Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Record Collections Page

I have created a webpage on my Find Your Folks Blog called "Record Collections"  which contains links to online genealogy record resources. This is a work in progress and I have completed tables to the state pages of records on ancestry.com and myfamilysearch.org.  This webpage was created for two purposes: 1) to make it easier for me to search for online record collections from various websites and 2) to be used as a quick online records collection resource for participants in my genealogy workshops.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Color Genealogy Filing System

Editor's Note:  This posting was originally posted on my blog on Sunday, February 15, 2009. Links to this blog posting were updated March 10, 2014

Genealogy is a hobby full of papers, electronic files, and heirlooms. The more documents we find on our family, the more the paper piles up. As a result, the excitement of finding information on our ancestors is overshadowed by the weight of piles of papers.

Since beginning this hobby in 1994, I have tried various filing methods such as notebooks and an ancestral number filing system. However, none of these methods have worked effectively for me. Many new genealogist use a notebook to organize their paper documents. I used a notebook also when I began this hobby in 1994. However, after accumulating many documents, a notebook did not work for me. A few years ago, I discovered the Family Roots Organizer Video in my local public library. Later, I purchased my own copy of the video which I watch periodically.  (Note:  Family Roots Organizer presentation is now on CD through Legacy Family Tree Webinars.  Click here to order.)

The foundation of this filing system for genealogy papers is based on a color-coding system for the pedigree line. This method recommends using one of four colors for each of your four grandparents.

  • BLUE: Paternal Grandfather

  • GREEN: Paternal Grandmother

  • RED: Maternal Grandfather

  • YELLOW: Maternal Grandmother

  • I modified this filing system to suit my needs. I’m not sure why I didn’t use the exact colors for each grandparent that were suggested, however, the four-color method still works no matter what colors are used for each grandparent. I also choose to use color file folders for both ancestors and collateral family and green hanging folders for all families. I use highlighters on the hanging file folder tabs for each surname. I choose the following colors for each of my grandparents.

  • Minor: Maternal Grandfather (green)

  • Emma: Maternal Grandmother (red)

  • Mack: Paternal Grandfather (blue)

  • Hattie: Paternal Grandmother (yellow)

  • Red, Green, Yellow, and Blue colored file folders are included in the spring colors of an assorted box of folders. Orange is also included in the spring colors and I adopted this color for my growing collection of DNA related files. The fall colors of an assorted box of file folders includes Grey, Maroon, Royal, Teal, and Purple. From this box, I have chosen Purple folder for my files related to white families in my research who are either slave owners, suspected slave owners, or some other relations to my family such as employer, landlord, or neighbor. I use the remaining colors for personal files such as bills and other financial related files.

    Since using this color system for my ancestral files, I can now immediately indentify from a distance the category or grandparent to which each file belongs. By the way, this color filing system can also be used with notebooks, instead of file folders. Some genealogists use white notebooks and place a specific color cover and strip in spine for easy identification.

    For more information, on using the color filing system, watch the preview video below:

    Also, visit the websites below:

    Saturday, February 15, 2014

    HTML to PDF Converter Website

    If you want to convert a website or blog to PDF format, you can use a HTML to PDF converter.  

    Blog Labels
    On my blog, I have numerous postings labeled Uncle Andrew Bullock which I wanted to print as one document to read and further analyze.  (Click here to read about how to create a blog label).  I clicked on the labels for the posting entitled "Locating New Records on the Military Service of Uncle Andrew Bullock" which was posted on Saturday, February 8, 2014.  

    Labels Beneath Blog Posting.

    Labels displayed on right side of my blog.  I renamed the Labels section “Topics” on my Find Your Folks blog.

    Paste URL
    The URL for the label “Uncle Andrew Bullock” is http://findyourfolks.blogspot.com/search/label/Uncle%20Andrew%20Bullock and I pasted it in the URL block on the http://www.htmlpdf.com/ webpage.

    Get PDF!
    Then I clicked “Get PDF!” and my blog postings about my Uncle Andrew Bullock were generated into one 18-page PDF file.

    Saturday, February 8, 2014

    Locating New Records on the Military Service of Uncle Andrew Bullock

    367th Regiment Infantry,
    The "Buffaloes", presented with colors. The "Buffaloes" singing the National Anthem, 1917 - ca. 1919, 

    Once in a while, I search online genealogy sites such as www.ancestry.com to see if there are any new records available.  One way I do this is by clicking on the little leaf next to individual names in my Family Tree Maker genealogy file.  When I clicked on the leaf next to the name of my Great Grand Uncle Andrew Bullock, I discovered that new military records about him were available online.  

