Sunday, April 19, 2015

Small County Courthouses & Records: Researching My Loveless Family in Faulkner County, Arkansas

I just love visiting and researching in small towns and counties.

This past month I had the chance to conduct research in Conway, which is the county seat for Faulkner County in Arkansas. The total population for the county is 113,237 and Conway is the largest city at about 60,000.[1]  It is not far from Little Rock but had a very small-town feel.

Research opportunities abounded in town. I first visited the Faulkner County Museum, where director, Lynita Langley-Ware, assisted me. I found county maps, funeral home records, and more. One great find was a history of the Needs Creek Baptist Church which mentioned my great-great grandfather as a minister.

I also visited the two county offices: County Clerk in the Courthouse where the probate and vital records were stored, and the CountyCircuit Clerk where the land and court records were stored. We checked both offices, looking for the book which had the filed credentials of my minister gg-grandfather. It had been filed in the land records.

These land records were in great condition. They had been placed in newer binding that was removable and the pages in protective sheets. 

The books were heavy and my husband helped me remove them from the shelves. 

It was a cinch to remove the needed page(s) and photograph them with my digital camera. There was also a photocopy machine but it did not have 11 x 18 paper.

I was able to pick up quite a few land records for my Loveless family that had not been filmed by the LDS.

I visited the library archives at the University of CentralArkansas in Conway. They had the loose papers of my ggg-grandfather’s estate and I was allowed to photograph those papers, too.

Our trip also included visited five cemeteries where we searched for the burials from lists I had created. At Springhill Cemetery, located next to Springhill Baptist Church, a gentleman stopped by and asked if we needed help. He had the cemetery census book for the cemetery and helped us locate the various gravestones. At Oak Grove Cemetery, we had a tour guide, Chris Odom, who had my names all mapped out. The other cemeteries we managed on our own. I truly regret not taking photos of our helpers.

Researching on-site at our ancestor’s home is very rewarding and I had such wonderful success.

[1] “Faulkner County, Arkansas,” article, Wikipedia ( : accessed 19 Apr 2015). “Conway, Arkansas,” article, Wikipedia ( : accessed 19 Apr 2015).

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Road Trip to Arkansas

I'm planning a road trip to Arkansas, specifically Faulkner County and Little Rock, to do some genealogy research on my grandmother's Loveless line. Places I plan to visit:

Ouachita Baptist University, Special Collections, in the Riley-Hickingbotham Library. Here I hope to learn more about my great-great-grandfather, Ebenezer Loveless, who was a Baptist minister. They're open 8 to 5 and an archivist will be there to help me.

University of Central Arkansas where the Faulkner County Historical Society has their holdings. Not only did the Loveless family move to Arkansas from Georgia, but so did the Rodgers and Nixon families.

Hendrix College has a genealogy library and the Faulkner County Library has a genealogy section.

The Faulkner County Museum will also be a great place to stop to learn about local history. This museum is open Monday through Thursday from 9 to 4. I contacted the director of the museum and she plans to be there the day I arrive to help me.

I will also visit several cemeteries in central Faulkner County to take photos of many tombstones. Even though most are on Find-a-Grave, I want to have my own for use in publishing on the blog or in a book.

In Little Rock, I plan to visit the state archives at the Arkansas History Commission where I have a nice list of things to check out:
  • Loose probate papers for Jesse Loveless
  • Confederate pension papers for William A Loveless & Thomas J. Loveless
  • Leonardo Andrea collection which has genealogical papers, possibly for the Loveless family
  • Newspapers
I am looking forward to the side trips to Hot Springs, the Ozarks, and a visit of my husband's cousins. It's going to be a great trip. Wish me luck with my research!
Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - The Date Your Grandmother Was Born

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musing blog, has challenged us again. For this week's mission, we were challenged to:
  • What day of the week was your Grandmother born (either one)? Tell us how you found out.
  • What event was a headline in the newspapers on that date?  Tell us how you found out.
  • What has happened in recorded history on your Grandmother's birth date (day and month)? Tell us how you found out, and list five events.
  • What famous people have been born on your Grandmother's birth date?  Tell us how you found out, and list five of them.

My maternal grandmother, the namesake of this blog, Pansy Louise Lancaster, was born 19 November 1913. According to the website, What Day of the Week, November 13 was a Wednesday.

I went to Chronicling America website for newspapers published on that day. Headlines in the Washington Herald included 
  • “Garranza Makes Demand of Hale for Credentials,” and 
  • “Barnes Says Teddy Would Be President.”  
Because she was born in Texas, I looked at a newspaper from Texas, the El Paso Herald, had these headlines:
  • “Four Regiments to be Held at Ft. Bliss: More Troops Ordered to the Border,” and 
  • “Pinchot Leads Water Power Fight.”

