanned?Transcribed?
Nova Petersyesyesyesyes
Orville Godwinnononono
James Lasiteryesyesyesyes
Louise Bensonyesyesyesyes
John Binnsyesyesyesyes
Blanche Hillyesyesyesyes
Reba Foxyesyesyesyes
Claude Smith Jryesyesyesyes

Death Certificates
NameFTF Notes?FTF Source?Scanned?Transcribed?
Nova Petersyesyesyesyes
Orville Godwinnononono
James Lasiteryesyesyesyes
Louise Bensonyesyesyesyes
John Binnsnononono
Blanche Hillyesyesyesyes
Reba Foxyesyes yes yes
Claude Smith Jryes yes yes yes

I have copies of 7 of the 8 great grandparents' obituaries which were scanned and saved to my harddrive. I have transcribed them, pasted them into the notes section of my genealogy software, and entered them as sources in my database and attached them to the basic facts (birth, death, marriage) of my great-grandparents and added them as sources to any relatives' names that are mentioned.

I only have copies of 4 death certificates - one of them is the original copy of my great-grandmother, Nova Martin's death that my grandfather gave to me. I scanned the copy and saved to my hard drive. I then transcribed it and added it to the notes in my genealogy software and added as a source. I obtained a copy of my great grandmother Blanche Binns' death certificate from my grandmother who had a copy of it in her scrapbook. I scanned it right from the scrapbook and saved it to my hard drive. I transcribed it, added it to the notes section of my genealogy software and added it as a new source.

Since I originally published this post, I ordered two additional death certificates - those of my great grandparents on my Mother's side - Louise (Benson) Lasiter and her husband James P Lasiter. I had put them off because I already have all of the vital information that is provided on the death certificate from the obituary and from my grandparents' tales. However, these certificates are available and should be included in my great-grandparents' files. They cost $10.00 each and took 4 weeks to arrive. I ordered them from the Arkansas Department of Health via an online form that I printed and mailed in to them, along with a check for $20. Update 7/27/09 & 2011: Copies of these two death certificates were received and scanned, transcribed, added to the notes section and source section of my family tree file.

Goal: To obtain copies of the rest of my 4 great-grandparents' death certificates!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finding the Heirs of Etheldred Godwin - Part 5

In Post 4 of this series, we were able to identify 4 of the 7 "heirs" of Dred Godwin by following the transfers of two tracts of land he originally patented in Putnam County, Indiana in 1839. In 1852, Sion, Jonathan, Nathan, and Joshua sold off 1/7th shares of land originally patented to Netheldred "Dred" Godwin in 1839. Joshua and Sion Godwin had been enumerated with Dred Godwin on the 1850 Putnam County, Indiana census report right before Dred Godwin died. A third person was also enumerated with them - Margaret Godwin. Could she have been one of the 3 remaining heirs to sell off Dred's land?

In order to trace the legacies of the female heirs of deceased persons, the deeds of the females' husbands must be analyzed. Almost all court documents are recorded and indexed by the male's name, even if his wife was included in the deed instrument.

From the 1850 census report, we know of at least one daughter - Margaret Godwin who married George Sabin in January of 1853 in Putnam County, Indiana. Two other possible daughters of Dred Godwin have been identified through descendants - Cassie and Elizabeth Godwin. Cassie Godwin married John H McAlister and Elizabeth Godwin married William Thomas. Elizabeth Godwin was mentioned in an article entitled "The History of Adair and Guthrie Counties, Iowa" which was published in 1884. It is unclear how Cassie Godwin McAlister was originally tied to Dred Godwin's family, as correspondence with her descendants has been minimal.

Margaret, Cassie, and Elizabeth had only been suggested as possible children of Dred Godwin for several years now. A review of all the deeds executed by their husbands might provide additional evidence supporting this hypothesis that these 3 women were in fact "heirs" of Dred Godwin.

The Putnam County Deed book Grantor's Index microfilms were ordered from my local Family History Library. The first film no. 1315537 covered surnames beginning with A-S (1824-1863). The Godwin, Sabin, and McAlister deeds would be listed in this index. The second film no. 1315538 covered surnames beginning with T-Z (1824-1863). The Thomas surname would be found on this index. The index entries are summarized below:

Land Description: "1/7th part of the NE 1/4 of NW 1/4 of Section 17, Township 12, Range 5, for 40 acres and 1/7th part of the SW 1/4 of NW 1/4 of Section 8, Township 12, Range 5, for 40 acres."

- John H McAlister to James Roberts, 12 Apr 1852, Deed book Q, p. 606-607
- George W Saber to L M Knight, 16 Sept 1853, Deed book S, p. 224
- William Thomas to Lenox M Knight, 1 Mar 1853, Deed book U, p. 526

The Putnam County, Indiana Deed Record books microfilms were then ordered from my Family History Library - Film nos. 1315562 and 1315560 contained the deed books referenced above. When the films arrived, I reviewed them on the scanning microfilm reader. I have included the scanned images of the actual deeds below.

