Friday, January 31, 2014

NewspaperArchive (not!)


I had a subscription to NewspaperArchive because I needed a single paper from them, the Hattiesburg American.  This newspaper is extremely important to my research because it includes an area of Mississippi that is very rural and very poor.  The newspaper was really the only way for these people to communicate important events to extended family members in the surrounding area and it is a goldmine.  I much prefer GenealogyBank because GenealogyBank’s search is more intuitive and they carry many papers that I am interested in but they don’t carry the Hattiesburg American so I had to have NewspaperArchive… until this week.

My subscription price was $71.88 a year which is more than GenealogyBank charges, but like I said, it was worth it to me for this one newspaper. My subscription ran out and when I called to renew I found out that the price had gone up--a lot.  The price is now $99.95 for SIX MONTHS.  Using my handy dandy calculator I figured out that is a 178% increase in one year.  I asked them if they had any special deals for customers wanting to renew.  I was told no.  Needless to say, I didn’t renew.  My library system doesn’t have a subscription so I will just have to live without it.    What I will do is keep a list of things I need to look up and then maybe in 6 months I will sign up for one month and knock them all out at one time.  I can easily keep track of the ones I need to do in Legacy's To Do List.  If I didn’t have Legacy I would probably keep it on a special research log just for this purpose.

I didn’t have NewspaperArchive set to auto renew (thank goodness!).  I wanted to warn you that if you do have yours set to auto renew, and if you paid the cheaper price like I did, your bank account is about to take a big hit.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 30, 2014


Edie Reyes, fellow member of the Columbia County Genealogical Society, sent me something that she knew I would get a kick out of.  She found an old photo in an antique shop in Thomson, Georgia that she bought.  The photo shows a handsome young couple but what actually drew her to the photo was what was written on the back.

cousins 1Photograph courtesy of Edie Reyes, used with permission


cousins 2


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tagging in the Master Source List

In the Master Source List I do things a little differently.  Here I use the Verified box to mark those sources that I have doubled checked and confirmed that they are formatted correctly against Evidence Explained.  I rarely use the tagging option here but it is available to use if you need it.   All screenshots taken using Legacy 8.0.

Here is a screenshot from my personal file. 


You can see that all of the sources are verified.  I take the time to make sure everything is properly formatted as soon as I enter it because there is a shortcut you can use to add new master sources but you must be sure that that the source you are editing is correct or you have two incorrect sources.  For example, see how I have several Georgia counties where I already have sources for county level marriage books?  If I wanted to add Warren County to the list all I would have to do is highlight one of the other counties, click Edit, make a couple of changes and then select Apply the Changes to a New Copy of This Master Source.  You have to be VERY careful when you do this that you don’t accidentally overwrite your old source but this trick is a big time saver and it guarantees that all of the sources of the same type will be formatted the same way.

I would use a tag if I needed to take a look at a particular source and all of the people that are attached to that source (maybe if I was planning on making some formatting changes).  However, on this screen it is the verified box that I use more.

In three days I have shown you three screens that hold tags other than your standard 1-9 tags but there are even more.  ALL of your master lists screens have their own tags.   All of the address or location type lists as well as the Master Source List also have a verified option.  You also have 9 marriage tags you can work with.  Your regular 1-9 tags are what you will use during your searches to tag certain individuals and these tags are indispensible but don’t forget about the other tags that you have at your disposal that will help you keep your data organized.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tagging in the Master Location List

Yesterday’s blog post was about how I use tagging in the To-Do List.  I also wanted to show you how I use it in the Master Location List (today) and in the Master Source List (tomorrow).  This tagging is completely separate from  “Advanced Tagging” (tags 1-9) which means you have even more tagging options.

In the Master Location List I use it to signify those locations where I have gone in and manual updated the short location.  I format my short locations differently than Legacy does so when I add a new location, I update the short location and then I tag is so I know that it has been done.  If I am in a hurry and don’t do this as soon as I enter the location, I can go back at any time and show just the untagged locations and then I update them all at once.  All screenshots taken from Legacy 8.0.

Here is what it looks like after I have added a location use the Geo Location Database:

Location 1


I go in and change the short location to read Wadley, Jefferson County, Georgia (I prefer it to read this way in printed reports).