    Blog Series About Uncle Andy B.
    Perhaps, some of you may recall in 2010, the 12-part series I wrote on Uncle Andrew Bullock whom I affectionately call “Uncle Andy B.”  For those of you who either missed it or don’t remember, Uncle Andy B. was a brother of my great-grandmother Bell Bullock Johnson (1890-1982).  He left Vance County, North Carolina possibly in his teens (prior to 1917) and moved to New York and remained in that state until he died in 1972.  During interviews with family members and friends of the family, no one seemed to remember much about Uncle Andy B. since he left North Carolina at an early age.  In an attempt to learn more about this brother of my great-grandmother, I decided to analyze and write about the few documents I had collected on him. (click here.) 

    Locating New Record on Uncle Andy B.'s Military Career
    I found this new information about Uncle Andy B.’s military career from the “Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919” records on www.ancestry.com.  

    This document above provided me with more detail on Uncle Andy B’s military service such as the start and end dates for his military in the United States Army (October 30, 1917 – March 10, 1919).  Prior to finding this document, I only knew the start date of his military service from his U. S. Veterans Gravesite record which was also found on www.ancestry.com some time ago. (Figure 3)

    In order to make sense of my research findings related to Uncle Andy B.’s military service during World War One, I created a timeline. 

    New Research Journey
    World War I research is a whole new research journey for me and I look forward to the ride.  Because of locating this new military record on my Uncle Andrew Bullock, study of World War I is now more meaningful to me as a researcher and as a family member of a man who served his country and participated in this significant world event.

    National Archives -St. Louis
    I am preparing for a trip to St. Louis later this month to speak at the conference of the St. Louis African American History and GenealogySociety (STL-AAHGS)  While there, I hope to be able to visit the St. Louis-National Archives in hopes of finding additional information on my Uncle Andy B. and his involvement in World War I. 

    They Came to Fight 
    To learn more about the history of the African American soldier during World War I, watch the video, “They Came to Fight”.


    Friday, November 15, 2013

    Blog Talk Radio Show: The African American Genealogy Blogger

    Join host, guest host Angela Walton-Raji for a dynamic discussion of the African American Genealogy Bloggers reaction to the new PBS series, The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross.


    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross – Episode One – Soul Food

    There were many things covered in episode one of The African Americans:  Many Rivers to Cross, in which I am inspired to write about.  In this posting, I will discuss my thoughts about the conversation about food and food traditions between Professor Henry Louis Gates and Culinary Historian Michael Twitty.

    Episode One:  The Black Atlantic (1500-1800)

    I loved watching this segment which opened with Professor Gates and Mr. Twitty walking towards the garden as Mr. Twitty began the conversation saying that the garden “signifies crops that enslaved African Americans would have grown.”  Professor Gates’ response that “the most enduring expressions of any culture is food” and about people being able “to access the world of ancestors by tasting it” perked my interest and I began to think about food and cooking traditions in my own family.  In my immediate family (my three sisters and I), food and cooking traditions were primarily passed down to us from our maternal grandmother.  Although the time period for episode one of Many Rivers to Cross was from 1500-1800, my thoughts about food traditions and cooking focused on what this meant to me during my lifetime.

    Grandma’s Cooking
    Emma Johnson Thornton, my maternal grandmother
    In 2011, when my grandmother Emma died, I wanted her funeral program to include more information about her beyond vital facts about birth, marriage, or death.  One of the things I did as I prepared to write her funeral program was to talk to three generations of my family about their memories of her.  This included her children (my aunt and uncle), my sisters and first cousins, and some of the great-grandchildren of my grandmother.  The common theme and memories from all three generations was about the foods she cooked.  As a result, I included this statement in the narrative of her funeral program.

    She will be remembered for her cooking of homemade biscuits, crackling corn bread, butter fish, chicken and rice, collard greens, stewed tomatoes, raisin cookies, and lemon meringue pies.

