Wednesday, October 31, 2012

North Carolina Troops, 1861 - 1865: A Roster - 18 volumes on sale now!

North Carolina Troops 1861-1865 A Roster

The North Carolina Office of Archives and History is pleased to present the latest compilation of North Carolina Troops, 1861-1865: A Roster, that, when completed will comprise 20 individual indexed volumes.

The first 18 volumes are being offered at an excellent discount for the month of October through November 15th. Volumes 1-15 are $15.00 each and volumes 16-18 are $20.00 each. These volumes are regularly priced at $50.00 each!

The completed set will contain the names and service records of approximately 7,000 soldiers. The master index will include approximately 125,000 names of military personnel. If you have Civil War ancestors who served in North Carolina, then these books are for you! Don’t hesitate to take advantage of these offers. Ordering is quick and easy and shipment is fast.

Visit the NC Historical Publications Shop to order your copies today. (They make great gifts too!)

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Discrepancy of Dates of Thomas Putman’s Death

Thomas A Putman, privately held by Diana Fancher, Toronto, Canada.

Every summer I send off for several death certificates from the State of Arkansas. I started with my great-grandparents, then my 2nd great-grandparents, and now I have moved up to my 3rd great-grandparents as many of them didn’t die until after the time from which the State of Arkansas started requiring death certificates be filed. This summer, I ordered the death certificates of my 2nd great-grandmother Rosalie Putman Lasiter and her parents, Thomas Adolphus Putman and Martha Ann Ward Putman.

Thomas Adolphus Putnam's Death Certificate, obtained by Ginger R. Smith, from the Arkansas Department of Health, Vital Records Section, Little Rock, Arkansas, 27 August 2012

I saw some interesting information on the death certificate of my 3rd great-grandfather, Thomas Adolphus Putman who died in 1918. His headstone lists his date of death as 21 November 1918. His obituary, which was published in the Southwest American newspaper in Fort Smith, Arkansas on 22 November 1918, says he also died 21 November 1918.
Here is a snippet of his obituary from the Southwest American newspaper (Fort Smith, Arkansas), 22 November, 1918, copied from microfilm at the Fort Smith Public Library.

However, Thomas Adolphus Putman’s  death certificate lists his date of death as 27 November 1918, a whole six days later than what the obituary said! Normally I would just write this off as a mistake or with the rationale that he died on the 21st, but his family waited a week before filing the death certificate on the 27th. This was often the case for families who lived in rural areas.
A physician testified that he had attended to Thomas from the 26th of November to the 27th of November when he last saw him alive. Death occurred at 8 pm. Although this information was filled in on the death certificate, no physician actually signed it. The cause of death was “paralysis” which usually meant he had a stroke, probably due to old age.

I’ve never really fretted over this next item that much because it’s pretty common to reside in one area and die in another, especially while visiting family or friends or working someplace else. But something about it just isn’t sitting well with me. Thomas Putman lived on Park Avenue in Fort Smith, Sebastian County, Arkansas when he died (see obituary). In fact, this land (he had 220 acres at the time) remained in the family up until the 60s or 70s I believe. And my great-grandmother, Louise Lasiter, lived down the street from this tract of land. Thomas’ death certificate says he died in Bloomer, Arkansas which is not too far from Fort Smith, just outside the city limits, about 20 miles away.  At that time, Fort Smith had about 30,000 people and Bloomer (population less than 1000 today) had maybe 20 families, if that, living there. So I’m not sure what Thomas would have been doing in Bloomer when his wife and children were living in Fort Smith. And I certainly don’t think there would have been any hospitals or doctors around in Bloomer, he would have gone back to Fort Smith to seek medical attention unless the town doctor came to the house he was staying in in Bloomer and tended to him there.
Other red flags about this death certificate include the name of Thomas’ father. My genealogy paper trail has Thomas’ father as Berry Barton Putman from Georgia. This is backed up with census reports listing a son by the name of Adolphus in Berry’s household. His death certificate says his father was William Putnam, also from Georgia.

The informant was also someone unknown to the family. It was a woman by the name of Georgia Card. I have not started looking for her yet. Thomas and Martha Putman had 4 daughters. One daughter named Rosalie, married James Lasiter and they had one son. Rosalie lived with her parents off and on when her son was young and they eventually moved a block down the road from Thomas and Martha. The oldest daughter, Nona Putman, never married and she lived in the home with Thomas and Martha until they died. Another daughter Annie married Aubrey Rhyne and they lived in the house after Thomas’ death with her mother Martha for a while and then I believe they eventually built a house on the same block. The youngest daughter, Pearl married Mr. Edward Fancher and they too remained on the block and eventually took ownership of the house and land where they stayed until the 70s when they sold the land. I guess if he really did die in Bloomer, maybe while visiting some family, then this Georgia Card might have been a distant relative.
Another discrepancy between the obituary and the death certificate lies within Thomas’ date of birth. His obituary says he was 73 years old when he died which would put his date of birth in 1845. His death certificate says he was 80 years old which would put his date of birth around 1838. The genealogy paper trail I have on him has his date of birth as April 26 1845 (headstone and county history book). The birth year of 1845 is supported by both the census reports with him living in the household of his father Berry Barton Putman and living as an adult.
When I presented these discrepancies on my Facebook page I got some feedback from fellow genealogist Michele Simmons Lewis of the Ask A Genealogist Blog who suggested that since the death certificate was not signed by the physician (and a date of removal/ burial was also not provided) that maybe the form was filled out by the physician’s assistant and he made the mistake on the date of death. So far, even with the obituary, headstone, death certificate, death index and census reports, it looks as if I need more evidence to confidently conclude that 1) the Thomas A Putman of the obituary of 22 November 1918 is the same man as the Thomas Adolphus Putnam of the death certificate of 27 Nov 1918 and 2) my 3rd great-grandfather Thomas Adolphus Putman died on the 21st of November 1918. It also looks as if I need to find out who this informant, Georgia Card is before I go any further. 
Here is the matrix I created to keep track of the information I gathered and where it came from. I can use it to get a glance of what sources had what information.

