Thursday, December 18, 2014

Do You Remember . . . "He Knows If You've Been Bad or Good"

I remember so clearly the fun and anticipation of Christmas morning.   I laid awake for what seemed like most of the night, waiting for my parents to come and tell us that Santa had come.  Although we almost always got up between 5 and 6 a.m. (yes, you read that right), it never came soon enough for me.  I can remember getting up and flushing the toilet more than a few times, just in case my parents were sleeping too deeply to remember to get up.

Me (left)  and my neighbor, Robin Bean,visiting Santa Claus
Bakersfield, California 
I don't remember ever feeling afraid of Santa. I just remember being excited to see him in parades, the department stores and at parties.

I do remember being startled one evening when we heard a knock on our living room window while my family was watching TV together. We lived way out in the country and didn't have neighbors, so we seldom had anyone knock on our door, much less on our window.  I remember someone cautiously pulling back the curtains and seeing SANTA standing right there just outside our big living room window!

Through the window Santa reminded us to be good and promised to bring us toys on Christmas morning if we were, then he waved and was gone.  After that, I found myself listening for him all of the time. Santa actually visited us that way 2 or 3 times during my childhood. Years later as adults, as my brothers and I were talking, we realized that, sadly, my dad had somehow managed to miss every one of Santa's surprise visits!

Talk about having a good incentive to behave! We knew for a fact then that Santa had been to our house and we never knew after that when he might be listening or what he might see. The simple fact that he had actually showed up at our house just underscored the words of the song:
"He knows when you are sleeping.  
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!"
  
I would like to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and I hope that as we celebrate this Christmas season, we will remember that the Savior, Jesus Christ is the gift and the real reason we celebrate Christmas.  

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Monday, December 15, 2014

Gone to Texas--The Perrys

The Perrys were among many southern families who packed up their belongings and moved to Texas. By the year 1900,  James Perry and Mollie (Ayers)  and their nine children were living in Wood County, Texas, which is in the northeast portion of the state.  Initially predominantly an agricultural community, James continued to do what he knew best, which was farming.

Wanting to know what that part of Texas looked like, I did a quick google search for images. Having lived in Texas for a number of years, I am well aware that the snake population is alive and well in Texas, so it shouldn't have surprised me when numerous images of snakes popped up. Apparently Wood County, Texas has its share of snakes.

According to a "Soil Survey of Wood County, Texas" found here, Wood county is the home for a wide variety of venomous snakes such as rattlesnakes, copperheads, cottonmouths and coral snakes, along with a wide variety of non poisonous yet plenty cantankerous reptiles such as bull snakes, known for their bad attitude. Alligators are also found along the Sabine River of that county.

Although I know that southern folk are no strangers to such critters, I do cringe as I think of the Perry family trying to establish a home and farm where such critters resided in large numbers. In 1900 their oldest three, John Patterson Perry, 20 yrs old, James A., 19 years old and Laura, 15 years old were all of an age to be a significant help on the farm and around the house.  Although some of the younger boys likely helped around the farm as well, they were also of the age to be out running around exploring the countryside to see what they could find. Charles was 13, Robert 11, William 10 and Thomas was 5. The twins, Hugh and Hubert were only 3 years old at the time.

I know that as new ground is broken and disturbed when farmers plow in snake country, the dens or nests of snakes are often stirred up increasing the risk of snake bites. I also know all too well from my own upbringing how easily children can naively stumble onto unsuspecting reptiles. Poor Mollie had her work cut out for her.

In 1900, James and Mollie were living among many other southerners as well as other family members. One door down was Mollie's half brother John W. Perry and his wife, Mary Frances  (Hill) and their five children. Next to John's family was yet another brother, Robert Linfield Perry and his wife Jennie Lee (Howell).

I initially wondered if Mollie had a good relationship with her half siblings. Not only was Mollie the only child from her mother's first marriage to Reuben Ayers, but she was considerably older than her five half siblings.  She was eleven years old by the time her widowed mother Frances (Rainwater) Ayers married her step-father, Robert A. Bailey. In 1877,  the year that Mollie married James C. Perry, her mother delivered her last child, Frances Laura Bailey.  Two years later in 1879, Mollie delivered her first child, John Patterson, and therefore Mollie's youngest sibling and the oldest of her own children were only two years apart.

