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Posted in Baking With My Ancestors

Brown Sugar Saucepan Blondies

If I’m being honest, I have never been a fan of Blondies. So, when I came across this recipe I didn’t immediately feel the need to bake them. I kept searching for a different recipe to try. As I continued to search, this recipe kept coming back to my mind. Maybe it was time that I finally time to give Blondies another try.

The history of Blondies started during World War II. Women were looking for an alternative to Brownies since chocolate and white sugar were being rationed. It was time to get creative. Originally called “Light Colored Brownies” by Mrs. Alexander George (a home economics teacher turned newspaper columnist), these so-called Brownies replaced white sugar with brown sugar and left out the chocolate completely. As Blondies evolved, bakers included butterscotch chips, pecans, and many other ingredients to make them their own.

Needless to say, after trying these Blondies, I am now a big fan!

Ingredients

  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped pecans, if desired

How-To

  1. Place a rack in the center of the over, and preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease and flour a 13×9 baking pan and set it aside.
  2. Place the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and stir until melted. Add the brown sugar and stir with a wooden spoon until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the granulated sugar and stir until well combined, 1 minute. Let cool sightly.
  3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt in a medium-size bowl. Add a third of the flour mixture to the saucepan and stir to combine and bring down the temperature of the butter and sugar mixture, 30 seconds. Add half the beaten eggs and the vanilla. Stir to combine, 30 seconds. Add another third of the flour mixture, stir to combine, then add the rest of the eggs, then the last of the flour, and stir until smooth. Turn the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle the top with pecans, if desired. Place the pan in the oven.
  4. Bake the Blondies until nut brown around the edges and just firm in the center, 20 to 25 minutes. You do not want to overbake.
  5. Remove the pan from the oven, and place it on a wire rack to cool. Score the Blondies into pieces with a sharp knife. When completely cool, slice into pieces and serve. These Blondies keep covered at room temperature for up to 4 days and in the freezer for up to 4 months.

(recipe c/o American Cookies by Anne Byrn)

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Posted in Genealogy 101

Guest Blogger – Annika with Find A Swede

I love connecting with other genealogist and family history fans through social media. That is how I met Annika. She is a Swedish genealogist and the owner of Find a Swede. Annika lives a stone’s throw from the harbor where one million Swedes emigrated between 1850 and 1910.

While I haven’t found my Swedish ancestor just that, I love learning about Swedish history and how to do Swedish genealogy. That is why I was so excited when Annika offered to do a guest post all about Swedish Genealogy! Below, she explains just how to get started. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did and make sure to go follow her on Instagram: @FindASwede

How to trace your lineage in Sweden
It’s easy to access historical records in Sweden. The earliest resident registrations are from the 17th century. There are even taxation registers from the 16th century. But, you may have to change your approach when you trace your lineage in Sweden. You are not likely to find a Facebook group for your Johansson family. In fact, your ancestor’s surname may not help you much at all. Before the 20th century most Swedes did not have regular surnames. They existed mainly among some professionals like priests, soldiers, or craftsmen. But these last names could just as well be personal names and not family names. Most Swedes went by a patronymic. The son of Johan had the last name Johan’s son – Johansson. The female version was Johan’s daughter – Johansdotter. This way you will find different last names in the same family. You will also have people who are not related sharing a last name. So it’s not meaningful to search for the Johansson lineage.
The use of patronymics ended in 1901. The naming becomes less confusing after that. But the names are still not useful for tracing your family history in the 19th century.

So what do you do?

Think like a real estate agent. Location, location, location. Instead of searching for your Johansson lineage, think of them as your ancestors from Sandvik Parish, Jönköping County. It will make everything easier. The name of the parish is usually the most important thing to know. Most of the records are organized that way. Some parish
names exist in more than one county. So to know the parish, you may also have to know the county. As family historians we often share our work with other genealogist or online. Be careful to include the birth and death parishes in your family tree. Only listing the names of your ancestors is not going to be useful for anyone else. If you add the
location, the chances of making a meaningful connection will multiply. There are many local history groups for different regions on Facebook. Some of them are specifically for local family history. The groups are often based on the province (landskap) or the nearest city. Some of the groups even have English names. But it’s usually fine to write in English in the Swedish speaking groups as well. If you don’t know the birth location of your ancestor, I have a blog post with useful statistics. Where Did My Swedish Ancestor Come From? Other great tools are
https://www.hembygd.se/shf

https://www.hitta.se/

https://www.eniro.se/

So to reiterate, when you trace your Swedish ancestors you want to focus on the home parish. Location, location, location. That’s the Swedish approach to genealogy.
If you want to start researching your Swedish ancestors, I have a free guide on how to take the first steps.

Have fun tracing your Swedish ancestors! There’s so much information out there. You may even feel like you get to know them.

Annika

Annika, the owner of Find A Swede

If you would like to be a guest blogger on my site, send me an email to coolgirlgenealogy@gmail.com

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Posted in Baking With My Ancestors

Grandmother’s Coca-Cola Cake

My grandmother was not the type of woman to pass down recipes. It isn’t because she didn’t want to. It’s more because she never really followed a recipe. Whenever any would ask how to make a particular dish, her instructions were basically “a pinch of this, and a dash of that until it looks good”. She made some amazing dishes, but my favorite (and, luckily the one she actually wrote down) was Coca-Cola Cake!

The recipe in my Grandmother’s handwriting.

Nobody knows exactly where Coca Cola cake originated.  Some say it was by a housewife looking for a new spin on a chocolate cake.  Others say it was created by Coca Cola themselves as a clever way to market their drink in other ways.  The only thing everyone can agree on is that it was invented in the South.  The Coca Cola Company’s headquarters are, after all, located in Atlanta, Georgia.

Marshmallows and chocolate?! Yes, please!

Coca Cola cake it not made like a traditional cake.  If you find it a bit lumpy at moments, that’s okay!  Also, when you are finished with the batter, it may appear a bit runny.  That’s okay too!  While this cake may have some unusual steps, it’s tough to mess it up.  That’s the best thing about this recipe…even the mistakes taste yummy!

The finished product!

A note before you get started, the frosting will be applied to the cake while both the cake and frosting are still warm!

Ingredients (batter)

  • 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa
  • 1 cup Coca Cola
  • 1 cup Butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 1/2 cups Marshmallows (I use mini marshmallows)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup Buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla

How to make the Batter

  1. Grease and flour 9×13 inch cake pan and set aside
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour and sugar. Stir to combine.
  4. In a saucepan, combine cocoa, Coca Cola, butter, and marshmallows and bring to a boil.
  5. Combine the boiled mixture with the flour/sugar mixture and set aside.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, buttermilk, baking soda, and vanilla.  Add to the mixture in the large bowl.
  7. Pour mix into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.
  8. Cake will be ready when a toothpick comes out clean.

