Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Record those events and names from the more recent past

When we are researching, I think sometimes we forget to record and research things we remember from our earlier childhood.  I know I'm guilty of doing that.  Perhaps we think that information will be readily available later.  What if we are wrong?  This past year I contacted the Register of Deeds here in Dickson County Tennessee to inquire about the house which my Grandmother, Pearl Jakes Cooke had rented.  My Mom was fairly sure that it was owned by the Sheltons which the clerk confirmed.   I had also remembered the neighbors.  I've written notes in my Grandmother's file about her neighbors.  Checking with the Deeds office and also consulting online tax records helped to get a picture of who her neighbors were and also who owns the homes today.  Having the listing of the neighbors to verify what I remembered from my childhood helped as I was going thru my Grandmother's papers.  As I was recording and preserving ephemera I was able to identify people who had sent postcards and written notes and zoom in on a time frame because I knew the years she had lived at that address.

Don't assume that those records will be available when you or your family decide they are important.  Go ahead and record them now.

See also:
March 31 1891-Birthday of Pearl Gray Jakes Cooke
Just a Small Portion of a Family's Paper trail

My Grandmother in her yard at 203 North Charlotte St Dickson TN  abt 1973.
The houses across the street are still pretty much the same thought
they show the signs of age.

Friday, April 12, 2019

Gilford Cook--Dickson County Tennessee

In a previous blog post, I'd written a bit about Garrison King who lived in Dickson Co., TN and some of whose descendants are among my DNA matches.  In that post, I also mentioned Gilford Cook who is likely the brother-in-law of Garrison King(Garrison's wife was a Cook).

I found two entries in Tennessee Convicts:  Early Records of the State Penitentiary Volume 1. These gave me a lot of additional information on him which I used in the summary below.

Gilford Cook was born and raised in Franklin County, North Carolina and it was there where he married Sarah Bass, December 2nd of 1821.  Gilford was a shoemaker and lived in Wilson Co TN(near Richard Drake) before moving to Dickson Co. TN in 1833. He was charged with and convicted of larceny in a Dickson Co Court and thus sentenced to 3 years in the penitentiary where he was received on the 19th of February 1837. His family lived near Kendrick Myatt's on old Natchez trace 15 miles from Charlotte.  Gilford was discharged January 8, 1840, where his conduct while there was recorded as good.  His description according to this record was:  age 48, 6 foot 2 inches with dark hair and grey eyes.

Below is the 1840 census entry for Gilford Cook's family which would have been almost 4 months after his release.


Charles A. & Tomye M. Sherrill, Tennessee Convicts:  Early Records of the State Penitentiary 1831-1850 Vol. 1, (Mt. Juliet, Tenn:  C. A. Sherrill 1997), pgs. 22 & 197.

"North Carolina, Civil Marriages, 1763-1868", database with images, FamilySearch ( : 11 May 2018), Gilford Cook and Sarah Bass, 1821.

"United States Census, 1840," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 24 August 2015), Tennessee > Dickson > Not Stated > image 11 of 72; citing NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Granville Co. NC indenture --Nov. 1796

While reading thru Granville County, North Carolina court records, I found this record and thought it worth noting.  This record set contains many different types of court records dealing with indentures, enslaved, land, tax, and probate, etc. as it is a running list of items that were taken care of in the court during that time period. 

"Ordered that Reuben Pettiford son of Easter Pettiford be bound to Stephen Melton to learn the art & mystery(sic) of a Black Smith he being about seven years of age until he arrives to the age of 
twenty one years." November Court 1796 Tuesday

Source: NC Court Minutes 1746-1868
Film # 306206 contains 1746-1789  and 1796-1799

North Carolina. County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions (Granville County) :
Raleigh, North Carolina: North Carolina Dept. of Archives and History, 1961, 1962 and 1973

Digital image of Microfilm hosted at FamilySearch Image 201 of 424 (

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Family Pastimes

Today is Opening Day of Major League Baseball's 2019 season.  Did your parents or grandparents have a favorite baseball team?  When we are writing about our ancestors, sometimes we get so focused on their paper trail that we forget about their hobbies and pastimes.  If we are lucky and they played sports that can be a part of their paper trail.

