TSGS Cruiser Blog

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From Don Counts – Footnote (the place for original historical documents online) announces huge WWII records archive now online at http://www.footnote.com/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