If you have any suggestions about the data I have presented here, please do not hesitate to leave a comment below or email me at ginger.reney [at] Also, please check back often for updates to this post. I intend to follow up on who this Georgia Card was and why Thomas was in Bloomer when he died. I also need to find out if Thomas still owned the farm in Bloomer and if so, was he in Bloomer to check up on it or was he visiting relatives? When I looked back at my genie software to see where his siblings might have settled, I realized that I did not have any information on them. It would be prudent of me to track their whereabouts as well to see if any of them stayed behind in Bloomer or were maybe tending to Thomas' farm in his absence. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The North Carolina State Archives offers new Correspondence Portal

I just received the following news from the North Carolina State Archives' online blog History For All the People:

Online Correspondence is here!  The State Archives of North Carolina is excited to announce a new web portal for correspondence.  Online Correspondence will allow persons residing outside of North Carolina to request a search for a record and pay the search and handling fee using the Online Correspondence portal.  Persons residing outside of North Carolina will still have the option of sending a check, a money order or credit card information through the USPS but the Online Correspondence portal will give the additional option of paying electronically.

But wait – there’s more!

The Online Correspondence portal will also have a feature that will allow residents and non-residents to pay their invoice electronically too!  Researchers will receive an invoice with instructions on how to find and use the online payment option.

And that’s not all!

North Carolina residents will now find a new option on the North Carolina online request form.  North Carolina residents can now opt-in to receive an electronic invoice.  If the researcher selects the electronic invoice option they will receive the invoice via email instead of a paper copy sent by USPS.  This service should save time for the customer and reduce operational costs for the Archives!

We hope these new features will help us serve you faster and more efficiently.  Try them out and give us your feedback!

I personally have not yet used the website to request materials but I am excited by this new feature to pay for our materials online. I think it will streamline the process and free up the Archives staff for other things, like, oh, say, fulfilling our requests! 

If you are out of State you can check out the new Online Correspondence Portal. This website has records broken down into seventeen categories, including the following:

  • Civil War
  • Deed Books
  • Land Grants
  • World War I
  • Selective Service
  • Cemetery Records
  • Bible Records
  • Private Collections
  • Court Minutes
  • Death Certificate
  • Estate Records
  • Maps
  • Marriage Bonds
  • Marriage Licenses
  • Revolutionary War
  • War of 1812
  • Will Records

When you find the record type you want to order, you can fill in the form with your ancestor's name, county, and any other pertinent information you think will help the Archivist find the record. All search fees start at $20.00 for Out of State residents. All requests can then be added to your cart.

If you are a North Carolina State Resident, you can use the standard records request by email form posted here. The form does not specify what the charge is to North Carolina Residents. My guess is the charge is accrued for copies only. It is on my "To-Do" list to try this out sometime.

What about you? Have you ever requested materials from the North Carolina State Archives online? If so, please tell us about it in the comments below.

The quoted portion of this post was reprinted from the following source:

Christopher Meeks, "New Services Available for Correspondence Requests," History For All the People, 6 September 2012, ( : accessed 6 September 2012).

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Genetic Genealogy – What is my Ethnicity?

The Family Finder autosomal DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA serves a two-fold function with regard to genetic genealogy: (1) it measures the changes in the single points in your genetic code (the A, G, C, and Ts) and calculates the relationship to your matches based on the number of markers you share with each one; (2) and it compares your marker values to those represented by population groups in other geographic regions to determine your ethnicity. This second function of the autosomal DNA test has come in handy several times, most recently with my friend Keith, whose data I am helping to interpret.

Shortly after I sent Keith his list of matches he sent me an email asking if his DNA test could tell him if he was Native American Indian. I get this question a LOT – anytime I mention a DNA test to anyone. It seems like everyone wants to prove their Native American Heritage. The answer to Keith’s question is both yes and no. The autosomal DNA test will tell you your ethnicity but it is only an estimation, not an absolute. It varies depending on the sample size ftDNA  has collected for that geographic region.

Well all ambiguities aside, I was still able to use ftDNA’s Population Finder tool to pull up a map of Keith’s ethnicity based on his results and matches. Here is a view of his map:

According to ftDNA, Keith has the following ethnicity:

90% Western European (defined as Orcadian)
10% Middle Eastern (defined as Palestinian, Bedouin, Druze, Jewish, Mozabite) – primarily Jewish

Keith was disappointed that he didn’t find any Native American Ancestry. To be honest, I’m not sure what it would say if there was Native American Ancestry! I’m still reading blogs and trying to find people who have tested and whose results have come back as Native American Ancestry.

His report didn’t really tell us much about his ancestry. If we look at a map of the world we can determine that the area on his map that is shaded dark blue and labeled as the “Orcadian” population corresponds to the present day UK (England) and Ireland. The Middle East population corresponds to present day Algeria, Libya, Egypt and the Sudan.

Keith said he didn’t have any Middle Eastern heritage that he knew of. This was the first I had seen of this population showing up in a person’s population finder results. Then it just so happens I was reading Roberta Estes’ blog, DNA-eXplained one morning while eating my breakfast and came across her blog post, “The Dreaded “Middle East” Autosomal Result.” In this post, Roberta explains that the result of Middle East ancestry is sometimes a clue to Native American Ancestry! She reports that she often sees this Middle Eastern admixture in the results of people who are looking for Native American Ancestry.  In this post she uses the inhabitants of Hattaras Island as an example of how populations intermarried with persons on the island, mixing very little with non-inhabitants, resulting in very little new DNA being introduced.