Location 2

By the way, if you are curious what “Verified” means that is what you check once you have verified that the location listed plots out on the map correctly.  In other words, if Wadley shows up on the map with a pin in the correct location then you can click the Verified box (totally optional, it is just another tool to keep track of things).  If the location does not plot our correctly there are things you can do to fix it but that is another blog post.

Now on the Master Location List I will tag the location which tells me that I have edited this location.  You will notice that I checked tagged and I also checked verified because it is showing up on the map correctly.  It is a little difficult to see the checkmarks in the screenshot because I had to highlight Wadley so that you could see the map below.  The screenshots are from my test file so you can see that there are many locations that aren’t tagged or verified. My real file doesn’t look like this.

Location 3


I can run a report at any time for any locations that are not tagged to see if I missed any.  Sometimes I am in a hurry to add information to my file and I don’t change the short location right away.  The ones with no latitude/longitude are the ones that haven’t been verified yet.

Location 4

This is just another tool you can use to help keep your data organized.  You can use the tagging option for anything you like but I thought I would show you how I use it to keep all my locations uniform.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tagging in the To-Do list

Have you noticed that there is a tagging option available to you when you create a to-do item?  I am going to show you how I like to use this.  This tagging option is completely separate from “Advanced Tagging” (tags 1-9)  which means you have even more tagging options.  In Legacy’s To-Do list your tasks are marked either open or closed.  I like to further separate my open tasks into those things that I have started to work on but can’t close out yet, and those things I haven’t started on at all.  All screenshots taken from Legacy 8.0.

Here is an example of something I haven’t done yet.  I need to call the Chancery Court to find out if this list exists.  I have included the contact information but I haven’t actually made the call.  I leave the tagging option unchecked.

untagged todo

Here is an example of something that I have done but I am still waiting on an answer.  I submitted a photo request to Find A Grave but no one has volunteered to take the photo yet.  I want to be able to keep track of this so I have checked the tagging option.

tagged todo


I can now use the filters at the bottom of the To-Do List to sort my open tasks.  If I filter by untagged I can easily see what tasks I still need to do.  Make sure you select Apply Filter after you have made any changes in your filtering choices.

untagged list


If I set the filters to only show open tasks that are tagged, I can now see what I am still waiting on.  I can then decide whether not I need to send a second request for something.  I use this for letters and emails that I send out and things I have ordered.

tagged list


I love the To-Do list and it has really helped me keep my research on track.  Using the tagging option that is available is another tool you can use to stay organized.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Sunday, January 26, 2014


While I was entering a death certificate into Legacy, I saw that the deceased was born in Salley, South Carolina in 1845.  When I tried to enter Salley, Aiken, South Carolina, United States into Legacy I got an error message.

Ani1Screenshot from Legacy 8.0


I then clicked on the Online County info button which brought me to the Aiken County, South Carolina FamilySearch Wiki Page. There I found, “10 March 1871: Aiken was created from Barnwell, Edgefield, Lexington and Orangeburg Counties.”  Now I have a problem.  Which county was Salley actually in in 1845?  This is where AniMap comes in. AniMap allows me to pinpoint a specific location and then I can see how the state and county boundaries changed around that location over time.   I chose 1832 because that is the date of the last boundary changes prior to 1845.


ani2Screenshot from AniMap 3.0.2


Salley was in Orangeburg County in 1845.  Now I can enter the correct information into Legacy.  You always want to record your location as it was at the time of the event. 

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Saturday, January 25, 2014

CeCe Moore is a Rock Star!

If you don’t know who CeCe Moore is you about about to find out.  CeCe Moore is a Genetic Genealogist which means she is an expert in DNA and specializes in using DNA evidence in adoption cases.  Her very popular Your Genetic Genealogist blog is a wealth of info and I encourage you to sign up.  She also has another website, Adoption and DNA which showcases reunion stories.  She is a consultant on TWO shows, Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and the Genealogy Roadshow.  She is an advisor to 23andMe, one of the top DNA testing companies.  She is about as expert as it gets.  CeCe was very kind to give me some great advice regarding an adoption case that I was working on and has answered several DNA questions for me.  I am definitely a fan of hers.