Ingredients (frosting)

  • 1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)
  • 3 tablespoons Cocoa
  • 6 tablespoons Coca Cola
  • 1 box Confectioner’s Sugar
  • Optional: 1/2 to 1 cup Nuts (use your preference for type of nuts and how much)

How to make the Frosting

  1. In a saucepan, bring butter, cocoa, and Coca Cola to a boil.
  2. Stir in the sugar and mix well.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in the nuts.
  4. Spread over the cake while both are still warm.

You’ll want the Frosting to set before you serve it.  Once it does, dig in and enjoy!

A selfie with my Grandmother

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Posted in Ancestor Stories

AMMD Pine Grove Project

Sometimes the messages you find in your Ancestry inbox can bring about the best connections. That is how I met my cousin Sonja. We matched each other through AncestryDNA and after a few back and forth messages, we figured out our connection. Sonja is my 7th cousin, 1x removed. While that might not seem like a close connection, it doesn’t matter. We are still family and hopefully someday soon we will move from Facebook family to hanging out in real life family!

As I’ve got to know Sonja better, she told me about the AMMD Pine Grove Project. I fully support any project that seeks to save historical areas/buildings, but this was family! This project is working to save the Pine Grove School. The school was established by free African Americans who wanted to give their children the gift of education. Founded in a rural, segregated, farming community, it is a very important piece of history that needs to survive for future generations.

The Project recently received recognition as one of 2020 Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places by Preservation Virginia. Preservation Virginia is the premier preservation organization in Virginia. It warms my heart to see all the hardwork paying off! Below you’ll find the press release talking about the designation, and details about the project, written my Sonja’s mother (and another one of my wonderful cousins), Muriel Miller Branch. Also, make sure to check out the bottom of the release to see where you can find more about the AMMD Pine Grove Project and how you can support this wonderful project!

 Muriel Miller Branch, President of the AMMD Pine Grove Project and former student of the Historic Rosenwald School, stands in front of the community’s beloved Pine Grove School in Cumberland County, Virginia as she is creating a video to submit to Preservation Virginia.  

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Pine Grove School Community on the                                                       

2020 Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places

May 19, 2020

The cause for today’s celebration (May19th) is to announce the Pine Grove School Community’s selection as one of the 2020 Virginia’s Most Endangered Historic Places by Preservation Virginia, the premier preservation organization in Virginia. This recognition coincides with AMMD Pine Grove Project’s vision of “Preserving History, Expanding Community.”

Pine Grove School’s origin is as humble as the former enslaved and free African Americans who established the school  to educate their children in this rural, segregated, farming community.  In 1916, Black residents of the community seized the opportunity afforded them through the Rosenwald Fund and building project, to build a school. They contributed the land, a sizable amount of money, and the labor to build it, and the school opened to students in the Fall of 1917.

Pine Grove School is one of the few remaining Rosenwald Schools established in rural communities throughout the South for the purpose of educating colored children. The brainchild of  Dr. Booker T. Washington of the Tuskegee Institute and Julius Rosenwald, President of Sears Roebuck Company, both visionaries, devised a plan to build state-of-the art schools for children who would not otherwise have received an education due to Jim Crow laws imposing racial segregation. The two-room schoolhouse served Pre-K to Sixth grade students, who walked up to five miles to attend their cherished school. 

In 1964, after the school closed its doors, a groups of concerned residents of the community, led by Mr. Robert L. Scales, rescued Pine Grove from auction by Cumberland County, and later repurposed  the building to serve as the Pine Grove Community Center for over a decade. However, with the death of many of its members, the School became neglected. Pine Grove School was on the verge of demise until, in 2018, members of the Agee-Miller-Mayo-Dungy families created a grassroots organization to save the school. The newly formed group paid the back taxes and began to visualize a new life for Pine Grove. Shortly after organizing, AMMD learned about the proposed installation of a Mega Landfill adjacent to Pine Grove which would adversely effect both the historical integrity and the environmental integrity of the school and community, and a two-fold fight ensued. Muriel Miller Branch, an alumna, spearheaded the effort to save the school that she, her father, and numerous relatives and neighbors had attended. 

The efforts of the AMMD’s Pine Grove Project have been rewarded many times over by attracting family, alumni, community, scholars, legislators, environmental justice organizations,  and historical and cultural institutions.  It has become a beehive of inspired, willing workers. 

The Mission of AMMD Pine Grove Project is to work cooperatively with a broad coalition of individuals and organizations “to protect, restore, and repurpose the historic Pine Grove Elementary School as an African American Museum and Cultural Center to showcase the contributions of the community that built and sustained it.

For more information, about the AMMD Pine Grove Project, email: ammdpinegroveproject@gmail.com.

You can also follow the organization on Social Media:

https://www.facebook.com/ammdpinegroveproject/

https://www.instagram.com/projectpinegrove/

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Posted in Weekend Update

Weekend Update: May 9, 2020

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I don’t know about you, but all this quarantine and stay-at-home business has thrown me all off.  I’ve been working at home (my day job is as a Title Agent) since mid-March.  While my commute to the office is not far at all, I embraced the extra time I was given.  I made list after list of things I wanted to get caught up on, as well as new things to try.  I just knew that I was going to come out of the other side of this quarantine with so many amazing projects done!

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Fast forward to today and I’ll be heading back to the office in the coming week.  As I look back, I feel like I accomplished nothing.  I actually did little to no genealogy work in the month of April.  I realize now, that while I had my long list of things I really wanted to do, what I really needed was a break.  I think I had just got so wrapped up in my “there’s something to do every minute” life, that when I had the extra time I felt like I needed to fill it with something. Now I’m sitting here not sure how to feel about my quarantine experience.

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I’m giving myself grace.  Not everybody is going to come out of this quarantine having accomplished everything that they set out to.  While I may not have done much genealogy research, I was able to put in motion a couple of genealogy projects that I’m really excited about (detail to come!).  Also, I’ve made plans to keep the website consistently updated and I’ll be bringing back the newsletter! I’m refreshed and so excited to continue on this genealogy journey with you!

Happy researching!

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Posted in Genealogy 101

Genealogy 101 Live: Episode 1 Recap

In case you missed it, last night was episode one of my new series, Genealogy 101 Live. I talked about how I got started in genealogy and what it looks like to do this professionally.  I also touched on what you should do if you are wanting to get started on your family history journey.