For historical events on November 19, I checked Wikipedia.

Famous people born on her birthday include (from the same Wikipedia  article):

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - Four Degrees of Ancestral Separation

This theme from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings has a weekly fun post we can all join in. This week we're to find:
"Using your ancestral lines, how far back in time can you go with four degrees of separation? That means "you knew an ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor, who knew another ancestor." When was that fourth ancestor born?"
This is an interesting project. As you can see, this gets me back to an ancestor who was born in 1734 or maybe even earlier!

My maternal mother’s line:
1.    Me. I was born in 1954 and knew my grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster (1913-2013).

2.    Pansy Louise Lancaster (1913-2013) certainly knew her grandfather, William Carlton Lancaster (1873-1946) and probably her great grandfather, George Wilson Lancaster (1839-1919).

3.    George Wilson Lancaster (1839-1919) knew his father, Ellis Wilson Lancaster (1808-1866) and possibly his grandfather, Robert Lancaster (1734-1809) though he’d only be one years old, but they lived in the same place.

4.    Robert Lancaster (1734-1809) would have known his father, Nathaniel Lancaster (1734-1809) but I don’t know enough about his grandfather, John Lancaster (??-1770) to know whether they ever lived in the same place.

Note to self: Need to find when John Lancaster was born!

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Thursday, January 15, 2015

4th Anniversary!

I have been busy in Salt Lake City this week attending a course called "From Confusion to Conclusion," given by Harold Henderson and Kimberly Powell. It's a course about writing proof summaries and proof arguments. It's been a great class so far with lots of in-class exercises and discussions.

I nearly forgot about the anniversary of this blog until I saw Dick Eastman's post on his 19 year anniversary. I remembered our anniversaries were on the same day!

I've been lax in writing in this blog on my grandmother's family but plan to write about the Lancaster Family soon. I'm currently doing some land research and will write something soon.

So Happy Blogiversary to "Mam-ma's Southern Family!"

Copyright © 2015 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Monday, November 24, 2014

Mam-ma was a Tomboy

Mam-ma was a tomboy.
1930s One of Mam-mas dresses she made
A dress she made

You wouldn’t know it by the fact she was also a lover of clothes. When she was young, she sewed her own clothes. She also loved shopping for new clothes and she loved looking nice. For many years, turquoise was her favorite color, but in later life pinks and purples also became part of her color palette.

But she told me she was really a tomboy. She was named Pansy Louise but she hated her name, feeling it sounded too sissy. She liked sports and played softball as a young woman. But as the only girl in a household of boys and her mother being ill with Parkinson’s disease, she had to do a lot of housework and taking care of her younger brothers. So she learned to cook, clean, and sew.

Clothes Horse box
One of the stores where she worked.
This is an old box from the store.

She married at 19 and had my mother at 20. She worked as a seamstress, mending and altering men’s clothing and as a saleslady in women’s and men’s clothing stores. She worked at Goldman’s and for many years at The Clothes Horse, working at both the Walnut Creek and Concord stores. The Concord store was first at Sun Valley Mall and later moved to the Willows Shopping Center.

1979-03_Fat Farm-Tecote Mex - Mam-ma with tennis racket-crop
Mam-ma with her racket at a resort
After the death of Tom-Tom, she became active with sports again. She played tennis first. Not only playing tennis with her best friend, Eveline, but also going to pro tennis tournaments and watching matches on television. I played against Mam-ma once and my sister, Renee said they played together once, too.

At Dublin Bowl

When she couldn’t play tennis anymore, she took up bowling and continued to play into her nineties. She won tournaments and was proud to reach 90 and receive free games.

Bowling in Dublin, Calif.

She especially enjoyed bowling with her grandchildren and great-grandkids. It was always great fun. The youngsters would have a lane with the bumpers set up and us grownup would then have two adjacent lanes. Afterwards, we would all go out to lunch in a local Pleasanton restaurant. It was always such great fun!

Finally back pain prevented her from playing anymore. Instead, we had get-togethers in other ways from visits to her house to outings in restaurants.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun (SNGF) – Grandfather’s Birthdate

Randy Seaver’s SNGF this week is to pick one of my grandfathers, find out the date of birth, day of week, what famous events happened on that day in history, and what famous people were born on that day.  Here are my answers.

1. My maternal grandfather, Tom J. Johnston, was born 7 Oct 1912.  This was a Monday.

2. Important events on that day (from Wikipedia)

3. Famous people born on 7 October:
Copyright © 2014 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family