TSGS Cruiser Blog

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"New Breckinridge Co., KYGenWeb County Coordinator"

Breckinridge County, KYGenWeb Project is under a new County Coordinator (CC). The KYGenWeb Project is part of the USGenWeb and was the fore-runner of the entire concept established by the late Jeff Murphy in 1996. I read an article about his idea in the Everton's Online Newsletter http://www.everton.com/b/index.html and thought that his idea was a great one. I wrote him an email and volunteered to be a CC in Kentucky... LaRue County was available (many of my ancestors were from there, as well as, most of the surrounding counties). I had to learn how to build a web page using HTML coding and learn the code via email from Nancy Trice & Holly Timm, by the end of the summer of 1996, I had my LaRue Co., KYGenWeb page online! The next year, I became the CC of Breckinridge & Grayson Counties, as well, with LaRue & Grayson always seeming to get more of my time and contributions from researchers to add to the sites. As time went on Dana Brown took over the KYGenWeb Breckinridge Co. Archives which was designed basically to collect research data, while the Project page was designed more for resources, queries, and look-ups. Dana has been very successful in getting volunteers to submit and, even better, type data for inclusion in the archives. After about 10 years of serving as a KYGenWeb CC, I knew that it was time for me to give up the CC position and get someone that would be able to spend more time and do a better job... I wanted Dana to take the post, but she was reluctant due to limited web building skills. So, I waited for her to become more experienced. I actually got another volunteer earlier this year who had to back out. I finally decided that it was way past due for me to retire and requested the State Coordinator to put my sites up for adoption. Thankfully, Dana answered the call to become the new county coordinator!!! She has modernized my out-dated web pages with some very nice looking backgrounds and graphics. In just a few days she has added a lot of new material and this site will be one of the best for researchers. I was never into track sports, but I know that when your relay team is in good position, it is really nice to know that you are handing the "baton" onto a faster, better runner. Thanks to Dana our Breckinridge Co., KY team will finish very well in helping genealogical researchers for that area of Kentucky.
Here are links to the Breckinridge sites:
Breckinridge Co., KYGenWeb ~ http://kykinfolk.com/breckinridge/
and the Breckinridge Co., KYGenWeb Archives ~ http://www.usgwarchives.org/ky/breckinridge/toc.html
Go visit both! - Reported by John G. West

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Brief Genealogical Notes

We have added a few pictures of our 2008 Christmas Social to the TSGS Web Site (see link below the next photo or you can click on our TSGS Cruiser graphic in the right-hand column). Larry Goss, look at that spread! Everyone had a good time talking and snacking. Former TSGS President Don Counts almost ate as much as I did.

We have added several photos of the 2008 TSGS Seminar presented by Pat Gooldy of Ye Olde Genealogie Shoppe on the TSGS Web Site: http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~intsgs/index.html
- notes from TSGS Webmaster John G. West

We got a couple great hints for "The Daniel Hicks Mystery" from a few days ago (see comments for that article).

In yesterday's article, I forgot to include the Surname Group Rates for Genetic DNA Testing for the Family Tree DNA company. I corrected it later in the day, if you read the article early go back and check the reduced prices.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Genetic DNA News

Genetic DNA testing prices (2008) from three companies to give you an idea of what it costs to take a test. - compiled by John G. West

1. FamilyTreeDNA Genetic DNA Testing Prices:

Y-DNA12: 12 Marker Test $149 $99
Y-DNA37: 37 Markers Test $259 $119
Y-DNA67: 67 Markers Test $349 $218
Oxford Conversion Kit $169
Ancestry Conversion Kit $169
mtDNA $129 $99
mtDNAPlus $189
Oxford mtConversion Plus $159
mtDNA Full Sequence $495 $395
Y-DNA12+mtDNA $229 $179
Y-DNA37+mtDNAPlus $389 $199
Y-DNA67+mtDNAPlus $489 $308
SuperDNA $839 $613
Autosomal Markers Panel 1 $184
Autosomal Markers Panels 1 & 2 $257

2. DNA.Ancestry.com:

Act now and receive 40% off your purchase. Offer expires December 31, 2008.
Paternal Lineage Test (Y-Chromosome 33) $149 Now $89.40
Advanced Paternal Lineage Test (Y-Chromosome 46) $199 Now $119.40
Maternal Lineage Test (Mitochondrial DNA) $179 Now $107.40

3. DNA Direct Pricing:

$189 Maternal Lineage (Mitochondrial DNA)
$149 Paternal Lineage (Y-DNA 33)
$199 Paternal Lineage (Y-DNA 46)
$328 Combined Lineage (Mitchondrial DNA + Y-DNA 33)
$378 Combined Lineage (Mitchondrial DNA + Y-DNA 46)
$240 AncestryByDNA 2.5

Sunday, December 28, 2008

"The Daniel Hicks Mystery"

This blog was not created for queries; however, I will review any interesting story or intriguing mystery that anyone wishes to submit. But, be advised that unless I have nothing else to say (which is very rare!), I generally will not publish such material. This one caught my fancy and I thought many of the TSGS "research detectives" might give all of us some ideas to solve this mystery... just click on "COMMENTS" at end of this article (after the time stamp) to make your ideas known. JGW

Mr. West, I am not sure whether the following story would be properly posted to this blog, so I hope you review it before being "officially posted." - CW

I am trying to locate more information on DANIEL HICKS who was the father of my great-grandmother, Nancy Caroline Hicks. All I know about him is the following: Pope County, Illinois Marriage Book A, page 504 -- Daniel Hicks to Martha Ann McCurdy on 9 Feb 1849; shortly after the birth of their daughter Nancy in May of 1850 Daniel disappeared and was never seen again; Martha and Nancy, but not Daniel, were listed in the Pope Co., IL, 1850 U.S. Census in the home of Martha's sister and brother-in-law, James and Nancy King; Martha got a divorce between May 1850 and Sept 1851 in Pope Co., IL. My grandmother (Nancy's daughter, Mary Adella Smith Knauff) told me: "My grandfather Hicks was a mystery, one of those things never solved. He and grandmother was at her father's visiting shortly after the birth of Nancy and decided to move to their neighborhood (William McCurdy lived in Pope County, IL, probably near Wool) and he told her she could stay and he would go back and move their things (where these things were located is not known, probably in Pope Co., IL or in Kentucky where Daniel was from - also unknown). He kissed her goodbye and drove away in the wagon expecting to be back with their furniture and he was never heard of again. They never knew if he met with foul play or what. They knew of no relatives of Daniel." Nancy Caroline Hicks (who married Joseph Smith) gave Kentucky as the birthplace of her father on the 1880 U.S. Census: Franklin Co, IL, Eastern twp, E.D. 15, p. 79, Household #265, Joseph and Nancy C. Smith.

I would be so happy if someone knows of Daniel Hicks' life before or after 1850 and could tell me what happened to him. Carolynn Waldon -- Waldonhaus at aol dot com

The challenge is on, what genealogical sleuth will be first to resolve Carolynn's mysterious disappearance of her great-great-grandfather Daniel Hicks? Send your comments to me or just click "comments" after the time stamp: "Posted by Tri-State Genealogical Society at 6:15 AM 0 comments."

