Monday, May 15, 2023

US Veterans Administration Payment Cards

If your ancestor served in the US Army or Navy, while you are gathering service and pension records, don't forget to look for a US Veterans Administration Pension Payment Card(s) if he or his spouse(or dependants) were receiving a pension payment between the years 1907 and 1933. See the article at link below)to learn more about the information which is included on the card. While I've gotten several Union Civil War Pension files, I've not found these payment cards as part of the pension file though ordinarily, the information contained on them will be on a number of the documents within the Pension packet.  The card provides a nice running list of the rate of the pension as well as the main pension agency responsible for the area in which the pensioner lived.  The images below are snippets of the ones US Veteran's Administration Pension Payment Cards of Army Widow Tennessee Hill(Widow of Henry F Hill).


Fold3, ( : accessed May 13, 2023), 

"United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Hill, Robert - Hill, Zubia L. > image 352 of 760; citing NARA microfilm publication M850 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

"United States Veterans Administration Pension Payment Cards, 1907-1933," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Hill, Robert - Hill, Zubia L. > image 350 of 760; citing NARA microfilm publication M850 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.).

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

19 Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Family Research

Well, it's official.  I've been blogging about people, places, and things I've found helpful in my research for 19 years.  Whew!  In celebration of the blogiversary, I've compiled a list of 19 ways to enhance your family research(listed in no particular order.)

  1. DNA Testing--Testing using autosomal and YDNA can bring about research avenues that you might not have ever discovered using only traditional genealogy research.  It can help to focus on our blood ancestors path while broadening our family.  Many times those cousins you discover thru DNA will have pictures, family memorabilia or stories about our ancestors that weren't passed down in our own line from the shared ancestor.  DNA testing mtDNA can also be helpful if you have a specific question about a matrilineal line.
  2. Read books about social situations--It was helpful for me to learn more about the Tuberculosis outbreak and hospitals when writing about my Cook(e) family.  My paternal grandfather's oldest sister's family was almost wiped out during the outbreak in Rutherford County Tennessee.  There are also many great books about slavery, women's history, and just about any other social situation you can imagine.
  3. Explore the Unindexed records at FamilySearch--These are a goldmine.  I have bookmarked the Place Catalog Search Results for areas I'm researching so that I can see what is available online at FamilySearch.   It makes it feel as if I am at the courthouse browsing thru through the record books.  The best part is, no travel, no need to worry about your attire, and no dust.
  4. Genealogy Education--There is so much out there in the way of education for genealogist.  Webinars, Seminars, Books and How To Videos.  Many of the libraries and genealogical societies offer free help.  I personally love Legacy FamilyTreeWebinars. is also great for keeping up with all of the educational opportunities out there.
  5. Order Document retrieval--There are a good number of document retrieval services offerings.  When you think about how much it would cost to travel to a library and/or archives to get copies of the files you need, it's no wonder that there is a market for retrieval.  I've discovered so much wonderful information in pension files and copies of other records and often wish I had started taking advantage of these services sooner.
  6. Network--We really need to interact with other researchers who are studying the same areas or surnames.  They may have specialties that we don't. I've found it helpful to ask a friend about research problems to see if it is my approach that is limiting my results. 
  7. Talk to Family--Even siblings have different memories of events that happened in a family due to their own unique perspective.  Talk to cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. They may have stories you don't and may have just assumed you knew the stories.  
  8. Cluster Research-- If you aren't researching the friends, associates, and neighbors of your ancestors, you are just getting a partial picture.  Their story is so much deeper than what you see if you merely scratch the surface.
  9. Visit areas where your ancestors lived.  If nothing else, it makes you feel closer to them.  It might also put you more "in tune" for researching the area.  For me it's a deep personal experience to walk on the same ground where my ancestors walked.
  10. Create a Family Archive of important documents--I have made several of these for my family.  I have one with the papers of my paternal grandparents and another starting at the marriage of my parents.  Often time you don't realize how much information you have until you start assembling the notebook/binder.
  11. Plan what becomes of your research--Not to be morbid, but if you don't want your research to end up at the landfill, you need to make plans for what happens to it once you have passed.  State Archives, local libraries or if you have historically significant items such as ledgers or family papers you might consider area museums. 
  12. Place Name or One Name Studies--This is a given really.  The more you know about an area in which your ancestor lived, the easier it is to know and understand what was going on in their life.  Also if you familiarize yourself with the different families who carry the same surname, you will be able to differentiate between your Cook family and the other Cook families.
  13. Organize Photos and Exchange--Organize your photos and try to identify the subjects and dates of each photo.  Many people do not like to share their photos of ancestors.  I share freely.  They have other descendants who might want copies.  Also if(heaven forbid) something should happen to your photo there will still be a digital version out there. That should be incentive enough to share right there.
  14. Use a Notebook(or notebooks) for Brainstorming--Always keep a notebook devoted exclusively to brainstorming on your research.  When you get an idea for an avenue of research, write it down otherwise you are likely to forget.  I keep a notebook on my nightstand.
  15. Revisit old Documents and Research periodically--This is especially helpful when you feel you are at a brick wall for a particular ancestors.  Many times what didn't look like helpful information when we first viewed the document is found to be helpful given what we know presently.
  16. Write about your research(blog or article submissions)--Writing or blogging is so helpful.  It helps you think thru research issues. Too writing about your ancestors gets your research out there.  This can be scary but it's also scary to have done years of research and no one is aware because it's never been put out there in a publication.  It doesn't matter whether it's a submission to a local or national genealogical publication or your own blog.  Please write.
  17. Join at least one Historical or Genealogical society--There are many types of historical and/or genealogical societies:  State, county, area, surname or association.   All of these serve a purpose you will just need to find one that suits your needs.  This can also help with networking and publishing.
  18. Email or Call County Clerks or Librarians with Specific Questions--Emailing or calling can save you time.  If you are planning on visiting the library or archives, you can be better prepared and increase the likelihood of a successful and productive research day(or week.)  Also, sometimes they can email you a document.  
  19. Mentor or be mentored--if you are an experienced researcher consider mentoring a new researcher. I began researching in 1990. I can't tell you the number of times I've wished I could tell my 1990 self DO THIS or DON'T DO THIS.  Regardless of whether you are mentoring or being mentored you will learn new things.
I hope you have found this list helpful and thanks for visiting! 

