Friday, January 29, 2010

My Ancestor Talked to Me!

My husband is attending a conference in Colonial Williamsburg - YIPPEE! That means that I can do more research on my Jamestown/Williamsburg ancestors, the Pettus's, for a few days. The other evening I was waiting for him to finish up so we could go to dinner. It was cold and it was POURING! Now, had we driven my vehicle, I would have had an umbrella. But does my husband keep one in his car? NOOOOOO.

I made my way to the bookstore in the area of the Williamsburg Merchants - in the rain - determined to purchase an umbrella now that I was soaked to the skin anyway purchase another new journal. The last one I bought was at the same store. I wonder why it is that when I travel, I want to write more?

Anyway, I get to the book store and thumb through the leather journals until I find one the right size, unlined and about half the cost of the rest of them. I had already seen that the umbrellas were by the door and I'd grab one on the way out so I could have both hands free to fondle the covers and pages of the journals.
I turned to leave when all of a sudden, the radio that had been playing pop music with a disturbing beat (for a bookstore), sounded as though it was playing one of my favorite songs - Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. The sound was so faint. I was determined to figure out if my ears were playing tricks on me. Did they change the station? How could they go from pop to this on the same station? It called me to attention and drew me in. I looked a the ceiling to find the nearest speaker. As I strained to hear the soft melody, I walked in that direction.

It was real. So, I stood there, KNOWING. Because I believe this is how the spirit world communicates with us (a little nudge, some recognition of something, a deja vu moment)  I waited, in disbelief for the "aha".
I was under the speaker now and it was the song I thought it was. As I looked around me, I was now right in front of the bookshelves of local interest, including Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. OK! Now what? Well, there was a book I had been interested in picking up about an archeological dig that was done on the 17th century plantation site of my 9th great grandfather, Col. Thomas Pettus, they are called Littletown and Utopia in the area of Kingsmill.

I am browsing the shelves as I listen to the music, which still has me in disbelief. Then suddenly, there on the BOTTOM shelf, the very last book in the CORNER, wrapped in plastic no less, is the book I've been wanting to get my hands on - Kingsmill Plantations 1619-1800 by William M. Kelso!

Kingsmill Plantation, 1619-1800: Archaeology of Country Life in Colonial Virginia (Studies in Historical Archaeology)

I picked it up still listening to the music. I smiled and said "thank you" out loud to acknowledge whatever angel, guide, ascended master, ancestor, God - whatever you want to call that energy.

I have heard of this happening to many-a-researcher, both amateur and professional. In fact, at the my first conference last year, FGS in Little Rock, AR, I purchased 2 books published on the subject called Psychic Roots...Serendipity and Intuition in Genealogy and More Psychic Roots by Henry Z. Jones, Jr. I read both of them in about a week!

Do you trust your instincts? I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me. If you are awake to the hints and heighten your senses - you will have it happen to you too. When you least expect it. Like dodging the rain by finding yourself a bookstore while you're on vacation. Even though it happens to me quite a bit, I still can't believe it when it does. So, I decided to blog about it - every time. Then I can tabulate how much it happens and how frequently. This was the first time this year, so maybe at the end of the year, I'll count the frequency.

Has this ever happened to you? If you're a blogger, write a post about it and share your link with me and my readers in the comment section. I'd love to read yours!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Land Records for Female Ancestor?

I've been cleaning up my online database on because when I uploaded my GEDCOM file from Legacy, it does not translate the sources by attaching Ancestry's Historical Records, it makes it all text. I like to look at Ancestry's tree with the link to the record right there so I can click once on it and be looking at the actual record. This enables me to scrutinize specific data and review records as necessary in my research. So, I am manually attaching records I've already cited in order to do this as seen here: (CLICK to enlarge)

In doing so, I've made a discovery I would not otherwise have found. I was already aware that my 4th great-grandfather, Duncan McVicker, acquired land in Louisiana beginning in 1852 as a result of serving in the Georgia Militia during the Cherokee Removal and receiving land grants. While adding these historical records to Ancestry's tree, I noticed underneath the results for Duncan McVicker in the Lousiana Land Records database the following:

You can see I've attached all of Duncan's land records to him in my tree because of all the green check marks to the right of his name. However, underneath him is his wife or daughter, Sarah, followed by his son, John, my 3rd great-grandfather whose land records I'd already known about. The discovery was Sarah's land! And hers was the earliest date. So, one can see that, as usual, welcome NEW discoveries always lead to more questions! How come Sarah McVicker got land? Did the couple purchase it in her name? Was it his daughter? Could it have been a grant? Underneath John is Margaret, another daughter! It never occurred to me to look for land in her name at that time, being that she is a female. I would not have done a search on the female names alone for land.

I'm glad I made the choice to re-enter these records in Ancestry! What a payoff! I believe there is a price for everything, but there are also rewards for diligence when you least expect it!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Sorting Out the "Living" on

I was working on my tree in the wee hours this morning on and I had an epiphany! I uploaded my GEDCOM file from Legacy some time ago and opted to keep those living relatives of mine private, so they ALL show up as "Living" on my Ancestry tree. How am I supposed to tell one "Living" from another?