Although Keith’s ancestors were not native to Hatteras Island that we know of, his great-grandparents and 2nd great-grandparents were already in the United States following the Revolutionary War. According to Roberta’s calculations, a 10% ethnicity of Middle Eastern should have come from his great-grandparents or 2nd great-grandparents which would have been alive during the 1800s. We do not have all of the names, birth dates and locations of all sets of his first and second great-grandparents though, at this time, so there is still a possibility of Middle Eastern ancestry showing up.
Ginger R Smith, "Genetic Genealogy - What is my Ethnicity" Genealogy by Ginger, posted 08 August 2012 (http:// : accessed [access date]). 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Genetic Genealogy – The definition of Customer Service

According to Wikipedia, the definition of Customer Service is “the provision of service to customers before, during and after a purchase.”[i]  With this in mind, if I am working with clients, I need to focus on interfacing with the customer, identifying their needs and satisfying their needs. And as you will see in my post below, I also need to look at WHO my customers are. What do they have access to? Do they have a computer at home with internet access? Do they know how to use a computer? Or do they prefer to “touch” and “feel” what they are looking at?


When I agreed to help Keith with his autosomal DNA test from FamilyTreeDNA, I thought everything would be easy. He would take the test, find some matches, meet new cousins, fill in the gaps in his family tree and go on about his merry way!

But when that final email came that said his results had been posted, Keith was ready to go! He wanted to know what to do next and he was just busting with questions!  He wanted to know who all his matches were. Who they were related to. How they were related to him. How he could contact them. Would they give him information about his mother’s side of the family. Which side of the family were they from. The questions just kept coming and I was excited for him!

I was totally prepared.

I had the email all written out about how to log into the site with his user name and password. How to view his matches. How to view the pedigrees of his matches.

Except there was one tiny problem.


Keith had dial-up internet.

One thing about taking on “clients” is that you have to think of every possibility, probability, or issue that may crop up. You have to think about who your client is, or what kind of client they are. In this case, my client has dial up internet. But what about some of the older generations who prefer to have paper – something they can hold, touch, feel? How do you adapt your way of doing things to satisfy their needs?

After a few phone calls, we determined that the 23 pages of Keith’s matches could not be displayed with his dial up internet service. Well Keith being the inquisitive one that he is, asked a simple question:

“Can I download my match data?” - Why of course you can! And I can take care of that for you.

I can download his matches from the Family Finder section of his homepage into a csv  file which is just an unformatted format of an Excel file. There are a few limitations with this though: First, his list of matches will need to be redownloaded each time matches are added, which could be daily or weekly. Or I could filter his list of matches by date and then download the new ones and add them to the already downloaded list.

Second, one of the things that is lost when the list of matches is downloaded from the website to the csv file is the highlighting of the common surnames and their variations. The website automatically bolds the surnames that are in common between you and your matches’ list of names and includes surname variations. This is lost when the match data is downloaded. You can still do a search within the csv file, but it will not pick up name variations like the website does.

I saved the csv as an excel file and emailed a copy of it to Keith. He received it ok, but when he went to print it, it was at least 40 pages long. Another thing to consider is what if your client doesn’t have the Excel program on their computer? It can be converted to a PDF file which is easily read by a free PDF reader program. 

So far, working with Keith has been a great learning experience. I didn’t realize how little customer interaction experience I actually had. I also hadn’t thought about all the little things that could go wrong! I am definitely on my way to becoming a better professional.

Have you ever hit any unexpected roadblocks while working with a client? If so, please share your experience in the comments below or email me at ginger.reney (at) (replace “at” with the @ symbol).

[i], Definition of Customer Service, citing Turban, Efraim (2002). Electronic Commerce: A Managerial Perspective. Prentice Hall.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Genetic Genealogy - Tapley DNA - Part 2

Last month I wrote a post about my friend who took an autosomal DNA test with ftDNA and asked me for my help in managing his account. I discussed how to set up his account through the website, including how to add his surnames to the site.

Last week his results came back with a list of matches totaling 221 people! That's 23 pages of matches to go through!

The first thing we did was go through all the matches to see if there were any with the last name of Tapley. You can do this by typing in "Tapley" into the Name box. However, then I remembered that Keith's 2nd great-grandfather was really a Swain (son of Sarah Tapley and Cannath Swain; I think they were unmarried), so I also looked for Swain. There was one match with last name Swain and I suggested Keith email him right away.

We then performed the same search on the list of surnames that were shared between he and his matches. You can do this by typing in "Tapley" in the "Ancestral Surnames" box. This match has his pedigree posted with his profile, so we were able to find the Tapley in his tree. It was a Mary Tapley who married a Phillip Prettypool. This family ended up in Millidgeville, Georgia which is a good sign because Keith's family is from GA. I recommended that he email this match as well.

Unfortunately there were no matches with the Swain surname in their list.

The next thing I did was look to see if we were a match. Luckily we were not :-) However we did have quite a few matches in common. This is not unusual. Having matches in common does not necessarily mean we are related to each other. The key is to see what segments we share with each match. If Keith and I both share the same segment of a single match, then technically all 3 of us would be related. 

For example, JG and I share the biggest segment on chromosome 18. JG and Keith share the biggest segment on chromosome 1. However, Keith and JG also share a small segment on chromosome 18, about 1.92 cM which overlaps with the segment that I share with JG. So the 3 of us do share a very small amount of DNA. I did send JG a list of Keith's surnames, but we were unable to determine a connection (we weren't able to determine a connection between he and I either). 

I also added more surnames to Keith's list. Here is a list of additional surnames:


Next time we will discuss how to interact with his matches and try to determine connections.

Photo of quizzical thinker from the Joyful Public Speaking Blog, by Richard I Garber, accessed 15 July 2012.

To Cite This Post:
Ginger R. Smith, "Genetic Genealogy - Tapley DNA - Part 2," Genealogy By Ginger, 16 July 2012, ( : accessed [date])

Friday, July 6, 2012

Free Webinar on Native American Ancestry

This Saturday Ugo Perego will be giving a live webinar on using DNA to determine if you have Native American Ancestry.

I get a LOT of questions about this. I would say four out of five people claim they descend from a Native American Ancestor and ask me how they can use DNA to determine this. Let me just say this upfront: it is very difficult to use DNA to determine if you have Native American Ancestry. But don't take my word for it. Hear it from the expert.