Saturday, December 27, 2008

“A Tribute to a Friend”

J. Jeff Hays
1929 - 2008

I want to remember a friend who's funeral is today (27 Dec 2008). In order to make this more genealogically related, I need to first tell you a story about names in my WEST family line (which is connected with my friend).

John William West had 3 daughters and six sons, all of them but one made it to full adulthood. Gaither was only 15 when he died of appendicitis. My grandfather Warner West named my father after his younger brother, Gaither, with the full name of Gaither Glennis West. Dad named my older brother Gaither Glennis West, II who named his first born son, my nephew, Gaither Glennis West, III. I was given the name of John from my great grandfather John William West. I got my middle name from the actor, Gregory Peck. When we had our first son, I did not want him to be tagged as “Junior” - so, I gave him the name Phillip Gregory West. Then came son #2 (I gave him my first name of John) and later son #3 was not named after me... so, we named him after everyone else in the family with 3 given names – James William Warner West. Warner was my grandfather's name (Dad's father).

Now, I can tell you about my friend. J. Jeff Hays passed away on Monday 22 Dec 2008 and will be laid to rest today. Jeff was 78, he had lived a good life serving for about 24 years as an Indiana State Representative. In 1975 Jeff ran for Mayor of Evansville and asked me to serve on his campaign committee along with some very impressive people... I was deeply honored and thought that if he were elected that he would have been a very good mayor. It seemed like everything we saw or wrote around our house was “Hays for Mayor.” My oldest son, Phillip was Autistic and could not, at age 4, speak and did not write, but he ended up using toy blocks to spell out “Hays for Mayor!” That, of course, pleased Jeff and his wife, Mary Lou, to no end! When Jeff ran for office he always used the name “J. Jeff Hays” - most of us wondered what could the initial “J” stand for: Jacob, Jeremiah, Jedidiah, Junior or other unpopular names. None of us had the nerve to ask. But 1975 was the year for us to learn his first name. My #2 son was born that year shortly before the fall election. I had given Phillip my middle name, so I would have to give #2 my first name “John,” but what name shall we give him for a middle name? I really liked the name of John Gaither West, except for two reasons. 1) my brother seemed to be “stuck” with the name as he often said and had named his son, my nephew, the same name. Maybe using the name in my line might be like trying to take it away from his line. 2) Jeff's opponent was the current Evansville Mayor and his City Controller just happened to be named John Gaither (Gaither was his last name instead of a given name). I felt as if using the name Gaither would cast a question of loyalty in my dedication to Jeff's campaign, as was also advised by several on Jeff's committee. I did not want “John” to be a “Junior” so we thought about using his initials like the "Good Times" TV show that had a “JJ” character that often said “Dynamite!” If we had used the Gaither name, he would have been “JG” to avoid the “Junior” designation. We thought a lot about his name... I finally decided to name him after one of my favorite Presidents, Thomas Jefferson. I really liked the sound of “John Thomas West” or “John Jefferson West.” We could call him “JT” or “JJ”... we liked “JJ” the best. Therefore, #2 became John Jefferson West. But, guess what – the “J” in Jeff's name stood for John and Jeff was short for Jefferson. I had accidentally named him for Jeff... who was very, very pleased. My associates thought I was trying to win a high position in the Mayor's appointments if he were elected. Jeff did not win election, but I finally found the courage to tell Jeff the truth about how we named JJ. I wished I had not told him, because he was so sad with the true account of his “namesake!” Jeff continued as a State Representative and was very well regarded in the state, as well as, in the Evansville area. I was always pleased that my #2 son had the name of such a great public servant as John Jefferson Hays.

Friday, December 26, 2008


Our poll asking who would we pick for an ancestor from the 7 choices provided is closed and the votes are in. We had 13 to make a choice. I was a little surprised that Abraham Lincoln was the choice of 46 % of our participants. I knew that our 16th. U.S. President would do well since we are located in Lincoln land. TSGS covers the 3 states that Lincoln claimed as home: Illinois, Indiana & Kentucky. Ol' Honest Abe got 6 of 13 votes! Cleopatra got no votes... probably one of the most powerful of all listed. Certainly one of the great Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. I placed Santa in the mix for fun... he got one vote as did Martin Luther King and Glenn Miller (great big band leader). Lucille Ball & J.D. Rockefeller got two votes each for a total of 13. Abraham Lincoln is special to me, since I grew up near where he was raised near Gentryville, Indiana. I have learned that my ancestors who lived near the Lincoln family in Hardin Co., Kentucky include a line of the Hanks family believed to be related to Lincoln's mother, Nancy Hanks. - by John G. West

Taken from - God's Little Devotional Book by Honor Books, Inc., P.O. Box 55388, Tulas, OK 74155, copyright 1997, pp. 8 & 9.
When God measures a man, He puts the tape around the heart instead of the head. "...the Lord sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."--- I Samuel 16:7

Abraham Lincoln,16th. U.S. President

More Than Just "Face Value"

President Lincoln had the ability to laugh at himself, especially his own physical appearance. When Stephen A. Douglas once called him a "two-faced man," Lincoln responded, "I leave it to my audience. If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?" Another time he told about meeting a woman riding horseback in the wood. She "looked at me intently, and said, 'I do believe you are the ugliest man I ever saw.' Said I, 'Madam, you are probably right, but I can't help it.' 'No,' said she, 'you can't help it, but you might stay at home.'" Although his likeness is widely recognized, Lincoln is not known primarily for his appearance, but for his courageous stance for restoration of the Union and the abolition of slavery. He is an example of remarkable patience, dedication, compassion, and thoughtfulness. These inner qualities are what mark Lincoln as one of America's greatest presidents. So much is made in our culture today toward appearance and material possessions. We do well to remember that it is our virtuous inner qualities that create a lasting reputation.
Make your selection on the new poll: "When was your favorite Christmas time? - JGW

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"From TSGS to All..."

(Click on photo to get the full-size)

This photo was taken by Doretha Diefenbach-Hines [Copyright 2008 by Doretha Diefenbach-Hines]. It is the 2008 Christmas Eve Sunset - a gift of a beautiful painting from God to all of us. Becky & I witnessed this sunset last night and thought of how great God is. When we saw the sunset, we did not see geese flying across it... this makes Dee's photo even better. The photo was taken from their new home. Thanks, Dee & Kevin for sharing this special moment.
Merry Christmas !!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

TSGS Dock of Shame

Any cemetery vandalism or desecration is bad enough, but to steal statues and other sculptures to sell is the lowest. However, I recently learned that some people can even go lower! Last week I was in the office at Oak Hill Cemetery http://www.evansvillegov.org/cemeteries/ when a gentleman came in to report that his brother-in-law's brass military plaque had been removed and apparently stolen. This has become a major wave of thefts over the last several years, not just a result of the more recent economic problems. At a time when most of the nation is supporting our troops and mourning those soldiers who are killed, as well as, the hundreds of thousands veterans who have passed on... it is unconscionable to understand the theft of these memorials of those who served their country in war and peace. I implore all veterans and their families to help us spread the news of such dishonor for our fallen soldiers and veterans. These thieves are true scum & debris and qualify for the TSGS Dock of Shame! - by John G. West

Don Counts has found these news stories of how wide-spread this shame has become. Last year, in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, over 700 markers were stolen from the graves of American soldiers. These bronze plaques and flag holders were placed at every veteran's grave as a memorial to honor their service. In Texas, the grave of Purple Heart recipient Lance Corporal Jeremy Burris was desecrated only 2 days after his burial. Flower arrangements, personal notes, and flags decorating the grave site were torn down and destroyed. All of this destruction to steal and sell wire flower stands. In Georgia, a bronze statue depicting a Marine's boots, rifle and helmet was ripped out of the ground at the grave site of Corporal John Stalvey. Other graves have also been vandalized to steal the bronze plates traditionally placed on the grave sites of fallen service men and women. With the price of bronze on the rise, thieves are stealing these markers to sell as scrap metal. The cost of brass markers has risen to $28 each. Some counties cannot afford to replace the metal markers, so they are being forced to turn to cheaper aluminum markers.