Although I am not sure if James and Mollie traveled to Texas with her brothers or if one followed the other, knowing that Mollie and her husband lived close to two of her half siblings when approximately 650 miles from "home" seems to suggest they had a good relationship.

Because my original question from my last post was "Is this Perry family responsible for the Perry name in my own family?, I need to know where both families were and if they had opportunity to interact.

In 1887 John Monroe Ganus and Olivia  (Rainwater), along with their five sons and their families moved to Colorado.  Then about 1897, the entire extended Ganus family moved from Colorado to Indian Territory, Oklahoma and were there in 1900.  With a distance of approximately 220 miles between the Perry family in Texas and the Ganus family in Oklahoma, clearly these families were not living anywhere close at this point.  However, the Perry name also would not be used in the Ganus family for thirty more years.  Would descendants of these families end up living close to each other? While I have no evidence of this at this point, I don't think it can be entirely dismissed...yet.

I do have some evidence that members of this extended Rainwater family from Georgia apparently managed to stay in touch with some of the other members over time and despite distance.

In 1900, Sanford Rainwater, born 1866 in Georgia is found living next door to John and Olivia (Rainwater) Ganus, his aunt and uncle.  I shared that story here. The Ganuses had moved from Georgia to Colorado where they remained for ten years before moving to Oklahoma. Georgia born Sanford Rainwater had been living with his parents, John Rainwater and Bargilla (Moore) in Upshur County, Texas, for roughly 30 years prior to his move to Oklahoma.  It had been over 30 years since the two families had lived in Haralson County, Georgia, and yet they became neighbors. Remember this is before the age of Google and cell phones.

Apparently these Rainwater families and their descendants did maintain some awareness of each other over time, despite moves to various states and great distance, but the question remains, did Frances' and Olivia's descendants establish and maintain enough of a relationship for this to be my Perry connection? There is yet more research to be done.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FGS 2015-Don't Forget the Family History Library!

Just in case fabulous classes, an enormous exhibit hall and great keynote speakers are not enough to entice you to attend the FGS 2015 Conference in Salt Lake City this February, let me remind you this conference will occur just down the street from the world famous Family History Library.

If you have never been to the library, it is hard to comprehend how enormous the library is.  With five floors of books, maps and microfilm for US, Canada, British Isles and International research,  it has something for everyone.

Elder Hanson
2nd Floor Greeter Desk
Recently they have made a few changes at the library. One very noticeable change is the reference area on several of the floors, which has made it a little more welcoming and comfortable.

The library has also changed the way we get help.  Trained volunteers are available to help with questions, but if you need additional help, a scheduler can set up a consultation with a specialist. The scheduler will then provide you with a restaurant style pager which allows you to continue researching until the specialist is available. I love this change! No more just standing in line waiting for help!
Pagers for Consultant help


At the Family History Library I love the freedom to pull and access both microfilm and books as I am ready. No waiting on reference people to pull the films for me or limiting the number of films I can view.


Tim Bingaman, AG, FHL, consultant stations
Tim Bingaman
AG at one of the new 2nd floor consultant stations
Although I do love the third floor which has an impressive collection of books for US research, I spend most of my time on the second floor which houses the US microfilm.

Court records, deeds, tax records, cemetery records, you name it, the library has it. Of course the available records vary depending on location and time period, but I love being able to research so many locations all under one roof.


