About Me

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I am a genealogy enthusiast with over 40 years of experience in assisting others complete their family trees. I love helping others complete their own personal ancestory. I specialize in Research and Data Entry with an emphasis on Southern Research. I am vailable for Lectures on numerous topics and am always open to creating a class on a new Subject. I am a Member of the DAR, the DUP and Acting Vice President of the SCGA


The joy of wickless candles

I love the wickless candles in my home. Living in the mountains is always a challenge and learning to deal with the hazards of fires has been a high priority. Not only must the land be cleared around the house but the house itself needed to be as fireproof as possible. So when I discovered that I could enjoy the luxury of candles in my home without a flame I was really happy. Not only is there no flame but I found that having Scentsy Candle warmers made my house smell good longer than ordinary candles and for less money. I love the new fall burners and the holiday fragrances. My husband especially likes the cinnamon fragrances and the advantages that come with just turning the warmer on and off. Even better I don't have to worry about fires and the wax can be used more than once. To take advantage of the great winter offers and make your gift giving a breeze this Christmas season view my website at Katsmountain.scentsy.us I would love to be your scensty consultant.


Cemeteries and the Genealogist

We have all seen the bumper sticker that says I stop for Cemeteries and I have to admit that whenever I visit an area I love to stop at the old cemeteries and look around. Over the years I have made my husband wonder through cemeteries near old forts in Maine, in ghost towns in Nevada and California, way back on old dirt roads in Texas, in clean well kept cemeteries in Illinois, and in church cemeteries no longer used. Over the years he has always been most gracious and patient as I read the grave markers, agonizing over children whose only record of existence was a small grave marker or remembering a history lesson as we read the marker of a revolutionary soldier killed in battle. What a sense of joy we would feel as we found a family member missing from records or we found several families buried close together with in-laws we had heard about but knew little of. . On occasion he has even had to listen to the cries of disappointment when we didn’t find that hoped for family member or the headstone we needed was broken off, or gone completely, or so faded and eroded from time that the information was illegible.
Through the years he has been most patient and kind about walking through these cemeteries and has often gone the extra mile or miles in the hopes of a glimpse into the past. That is until our last trip to a cemetery. Now I have taught classes on how to research in cemeteries and I know all the rules but sometimes in our excitement of finding that perfect record we forget all that we have learned and throw caution to the wind forgetting which state we are working in and the hazards that might await you in that foot tall grass. We all know the stories of snakes in the cemeteries and odd little bugs but never have I encountered such a ferocious little creature as the chigger. On that particular day we had spent time talking with the cemetery wizard of the area. He was a very nice old man who knew everything there was to know about all the cemeteries in Latimer County, Oklahoma. He could tell us exactly where the cemetery in Hawthorne was but he had never been there to document its records so we decided that we really needed to check it out ourselves. After all Dan’s long lost great grandfather and his family were supposed to be there. Being caught up in the excitement of the moment and forgetting all the training I had learned and taught we promptly drove to a little cemetery nestled off a dirt road a few miles from town. Sure enough the grass was tall but in a nice somewhat maintained portion of the cemetery stood a group of graves. Sure enough there was Dan’s great grandfather, his stepbrother and their family and two graves with missing stones. At least one of those stones was reported by old family members to be the grave of his mother. Not to be put off a by a little grass Dan proceeded to walk through and explore the rest of this little cemetery. After all it was in such a serene setting, the day was beautiful we had no kids with us, and all the time we wanted. Now the story could very easily stop here but then it becomes just another trip to the cemetery story nothing exciting or unusual.
The next morning we woke up in a motel in Tennessee and Dan discovered these little red spots on his legs. There were only a few and we didn’t think much about it so we traveled on to my parent’s home in Illinois. By that night the spots were beginning to itch extremely bad and we had gone through a complete bottle of Cortisone cream. Now we were convinced there must have been bed bugs in the motel where we had stayed in Tennessee. Only silly California people would have not taken the time to think about Chiggers. Well my seasoned midwestern mother took one look at the bites and pronounced that Dan had indeed encountered Chiggers more then likely in the Cemetery. What we didn’t know was that if not properly killed they will spread to other unsuspecting bed partners and the next morning I woke up with the same types of bites. Needless to say Clothes were washed, twice, bed sheets were changed, the internet became a hot spot to look at pictures of a microscopic bug that would beat out any horror show monster if it were blown up to gigantic proportions, lots of extremely hot showers were taken, and bottles of ointment were used. After 50 bites on Dan, yes we counted them, 20 on myself (they jumped from him to me at night) we thought for sure we had subdued these little creatures. We just forgot one thing Dan’s boots. You see if you get them on your shoes they will stay there for a few days unless you give the shoes a very hot sunbath. Thus every time the boots went on the chiggers attacked and we had to start all over. Needless to say Dan has promised me that next time we pass a cemetery he will think twice about stopping or will go to the nearest store for lots of bug spray before waling in to unknown territories. I’m afraid his cemetery hunting days may limit and I may have to rely on other people’s records to make these treks for me.
What have I learned? Don’t forget to remember your training no matter how excited you might be. Always be grateful to your husband when he supports you in finding those dead relatives no matter how excruciating the experience may be and stick to well kept up cemeteries or be prepared with lots of bug spray in your car, lots of long clothes and know where you are going, and what you might be tramping through. You might want to remember your camera or make sure it has film. Mine didn’t not only did we get by Chiggers we didn’t have any film with us to record the event. Wear long pants and long sleeves, sturdy shoes, and gloves. You might want to carry a hoe to cut down brush or to defend yourself from unsolicited creatures. Bring a large can of bug spray, get permission from property owners, bring paper, several pencils, and if you plan on doing tombstone rubbings bring the proper supplies. We did have a map of the area that had been acquired off of the Internet and that became a very useful tool as we were looking for the cemetery.
I did remember the rules for making my visit count. I wrote down names, dates, and inscriptions exactly as they appeared. (Even though one of them did not correspond with my previous data). I remembered to draw the location of the plots so that I could look for other relatives at a future time. I remembered to check both sides of the stones and took look not only at the top of the grave but also for a footstone at the bottom of it.
Although I discovered that there was no film in my camera I did take the time to draw any interesting headstones and to take note of the little chapel not to far away. This was very possibly their church in earlier days and a further investigation of the area is definitely in order.
Everyone needs to visit a cemetery at least once in their life, if for no other reason then to remember the history of the people who have gone before. However be sure and make your visit count. Record the information properly and logically. Take pictures they can be worth a million words and most of all enjoyed the experience.