Here are a couple of snippet texts from the deeds:

...which said undivided one seventh part descended to the said Margaret Sabin as one of the seven heirs and legal representatives of Etheldred Godwin, late of Putnam County, Indiana, deceased...

...which said undivided seventh part descended to said Elizabeth Thomas (late Elizabeth Goodwin) wife of Said William Thomas as of the seven heirs and legal representatives of Natheldred Goodwin...

...which Seventh undivided part, descended to said Cassey Goodwin, As one of the seven heirs and legal representatives of Nathaniel GoodwinDeceased...

Here are the scanned copies of the actual deeds:

This 5-part series illustrated how deeds can be of significant genealogical value to the average researcher. The 7 deeds presented in this series not only painted a picture of the family of Netheldred Godwin of North Carolina and Indiana, but also served to support the hypothesis of several Godwin researchers who believed their ancestors were descended from this Godwin patriarch. With these deeds, Elizabeth Godwin Thomas, Cassie Godwin McAlister, and Margaret Godwin Sabin were placed with high confidence into this familial unit under Netheldred Godwin, along with Nathan, Sion, Joshua and Sarah Godwin*
*It is still unclear what relation Sarah Godwin was to Netheldred Godwin, deceased, and the other 6 "heirs" of his that received land as a legacy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Saturday Night Fun - google yourself

Following Randy Seaver's Saturday night fun posted here. Randy tasked his readers with the following:

1) Google yourself at Put your first name, middle initial and last name, plus the name of your city or town in the Search box to see what other persons may have mentioned you online, or to see which blog aggregators are "collecting" you.

I put ["Ginger R Smith" "Raleigh"] into the Search box and received:

* Web: 71 matches (but only 18 when I scroll through them)

With ["Ginger Smith" "Raleigh"]:

* Web: 455 matches (but only 205 when you scroll through them)

2) Then go to the "Images," "Videos" and "News" links and see what they show.

I put ["Ginger R Smith" "Raleigh"] into the Search box and received:

Images:  Only one image of the profile picture I have posted to my twitter account
Videos: 0 matches
News: 0 matches

With ["Ginger Smith" "Raleigh"]:

Images: 70 results (mostly from my profile picture found in other people's facebook friends page)
Videos: 0 matches
News: 0 matches

3) Tell us about any surprises you found, either in your blog or in Comments to this post.

Most of the entries in google were for messages I posted to rootsweb message boards, mailing lists or USGenWeb pages.

One reference linked to a paper I co-authored that was presented at a tradeshow.
No references were made to either of my two blogs because evidently I do not use my middle initial on my blog profiles. Hmm...I might consider changing that.
Thanks Randy!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Durham-Orange Genealogical Society Meeting

Last night I attended my first Durham-Orange Genealogical Society Meeting (DOGS). Their meetings are held the first Wednesday of the month at the Duke Homestead Visitor's Center in Durham off of Duke Homestead Road. The building was easy to find. There were about 20 people in attendance, about 5 of whom were visiting guests like myself. Meeting attendees started showing up about 6:45 for the 7 pm meeting. The meeting ran for 2 hours - about 1.5 hours for the speaker and about 30 minutes for "business."

I'm really glad I attended this meeting because the speaker was Mr. Jim Jones, a gentleman I had bumped into a few weeks ago at the NC State Archives. He had assisted me in finding a miscellaneous Granville Grant. I had no idea that he had a huge personal collection of all of the North Carolina State Land Grants that were issued in present day Wake County (includes all counties Wake was formed from) - about 2200 land grants in all.

Mr. Jones gave a presentation on his research project which entailed mapping all of the Wake County, North Carolina State Land Grants, as well as the Granville Grants, into a proprietary software program called "DeedMapper(tm)." Mr. Jones' presentation was clear and concise, easy to read and easy to follow. It was created and presented in pdf format. He also demonstrated the functionality of the DeedMapper(tm) software by directly opening it from his laptop. I have posted more information on his presentation of DeedMapper(tm) here.

After Mr. Jones' presentation, the meeting moderator directed the conversation to "Business matters." The first order of business was the National Genealogical Conference which was held in Raleigh, NC May 11-16, 2009. The Durham-Orange Genealogical Society had a booth in the exhibit hall and many of its members attended the four day conference presentations, about 19 in all. Standing room only was noticed in front of the booth in the exhibit hall. A query sheet was created for visitors to submit a request for information about a particular family or surname, as well as a sign up sheet for new members. Queries received will be published to the DOGS newsletter that is distributed to its members by both snail mail and email.

The DOGS board is currently operating without a President or a Vice President. The society plans to hold a special elections as soon as possible to fill these two vacant positions. Obtaining a position on a local genealogical society board is one of my long term goals. I wonder what would be required of the candidates to run for one of these two vacant positions?

I signed up to become a member in the DOGS society. I downloaded an application form, filled it out, and put it and my $20 check in the mail. Membership includes access to the periodic journal, Trading Path, that encompasses genealogical and historical information on the old Orange County (NC) and queries of members and non-members, member information, and information on general genealogy happenings. A monthly newsletter with local events, including a calendar, and short articles of general genealogy interest is also made available via the internet.