Monday, April 17, 2023

George Solifelt and wife in Columbus Ohio(Nov. 1902)

 I've been trying out a GenealogyBank subscription and found an additional mention of George H Solifelt in one of the newspapers images.  The paragraph about George contains an amazing amount of information considering it is only 3 sentences long. 

The Details

  • George H Solifelt(58) & wife(32) 
  • Passed thru Columbus Saturday(Nov 22nd or 29th)
  • They were traveling from Pittsburgh to western KS
  • They claim to have friends in KS
  • They are entirely destitute & plan to take the trip on charity passes
  • County Infirmary directors gave them train tickets good as far as London OH

This wife would be Mary who is enumerated with him in the 1900 Census in Granville, Mifflin Co., Pennsylvania(E.D. 135 Sheet 3B). He sides steps the questions about a wife multiple times in his application for a pension and pension increases.  This is likely the one he married in TX and who was born in Mississippi.  His 1st wife, Kate divorced him by publication and her death which occurred about a year prior was covered in a number of newspapers.  Presumably George and Mary didn't make it out to Kansas.  They leave a paper trail in Fort Smith Arkansas and later he and Tennie after Henry F Hill's death do end up in KS.  There is evidence to suggest that Mary was still alive and in Ft Smith(AR) at least until 1926.  George and Tennie came to Iola, KS in April of 1909.

I need to make a timeline. 


“Brevities,” Columbus(Ohio) Evening Dispatch, 29 Nov 1902, p. 7, col. 7; digital image, ( : accessed 17 Apr 2023).