    One of my favorite memories of my grandmother’s cooking is her homemade biscuits.  (click here for that story)

    Grandma’s Spam Soup
    In another part of the food conversation, Michael Twitty mentioned to Professor Gates that he had found a reference which quoted the wife of a former Virginia governor to have said “No one bakes a ham better than a big, fat negro Mammy”.  Rather than taking offense to this, Mr. Twitty and Professor Gates put the comment in a positive and complimentary perspective as they stood near the stalk of sorghum.

    Twitty:  But somehow we got our hands in the sugarcane.
    Gates:  And our ancestors blackified it:
    Twitty:  We blackified it--we took everything and made it better, made it more soulful…

    This part of the conversation about putting the “blackified” or “soul” touch on food ignited my memories about my grandmother’s creative cooking methods and her spam soup.  Grandma’s family was poor and she also grew up during the Great Depression so I’m sure she learned some of this cooking creativity from her mother and other ancestors.  I remember one cold winter when food in the house was low and Grandma made a large pot of homemade soup.  Typically she included some type of meat in her soup such as chicken, turkey, or beef.  However, she did not have any meat in the house and no money to even buy meat from the store.  The closest thing she had to meat was a can of spam which someone had given her.  So along with her blending various types of fresh and canned vegetables to make the soup, Grandma cut the spam into chunks and threw them in the pot.  Talk about delicious!  

    In episode one, Professor Gates talked about slave cooks “crafting a distinct African American cuisine.”  Well, I must say that my grandmother’s spam soup, biscuits, and other meals were definitely “distinct African American cuisines.”  In the Bible, Jesus performed a miracle when he used two fish and five loaves of bread to feed a large crowd of over five thousand people.  During my lifetime, I witnessed my grandmother working quite a few meal miracles as she took what little she had to make a tasty meal.

    My Cooking and Eating Practices Today
    In the last two years, I have had to radically change my cooking and eating practices to improve my health.  Although my cooking methods are drastically different from my grandmother and other ancestors, I have learned through studying various recipes and by trial and error how to get some of the tastes of the past without the high salt, sugar, or fat that would have been used by my ancestors to “craft their distinct African American cuisines.

    For more information about Culinary Historian Michael Twitty:

    • African American Foodways with Michael W. Twitty
    • Interview of Michael Twitty by Bernice Alexander Bennett of Research at the National Archives and Beyond Blog Talk Radio Show

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    The African Americans: Many Rivers To Cross Series

    In July 2013, while vising St. Louis, Missouri, I took a comfortable boat ride across the Mississippi River.
    If the Mississippi River could talk, what stories would it tell?
    I am excited to be a member of the African-American Genealogy and History Blogging Circle.  This team of outstanding African-American bloggers and I will be watching the six-part series "The African Americans:  Many Rivers to Crosswhich began on PBS Tuesday, October 22, 2013.  The African-American Genealogy and History Blogging Circle and I will be blogging about our own genealogical and historical research and family sagas in relation to the time periods reflected in each episode.  Our goal is to put our own historical and genealogical spin on the story as well. We have therefore created a blogging circle in which we will share our own family saga in relation to the time periods reflected in each episode.

    The Many Rivers to Cross Series
    This six part series covers 500 year of African American history and explores “the risks they took and the mountains they scaled.”  African American history, literature, and music are full of references to “rivers” and other bodies of water.  In some of these references, “rivers” are a barrier in between slavery and freedom.  Whether traveling on foot, by wagon or boat, reaching the other side of the river is often symbolic with success and victory.

    Episodes and Time Periods of Many Rivers to Cross
    • Episode 1: The Black Atlantic (1500-1800)
    • Episode 2: The Age of Slavery (1800 - 1860)
    • Episode 3: Into the Fire (1861 - 1896)
    • Episode 4: Making a Way Out of No Way (1897-1940)
    • Episode: 5 Rise! (1940 - 1968)
    • Episode 6: It's Nation Time (1968 - 2013)

    My Initial Thoughts About the Many Rivers to Cross Series
    When I first learned about the “Many Rivers to Cross” series, I first thought about my African ancestors who survived the long voyage from Africa to American.  Many did not survive the journey, but although I do not know their names, I know that my ancestors survived.  The proof of their survival is ME!  After thinking about my African ancestors for a bit, my mind drifted back to more recent history—that is, my ancestors who migrated from small towns in Virginia and North Carolina in the early 20th century to larger cities in the North and South.  They too crossed a “many rivers” in order to move to new lands for a better life.

    The African-Americans Many Rivers to Cross Trailer

    African-American Genealogy and History Blogging Circle