If you would like to see CeCe up close and personal, watch ABC News’ 20/20 story,  Family Discovers Shocking Sperm Mix-up at Clinic.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Friday, January 24, 2014

A new feature on Find A Grave

Have you Find A Gravers noticed the new feature on the Contributor Tools Screen?  You are no longer getting edit emails.  You will find your requests for edits here.

editsScreenshot taken from Find A Grave


When you click on the edits this is what you see:

edits 2Screenshot taken from Find A Grave


When I clicked on the first one, Martin Marciniak, I found that a marker photo had been uploaded with both the birth and death dates.  I had entered the wrong death date (slip of the typing fingers) and I didn’t know the birth date.   I clicked Accept on that one.  I didn’t even have to hand type the info in.

On the other two the middle names were not on the markers.  I went ahead and accepted these but I also put a blurb in the bio section that the middle name was provided by the Find A Grave volunteer listed.  For example, “Per Find A Grave volunteer Jimmy Morris (#47132742), James' middle name was Edward.” Now people will know who to contact.  If I put any information on a memorial that isn’t on the marker itself I put an explanation of where it came from. 

There is a drop down list with some other options.  You can see your own pending edits that you have sent out so you can keep tabs on them.  Here are all of the selections:

edits 3Screenshot taken from Find A Grave


For more information about how all of this works please read:

What is the new Edit tab on my contributor page?

So maybe this is one of the enhancements that had planned for the website.  So far I like it and I like the plans they have to expand this feature (detailed in the above link).


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 23, 2014 and Mundia

I had a really long blog post written but I decided to delete the fluff (my opinion) and just alert you to something in the and Mundia Terms of Use.  You can form your own opinion.  Please read the entire paragraphs.  Mundia is owned by

Here is an excerpt from’s Terms and Conditions.  This is taken from section 5.

“By submitting User Provided Content to Ancestry, you grant Ancestry, its parent company and all of its affiliates, a transferable license to use, host, sublicense and distribute your submission to the extent and in the form or context we deem appropriate on or through any media or medium and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed or discovered.”


And this is from Mundia’s Terms and Conditions.  This is taken from section 5.1.  I like theirs better.  It is VERY explicit.

“For each item of content that you post, you grant to us and our affiliates a world-wide, royalty free, fully paid-up, non-exclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable, and fully sublicensable (including to other Website users) license, without additional consideration to you or any third party, to: (i) reproduce, distribute, make available, transmit, communicate to the public, perform and display (publicly or otherwise), edit, modify, adapt, create derivative works from and otherwise use such content, in any format or media now known or later developed; (ii) exercise all trademark, publicity and other proprietary rights with regard to such content; (iii) use your name, photograph, portrait, picture, voice, likeness and biographical information as provided by you in connection with your content for the Service, in each case, in connection with your content. For example, after your registration or subscription has ended, we may continue to use and display any content that you previously posted, and other users may continue may access, change, edit, add to, subtract from or otherwise amend such content. If you do not want to grant us the rights set out in these Terms of Use, please do not post any content on the Website.”  [Emphasis THEIRS not mine.  They bolded that section]


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Business plans

This month’s ProGen assignment is to write up a formal business plan.  I have been sitting here working on this for over two hours now and it just isn’t coming together like I want.   I have been taking paid clients for 11 years and I never bothered to do things like written mission statements, contracts, marketing strategies, posted rates and business plans.  ARRRRRRRG!  I always thought having all this stuff in my head was good enough but it isn’t.  The chapter on contracts was especially eye opening. 

If you do any research work for others, even if it is pro bono, I highly recommend you sign up for ProGen. There is a waiting list to get in so get your name on the list now.  It is an 18 month course that is well worth the time investment.  It will definitely bring you to the next level.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Woo hoo!

I just registered for Course 4: Writing and Publishing for Genealogists taught by Tom Jones at Samford University’s Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR) in Birmingham, Alabama.  To say that I am thrilled to have gotten in the class would be the understatement of the century.  This class fills up within minutes so I was lucky to get into it at all.  This will be the first national level event that I have attended in my 23 years of genealogy research.

Not only will I be in a class taught by one of the absolute top genealogists in the world, I will get to meet genealogists that I have “known” for years but never actually met.  I am just sorry that I have to wait until June. 

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Monday, January 20, 2014

Professional? Hobbyist? Does the title matter?

Having the title of Professional Genealogist doesn’t necessarily mean you are good at what you do.

Being labeled a Hobbyist doesn’t necessarily mean that your work is not up to professional standards.

When deciding how good a genealogist is, look at their research and not their label.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Potential problems

This is a Legacy specific post about the Potential Problems (PP) feature in Legacy.  I have some tips to make the Potential Problems work for you and not against you.  It can be a little frustrating when you see a lot of little red exclamation points.