My Mother has always been a Dodger fan.  I asked her a few years ago about that and she told me that she and one of her friends used to listen to the games on the radio.  I remember her and my Dad's brother smack-talking about whose team was going to win the World Series.  Uncle Morris was a Yankees fan.  I never knew my Dad to support one team or another.  He didn't talk about sports much really.  I do have a letter he wrote home to his brother while he was in the Army, stationed in Korea around August 1953.

He writes,

"Wish I could be there watching the ball games with you.  Well it won't be too long before we will be watching them together.  We hear a ball game every day thru the week over here. They're brought to us by the AFRS. (Armed Forces Radio Service)"
This letter is part of the archived collection of my families papers(Thomas & Pearl Jakes Cooke Family) that I wrote about in an earlier post--Just a Small Portion of a Family's Paper Trail.

Also, think about some of the other sports or group activities.  My Uncle Morris played baseball and basketball in school and also was known for his skills as a bowler.  My mother played basketball in high school when girls just played half court.  My nieces and nephew all played in their school's band.  My brother, David and I were active in the Chorus/Choir at our high school. 

My daughter and I will be watching(via television) our favorite team today--the Atlanta Braves.  ⚾

Sunday, March 24, 2019

The Top 5 of my Top 5 Resources.

This is a listing of the top 5 of each of the top types of resources I use in my research.  Some are for educational services and organization while others are more record content focused.  I do also have memberships in Virtual Genealogical Association, TN Genealogical Society, Middle TN Genealogical Society as well as the local Dickson Co.(TN) Historical & Genealogical Society.  What are your favorites of each of these categories?

1.  Blogs--Most of these blogs I read using Feedly.  I do quick reads of the blogs of the major Genealogy Database companies to keep aware of new record availability.
  1. Kitty Cooper's Blog
  2. Genealogy Tip of the Day
  3. The Genetic Genealogist
  4. Behold Genealogy
  5. DNAeXplained
2.  Podcasts: Search For and Listen to them via Google Play, Apple Tunes, Spotify or your favorite podcast listening app.  I usually listen to these podcasts using Google Play on my phone.  If I"m listening from my Desktop PC I use Spotify(basic). 
  1. Generations Cafe
  2. Genealogy Guys
  3. Research Like a Pro
  4. Genealogy Gems
  5. Genealogy Happy Hour

3.  Webinars--There are many sites that offer webinars.  Some are free for a limited number of days or to attend Live with registration.  After the free period, they require subscriptions or membership to access their entire library.  The majority of the webinars I attend are free with registration.  These are such a great resource.
  1. Legacy Family Tree Webinars
  2. Southern California Genealogical Society and Family History Research Library
  3. Georgia Genealogical Society
  4. Illinois State Genealogical Society
  5. Utah Genealogical Association

4.  YouTube Channels--A lot of the channels I used to watch are kind of dated now so I've listed below the ones that have current content and I'm always looking for more that would be helpful in all areas of genealogy research.
  1. Blaine Bettinger
  2. Ancestry
  3. FamilySearch
  4. GeneaVlogger
  5. Allen County Public Library

5.  Subscription Services--These are the services that I feel offer the most value to my research.   You list likely will vary.  The DNA tool sites aren't overly expensive but Ancestry and can be.  I only purchase subscriptions when they are on sale and I don't combine the two because normally the two sale prices are cheaper than what a combined price would be.
  2. DNAgedcom
  3. GEDmatch Genesis
  5. DNAPainter

Monday, March 04, 2019

Working with the NEW DNA Analysis Tools at MyHeritage

After my previous blog post about ThruLines™ and how I was using it with my Putman line, I moved on to MyHeritage's new tool  Theory of Family Relativity™.  I have about 12,800 DNA matches at MyHeritage for which about 77 theories were generated.  Among the theories was one for a descendant thru one of the Putman/Tyler children thru which I had previously found no testers descending thru.  Now to verify and check and recheck. 

In the example below, you will notice that there is hyperlinked text which says "View Full Theory."  This will allow you to see additional information about the connection or connections if there are more theories than one. It will also give you a confidence level for the relationship(s) on that page.

I'll be the first to admit, I don't do such a great job of my notes at MyHeritage(or FTDNA).  This makes it hard when I run AutoCluster reports because my note field offers very little hints.  I would recommend that you write notes on your first 100 or so matches at MyHeritage and use the Theory of Family Relativity™.tool for help with your notes before running the AutoCluster tool.  It will make the report far more useful.

