TSGS Cruiser Blog

Saturday, March 14, 2009

"Poeny Flatt"

The cry of warning for the last several years has been to beware of the Internet because so much of the data does not have any documentation. To many who are worried about beginners losing there way, this is the biggest genealogical crisis of our day. It is important to have the source of your information listed with your data. This allows others to check your findings and to be able to determine the weight of the source as to its probable reliability. What about other media that publish genealogical data like books and newspapers? Much of it is also undocumented and sometimes not accurate. Often there are errors in books that are published transcriptions of original records. There are the obvious “human errors” of typo errors, skipped data, transposing letters or the ever tempting error of correcting the spelling or errors in the records. And, of course, there are errors in original documents – some are falsified records for whatever reasons. I think the biggest error is interpreting handwriting over the ages in addition to the faded or stained condition of the records.

I have an example of a reliable transcriber who has published many genealogical research books. This one is about “Poeny” Flatt. The Flatt families were heavily concentrated in New Jersey in the 1700's. They began migrating together with the oldest seeming to be three brothers: John, Henry and the oldest Benjamin. Location and record after another these three and others could be found as they migrated from place to place. One time though it appeared that Old Benjamin must have died as he was not listed with the others. There were several “new” Flatt men that must have come of age during this time and one had an odd name that the transcriber just mentioned decided that the name was clearly spelled “Poeny” Flatt. Later in another location Old Benjamin shows up again, he did not die afterall. I suspected that he was just missed in the transcribing from the original record. So, I got the microfilm of it and went through it... I did not find a Benjamin either. I took a close look at the name “Poeny” and became suspicious of the beginning of his name and I found another man with the first name that almost looked like “Poeny” except the first letters looked kind of like it could be one letter a “B.” Then I found a family “Butler” that had a similar “B” that could pass for “Po” if you were not careful. I went back to the Poeny Flatt and noticed that the “y” looked more like a “j” to me. I thought about this for a few seconds and realized that the letters were actually “B-e-n-j” WOW it was the abbreviation of Benj. Mystery solved. I sent this around to everyone that I could find that had “Poeny” Flatt. Amazing that now we see Benjamin as having a nickname of “Poeny” which many has insisted is a spelling error for the nickname of “Poney” or “Pony” with at least two insisting that he was named after the flower “Peony.”

- Submitted by JGWest

NOTE: The Benjamin "Poeny" Flatt that has been transformed into "Poney" is a transcription error for the name "Benj." I have seen the microfilmed copy of the records that list old Benjamin as "Poeny" - the "P" & "o" combine to form the capital letter "B" and the "y" is the letter "j" which all put together is "B+en+j" = "Benj." the common abbreviation for the name "Benjamin". This is my favorite example I use in my "Old Handwriting" sessions I present at our genealogical library and for members of my genealogical society and to the 4-H kids I help in their genealogy projects. JGW

Friday, March 13, 2009

"Bizarre Couples in History"

Fabien Pretou, standing at 6 foot, 2 inches tall, towered over his 3 foot, 1 inch bride Natalie Lucius at their 1990 wedding in Seysinnet-Pariset, France.

Harry Stevens, 103, married his 84-year-old cousin, Thelma Lucas, at a Wisconsin retirement home in 1984.

In 1871, Captain Martin Van Buren Bates married Anna Hanen Swan in London. She was 7 foot, 5 1/2 inches tall and he stood at 7 foot, 2 1/2 inches.

When Ruth and Kevin Kimber married in 1990, she was 93 and he was 28.

In 1863, American dwarf Charles S. Stratton married Lavinia Warren. He was 2 foot, 10 inches tall and she was 2 foot, 8 inches. In 1884, the widowed Lavinia married Count Primo Magri who was two inches shorter than her first husband.

In 1995, following a courtship that lasted several months, 100-year-old Samuel Bukoro married 12-year-old Nyamihanda in Uganda.

In 1994, 26-year-old Anna Nicole Smith tied the knot with 89-year-old millionaire J. Howard Marshall. She was attracted by his "kindness."