Legacy Version 7.5 had the PP feature but with Version 8.0 you can now have Legacy check for PPs as soon as you enter a new piece of information.  An additional category of problems, Gaps, was also introduced.

To monitor the PPs go to
Options > Customize > 8. View
8.11 Monitor Potential Problems (ff)
Checkmark Show Potential Problems icons on Family and Pedigree View

The (ff) means that this option is Family File specific.  You will need to set this on each family file you want to monitor.

The next thing you need to do it go to Tools > Potential Problems and set your preferences.  You can skip the first tab, that is for when you want to run a report.  Look at the Warnings, Problems, Standardization and Gaps tabs.  Review the selections to see if there is anything you want to change.  Tweaking your parameters can make a world of difference. 

Here is another thing you will want to do to decrease the number of potential problems.  If you use any events that normally occur AFTER someone dies (Cemetery, Obituary are two common ones) you will want to exclude these from the Potential Problems checking GLOBALLY.  Go to View > Master Lists  > Event Definition.  Highlight the event and then click Edit over on the right.  At the top of this box you will see some checkmark boxes.  Make sure you check Exclude from Potential Problems Report.

Another thing that will cut down on PP errors is to globally sort your children and then tell Legacy to sort the children as you enter new ones (you can also do this for marriages and events but those two don't flag as potential problems)

To globally sort...  Go to Tools > Other Tools > Sort Children, Marriages, and Events.  Checkmark the ones you want to do and there you go.  Now we need to set it in the Options menu.  Go to:
Options > Customize > 2. Data Entry
2.2 When Adding New Spouses, Children, and Events (gbl)
Set your check marks here and now you are finished.

You also don’t want to let the PPs get out of control.  Address them as you see them.  You can easily mark a specific PP as “Not a Problem” once you have determined that everything is actually okay.  For example, if you have your PPs to alert anytime someone gets married under age 16 and you have the proof that the person married at 15 then mark this one not a problem and you won’t see it again.

To do this hover over the PP icon with your mouse cursor and the error box will pop up.  You can left click to view the details or right click to exclude this PP from further checking.    

To see all of your PPs at one time, you can run a PP report.  Go to Tools > Potential Problems.  This time you are going to look at the first tab, Records. I normally just use the first selection, Normal Check.  However, if I am working on the PP list from here, I will run the Only Records with Previous Errors option just so that I can watch my list shrink.  Once the list of PPs comes up, you can edit the people right from this screen. 


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Documenting conflicts and suppositions

The notes section of your genealogy program is very important.  This is where you can document all those little conflicts in the evidence and also the reasons why you accept one piece of evidence over another.  Sometimes a simple one liner is all you need to clarify something.  It is important that you take the time to write this stuff down.  Even if it isn’t some earth shattering, full blown case study you still need to document why you think the way you do.  Here are a couple of very simple examples copied and pasted straight from my notes.

Here is a date conflict:

Mary's grave marker has a birth date of 02 Nov 1867.  It is unknown who the informant was or when the marker was actually erected.  Her death certificate gives a birth date of 13 Nov 1867.  The informant on her death certificate was her brother Ode.  This date is used until any further information is uncovered.


Here is the explanation of why I added a residence event to Christopher Columbus Morris. I wanted to add this to make his timeline more complete.  This blurb is in the event notes.

Wife Arabella's death certificate states that she was living in Martinez at the time of her death.  She is listed as being married (not widowed or divorced). There is no reason to believe that she and Columbus were not living together.


Here is an explanation of why I added two unknown children.

On the 1900 census mother Corrine stated she had bore 7 children and 6 were living.  Known son Albert died in 1893 so all 7 are accounted for.  On the 1910 census Corrine stated she had bore 10 children and 7 were living.  There are now two 2 children unaccounted for who were born and also died between the two censuses.


It is important to add these little tidbits at the same time you are extracting information from new documents. Don’t make the mistake of extracting the info just to fill in the blanks in your genealogy program with the intention of going back and adding the details later.  You will never remember this stuff.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Friday, January 17, 2014

If you find a transcribed document on USGenWeb, what do you do?