Using ThruLines to Visualize DNA Testing Coverage of an Ancestor Couple

In November I blogged about Visualizing DNA tested Descendants of an Ancestor Couple.  For those who have tested at AncestryDNA, the ThruLines™ tool that Ancestry introduced this past week just made this so much easier.  It's not completely automated and even if it were I'd still need to follow good research guidelines but that is a given with any tool or resource.

Putman/Tyler Descendants DNA Testing Chart
From WATO Tool at

Below is a table which shows the Putman/Tyler Children and how many of their children are represented among my families DNA test matches. The table and the chart I have built using WATO( also includes any Putman/Tyler descendants that I've identified at other testing sites.

The "Spread" of Putman/Tyler Grandchildren's Descendants
Represented among DNA Matches

I really like viewing the descendants in List View See the example below of my branch of the Putman/Tyler Descendants

List View of  Putman/Tyler Descendants Tested at AncestryDNA

When you are using ThruLines™ and see an error in the way it's working please provide feedback using the Feedback pop-up which is on the bottom right when you are viewing a page in ThruLines™ view.  I've found and reported several. Feedback reports of errors are necessary to improve the performance and ensure that it works as it's intended.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

RootsTech 2019--Day 4

Day 4 of RootsTech 2019.  Here is my take on Saturday's happenings from the viewpoint of someone who is #NotAtRootsTech

Saturday's Live Stream

Trace the Story of Immigrant Ancestors in 3 Steps (Power Hour)-- D. Joshua Taylor explained the importance of knowing the context of your immigrant's arrival into the country.  Ashley gave us some great ideas on where to search for the customs passenger and immigration lists. "Don't be afraid to use wildcards in your searches of the online databases."  Fred talked to us about the naturalization process and records and how they have evolved over time.

Examining Your DNA Matches with DNA Painter--Jonny Perl
Really enjoyed Jonny Perl's session.  Loved that he showed his earliest version of what would eventually become DNApainter.  He explained the process of painting Chromosome match segment data and also gave a tour of the site.  My hope is that many of my AncestryDNA matches will watch this and want to use this great tool. They will need to upload to a site which has the Chromosome browser so they can get the segment data which is not available at AncestryDNA

Saturday General Session: Jake Shimabukuro
Blown away by Jake Shimabukuro's talent.  Who doesn't like to sing along?  Loved it!
The Winner of the RootsTech FilmFest '19 was Enge Van Wagoner's "My Name is..."

Leading with Science at 23andme
Sarah Laskey spoke about the science behind the 23andme health studies.
Genetic Data + Survey Answers = Discoveries

The Silent Language of the Stones: Reading Gravestones through Symbols and Carvings --Joy Neighbors
This session contained so much information.  She talked about the types of stone used and gave the time period in which each type was popular. This brought back some good memories of my own Cemetery touring. Joy is the author of "The Family Tree Cemetery Field Guide."

Saturday's Hottest News
The announcement of the winner of RootsTech FilmFest and the date for RootsTech 2020 which will be February 26–29 were the top news of the day.

A big THANK YOU to all who helped make RootsTech and #NotAtRootsTech possible.  Be sure and check out the recorded sessions posted at

Friday, March 01, 2019

RootsTech 2019--Day 3

Day 3 of RootsTech 2019.  Here is my take on Friday's happenings from the viewpoint of someone who is #NotAtRootsTech

Friday's Live Stream

Why and How to Put Yourself into Your Family History--Curt Witcher, Amy Johnson Crow, Scott Fisher  What a moving presentation.  Amy shared some of her family stories and reiterated the importance of recording our stories.  "Experiencing stories alter our brains and make us better individuals," said Curt Witcher.  Scott Fisher gave us some great points to consider when planning the interview(Who? What? When?)  The Q & A portion made me cry.  I was reminded of my Grandmother when an attendee asked what to do when interviewing a family member who has Alzheimer's or dementia.

Essential Considerations for DNA Evidence--Blaine Bettinger
I LOVED this session!  Blaine covered so many things that we should consider when we are evaluating our DNA matches--Confirmation Bias, Tree Completeness, Pile Up Regions, Small Segment Matches, Segment Frequency, Total Shared DNA.  Catch this when they post today's sessions!  You won't be sorry!

Friday General Session: Saroo Brierley
What an AMAZING story!

