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!

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!

IMG_1791
Do an Activity

 

IMG_1792
Discover Your Ancestors
IMG_1793
Play a Game
IMG_1794
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.

Posted in Ancestor Stories

Burchfield vs Henderson

Illegitimate children, by definition, are a challenge.  Especially when you are a genealogist and especially when all the parties involved have passed away.  Add in some surname swapping and changes in spelling and you may have an idea of my current challenge.  Really, my challenge for the last several years.

My 2x Great Grandfather, Abraham Benjamin Price, was born in 1878 in Cocke County, Tennessee.  Cocke County is located in East Tennessee, about 45 minutes east of Knoxville.  After the Civil War, like other counties in the area, it was a time of rebuilding.  The only problem is, Cocke county is located in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.  This meant that the county was isolated from not only it’s neighbors, but also from new industry.  Many who lived in the area struggled severely with making ends meet.

The perfect storm of no money and no opportunity lead many women in the county to either marry at a very young age, or do whatever they had to in order to provide for their family.  This lead men in the area, who may have lacked gentlemanly morals, to take advantage of these women. The environment in Cocke County caused an uptick in illegitimate children.  Either the mother’s of these children didn’t know who the father of their child was, or the father denied the child’s existence.

This should paint the picture of what life in Cocke County was when Abraham was born.  His mother, Lydia Price, was 20 years old and unmarried (according to census records) when Abraham’s bother, Ruben, was born.  Two years later, still unmarried, Lydia had Abraham.  In the 1880 census, Lydia, or Letty, is living with her mother (also named Lydia) along with her two sons.  Also living in the household is Letty’s sister, Nancy, who has what appears to be an illegitimate son also, Moses Price.

1880
1880 Census – Cocke County, Tennessee

Remember that census records can be deceiving. If you look at the 1880 census, both Letty and Nancy are listed as being children of Apollos Bryant.  This is not true.  Apollos is Lydia’s second husband with which she had no children.

marriage
Lydia Price’s marriage license with William Howard Henderson

In 1884, Letty married a man by the name of William Howard Henderson.  They had five children together; Lydia, James, Delia, Amanda, and Winnie.  Two of the children, Lydia and James, would flip back and forth between surnames.  On one document, they would be going by the surname Henderson, while on other documents, they would be listed as Burchfield.  To make matters more confusing, sometimes their surname would be spelled B-i-r-c-h-f-i-e-l-d or B-u-r-c-h-f-i-e-l-d.  It does appear that Delia and Winnie always went by the surname Henderson, while Amanda was the forgotten sibling that not too many knew about.

henderson amanda with husband phillip holderman
Amanda Henderson and her husband, Phillip Holderman

At this point, I was completely confused.  Why were all these children switching up their surnames whenever they felt like it?  Come to find out, William Howard Henderson was also illegitimate.  He did not know if he was really a Henderson or a Burchfield either!  With the research that I have done, it appears that his father was possibly John Henderson, who married Elizabeth Jane Birchfield.  If this is in fact true, things get even more complicated considering John’s parents are Thomas Birchfield and Polly Henderson.

I’ve tried to unravel this spiderweb of illegitimacy by looking into DNA.  I had a male cousin on this line take a yDNA test.  The result were mostly matches with men who had the surname of Burchfield.  So, at first glance, it appears that Abraham Benjamin Price should be Abraham Benjamin Burchfield. Could Abraham’s father have been William Howard Henderson?  This would mean that Letty would have had to “have relations” with William before they were married and when William was only 12 years old.  While this is a little difficult to wrap my head around, given the atmosphere of Cocke County, it certainly a possibility.

Another angle that I have been working has to do with a decedent of Abraham’s cousin, Moses Price.  Remember that  Moses is also illegitimate.  It does not appear that Abraham and Moses have the same father.  At one point, it was believed that Lydia’s second husband, Apollos Bryant, could be the father of both boys.  However both DNA and document research points to that not being true.

I could go on and on about more theory’s on the parentage of Abraham Benjamin Price, but that’s all I have right now…a theory.  Many DNA matches are in the same boat that I am, with no idea of how to piece together the Henderson/Birchfield family tree.  Even reaching out to some cousins have led to dead ends with communication being cut off after digging a little too deep.  Whatever happened back then is leading me on the greatest challenge of my genealogy career!

Posted in Genealogy 101

Never Forget

When I woke up this morning, I knew I had to say something.  Every year on the anniversary, I relive that day.  I can remember every detail as if it was yesterday.  Sometimes when you have memories like that, you cannot help but talk about it.

As I was debating with myself on if I should post something on my site, or just save it for my own personal social media, a tiny voice in my head kept saying, “this is your history…own it”.  It is funny how as genealogists we become so focused on the past as it pertains to our ancestors, that we forget about our own history. We are so wrapped up in the names, dates, and brick walls of our research that we fail to take stock of our own history.  Our lives are so busy that it is hard to take the time to reflect and record all the things we have been through.

So today, take the time to write down your history.  I am not suggesting you do it all in one sitting, but get a journal and start writing.  Some things will be difficult to write about while others will bring a smile to your face.  The important thing to remember is that someday, someone is going to want to know about you.  They are going to want to know more than just the dates on vital records or a picture found in an old box.  Just like you crave to know your ancestors, someone will crave to know you.

With that said, I would love to share where I was and what I experienced on that 11th day of September 17 years ago.  I was a senior at Middle Tennessee State University (Go Blue Raiders!) and majoring in mass communications. I got up and got ready for class just like every other day.  Before I left my room, I jumped on my computer to check my email.  My mom called just like she did every morning but this time there was something different in her voice. “Have you seen what’s happening?” she asked.  “No,” I replied, “I have the TV on but I haven’t been watching it.”  As I slowly came to the realization of what was happening, I remember my whole self going numb.  I do not remember much about the rest of the conversation with my mom, but I do remember asking her if I should go to class.  At that moment, I just needed something normal. I hung up with her and promised to keep in touch all day.

As I walked to class that morning, I remember being in a fog.  I arrived to an eerily quiet Mass Comm building.  The Mass Comm building was usually bright and full of life, but at that moment, it was the exact opposite.  I do not remember what class I had that day, but I remember everything about that classroom.   The room was packed full and the professor had the news showing on the giant projection screen.  Nobody said a thing although a few people were crying.  I did not stay long.  Although I was surrounded by people, I had never felt so alone.

I left the Mass Comm building and went back to my dorm building.  All the sororities had their chapter rooms in that same building, so I went looking for some friendly faces.  Luckily, I wasn’t the only one who had that idea.  Classes were canceled for the remainder of the day, so I spent most of my time in our chapter room.  My fellow sisters came and went throughout the day.  Sometimes we would sit in silence while other times we tried to figure out just what was happening.  The only thing we all agreed on was that none of this seemed real.

The following week went by in a haze.  I was a Resident Assistant in the freshman dorm, so a lot of my time was checking on my residents. The campus remained pretty quiet the rest of the week.  Students seemed to be just focused on getting to class. There were no planes in the sky, not even the smaller ones that aerospace students used.  I’m not sure when things got back to the new “normal”.  Eventually we all got back up, gave a helping hand where we could, and continued on with our lives.  What I do know, is that none of our lives were ever the same.

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

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

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!

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.

Capture

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