Ugo Perego has a PhD in Human Genetics and 11 years of experience in the field of genetics and its applications in genealogy, ancestry, population migrations and history.

This free webinar is being presented on behalf of the Southern California Genealogical Society jamboree extension series. You do not have to be a member of the society to participate but you do have to register ahead of time.

Register for this event

Photo: courtesy of Stoneakin's fotothing page: "Native American Indian Chief Bow & Quiver"

Friday, June 29, 2012

Genetic Genealogy – Tapley DNA

I am taking the ProGen (Professional Genealogy) course and our first assignment was to craft a mission statement. I decided to focus on using genetic genealogy to take your family tree to the next level. With this in mind I have found my first guinnae pig – I mean “client” J My friend Keith decided to take the Family Finder autosomal test with ftDNA to learn more about his ancestry. His paper trail is like swiss cheese with lots of holes in it. Throw in some affairs and unwed mothers who gave their sons their surnames into the mix and you have a good candidate for DNA.

We opted out of taking a Y-DNA test because he knew that his surname is not really his direct paternal line surname as it actually came from a female ancestor and not a male. We have an idea of what his direct line male surname might be, but would like to use the autosomal test to see if we can determine this before taking the Y-DNA test. Also, there are no working surname projects at this time to support either of these surnames. Although a Y-DNA test will provide you with a list of matches, it is more beneficial when there is a surname project to support and manage the results data of you and your matches for comparison and interpretation.

I ordered Keith a Family Finder test from ftDNA. He collected the cheek swab samples and mailed them back to ftDNA. He received a kit number and a password for access to his account and home page. I put his account under both his name and my own so I will have access to his home page and be able to help him navigate through his matches and results. While we wait for his test to be analyzed, I have asked him to write down the last names of his parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and 2nd great-grandparents. This is a good starting point for comparing surnames with his matches.

Keith sent me some pedigree charts along with some notes he has made for his own files. He also sent me an Ahnentafel report that his cousin (I presume) made up for him. From all of these files combined, I was able to compile a list of surnames for the ancestors listed above. If you are doing this for someone else, make sure you are clear that you need the names of the biological parents of each ancestor, not the spouses’ names. Here is a list of his surnames:

I then logged into his account and added each surname one by one. This is an important step that many testers don’t bother to do leading to a lot of frustration from their matches. Now we wait until his results come back.

Learn more about Keith's results in my post of Part 2

Photo of DNA kit from ftDNA website.

To Cite This Post:
Ginger R. Smith, "Genetic Genealogy - Tapley DNA," Genealogy By Ginger, 29 June 2012, ( : accessed [date])

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

My First Family Reunion

As you may have noticed, I haven’t been blogging much in the month of June. This is because the weather here in North Carolina has been absolutely wonderful! Usually we are in the upper 90s by now, however, this year we’ve been straddling the lower 80s with only a few hot days. I’ve been taking advantage of these beautiful days by kayaking, hiking, white water rafting, and camping; anything to do with the outdoors. I even got some more work done on my deck! Almost done, just have to figure the logistics of getting more boards home from the store. Here is a photo of me at Pilot Mountain, North Carolina (June 24, 2012).

Genealogy has kind of gone on the back burner. However I have been responding to emails that my blog readers have been sending me. And there is finally in the works a Fox and Sutton family reunion being planned for the end of September. I have heard rumors of such a reunion being held for the past 10 years or so, but nothing ever came of them that I know of. I’m very excited about this for two reasons: 1) we are using Facebook to promote it. A goal is to get family members together and for them to get to know each other. Our closed group is also a venue by which we can share photos and stories. 2) Because we are including the Sutton line in addition to the Fox line, I will get the opportunity to learn about my 2nd great-grandmother, Melvina West’s “first” family – the Suttons.

This will be my first ever family reunion! I know this may seem strange to some folks, but it’s the honest truth. I might have attended one when I was really young, but too young to remember. The last one I remember that was planned was in 2000 and I missed it. I’m excited to meet everyone. I visited with my great-grandmother and her 4 sisters often as a child, but I never visited with their individual families, including my grandfather’s own siblings and their children. Although I have “met” quite a few on Facebook, it will be a treat to meet them in person finally.

I will probably be asking around for suggestions on what a genealogist does at a family reunion. Because this will be a time for me to meet and get to know people, I will probably want as little hands on as possible with the genealogy aspect. I can collect information via email and Facebook correspondence after all. But I can only have this kind of face to face experience once.

How do you prepare for your family reunions?

To Cite This Post: 
Ginger R. Smith, "My First Family Reunion," Genealogy By Ginger, 27 June 2012, ( : accessed [date])

Friday, June 1, 2012

Follow Friday - June 1, 2012

I am really enjoying this being off for the summer from school break! I actually get to read blogs and pick and choose my favorite posts and then share them with you here on my blog! So here are some interesting finds I had this week. Oh and the photo of the ducks. I pulled it off of Google Images. I'm sure it belongs to a business who sells ducks. But when I fed the image back into the Google Images site, it was being used by so many different websites, including blogs, that I couldn't drill down to the original owner. So if you own it, let me know and I will attribute! I promise!

First up is from Lynn Palermo of The Armchair Genealogist. She wrote a post "Mind Mapping for Genealogists." I have heard of using Mind Mapping software for genealogy before, but I had always thought it required the fancy expensive versions of the software. Lynn reminds us that the free versions work just as well. And she included a simple graphic of it to illustrate what it may look like.

Next up is the Genealogics  blog by Matthew. I actually came across him on Twitter. I received an email that he had started following me. I promptly checked out his Twitter profile (@genealogics) and saw he was an avid genealogist and active tweeter and new to blogging. I then checked out his blog which I found to be nicely laid out and well-written. He had already posted photos and research "problems;" though he saw them also as "opportunities" so there is an optimist in there as well. I loved his by-line of "a tree-lific journey into family history." So please check out his tweets and his new blog and make sure to leave a comment and say hello.