I announced the topic for my next episode which will be all about Census records.  While I’ll mainly be focusing on United States census records, I’ll touch briefly on other census records from other countries (i.e. Ireland).  Make sure you’re following me on Instagram where I’ll announce when the next episode will go live!  I’d love to have you join me!

Another reason to follow me on Instagram is that I will be doing a giveaway when I hit 1,000 followers!  If you’re already following me, thank you!  It means the world to me!  If not, give me a follow.  All who are following me when I hit the 1,000 mark will be entered to win a genealogy surprise!

Here are a few links to things that I talked about last night:

Board for Certification of Genealogists

Research Charts and Forms

Sample Interview Questions

 

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Posted in Baking With My Ancestors

Baking with My Ancestors: School Lunch Peanut Butter Cookies

I don’t know about you, but I have been doing a lot of baking during this stay at home time.  I love to bake anyway, but having to stay home on the weekends is making me more creative in the kitchen. Last week, I decided to take my baking skills to Facebook Live and share some recipes.  When deciding what to bake, I wanted to include my love of genealogy and history.  If you know me, then you know that baking and history are my two biggest passions.  Any time I can combine the two make me a very happy girl!

I stumbled across this recipe and read the history behind it.  It seems that peanut butter cookies (and this recipe in particular) became very popular during the Great Depression.  A time I feel that we can all relate to at the moment.  Peanut Butter became a star because it was a great source for protein and B vitamins.  Vegetable shortening was used because it was much less expensive than butter.

Peanut Butter cookies can thank lunch room ladies for their new-found popularity during the Great Depression and the years following.  Women were going to work and many of them found employment in the lunch room of schools.  The lunch ladies wanted an inexpensive, but nutritional, way to give the kids a treat.  Enter the peanut butter cookies.  Cookies were made in bulk on Monday and stored to be used through out the week.  The cookies had a longer shelf life than the average cookie, which lended itself to the penny-pinching mindset of the time.

Below, you’ll find a recipe for the School Lunch Peanut Butter cookie.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!  I’d love to see your finished product too!  Post a picture in the comments or on Social Media!  Make sure to tag @coolgirlgenealogy

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (can be light or dark)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tablespoons for pressing into the top of the cookies
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

How-To

  1. Place rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 375F.  Set aside 2 ungreased baking sheets.
  2. Place the peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, and 1/2 cup of the granulated sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until creamy, about 1 minute.  Add the vanilla and egg, and beat on medium-low until the mixture is smooth, about 45 seconds.  Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  3. Whisk together the sifted flour, soda, and salt in a medium-size bowl and turn this into the peanut butter mixture.  Beat with the mixer on low speed until the dry ingredients are just incorporated, 45 seconds to 1 minute.
  4. Drop the dough in 1″ pieces spaced about 3″ apart on the pans.  Press the top of each ball twice with a fork dipped in the remaining granulated sugar, creating a crosshatch pattern.  Place one pan at a time in the oven.
  5. Bake the cookies until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the pan for 1 minute, then transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool.

(recipe c/o American Cookie cookbook)

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Posted in Genealogy 101

Genealogy 101 Live

New Live series starts tonight over on my Instagram page!  Tonight (May 2nd) at 7pm (central) I’ll start off the series by talking about how I got started in genealogy and why you should care about your family history.  I’ll share with you some tips that I used when first getting started!  This will be a regular event and tonight I’ll share with you what the next topic will be!  I will try my best to answer any questions that you have.  If you have one now, share it in the comments or send me an email: coolgirlgenealogy@gmail.com

Cool Girl Genealogy on Instagram

I hope to see y’all there!

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Posted in Reviews

Review – Turning Little Hearts Activity Book

When I was in the sixth grade, I moved from Michigan to Tennessee.  My dad had been transferred to an area just south of Nashville.  I knew it was going to be a change, moving from the north to the south, but I wasn’t too worried about it.  After all, most of my extended family lived in Kentucky and Tennessee.

I remember being thrown into Tennessee history as soon as I started school.  I liked history, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn all about my new home.  I was now living in small town where most of my classmates had lived all their life.  I was the outsider, so I was eager to use this class to somehow make a connection.  Instead, I found myself defending where I was born and why I was now living in Tennessee.  It was not a good feeling.  I felt like I didn’t belong because I wasn’t a native.

Fast forward about 10 years, add in my new post-high school appreciation for family history and you’ll find a girl who realized that she was as native of a Tennessean as the rest of them.  Come to find out, my ancestors were one of the first families to settle the state of Tennessee.  If only I had that information back in junior high!

As I went through the Turning Little Hearts book, I found how much my younger self would have benefited from a book like this.  In the introduction of the book, it talks about how children who know where they come from, and have a sense of ownership of their ancestors’ stories, are better equipped for school and the world around them.  Now, I’m not saying that because I didn’t know the detailed account of my family’s history that I was a bad kid, but that information would have come in handy when I was trying to make friends at a new school.

The book does an excellent job of highlighting a variety of ways to make family history relevant to children.  It is broken into four sections; do an activity, discover your ancestors, play a game, and make a craft.  The activities also vary by who can participate.  Some are designed as a solo project while others can be done with their friends.  All the activities can be done as a family since most of the information is going to have to come from the parents.

A surprising thing that I found, was what a great asset this book could be for home school families.  How much more of an impact would a history lesson have if you could incorporate family history?  I know from my own personal perspective that I really became interested in my own family’s history when I could emotionally connect to the stories!

Below are some examples of the activities that you will find in the book!

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Do an Activity

 

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Discover Your Ancestors

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Play a Game

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Make a Craft

To order a copy of the book, head over to Cedar Fort Publishing

Right now, the paperback copy of the book is $12.99, while the digital version is $8.99.

Want to know how you can win a copy of the book?  Head over to my Instagram page Cool Girl Genealogy and check out my latest post!  Contest will be open to US residents only until January 31, 2020 at midnight.

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Posted in Weekend Update

Weekend Updated – January 11

This week I’ve been trying to gather more pictures.  I love the Genealogy Photo-A-Day challenge (shout out to Genealogy Girl Talks!) and I try my best to cover all sides, and lines, of my family.  I’m always looking for that one picture that will hopefully spark a family history conversation.

As I was looking and searching for pictures, I found myself on the edge of a rabbit hole.  You know what I mean….when you’re trying to focus on one research item and then find something that takes you off on a whole other tangent. That’s what happened with me and the Callaghan family.

