Friday, March 01, 2024

RootsTech 2024 --Day 2 Online

Day 2 Highlights:  

RootsMagic 9 is on sale for $20 thru March 4th 2024.

MyHeritage highlights

New Profile Page with Hints
  • OldNews newspaper website(available as standalone subscription or as part of MyHeritage Omni subscription package.
  • Upcoming Features:  Ethnicity update and the ability to share results(which will get around the 2FA issue) 
  • Upload DNA thru March 4th and gain access to MyHeritage's DNA tools
American Ancestors Highlights

My Virtual Attendee Session Schedule
There were some technical difficulties at RootsTech across the board for the virtual attendees but this class was great.  What is not to love about using timelines and city directories to locate those hard to find folks in census records.  Also the Steve Morse site was mentioned and it is a must.   Great syllabus with additional resources!

Wonderful overview of Homestead Act of 1862 along with a resource list and break down of documents which are created during the entire process of obtaining the land.

49 Stories in 5 States are written about in the Black Homesteaders 
of the South covering the following states
    • Alabama
    • Arkansas
    • Florida
    • Louisiana
    • Mississippi
If you missed this one and have an interest in Homestead records you really need to check it out. The syllabus does an excellent job of detailing the documents that might be found for your homesteader.

Excellent Resource list and advice on creating a Locality Guide for an area you are researching.  Be sure to get the syllabus for this session. 

The goals of the project
  • Establish a document-based research repository
  • Amplify the voices of people who have been telling their family stories for centuries
  • Connect people and resources

Thursday, February 29, 2024

RootsTech 2024 --Day 1 Online

Day 1 Highlights:  

100 Million Records Searchable with Full Text Search
This is so exciting for me.  I had the opportunity to use the AI search prototype they had available in 2023.  In the few days I had it, it was mind-blowing how many new records I found.

US Land & Probate Records and Mexico Notary Records are currently the only available collections to browse.

Plantation Records records were also mentioned 
See Family Search Labs page for 

Early Release of Family Group Trees
Check FamilySearch Labs for new products under development

MyHeritage has redesigned their profile page.  See their blog post about it at the following link.

Also don't forget they are offering Access to All DNA Features with DNA uploaded thru March 4th, 2024.  This is the perfect time for those who have tested at AncestryDNA or other sites to upload and get tools for dna analysis for free.

My Virtual Attendee Session Schedule

            This was a great presentation and was very helpful in simplifying the process of making corrections that are due to bad merges and  incorrect relationships.  

Fixing Process
  1. Fix Incorrect Merges
  2. Fix Incorrect relationships
  3. Fix incorrect info and sources.
Half the battle for me has always been trying to figure out the best procedure for correcting.  I've about got my pedigree corrected thru my 2nd Great Grandparents.

Check out the templates that Kathryn has on her website.  

Joshua's discussion of the 5 step strategy for identifying & tracing individuals with similar names is one we all as family history researchers can use.  

"The best way to know who your ancestor IS, is to know who your ancestor ISN'T"

He talked about using Timelines ,which is one of my favorite strategies for same name research.  The importance of writing and sharing your findings about those same named ancestors can not be stressed enough.

Happy Birthday, Genetic Genealogy!!  It was great to hear all the experts talk about their start in genetic genealogy research.
  • 2:30 PM What’s New at Ancestry® in 2024 Crista Cowan
    • Family Groups
    • Memories--upload stories, audio, photos(you can organize in albums)
    • Life and Times in the US Stories & Events
    • Sideview Traits and Communities by parent
    • DNA--Communities Updated.  We should expect an update about every 3-4 months for the communities although you can be added to a community at any time if there are enough testers with DNA in common showing they all belong to that specific community
    • Pro Tools
  • 4:00 PM Innovation and Tech Forum 2024 RootsTech
There were presentations by each of the following companies
about their latest projects and how they are harnessing the power of AI to use
in order to bring family history to life.
    • Microsoft Copilot
    • LivingHistory.AI 
    • Storied
    • EmulateMe
To be honest, this afterlife and dead relative talk kind of creeped me out.  I love AI as it pertains to indexing and gathering information.