John, I just found other articles, this one on Military.com: War Hero's Statue Stolen for Scrap http://www.military.com/news/article/war-heros-statue-stolen-for-scrap.html?ESRC=marine-a.nl
Veterans grave markers stolen in Waterloo
In West Virginia, it was vases bolted to headstones. In Washington state, it was bronze markers on veterans' graves. In Chicago, it was nearly half a million dollars' worth of brass ornaments.
Cemeteries have new problem: metal theft
Working to get a marble marker to replace brass one stolen
173 Brass Markers Stolen From Graves of Veterans

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

“My Genealogical Home!”

I only have one ancestor who lived in Indiana and even then it was for a very short period of time. That didn’t stop me from becoming a member of Tri-State Genealogical Society, however. I joined TSGS a couple of years before moving back to the area in 1989 and began attending meetings the same month we moved. I had found my genealogical home. Other TSGS members were facing the same problems in their research and together we learned how to solve them. We learned about seldom-used research sources, the types of flags that have flown over our country, mourning customs, using newspapers in research, and much, much more. “I don’t have any Vanderburgh County ancestors" is not a valid excuse for not joining TSGS. - by Brenda Jerome

Please notice that time is running out on the poll to select, from the list, the person you would want in your family tree. JGW

Monday, December 22, 2008

"With Christmas Time Closing In..."

I want to share two Christmas stories concerning Santa Claus. When I was growing up Christmas was so important as we celebrated the birth of Jesus. The Christmas tree and the manger depicting the story of Jesus being born were the symbols of the spirit of the holiday. Oh, sure, we got out of school for about 10 days, but it was more than that... the whole holiday was magical & spiritual. For most young children there is the church Christmas play. My grandkids were in their church's play singing their hearts out with the many Christmas Carols. It was such a delight to watch all these young children perform for their families and the church members. This reminded me of when I was just a kid.

But, it was last night after we got back from seeing the grandkids in Cincinnati that my older brother called and reminded me of our Christmas memories of when we were kids. Santa Claus was such a big part of the whole holiday. Mom & Dad always reminded us that Santa was one of God's helpers and it was Jesus that gave us the greatest gift. As you may remember it was so exciting when Santa would soon be here and leave the presents. We did not have a fireplace for Santa to use; so, he needed to just come through the back door. Dad had made some kind of special arrangements with Santa to come early on Christmas Eve. To ensure that we did not see Santa, Dad would drive us around town looking at all of the decorated houses. Mom had to stay home to let Santa in, because we could not leave the house unlocked, of course! But, each year Mom would pull me aside from the other 3 kids to let me know that if I left Santa an orange, he would probably leave me an extra present. Of course, this was such a great deal... and, it was a secret between Mom, Santa & me. Many years went by with many oranges left for Santa to get that extra present. One in particular when I was about 11 or 12, Mom & Dad took the younger two kids to shop in Evansville (about 1 hour's drive away) – they would be gone all day. It was a beautiful December day before Christmas. My older brother said lets play basketball. We couldn't play because our old ball was so worn it wouldn't hold air. My brother said lets use your Christmas ball, but I protested Santa hasn't brought it yet. That is when I discovered one of the biggest of life's lessons. My brother showed me where all of the presents were hidden. That's when I realized that Mom had been eating my oranges. I could not tell Mom that I knew, so for a few more years, I gave Mom my orange. There is a good ending, though, my brother gave me his orange or I was going to tell Mom & Dad on our playing basketball, that year.

The other story is about my middle son (the one that was so much like his Dad). At about age 8 or 9, he heard at school that Santa may not be real, but he held on to the belief, because he figured that Santa had to exist, since we could not possibly afford all those presents. As it was we had the same problem as my parents... no fireplace for Santa to get into our house. What we did was take the 3 boys and my wife over to her parents with me staying home to let Santa in the back door. My middle son & I had a secret deal with Santa, that if he left some cookies & milk and an orange for Santa that he would get an extra gift. You bet he would not let that deal drop. But this particular year, he needed some proof that Santa actually showed up. I had him draw a picture of Santa and I would ask Santa to autograph it. Using my left hand to sign it (to ensure that my son would not think it was my writing) convinced him that Santa had come for sure. Unfortunately, he took it to school as proof positive that there was a Santa. My son came home and was really mad at me. Not so much at all of the laughing and teasing he got at school, not, even, that I tried to fool him... it was that I had eaten his cookies and oranges! -by John G. West

Do you have a Santa story to share? I would love to publish them here until January first. JGW

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Brief Genealogical Notes

Actually, I will be racing UP the Ohio River from Evansville to Cincinnati in just a few minutes. We are going to see the grandkids for Christmas, but we have to be back Sunday night. I wanted to leave this message: “The Kentucky Historical Society will continue to add all volumes of Kentucky Ancestors up to the four most recent issues on a periodic basis on this page for general use.” Go here:

The Kentucky Historical Society has some neat stuff planned for Kentucky's Abraham Lincoln. Go to their index (home) page: http://history.ky.gov/index.php

It is sort of unique that TSGS covers the three home states of President Lincoln, all of which have great Lincoln celebrations going on for his 200th. Year celebration of his birth in 1809. I grew up near the Spencer County line in Warrick County, not far from Lincoln's boyhood home. - by John G. West

Friday, December 19, 2008

“Tri-State Links”

Going out of town this weekend to see the grandkids, so I thought I would put together something kind of easy to pass along. I will try to get something posted on Sat. & Sun., too. TSGS covers the tri-state area; so, here are some basic state-wide links, that most of you already have, that might be nice to be in one list ~

Genealogical Society - http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~ilsgs/
ILGenWeb - http://ilgenweb.net/
State Government - http://www.illinois.gov/
State Library - http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/library/
State Archives - http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/departments/archives/archives.html

Genealogical Society - http://www.indgensoc.org/
INGenWeb - http://www.ingenweb.org/
State Government - http://www.in.gov/
State Library - http://www.in.gov/library/index.htm
State Archives - http://www.fisa-in.org/

Genealogical Society - http://www.kygs.org/
KYGenWeb - http://www.kygenweb.net/
State Government - http://kentucky.gov/Pages/home.aspx
State Library - http://www.kdla.ky.gov/
State Archives - http://www.statearchives.us/kentucky.htm

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Our poll “Why Do You Do Genealogy?” attracted eleven participants. Many said their reason was to learn more about their ancestors (54%) or 6 of the 11 while 27% (3 voters) said that they wanted to “know who I am.” The poll was modified from the one Brenda Jerome sent me. You can still vote even though the poll has closed by simply clicking on the comments at bottom of this blog and posting your choice: honor ancestors, know who I am, like puzzles, learn about ancestors or other. Check out the latest poll (in the right-hand column) - of the listed who would you pick as your favorite ancestor!

