Posts

Broken Branch – When the End of the Line Families Are Not Well-Documented

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Note: this post should have originally been posted here instead of at My Trails Into the Past. I have been researching my maternal grandmother’s side of the family for over thirty years. Her family is southern, through and through, and I have not figured out yet when they arrived in the United States or through which state or colony. As I started out, I used census records to work my way back. Her father was a Lancaster and her mother a Loveless. The Lancaster line was straight forward until I got to Ellis Lancaster, her great-great-grandfather, because I found two Ellis Lancasters in Kentucky and I needed to sort them out. On her Loveless side, I acquired a book,  Loveless, Shockley, Flowers, Camp and Related Families  by Sheila Britt Cameron. [1]  Like many beginning genealogists, I took that book and entered many of the people from my lines into my genealogy program. Of course, I didn’t source the book, so now when I look at the record of these people, I don’t know where I obtain wh

1950 Census Returns for Families in Texas

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I had not yet had time to search at the National Archives 1950 census website for my ancestors and decided to locate the families who lived in Erath County, Texas. When I heard that Ancestry had completed their indexing project, similar to NARA’s, using optical character recognition of the handwriting, I decided to make a comparison. I searched first for my grandmother's father, George W. Lancaster, in Stephenville, Erath County, Texas at Ancestry . The first entry came right up with the correct spelling and correct wife, Lela A. [1] Searching at the NARA 1950 census website, the first return was also George Lancaster with the next person being Lela a. [2] Stephenville, Erath Co, Texas; 888 W. McNeill Next, I searched for my grandmother's father-in-law, Thomas N. Johnston, first at Ancestry and he came right up at the first entry. [3] At the NARA site, he came up as the second entry. The handwriting on these sheets is very legible, so that is likely a reason the OCR work

Turning a Negative into a Positive

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I found a negative in the papers of my grandmother. The image appears to be my grandmother's parents, George W. Lancaster and Lela Ann Loveless, likely on their wedding day. I scanned the image, as you can see here. I wondered if there was a way to convert it into a positive photo using software. That way, I wouldn't have to search for a specialized photo shop, since it was a larger format than 35mm. I found IMGonline.com.ua. I uploaded the negative scan and they converted the image to this. I am glad that it has converted, but it’s not quite what I would like. Next, I adjusted the image in Photoshop Elements to get it to look better, using the Enhance > Adjust Lighting > Levels. I moved the sliders until I got the image looking more like a true black and white photo.  I don't understand many of the tools in Photoshop Elements. It would be nice to crop the background out and to remove the spots on their faces. I also find it odd that the color of the two don't

How Do You Spell That?

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Genealogy research is never easy, and when a surname can be spelled in many ways, it can make it even tougher. However, one can make it even harder if only one spelling of the name is researched. My grandmother started me on that road back when I first began researching her family line. Her mother’s name was Lela Ann Loveless. She was very insistent that it was spelled with LESS at the end and not LACE. It did not take me long to discover that her ancestors were listed in records under all kinds of spellings: Loveless, Lovelace, Loveliss, etc. I wrote about this name previously here . Recordkeepers wrote down the name as they heard it. It really depended on the education of the recordkeeper. Sometimes these misspellings can indicate how a person pronounced the name. Lela Ann was listed in the 1900 census as “Leelar” which clearly indicates the pronunciation of her name in an Arkansas accent. I can just hear my grandmother say my mother’s name, also Lela, in the same manner. On my

Females: Our Maternal Line

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I am fortunate that my Mam-ma first tested her DNA with Family Tree DNA and at the time it was only mtDNA that was available for her. This DNA covers the ancestors of our mother’s mother’s mother, etc. So far, the matches haven’t help much but who knows that someday there might be the right match. Our mtDNA line begins with my daughters. Next is me. My mother Lela Nell Johnston was born 21 Aug 1934 in Erath County, Texas. She married William J Hork 19 Apr 1953 in Concord, Contra Costa County, California. Lela's mother was Pansy Louise Lancaster (my Mam-ma), who was born 19 Nov 1913 in Erath County, Texas. She married Tom J. Johnston 15 Dec 1933 in Comanche County, Texas. Pansy’s mother was Lela Ann Loveless was born 2 Apr 1896 in Faulkner County, Arkansas. She married George Warren Lancaster 15 Dec 1912 in Erath County, Texas. Lela’s mother was Eliza A Rogers was born May 1854 in South Carolina. She married Ebenezer Loveless 19 Mar 1871 in Chattooga County

1950 Census Prep for Maternal Relatives

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Last week I took care of making a list of addresses and enumeration districts (EDs) for my paternal family. This week, I'm focusing on the maternal side. The 1950 federal census records will be released on April 1, but there will be no indexes yet. I need to know the address of each person in order to locate them in specific enumeration districts, where I will browse for their households. To find their address, I used city directories, voter registrations, newspaper articles, and other records that give addresses. To find their enumeration district, I used the One-Step Unified Census ED Finder at Stevemorse.org. These are the direct ancestors who I expect to find on my mother’s side of the family. Pleasant Hill, California Tom J. and Pansy Johnston were living at 307 Nancy Lane . [1] Tom would be 37 and Pansy 36. I don’t know what his job was. He could be working at the pool hall. She may have been working as a seamstress for a dress or clothing store. Their daughter, Lela Ne

Branching Out – Watershed Mention in Deeds Can Help Place Property

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These themes are sometimes difficult to formulate a specific story about someone in the family. I often search for the word in my genealogy software and see what comes up. It is hit and miss whether that works. Today, I searched for “branch.” I found two people who have deed descriptions that mention “branch.” Land Description Knowing the name of a branch of a creek or river, can be helpful in place a piece of property that is only described as “north ten degrees west forty-three rods to an oak” etc. Having the name of a branch, creek, river, or other watershed type can help place that property, if not exactly, at least close to where it was located. To place it more precisely, locating the deed descriptions of all of his neighbors could be all that is needed. For example, Arthur Core of North Carolina received a patent from the Royal Governor, William Tryon on 4 May 1769 for 54 acres. [1] The description in the land patent book stated: “54 acres Dobbs the north side of Nuce [N