Friday, January 31, 2014

RootsTech 2014 Announces Schedule of FREE live-streamed Presentation Broadcasts

The schedule of the FREE live-streaming videos of 15 of RootsTech's popular presentations have been announced. They start on February 6th at 8:30 AM MST. Remember this is Mountain Standard Time, so you need to adjust accordingly for your time zone. They can be watched live from your computer by visiting the conference website at
SALT LAKE CITY—RootsTech, the world’s largest family history and technology conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 6-8, 2014, announced today that 15 of its popular sessions will be broadcast live and complimentary over the Internet. The live broadcasts will give those unable to attend in-person worldwide a sample of this year’s conference content. Interested viewers can watch the live presentations at The fourth-year conference has attracted over 10,000 registered attendees in-person, and leaders expect over 20,000 additional viewers online.
The streamed sessions include a sampling of technology and family history presentations. Following are the broadcasted sessions and speakers. All times are in mountain standard time (MST):
Thursday, February 6
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Top 10 Things I Learned About My Family from My Couch by Tammy Hepps
1 p.m. to 2 p.m., FamilySearch Family Tree: What's New and What's Next by Ron Tanner
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Intro to DNA for Genealogists by James Rader
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Genealogy in the Cloud by Randy Hoffman
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sharing Your Family with Multimedia by Michael LeClerc
Friday, February 7
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Storytelling Super Powers: How to Come Off as Your Family's Genealogy Hero by David Adelman
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Tweets, Links, Pins, and Posts: Break Down Genealogical Brick Walls with Social Media by Lisa Alzo
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Getting the Most Out of Ancestry.comby Crista Cowen
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Finding Family and Ancestors Outside the USA with New Technologies by Daniel Horowitz
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Do It Yourself Photo Restoration by Ancestry Insider
Saturday, February 8
10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., Become an iPad Power User by Lisa Louise Cooke
1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., Information Overload: Managing Online Searches and Their Results by D. Josh Taylor
2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., A Beginner’s Guide to Going Paperless by Randy Whited
4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., How to Interview Yourself for a Personal History by Tom Taylor
5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Five Ways to Do Genealogy in Your Sleep by Deborah Gamble
About RootsTech
RootsTech is a global family history event where people of all ages learn to discover and share their family stories and connections through technology. The first annual conference was held in 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah. Hosted by FamilySearch and sponsored by leading genealogical organizations, the conference includes hands-on demonstrations and forums to provide a highly interactive environment and accelerate learning. Content is geared to young and old, beginner to advanced levels.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks (Week 3) – Lucenda Gentry

This is Week 3 of Amy Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks blogging challenge to write about one ancestor a week for 2014. Amy highlights each weeks’ posts on her blog No Story Too Small every Wednesday.

This week I am writing about my third great-grandmother, Lucenda “Cindie” Gentry. The GENTRY surname is an interesting one to write about. Why? Because it seems like everyone has at least one or two Gentrys in their family. And chances are, they will tell you that their Gentrys all descend from the same immigrant ancestor - Nicholas Gentry.

I have no idea if my third great-grandmother, Lucenda Gentry descends from Nicholas Gentry or not. I’m not even sure what her father’s real name was! Was it William or was it Berry? Well, I’ll come back to that. First, let’s meet Lucenda.

Lucenda Gentry was born April 12th, 1868 in Tennessee [1] and died February 19th, 1905 in Garrett’s Bluff, Lamar Co., Texas [2]. She was the second oldest child born to Manerva Jane O’Neal and William T. Gentry. Well I'm pretty sure it was William T. Gentry. There is some confusion, though, because on the 1880 Scott Co., AR census report, the head of the house hold is listed as "Berry A. Gentry." Berry was actually the name of their first born son. This is the only time I've seen "Berry" mentioned as Manerva's husband or Lucenda's father. I think probably Manerva and William might have been separated at this time and someone in the house just used the oldest son Berry's name as a placeholder for the man of the house.

Manerva and William were married in Roane County, Tennessee on January 5th, 1865 [3]. Manerva was from Blount County and William was from neighboring Knox County. William had just returned home from the war. I am not sure why they went to Roane County to marry; unless it was to evade detection by Manerva’s mother who might have disapproved of the marriage because Manerva was only 14 years old (William was 25). Manerva’s mother had married young as well and was widowed by the time she was 25 years old.

