Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Communtcating Without Talking

I have no outlandish stories to tell about my flight from Seattle to Nashville. 

But, I did have a first.

Because of the tenderness that is still present with my shoulder, I am allowed to pre-board. My doctor wants me to wear the sling as needed, but particularly when I fly. It gives a visual signal, especially if I need help.

As I am sitting up against the window with a stuffed cow under my arm for support, a kind looking tiny Asian lady asked by motioning to me that she would like to sit by me.

Of course.!

Now, I am not profiling...I am just giving the scenario.

We both took lots of photos out my window. I showed her when Mt. Ranier came up, and then soon we had the three mountains perfectly framed in the window.

We saw lakes, and rivers, and more mountains. Cloud formations were spectacular as well approached Nashville. The city lights there put off the most beautiful glow from the air.

Now, why am I telling you this?

Because she couldn't speak a word of English. And, I didn't know a single word of her native language.

But, we spent 3 1/2 hours in the air communicating with each other as we gazed upon the beauties of the earth.

Perhaps there was a lesson there for those of us who do speak the same language.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

All That Sarah Saw

Today I'm going to piggyback off a post I did concerning Randal Smith and Sarah Fulkerson.  Some of it contained information from Randal's application for a Revolutionary War pension.  The other part was about Sarah, and her census information showing her at 100 years old in 1850.

It also showed her her death certificate, which listed her age at 102.  The post can be found here.

I began thinking about all of the things Sarah would have seen in her lifetime.  A few years ago I discovered a website that can generate a timeline of world events.  All you have to do is put your ancestor's name in the box, put in the birth and death dates, and it will put together a timeline, both viewable and printable, that will show you things that may have impacted their lives.

The name of the site is, and can be found here.

Here is the landing page:

You will want to click on "Timeline" in the left column.

So, here comes Sarah's timeline, according to the known information we have on her.  She was reportedly born in North Carolina and died in Kentucky. 

 She was born before the French and Indian War.  Would that have affected her?  Maybe not.  But, it might have involved her father.

And, Halley's Comet.  Would she have seen it?  Would her older siblings, or her parents?

The Revolutionary War was in full swing when she was in her late 20's to early 30's.  How did that impact her family?

The dollar was adopted when she was 36 years old.  She was married by then.  How did that impact her family?  Or, perhaps her father's probate?

North Carolina entered the union when she was 39 years old.  Did that affect her and her family?  That's where they were living at the time.

Kentucky entered the union when she was 42 years old.  By the time she reached that age, her family had moved from North Carolina to Kentucky.

She was in her 50's when the Lewis and Clark Expedition was going on.  Did she know about it?

In her early 60's, the War of 1812 was in full swing.  Did her husband or her sons serve?  Many Kentuckians volunteered to go to fight at the River Raisin, where there was an unfortunate massacre.  They never forgot the injustices done to them there.  So, when Oliver Hazard Perry put out a clarion call for volunteers during the Battle of Lake Erie, who volunteered again?  The Kentuckians!

From the age of 67 to 73, there was a cholera pandemic.  She survived.

The first railroad in the United States was completed at age 78.  It's not likely that impacted her at that time in Kentucky.
The California Gold Rush occurred when she was 98 years old.  This may have impacted a son who suddenly disappears from our records.  I'm in the process of trying to locate him and his son right now.

Sarah may or may not have seen quite a few things in her life.  I don't know.  There were changes in America, along with wars.  There were advances in industrialization.  The money system changed.  There were pandemics, which she survived.  And, there were wonders in the sky.

Now, if you really want your eyes opened, plug your own name into the search box.  You will be amazed at how much has happened just in your own lifetime!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Randal and Sarah/Sally Fulkerson Smith; A Long Life and a Sad Tale

Yes, I have a Smith line in my family tree.

But, fortunately this Smith line has been one that has fallen into place a lot easier than I expected.