Actually, it really doesn’t matter where on the internet you find the transcribed document.  I am just using USGenWeb as an example because it just so happens there is a transcribed document there that I am interested in.  It is a roster of the Grand Lodge [Masonic] of Georgia, 1854 St. John's Lodge No. 100, Haysville, Columbia County.  There is someone on the list that I am researching (W. Q. Spires).  My first move is to email the submitter and hope that the email address is still valid.  I am going to ask her where the document is and if she has an image of it.  I always try and get the original document if I can. 

If I can’t contact the submitter, or if she doesn’t know where the document is now and doesn’t have an image of it, I will use the transcription as a source.  This isn’t the route I want to go but if I have to do this then hopefully the submitter will be able to provide me with some additional information that I can add to the source to make it more credible (when and where she saw the document, for example).   The more information that I have about the document the better the citation will be.  If she doesn’t have an image but knows where the document is then I will try and get the image myself. 

There is another question you might be asking, how is a simple roster from the Masons useful information?  It puts W. Q. Spires in Lincoln County in 1854.  I can add this to his timeline.  It also gives me a list of his associates.  One name in particular stands out, J. P. M. McCord.  I am pretty sure that W. Q. Spires is William Spires that married Mary McCord so this J. P. M. McCord definitely interests me.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What is this word?

Today I am going to link to Michael John Neill’s blog post Mother was a Hard Worker on his site.  He teased us about this blog post yesterday on Facebook.  He posted the first image and asked us what the word was.  Many answered (and we all answered the same way).  We knew he was up to something (he usually is) but he made us sweat a bit before he posted the entire article.  I hope you have fun with it too because Michael makes an excellent point with this example.  Michael always has great posts and I encourage you to watch his blog.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Knowing your locations is important

 Spires, Charles death certificate 1919

When you first look at this death certificate you wouldn’t know anything was wrong unless you happen to know the geography of the Augusta, Georgia area.  Charles died at University Hospital which is near the downtown area of Augusta.  The problem is, Augusta is in Richmond County not Columbia.  He LIVED in Martinez which is in Columbia County.  The death certificate is properly stamped as non-resident but the place of death in the upper left corner is incorrect.

You might ask, “Could he have died at home and then they just transported his body to University Hospital?”  That is actually a great question so you would need to do a little more sleuthing.  The answer is contained in the newspaper article detailing the shooting. 

Two men, Dave Gulledge and Charles Spires, are now at the University Hospital in a critical condition as the result of each shooting and wounding the other with the same pistol yesterday afternoon following a quarrel over a few cents in a dice game….  The shooting occurred at a soft drink stand at 1288 Broad Street…[1]

Charles was shot on 01 June 1919 but didn’t die until 04 Jun 1919 at University Hospital so he didn’t die at home.  The address of the shooting, 1288 Broad Street, is in downtown Augusta.  Whether he died where he was shot or in the hospital, it makes no difference.  There is no doubt that Charles died in Richmond County.

This might seem like a trivial matter but any conflicts in the evidence must be addressed.

[1]  "Two men shoot each other over gambling game," The Augusta Chronicle, 02 June 1919 p. 7, col. 3. 

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Witnesses to events

Here is another great question from the Legacy Users Group e-mail list.  Do you add the witnesses, registrars, clerks, doctors etc. from documents to your database? (This was in reference to the Share Events feature in Legacy but it applies to how you handled documents/events in general).

Again, this is going to be personal preference. To share these events you will have to add the people involved to your database. If you are working in a very tight community and you do a lot of collateral research, this might not be a bad idea because these people are probably related somehow.   For example, in rural Mississippi where my family was there were only two doctors in the community for a 100 year time span (each one served about 50 years). Their names appear on death certificates and coroner's reports. It would be a good bet that they are hooked into my family some way and in fact they both are.  I can use these documents to follow their careers in time.  I also have a county clerk in Perry County whose name is on probably 60 marriage records of mine. He too happened to marry into the family so he is in my file.  I pretty much know the exact time he spent as the clerk based on the documents he signed.

As a general rule though, unless I suspect that they might be related, I just make a note of their name in the notes.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Monday, January 13, 2014

Which date do you use?

Someone asked a great question on the Legacy Users Group e-mail list and I thought I would discuss it a bit.  The question was, which date do you use when you are extracting information such as occupations and residences, the date of the event or the date the document was filed?

There are so many example of this.  Obituaries will give the place of residence of the listed survivors.  Do you use the date of death or the date the paper published the obituary?  If you have a birth certificate and the father is listed as a carpenter, do you record the occupation under the date of the child’s birth or the date the birth certificate was filed?  This is a personal preference thing so I can only tell you what I do and why. 