These were just the classes that I viewed.  There are many more available.  For more in depth information on the days events check out any of the classes or online expo hall at

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

WW2 Draft Registration Card of John Rainey Cook

WW2 Draft Registration for my Papaw Cooke's paternal 1st cousin.  At the time of his draft registration for WW1 John R Cook worked at the Chicago City Rail Yard but by 27 April of 1942 he was working for Chicago Surface Lines where his brother Jefferson Gideon also worked.

Registration Card--(Men born on or after April 28, 1877 and on or before February 16, 1897.
Serial Number 2887
Name: John Rainey Cook
Order Number: (BLANK)
Place of Residence: 5427 Maryland Ave Chicago Cook Ill.
Mailing Address: Same
Telephone: Chicago H.P 7815
Age in Years: 63
Date of Birth: Aug 28 1878
Place of Birth
Town or County: Eagleville
State or Country: Tenn.

Name and Address of Person who will always know your Address:
Jefferson G Cook 6842 Harper Ave

Employer's Name and Address:
Chicago Surface Lines
3822 Cottage Grove Ave Chicago Cook ILL

Signature: John Rainey Cook

Registrar's Report
Race: White
Height: 5 11in
Weight: 138
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Gray
Complexion: Light Brown

Other Obvious Physical Characteristics that will aid in identification: Upper Plate Glasses

Signature of registrar: Amy S Pollak
Registrar for Local Board 9 City of Chicago ILL
Date of registration: April 27-42

Local Board No. 9      61
Chicago City             731
1525 East 53rd Street
Chicago 15 Illinois
(The Stamp of the Local Board in the jurisdiction of the registrant shall be placed in the above space)

Both Ancestry and FamilySearch have a digitization of the card.

"U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942,"database with images, Ancestry( : accessed  28 February 2024), imaged card for John Rainey Cook, Serial No. U2787, WWII Draft Cards(4th Registration) For the State of Illinois
Roll 54 Box 160, Chicago City Local Draft Board No. 9; citing World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Illinois. State Headquarters ca. 1942. Publication M2097.

"United States World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942", , FamilySearch ( : 28 February 2024), Entry for John Rainey Cook, citing National Archives Chicago, Illinois, Selective Service System Registration Cards DSS Form 1, M2097 Roll No. 54. FHL Film No. 2139873  DGS 4134333.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

WW1 Draft Registration Card of John Rainey Cook

World War I Selective Service System Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
of John Rainey Cook

He is my Papaw Cooke's paternal first cousin. He lived in Chicago as did his brother
Jefferson Gideon Cook and also was a  street car conductor.

(US, WWI Draft) Registration Card
Serial Number: 2872
Order Number: A1393
Name: John Rainey Cook
Permanent Home Address: 923 E 55th St Chicago Cook Co. Illinois
Age in years: 40
Date of Birth: Aug 28 1878
Race: White
U.S. Citizen: Native Born
Present Occupation: Street Car Conductor
Employer's Name: C C RY
Place of Employment or Business: 38th & Cottage Grove Chi Cook Ill
Nearest Relative Name: Florence Ethel Cook
Address: 923 E 55th St Chi Cook Ill

Signature John Rainey Cook

Registrar's Report
Description of Registrant
Height: Tall
Build: Slender
Color of Eyes: Brown
Color of Hair: Brown
Has person lost arm, leg, hand, eye or is he obviously physically disqualified? NO

Katherine Kane

Chicago Local board No. 14
1510 Hyde Park Bl., Chicago

I viewed the one at Ancestry.& the one at FamilySearch.  They are from the same film and are the same image  I have cited both so those without a subscription to Ancestry can also view the file

"U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918," database with images, Ancestry ( : accessed 27 February 2024), imaged card for John Rainey Cook, Serial # 2872, Order # A1393, Chicago Local Draft Board 14, citing World War I Selective Service Systems Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918, National Archives microfilm publication M1509, imaged from Family History Library film roll 1439759.

"United States World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918", database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 27 February 2024), John Rainey Cook, 1917-1918.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Gideon Cook's Wives and Children

I've been working on the 1858-1888 timeline for my 2nd Great Grandparents(Wm C & Elizabeth Putman Cook) and their children to see the big picture of what was going on within the family.  It has really been a great experience.  I still have a lot of work to do but will focus on the timeline in an upcoming post. This post focuses on Wm C & Elizabeth's son, Jefferson Gideon Cook.

