December 31, 2015

Year end, look back, blah, blah, blah

I admit it. I've been a terrible blogger this year. I've neglected my blog and my promise to myself to be a consistent blogger. 

But if that's my worst mistake in 2015 (and believe me, it's not) then I would be in pretty good shape here on December 31, 2015.

Just 'cause I haven't been blogging doesn't mean I haven't been up to my eyeballs in genealogy.

Genealogy accomplishments in 2015

- I've become very active in the Wake County Genealogical Society. President-in-Training, VP Communications, Volunteer Coordinator. I need to seriously coordinate us into some more volunteers!  I helped get a new web site online. Check it out!

- Invested in a new genealogy database since my beloved FTM is going away. I'm incorporating my move to RootsMagic with a do-over. It's a monumental task. 

- I've really gotten into Find-a-Grave this year. Taken lots of photographs, beefing up bio info and pics on memorials I own, finding graves for all those I can.

- Totally organized all my digital files on Dropbox. I'm proud of me!

- Organized all my paper documentation, made sure I had digital copies, and put all the paper in binders organized by family name.

- Started taking apart photo albums that do not adhere to best practices, scan pics, organize pics. Need to decide if I want to hand scrapbook them or do a digital scrapbook.

- I downloaded all my digital documentation from Ancestry and made sure I had back up copies on Dropbox. Also made sure I attached them to the right person in FTM, which will soon become a duplicated effort when I put them in RootsMagic. Sigh.

- Volunteered for Ancestry Day at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh, NC. Spent day 1 at the NC Archives and day 2 at the event itself helping folks get registered and find their way. Very cool.

- Spent an afternoon at the Richard H. Thornton Library in Oxford, NC poking through the Hays Collection. Also spent a day at the Johnston County Heritage Center in Smithfield, NC. And several days at the NC State Archives in Raleigh, NC. 

- Throughout it all, I made serious hay on and all the many other databases I like to dig through. I even managed to post here a few times.

Whew!  Looking back, that's a LOT. 

But it's gonna be even better in 2016!  Bring it on. After all, some of my best friends are dead people.

December 17, 2015

Favorite Family Recipes: Mama's Fudge

Ann Gladys Allen Stancil
and her new cocker spaniel puppy.
Honolulu, Hawaii
Mama made this fudge at Thanksgiving and again at Christmas. It was one of her most requested recipes!

  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter (margarine just isn't the same!)
  • 1 small can (5 oz.) evaporated milk. Don't use sweetened condensed milk!
  • 1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow crème
  • I cup chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (not the fake stuff!)







Putting it all together...
  1. Measure all your ingredients before starting. Once you get started, you'll need to work fast.
  2. Line a 9-in square pan with foil leaving extra over the side to use as handles.
  3. Bring sugar, butter, and evaporated milk to a full rolling boil in a 3 qt. saucepan on medium heat. Stir constantly, it will stick to the bottom and burn in a skinny minute!
  4. Cook for about 4 minutes until a candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees F.
  5. Remove from heat and add chips and marshmallow crème.  Stir like crazy until all is melted. Mama often had Daddy standing by to put some real muscle into the stir!
  6. Add nuts and vanilla.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and spread to cover bottom of pan.
  8. Cool completely. Use foil handled to lift fudge from pan before cutting into small squares.
Has 0 calories if consumed during the holidays!



December 14, 2015

What's all the fuss?

Unless you live under a rock, you've heard that is saying bye bye to Family Tree Maker. 

I'll admit, I was a bit surprised by the announcement, but after thinking about it from a business perspective,  I got it. 

I've worked for software companies most of my career. Still do. Software as a Service (SAAS) became a thing about 10 years ago. Then, along came all the hoopla around the "cloud". It makes perfect sense that Ancestry would eventually choose not to invest any more $$$ in development of an old-fashioned software program. That's so last century. 

So they're doing away with FTM and moving everyone to maintaining their tree on their web site, which by the way charges nearly $400 a year to maintain all the resources. See, it's all about the money. 

That's not as offensive as it may sound, all about the money. Without income, they won't have the resources to continue to build the empire. Or pay people to scan and index records. Or maintain their site. Or look good to their stockholders. 

So, I get it. 

Still, it's a bummer.  We'll lose features now in FTM but not available in the online trees on Ancestry. Well, shoot. Stuff happens. 

The world hasn't ended. The world still turns. We all woke up this morning. It's all gonna be ok with or without Family Tree Maker. 

I promise.

November 8, 2015

Ancestry Day in Raleigh, NC

Yesterday was the long awaited Ancestry Day event in Raleigh, NC. It was preceded on Friday with an event at the NC Archives that included informative sessions, vendors, and time in the search room. 

I volunteered both days -- what a rewarding experience!

On Friday, I worked at the registration desk in the lobby area of the NC Archives. I made a number of new friends, checked in folks for the events, and even got to spend a couple of hours in the search room roaming around, with no real agenda or research purpose. How fun!