While too numerous to mention in this post, the library has acquired collections not found everywhere, so don't stop with some of the more common sources. Take time to go through the FamilySearch Catalog and the Family Search Wiki ahead of time to learn about some of the less common resources available at the library.  One such example is the Leonardo Andrea manuscript collection. Leonardo Andrea was a professional genealogist who did research in the south.  This collection includes transcripts of Bible records, correspondence, genealogical sketches and many other types of materials on 125 rolls of film. Although he focused on South Carolina research, he did include other states such as North Carolina, Virginia and other southern states. Last time I viewed this microfilm, I was required to leave my driver's license with them until I was finished, so you may want to make sure you take your license along. To read about this collection, see here:


One of the many rows of microfilm
 at the FHL
You will want to make copies of the genealogy treasures that you find and there are some great options at the library. I know it is old fashioned, but I still like hard copies for much of what I find and copies at the library are a bargain at 5 cents a page. To make copies, it's necessary to purchase a copy card that can be used in the copy machines. The cards start at $2 each and can be purchased in a vending machine that takes cash or credit card. Another money saving option is to take a flash drive on which to save your documents.

The library houses a large
collection of books
You have likely read the section about preparing to research at the library on the FamilySearch site found here, but I want to add just a couple of things from my own experience. If you are bringing a laptop, be sure and bring a laptop lock. Although the library does feel very safe, it's always a good idea to protect your valuables.  If I don't have pockets in the clothing I am wearing,  I take a small purse that slips around my neck where I can stick things I want to keep with me like cash, credit/debit cards and my copy card.

Although I tend to get so involved I loose track of time, eventually my stomach will remind me to take a break to eat. I like to throw in a snack and a bottle of water in my bag to take to the main floor snack room when I need a break. There is also a wide variety of vending machines in the snack room. I enjoy the genealogy chatter and have met some fun people there. If I want to take time for a sit down meal, JB's is right next door. If I am in the mood for fresh air and a little exercise,  there are many eateries close by.

To top it all off, I am no longer surprised if while researching I look up and discover a fellow blogger or one of my favorite genealogist sitting across the table from me. Many if not most people attending the conference will try to sneak in at least a little time at the library and although we all want to take advantage of every minute we have for research, it's fun to see and meet others on a more personal level.  And that my friend, is just one more plus to the never ending list of reasons to attend FGS 2015.  I will be watching for you!

A special thanks to friend Linda Carver for taking and sharing the photos.  All photos used with permission.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Do You Remember Christmas Parades?

Do You Remember......Christmas Parades? 

Back in the "olden days," before stores began displaying their Christmas decorations in August and September, we took holidays one at a time.  Only after we had enjoyed Halloween and eaten the last bite of Thanksgiving dinner did we turn our focus to the Christmas season.  Because Christmas didn't really begin until we were well into November, we didn't have time to tire of all of the commercials or Christmas music and the excitement and anticipation had plenty of time to build.

Christmas parade, Coalinga California, Brownie troop

When we were living in Coalinga, California, I was in a Brownie Troop and was so excited to participate in our small town's Christmas Parade. In case you can't tell, we were a herd of red nose reindeer.  Did even you know there was such a thing?   

Costumes, like life in general, were simple and our cone-shaped-construction-paper reindeer heads are evidence of that.   


Not to be outdone and with the aid of our mother, one of my little brothers dressed up that year as Santa, decorated his bike and he too participated in the Christmas parade.  

The Christmas parade helped to officially kick off the Christmas season and we then looked forward to several weeks of family and church activities, music, parties, special treats and Christmas movies.

Pumped full of sugary goodies and wired on a steady stream of activities, we then faced the challenge of trying to ensure our place on Santa's list of good girls and boys.


Do you remember those days?  

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

On The Lookout For Perrys

Was this my Perry connection?    The name Perry has been used as a first name in my own immediate family and I was told that it was because of the importance of a family named Perry, but no one knew exactly who that family was.  

But as a result, I have long kept my eye out for a Perry connection somewhere.  As I worked on my Rainwater family, I was intrigued as I came upon a Perry family and couldn't help but wonder if this was the family.  
Photo generously shared by David, a descendant


Mary Ann Ayers,  or Mollie as many called her, was the only daughter of Reuben Ayers and Frances Rainwater.  Frances was a sister to my second great grandmother Olivia Rainwater.  

In 1877, when Mary Ann was 20 years old, she married James Crain Perry in Haralson County, Georgia.  So the question in my mind is, were the two families ever close enough that my Grandfather would have known and named his only son after this Perry family? The question led me on an adventure to get to know Mary Ann.