I answered a prompt on LinkedIn which asked which of your blog posts were the most popular and what topics did they cover. My answer was this: One post "Am I an Evidence-based or Conclusion Based Genealogist?" and "How I use my Genealogy Software." What do these two posts have in common? They talk about SOURCES. This is a HUGE topic in genealogy circles these days. Well another reader posted her response from her blog, Essex Voices Past, as "Tuesday’s Tip – Interpreting primary sources – the 6 ‘w’s." I can totally see why this post has been so popular. Recreated from tips learned from the author's tutors at the UK's Open University lecture series, this article discusses how to interpret primary sources and go beyond just pulling names from them. If you've ever wondered if there was more out there, then read this post and you won't be disappointed!

Randy from Genea-Musings shared his experiences with the online family trees in his post "Adding a Story to my Ancestry Member Tree."  In this post he showed how extended notes and descriptions can be included in your online tree by using the "Stories" feature. He warned, however, that your Stories can be easily copied to other trees, as well as information posted to websites. If you are sensitive to the information you post on your personal websites being copied to others' online family trees, then you might want to keep on eye on these stories in, or keep your information off the internet. will alert you to other members who are researching the same lines as you.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Samuel Watson Death Certificate

Missouri State Board of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Certificate of Death, File No. 24617a
Samuel Hansford WATSON
Date of birth unknown, born in TN
Died August 11th, 1925 in Moore Township, Oregon County, Missouri
He was about 75 years of age at time of death [b. abt 1850]
He was married to wife Tabitha Watson
He was a farmer
His father's name was Samuel Watson, birth date and place unknown
His mother's name, birthplace and date were unknown
His cause of death was unknown and there was no medical attendance
The informant was Tabitha Watson of Rover, Missouri
He was buried in Union Hill Cemetery, August 12th, 1925
His Neighbors were the undertakers
Death certificate was filed Dec 24th, 1925 by Mrs. A . O. Roberts, Registrar, of Thomasville, MO

Samuel Hansford Watson was my 3rd great-grandmother, Tabitha House Watson's 2nd husband. I am descended from Tabitha's first husband, Robert KING who died in 1876 according to Tabitha's obituary. Tabitha Watson outlived both of her husbands as you can see she was the informant on her husband's death certificate above. According to Samuel's headstone and Tabitha's obituary, Samuel Watson died August 10 (not the 11th as the certificate above states). It probably took Tabitha a day to get into town to inform the registrar of his death and that's the date that was recorded. 

Samuel Hansford Watson
born 5 Sept 1855 TN
died 10 Aug 1925, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO
Married Tabitha House 16 Nov 1879, Highland Twp., Oregon Co., MO

The undertakers listed on Samuel's death certificate were "neighbors" so it seems as if he died at home and his neighbors buried him in the local cemetery (Union Hill). He must have died of natural causes or died in his sleep because no cause of death was noted on the death certificate. Surely Tabitha would have told the registrar had Samuel been sick and died resulting from an illness? 

I'm sure Samuel's children wrote an obituary up for him and posted it in the local newspaper. I would be interested to see what his obituary says. The one for his wife, Tabitha, was glowing with love and appreciation. I got the impression from talking with his descendants, that Samuel wasn't as well-liked. Check out his FindAGrave memorial page to see this growling photo of him...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Tabitha Watson Death Certificate and Headstone - The Trouble With Dates

Missouri State Board of Health
Bureau of Vital Statistics
Certificate of death, No. 13796
Tobetha Ann WATSON
Died 9 Feb 1937 in Birch Tree, Bartlett Township, Shannon County, Missouri 
[where she also resided]
Born 4 Mar 1846 in Missouri, aged 90 yrs, 11 mo, 5 days at time of death
She was widowed, but her husband's name was Samuel H Watson
Her Father's name was Hull House, and he was born in Missouri
Her Mother's name was Millie Thompson and her date and place of birth were unknown to the informant
The informant was Malinda Moore of Thomasville, MO
She was buried in Union Hill Cemetery on 10 Feb 1937 by John Duncan of Mt View, MO
Cause of death was "Senile Gangrene"
Death certificate was filed 10 Feb 1937 by R. J. Davis, M. D. of Birch Tree, MO 
(his name was also in the field of Registrar). 

I downloaded this death certificate from the Missouri Digital Heritage Site, online database of death certificates from 1910-1960 in March, 2012. It downloaded as a PDF and since I cannot import a PDF into a blog post, I took a screen shot and saved it as a JPG and uploaded the JPG to this blog post. It might be grainy or difficult to read. I have provided the transcript above. 

Tabitha/Tobetha (House) Watson was my 3rd great-grandmother. She was the daughter of Hollingsworth HOUSE and Millie THOMAS. The name on her death certificate for her mother Millie was incorrect as it should be THOMAS and not Thompson. 

There is some discrepancy about the spelling of Tabitha's name. Tabitha's headstone, obituary, and death certificate, all presumably created about the same time, each have a different spelling of her name and different birth and death dates as well! Malinda Moore was the informant on her death certificate. She was a daughter of Tabitha and Samuel Watson. 

Samuel Watson was Tabitha's 2nd husband. She was married 1st to Robert King, July 28, 1870 in Howell County, Missouri. I found their marriage record in the Howell County, MO marriage book. Robert King died in 1876 and Tabitha "King" remarried to Samuel Watson in 1879. I also found their marriage record as well. Samuel Watson preceded Tabitha in death as well in 1925. They were both buried side by side in Union Hill Cemetery in Oregon County, Missouri. Here is a photo of their headstone: 

I can't remember who sent me a copy of this headstone, and as you can see, it's not a very good quality scan and cannot be blown up. The photo on Tabitha's FindAGrave memorial page is a little bit better. According to the headstone, Tabitha died January 9th, 1938. This date is off quite a bit from her obituary and death certificate which both say she died February 9th, 1937! I wonder why there is such a discrepancy? 