I always use the date of the event.  It just gets too complicated and confusing if you are using registration/file/publish dates. Usually the difference is only a day or two but here is a more dramatic example.  The informant on a death certificate most likely provided the information within this day or two margin but the actual document may not have been recorded for days, weeks, or even months later.  I have deaths that occurred in Oct/Nov that weren’t filed until Jan. Many times they were waiting for the doctor to sign off on it. In this case, going with the death date would be a much better bet.

Having said that, if you did want to use the registration dates of vital documents (or publication dates of obits etc.) just make sure that you do it consistently and explain your rationale so that others reading your reports understand your recording methods.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Sunday, January 12, 2014

When did he die?

I hope you aren’t getting too tired of obituaries because I have another one.  Normally a death certificate is the best source for a date of death.  They are created shortly after the death for the expressed purpose of recording the death.  I don’t think this one is right though.

David Maddox’s death certificate states that he died on 22 Dec 1925 and was buried that same day in the family cemetery.[1] It isn’t all that unusual for someone to be buried the same day as they died but when you see this your radar should still go up telling you that you might need to investigate further, just to be doubly sure. 

Next stop, one of my favorites sources, the newspaper.  I had no problem finding David’s obituary on GenealogyBank and the information in it conflicts with the death certificate as I thought it might.

David Maddox, 40, died suddenly at 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon in front of 2840 Walton Way while enroute to his home, which is about eigth [sic] miles from Augusta on the Wheeler road, in a wagon, accompanied by his son, James Maddox, Jr.  Mr. Maddox and his son, according to police reports, had been in the city selling holly for Christmas decorating purposes, and were going home when Mr. Maddox died.  Funeral services will be held from the residence this afternoon at 3 o'clock, Rev. Robert Keel, pastor of Marks Baptist church, officiating.  Interment will follow in the Maddox family cemetery.  Mr. Maddox is survived by one son, James Maddox; and two daughters, Mrs. Walters Clyatt and Mrs. David Widner, all of Richmond county.[2]

The obituary’s timeline makes much more sense.  One thing that stands out is that he died at 5:00 pm.  If he had died this late in the day it would be even less likely that he would have been buried the same day.  Either his date of death is wrong on the death certificate or his date of burial.  I opt for the date of death.  It appears in this case the the death certificate is wrong and the obituary is right. 


Maddox, David death certificate 1925

[2] "David Maddox dies suddenly in Augusta," The Augusta Chronicle, 22 Dec 1925, p. 5, col. 6.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Saturday, January 11, 2014

My sad DNA story

I ordered a mtDNA test from FTDNA and the lab received my specimen on 11 Jun 2013.  My results have been delayed four times.  My new projected date for completion is 29 Jan 2014.  I emailed FTDNA.  I have to say that the tech support person that emailed me back was just as nice as he could be.  He said that my sample failed.  They were going to run it again and it would be another 6 weeks.  They haven’t requested another sample and the tech said that they didn’t need one.  He did emphasize the fact that it was my specimen that was the problem.  So now I am asking myself, is there something inherently wrong with my DNA?  Hmmmmmm…..

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Friday, January 10, 2014

Your thoughts on this

What are your thoughts about people watching the obits in their local paper and then adding these people to Find A Grave, many times before they are even actually buried?  I am curious to know your opinion, good or bad.

How about people entering entire cemetery books onto Find A Grave without ever having visited the cemetery themselves?

These were two things we talked about at the last meeting of the Columbia County Genealogical Society.   Edie Reyes did an excellent presentation on how to add memorials to Find A Grave, how to upload photographs, how to add additional information and how to make corrections.  The above points came up in the discussion afterwards. 


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Always research a little further

Daisy Dorothy Maddox died on 25 Oct 1921 from burn injuries.[1]  I scanned this death certificate and linked it to the little girl in my file.  In my notes I noticed that a fellow research and relative of this child had told me the child was injured in a fireplace accident.  I did have it properly cited (the citation was an interview with this man) but surely there would have been a newspaper account of this incident.  At the time I initially entered this, the Augusta Chronicle was not available online but now it is.  I am glad I checked.