Hey, the Packet (our members' quarterly journal) came in the mail yesterday... everyone will get theirs tomorrow if not in today's mail. Another nice looking Packet put together by our Editor, Brenda Legate. Good job by Brenda and all who submitted articles to publish. The next deadline for submissions for the March issue of the Tri-State Packet is January 15. See what the cover of our quarterly looks like – scroll down the right-hand column to the yellow copy of the Packet. You can also send something to be published in this blog.

A new feature for our regular Web Site is near the top of the index page. It is called ClustrMaps that shows visitors locations on a world map. You need to click on it for a larger version of the map that shows where our visitors accessed our sites (probably where they live or work). This morning we had 50 visitors since 14 December. Out of the 50, there were 17 outside the tri-state area including one from Ireland and one from Canada. I will report the results on the blog from time to time, but you can check it out yourself by going to our site (we have a link to our site under the graphic of our TSGS Cruiser in the right column). - by John G. West

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tech Info

“What's the Scoop on This Blog?”

In the right-hand column of this blog I composed a welcome message to visitors wherein I state that “I have no idea of what I am doing!” Well, that has changed just enough to make me dangerous. I have looked at other blogs to see what they are doing and I have done a lot of experimenting with this blog. First, why the term “Blog?” It is short for “Web Log.” And the idea behind a log is to just publish a daily, weekly or other regular interval journal or diary of events, stories, information or thoughts. Well that is ok, but what is all of this nautical nonsense? Our members' quarterly journal is named the Tri-State Packet after the Ohio River packet line that delivered cargo along the river. The society meets at Willard Library in Evansville, Indiana on the Ohio River. The quarterly has a sketch of one of those old cargo packet line boats (see the yellow cover of our journal in the right column). The quarterly has regular features such as “The Ship's Log” (President's column), “News From the Deck” (Willard Library & TSGS news), “The Pilot House” (from the Editor), etc. So, I have used some nautical terms for features for this blog and updated the name from the old Packet boat to a cruiser. I found a neat graphic of a “cruiser” to represent the TSGS Cruiser Blog. Tell me what you think about it?

The TSGS Cruiser Blog is for anyone interested in genealogy and in particular the Tri-State Genealogical Society (TSGS). Anyone can send me ideas or articles to publish in this blog, click on one of the “submit ideas” links to send me an email. You can also make a comment about an article. Click on the word “Comments” at bottom of each article to make a comment about that article and your thoughts will become part of the interaction that a blog can generate. So far, this blog does not have a large following and has only a few comments. These comments provide feedback as to what interests our visitors and stimulates discussions about various topics and ideas. Please make a comment when you read these articles. Hopefully, you will come back on a regular basis to read the blogs that have been posted on this site, which is a daily log of various types of messages. The articles will always be in the left-hand column. Just below where you can post comments is a list of labels for the article which represents the subjects that label what the article is about. Anyone that contributes an article will get a “by-line” plus their name will be one of the labels. A long list of labels can be found in the right-hand column and number of articles for each label. Click on the label name and all of the articles with that label will appear in the left column. Above the labels is a list (archive) of each article's title that you can click on for it to appear on the left side. The archives is open for the current month's articles. Each month has a small pointer that you can click on to open the list of articles or close it (same for each year). Click on the name of the month and it will load all of the blogs for that month in the left side. In parentheses is the number of articles for that month or year. At the bottom of the left-hand column there is a link for “Newer Posts” “Home” “Older Posts” that will take you through all of the posts from the first to the last one. At the top of the right-hand column is our survey/poll that runs for about a week. You can only vote once, but each time you visit you can check the current vote results. I create the question and choices for it... I need visitors to give me some ideas or a complete poll. I will report the final results of each poll under the heading of “The Captain's Log – TSGS News.” After the poll closes voting is stopped, but you can click on comments later to post how you would have voted.

I would like to encourage everyone to become a follower of the TSGS Cruiser and to make comments, vote in our polls, send in an article or an idea for an article. Help us make this a great interactive site for TSGS members and other genealogical friends and visitors. We hope to make this a great communications tool to keep our members informed and a tool for our members to keep the rest of us “in the know.” Lets have some fun, learn some things and interact with one another. -by John G. West

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

“Like Father, Like Son”

When I was growing up, Dad would say that what belonged to him and Mom belonged to all of us... the whole family. However, I was somewhat different than Dad, as I felt like what was mine was mine and what belonged to the family was mine, too! As a kid I was basically selfish and ambitious (so, what's new, right?). I remember Dad and I walking through the woods behind our home in rural Warrick Co., IN. I was about 10 years old and full of questions. “Dad, is this YOUR woods?” He said that it was OUR woods. So, Wow! This was MY woods!!! Later that year, for Christmas, we went to Florida to visit Grandma Gilkey, who lived near Miami. It was a little too cool to swim – we went to an island to collect shells instead. From the island we had a great view of the Miami skyline with the beautiful tall buildings. Dad said, “Look kids, there is Miami.” It was really impressive. I asked Dad, “Is it MY Ami, too?”

I was not like my father, but my middle son was a lot like his father... selfish and ambitious. If you asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, the answer was “Rich!” When the 3 boys were young, my wife stayed home to raise them. So, money was, generally, kind of tight. Sometimes when one needed something, we had to wait, at least until payday. This middle son (age 5 to 7) would ask for things he needed, as well as, things we really did not want him to have. When we could afford to get him what he asked for, we just got it for him. When I didn't have the money right then or I did not want him to have something, I would simply say, “When I get rich, I will get it for you.” He was happy & content with that and went along to play. It was amazing how well this worked! This went along fine for about 2 years and solved a lot of problems. One day when he was about 7 years old, he came up to me while I was going over some genealogy notes, “Dad... Dad... DAD!” I said, “WHAT?” He asked me, “you are never going to get rich, are you?” - by John G. West

Monday, December 15, 2008

“Twins & Genealogy”

Have you ever thought about twins and genealogy? They have the exact same family history. So, is it easier? I suspect it could only be easier, if the two team up to research together. And, when you think about it, all siblings with the same mother & father would have the same family with twins just starting at the same time. I brought this up because I thought about one of TSGS former Presidents, Ken Franks. Ken has joined his ancestors now, but around 20-25 years ago, I talked him into being a 4-H Family History Project judge at the county 4-H fair. Carol Lantaff and I were in charge of the project. The project was somewhat involved with 5 generation charts, family group sheets and individual “additional information” sheets. All of this required listing documentation/sources. In addition the 4-H'er was asked to include photos, some birth, marriage applications or death certificates and other actual (photocopied) records. Since some 4-H members might have someone that had done extensive family research and the scope of the project was limited to completing a five generation history, the project called for an annual 2-page written activity or story. This was to ensure that each year there was something that had to be done and help balance out the kids that were starting from nothing and the ones with 5 generations already done by Aunt Lucinda. The project required so much to be completed in 3 divisions set-up by age – all was cumulative.