Randal Smith was born in Amelia County, Virginia...we think.  At least, that's what was in his pension file.  

He died sometime after the 1840 census was taken, and fell in the 80-90 age range, as did his wife Sarah.

But, it was his pension file from the Revolutionary War that touched my heartstrings.

Rejected or Suspended Applications for Revolutionary War Service - Kentucky

Smith, Randal - Carter - For deficient proof of service
Claims of Kentucky Residents, 1850

At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, he would have been about 27 years old.  And, living in Virginia, there is a high likelihood he would have served.

But, it was a statement made by a neighbor that gave us a glimpse of his life as an old man:

from - Pension Application
Service:  NC     Smith, Randol     #R9834
Statement from Tho. T. Horn
"Enclosed you will find the Decleration of Mr. Randol Smith an old Revolutioner, who request of you to try and obtain for him a pension.  he hos that you will use your influance in his behalf I have been acquainted with the old man for near Thirty years, and from every information from him self & neighbours I have no doubt that he served his Country during the Revolutionary war to the full extent of the time that he aleges, he is now very old as you will see from his statement, holy dependant upon his neighbours for a support for him self and wife who is but a few years younger than himself.  they live a lone by them two selves in a small cabin in the woods not evin inclosed by a fence & not nearer than a mile of a neighbour.  the old people hopes that you will befriend them in this as necessity has caused him to make the request.  I was at there cabin a week or two ago the old man is not able to get up when he is down without help. - The old man a few years ago gave alll he had for a Negro Boy for the purpos of working & supporting him self & wife and in the cours of Three or Four months the Negro was proven & taken away from him.  it appears that the negro had bin stolen by the man that sold it to Smith.  That is one cause of there dependant situation at the present. - A few weeks ago I sent to your care the Declaration of Jas Horsly which I have not as yet go any answer be so good as to write me on the subject immediately & your prompt complyance to the above will be duly acknowledge by your friend Truly     Tho. T. Horn
PS  All Communications on the subju Direct to me at Grayson Carter County K.Y.     Thos. T. Horn"

Pension was eventually rejected, as the only witness was another man about 115 years old.  He was not found on the pension roll of 1832.  He served from NC under Colonel Yarborough (aka Yarber). 

It goes on to say:
"Rev. War Pension File #R9834. States that in 1843 he was a resident of Carter Co., Ky. Goes on to say Burliegh Grayson has known SMITH for 30 years and that SMITH is very old and must rely on neighbors to support himself and his Wife, who is just a few years younger than her Husband. They live alone in a cabin in the woods and had a negro boy until a few years ago having been stolen by the man who sold him to SMITH. The file goes on: On 13 Jan 1843 in Carter Co., Ky Randaol states that he moved as a small boy from Amelia Co., Va to Wilks Co., NC. He enlisted at Wilkes Co., in 1778 and was the battle of Hanging Rock and served a total of 5 to 6 years. He then moved from NC to Greenup Co. (now Carter Co.) Ky 30 Years ago and is now 95 Years old."

So, according to Randal, he served a total of 5-6 years, and was at the Battle of Hanging Rock.  I looked up some of the details on this battle:

The Battle of Hanging Rock (August 6, 1780) was a battle in the Revolutionary War that occurred between the American Colonies and the British.

1 Precursor

1.1 Location
2 Preparations
2.1 British strength
2.2 American strength
3 The battle
4 Aftermath
5 Notes

Charleston fell into British hands in May 1780. Within weeks, Cornwallis' army had spread over South Carolina, setting up stations at major towns, such as Camden. Each station had outposts whose role was to intimidate the locals and disrupt any attempts of the Patriots to organize. [1]

The battle was in present-day Lancaster county south of Heath Springs, South Carolina, about a mile and a half from a place known as Hanging Rock. [2]


British strength
A British garrison was located just south of Heath Springs. It was well fortified with more than 1400 British troops, including the 500-man Prince of Wales Regiment of the regular army, led by Major Carden of the British Army.