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I found the Callaghan family when researching my paternal Hanna line.  My 6th great aunt, Martha Hanna, married a man named William O. H. Callaghan.  I have done some research on them, but basically just names, dates, and locations.  I found a picture of one of their daughters, Jane, and the fall into the rabbit hole began.  I found more pictures and more stories than I knew what to do with!  I’m so excited to share these with you down the road.

I would love to say that I’m sitting here, watching the Kentucky basketball game and no longer living in the rabbit hole, but that would be a lie.  I’m really enjoying getting to know my Callaghan family!

What are you working on this weekend?

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Posted in Weekend Update

Weekend Update

I realized this morning that is has been way too long since I gave a weekend update.  So, I thought I change that!  Here’s an update of what I am currently working on.

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Earlier this week, I received a message from a very distant cousin.  My grandmother matched her on DNA and she was writing to find our connection.  She gave me the surname of Boling/Bowling.  I quickly did a search through my tree and only found one ancestor by that last name, Mary Molly Bowling.

Molly, as she was called, married my 8th Great Grandfather, Andrew Baker.  I was hesitant to say this was the correct connection, however the places where her ancestor lived and mine did match.  The only problem with proving this connection was that her connection was born in the mid 1800s where my only Bowling ancestor lived in the 1600s.  That was quite the time gap!

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So, what do I do now?  How do I ever make this connection?  My plan is to work back to come forward.  To start, I expanded Molly’s family.  I only had her parents and no siblings listed in my tree.  If I was ever going to find the connection, I had to first find her siblings.  While there is no guarantee that the connection doesn’t start further back, this was the best place for me to start.

Today, I am working on moving this line forward.  This connection issue is just another reason why it is important to include siblings in your research.  It is so easy to get wrapped up in only following your direct line, but many questions/connections can be answered when you expand your tree!  I’ll keep everyone update on the details of when I finally figure all this out!

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Posted in Baking With My Ancestors

Baking With My Ancestors – Irish Brown Bread

As I was making the list of all the baked goods I wanted to make for this new series, Irish Brown Bread was at the top.  It’s sooo good and sooo easy to make!  While I was in Ireland a few years ago, I ate Irish Brown Bread for breakfast every day.  It’s tasty with butter and jam, but even on it’s own, it’s yummy!

When people think of Ireland and bread, the mostly think of soda bread.  I’ll admit, I did too…until I tried the brown bread.  Irish Brown Bread became popular in 1840s when refined baking soda was introduced to the country.  The bread became ingrained in the every day lives of the people in Ireland and very important to the Irish culture!

After I got home from Ireland, the first thing on my list was to figure out how to make authentic Irish Brown Bread.  I found a few examples online, but I felt like they weren’t just right.  I found a bakery on Instagram, Kelly Lou Cakes (@kellyloucakes) and just happened to find her making the bread in her Insta-stories.  I went out on a limb and sent her a message asking her to share the recipe.  I wasn’t expecting anything in return, but to my surprise, she shared it!  So…below is Kelly Lou’s recipe for Irish Brown Bread…straight from Ireland!

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Irish Brown Bread Recipe

Ingredients

(note the measurements are in weight/European)

  • 700g Coarse Wholemeal Flour
  • 2 teaspoons Wheat Germ
  • 2 teaspoons Bran
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 800mL Buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tsp Oil

Steps

  1. Line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 350F
  3. Mix the Flour, Germ, Bran, Baking Soda and Salt together.
  4. Add the Buttermilk and Eggs.  Stir to combine.
  5. Add the Oil and still until just combined.
  6. Pour the bread mixture into the two loaf pans
  7. Bake for 50 minutes or until bread is a golden brown.

That’s it!  When cooled, slice and enjoy it!  If you have any questions about the recipe, feel free to send me an email!

 

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Posted in Revolutionary

Revolutionary – John Hanna

This is the first post in my Revolutionary series.  Each month, I’ll be highlighting different ancestors who either fought in the war or helped the cause.  It’s amazing when you start hearing all the different stories.  There are men, women, and even young adults who helped to make the United States exactly that, united.

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Today’s profile is John Hanna.  John is my 6th Great-Grandfather on my paternal side.  He was born in 1756 on his way to America from Ireland.  His parents, James A and Anne Johnson Hanna had six other children; Elizabeth, James W, William, David, Joseph, and Martha.  Once the family arrived, the settled in the Virginia colony.

John enlisted in the Continental Army in Greenbrier County, Virginia in 1777.  He joined as a private under Captains Samuel Lapsley and Alexander Breckenridge.  He saw quite a few battles including the Siege of Charleston (South Carolina) and the Battle of Monmouth.  If you’re a Hamilton fan, I’m sure you’re familiar with the Battle of Monmouth.  I’m looking at you, Charles Lee.

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At the Siege of Charleston, John was taken by the British Army as a prisoner of war.  He was held captive for about eighteen months.  Unfortunately, there are no records of where John was held or what the conditions were.  It seems that after his release, John was discharged from the Army.

After the war, John settled in Augusta County, West Virginia.  While living there, he met and married Jane Graham.  Jane and her family were also from Ireland.  If history teaches us anything, it seems more than likely that their families were from the same area of Ireland.  They married in 1787 and together had seven children; John, Robert Graham, Jane, Christopher, Joseph, Elizabeth, and Martha.

John and Jane eventually moved their family to Jackson County, Ohio.  The children would scatter to different states after that.  You have to think that John was proud of this fact.  He had fought for this country and the right for his children to explore it.  John Hanna passed away on April 11, 1845 at the age of 89.  I think it’s safe to say that John lived a long and eventful life!

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Posted in Weekend Update

Weekend Update (Weekday Version)

Hello Everybody!

I just wanted to give everyone an update on some exciting things coming this month in case you haven’t already heard!

Baking With My Ancestors

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This new monthly series will feature recipes from around the world as well as their significance to their particular culture. I’ll actually be baking these goodies and sharing the “how-to” so you can enjoy it at home!

The Unknown Heroes of the Revolutionary War

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This monthly series will feature some of the lesser-known folks who either fought in or supported the cause of the Patriots during the Revolutionary War.  I’ll be featuring both men and women (because women were awesome during this time in history!) and how they helped to shape the world we live in!

Summer DNA Basics Class

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In July, I’ll be teaching a class via IGTV or YouTube all about the basics of DNA testing.  I’ll be going over the why you should do it, the science behind it, and how DNA testing can make the world a better place!  Also, there will be a super special giveaway!

New Monthly Newsletter

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Make sure to sign up for the new monthly newsletter!  In the newsletter, you’ll get a sneak peak on upcoming blog features as well as tips & tricks for your own genealogy research.  I’ll also give you an update on what I’m currently researching and the tools I’m using to do so!