If you would like to cite this article, please include the following: Ginger R Smith, "Tabitha Watson Death Certificate and Headstone - The Trouble With Dates," Genealogy by Ginger, posted 24 May 2012 (http:// : accessed [access date]). 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Follow Friday - May 25th 2012

I had such a nice time reading blog posts from my friends last week and sharing with everyone that I decided to do it again this week. Not surprising, posts from the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Conference that went on a couple of weeks ago are still trickling in. I really enjoy those because you get the down to earth sense of what message the really got from each speaker. Some were positive and some not so positive.

Kim von Aspern-Parker of Le Maison Duchamp wrote about an NGS speaker who professed that using the internet was, plain and simple, "Bad Genealogy." She refuted this claim with examples of how the internet can and should be used to help us perform "Good Genealogy."

Michael Hait of Planting the Seeds also posted a list of blogs published by certified genealogists that I started following recently and wanted to share with you. If you are interested in reading about Copyright Law, Citations and Source Writing, Legal Genealogy, etc and topics of a more professional nature, then check out these professional genealogists' blogs. Not every blog is related to professional genealogy of course, but there is a good mix to pick and choose from that you can add to your Reader.

Harold Henderson of the Midwestern Microhistory Blog gave us a very good review of what you would expect to find in the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (NGSq) magazine that is included in your membership dues with topics covering plagiarism, newspapers, immigration research, and Civil War research. Have you read up on your NGSq lately? (I read mine during lunch time).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Many Alamance County Records now Offsite at Archives

I just received this notice from the North Carolina State Archives today on their blog, History For All the People. One item to note is that many records in Alamance County, including the Record of Wills, are stored offsite and are no longer available for viewing on Saturday. If you would like access to any of the following records from Alamance County on a Saturday, you will need to call 919-807-7310 to request to view them.  

Polk County:
 ·         Record of Inheritance Tax, 1921-1968; C.R.080.513.1 (Arranged alphabetically by last name of the deceased)
 ·         You may also find Inheritance tax records in the loose estate records (C.R.080.508).

 Alamance County:
 (Records stored offsite.  No access available on Saturday.  Please call (919-807-7310) and request to view volumes on Saturday.)
 ·         Record of Wills, 1849-1968; C.R.001.801.9-C.R.001.801.30
 ·         Record of Administrators, 1902-1968; C.R.001.504.1-C.R.001.504.16 (15 volumes)
 ·         Record of Settlements, 1919-1951; C.R.001.518.4-C.R.001.518.10 (7 volumes)
 ·         Guardian Bonds, 1910-1953; C.R.001.511.3-C.R.001.511.5 (3 volumes)
 ·         Guardian Returns, 1879-1951; C.R.001.509.02-C.R.001.509.06 (5 volume)
 ·         Guardian Record, 1954-1963; C.R.001.509.07 (1 volume)
 ·         Record of Guardians and Trustees, 1963-1968; C.R.001.509.08 (1 volume)
 ·         Record of Accounts, 1932-1951; C.R.001.501.04-C.R.001.501.07 (4 volumes)

I LOVE using the Will Records! These are the original wills written by or for my ancestors. These records are organized first by county, then alphabetically within each county, then by date, so it is really easy to find all of the people of the same surname who wrote wills in each county because they are all grouped together in the same box. I'm kind of surprised that the Alamance County Wills are being stored offsite because in my mind, it seems as if it is a break in the collection. If I were looking for a will in Randolph County, for example, and I did not find it, the next place I would look would be in Alamance County because they are right next to each other. Since I can only go to the Archives on Saturdays, I would have to plan ahead of time for them to pull all of those records for me prior to my arrival. 

Also, I usually investigate the Guardian returns, records, and accounts at the same time I look at the wills and estate files, so it seems again odd to me that the Estate files would be left onsite for Alamance County, but the wills and associated administration and guardian records would be stored offsite. 

Oh, and did you notice that in the Record of Wills for Alamance County listed above, that the list starts at box 9? Does anyone else find that odd? Why not start at box 1? Hmmm.....

I just found out about the Record of Inheritance Tax files last week. They are not really of much interest to me because most of them did not start until the 1920s. However if you are researching in Orange County, NC, these records started in 1820!!! So do check them out if have exhausted all avenues (wills, estates, guardians, etc) and looking for something new to check out. You can check out the complete list here

Francesca, “Recent Transferred County Records: Alamanace and Polk Counties,” History For All the People, posted 24 May 2012 ( : accessed 24 May 2012). 

Ginger Smith, "Many Alamance County Records now Offsite at Archives," Genealogy by Ginger, posted 24 May 2012, ( : accessed [access date]). 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Well-Loved Mother, Mrs. Tobitha Watson of Oregon County, Missouri

These newspaper clippings were sent to me by Wanda Watson, a descendant of Tobitha's husband's brother. Here is the transcription of Tobitha's obituary. She died 9 February 1937 in Birch Tree, Missouri: 

"Tobitha Ann-Watson, daughter of Hol and Millie House, was born in Oregon County, March 4, 1846 and died February 9, 1937 at Birch tree, Missouri. Her age was 90 years, 11 months, and 5 days.
She was united in marriage to Robert King in 1870. To this union two children were born; Fletcher and Dora. Mr. King passed away in 1876. On December 28, 1879 she was married to Samuel H. Watson at King Chapel, Missouri. To this union eight children were born; three daughters, Cora Judd, Linda Moore, Ora Brown, and five sons, Henry, Amos, Bob, Lee and Sam.
Mr. Watson preceded her in death on August 10, 1925. Two of her children, Dora and Henry, also have preceded her in death several years ago. 
She leaves to mourn her passing 4 sons, Amos Watson of Thayer, Mo.; Bob, Lee and Sam Watson of Thomasville, Mo.; and 3 daughters, Cora Judd of Rover, Mo., Linda Moore of Thomasville, and Ora Brown of Birch Tree. She is also survived by three brothers, a sister, several grandchildren and great-grandchildren and a host of other relatives and friends.
She was converted and united with the Methodist Church at King Chapel, Mo., at an early age. She was a devoted Christian, a good kind mother, and a lovable companion.
Funeral services were conducted at Union Hill Church at 3 o’clock Wednesday afternoon on February 10, by Rev. Knight of Mtn. View. A host of relatives and friends were present at the burial at Union Hill Cemetery.