Googles Books, Genealogy and William Boyles

Sometimes as genealogy researchers it is easy to get stuck in a rut and not move past those old familiar sites we always use to find our hidden ancestors. Google Books should become one of those familiar spots. Each family has their favorite stories about their ancestors. Ours came from the Story of William Boyles. First he was an Indian Chief his daughter an Indian because she had high cheek bones and knew about herbs and the Land. Then he was a very peace loving man who died of pneumonia at a young age while hiding in the Hills in Grayson County. The story passed down by family members was that he was a peace loving man who didn’t want to join the Confederate Army and fight in the War so he was hiding from Troops seeking to force him into enlistment. It was a good story and one that had been shared by the family for over a hundred years. Then the family researchers started looking for traces of William the Indian Chief and William the peaceful man. We found that William was not Indian but had come to Texas as part of the Peter’s Colony. It appears that he may have come by way of Illinois and the next look will be at his father and The Black Hawk Wars in Illinois, but what about William the peace loving man who didn't want to fight in a war. Google books led to a gold mine of History on William. In Google Books I found several listings on William Boyles in Texas. Some books I was able to read in their entirety and others referenced books I could find in Libraries and still others had some snippets from Magazine Articles. Among the snippets I found reference to a book called, Tainted Breeze: The Great Hanging at Gainesville, Texas, by Richard B. McCaslin in which William Boyles was listed. Family Tradition once again was replaced with fact. He probably did die while hiding in the hills around Grayson County Texas. Maybe from pneumonia or maybe from the complications of gun wounds inflicted by Confederate vigilantes seeking those men who had sworn to kill them and their families.
William Boyles may have been anything but peaceful. He apparently believed in a Cause, supported the Union in an area where that wasn’t popular and was willing to recruit others in supporting his cause, sharing secret handshakes and passwords and encouraging men to attend meetings bent towards the destruction of the Confederate Causes in and near Gainesville Texas. Although William Boyles may have escaped the work of the Confederate Vigilantes, a mock trial and the hanging of at least 42 men it appears he might have been wounded in attempting a rescue of his friends and companions. Among the men he recruited and who were hung was at least one brother in law and possibly a second who swore that his brother in law William Boyles had recruited him. If not for Google Books this information might never have been found. Once the book had been discovered I was able to purchase it at Amazon.com and a new piece of history was added to our family line.
I have since used Google Books to find even more information on my family. I would recommend Google Books to everyone doing research on their family. Combining Google Book with Card Catalogs of various Libraries and JStor I have been able to solve many puzzles and add interesting history to even more. Google Books is source to add to the familiar, the tried, and the most used web sites when doing research. Books still have gold mines them and I found mine through Google Books.