William and Manerva did return to Blount County; however, things might not have gone as well as they had hoped as they were living with Manerva’s mother Lucinda O’Neal and her younger siblings only 5 years into their marriage [4]. By that time, my third great-grandmother Lucinda had been born along with her older brother Allen Berry.

But things got even worse for Lucenda’s family. By the mid 1880’s, Lucenda’s parents had gotten a divorce. Her mother Manerva moved with her brother Allen Berry and her youngest sister Mary Jane to Arkansas. Lucenda and her brothers William and James moved to Paris (Lamar County), Texas with their father who remarried to a woman named Nannie in 1886. Lucenda’s mother remarried as well to a man named George Wagoner in 1889 [5].

While in Texas, Lucenda met and married a farmer named Reuben Dennis in 1886. She was 18 years old. They had four children together: Wallace, Eva, Luther, and Willie. They lived in the small town of Garrett’s Bluff outside of Paris, Texas. According to the 1900 census reports, the children did not go to school, even though there was a school nearby; they were probably too busy tending the farm and working. Lucenda and Reuben were educated though, so they probably gave the children their lessons at home.

Lucenda was a member of the Chicota Baptist Church. Chicota was a small community about 15 miles east of Garrett’s Bluff. The family probably attended church service there every Sunday. Lucenda’s daughter Eva was my 2nd great-grandmother. Since Eva was the only other girl in the house, the two of them were very close. Eva spoke often of how her mother taught her how to cook, iron, and clean the house.

Unfortunately, Eva was left motherless at a young age. Her mother Lucenda died from pneumonia at the age of 36. Eva was 14 years old when her mother died. Her father, devastated, left the farm and moved the children to the “big city” of Paris to be near his brother Liberty. Reuben became a tax collector. Eva married to my 2nd great-grandfather, Barney Benson, who had lived next door to her family prior to their move to Paris.

I chose to write about Lucenda Gentry because very little was known about her. In the course of this writing, I was able to learn some more about her family and to fill in some of the gaps I had in my family tree. I realized that I do have a lot more research to conduct and I’m very much looking forward to it. I also made a connection with a new cousin I found on, but who also happened to be connected to another one of my cousins on Facebook. She is the one who has shared the photo of the Dennis family with me. If you have Gentry ancestors, please contact me so we can share information. I am very interested in learning more about my Gentry ancestors.

Gentry and Dennis Family photo

Photo of Cindy Gentry, Reuben Dennis and their children: 
Eva Mae Dennis, Wallace, Willie "L. C.," & Luther
Shared by my cousin Allison Hurst

[1]  Jim Tipton, Find A Grave, Online database, ( : accessed 21 January 2014), User Input Bio and Headstone, Luecindie "Cindie" Gentry Dennis, Memorial No. 120766810, created by John and Ruth Clackler, 24 November 2013, citing Garrett's Bluff Cemetery, Garrett's Bluff, Lamar County, Texas, USA: Headstone reads: "Luecindie wife of Rubin Dennis, born 12 Apr 1868, died 19 Feb 1905." Biography includes place of birth as Tennessee and place of death as Garratt’s Bluff, Lamar Co., TX.
[2]  Ibid.
[3], "Tennessee Marriages, 1851-1900," index, ( : accessed 21 January 2014), M J O'Neill to W T Gentry; Roane County, Tennessee Marriages, 1851-1900. County court records located at Kingston, Tennessee or Family History Library microfilm #0560087-0560089: "M. J. O'Neal” married “W. T. Gentry," 5 Jan 1865 in Roane Co., TN.
[4]  1870 US Federal Census, Blount County, Tennessee, population schedule, District 4, Friendsville Post Office, Page 112A (stamped), Page 21 (penned), Dwelling 136, Family 137, Lucinda O'Neil; digital image, ( : downloaded 20 January 2014); NARA Film M593, Roll 1515, FHL Film 553014.William and Minerva “Gerity” were enumerated in Lucinda O’Neill’s household.
[5], "Arkansas County Marriages Index, 1837-1957," online database, ( : accessed 22 January 2014), Manerva Jane Gentry and G W Wagoner; Citing: "Arkansas County Marriages, 1838–1957." Index. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, from Arkansas Courts of Common Pleas and County Clerks.; FHL film no. 1027124: married 5 Mar 1889, Scott Co., AR.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks (Week 2) – John Brooks Binns

I just realized that I haven’t written anything about my BINNS family. And I have a LOT of information. I need to get writing! What am I waiting for? – I know! A challenge! I have pledged to join the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge for 2014 which was started by Amy Crow of the No Story Too Small blog. Each week Amy will showcase all of that week’s ancestor posts and I hope to be included. I missed Week 1, but here is a post for week 2.