I believe I've finally sorted thru records and determined how many times Jefferson Gideon Cook was married and identified his children from each marriage.  It really wasn't very clear as there were two women name Mary listed as his wife with a Martha sandwiched in between.  Some trees had the two or all three combined and others had overlapping marriages or discrepancies in the surname of the last of his wives. So what do the records say as far as Gideon's marriages?

On 9th September 1866, Gideon  was married in Williamson Co. TN to Mary S. Hamer by Park Street.  Mary was the sister-in-law of Gideon's brother, James Polk Cook who had married Harriet Hamer  in October of the previous year.  When he made application and bond for the marriage on September the 8th, his brother James was his bondsman.  Mary Hamer Cook was the mother of Robert L. Cook,  Gideon's oldest child who was born on the 16th of May 1868.  The information on Robert's death certificate and in his obituary supports that.  Both Hamer sisters were gone by the 1870 census.  I have not found divorces for either from the Cook brothers and feel it is likely they both  left their marriages by death rather than divorce  If anyone that has researched this family knows I'd love to hear from you.

By the time of the 1870 census, there is a female named Martha Cook listed  in the household with Gideon and his young son.  While I have not found the marriage book  listing for Gideon and Martha, I did find their marriage in a Tennessee state compiled index at Ancestry from the Rutherford County Tennessee record books.  The date given is 30th of October 1869 and that would seem to add credence to my thinking that this is his wife and not a lady by that name living there to care for the young Robert.  I had considered both scenarios.  Further, Martha Ann Hale is listed as J. G. Cook Jr.'s mother as well as the mother of Gideon's youngest child Martha Ann Cook on each of their death certificates.  The fact that Gideon was the informant on his daughter Martha's death certificate while terribly sad, gives me confidence enough to conclude that Martha was the daughter of Gideon and Martha A Hale Cook.  Perhaps the elder Martha had died in childbirth or from complications soon after.  A number of times when that happens the surviving child is named after its mother and that might have been the case with Martha as well.  In total Gideon and Martha had 4 children:  Jefferson Gideon Cook Jr, John R. Cook , Cass B. Cook and Martha A. Cook.

Faced with the prospect of raising his young family alone,  on the 14th of October 1884, Gideon  married to Mary J. Elliot in Rutherford County, Tennessee.  Mary is enumerated with him in the 1900 US Federal Census in Rutherford Co TN and her entries say she has been married for 15 years and is the mother of one child who is alive at the time of the 1900 census date. That child was Ollie Mai Cook.  Ollie's year of birth varies over her lifetime but I believe that her actual year of birth was 1885.

Ollie's Birth Year
1900 Census    1885
1910 Census    1885
1920 Census    1888
1930 Census    1888
1940 Census    1886
1950 Census    1885
Soc. Sec. Rec.  1884
Gravestone       1886
Death Cert        1888

Mary J Elliot Cook died on the 23rd of March 1915 from pulmonary tuberculosis.  Gideon outlived her by almost 16 years, passing on the 18th of January 1931 from chronic fibroid tuberculosis

1900 U.S. census, Davidson County, Tennessee, Nashville, Ward 4(part of), enumeration district (ED) 101, sheet 4-A, house 27, Family 30, J G Cook household; imaged, "United States Census, 1900," FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024).

"Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950", , FamilySearch ( : accessed 10 February 2024), Entry for J G Cook and Miss Mary S Hamer, 08 Sep 1866(bond date).(notation on bond says marriage was solemnized on the 9th)

"Tennessee, U.S., Compiled Marriages, 1851-1900," database, Ancestry ( Martha A Hale and J G Cook 30 Oct 1869 Rutherford Co. TN, citing Rutherford County, Tennessee Marriages, 1851-70. FHL Film #0379649.

"Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950", , FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024, Entry for Jefferson G Cook and Mary J Elliott, 14 Oct 1884.

"Tennessee Deaths, 1914-1966," FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024), Entry for Jefferson Gideon Cook, 18 Jan 1931.

“Funeral for Confederate Veteran to Be Today,” The Tennessean, 20 Jan 1930, p. 5, col, 7; digital images, ( : accessed 20 Feb 2024).