Some of you have probably already figured out what I will be telling you. The year Ken judged these projects, we had a set of twins. We had 3 judges one for each division – Ken had the twins in his senior division. Since they were born on the same day and had all the same ancestors, the only things that were different was the given names for the charts and on their birth certificates. Since they were twins all of the photos that included one of them, included both of them. These twin boys had older sisters and a mom that helped them type, proof read and check sources, etc. The girls had been in the project several years and this was the boys seventh year or so. Everything was nearly perfect. They were required to write about the same subject; and, although, they approached the subject differently, they were equally well done. These two notebook exhibits were clearly the best two, the judge needed to select a champion and a reserve champion. Ken asked me if it was permissible to give two champions for that senior division. I said that he would have to pick one as champion and the other as reserve. He said, “but, they are almost exactly alike!” I told him the twins competed in a lot of projects in a lot of years and generally was chosen as the top two – they were used to one beating out the other. Ken needed to flip a coin or look for typo errors. I am not totally sure how he picked the champion, but Ken refused to judge again! - by John G. West

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Special Interest Groups (SIG's)

The TSGS Board had authorized the establishment of a TSGS Celtic SIG (Special Interest Group), but before it could be organized, the volunteer leader was no longer available. However, the SIG idea was well promoted as a way to increase involvement and provide a service for our members.

Many of our local TSGS members were members of the South West Indiana PC Users Group (SWIPCUP) that just recently disbanded. Perhaps TSGS could more effectively organize a TSGS Computer SIG, now that SWIPCUP is no longer available. SWIPCUP provided a lot of information, help and sharing of common problems with some excellent programs. TSGS has had a Computer Interest Group for 4 or 5 years, but it was limited in its scope with 2 sessions a year and was part of the HELP Sessions before the meetings. I led the group for several years, but it was just mostly a 30-minute presentation with some “questions & answers” time at the end. What do some of you bloggers out there think about a full-fledged TSGS Computer SIG? A group that would meet 4, 6 or more times a year and maybe have some hands-on workshops to show how a lot of simple, basic things are done on computers that many just have trouble figuring it out by reading the instructions.

Another excellent idea, that I found on the Internet last night came from the Southern California Genealogical Society Web Site (SCGS) who have developed a Genetic DNA SIG and have created a group with Family Tree DNA to provide group discount in testing costs. This group can share information about genetic DNA testing and encourage others to participate. I would appreciate comments be added to this blog concerning SIG's in general and what you think of a Computer or DNA SIG. Click on the word comments at bottom of this blog and submit what you think. Our Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) could use your opinions.

What do you all think about our new TSGS Cruiser graphic in the right-hand column?

John G. West, TSGS President

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Brief Genealogical Notes

Genealogical Links and Notes

From Don Counts – Footnote (the place for original historical documents online) announces huge WWII records archive now online at http://www.footnote.com/

From Willard Library – Super Web Site updated with many new features and greatly enhanced look. TSGS announcements & basic web page included. Easy access to Willard's genealogical databases & HeritageQuest and much more! Go to: http://www.willard.lib.in.us/

From Becky West – Adoption.com provides some great resources & news concerning all phases of adoptions. Good section on Adoptees, Birthparents & Search. Site has an Indiana page and, even, an Evansville page with interactive forums. See: http://news.adoption.com/

From Pinkston Gregory III – Cyndi's List is THE genealogical resource “links” page and much more! If you are not familiar with this site, you need to click the link to see it immediately: http://www.cyndislist.com/

Friday, December 12, 2008

CORRECTION for Yesterday's Blog!

My good friend, Peggy, sent me a private message to let me know that I had made a mistake concerning Morgan's Raiders and the Christian County, KY Courthouse burning during the Civil War. Thanks to Peggy, here are the facts as she submitted them.

I wanted to share something I found on the
Kentucky Historical Society's website http://history.ky.gov/. Hyland B. Lyon was from Lyon County and was responsible for the burning of the Christian County Courthouse. He also burned Lyon Co. and Caldwell Co. Courthouses. He was from the area and gave them warning and time to remove their records, being a decent man. :) Also my 2X Great Uncle William Mansfield "Wild Bill" Calvert rode with Morgan's Men and they wracked most of their devastation in other areas.
(Subjects: Civil War Courthouses Burned)

Historical Markers Search Results:Courthouse Burned
(Marker Number: 577)
County: Christian Location: Hopkinsville, Courthouse lawn, US 41, 68
Description: Gen. Hylan B. Lyon with 800 men invaded Ky., Dec. 1864, to enforce CSA draft law and divert USA from Nashville. In 23 days he burned seven courthouses used by Union forces. Courthouse at Hopkinsville burned Dec. 12. All county records saved. Commandeered clothing and went on. Returned on 16th, skirmished with US force and moved to Madisonville. - submitted by Peggy Gilkey

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Research Tips

Back in 1978 when I began my serious genealogical research, I had traveled to Hopkinsville, Kentucky (Christian County) concerning an Estate Probate of a recent death of a relative. I decided to make a quick trip into the courthouse. There was a huge brass historical marker right by the entrance stating that the building was burnt to the ground during the Civil War by Morgan's Raiders. I knew that, as did my father; but what we did not know was mentioned on this marker... that since the citizens knew Morgan and his men were on the way, they removed all of the records and that all the records were intact since the county's beginning in 1797! Since we thought the records were missing prior to the end of the Civil War, we never did any research in court records. I was overwhelmed that I might be able to find a little something that would help me learn more about my WEST family. I knew my Great, Great Grandfather was William Ellis West and searched records for him. The first book was a probate record book and I found him right away in the index. I checked the first entry... it was an estate settlement naming William and the brothers & sisters that I knew about. The simply amazing thing was that they shared in the settlement of their deceased father's share of his deceased father's share of his father's estate. In case you could not follow that, the estate the settlement was in reference to was William Ellis West's great grandfather's estate! In one deed there was proof of three previously unkown (to me) generations of my Dad's line. I remember thinking about my very first courthouse experience and the very first look at a court record revealed 3 new generations that it could not be that easy. Dad had died a few years earlier and I could not help thinking how pleased he would have been to know this information.

The tip here is do not assume that if one event happened that all is lost. Dad and I assumed that if the courthouse was burned down, then all of the records were lost, too. - by John G. West

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The results are in for the below survey/poll:

Which is possibly the least accurate date of a person's birth?
Marriage Application (2)
Certified Birth Certificate
Certified Death Certificate
Grave Marker/Tombstone (11)
Total 13 voters

This poll was created to evaluate evidence. All four choices can and are sometimes incorrect due to human error. However, some are more likely to be incorrect than others. Recordings of events closer to the time of the event tend to be more reliable than those that are provided much later. A birth record certified by an attending physician is considered to be correct and can be used in court as evidence of the date of birth. The marriage record would be the next closest to the event of birth. Legally, each must give information including birth to the clerk to fill out in the application and sign the form that all information is true and accurate. Usually, a certified copy of the birth record is requested to prove date of birth for each. This would make the marriage application the second most likely accurate record of birth. This choice got 2 votes that it might be more prone to error than all of the others. What about the certified death record... it is certified by the attending physician like the birth record? Here it is the date of death that is certified. Date of birth, parents names and other “facts” come from an informant that is listed on the death record. How well does the informant know the deceased, was that person a witness to the birth? How reliable is the informant? Death is the last event in a person's life making it the furtherest record from birth. Thus, it is the third best choice of the four. Well, you might say, what about the tombstone the date of birth & death are carved in stone! As far as strength of evidence goes, this choice would be the least likely accurate date of birth (and maybe death). You would think that something as expensive as a grave marker would generally be correct. Why do I and 11 of 13 say it is not always accurate. First, the dates of birth & death are often recorded on the marker after death, thus making it even further from birth than even the date of death. How long after death did anyone order a marker made? Who had the marker made and how knowledgeable & reliable were they of the facts for the deceased? Did the engraver carve out the correct dates? Did anyone check? A grave marker or tombstone would more likely be the least accurate date of a person's birth. Evaluating your evidence is very important. The more documents that you have that are in agreement, the more likely that it is correct. However, the strength of the evidence should be based on whether the person providing the information was a witness of the event and how long after the event was it recorded.