I was adding a photo of three people, two of whom are living (myself and my brother), the other is our maternal grandmother. When I went to tag the two living people from the photo I had to choose from a list of names. This is all fine and dandy if there are not two people with the same name. I have come across the same problem trying to attach a record to someone when there is a Sr. and a Jr. by the same name with no birth years. Do you know how many "Living's" are in my tree?!?!

But, alas, it occurred to me! How about filling in the first name field with the RIN# or record number for the individual from Legacy's database? At least that way I will know one "living" from another. For example, I am RIN #1 and that makes me "1 Living" in my Ancestry tree. My cute big brother is RIN# 1477, and here he is as "1477 Living". So, for the sake of adding information for me to analyze data and make comparisons, this works for me!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Genealogical Superpower

Inspired by a post with the same title as mine by Stephen Danko at Steve's Genealogy Blog, I decided to create my Superhero avatar (at The Hero Factory) and find out what title I was to be given. Looks like I am "The Impossible Soaring Angel"!!! [Cue the music and give me a sidekick!] Although, some people would call me "The Impossible... No, that's it. Nothing more, just "The Impossible". [My husband comes to mind here.] Here is what my avatar looks like:
I like my stick! It is symbolic of the connection I feel to all things, especially Earth. Weapons are not required to be a true superhero. You can help people with kind words and deeds, and knowing what to say at the right time. That's what I like to think my genealogical superpower is. Helping others. I started my video tutorial site, RelativelySpeaking.TV, with the idea that I could help others with the technology/computer skills part of genealogy that they fear as a way of giving back to them because they helped me to begin to learn how to get started doing my research. I also took 2 whole days in another state's archives to help a friend with his research. He has difficulty reading and with my help he was able to make a lot of progress.
The Pink and the Skirt represent the feminine. All things giving and nurturing. Also relating to Mother Earth because everything we need to live flows from her. I use my feminine intuition A LOT to guide me in my research.
I don't see the angel wing's as mine, but symbolic of our connection to the Divine. Without which I don't think a lot of the synchronicities in my life and research would have occured. And to remind me to be thankful for each and every day of my life and my loved ones and ancestors who came before me.
I hope that explains my Genealogical Superpower. I think others might say that am good with technology too. Maybe this post will inspire another reader/writer to write about their Genealogical Superpower too!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 Has Arrived!

Vintage New Years Postcard
Originally uploaded by riptheskull

I have the flu... since December 27th to be exact and this down time has allowed me to reflect about the past and how I want 2010 to change for me. Genealogically speaking, 2008 was a year of organizing my files, entering more accumulated data into my database and filing it all and bringing things up to date - like correspondence. I felt organized! Everything was "getting done" and my to-enter-and-file pile was next to nil.

2009, on the other hand, proved to be a disaster! Things fell apart. Literally. I had my desktop computer die during the first quarter and spent a long time during its slow demise having files back up again (because the duration of how long it would run before shutting itself down was so unpredictable). Then, I was able to have a new one built by summer, and needed time to restore my data and install software to get things up to speed.

In the meantime, I continued to do research, travel to repositories and take hundreds of photos - all to be entered. So, there was definitely an imbalance of what I gathered and what was entered and filed away. Come December, my laptop died. Oh, bother! For 2010, I'm planning to get all of this accumulated data entered and filed - a monumental task considering all the papers, correspondence, photos, & books I'll need to sort through.

I also plan to write more - in my blog as well as starting a diary. I love to write with a fountain pen and inkwell, so this requires a little more planning than just carrying a book and pen. I believe I'll have to set up an area where I can address this task daily and when I travel, I'll just use my favorite fountain pen with the ink inside. Even if I only enter a few lines...I feel compelled.

 I also have a huge laundry list of things I want to do around the house, from hanging more art, to repairs and sewing more for the home. It's time to tackle those ugly tasks once and for all. Then there are those ugly unfinished projects that loom around in the back of my mind and haunt me. Won't tolerate that anymore - they will get finished. I plan to write them down and address them one at a time.

For example, unable to get around much while sick, I pulled out a cross-stitch which is so tedious I had put it away for over a year. Every stitch is another color! I changed my mind about it by thinking in terms of each square-inch being an accomplishment, working about an inch at a time, and found I can do this while watching TV and get a sense of satisfaction when I finish a whole inch. Much better than thinking in terms of the entire canvas - "I'll never finish this" idea.

I also have to keep up with my duties as VP of the genealogy society and continue to come up with content and produce videos for my other site. That is on top of the household chores and regular tasks needing to be done. Just the act of writing this post has helped. I feel better having focused my attention on goals I wish to accomplish, writing them down and challenging myself to "change my mind" about them, or how I can change my thoughts to inspire achievement as opposed to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

Wish me luck and I encourage everyone to do the same. Write down your goals and ask yourself what you wish to achieve and what keeps you from doing it? What needs to change in your thoughts about those goals to get you motivated? Maybe just breaking down a monumental tasks into small pieces will do the trick.

Happy 2010 ya'll!