Her toils are past, her work is done
She fought the fight, the victory won
In childhood day her patient smiling face,
Meant more than all the world to us,
There’s nothing here on earth can take her place."

"Card of Thanks
We wish to thank our friends and neighbors who were so kind to us during the illness and death of our mother, Mrs. Watson. And especially do we wish to thank Rev. Knight for his consoling words and those who rendered the music. Also the undertaker and all others who so willingly helped.
The Children."

It has been several years since I have actively done any research on the King or Watson family. This is the first time I've actually noticed that her obituary and death certificate (upcoming post) list her name as Tobitha. I had always thought her name was Tabitha. Most researchers have her listed as Tabitha as well. 

According to her marriage record to her first husband, Robert King, she was listed as what looks to be Tobitha House; according to the marriage record between her and her 2nd husband, Samuel Watson, she is listed as Tolitha King. On her husband, Samuel Watson's death certificate, she is listed twice as Tabitha Watson (once as the wife and once as the informant). However, on her own obituary and death certificate, she is listed as Tobitha Watson and on her headstone, she is listed as Tabitha Watson. I guess I will need to query some of her descendants for clarification. Many of her grandchildren are still living today in Missouri. There is a lot of discrepancy around her date of birth as well, so I am not surprised to see this discrepancy around her name too. 

What is not in question is that Tobitha/Tabitha was the daughter of Hollingsworth HOUSE and Millie THOMAS. I came up as a Family Finder (autosomal DNA) match to a gentleman who also had Thomas as one of his surnames and that prompted me to do some research into my Thomas surname last fall. I learned that my Thomas line supposedly comes from an Ephraim Thomas of Franklin County, Virginia (source: Anne Jobe Brown, via personal email). 

According to the above obituary, and their marriage record, Tabitha House married Robert King July 28, 1870 in Howell County, Missouri. I am in the middle of looking for a notice in one of the local newspapers for their marriage. You can read about my trials and tribulations with historical newspapers here. Her obituary also says that Robert King died in 1876. Again, I have been looking for his death notice to no avail. It could be that the information in this obituary is incorrect. 

Tabitha and Robert King did have two children - Fletcher King and Dora King. Dora was my 2nd great-grandmother who married William Peters. Dora King Peters died of a snake bite around 1912. No record of her death has ever been found. Dora's half-brother Henry Watson, who was mentioned in Tabitha's obituary as the other child who preceded her in death, was shot to death according to Wanda Watson. This obituary contained a lot of very useful information, including the names of the eight children she had with her 2nd husband, Samuel Watson. 

It also states that she was Methodist and was buried in Union Hill cemetery. She was buried beside her 2nd husband, Samuel Watson who died in 1925 and they share a double headstone. Her FindAGrave memorial with photos of her and her headstone is here. This is the second mention of the Methodist affiliation as Tabitha's son Fletcher King was married by a Methodist Circuit Rider named Joseph Martin Willard

Next I will see what I can learn from Tabitha/Tobitha's death certificate. Here is a photo of Tabitha when she was older.

Ginger R Smith, "The Well-Loved Mother, Mrs. Tobitha Watson of Oregon County, Missouri" Genealogy by Ginger, posted 22 May 2012 (http:// : accessed [access date]). 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Follow Friday - 18 May 2012

I don't do Follow Fridays much anymore mostly because I can't seem to keep up with it all. But here are a few posts that caught my eye this week:

Ancestral Breezes wrote about her Favorite Tweets from the NGS 2012 Conference. Check this out to see the highlights from the speaker presentations and a few funnies.

Diane Haddad of the Genealogy Insider wrote about the 150th anniversary of the Homestead Act of 1862. In this post she gives a good overview of the history of the Homestead Act and the resources you can find and use today to help you understand the process your ancestors might have gone through at the time and to help you find your ancestors' actual records!

One post that I know has been very popular and very necessary is Using OneNote to keep up with Those Ancestors by Caroline Pointer of blog. She created a video that takes you step by step through the process of creating research reports in your OneNote software and even offers her readers a downloadable template you can use for your own research!

Laura from The Last Leaf On This Branch wrote about Passing the Test - the DNA Test that is. Although her 23andMe Relative Finder results are not in yet, she was able to view her health results and found some interesting surprises.

There is a new player on the field in the game of genealogy software products. It's called Geungle and it made headlines at the NGS conference in Cincinnati last week. Susan at Nolichucy Roots volunteered herself as a beta tester and is excited about the prospects of this cloud based system being designed by Pentandra.

If you come across a blog or blog post you found interesting and would like to share please let me know via emailor in a comment below.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Marriage Certificate of Tabitha (House) King and Samuel Watson

Photo of Tabitha House and Samuel Watson, privately held by Fern Miller Harris, descendant of Tabitha and Samuel Watson's daughter Cora Bell Watson, shared with me Oct 2008. 

My 3rd great-grandmother, Tabitha House (pictured above), was married first to Robert King on July 28th, 1870. You can view their marriage record here.  According to Tabitha's obituary, written some 60 years later, Robert King died about 1876. I have been unable to verify this information to date. Shortly after the death of her first husband, Robert, Tabitha remarried to her 2nd husband, Samuel Watson (pictured above with Tabitha), in Highland Township, Oregon County, Missouri, on November 19th, 1879.