Getting the Most Out of Billions of Records on MyHeritage SuperSearch--Mike Mansfield
Mike introduced us to the tree Sync feature between the FamilySearch tree and MyHeritage tree and how it was handling exceptions and conflicts in data, especially as it pertained to LDS researchers and maintaining the integrity of the FamilySearch tree.  He showed examples of the tree features and MyHeritage's SuperSearch.  He also discussed the new tool Theory of Family Relativity that premiered this week.

Discover Your Japanese Ancestors--Valerie Elkins
Valerie explained that while the Japanese are excellent record keepers they value their privacy.  When researching Japanese ancestry you need to understand the Japanese culture Names are laid out differently.  The Japanese have 3 different alphabets and use a different calendar.  They also have male heir adoptions and she offered an explanation of that.  The Koseki is a Japanese family registry.  Why did my Colonial Americans not have those?  Very informative presentation.

The Research Road Map: Your Path to Success--Amy Johnson Crow
We need research goals and a question we want to answer.  "Phrase it in the form of a question.  Pretend you are on Jeopardy." Review what you already have....your notes and your sources.  Identify holes in your research or opportunities.  Use a Timeline.  Evaluate your sources.  Is there a better source available now?  Amy gave a really great explanation of sources, information, and evidence and the two types of each of these. Be sure to check out her genealogy podcast, Generations Cafe.  It's available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify.  She is a wonderful speaker and above all an inspiring teacher.

Friday's Hottest News
MyHeritage announced that they are donating an additional 5000 kits to DNA Quest, a project they initiated which is helping adoptees to find their biological parents.  All of today's sessions were great and my news-feed was buzzing with people talking about the new AutoCluster tool at MyHeritage as well as the new Ancestry tools.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

RootsTech 2019--Day 2

Day 2 of RootsTech 2019.  Here is my take on Thursday's happenings from the viewpoint of someone who is #NotAtRootsTech.

Thursday's Live Stream

Making the Leap—Becoming a Professional Genealogist (Power Hour) --Luana Darby, Valerie Elkins, and Anne Teerlink  If you are thinking of going professional as a genealogist, this session was so FULL of great information.  Make sure you download the handout.  This presentation made me so glad that I have never wanted to go Pro. Not that I don't aspire to have my research at the professional level.  So glad they are now streaming the Q & A for the sessions today.

Finally! German Church Records and How to Use Them on FamilySearch--Trish Melander
Trish told the story of how the German Church Records were saved by Paul Langheinrich.  These are on FamilySearch and she showed how to navigate to them either using Records or Catalog.  I also enjoyed the case study by Karl Bodamer.  Loved the use of the Geogen site.  This has given me several ideas on where to search when working on my daughter's paternal lines.

Thursday General Session: Patricia Heaton--It was fun hearing from Patricia Heaton.  She's a funny lady.  She was so excited about her DNA reveal.

What You Don't Know about Ancestry (Sponsored by Ancestry)--Crista Cowan
YouTube feed was not working on this Livestream but I did manage view via the homepage.  I think everyone wanted to hear what Crista had to say and that broke the feed. She talked about the new tools at Ancestry:  MyTreeTags™, DNA Matching List. and ThruLines™. ThruLines have replaced DNA Circles although you can still view your circles at this time if you have DNA tested.

Heirloom, Documentation or Junk: What to Keep or Toss--Janet Hovorka
What's important to keep? Preserving your personality.  Who should inherit specific items? Organize and explain what you can now. Preserve your digital materials. Who will you pass the torch on to...who will best preserve your precious items'  She also brought up the need for a Digital Will.  Definitely, something to think about.

Perilous Assumptions: Revisiting Those First Finds--Kris Rzepczynski
Love the case studies especially the one of the letter found in the WWI records.  An amazing account!  I've been researching for almost 30 years.  I need to revisit ALL of my earlier research.  Sometimes we build our own brick walls..

Thursday's Hottest News
The official announcement of the new Ancestry Tools.  Also monitoring social media and genetic genealogy Facebook group members' post as they worked with the new tools was insightful.  The announcement that GeneticAffairs' AutoClusters would be coming to MyHeritage was officially made and that option appeared on my account at MyHeritage this morning.

Link to RootsTech 2019 Day 1  --

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

RootsTech 2019--Day 1

Today was the first day of RootsTech 2019.  Although I'm not physically there are many ways to participate.  Here is my take on Wednesday from the viewpoint of someone who is #NotAtRootsTech.