"United States, Social Security Numerical Identification Files (NUMIDENT), 1936-2007", database, FamilySearch ( : 10 February 2023), Ollie M Cook, 

"Tennessee Deaths, 1914-1966", index only, FamilySearch ( : accessed index only 20 February 2024), Entry for Ollie Mai Cook, 10 Apr 1968. (Digital image forthcoming which will then change the range of years covered in the record set)

"Robert Lee Cook", Nashville Banner, 12 June 1954, p. 2, col. 7; digital images, : accessed 20 February 2024).

"Tennessee Deaths, 1914-1966", , FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024), Entry for Robert L. Cook 11 Jun 1954.

"Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014," online database,; entry for Ollie M Cook 413-84-1422.

1910 U.S. census, Davidson County, Tennessee, Nashville, Civil District 6, ED 93, Sheet 2a, Dwelling 27 Family 27, Household of Jefferson G Cook; unaged "United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024).

"Tennessee Deaths, 1914-1966", , FamilySearch ( : Fri Oct 13 18:15:23 UTC 2023), Mary Jane Cook, 23 Mar 1915.

1920 U.S. Census, Davidson County, Tennessee, Nashville, Civil District 6, ED 111, Sheet 7b, Dwelling 135, Family 147, Household of Jefferson G Cook; imaged "United States Census, 1920",database with images , FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024),

1930 U.S. Census, Davidson County, Tennessee, Nashville, Civil District 6, ED 19-214, Sheet 15b, Dwelling 321, Family 337, Household of David Cook; imaged "United States Census, 1930", database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024).

1940 U.S. Census, Davidson County, Tennessee, Woodbine, Civil District 6, ED 19-19, Sheet 9b, Household 195, Household of David S Cook; imaged "United States Census, 1940", database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024).

1950 U.S. Census, Davidson County, Tennessee, Woodbine, ED 19-37, Page 8, Dwelling 63, Household of Stahl D Cook; imaged "United States 1950 Census", database with images , FamilySearch ( : accessed 20 February 2024).

"Mrs. Mary J Cook", The Tennessean, 25 March 1915, p. 14, col. 6; digital images, : accessed 20 February 2024).(Death announcement for Mary who died on the 24 of March)

Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed February 21, 2024), memorial page with gravestone image for Ollie Mai Cook (1886–1968), Find a Grave Memorial ID 215649022, citing Triune Cemetery, Triune, Williamson County, Tennessee, USA; Maintained by Tammy Vermillion (contributor 49014485).

Friday, February 16, 2024

Worked on My Daughter's Paternal Ancestry--The German and English Immigrants

AncestryDNA has updated communities so I checked for my daughter Brittany's test results but was disappointed that they still do not show any communities for her Germans which settled in Franklin County Indiana abt 1839.  I do understand that there are not many German testers, but this was an area with a high amount of German settlers--among them Beckman, Braun, Weidekuehn, Gessell, Bossert, Ritter, Wirth,  Those lines are represented in Thrulines so I don't feel like it is a lack of testers.

I checked her matches at MyHeritage from her DNA upload and found a Gessell descendant among her DNA matches. Not one from Phillip Leonard Gessell the immigrant, but a generation further back with descendants still living in Germany who have tested.  This totally made our day.  Worked on adding more information to that portion of the tree and added the segment to DNA Painter for my daughter's chromosome painting.  The Gessell line is back thru the ancestry of Brittany's paternal grandfather.   I have attached a screenshot below showing how it appears in her chromosome painting at DNAPainter.  She is fortunate that 3 of her 4 grandparents have DNA tested and I am able to use that to do a visual phasing of her chromosomes to determine each of those grandparents contribution to her DNA.

Found some additional info for the Gessell line and then started working on her English lines at FamilySearch.  Her Folley line was the most recent of any of her ancestors to immigrate to the US. I like to work on that line at FamilySearch since I cannot justify getting a World Explorer subscription for just that one portion of my research, especially when I can find records for that area elsewhere for free.  

Worked on getting her ancestors linked in the FamilySearch tree so that her fan chart would fully display.  She was impressed and it really didn't take much work once I had the more recent generation linked.