TSGS Cruiser Blog

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