Wednesday's Live Stream

What’s New at FamilySearch?--Ron Tanner(FamilySearch International) talked about the exciting additions at FamilySearch as well as some new tools in the works.  I like the expanded fan chart(see mine below)  Also high-speed possible duplicates.  He also talked about an upcoming feature which will allow corrections to indexed images.  This is something that has been needed for a LONG time and I'm so glad to hear that's in the works.

Hear Them Sing! Social History and Family Narrative--Rebecca Whitman Koford CG, CGL
What a great reminder of something I need to do more of--write the stories of my ancestors.  She talked about using timelines to pull the history together.  I LOVE timelines.  They are such a great help in our research.

Uncovering Family Stories with British and Irish Historic Newspapers--Myko Clelland(FindMyPast)
Lots of great information on wildcard searching in this session.  Excellent list of the different types of articles in which you may find ancestors.  Get the App and download the handout!  It contains links to Newspaper sites, some of which are free.

Connecting Your DNA Matches--Diahan Southard
Great outline of what a genetic network is and how to create them.  Also, some tips about how to search for ICW(in-common-with)ancestors.  She also included a bit about the new features ThruLines(at Ancestry) and MyHeritage's Theory of Relativity.  I loved that she gave examples of why these are HINTs.and some situations where the suggestion is wrong.  I always enjoy Diahan Southard's presentations.

Wednesday's Hottest News

Today's hottest news--Genetic Network tools from MyHeritage(Theory of Relativity) and Ancestry(ThruLines).  Ancestry also has several other tools including TreeTags and AncestryDNA Custom Groups

The most exciting news for those with African American ancestry beyond the new tools for use with DNA research would be the donation of $2 Million dollars by the LDS church to the International African American Museum.

I also love the Extended Fan Chart mentioned in Ron Tanner's presentation.

My personal favorite announcement was that the GeneticAffairs' Autocluster tool will now be part of the MyHeritage Tools.  A VERY busy day!.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

50 Persons Mentioned in a Tennessee State Supreme Court Case from 1835

In early January I obtained a copy of a Tennessee State Supreme Court case in which my 2nd great grandmother's brother, William Putman was accused of fraud in the sale of a horse.  There is an amazing amount of people involved in this case.  People involved included citizens from 4 different counties of Tennessee--Bedford, Dickson, Rutherford, and Williamson counties.  If you are a researcher whose ancestors were in Tennessee, please consider at least running a search or two in this collection. It appears these are a work-in-progress.  The last update from what I can tell showed it being only 25% complete.  I look forward to the day when it's 100%

Listing of persons involved in the case of Robert Williams vs William Putman, et al. 

The case is heard by the Middle District of the Tennessee State Supreme Court in 1835 and originated in Rutherford County Tennessee on 7th of October 1829.  I ordered the file from TN State Library  & Archives via and it was delivered  2nd Jan 2019, via email and contained scanned digital images in a 41 page PDF document.  The physical location of the case at TSLA is in the TN State Supreme Court Cases Collection Range: 33 Section: A  Shelf: 2  Box Number: 375 as noted by the listing at the previously mentioned webpage.  The quickest way to find it is by searching for Keyword "Putman"  in Rutherford County in the search box of the site.  I've tried to alphabetize by surname after removing duplicates and came up with 50 persons which I have listed below.

Anderson Anglin
Samuel Anglin
Zepheniah Anglin
Thos L Anthony
Wm Brady
William G Childress
John Coleman (age 28--1833)
William C Cook
Charles Coursey
John B. Coursey
V. D. Cowan
M.S. Cummings
Richard Davidson
William Deason
William B Dotson
Daniel Dwiggins
Charles A. Frensley(age 27--1833)
William Gilliam
Barnabas?  Hale
Thos Heaton
Jordan Holden
Andrew J. Hoover
John Jackson
Dennis Lark (age 56--1833)
Richard Ledbetter
William Ledbetter
James H Lyle
James C Mitchell
John Nixon
David Pounds
Pleasant Puckett
Noah Putman
William Putman
Richard Ransom
George Redmond
Jesse Roberts
Enoch Rushing
James Sanford(age 42--1832)
John G Smotherman
Yancy Stokes
Thomas Stuart
Valentine M Sublett
William Taylor
Amanuel Toomes(age 55--1832)
John Toomes (age 57--1833)
Anderson Vaughn(age 20--1832)
William Venson
Absolum Vickery
Lee? Williams
Nathaniel W Williams
Robert Williams