Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Secrets Buried Under a Family Tree

I happened upon this article reprinted in the blog, Climbing My Family Tree, Ruminations of a part-time genealogist, and would like to repeat a small portion of it here in my blog and allow you to view the entire article on "Climbing My Family Tree." The article was written by Boston Globe columnist Ellen Goodman.

The secrets buried under a family tree

I ALWAYS thought that genealogy was for people whose blood ran blue. It was for folks who traced their ancestry to the Mayflower or the American Revolution, not those who came over in steerage one step ahead of the Cossacks.

So when the New England Historic Genealogical Society published the family connections between presidential candidates and celebrities, I was an amused bystander. John McCain is the sixth cousin of Laura Bush? Hillary Clinton is the ninth cousin twice removed of Angelina Jolie? Barrack Obama is related to everyone from the Bushes to Brad Pitt? How American, I thought, to search an entire family tree to connect with the rich and famous who live, twice removed, on some distant branch.

On a lark, I went to visit D. Brenton Simons, the genial head of NEHGS, the society founded in 1845. Simons has so many American presidents in his own ancestry that he stops counting after Washington, Adams, Van Buren and FDR. But what he finds most fascinating are the everyday searches through the 200,000 books and the 28 million manuscripts, papers, and diaries that fill the building in Boston’s Back Bay.

“You can be related to a king or a horse thief,” says Simons, who shows no favoritism for either lineage. “We all make discoveries that surprise and enlighten us.”

So it is that I casually handed over a few names and dates from my own memory bank. I didn’t find a king or horse thief or Hollywood star, but I found a family secret. A garden-variety secret, I am sure, but a secret nonetheless.

OpenID magnoliablossom said...

I love your posts!

Back in my teaching days, I use to require my students every year to do family history research, then presentations. Because I knew most of them would run into these "skeletons", I always introduced the project my talking about my own!

You would have LOVED the presentations that I received. They were amazing! And, the "skeletons" always ended up being the most entertaining part of each student's tree--to them, the class, and to me.

May 11, 2008 5:21 AM

Blogger Judith Gail said...

Thank you SO much! I'me pretty new at this but I'm really enjoying it. I'm a big fan of genealogy and like you say, our own skeletons can sometimes be highly entertaining.

I feel I would have loved being in your class and hearing about all the "skeletons."

May 11, 2008 1:13 PM

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Want to Find Free Etext Books in More Sites?

My desire to accumulate U.S. history books and biographies has led me to some interesting sites. If you have ever done a Google search for "free etext" you probably know about,, and other URL's. Want to find free etext books in more sites? What many do not know is the availability of the three best sites that allow you to download thousands of books in PDF format and a variety of other formats. The three sites are, and

Remember, most of these books were generally written long before the Franklin D. Roosevelt administration so you will not find Gone With The Wind or most of the other popular twentieth century writings.

My download files are generally made in txt and PDF format. If you are going to use PDF format you will need to download Acrobat Reader 8.0 from (it is free). PDF format is my personal preference because the entire book is digitized, including the cover. You have an image of the book just as it appears on the shelf. The problems with PDF format are (1) you have to learn how to use Acrobat Reader well and (2) you have to possess something better than a dial-up modem system to make most of the downloads. Most of these books are five to eighty-five megabits and it takes some time to download them.

The following details each site, explains what each provides and explains how to search and download your choices.

This site appears to be sponsored by Microsoft Corporation in cooperation with the University of California. There may be many more businesses and universities

Read more of Bob's article on Associated Content.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Digging for Family Roots

My uncle was a diligent record-keeper and he was very eager for me to help him locate the burial place of his great-grandfather. He knew he was in Texas and had the names of a few places where he thought he might have lived at the end of his life, so we started "digging" a little deeper looking for that elusive clue.

About ten years ago I started searching for a way to safely store the genealogy information that he and others in my family had been collecting over the years. I not only needed a way to store it but a way to quickly calculate relationships and print family group pages and reports. I decided to invest in Family Tree Maker. I say invest because since then I have purchased one update after another. But I feel it was money well spent. Since my first introduction to the Family Tree Maker format my list of names has doubled, tripled, even quadrupled.

My uncle had names and dates as far back as 1817 and he knew that his great-grandfather Stone was born in Missouri. He also had all of his great-grandfather's brothers and sisters' names and years of birth. So we had a great starting point. I cannot say enough about the Internet and how it has helped me in my genealogy research over the years. I was thrilled when I found this family online at the USGenWeb Project in Galena, Stone County, Missouri. Stone County was named for Great-grandfather Stone's father, William Tilford Stone.

