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Dig old newspapers? Look no further...

Last week, I shared my findings from a new (to me!) website called Elephind.

Fellow genealogists will not their heads in agreement...sometimes, after hitting brick-wall after brick-wall, discovering an obituary, story, or social pages snippet mentioning a particular ancestor can be a genealogical gift.  Wrapped in a bow.  Sealed with a kiss! Context to add a little something-something to the names, dates, and places of birth on a paper tree.

Likewise, when I've taken a break from serious document searching, and I need a little inspiration, newspaper snippets are just the thing to get creativity flowing again. 

Have you ever heard of  If not - CHECK IT OUT.  That's an order.  Fulton History has been on my radar...but I admittedly haven't spent time searching its archives.  Working completely from home, website founder Tom Tryniski has scanned over 22 million historic newspaper pages!  THIS ARTICLE was shared today via one of my favorite genealogists' …
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Not-So-Wordless Wednesday: Fargo Carpenters On Strike

Family Tree Magazine (I enjoy my subscription to the e-reader version!) mentioned an new-to-me website in their most recent edition.  Just HAD to check it out during my quiet time this afternoon.  Oh yes.  Quiet time - otherwise known as nap time or Mom's Sacred Time in this household.  Savoring every last two-hour nap time until our youngest grows out of it!  When people ask me how I possibly find time to accomplish anything with three little boys in the house under the age of seven, my answer is always "nap time".  Holy, holy nap time.  Want to know the opposite of nap time?  It's called Mommy is seriously cranky because she hasn't had enough time to herself.  Let's not go there.

ANYHOW...back to the genealogy website.  Elephind.  Ever heard of it?  It's a FREE (yay!) collection of newspaper archives from domestic and international sources.  There is just absolutely nothing like finding a fascinating article about an ancestor to add a little spice and i…

Chicken or Duck?

I'm feeling a little scattered these days.  Could be the breezy Fall weather - a wonderful sight after three long years in Sicily's arid climate.  Instead of olive and blood orange trees, I'm gazing out of my kitchen window appreciating our collection of hardwoods.  Leaves are everywhere, and the piles are only going to get bigger.  I am treasuring every last one.

My research brain is also a bit scattered.  A little genetic genealogy over here...a little "other people's genealogy" over there.  Most of this is flat-out procrastination from dealing with the pile of photos I need to archive and the folder of newly-located probate records to transcribe. 

There's also that little thing of needing to manage my household.  Oh, and clean.  And feed children :).

In the meantime, I stumbled upon a snippet from the Reading Times (A Web Footed Chicken (1890, August 4).  The Reading Times, p. 1.  Retrieved from

Sarah M. LUDEN is a 4th great-grand…

Photo Repatriation - Part I

Dear ______,

My name is Sarah Melvey, and I am writing in regard to the Howell branch of your family. I currently live in Williamsburg, Virginia...and while browsing through one of our many local antique shops, I came across a beautiful baby portrait taken in the late 1890s with the name "Josephine Fulton Howell" written on the back. Out of curiosity, I decided to put my genealogical skills to work to try to identify as much as possible about Miss Josephine - mainly in an effort to identify current living relatives (potentially with family trees in Ancestry). My goal is to repatriate or re-home the photo and make sure it returns to the family...

Genealogical serendipity.  I have been on the receiving end of so many research hand-outs that I only thought it worthwhile to attempt to pay it forward in my own little way.  Enter Josephine Fulton Howell - the beautifully staged baby in the portrait above.  Note the detailed background - the flowers on the sideboard, th…

The Gardener and Our Driveway - William W. Wyatt (1902-1971)

My family and I are fortunate enough to spend the next couple of months living in a historic home on our local military installation until we close on our new, permanent home a few minutes away.  Our time here will total five months; plenty of time to enjoy the views of the York River and the spring greening taking place more and more each day.  The house itself is an entity.  Huge, overwhelming, and beautiful.  Dusty, creaky, and drafty.  Almost like living in a museum.  Wind blows off of the water at the end of the day, whistling through the windows.  Stinkbugs surprise me at every turn.  Sun shines through the entry windows in the morning to create a warm glow that will stay with me forever.  It was the best of was the worst of times shall we say?

Now, what I do absolutely LOVE is the yard.  This lovely piece of property - and the acres surrounding this area - are supremely historic.  It would take me an hour to type out the history, so feel free to read about it HERE. …

Camp Butler - Newport News, Virginia

In my previous post I introduced my third great-grandfather - Hachaliah McMath, Jr. (1840-1916) - and his experience specifically at the end of the Civil war as a prisoner of war. 

Context: Hachaliah McMath, Jr. is my 3rd great-grandfather on my father's maternal side of the family.

After his capture in Farmville, Virginia following the Battle of Saylor's Creek, McMath was transferred to City Point, VA (Grant's headquarters) and then on to Newport News, Virginia.  From what I can determine, the Newport News area was occupied by Union troops for a large portion of the war.  Camp Butler was heavily fortified, as seen in the lithograph below - from the "Civil War in Newport News" collection of the Newport News Public Library System:

From what I understand, the Prisoner of War camp was created alongside of Camp Butler to accommodate excess Confederate soldiers captured toward the end of the war.  Essentially - the POW camp in Newport News served to solve an "over…

Hachaliah McMath, Jr. (1840-1916): Prisoner of War

April 9, 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of  Lee's surrender at Appomattox Courthouse.  This seems like such little time - and such a long time all at once, yes?

It dawned on me this week that last week also marked the 150th anniversary of my 3rd great-grandfather's capture after the Battle of Saylor's of the major turning points in the ultimate demise of Lee's Army.  This battle fractured his starving, weary troops just days before the inevitable end.  On April 6, 1865, Hachaliah McMath, Jr (1840-1916) - a sergeant in the 11th Florida Infantry Regiment - was one of many (almost three quarters of Lee's entire remaining Army, from what I've read) captured. 

Context: Hachaliah McMath, Jr. is my 3rd great-grandfather on my father's maternal side of the family.

McMath and other prisoners were sent to City Point, VA (Grant's headquarters) on April 14, 1865 and then on to Newport News, VA to be interred as a prisoner of war at Camp Butler.  Iron…