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Posted in Ancestor Stories

The Baker/Arthur connection

Genealogy is full of surprises.  It could be finding out that you are related to someone famous.  I have also seen where two friends ended up being distantly related!  There are all kinds of fun surprises and for the most part, that is what keeps a genealogist going.

What happens, though, when those surprises seem a little off-putting?  What if you’re related to the biggest traitor in American history?  (Yeah, let’s not talk about that one).  What do you do if you find out your parents are related?  Yep, this was my big surprise moment.  What in the world do I do now?  Does this explain why some of my joints a double-jointed?!  Genealogy is just like life, you have to take the good with the bad.

*Cue the Facts of Life theme song here*

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First of all, let me start by explaining that where my parents are connected is far enough down the line that it really doesn’t matter.  They are somewhere in the arena of 8th cousins and many, many, many times removed.

I began this discovery by researching my maternal Baker line.  My 2nd Great Grandmother was a Baker (Stella Alice Baker) and her line had me researching in the Eastern Kentucky area.  I was curious to see where exactly this line would take me. I found Stella’s father John William Baker who lead me to his father John Baker and then to George Thompson Baker and on to Brice Baker.  It was my discovery of Brice Baker that gave me a little pause.

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It seems that Brice, my maternal 6x Great Grandfather, married a woman by the name of Mary Arthur.  Wait a second, I thought, I’m an Arthur.  Is it possible that I’m just related to Arthur surname on both sides of my family?!  This wouldn’t be the first time.  I have several surnames that appear on both my maternal and paternal side of may family.  As I’m sure most who are doing their family research have discovered.  So, just out of curiosity, I hopped over to Mary’s family to see what I could find out about her Arthur line.

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I didn’t find a connection anywhere until I found Mary’s 2x Great Grandfather, Thomas Barnabus Arthur (1680-1715).  When I attempted to enter Thomas’ information into my tree, it showed that he was already there.  That was strange!  When I looked at his children, it seemed that I was already related to his one son, John Arthur.  After connecting the dots, John was my 8th Great Grandfather on my paternal side.  That meant that Thomas Barnabus Arthur was the bridge that connected my maternal and paternal sides!  Talk about mind being blown!

After sharing this information with my family, a new joke started.  They like to tease me and say that if I keep researching, I’m going to be my own Grandma!

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Posted in Weekend Update

Weekend Update – February 2, 2019

This week I have been researching my paternal Arthur side.  I don’t know much about my paternal side, so this has been fun!  Finding new cousins, even the ones that are no longer with us, is always fun.

While researching this side, I found my 3rd cousin, 5x removed, Arthur Preston.  Arthur was born February 18th, 1858 (happy early birthday!) in Lawrence County, Kentucky.  His parents were Robert McDonald Preston and Matilda West.  Arthur had eight siblings; Alford, Edison, Malissa, Louisa, Joseph, George, Wallace, and Mary Preston.

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1870 U. S. Census – Lawrence County, Kentucky

On April 20, 1887 in Johnson County, Kentucky, Arthur married his cousin, Louisa Christina Preston.  Together they had six children, Lydia Eloise, Dora Augusta, Gussie, Georgia, Arthur and Paul C Preston.

Arthur made a living by owning and operating a general store in Louisa, Lawrence County, Kentucky.  When doing my research this week, I found a newspaper article that gave me a better picture of his business.  Unfortunately, the reason the story was in the paper is because someone had decided to rob Arthur’s store.

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Article from the Big Sandy News, April 29, 1910 on page five

Arthur Preston passed away on April 2, 1931 in Lawrence County, Kentucky.  I have yet to find if his children followed in his footsteps.  I’m hoping someone in the family took over his store!  I guess that’s research for another day!

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Arthur Preston is buried in the Preston-Burgess Cemetery in Patrick, Lawrence County, Kentucky

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Posted in Weekend Update

Weekend Update – January 26th, 2019

I’m starting this new category in order to be transparent on what I’m currently researching.  Here I will highlight some of the more interesting tidbits I’ve found during the week.

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This week I’ve been working to expand the tree on my Rogers line.  I’m related to the Rogers through my 5th Great Grandfather, John Rogers, who married Jane Eaton.  By doing so, I “met” my 2nd cousin 4x removed, Audrey Mae Barton.  Audrey was born in 1914 in Knox County, Kentucky.  She married a man by the name of Ron Hensley.  They moved to Harlan County, Kentucky where they raised four children; Evelyn, Gerald, Betty, and Genette.

Sometimes you find unpleasant things when trying to expand your family tree and so was the case when I looked for Audrey Barton in the newspaper.  I found the following article explaining how Audrey passed away in the Lexington Herald in 1952.

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Printed in the Lexington Herald on February 7th, 1952

Reading this article broke my heart, but so did reading her death certificate.

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Audrey Mae Barton Hensley Death Certificate

Check back next Saturday for the Weekend Update.  Hopefully I’ll have something a little more lighthearted!

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Posted in Ancestor Stories

Putting the Thanks in Thanksgiving

I love the holidays.  There is nothing better than family getting together and sharing stories.  Thanksgiving is like the Super Bowl of family stories.  Some of these stories are true and some are just family folklore, but all of it brings us together.

These stories are a treasure, so why not use them for a Christmas present?

Okay…so you’re probably wondering how.  To start, you’ll need to get the stories.  You can do this one of two ways.  You can come in with a list of questions to ask everyone and then compile the stories from that.  The second option, which is my personal favorite, is just to listen.  I’ve always found that people love telling their story.  It can be one simple question that leads to hours and hours of storytelling.  What better way to spend the time up to the big meal than talking with your family?

(How you record the stories at the time is up to you.  You can use your phone to actually record your family members, or just have pen and paper and jot down some things that you can come back to later)

So…you have the stories…now how do you turn them into a Christmas present?  For me, the simplest way is to turn them into a memory book.  Now I’m not talking about a biography of your family members.  Just get a small journal from Target, Walmart, or somewhere like that.  It can be lined or unlined…there are no rule!  Get some markers and stickers and go to town!  Use a page to tell a specific story.  You can even get kids involved and have them decorate the pages.  What better way to give a family member a gift than to have all kinds of family member participate?!

My best advice on making memory books for your family members is just to have fun!  Even if you’re not 100% sure on the truth of the story, that’s okay.  (I know, as a genealogist we’re always looking for truth).  The main goal is to show your family members that their stories matter and are important to the future of the family!

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Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!  I hope your day is full of family, food, and fun!