American strength
General Thomas Sumter.The Americans were under Gen. Thomas Sumter, commanding troops made up of Maj. Richard Winn's Fairfield regiment, Col. Edward Lacey's Chester regiment, Col. William Hill's York regiment and Maj. William Richardson Davie of the Waxhaws of Lancaster county with Col. Robert Irwin's cavalry of Mecklenburg county, North Carolina. [3]

The battle
Sumter decided on a plan of attack of assaulting the camp in three mounted detachments. The initial assault was made early in the morning where Winn's and Davie's men completely routed Bryan's corps. Capt. McCulloch’s company of the British Legion, after presenting a volley, was also routed by Sumter’s riflemen. The Prince of Wales Regt. also came under heavy fire and suffered very severe losses, including Carden who was badly wounded. The King’s Carolina Rangers then came up, and having cleverly deployed themselves in some woods, checked the rebel assault with a surprise crossfire. This allowed the British to drew up on a hollow square in the center of the cleared ground, and to further protect themselves with a three-pounder which had been left by some of Rugeley’s Camden militia. [4]

Then, in the heat of the battle, Major Carden of the British Command lost his nerve and surrendered his command to one of his junior officers. This was a major turning point for the Americans. At one point, Capt. Rousselet of the Legion infantry, led a charge and forced many Sumter’s men back. Lack of ammunition made it impossible for Sumter to completely knock out the British. The battled raged for 3 hours without pause, causing many men to faint from the heat and thirst.

A marker at the scene of the battle.At the end, the British had lost 192 soldiers; the Americans lost 12 killed and 41 wounded. It should have been a total American victory but the American militia was untrained and suffered from extreme thirst. A small group of Americans came across a storage of rum in the British camp and became so drunk that it became necessary to prematurely start the march back to the base camp at Waxhaw. Thus, the intoxicated Americans were in no condition to take prisoners and let the remainder of the British army retreat to Camden. [5]

Granted, some of our ancestors didn't hang onto their paperwork like we are so wont to do today.  I have other grandfathers who were also engaged at that same battle.  They also didn't have their paperwork.  It's sad that the one witness who could vouch for Randal being on the battlefront claimed to be 115 years himself.

Randal and his wife Sarah suffered poverty in their later years, along with a lot of others.  Their neighbors were kindly enough to look in on them to see to their care as best as they could.  

Randal would die sometime after the 1840 census was taken.  Wife Sarah/Sally would go on to be listed in the 1850 as being age 100.  She died two years later.
"United States Census, 1850," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 12 April 2016), Sally Smith in household of William Smith, Carter county, Carter, Kentucky, United States; citing family 197, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).
(Note: Her place of birth is listed as Virginia.)

(Note:  Her place of birth is listed as North Carolina.)

Source Information Kentucky, Death Records, 1852-1964 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2007.
Original data:
  • Kentucky. Kentucky Birth, Marriage and Death Records – Microfilm (1852-1910). Microfilm rolls #994027-994058. Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Be Sure to Look Next Door

Some lines on my pedigree are a mess.

I've tried to straighten them out, and so have hundreds of other researchers.  I'm not sure that they're any better than they were a few years ago.

They're all in a wad.

The family lines I am particularly thinking about are the Mullins, who lived in southwest Virginia and southeast Kentucky.  The main problem occurs because of family names that appear in every generation and are spread out among all of the cousins in that generation.  Evidently, some family names were greatly favored.

One thing I love about research is looking at maps.  They can give such a wonderful bird's eye view of a vicinity.

But, most maps don't show the hills and the hollers and the creeks and the valleys and the know what I mean.  It takes a different map for that.

Recently, I was trying to figure out why I wasn't having much luck finding some of my family in the records of Floyd County, Kentucky.  They lived in the southeast part of that county, and should have gone to the county seat of Prestonsburg.

However, I did find several records next door in neighboring Pike County, where the county seat is Pikeville.