John Brooks Binns was my great-grandfather

John Brooks Binns, Arkansas 1955

Photo of John B. Binns, Arkansas, 1950s

John Brooks Binns was born March 20th, 1910 in Monticello (Drew County) Arkansas to John Milton Binns and Perthinia “Pert” Brooks. He was the 2nd to youngest child of 8 born to this couple. His siblings were John Lavert Binns, Milton “Roy” Binns, James Howard Binns, Rubye Estelle Binns, Van Carl Binns, Lurah Marcelle Binns, and Byron Zach Binns.  His father, John Milton Binns, was a farmer from Georgia who became a salesman in Monticello and eventually became a meat cutter / butcher.

John followed in his father’s footsteps by working in a department store in Longview, Texas and in Kroger’s as a meat cutter; but he also went to college and earned his teaching degree. He and his wife, Blanche Hill taught school in Alma, Arkansas.

When John and Blanche met, John was studying and playing football at Monticello A&M College. He was there from 1930 – 1932. He was a member of the “Little Big Three” Press Association. Blanche was attending Magnolia A&M College from 1930 – 1931 and then transferred to Monticello A&M for the 1931 – 1932 school year to be with John. On August 19th 1934 John and Blanche were married at the First Christian Church in Longview, Texas where John was working in advertising for a department store.

John and Blanche Binns had three blonde haired, blued eyed little girls, including my grandmother, born between 1936 and 1940 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. In 1943, they bought their house on 1401 N. 19th street where they lived until they died. He also bought the house behind him and the grocery store next door to his house. He rented the store out to a lady named Alice Shields who ran the store. He eventually tore the store down and had a house built there. This is the house that my mom, dad, and I lived in when I was first born. John worked at Kroger’s on Grand Avenue in Fort Smith, Arkansas as a meat cutter for ten years and then later he owned and operated the Cash and Carry in Fort Smith on N. 2nd street.

After the girls were old enough to go to high school, John and Blanche went back to school to get their teaching degrees. Blanche went to school the first two summers of 1952 and 1953 and John the next two in 1954 and 1955. They went to Russellville Tech in Northwest Arkansas. Their first teaching jobs were in Alma, Arkansas. Blanche taught the 2nd grade and John taught 7th grade Science. Then he switched to 5th grade after realizing he couldn’t handle the junior high kids.

In 1963, Blanche had a stroke and had to stop teaching. John took care of her and continued teaching until he retired in 1975. John must have taken really good care of her because she survived him by 3 years. John died December 10th, 1989 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Blanche died December 27th, 1992 in a nursing home in Fort Smith.

I was lucky to have grown up with 6 of my 8 great-grandparents, including John and Blanche. Blanche never really liked us kids much, but John, or “great-granddad” to me, loved us to death. He was a big hugger and he would squeeze you so tight you couldn’t breathe. And he was always around. He got sick pretty fast, so I didn’t really have to see him bad off in a nursing home like I saw Blanche. He got a bunch of fluid in his lungs probably due to the emphysema and that is eventually what stopped his breathing. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of him.

Here are some photos to remind me of our time together: 

Ginger Smith and John Brooks Binns 1977

Ginger Smith and great-grandfather, John Brooks Binns, Fort Smith, Arkansas, 1977

Ginger Smith and John Brooks Binns 1982

Ginger Smith and great-grandfather, John Brooks Binns, Fort Smith, Arkansas, 1982

Ginger Smith and John Brooks Binns 1984

Ginger Smith and great-grandfather, John Brooks Binns, Fort Smith, Arkansas, 1984

All photos are from the private collection of Barbara Binns, Fort Smith, Arkansas and were scanned by Ginger Smith, 14 November 2008. 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - What's Your Ancestor Score?

27 %

Randy Seaver over at the Genea-Musings blog has given us a new Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge which I have chosen to participate in. It seems not only fun but a good exercise to do every so often in order to see how my research and genealogy is progressing along.

Here’s what Randy wants us to do:

1)  Determine how complete your genealogy research is.  For background, read Crista Cowan's post Family History All Done? What’s Your Number? and Kris Stewart's What Is Your Genealogy "Score?"  For comparison purposes, keep the list to 10 or 11 generations with you as the first person. 

2)  Create a table similar to Crista's second table, and fill it in however you can (you could create an Ahnentafel (Ancestor Name) list and count the number in each generation, or use some other method).  Tell us how you calculated the numbers.

