Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why Can't I Find Henry?

Alright I have been looking for all things Henry as you all know so well. I have looked high and low for this man and he is just not cooperating.

I now know that he died in Missouri but I am thinking that it would help to have at least a year before I try to find going to the records department. I'm not sure if I will find someone willing to look through every death certificate for a decade.

Anyway, I finally found a website called that had a great list of Social Security death indexes. On it I found his wife's death index, my grandfather's death index, my great grandfather's death index but not his and there were close to fifty Henry's that died during the 1960's.

I completely don't understand. You would think that it wouldn't be this hard to find information about him in my own state. In Mississippi I was finding things left and right and now that I'm back it's like he had dissappeared again. I simply don't understand.

I know that he was a black man living in the middle of the end of slavery, segregation, and the freedom movement but you would think that if I can find information on his wife, who was a black woman living through the same things, than I could find something about him.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tell Me A Story

I have always loved to read. I love mysteries and true life stories among the many different genres I frequent. Maybe that is why genealogy appeals to me. It is like the ultimate mystery and it's been written so long ago. Take my great, great grandparents for instance. I know that they have been the subject of many a blog but they are who I am currently researching.

Henry own quite a bit of land in Mississippi if the records that I have found are truly him. It would have been considered significant back then (1899-1910) for anyone but especially for a black man and especially in the south. He marries had three girls and lives on this land for at least ten to twelve years. Yet somewhere between 1910 to 1930 he leaves his land and moves to Arkansas. Why would he do that? What happened that was so significant or even insignificant that prompted such an act?

I know that many black people during that time moved a lot for better jobs, opportunity, or to avoid lynchings but generally they moved north. They didn't move a couple of states over. Yet that is what my ancestor did. He didn't leave the south until he was sick and that was at the urging of his daughters that brought him to Missouri, if my information is correct.

This is a real mystery to me and one I might never solve. It's not like I can call him up and ask and my great grandmother who might have known the answer passed away years ago. I feel like I can research and research but census records won't tell me the why of the move they will just help me pinpoint a date or timeframe.

I love a good story but sometimes the story is too good. When you have a mystery infront of you and no answer in sight then what do you do?

Saturday, April 17, 2010

We Had a Great Trip

We had so much fun and I really wanted to share these great photos with you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Rest, Relax and Recharge

We got back from our Mississippi trip a few days ago and I am still getting back on my feet. That would be the funny thing about research trips I now know. It takes a while to get back on track but I guess that is to be expected. You're on such a high while your there.

Up at six in the morning heading out to find all that you can. Staying up till eleven, twelve or one o'clock in the morning to go over what you found and add it to your family tree. Talking about nothing but who you're looking for, who you found, and where the information might take you. It's a little draining. Truthfully I haven't been able to look at a family tree since we got back.

But I'm back now and ready to get back in the swing of things. I want to find my great, great grandparents death records since I now know that they both died in Missouri which I didn't until I actually asked my aunt where in Mississippi they died and she told me they were in Missouri. I also found that they lived in Arkansas so now I'm all over finding them there. I'm also hoping that if I can find them there then I can find their youngest son who I haven't been able to find on any census.

Okay so back to the keyboard. Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mississippi-Day Four

We are heading back home today *sad*.

It has been a productive trip and a yet it feels like there is so much more that we could find here. Like if we just had one more day or a few more hours we could find everyone. I guess I'm the embodiment of "give an inch they'll take a mile".

The good news is that maybe everything doesn't have to be found here. Last night as I was doing some research on I found Henry's World War I draft registration. Now I'm not sure if he served because I didn't see that but just think. I have been looking online for everything I can find about Henry and then I come to Mississippi and find his marriage certificate, a land grant for him, and now his draft registration. Some I found online in the hotel but the certificate was from the archives. Maybe there are special powers of research that comes to you when your in the home state of who you're researching. Who knows.

What I know is that I would recommend a research trip to anyone that is doing genealogy and if you're going to go find a family member or friend to go with you. It is so much more fun when you can bounce ideas off one another and both get excited about finding the smallest thing.

So pick a town, call the hotel and pack your bags; you have ancestors to find.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mississippi-Day Three

Time has sure flown.

We got up really early to make it to the archives and had another good day there. We didn't find as much as we did yesterday but we still left with information that we would have found at any other time. It's true what they say that the best way to research someone is to go to where they lived. I'm not sure I ever would have found that marriage license if I hadn't come to Mississippi.

We made it back for the funeral and I have to say that it was the shortest funeral that I have ever been too. I'm not sure that it lasted longer than fifteen minutes. Now I have been to funerals down south and normally they are just as long if not longer than funerals anywhere else. I have no words for this one.

After the service we drove out the burial and my cousin and father went on a search for tombstones that were around the turn of the century and I'm not talking y2k. They were so hoping to find people from 1860 or older and I think that found a few 1800's but nothing around the years that they were looking for. Once we left than we drove around the historical district and the old downtown taking pictures of what it looked like now and what it might have looked like back then.