This may be the answer.  Let's look at it closely.
The bottom star is the area where my family lived.

Prestonsburg is the county seat, just to the northwest of them.

Pikeville is just across the county line into Pike County.

A flat map wouldn't tell us much.  But, look at the detail of a topographical map from GoogleEarth.  When the map is enlarged, greater details emerge showing much more of the lay of the land.

It just may have been easier to go next door and pay taxes in Pikeville...which you could opposed to the distance and the terrain to go clear to Prestonsburg.

Just some food for thought.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

A "Mini" Roadshow

RootsTech has something for everyone.

If you have an item you would like to know a little bit more about, you can bring it to the Heirloom Show and Tell.

Here is a brief announcement that came through my newsfeed this past week:

Heirloom Show and Tell
Do you have an antique, an heirloom, or a photo that you’d like an expert to look at? Now’s your chance! Bring in any small item or a photo of a large item that you’ve been wondering about, and the experts will tell you more about it. No sign-up is required. Stop in during regular Expo Hall hours.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

More Than One County the Same County?

Sometimes if you don't ask the right questions, you just never find out.
Marion Co., Ohio Courthouse

A few years ago, I was researching in a county that was known to have record losses through a burned courthouse.  And, I wasn't having much luck.  

As I was packing up to leave, the county worker asked me if I had tried searching in the north courthouse.  I wasn't sure what she meant, and she explained that there were actually two county seats in this county.

I had never heard of such a thing.

Sure enough, I found what I needed in the courthouse that hadn't burned, and one I didn't even know existed.  It was in the days before information was more easily accessible via the Internet.

Here is a list of United States counties with more than one county seat:  

And, here is a screenshot I use in one of my presentations:
So, when you find out there has been record losses in one of your counties that you research, be sure to ask:

  1. What years were burned?
  2. Which years were not affected?
  3. Where are they housed?
    1. There is always a possibility they may have been housed in another location, such as an annex.
  4. Ask how badly they were burned.
    1. Think about it.  Have you ever tried to burn a book?  It's hard.  It may singe around the edges, but it really is difficult to burn the whole thing.

It was only a few years ago that two friends of mine went to research in a northwestern Kentucky county.  I don't recall if there had been record loss there, or not.

They didn't find what they had hoped to find, so they left and went across the street to a bookstore.  In a conversation with the owner, he asked what they were in town for.

They mentioned they had been researching at the courthouse, but hadn't had the luck they hoped to have.

He asked which records they were looking for, and when they told him, he said he had those in the back of the store!

In a bookstore!

Don't give up.  Here is another screenshot from one of my presentations concerning Adams Co., Ohio.

Seventy years!!!  Like I said, don't give up.

Book Scanning at RootsTech

FamilySearch has such a wonderful book collection, because of the many people who have titles that they own and have copyright of.

Once again, RootsTech will have a large section of the Vendor Hall set aside for book scanning.

I know first-hand how valuable this service is, for a few years ago at our Family History Center, a man came in with a large volume of family history that he had done himself.  He was so grateful to the LDS Church, and for the records of FamilySearch, for usage of their microfilm and microfiche had enabled him to compile a beautiful genealogy of his family's history.

He wanted his sons to have a copy, and was prepared to copy the entire book so each of them could have one.

He also wanted FamilySearch to have a copy, but he was unsure if he had the funds to make another copy.  

I contacted the Acquisitions Department, and they said to have him fill out a "Permission to Duplicate Form" slip, and send it out to them.  We did just that, and I used labels and a box from the Center to send it on.

We received it back a short time later, along with a free roll of the microfilm it was put onto.  It would become part of the collection, and people around the world would be able to view it.

Consider what you have at home that could benefit others.  If you find there is something, fill out a "Permission to Duplicate Form", and bring it with you.

Your generosity could be the answer to someone else's dilemma.

The "Permission to Duplicate Form" can be found here.