Submitted by Don Counts (Source unknown)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tombstone Thursday - Lou Ella Dendinger

Oak Hill Cemetery
Evansville, Indiana
Section 22, Lot 57, Grave 6
She died in Tell City, IN on 24 Aug 1942
There are quite a few buried in this lot with the name Dendinger. Irene Dendinger has the same logo on her grave marker.
Photo taken & submitted by JGWest
[Tombstone Thursday is dedicated in memory of Donald G. West 1952-2000]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


We had a very nice sized crowd at our March meeting last night - the room was full with people sitting back in the microfilm reader area! Mary Lou Bevers started everything off with a great HELP Session that she had to finalize her notes with little notice to substitute for a cancellation. Her subject was "Falsified Legal Records" and was very interesting. Special thanks to Mary Lou!

I think we had a good meeting. It was reported that the latest membership count of paid members is 312 for 2008-2009 which is 20 higher than what was reported in the last few days here.

The Good News is that the society members voted to spend up to $5,000 for microfilm of county records in Kentucky & Virginia plus the Draper Manuscripts. We will only be able to buy about 35% of this great collection, but the owner has promised to hold off sale elsewhere for us to have a chance to buy more later.

I have been impressed with the Browning microfilmed obits from the Evansville Newspapers since before 1990 and was nearly overwhelmed with the Browning Online Database when it came out. Last night the Browning Genealogy Foundation impressed me even more! They brought with them about 10 people that work with the Foundation including Mrs. Browning. Dr. Mark Browning led a power point presentation and went online to show us some very neat data that has recently been added... incredible! Mr. Charles Browning (deceased) started saving obits from the newspaper and put them on filing cards. He was owner and funeral director of Browning Funeral Home in Evansville. Now, his wife, son and daughters are expanding what he started. Visit their newest home page: Browning Obituaries (& other databases).

The President appointed the Nominating Committee for the 2009-2010 Officers & Directors: Bettie Cook (Chair), Brenda Jerome & Don Counts.

John G. West, TSGS President

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

TSGS Meetings/Events

Tonight will be another monthly meeting of the Tri-State Genealogical Society held at the Willard Library. The meeting starts at 7:30 PM. We will have a brief discussion about a large microfilm collection of county court records being offered to the library and/or TSGS at a great price per roll. These records include the Draper Manuscripts, Kentucky & Virginia County records (deeds, wills, etc.). Many of the Virginia Counties, such as; Bedford, Culpepper, Loudon, Louisa, Prince William & Caroline - are counties where many of our ancestors that migrated to the tri-state area from. Willard Library has very little in printed books for these counties since few exist. These rolls of microfilm will be a great addition to the genealogical collection at Willard. The entire collection of research material purchased by TSGS over the last 37 years are included within Willard's collection and free for everyone to use.

Yesterday, the TSGS Board approved a recommendation for the membership to authorize the Book Acquisition Committee to purchase up to $5,000 of these rolls of microfilm. This recommendation will be voted upon by those present (and members) at the meeting. By the way, anyone may attend our meetings... you do not need to be a dues paying member, except to vote.

The Long Range Planning Committee (LRPC) will give a progress report. The Special Interest Groups (SIG's) Committee will have a survey to pass out during the meeting.

As reported yesterday here, the 6:30 PM HELP Session will meet in the Bayard room of Willard Library featuring TSGS Board Director Mary Lou Bevers presenting an interesting program "Falsified Legal Records and Other Pitfalls." This session is free to the public. Come early to be sure you get a seat!

The regular meeting program will be conducted by the Browning Family & Associates with updates and new features of the Online Browning Genealogical Database. I use this almost daily and continue to be amazed at how much it helps me with my personal genealogy and when someone asks me for information on a family! This is worth the time to come out and see. Again this is free to the public.