So now my dad and cousin are gone and I'm doing some additional research on the computer looking for anything that I can now find on Henry or Cassie. With there marriage license dated I now know that they weren't married until the end of 1900 so that means that Henry might be listed by himself or with his family then.

Alright I'm off. Talk to you soon.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Mississippi-Day Two

Wow, what a great day it has been today.

As previously mentioned we found a new relative yesterday and today we went back over so that my aunt and I could met her. She is just the sweetest lady and she had a book of old obituaries that my cousin sat down with and got a lot of information from. Then her daughter was there and she shared pictures with us of other family that we hadn't met but had passes on or weren't in the neighborhood. She also mentioned that she had a brother that lives in Missouri also. It's like will wonders never cease.

Then we made our way to the National Archives for Mississippi and although we only had approximately a half an hour to research (they close early on Friday and we spent more time than we originally planned in Canton) we still found some interesting information. I finally found a marriage license for my great, great grandparents that listed my great, great grandmother's maiden name so now I have a new family line to research and my cousin found quite a few death records that had parents names on them as well.

However, when we got back to the hotel she pulled out the one that she was the most excited about and was telling how long she had been looking for a maiden name for this person and I pulled out my family tree to add it and surprise surprise I already had it down. She was speechless and all I could tell her was that I must have gotten the information from my dad.

Also while we were at the archives I found a will for the person I believe was married to the woman slave owner that might have owned one part of my family. I didn't have time to print out everything but the lovely lady at the archives told me that she would print it out and sent it to me in the mail. Who was looking for a Dream Team? I was looking for a Dream Team. Who found a Dream Team? I found a Dream Team. *smile*

Back to my marriage certificate find. At the bottom there was a place for the officiator to sign and his last name was Ellis too. So I called my aunt to ask if the first initials sounded familiar and she was like no but when I mentioned the last name for my great, great grandmother then she got all excited. She remembered that was correct and even though it was like twelve years late (kidding) that just confirmed that I had found the right people.

So we have decided to head back to the archives tomorrow morning even though we will only have about an hour or so to research before we have to head back to for the funeral. It's not that long but some time is better than no time at all. Okay off to bed so I can get up. Talk later.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mississippi-Day One, Revisit

Just had to update. Got into Mississippi and spoke to my dad and lo and behold he and my cousin found a new relative. They found his father's first cousin. What are the odds of that? The were doing research in the local library and started talking to the lady at the counter and she mentioned a few people with the same last name as what he was search. As they were talking she directed them to a lady that was in her words "the oldest Huff in the area" and when they got there and started talking to her they found out she was married into the Huff's but she knew all about the Russells. As they were naming off people then it became apparent that she was actually on my father's father side of the family. Dream Team indeed.

So we are going back over tomorrow before we head to the main research building in Jackson. I am beyond excited and I can't wait to share all that we find out with you tomorrow. Talk soon.

Mississippi-Day One

On the road again, I am getting on the road again. Alright so it isn't so much again as it is for the first time. Yes we are on our way to Mississippi for our first genealogical road trip. To say that I am excited would be a bit of an understatement. I have been looking forward to this for quite a long while. Now the main point of the trip unforunately isn't the genealogy but the fact that there was a death in the family and the funeral is this weekend but we are hopeful that by going down early we will be able to get a lot of research done before hand. Everyone else will be arriving tomorrow and my dad and cousin are already down there so that gives them two days and me one extra day to look up as many people as possible. Wish me luck

Monday, April 5, 2010

Lookin' Good

A little away from the norm but I just wanted to let everyone know that we have a new look to the blog. I know you can probably see it but still I wanted to put it out there.

I know that we have gone through a few new backgrounds since the one that we had went away suddenly a few weeks ago but I think this one gets to stay for at least awhile. I hope that you are liking it because it took some to figure out if this was the look that we wanted and I wanted to have it in before my research trip.

So here you are. Now get back out there and keep looking for your nearest and dearest relatives.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Organization Frustration

I took a small break for a few days from my genealogy to do some work on this blog and to set up another blog that I have on this site as well and now I am extremely frustrated. See when last I worked on my family tree I come back to my room and put my folder and notebook in the same spot that I normally do. Now two days later I can't find it. I have torn my room almost apart looking and it is no where to be found. I don't understand; where could it be? This is why organization is so important.

My father has a very complexed but apparently better organizational system than I do. I have one folder, a notebook, and a few paperclips and I am happy. My father has multiple folders, copies of back forms, information written in triplicate, and two briefcases full of information. And I bet he would never lose a single part of it.

Maybe there is something to be said for having papers spread all over the place and written over and over again. I thought I was being more productive than him because where he has so much to carry I only have a handful but here I am searching for printouts and he could more than likely go down to his office and put his hand right on whatever piece of information he sought. Where is the justice in that?

So the moral of this story is; always put your information in a place that is easily accessible and make sure that you have backup copies of everything. Even if that takes multiple folders and briefcases full of papers. It will all pay off in the end.