 

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Posted in Giveaways & Contests

Giveaway: Ghosts of Ancestors Past

In the spirit of Halloween, I wanted to have a giveaway that embraced the ghosts of our ancestors.  I’m giving away the book, How To Research Like A Pro by Diana Elder.  I love this book and it’s really helped me out, so I want to “help” a fellow family researcher!

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To enter: all you have to do is, in the comments section, answer these two questions:

  1. If you could “meet” the ghost of any ancestor, who would it be?
  2. If you could only ask that ancestor one question, what would it be?

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For me, I would want to meet my 6x Great Grandfather, John Miller.  I have been working on figuring out who his parents are for years.  Therefore, the question I would ask him would be just who are his parents!

I’ll leave this giveaway open until Oct 27th.  On that day, I’ll draw one lucky winner from everyone who posted!  Good luck and I can’t wait to hear about who you want to meet!

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Posted in Genealogy 101

What Is GedMatch and How Do I Use It?

If you’ve been around Genealogy DNA for a bit, you’ve more than likely heard of the site GedMatch.  GedMatch is a great (and free!) tool you can use to dive deeper into your DNA results. In simple terms, GedMatch is a catch-all for all DNA testers.  No matter the test (with some exceptions) you can find all your DNA matches in one place. In today’s post, I’m going to go into the basics of GedMatch and how you can benefit from using it.

Step One: Upload Your DNA

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The first step in using GedMatch is uploading your Raw DNA file.  To find this file, you will need to go to the site of the kit that you used.  For example, if you took the AncestryDNA test, the Raw DNA download can be found under “settings” on your DNA results page.  Once downloaded, you can upload this file to GedMatch.

Step Two: Get Your GedMatch Number

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Once your Raw DNA is uploaded, you will receive a GedMatch number (you can see mine in the above picture).  This number will be what you use to run your matches, compare your DNA to specific matches, and as a reference when contacting your matches.  If you notice, my number starts with the letter “A”.  This is in reference in what company I used to take my DNA test.  You will find that GedMatch numbers that start with an “A” used AncestyDNA, “M” is for 23andMe, and “T” is for FamilyTreeDNA.  This will help direct you on where to possibly find a family tree that your match may have posted.

Step Three: Run the “One to Many” Report

Capture2.PNG The “One-to-Many” report will give you all the users that you match on GedMatch.  This can be an unbelievably large number of matches!

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This report will give you all the information you need on comparing matches and how to contact the matches (I’ve blacked out names on my results).  The above picture just shows a snippet of my matches.  Believe me the list goes on and on.

What do you do with these matches?  If you find a match that shares a common surname that either you have, or that you’re researching, you can contact that match and share with them what you are researching.  Another option is to select a few matches, run a comparison, and see if you can essentially connect the matches.  This is a long process and the key is to be patient!  I’ve been working with DNA for a while and still have no idea how some of my matches fit.  Personally, I’ve found making my own spreadsheet with specific information helps me keep track of everything. (An example of which you can see below.)

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There is so much more that GedMatch can do, but I’ll go into more details in a later blog.  I just wanted today to talk about the basics.

If this all sounds like a bunch of gibberish, that’s okay.  I promise the more you use DNA the easier it gets!  Also, if you ever have any questions about how to read matches or what to do with your DNA results, send me an email…I’d love to help you!

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Posted in Genealogy 101

TSLA and DocsBox

I love finding programs that bring history to life and the Tennessee State Library and Archives has just the thing to help.  The TSLA has a new program called DocsBox.  There are several boxes ranging from the Civil War to Vietnam.  All the boxes include specialized lesson plans focused on the specific topic from a Tennessee perspective!  Not only are teachers given a lesson plan, but also unique items to really bring history to life.

You can find the details of the boxes, and how to reserve a box for your classroom by clicking the link below.  I know if I was still in school, I would have loved these boxes!

Tennessee State Library and Archives DocsBox

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Posted in Seminars/Conferences

Preview: DNA Week

DNA Week is coming and so are classes, stories, and giveaways!  Below is the schedule for DNA Week.  I’ll be posting soon on how to win an AncestryDNA kit and a free 30-minute consultation! I hope to “see” everyone there!

  • Monday – “Am I On the Maury Show?!”
    • The Who, What, and Safety of DNA
  • Tuesday – “What is GedMatch and How Do I Use It?”
  • Wednesday – DNA Class
  • Thursday – “Hanging Out With the Cool Kids at the Irish DNA Group”
  • “DNA and Brick Walls”

 

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Posted in Seminars/Conferences

East Tennessee History Fair

If you’re looking for something to do the weekend of August 18th, I highly recommend heading to Knoxville to attend the East Tennessee History Fair.  I had the opportunity to attend a couple of years ago when the Fair was held in conjunction with the First Families of Tennessee reunion.  I have to admit, this is one event that I look forward to every year!

Some of my favorite events include the History Hound contest and the cake celebrating Davy Crockett’s birthday.  There is really too much happening for me to go into in this post, so below is the link to ETHS website with more information about the Fair.  I’ll be there this year, wearing my pink “surnames” shirt, so if you see me…make sure to say hi! 🙂

East Tennessee History Fair

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Posted in Seminars/Conferences

FB Class: DNA & Why You Should Care

Hey everyone!  The Facebook DNA class is up on the Cool Girl Facebook page.  The class will be on Aug 22nd from 7-8pm (Central).  If you can’t make it “live” that’s okay!  I’ll keep the class open for a few extra days, so feel free to stop by!  Make sure to go to the Facebook page and click “going” so you don’t miss anything!  I can’t wait to “see” you there! 🙂

You can find the event by clicking the link below!

https://www.facebook.com/CoolGenealogy/

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Posted in The Want Ads

Wanted: Who’s Coming To Dinner?

To get the Want Ads kicked off, I thought I’d be a little self serving and share a picture that I’ve been struggling with.

IMG_2292.jpgThis picture includes my 2x Great Grandmother, Stella Alice Baker Martin (m. Frank Martin).  She is the second from the left and sitting with her arm on the table.  Stella was born in Laurel County, Kentucky (1895) and lived in Knox and Harlan Counties in Kentucky.  I’m assuming this picture was taken in one of those counties.  Her father was Reverend John William Baker.

This picture sits in my kitchen and every time I walk by it, I want to figure out who these people are!  Haha!  I’ve asked my family members and nobody seems to know…except that Stella is in this picture.

If you have any ideas, suggestions, or contacts please share in the comments section or send an email to coolgirgenealogy@gmail.com and remember, I’m always looking for items to post in the Want Ads!

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Posted in Genealogy 101

Who Do I Even Look For??