The current survey/poll can be found in the top right-hand column... “Why Do You Do Genealogy?” There are no right or wrong answers to this one, just your reason for researching your family history. Select your reason and click on the vote button.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

“Advance to GO, Collect $200” or “Get Out of Jail Free”

I recently noticed the passing of time... I wonder if anyone else noticed. For years, now, we have had “plastic” money (credit/debit cards) that we use instead of cash or a check from the bank. But, we still have cash, at least for now. We have joked by saying things like: “We are rich, we have a lot of 'play money from Monopoly!'” or “They said they would pay me a lot of money for my hard work... it would be my luck that it would be “Monopoly play money.'” Folks, “the times, they are a changin'.” Play money for Monopoly is on its way out. I saw a TV commercial for the new Monopoly game sets with electronic game pieces that use credit cards instead of play money... the game has no Monopoly play money!!! We need to record this huge change in our culture for our descendants to understand our way of life in the 20th. Century. The next thing to change is “Go directly to Jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200!” - by John G. West

Monday, December 8, 2008

TSGS Meetings/Events

I wish to invite everyone that reads this blog to come by for our informal TSGS Christmas Social with punch, cookies and other snacks. This Tuesday (tomorrow night - December 9) is the Christmas Social 6:30 to 8:00PM. Come and go as you please. Be sure to visit with us in the Bayard Room at Willard Library, enjoy some holiday refreshments and talk a little with one another. About 7:00PM, I will try to give a little live demonstration on how to navigate on this blog and a few other items of interest.

BTW, only one more day for our little poll/survey in the right column of this page toward the top... looks like Grave Markers are getting the most votes. Pick your choice and then click the vote button.

John G. West, TSGS President

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Research Tips

Most of you probably know this, but when reading a web page, especially one that has a lot of names and you are looking for a certain name, try this: Go to your browser's toolbar at top of page, click on Edit and scroll down to "Find On This Page..." and click it, this will bring up a pop-up window that you can type who or what you are looking for and hit "Next," the system will highlight what you searched for. You can hit "Next" again to see if there are any other matching entries on the same web page. - by Don Counts

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Genetic DNA News

“About Family Tree DNA”

Founded in April 2000, Family Tree DNA (http://www.familytreedna.com/) was the first company to develop the commercial application of DNA testing for genealogical purposes: until then, testing had only been available for academic and scientific research. Since that time, the pioneering company has developed a breadth and depth of programs and services and created standards that have earned it international respect and made it the world's most popular DNA-testing service not only for genealogists but for anyone interested in delving beyond the surface into family roots. Today, Family Tree DNA's database exceeds 210,000 individual test records (roughly 137,000 Y-DNA and 77,000 mtDNA tests), making it the premier source for researching recent and distant family ties. Family Tree DNA has recently been featured in Time, Newsweek, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times and on NBC-TV's "Today Show" and CBS-TV's "60 Minutes." [The New York Times & “60 Minutes” stories were about the WEST Surname Group #5 that I match. - JGW] Article from Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter, 01 November 2008 edition: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2008/10/family-tree-dna.html#more

Friday, December 5, 2008

"Ford Model C and V-8 Introduced"

With the current economic problems of the "Big Three" of the U.S. Auto Industry, I thought "This Day in History" from History.com might be of interest http://www.history.com/

The first Ford Model C automobile was introduced on this day in 1932. It boasted the first four-cylinder engine made by Ford with a counter-balanced crankshaft. The Model C was largely eclipsed, however, by Ford's other 1932 offering: the Ford V-8. The V-8 was the first eight-cylinder Ford automobile, and boasted the first V-8 engine block ever cast in a single piece. The V-8 sold well, but Ford's fortunes had fallen from their peak. The one-time industry giant was trailing General Motors and Chrysler in sales.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Research Tips

“What's in a Name?”

Sometimes when we are researching our family, we run across clues that can possibly lead us to lost family and maybe the elusive family Bible or find the records that will lead us to learning more about our ancestors. This summer I had learned more about Abram West, the grandson of Ignatius who is the brother of Thomas West (b. abt 1738) in my direct line. Abram left Orange Co., NC area to live in Hendricks Co., IN (next county to Indianapolis). William (Abram's father) first married a Cook and second married a Lacy. Several of the West men married Brewers. Many of these three families lived in Guilford Co., NC adjacent to Orange Co. and migrated to Christian Co., KY where Ignatius brother, Thomas, migrated into. In fact, Abram's father, William, moved to Christian Co. Anyway what I learned was that Hendricks county has a Guilford Township named after the many Quaker families of Guilford Co., NC that had migrated to Indiana. Abram West married Sina Hadley of the most prominent Quaker families of Guilford Twp. of Hendricks Co., IN. Were some of the NC West families Quaker?

Recently, someone had a photo online of an old school bus that was driven by a Billy West and they mentioned that the road was narrow, but flat. That it was good the road was not as hilly as like the roads where they lived. The area was in Orange Co., IN and I knew by personal experience that most of Orange Co. is full of narrow, curvy & hilly roads... very bad to drive at night. Since Orange County is the home of Larry Bird (NBA Boston Celtic Basketball player). And, of course, the famous mineral springs with its special healing powers in French Lick drew Franklin D. Roosevelt, the infamous Al Capone and many well-to-do people from around the world. The once renowned "Eighth Wonder of the World" (West Baden Domed Hotel where the famous boxer Joe Lewis practiced) is here, too. I decided to do a little research before I responded to the roads of Orange Co., IN. The first thing I learned was the fact that Orange Co., IN was named after Orange Co., NC because so many of its early inhabitants came from the North Carolina county of the same name. I do not know if Billy West is related, but if families came there from North Carolina's Orange County, there may be some that are related to me.