Marriage Certificate of Samuel Watson and Tabitha King, 19 Nov 1879, Highland Twp., Oregon Co., MO. Downloaded from 

A copy of their marriage certificate is pictured above. Here is the transcript:


State of Missouri
County of Oregon                                                                            This Certifies
                That Samuel H Watson of Oregon Co. in the State of
Missouri and Tabitha King of Oregon Co., in the State
of Missouri were at Highland Tp, in said County by me joined together in
on the 19th day of Nov in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred
and Seventy nine [1879]
B E H Warren LM
The foregoing Marriage Certificate was filed for record in this office on the 17th
day of Dec A. D. 1879.                                                    M G Norman      Recorder
                                                                                         J F Norman         Deputy 

When Tabitha married Samuel Watson, she had 2 small children - William Fletcher King and Dora King, my 2nd great-grandmother - with her. It appears, from talking with folks who lived in the area and knew of this family, that Dora and Fletcher took their step-father's surname of Watson for a while. In fact, they were enumerated as such on the 1880 census.

1880 Highland Township, Oregon County, Missouri Census Report, Samuel Watson head of house, Bica, William and Dora listed as Watsons as well. 

Tabitha and Samuel Watson were married 46 years before Samuel passed away in 1925. Tabitha lived another 12 years following the death of her husband Sam and died in 1937 at the age of 90. Here is a photo of Tabitha in her old age. Tabitha and Samuel had eight children that I know of: 

  1. Cora Bell Watson, b. 10 Aug 1880, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO, d. 12 Jun 1964, Koshkonog, MO
  2. Henry E Watson, b. July 1882,  Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO, d. 13 Sep 1929, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO
  3. Mary Malinda Watson, b. 17 Apr 1885, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO, d. 25 Nov 1954, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO
  4. William Amos Watson. b. 21 Mar 1887, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO, d. 10 Sep 1960, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO
  5. Charles Elbridge "Bob" Watson, b. 31 Mar 1889, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO, d. 16 Sep 1959, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO
  6. Walter Lee Watson, b. 23 Mar 1891, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO, d. 7 Feb 1954, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO
  7. Samuel Hansford Watson, Jr., b. 28 Feb 1893, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO, d. 30 Nov 1961, Memphis, Shelby Co., TN
  8. Ora May Watson, b. 28 Mar 1896, Thomasville, Oregon Co., MO, d. 24 Jun 1973, Mountain View, Howell Co., MO

Sources:, "Missouri Marriage Records, 1805-2002," digital image, ( : downloaded 7 March 2012), The Marriage Certificate of Samuel H Watson and Tabitha King, Oregon County, Missouri; From the microfilm of the Missouri Marriage Records; Jefferson City, MO, USA: Missouri State Archives; Notes: Tabitha was indexed as "Talitha King."

1880 US Federal Census, Oregon County, Missouri, population schedule, Highland Township, Page 326A, Samuel Watson; digital image, ( : accessed 2005); NARA Film T9, Roll 707, FHL Film 1254707.

Names, birth and death dates and locations of the children of Tabitha and Samuel Watson were compiled from a multitude of sources. If you would like more information or have information to share, please feel free to Email me.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My first Introduction to a Methodist Circuit Rider

Last month, I posted the marriage license of William Fletcher King, the brother of my 2nd great- grandmother, Dora King. According to the marriage license, they were married in Oregon County by a “local elder” named Joseph M Willard. [1]

I found Reverend Joseph M Willard on FindAGrave thanks to a cousin who emailed a link to his memorial to me. From there I noted that another cousin, Mary Jo Freeman, had posted some photos of him and his wife, Rhoda. Here is a photo of them together, with permission of Mary Jo Freeman:

According to Mary Jo’s website, Joseph M Willard, her great-grandfather, was a Methodist circuit rider preacher for the districts of West Plains and Koshkonong, Missouri, and Independence County, Arkansas. Both of these neighboring towns bordered the Missouri-Arkansas State Line. Methodist circuit riders travelled around to various communities and preached to their members and tried to set up congregations.

Joseph Martin Willard was born July 14th, 1865 in Oregon County, Missouri to John and Sarah Colyott Willard. He began preaching when he was 21 years of age. He met his bride-to-be, Susan Rhoda Spurlock at a Methodist Church in Liberty Hill, Sharp County, Arkansas where he was preaching. They were married March 19, 1889 in King’s Mill, Sharp County, Arkansas. They lived in Rover, Oregon County, Missouri until their children were grown at which point they moved to neighboring West Plains, Howell County, Missouri. In his 70s, Joseph became a Judge. Joseph and his wife celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary before she passed away in 1962 and he followed shortly thereafter.  [2]

The first question I had when I saw Joseph Willard’s name on my 2nd great uncle’s marriage license was “I wonder if he is related to Posey Willard, my great-grandmother’s half brother’s father?” I wrote about Posey Willard being the father of my great-grandmother’s half brother, William Herbert Peters previously. Well Mary Jo Freeman was kind enough to write me back and she informed me that yes, in fact, Posey Willard and Joseph Martin Willard were related. They were 2nd cousins and shared the same great-grandfather, Henry Willard (This is suggested, but not proven).

The Reverend Joseph M Willard lived fairly close by to Fletcher and Mary King in Highland Township in 1900 and Joseph was only 34 years old at the time the census was taken which means he was only 28 years old when he married Fletcher and Mary. He started preaching when he was 21. And the census lists him as a “farmer” which also threw me off, but it was him as the children and wife match up with what Mary Jo has listed for his family members.  

This was a fun experiment in looking at not just bride and groom but also the other key players like the person who married them! I am always skeptical when someone says that “the people who witness the deed are always related.” However, in this case, I was able to provide some context in which the elder and groom had some connection, if not directly related by blood, but by an extramarital affair!

Additional resources:
[1] The marriage license between William Fletcher King and Mary A French.  And the question of who was the “local elder.”
[2] More about Reverend Joseph Martin Willard and his family on his great-granddaughter Mary Jo Freeman’s website.
[3] Read about how the mystery of my great-grandmother’s half brother’s parents was solved