On Saturday, Ancestry Day was held at the McKimmon Center on the campus of NC State University. What a beautiful facility!  Again I helped register people and was a door monitor. Not only did I make even MORE new friends, but I got to sit in on a couple of sessions and heard Crista Cowan (Ancestry's Barefoot Genealogist) speak on how to more effectively use She's a great speaker and even more engaging in person (as opposed to her You Tube videos).

All in all, it was a really wonderful experience and I'm glad I did it, although I must admit getting up at 5am on a rainy Saturday morning to be at the event by 6:30am was a bit of a chore!

A couple of upcoming events to be aware of:

National Genealogy Society's annual conference will be held in RALEIGH May 10-13, 2017!  WooHoo!  Right in my own backyard!

Treasures of Carolina exhibit at the NC Museum of History, running through June 19, 2016. You can see NC's copy of the Bill of Rights, the original 11th admemdment to the US Constitution, the Carolina CHarter of 1663, and document signed by George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, Albert Einstein and more!  Learn more here

Have fun!

October 11, 2015

Bud Allen: Moonshiner and Farmer

My great grandfather, Eugene Narron ALLEN, has always been an enigma to me. His nickname was Bud and I've seen his middle name as Nebron and Newman. From all accounts, he was a rough fellow from a dirt poor family. He surely fit right in with his peers.

Bud was born 03 May 1880 in Wake County, NC. He was the fourth child of parents Henry J ALLEN and Armeda HUSKETH, who have proven to be as much of a mystery as their son.

He was definitely a bad boy, having served time in the joint for making moonshine. By that time, he'd been married to Elizabeth "Sissy" Ray for nearly 23 years and had 7 children. Bud and Sissy must have had quite the farewell just before he reported for 6 months on the road crew in November of 1927, because their last child Marvin was born 18 April 1928. Sadly, Sissy died a day after giving birth to Marvin, her 8th child. Bud must have been out of prison by then because he was the informant on her death certificate. 

He lived another 11 years and did not remarry. He was living with his daughter Mamie in Raleigh, NC when he passed away from pneumonia  and heart disease. 

Bud shows up on the 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930 census. He was also a registered voter, per the 1902, 1904 and 1906 voter registration records, Wake County, NC. He registered for the draft in 1918 listing Sissy as his next of kin. He was 38 years old at the time of his registration. I cannot find any evidence he was called to serve.

He lists a variety of occupations along the way; farmer, dairyman, laborer.

Bud was buried on 05 Mar 1939 in the cemetery of New Light Baptist Church in New Light, NC in extreme northern Wake County, next to Sissy.

October 2, 2015

Davis Family Reunion

My Davis family reunion is tomorrow and I'm really excited about seeing the family. Unfortunately, the weather here on the east coast is very very wet and may impact attendance. For those hardy souls who are willing to venture out in the torrential rains, we'll have the requisite BBQ and tables of food.

I like to think of family reunions as more than just an opportunity for us to eat and chat. Reunions should honor those who came before us and give us an opportunity to learn more of our family history.

Sadly, many are just not interested in those who came before us or just want to see the pictures. I love sharing the pictures, but what is a picture if you don't know anything about the person? Or the circumstances that caused the picture to be taken? 

For example, what was going on in the picture below? Was this a family reunion? A church event? Or just Sunday dinner? Wish I knew!

I think heavily each year about how I can provide info on the family history without boring people to death. I'm not sure I ever hit the mark, but every once in a while someone will email asking about family history and that makes me very happy.

Ummm....this would be me.

September 17, 2015

Wake County Genealogical Society presents JC Knowles and The Life and Times of Andrew Johnson

Please join us for the first Wake County Genealogical Society meeting since
our summer hiatus.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015
7:00 p.m.
Place: Olivia Raney Local History Library
          4016 Carya Drive
          Raleigh, NC 27610

Speaker: J. C. Knowles

Topic: The Life and Times of Andrew Johnson

J. C. Knowles is a well-known speaker and teacher with an amazing resume. He
is the official Ambassador of Apex, North Carolina, and he was the 2007 Apex
Citizen of the Year. He is a publisher, writer, auctioneer for 44 years
(retired), North Carolina Historian, a member of the Apex Rotary Club, the
Swift Creek Exchange Club, and the Kiwanis Club of Raleigh. He served on the
Raleigh/Wake County School Board 15 years, the North Carolina Historical
Commission  for six years, and the President Andrew Johnson Commission for
10 years.

J. C. and his wife were married on July 21, 1954, on national television. He
was born in Wallace, North Carolina, on June 28, 1928, and raised at the
Oxford Orphanage 1930-1943. He served in the Merchant Marines and the U. S.
Army, and he taught North Carolina History to fourth graders for six years
as a volunteer.

Meetings are free and open to the public.  Guests are welcome. Bring a
friend!  Refreshments will be served during social time after the