My point of these stories is that migration patterns can sometimes be found by location names and following up on these family members might help you find a cousin who has a different slant on your family lines that could remove that “brick wall” to your research. - by John G. West

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

“A Story About a Newspaper Story”

I recently reviewed a newspaper clipping of a story of one of TSGS former Presidents, Donald Counts. I remember when he got elected President the subject of this story. I first met Don at Central Library in Downtown Evansville. We were waiting at the locked area assigned to the DAR Genealogy Collection. It was only open one day a week for a few hours. One of the DAR ladies would come to unlock the room soon; and, we could do some research. I was really new to doing genealogical research; however, I had been collecting family data since I was about 10 or 11. Don introduced himself and we talked. He told me about this other library called Willard that had a much bigger collection than this DAR collection. He also mentioned this society that he belonged to, suggesting that I should join it. Whoa! What in the world would I want to be a member with a whole lot of old “high society” ladies? I did not have a positive image of societies. Don was a likable regular guy... not what I would call someone that normally would “hobnob” with some society. I finally went to Willard and was very much impressed with the size of the collection. I did not think about this society business again until one day I saw this article about Don in the Evansville Press. I was reading the paper at home and called for Becky to see the “library guy” I had told her about. Wow, he was elected President of the Tri-State Genealogical Society. The article told all about his journey finding his family roots. I decided that if he could get elected President of this group, they must not be too bad. I visited the very next meeting and everyone was so nice. I even knew several people there, so I joined. I soon learned that my notion of societies was biased and not based on any facts.
Don is a unique individual that is active in a lot of very important organizations. He is in Indianapolis today participating in the Governor's Planning Council for People With Disabilities Conference. He has been active with Marine and other veterans groups. Don later proved his ancestry back to Revolutionary War time and was able to join the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). He talked me into joining this organization, too. Don marches in parades and attends events as part of the SAR Color Guard. Don just completed two one-year terms as the President of the Ohio Valley SAR Chapter. He holds the office of State Chaplain of the Indiana Society SAR. In TSGS he currently serves on the Long Range Planning Committee.

See Don's news story in the Browning People Study online database:
- by John G. West
OVC SAR Volunteers

Photo taken at the SAR Informational table at this fall's TSGS Seminar. L-R: Becky West, Ken Gilkey, Peggy Gilkey, Don Counts, John G. West.

OVC SAR Compatriots

Taken in the church basement where the TSGS fall Seminar was held for 2008. The Ohio Valley SAR Chapter displayed a total of 12 flags (10 were Colonial flags). These three are (L-R): John G. West, Don Counts, Ken Gilkey.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008


The Thanksgiving Favorite Pie survey has completed. Our first survey only attracted 12 voters. We ended with a tie between Pecan Pie & Pumpkin Pie with 5 votes each. The only other of the total six pies to get votes was the Mincemeat Pie with 2 votes. For me give me a slice of good ol' pumpkin pie with lite whipped cream or a hot slice of pecan pie with vanilla ice cream or... Ok! I like them all. Truthfully there are only two pies I like... hot or cold!

Try our latest survey. Which of the choices might be the least reliable in your opinion?

John G. West, TSGS President

TSGS Meetings/Events

The society meets at Willard Library on the second Tuesday of each month except for the months of July & August. In April, we enjoy a "Dinner Meeting" and in December, we have an informal Christmas Social with punch, cookies and other snacks. Next Tuesday (December 9) is the Christmas Social 6:30 to 8:00PM. Come and go as you please. Be sure to visit with us in the Bayard Room at Willard Library, enjoy some holiday refreshments and talk a little with one another.

John G. West, TSGS President

Monday, December 1, 2008

Research Tips

Just a few ideas in case you have not come across some of these online sources: Cyndi's List http://www.cyndislist.com/ - has 265,850 links for family history with 180+ categories! Eastman's Newsletter http://blog.eogn.com/ by Dick Eastman - is a first class genealogical news web site. Browning Database http://browning.evcpl.lib.in.us/ - this Browning Genealogy Database is the lifetime work of Charles Browning, who compiled the obituary records of Vanderburgh County and surrounding southwestern Indiana from the Evansville newspapers: The Evansville Courier, The Evansville Press, and now The Evansville Courier and Press. Currently, the database is complete from the early 1900s to date and is kept up-to-date by the Browning family and the dedicated staff of the Browning Funeral Home. In addition, Mr. Browning's people studies of Evansville area residents, comprising more than 537,000 cards, are available online in the Evansville, Indiana, Local History Database http://local.evpl.org/ – news clippings about people of the Evansville area. Evansville City Cemeteries http://www.evansvillegov.org/cemeteries/ - this is one of the best overall database of all of the death cards in Evansville's two largest cemeteries (Oak Hill & Locust Hill). Both cemeteries are city owned. USGenWeb http://www.usgenweb.org/ - go here to find what you can about every single county in the United States. All the counties have a “County Coordinator” (Web Master) that maintains records & other genealogical items, plus let you know what resources are available and even the hours when opened and a way to contact these resources.

Most of these links are on my web site Willard Library/TSGS Genealogy on the Internet Demonstration (a sampling of some useful links) http://members.evansville.net/mylines/TSGSdemo.html . I have given this live online demonstration/workshop six times since 1998... I keep it update as best as I can since a lot of people have told me that they go to this site to link to one of my links! That is kind of cool. - compiled by John G. West

Sunday, November 30, 2008

“2008 Community Photo Calendar”

(Click on photo to see original size & quality!)

The Evansville Courier & Press 2008 Community Photo Calendar Contest... Chris Myers was one of thirteen winners (12 months & the cover photos... see all 13 photos here:
http://web.courierpress.com/advertising/calendar/winners/ ). His photo is the first one in the slideshow with music. The photo is of the Vanderburgh County, Indiana Old Courthouse taken at night. Chris is a very good friend of mine, but he continually surprises me with his talents. This photo represents just one of his talents. Along with being an incredible computer “geek,” Chris is a great web master. Chris has created two web sites that he has passed on to others. First was his Vanderburgh Co., INGenWeb site
http://ingenweb.org/invanderburgh/ . Second is the Tri-State Genealogical Society's web site
http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~intsgs/index.html . Even though Chris no longer maintains these two sites, they remain online after 12 years. Chris is a great newsletter editor, too. He created the Ohio Valley SAR Chapter's newsletter, The Ohio Valley Arsenal.
http://home.wowway.com/~cdmyers/ovcnewsletter/ovc_newsletters.htm TSGS is proud of Chris' latest achievement in photography. Congratulations, Chris!

John G. West, TSGS President

Saturday, November 29, 2008

"Big Doggie"

I began serious genealogical research in 1978. The same year the youngest of my three sons was born. When I first traveled to various courthouses in Kentucky, to keep me company, I would bring Becky and the kids with me. I did some courthouse & library research added visits to lots of cemeteries and sometimes living relatives. We would have a nice picnic lunch and for the most part Becky and the boys liked the generally all-day outings. They loved running through the cemeteries with all of the neat statues and tombstones. I took a lot of the kids pictures while they stood behind ancestors' stones. Over a few years, we had visited over forty cemeteries. My youngest must have thought visiting cemeteries was a normal way of life and that it was important to go into the cemetery and check for family markers (bear in mind this was before we had nice cemetery transcribed, indexed books). Where ever we traveled, he would see a cemetery and shout, “Dad, there is a cemetery, don't you want to stop and check for our family?” He was only 3 or 4 years old and cemetery searching was his most exciting family activity!

One evening before sundown, we learned of a cemetery in Grayson Co., Kentucky where my great, great grandmother Rhoda [Kimble] Wood was buried. The cemetery had narrow roads around it with little space to park. I pulled over close to a pasture fence and began my search. I had noticed the cows were making their way to the barn to be fed and milked for the night. The sun was beginning to set and I was lucky to find the grave before it got dark. It was a humbling feeling to see her grave. Mom had talked about her ever since I could remember... it was almost like meeting her – what a great feeling!