So you’ve been staring at your Ancestral Chart for a couple of weeks now and trying to figure out just who you picked to win the National Championship.  (Am I the only one who is reminded of March Madness every time I look at an Ancestral Chart?!)  If you are lucky, you’re still a little bit stressed out of who exactly to start your research with.  Do not be stressed because stress isn’t cool!  (Yeah, that pun was a bit of a reach.  Haha!)

Below are some ways to help you choose who to research and the first steps in doing so.

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Pick A Side

It’s never intentional, but usually we know more about one side of our family than the other.  Use this information to your advantage.  To get started, pick the side of your family that you know the most about.  Do you have the basic information for your Great Grandfather on your mother’s side?  You do…great!  Use that to get your feet wet.  Maybe you have the information but don’t have actual documentation.  Take what you know and start verifying the information with paper documentation.

  •  When you find documents, or any information, make sure to write down where you found it.  It’s also a good idea to get into the habit of writing down where you didn’t find information as this will make your research much easier.  I’ll go more in depth in citing sources in a later post.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Ask

Your best source of information will no doubt come from your older relatives.  These family members were either around when an event happened or heard the stories first hand from those who lived it.  Take advantage of this!  Take the time to interview your family members.  Write down their stories, or better yet, record them on your phone!  This will give you the opportunity to revisit the stories later to pick apart more information.

  • One thing to remember about family stories is that they are sometimes second hand information.  Someone told someone who told someone who is now telling you.  It can become a game of Telephone!  (I hope I’m not showing my age here! Haha!)  It’s important to verify everything you can with documentation or some type of reliable source.

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Cousins Are Your Friends

Now that you’ve decided on who you’re going to research, it’s important to remember their entire immediate family.  When I first started researching my family, I got into the very bad habit of only focusing on direct ancestors.  This means that I was only researching my grandfather, and his father, and his father, and well…you get the picture.  Not only was I missing out on learning about some fascinating cousins, I was also missing out on people who could potentially help me knock down brick walls.

  •  When you’re filling out your family tree, make sure to include all of your ancestor’s brothers and sisters (and their spouses).  Not only will this help you in your research, it will also help with DNA hits.  You are more likely to hit with a second or third cousin than you are with a direct ancestor.

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Now that you know how to get started and who to get started with, now we can get into specifics of where to get started!  Next week’s post will be a brief overview of different places to research and I’ll answer the question of if you really need to pay for the Ancestry account!

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Posted in Geneabits

Back To School

It’s that time of year again when everybody is getting ready to head back to school.  I was that kid who loved school.  I’ve always loved to learn, especially when it something that makes my world a little bit bigger.

I am a big fan of teachers who use genealogy to not only teach students, but to give students ownership in the world’s history.  I stumbled upon the article below and immediately became a huge fan of the project.

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The project, called My Adopted Soldier, was created by teacher, Gerry Moore. Originally this project focused on Irish in World War I.  It paired selected students (what would be Juniors here in the states) with a Irish soldier who was from their respective county and who died during the war.  Talk about taking ownership in history!  Now the project is starting again, but this time focusing on Irish who came to American and fought (and died) in the American Civil War.  Not only will this give students a connection to where they live, but it will also broaden their world and give them a connection here in the states.  The great big world that they live in just became a little bit easier to grasp.  How cool is that?!

If you want more information about this project, the link is below.  Also, if you know of any projects going on like this in your area, I’d love to hear about them!  Shoot an email to coolgirlgenealogy@gmail.com  I would love to feature these types of projects in future Geneabits posts!

My Adopted Soldier

 

 

 

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Posted in Ancestor Stories

Just Chill

Since it’s summer, I couldn’t resist using a “throwback” of a picture I found of a cousin sun bathing while on vacation.

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The above photo is of Geraldine Hobson Goebel, my 3rd cousin 4x removed (on my John “Raccoon” Miller line).  This photograph was in the Chicago Tribune in August of 1938.  Geraldine’s husband, Erwin John Goebel, was the passenger traffic manager for Georgian Bay Line.

The Georgian Bay Line was based in Chicago, Illinois and would take ships of tourists through the Great Lakes on different excursions.  In 1940, Erwin accompanied passengers on the maiden voyage of one the Georgian Bay Line ships that traveled from Chicago, to Mackinac Island, through the Soo Canal, and up to Isle Royale in Lake Superior.  Needless to say, Geraldine (and it looks like her friends) enjoyed the perks of Erwin’s job!

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Posted in Genealogy 101

I Found A Twig…Now What…?!

The thought of jumping into your family history can be a bit intimidating.  With so many people and so much information to find, how in the world do you even get started?!  Well, let me help you out a bit.  I’ve come up with just a few suggestions to get you started!

  1. Start with what you know

You may only know your grandparents’ names, or you may be lucky enough to go all the way back to your 2x Great Grandparents.  Either way, you are at a great jumping off point.  The best way to get your feet wet in genealogy is to start with what you know.  My suggestion is to start by filling out a ancestral chart.  This sheet will help you to see the information you already have, and will help direct you in the direction of where to take your research.

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Ancestral Chart

I suggest starting with either your maternal or paternal side.  I find that usually a person knows more about one side than the other.  Do not ask me why this is the case!  Haha! Do not try to do both at the same time.  You will get confused on who goes with who and who was where. (That sentence alone sounds confusing!)  This isn’t just something for beginners to remember, but a good reminder for those of us who have been doing it for years!

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  1. Keep it simple

Okay, this kind of goes with what I said under number one, but let me go into a little more detail.  When I say simple what I mean is do not go in looking for every story about your ancestor.  Those will come with time.  To start, look for the basic vital records (birth, marriage, and death) and use these basics to grow your tree.  Birth certificates will usually tell you both parents’ names.  Marriage certificates will sometimes tell you who the couple’s parents are, and death certificates may tell you the spouse’s name as well as the parents’ names.

There is a lot more information you can gain from vital records, but I’ll go into more specifics in a later post.  Right now, you just want to get used to looking at the records.  One thing I failed to mention above is to pay attention to where these events occurred.  Be aware that of how people moved during the time you are researching.  If you’re in the early 1800s and a couple was married on the east coast and had a child nine months later on the west coast, you may need to do a little more digging.  That’s not to say that the scenario is impossible, but travel back then, especially across the country, was treacherous.  Could a couple, with a pregnant woman, really have made it across the county in that amount of time?

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask the dumb questions

I am a firm believer that there is no such thing as a dumb question, especially in genealogy.  While research may be done as a solo project, most genealogy is a collaborative effort.  That means, that someone out there may have the information that you need and vice versa.  If you are on Ancestry, and have completed the DNA testing, do not be afraid of reaching out to a new “cousin” that is researching the same family members that you are.  Ask them what information they have.  It’s always a smart idea to compare notes.  Sometimes you’ll hit a gold mine of information while other times you’ll come up with nothing.  You never know until you ask!