Mary Ann was born in October of 1857 in Carroll County, Georgia, but by the 1860 census, she moved with her parents Reuben and Frances Ayers to the hills of Calhoun County, Alabama. John and wife Olivia (nee Rainwater) Ganus and their children had also moved from Georgia to Calhoun County and were living just a few households away.  By 1870 Reuben, Frances and Mary Ann were back in Georgia and once again were living in close proximity to the John and Olivia Ganus family.  John and Olivia had three children by the time Mary Ann was born.  Mary Ann and William Franklin Ganus, my great grandfather were about three years apart. There is no doubt that the two families enjoyed each other’s company, as shared in this post. But both families would move multiple times to multiple states in the years that followed and I wondered, did the children several generations later have opportunity to know each other?  It will take some digging to see if they did and if indeed this family was responsible for the Perry name in my own family. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do You Remember ....."Put on a Coat!"

Do you remember ..... "Put on a Coat!"

What is it about kids and coats?  Currently we are experiencing temperatures hovering right around freezing and so, as I leave the house, I bundle up.  Yet as I head out in my car with my nice warm coat on,  gloves on to keep my hands warm,  and the heater blasting, I see kids walking nonchalant, in shorts and no coat as if it was the middle of summer.

My brother and me
Bakersfield, California
I do remember being a kid and trying to get out the door without a coat on and hoping mom wouldn't see us.  Because moms have eyes in the back of their heads, she always knew what we were up to and reminded us to put on a coat. I also remember resisting. How could we play and do all we wanted to do when we were restricted by an extra layer of clothing?

This picture always makes me smile.  I look at it and wonder about the story behind it. Over the years the story and reasoning has been lost, so no one can explain to me why I am in shorts and a light sweater while my little brother is bundled up from head to toe in a nice toasty snowsuit.  The thing is, I don't look like I am miserable or cold.  So I wonder, did I fight Mom on the coat and she finally said fine, find out for yourself?  Was I just warm blooded?  Or was I just oblivious to it all because I was having fun with my little brother?

Whatever the reason, of this I am confident, at some point, my mom told me to put a on a coat.  It's a given.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Speaking of Friends- Are you Going to FGS 2015?


Louise St Denis, Director at National Institute
of Genealogical Studies
and friend Roylene
The Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference is coming to Salt Lake City on February 11-14, 2015,  and I can't wait! Although this will be my first FGS Conference, it is far from being my first genealogy conference.  I've attended several National Genealogical Conferences, Rootstech and a myriad of smaller conferences.

As I look through the list of classes, keynotes and activities, it appears that this conference promises to be one of the best yet.

Cheryl Goff, Jolene Passey and myself

 Cheryl, Jolene  and myself

There are so many classes to choose from but I am particularly excited about the classes that will help me write my ancestors' stories and classes about technology.  Sharing ancestors' stories is a passion of mine and I would like to learn how to do it better.  And  I really need to learn more about using the technology available.  The Compiling Singular Records into Lively Stories track has some great classes to help with sharing ancestors' stories and there are a variety of classes about technology in the Communications for Today track, Modern Access to Vintage Resources track and of course the Technology track as well as Technology for the Future track.   There are so many options,  it is going to be a challenge for me to narrow it down.


I always love the Exhibit Halls and I am super excited about the one at FGS this year.  Having a joint hall with Rootstech means it will be one of the largest Exhibit Halls ever. The Exhibit halls are always bubbling in energy and excitement and packed to the brim with society representatives, genealogy companies, software, books and all kinds of fun genealogy products.  Knowing my love for books, I have installed an app on my phone that lists all of the books I already own so that any purchase I make will add to my collection and not duplicate it.


Michelle Goodrum and myself
Michelle Goodrum and myself
Classes, the Exhibit Hall, activities and meals all will provide opportunities to meet other genealogist from all over.  And while there are many aspects of conferences that I absolutely love,  I have to confess that meeting and making new friends is one of my favorite parts.

Speaking of friends----I hope to see YOU there!

For more information and to sign up, go to FGS Conference 2015





Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2014,  All rights reserved