Becky and the kids stayed in the car since it had been a long day and everyone was tired. I shut off the car engine and all the windows were rolled down to enjoy the cool evening breeze. As I headed back to the car, I noticed that it was rocking back and forth – what in the world was happening? Becky started yelling for me to come quick. I ran to the car and a cow had its head in the back window. About that time the poor cow got its head out and turned to go to the barn. The cow did not hurt itself or the car. Becky told me that our youngest son thought the cow was a big “doggie” and called it over to pet it. The cow came over and evidently wanted to be petted – which was done with delight by our son. I avoid using his name as he does not like us telling the “Big Doggie” story. - by John G. West

Friday, November 28, 2008


This past week, TSGS has made some aggressive moves to communicate with our members that live outside of the immediate area of the tri-state, as well as, our local members. And to non-TSGS members a great opportunity to interact with TSGS. We have set-up our first guestbook on the web site that has been signed by several non-members. I am very excited about the potential of this blog. We need people to submit articles. There is a survey in the right column that will expire on Monday afternoon, please tell us your favorite pie and then click on the "vote" button. There are a couple other "gadgets" in the left column that might be interesting to read, too. The "TSGS Cruiser" can be fun, interesting, entertaining and educational... in addition, it can be a great communication tool with messages like this one.

I have developed a test "forms" page where the Long Range Planning Committee can help me develop some forms that visitors can type in responses and submit them to us for a direct feedback on our web site and society. Speaking of feedback, I sure would like to get some on this blog to see what you think about it and the types of things it should have. Praise is always welcome; but, truthfully, we need constructive, positive criticism to make improvements. Click on my name to send me an email to let me know what will make this a great forum for TSGS, members, and visitors.

John G. West, TSGS President

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

By 1621, the Pilgrims survived the winter and were at peace with the Indians. Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to celebrate their success, that would be shared by all colonists and their Indian neighbors. Having an annual thanksgiving after the harvest became a custom that continued for many years. Abraham Lincoln was the first President to recognize a National Thanksgiving. In 1863, Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for the observance of the last Thursday of November as a national holiday. However, in 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt decreed that the holiday should always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month.

On November 20, 2007, President George W. Bush granted a "pardon" to two turkeys, named May and Flower, at the 60th annual National Thanksgiving Turkey presentation, held in the Rose Garden at the White House. The two turkeys were flown to Orlando, Florida, where they served as honorary grand marshals for the Disney World Thanksgiving Parade. The current tradition of presidential turkey pardons began in 1947, under Harry Truman, but the practice is said to have informally begun with Abraham Lincoln, who granted a pardon to his son Tad's pet turkey. In this morning's newspaper, I read that the President pardoned a 45-pound turkey named "Pumpkin."

Part of the above from History.Com - http://www.history.com/

On behalf of the Tri-State Genealogical Society, have a very Happy & Blessed Thanksgiving!

John G. West, TSGS President

Genetic DNA News

11/12/08 - New York Post: DNA testing is the rage among Latinos: the latest social networking is not on Facebook or MySpace, it's DNA-testing.
As of November 27, 2008, Family Tree DNA hits new milestones with 140,809 records in their database of Y-DNA results with 5,132 Surname Projects, which include 85254 unique surnames. And, their mtDNA database has 80,449 results. I want to put this into perspective, the average Surname Project has 25 participants, of course there are many projects with only one or two test results since the project is new or few have taking the test. Some projects are huge with as many as 4,000 participants. The WEST Surname Project has 176 test results.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Never Give Up"

Well, I am new to Blogging but here goes. I have done a lot of research for clients over the years and am still learning. Some years ago, my client's main interest was to learn where his ancestor came from in Germany. He could supply most of the family history after he arrived in Evansville, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, but his German origins were a mystery.

I did everything the good genealogist should do. Examined the Intentions and Naturalizations. Although I located both documents, unfortunately, before 1890 in Vanderburgh County intentions and naturalizations merely state the county from which one immigrates. Both documents stated Germany, which agreed with censuses but most censuses do not give any more data than a country. Death records, first recorded 1882 in Indiana, also stated Germany. Next searched were the microfilmed funeral home and church records. At least they were all consistent. He was born in (guess where?) Germany. An obituary in the German newspaper listed his birthplace as Germany and the Evansville city cemetery in which he was interred.

On to the cemetery. By now I was getting a little discouraged. The cemetery office verified the location of the gravesite and since I had failed so miserably to establish any data other than Germany, I decided maybe a photo of the grave would be a small consolation.

It was August around noon and 102 degrees in the shade. The grave was in the sun on top of a hill. After all my research I expected no stone. However, there it was except it had fallen face down. It was one of those old narrow tall ones about thirty six inches high. The longer I stood and looked in frustration at it, the more determined I grew to make a photo. So I grasped the edge and heaved with all my strength and flipped it over. Mercy me!

The inscription gave his name, birth date, the name of the little village and the German state in which it was located as his birthplace. Further, it stated his parent's names and his death date. The moral of this story is never give up! - by Bettie Cummings Cook, CG

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

"The Great Pitchfork Incident"

If you do research in Vanderburgh County, IN, then you must have looked at the two volumes of the county's smaller cemeteries compiled by Carol Lantaff and Glenda Trapp. When you worked with Glenda in the cemeteries transcribing tombstone records you were either crazy with a boring life or you came along to do some important work and have a good time doing it. Glenda was extremely meticulous in getting the stones read accurately and would often return to a cemetery numerous times to ensure its accuracy. She was perhaps the best there was in being able to cipher out the impossible to read markers. She would amaze us all when she would tell us what a blank stone had cleverly hidden from us at first glance. She would outline the letters and suddenly, like magic the names and dates would seem to jump out at us. She had fun doing this work, but she took it seriously. She would have us probe the top soil with rods looking for covered fallen stones, and when we found one the work began to dig it up and usually lift it up to be read.

I remember one time in particular when we were working in Union Township in an old cemetery that was flooded often each year by the Ohio River. We were probing for the covered markers. I was busy digging up a found marker and Bonnie Fehd, Glenda's sister-in-law, and Glenda was working behind me. Bonnie was working hard using a pitchfork to probe the topsoil. She was finding tombstones faster than we could dig them up, the pitchfork really worked well. Suddenly I heard this scream!!! I turned around and Bonnie was white with shock. She had accidently plunged the pitchfork into Glenda's sneakers (shoe). One of the tines went through the top of her canvass shoe and through the sole of the shoe and several inches into the ground. Glenda did not know what had happened until she tried to move her foot. It seems the tine went right between her toes without even a scratch. After we realized that Glenda was alright we laughed until tears came to our eyes. I mentioned that something had happened with a pitchfork in a cemetery in one of my President's columns of the Packet years ago, but never told what happened, so TSGS members now you know the rest of the story!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Welcome to the new TSGS blog!

This is our society's first post. I was talked into creating this blog site by the TSGS Long Range Planning Committee. One said it is a method to post genealogical research tips. Another said we can use it to poll members concerning what our members may wish for our society to do to better serve their interests. And another suggestion was that this is a great method to distribute information about events & meetings, as well as, hear from members & visitors some of their genealogical problems, interesting experiences or new tools, web sites, etc. Please make the committee look good by responding to this post and adding lots of good exchanges of information.

This blog will be monitored and any posts or replies that are deemed objectionable or inappropriate will be removed. I do not see that as much of a problem, but we do want the blog to be a pleasant & helpful resource.

Welcome & thanks for visiting us, John G. West, TSGS President