3)  Show us your table, and calculate your "Ancestral Score" - what is your percentage of known names to possible names (1,023 for 10 generations).

4)  For extra credit (or more SNGF), do more generations and add them to your chart.

5)  Post your table, and your "Ancestor Score," on your own blog, in a comment to this post, or in a Facebook Status post or Google+ Stream post.


Here is my Ancestor Table:

I calculated the number of identified people by running an Ahnentafel in my RM program and then going through and counting the names in each generation. My score is 27%!

It probably would be higher if I included the research of other people, including my grandfather. But I keep his research in a separate tree file until I can find the sources to back the information up.

What's My Number?
Possible People
Identified People
1x Great-Grandparents
2x Great-Grandparents
3x Great-Grandparents
4x Great-Grandparents

5x Great-Grandparents
6x Great-Grandparents
7x Great-Grandparents
283/1023 = 27%

What is YOUR score? Let us know in the comments below. 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

X-Chromosome Matches by FamilyTreeDNA

Family Finder Does it Again!

Back in November, the project administrators got together and made a list of all of the things we would like to see implemented in the new FamilyTreeDNA website. One of the items, a matrix designed to show which of your In Common With matches were matches to each other, was implemented most recently. This upgrade has already been a huge help to me in working with my matches and trying to determine common ancestors.

Another huge improvement came out this New Years – X Chromosome Matching! With this new tool, you can now see who all of your X – chromosome matches are in addition to your autosomal (chromosomes 1-22) matches. Having this ability allows you to narrow down who the common ancestor might be between you and your match.

Before we see how this works and how it might benefit your research, let’s go over a little bit of background information. Males have 1 X and 1 Y chromosome. They get their 1 X from their mothers. Females have 2 X's, so they get 1 X from their mother and 1 X from their fathers. Because I am female, I have 2 X’s, which means I got 1 X from my mother and 1 X from my father. My mother also has 2 X’s, therefore, she got 1 X from her mother and 1 X from her father; however, my father only has 1 X that he got from his mother. He did NOT get an X from his father. Therefore *I* did not get any X chromosome DNA from my father’s father.

There are a couple of X chromosome charts out there to help you figure out who your X chromosome ancestors are. Here is the fan chart, which is one of my favorites.  WikiTree will also allow you to see who all of your X chromosome ancestors are. I have identified my X chromosome ancestors directly in my genealogy software. For each of my X chromosome ancestors, I have added a photo of an “X” in either a pink box for females or a blue box for males. In my pedigree below, you see that my father Timothy received only 1 X chromosome from his mother; therefore his father Darrel did not contribute any X chromosome DNA to me.

Since I’ve had my paternal grandfather, Darrel Smith, DNA tested, I would have to create a new chart if I wanted to follow HIS X chromosome ancestors. In that chart, his mother, Reba Fox would have a pink X beside her name because she contributed to Darrel’s DNA.

Ginger Pedigree

In order to see your X chromosome matches, log in to your ftDNA account as usual and bring up your Family Finder matches.  Click where it says “Show All Matches” and select “X Matches” from the drop down list:

New X Matches Filter

Now you have a list of all of your X Chromosome matches. Here is my list. You see that my paternal grandfather, Darrel Eugene Smith, is missing from this list:

X Chromosome Matches

That is because I did not receive any of my X chromosome from him, but I DID receive an X chromosome from my father Timothy, who received his X from his mother Barbara. 

My X Chromosome matches can be viewed in the Chromosome Browser just like the autosomal matches can. Lucky for us, ftDNA also incorporated a brand new feature which allows you to load your matches directly into the Chromosome Browser from your match list and compare. To do this, simply click on the little arrow below your match’s name to unhide the advanced options, then click the “+ Compare in Chromosome Browser” option to load them into the Chromosome browser. You are still limited to loading only 5 matches at a time into your chromosome browser (at this time).

X Chromosome Matches advanced options

Once you have your matches selected, click the Compare button to open them in your Chromosome Browser:

Compare in Chromosome Browser

Here is a comparison of my Mom, maternal grandfather, and paternal grandmother who all match me on my X chromosome:

X matches comparison in chromosome browser

You can also filter on X matches in the Chromosome Browser:

I am looking forward to diving into my X chromosome matches.

What about you?

Do you have your X chromosome ancestor chart ready?

Have you found any connections on your X chromosome yet?

If so, please tell us about it below.