An excerpt from "History of Stone County Missouri" published by Stone County Historical Society 1989, pages 645-647:

The William T. Stone Family

Stone County, Missouri, can look back with pride on the pioneer whose name it bears. Old records show that William T. Stone was a native of Maryland. He left that state at the age of seventeen, migrating to Virginia. Here he lived for a time, and moved to Tennessee where on 15 March 1811, he married Martha Hailey: b. 15 March 1791, Tennessee; d. 16 July 1878, Galena, Missouri; buried Galena, Missouri Cemetery. 11 children.

In 1833 the family left Tennessee and moved to Polk County (now Christian County), Missouri. Shortly after this he moved his family into a wilderness frontier, took up residence on a farm where the town of Galena now stands. He entered upon the government land, which was then located in what was known as Taney County, Missouri. Two additions to the family were born here bringing the total to eleven children. William T. Stone died on March 31, 1846, and was buried in the Galena Cemetery.

When Stone County was organized in 1851 (from a part of Taney County), it was named in his honor. Old records state that he was a man of much importance in his day, well and favorable known throughout the Southwest. He held a number of prominent offices of trust, was a successful tiller of the soil throughout his lifetime, and always supported the Democratic Party (now Republican), being of the Jacksonian type. He was the first representative from the county.

He had served under General Jackson throughout the War of 1812 and was with him at the famous Battle of New Orleans. His death at Galena brought deep regrets by all who knew him. He had been a noted Nimrod of his day, killed numerous bears and deer, and killed one bear in Galena.

My Uncle's Excitement

My uncle was so excited when I found this information. The aforementioned book gave the names of William Tilford Stone's children and my uncle's great-grandfather's name was included! He was thrilled.

I ordered the book from the Stone County Historical Society and presented it to him that summer. He read that book over and over. My uncle was a Deacon in the Church of Christ and it was very natural for him to study a subject until he could teach a group of folks everything he knew about it. He and I spent many hours that summer and several years afterwards learning about and researching his "family roots."

My uncle died a few years ago and I now am the keeper of the "History of Stone County, Missouri." I will one day give all of my research done on his side of my family to one of his grandchildren. He has eight grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Two or three have expressed their desire to continue their beloved grandfather's interests and pursuit of the fascinating story of their ancestry.

If you have not searched for your ancestors you would be amazed at what you can learn by just "surfing" the net!

You remember that we were trying to find where my uncle's great-grandfather is buried? Well, while at the website I placed a query on the discussion board for Stone County. I was pretty excited when I got an email from a young man who claimed to be the great-grandnephew of my uncle's great-grandfather. He had a letter written by his grandmother that included all sorts of names and dates that backed up facts that we knew to be true. His grandmother's maiden name was Stone.

He wanted to meet my uncle and so we planned a visit to my uncle and aunt's on the weekend when the University of Oklahoma played at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. They said they always tried to attend the game. So that year we all met one another and shared stories and pictures. They even brought a video of some of the Stones at family picnics.

From their information we learned that my uncle's great-grandfather Stone was buried in Malakoff, Henderson County, Texas. We were very excited to learn this but didn't have the name of the cemetery. One day after our meeting with these distant cousins, my husband and I drove my uncle and aunt to Malakoff to see if we could find his grave. Although we went to several cemeteries we weren't able to locate his headstone, but we spent a wonderful day that fall roaming the countryside and snooping around the cemeteries. I feel sure Great-grandpa Stone is there. One day I'll find him. I promised I would.

Why Pay for Major League Baseball?

For those of us who are not fortunate enough to live in a large city with a Major League Baseball team, please be advised that your baseball thirst can be quenched. My life has been mostly an exposure to the Nashville Vols and the Durham Bulls (of movie fame). Add to that twelve years of managing Little League baseball teams and you have a baseball life that is relished by many.
In recent years, my life has changed in dramatic ways. One, I relocated to Fort Worth, Texas and I gained the opportunity to attend Texas Rangers’ baseball games. Secondly, I relocated to Fort Worth, Texas and discovered independent league baseball, American Association League baseball to be specific. I had no idea there was any baseball besides Major League, college, Minor League and Little League. What a pleasant surprise.
You’re probably thinking the independent leagues consist of losers and failures. Not a chance. Losers and failures don’t have the character and intestinal fortitude to not give up when faced with adversity and little time left to succeed. Click on the link below to find out why the games are so much fun.
Fort Worth Cats and Grand Prairie AirHogs

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas

Homsley Reunion, Seymour, Texas
Copyright (c) 2015 by Judith Richards Shubert