John G. West, TSGS President

Monday, March 9, 2009


Quite a bit of news for our Society:

We had a Board Meeting scheduled for Sunday afternoon at Willard Library, but at 10:40 AM the weather bureau issued a “tornado watch!” We just barely had a quorum for the meeting and any type of bad weather reduces attendance. As expected, I got several calls of cancellations. I sent an an email telling everyone that the meeting will be postponed until Monday night (tonight). As an old Air Force weatherman, I was not as concerned about a “watch” since it is designed to advise you that bad weather conditions exist and we must be alert to changing conditions. I decided to go to the library in the event some show up. We ended up with five of us (Brenda Jerome, Vice President Doug Korb, Treasurer Connie Conrad, Deb Travers & myself), we had a nice group to serve as a Finance Committee to do the preliminary work for going over the finances that the Board will be talking about tonight. We have discovered that despite running a deficit for the cost of our quarterly journal, The Tri-State Packet, of nearly $750 this year... that the Treasury has been carrying forward a large sum of money. One of the purposes of tonight's meeting is to determine how much to expend on a large collection of records on microfilm that is becoming scarce and being offered at a very good price to the library and/or TSGS.

Tomorrow night's meeting (the second Tuesday of the month) is our regular Monthly Membership Meeting at Willard. We have been having what we call ”HELP” Sessions before the meeting which is free and open to the public. We had a cancellation a few days ago, but Mary Lou Bevers has agreed (almost literally at the last minute) to give a program she has developed called “Falsified Legal Records and Other Pitfalls” - I am really looking forward to attending it.

We always have a great program for our regular meeting and this meeting is no exception with the Browning Family & Associates presenting an update and new features on their Online Genealogy Database. This is an incredible, large database of Obituaries and Newspaper Clippings. I use this database along with the Evansville City Cemeteries Database nearly every day and rarely do I not find what I am looking for! If you have not used the Browning Database, you should come to see how it works. But, if you do use it, you already know you want to learn more about it!

Visitors to our regular TSGS Web Site have been from 25 different countries now and we are very close to 1000 unique visits to the site since 14 Dec 2008 (that is less than 90 days!). We have had 25 unique visits from Ireland & the United Kingdom (Ireland with 16!). Our TSGS Cruiser Blog registered nearly 3000 hits since 27 January 2009 (and that is less than 40 days!).

John G. West, TSGS President

Sunday, March 8, 2009


10 Mar 2009 Tri-State Genealogical Society Meeting Porograms:
6:30 p.m. Help Session "FALSIFIED LEGAL RECORDS AND OTHER PITFALLS " Led by Mary Lou Bevers, Genealogist
7:30 p.m. Regular Meeting "Browning Genealogy" Presented by Browning Associates.

Special thanks to Mary Lou Bevers for volunteering at the last minute to give the HELP Session when the scheduled speaker cancelled. The Browning Genealogy concerns the Online Browning Database of obituaries and news clippings found in the Evansville newspapers. Both of these programs will be great to attend and are free to members and non-members alike – reservations not required. Come and visit us and enjoy these two very good and useful programs.

Next month's Annual Dinner Meeting will be 14 Apr 2009 - It will be at the Sirloin Stockade! "Judge Lynch! - A Novel Based on Real-Life Accounts Exposing Secrets of Small Southern Indiana Community.” Presented by Posey County Circuit Court Judge James M. Redwine, Speaker & Author.

I promised to list the names of those in the 1994 TSGS Annual Seminar photo. Here is what I have: (L to R) Mary Lou Bevers, Unknown Lady (Rena Goss?), Mary Lou Winsett, Joan Elliot Parker, Unknown Man, Unknown Woman, Karin Kirsch, Cynthia Maasberg, Judy Lee, Seminar Speaker - Helen Leary, Bettie Ann Cook and Betty Ewers.

This afternoon the TSGS Board will meet to map out the 2009-2010 Budget and plan the balance of the 2008-2009 fiscal year with an expected purchase of some great Kentucky & Virginia County court records on microfilm. This will be a very nice addition to the already great Willard Library Genealogical Collection. All genealogical research materials purchased by TSGS are housed at Willard Library for the free use of anyone that visits the library.

John G. West, TSGS President