Trip from Pittsburgh to Columbus(OH) and on to London OH 
Note that this example is shown using present day roads.

Saturday, April 15, 2023

Mary Amanda Morton Newsom

Mrs. Mary Amanda Morton Newsom
Died:  Aug 6th 1953 1:25am
Age:  78
Services:  Rover Baptist church on Friday Aug 7th 1953
Burial:  Simpson Cemetery
Lawrence Funeral Home in charge of services
Parents:  Elijah & Mary Culverhouse Morton
Husband:  Jerry Newsom(d. 1935)
Member of Baptist Church
Lifelong Bedford Co. resident

Daughters:  Mrs. Albert Hudson of Rover & Mrs. Tanner Farris of Rockvale
Sons:      Frank Newsom of Morrison
                    Roy Newsom of Nashville
            Howard Newsom of Christiana
            James P Newsom of Rover Community
18 Grandchildren
7 Great Grandchildren
One sister, Mrs. Anna Anthony of Lakeland Florida
Two Half-brothers:  Jacob Morton & Robert Morton of Rockvale

"Mrs. Mary Morton Newsom," Nashville Banner, 6 August 1953, p. 10, col 2; digital images, : accessed 15 April 2023).

Friday, March 24, 2023

Divorce: Emma Sanders vs Dallas Sanders--Madison Co. Alabama 1946

Image 1
Image of Folder 

Image 2 
Divorce Decree. The State of Alabama, Madison County. Circuit Court of Madison County, in Equity 23rd Judicial Circuit
No 8833  June 20th 1946  Emma Sanders(Plaintiff)  vs. Dallas Sanders(Defendant) 
Granted-Plaintiff’s pleadings were taken pro confesso since the defendant did not appear despite having been served a summons. 

Image 3 
Wrapper of Decree

Image 4 
May 18th 1946 Summons for Dallas Sander to be delivered by sheriff.

Image 5 
Outer Wrapper of Summons
Signed by register and execute on same day.
Filed May 20th 1946
Rec Bk 37 pg 594

Image 6
Plaintiff's pleadings ask for a vinculo matrimonii(absolute divorce)

Image 7
Wrapper of Plaintiff's pleadings

Image 8
Acknowledgement of served summons on defendant and defendants failure to answer.

Image 9
Decree Pro Confesso 
Order Bk  6 pg. 210

Image 10
June 23rd 1946 Complainant's submission for final decree

Image 11
Notice of Register's Submission

Image 12
Certificate of Commissioner regarding Oral Depositions

Image 13
Outer Wrapper Commission to take Oral Depositions

Image 14
Deposition of Emma Sanders witness sworn and examined under and by virtue of a commission issued out of the Circuit Court of Madison County in equity in a certain cause therein pending wherein they said Emma Sanders is Complainant and Dallas Sanders is Defendant. The said witness, being duly sworn to speak the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, deposes and says as follows:

My name is Emma Sanders. I am the Complainant in this cause and I am of full age and of sound mind. I am bona fide a resident of Madison County, Alabama having bona fide resided in the state for more than one year next before the filing of my bill for divorce. The Defendant also is of full age of sound mind and he resided at the time of the filing of my bill for divorce at 407 Rison Avenue, Huntsville, Madison County, Alabama and still lives in Madison County, Alabama. He and I were married on the 4th day of March 1933 by license regularly issued out of the probate court of Madison County Alabama and lived together thereafter as men and wife until the 12th day of May, 1946, at which time we separated while living in Madison County, Alabama, and we have not lived together since. During the time that we cohabited the Defendant drank to excess and was extremely quarrelsome when intoxicated. He has on more than one occasion struck me and has threatened my life. I was afraid that he might carry out his threats and separated from him at the time mentioned above and have not since cohabited with him.

Emma Sanders

"Alabama, Madison County Chancery and Circuit Court Records, 1829-1968," images, FamilySearch ( : 26 June 2014), Divorces and Disputed Estates > 1946 > Case no 8833 Sanders, Emma vs Sanders, Dallas > image 1 of 14; citing Madison County Record Center, Huntsville.