 

  1. Manage your expectations

I would love nothing more than to tell you that you will find what you’re looking for in exactly one week, but genealogy doesn’t work that way.  The best way to avoid getting frustrated is just to take it a bit at a time.  Celebrate when you find a new ancestor.  When you hit a brick wall, take a break.  It’s okay to step away for a moment.  Got get some wine…or a cupcake…believe me, I do it!

When doing genealogy, always remember the saying that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.  Genealogy is addicting, frustrating, but most importantly fun!

If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me coolgirlgenealogy@gmail.com

Ancestral chart can be downloaded at https://www.archives.gov/files/research/genealogy/charts-forms/ancestral-chart.pdf

Keep an eye out for a post in the coming weeks talking more specifically about vital records!

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Posted in Uncategorized

Go Vote!

Okay…I’m not talking politics here, I’m taking about a new poll I put up to see which DNA test you prefer (or which one you’d like to try).

Polls are posted on both the Facebook page (The Cool Girl’s Guide to Genealogy) and on Twitter (@coolgenealogy). Go vote…and give the page a like/follow!

Posted in Ancestor Stories

A Long Line

So many times in genealogy research, we see a long line of males with the same given name.  First there is John, and then another John, and so many more John’s after that.  Add in a common surname and it’s enough to make your genealogy mind go crazy!  One thing you don’t normally see is when the female line of the family uses the same name time and time again.

On my maternal side, I have found that I come from a long line of women named Lydia/Lettie.  I had seen lines of more popular names like Elizabeth and Mary, but for some reason, this naming pattern really stuck with me.  If you look at traditional European naming patterns, the first daughter is usually named after the father’s mother and the second daughter is named after the mother’s mother.  This line kind of followed that pattern, but what do you do when both the paternal and maternal grandmother are named Lydia?

The line begins with my maternal 5x Great-Grandmother, Lettie Virginia Mantooth.  Lettie was born in 1796 in Shenandoah County, Virginia to Thomas Mantooth and Elizabeth Phariss.  She married William Hall and together they had seven children; Samuel, Hannah, Mary, Lydia, Herman, Thomas, and John Hall.  Lettie passed away in 1850 in Cocke County, Tennessee.

Lettie’s daughter, Lydia Hall (my 4x Great-Grandmother), was born in 1832 in Cocke County, Tennessee.  She married Solomon Price and together they had nine children; John, Lettie A, Sarah J, Nancy, Elizabeth, William, James, Mandie, and Solomon.  Lydia passed away in 1890 in Cocke County, Tennessee.

To make matters a bit more complicated, Lydia Hall’s mother-in-law was also named Lydia.  Lydia Messer was born in 1806 in Burke County, North Carolina to Christian Sargent Messer and Jane Barnett Freeman.  She married Richard “Big Dick” Price on February 11, 1825 in Haywood County, North Carolina and together they had five children; James Turner, Solomon, Sarah, Joseph, and William.  Lydia passed away in 1876 in North Carolina.

 

Now…back to Lydia Hall.  Her daughter, Lettie A. Price (my 3x Great Grandmother), was in January 1856 in Newport, Cocke County, Tennessee.  She married William Howard Henderson on February 24, 1884 in Cocke County and together they had five children; Lydia Jane, James, Delia, Amanda, and Winnie.  Lettie also had two other children with an unknown man; Ruben B and Abraham Benjamin.  Lettie passed away on May 1, 1899 in Cocke County, Tennessee.

Next in line is Lettie’s daughter, Lydia Jane Henderson (my half 3rd Great Aunt).  Lydia was born on March 20, 1888 in Cocke County, Tennessee.  She married Benjamin Lewis Ford on January 21, 1908 in Cocke County and together they had 13 children; Rufus, Martha, Lewis D, Pauline, David, Fanny, Lettie Ellen, Dolophos, James Ike, Creola, Mack, Laurie, and Carrie.  Both Benjamin and Lydia had children from previous relationships.  While they did raise these 13 children together, I am still working on who exactly belongs to who.  Lydia married for a second time to Joe Stokely Shelton on July 24, 1965 in Cocke County.  She passed away on June 25, 1977 in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey.

The last of the Lydia/Lettie line is Lydia Jane’s daughter, Lettie Ellen Ford (my half 1st cousin, 3x removed).  Lettie was born on October 10, 1914 in Cocke County, Tennessee.  I have not found a record of Lettie being married and her headstone shows her maiden name.  She did have one son, Nicholas Ford.  Lettie passed away on September 18, 1977 in Bridgeton, Cumberland County, New Jersey.

I will admit that this line got a bit complicated when researching.  I had to work hard to keep all my Lydia and Lettie ancestors straight!  So, to recap, the line is Lettie Virginia Mantooth to Lydia Hall (who’s mother-in-law was Lydia Messer) to Lettie A. Price to Lydia Jane Henderson to Lettie Ellen Ford.  Hmm…maybe I should change my name to Lydia!

Posted in Ancestor Stories

My Favorite Picture

Choosing my favorite picture is like choosing my favorite dessert.  There are just way too many choices!  Instead of trying to pick just one photograph, I decided to instead think about what I wanted to write.  I figured that would guide me to the perfect picture.

I decided on this one, which is of me and my papa (Richard Burns).  We are in the basement of my grandparent’s condo, putting together our annual talent show.  The talent show was just me and him doing a variety of random things.  There was usually a little singing and dancing, maybe a fashion show, but it was always guaranteed to be full of laughter.  We would set up shop in the living room and put on a full production for the rest of the family.

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Some of my best memories growing up were with my papa.  He was the best playmate and the one always getting me into a little bit of trouble with my grandmother.  We had a special bond that nobody could really explain.  The amazing part is that my papa and I share no DNA.  That’s right, my papa and grandmother were married just two years before I was born.  It was a second marriage for both of them.

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I am always fascinated by the nature versus nurture debate.  My relationship with my papa proves that nurture has a big impact on how someone grows up.  I never looked at my papa as someone I didn’t share DNA with.  He was, and still is, as much of a part of me as anyone who shares my DNA.

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I think it’s important to remember these connections when we talk about our personal family history.  As genealogist, we become so focused on DNA matches and our direct lines, that we forget the importance of those who are related to us in a different way.  Sure, these connections may not help us break brick walls or get us into a lineage society, but to say they don’t make us who we are would be a mistake.

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