Emma Lou Acuff Sanders

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Granny's Charlotte Street Neighbor: Mrs. Nell Burgie Miller

During the early 1970s, my grandmother lived on North Charlotte Street in Dickson at 203 which she rented from the Sheltons.  It was a duplex but she'd rented both sections.  One of her neighbors was a lady named Mrs. Miller who taught music in her home.  I knew the address and the surname but did not remember her given name or her husband's name.  Her husband had passed before Granny moved to the house across the street. I went looking in the Dickson Co TN records at FamilySearch and was able to find her in the Tax books that goes up to the year 1965(1962-1965 image 789 of 906.₁  

After finding her in the tax list listed as Mrs. H. C Miller I was able to locate her and her husband in the 1950 Census.₂  In the census she was one of the people who were asked additional questions.  She'd been married for about 26 years but gave the number of years married as 20 in the supplemental section.  She did not have any children that I remembered and that was confirmed from her answer to that question as well.  

Transcription of Wedding Announcement from Dickson Society Page of Nashville Banner.₃
Miss Nell Burgie of Dickson and Mr. Harold Miller of Nashville were united in marriage Tuesday evening(Aug 26th) at the First Baptist church parsonage in Nashville, the Rev. Dr. Dargon officiating.  The bride is the daughter of J. B. Burgie of Dickson, and the groom is the son of the late William Miller and is an employee of the N.C. & St. L. railway.  They went to Chattanooga for a brief bridal tour and will return to Dickson to reside.

Abstract of Death Notice ₄
Death Notices: Dickson, TN
Mrs. Nell Burgie Miller age 95.  
Saturday, November 3 1989. Greenvalley Health Care Center.
Retired piano and organ teacher of Dickson.  
Widow of the late Harold C Miller.    
Survivors include her two nephews, Leslie W Stitt of Deerfield Beach FLA and Larry B Stitt of Amarillo, TX; several great nieces and nephews.  
Funeral Services: Tuesday, November 7, 1989 at 3:30 pm from the Chapel of the Taylor Funeral Home  with Warren Medley officiating.  
Active Pallbearers:  Jack Willey, Donald Weiss, Sr. Dr David Robinson, Rex Buttrey, Dr. Bill Jackson and Tom Woodall.  
Honorary Pallbearers:  Bro D Ellis Walker, Tom Davidson, George Nail, Bro Harley Buttrey, and all Former Music Students.  
Interment in the Dickson Union Cemetery. Those desiring memorials may be made to the Dickson County Library, Services under the direction of Taylor Funeral Home Dickson, TN 446-2808

Nell & her husband Harold are buried in their lot at Union Cemetery which is located off of Charlotte Street. ₅ My father is also buried  at Union Cemetery.

  1. Tennessee, Dickson County, 1831-1965; Browsable images. "County Tax Records, 1962-1965,"  image 789 of 906, FamilySearch. ( : accessed 22 March 2023) FHL 497701, 1967.
  2. 1950 US Federal Census, Dickson Co. TN, Enumeration District 22-7, Household #218, sheet 18, Lines 26-27(H C & Nell Miller) 202 N Charlotte Street; U.S. National Archives,  1950 Census  (
  3. "Society in Neighboring Towns--Dickson," Nashville Banner, Sun 31 Aug 1924, p 6, col 6; digital images, ( : accessed 22 Mar 2023).
  4. Death Notices, The Tennessean, 5 Nov 1989, pg 33 col 4; digital images, ( : accessed 22 Mar 2023).
  5. Find a Grave, database and images ( accessed 22 March 2023), memorial page for Nell Burgie Miller (25 Oct 1894–4 Nov 1989), Find a Grave Memorial ID 209149407, citing Union Cemetery, Dickson, Dickson County, Tennessee, USA; Maintained by bbarnhill (contributor 47395133).