Daisy Dorothy Maddox, four-year-old daughter of Mr. and Mrs. John Samuel Maddox, died yesterday morning at 11 o’clock at the home of the parents, seven miles from Augusta on the Wrightsboro Road from burns.  The child was burned a fortnight ago while at play in the yard of her home with several other children.  During the play the little girl is said to have entered the home, obtained some matches and returned to the yard.  Shortly afterward the mother looking out into the yard saw the child enveloped in flames.  She rushed to the child and attempted to extinguish the flames by disrobing the child, but before she succeeded the child had been fatally burned.[2]



Maddox, Daisy death certificate 1921

[2] “Dorothy Maddox died from burns,” The Augusta Chronicle, 26 October 1921, p. 7, col. 4.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Double dating part two

You can read about double dating HERE.  What I didn’t mention in that first post is how you need to be careful if you have dates attached to people in your file from counties other than England and its colonies.  If your genealogy program has a global double dating option, you might want to refrain from using it if you have other countries.

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

When will I ever learn

It started out quite innocently.  I was scanning and entering the information from the death certificate of William Nathaniel Fountain [1].  He was a farm overseer and was stabbed to death by a disgruntled farm worker.  All I was trying to do was figure out if William and his wife lived in Richmond or Burke County.

The death certificate stated that he and his wife lived on Keysville Road, 2 miles from Blythe.  Blythe proper is in Burke County.  He died at University Hospital in Augusta, Richmond County.  The death certificate was stamped non-resident which on the surface would make you think he lived in Burke County.  Keysville Road is in both counties and 2 miles from Blythe could easily be in Richmond.

So, I turn to the newspaper accounts of the stabbing.  The stabbing occurred on the John Turner farm “at Blythe.”[2]  William was the farm overseer so he either lived on the farm or very nearby.  This still isn’t conclusive evidence that he lived in Burke County.  The farm could have just as easily been in Richmond. 

The person in charge of the investigation was Sheriff J. T. Plunkett.  Knowing that law enforcement is pretty territorial, especially when it involves a homicide,  finding out which county Plunkett was sheriff of would answer my question. 

I did a Google search on Sheriff J. T. Plunkett and I immediately found that he was in fact the sheriff of Richmond County so there is my answer.  However, this is where I got into trouble.  It started out with a Georgia Supreme Court Case [Delaney et. al. v. J. T. Plunkett, sheriff of Richmond County].  Of course I had to read the entire account.  Then I wanted to know more about Plunkett and I spent an hour reading about him in old Augusta Chronicle newspapers on GenealogyBank.

I found that J. T.’s mother died on my birthday in 1920. From her obituary I  was able to put together a simple Family Group Sheet in my head.[3]  While I was searching, I found that there were TWO Sheriff Plunketts.  My J. T. had a son that also became sheriff who died unexpectantly on 07 February 1962.[4]  I found J. T.’s wife’s obituary as well.  She died 30 May 1958.[5]  I finally found J. T.’s obituary.  His full name was James Thomas Plunkett and he died on 08 April 1930.[6]  His obituary was very telling.  He apparently was very well-liked.  His funeral was described as “probably the largest ever held in Augusta.”   I was secretly hoping that one of the names in the list of survivors in one of the obituaries would be familiar to me so that I could just plug the entire family into my tree but no such luck. 

In the meantime, the stack of obituaries that I still need to scan/enter into the computer is still sitting on my desk.



Fountain, William death certificate 1922

[2] “Mr.. W. N. Fountain stabbed to death” The Augusta Chronicle, 19 November 1922, p. 14, col. 1… “Negro slayer of Blythe man now in Richmond jail,” The Augusta Chronicle, 20 November 1922, p. 2, col. 3.

[3] “Mrs. M. J. Plunkett called to beyond,” The Augusta Chronicle, 30 November 1920, p. 5, col. 5.

[4] “Officials consider action to fill term of Sheriff Plunkett,” The Augusta Chronicle, 08 February 1962, p.1, col. 1.

[5] “Death claims Mrs. Plunkett; rites Sunday,” The Augusta Chronicle, 31 May 1958, p. 13, col. 1.

[6] “Thousands pay sheriff tribute,” The Augusta Chronicle, 11 April 1930, p. 3, col. 2.


Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rejection letter update

You can read the original rejection letter post HERE.  I received the death certificate in question today. The reason they couldn’t find it is because I had requested the death certificate of Theodosia (Spires) Davis.  Their index had Mrs. T. S. Davis.  I gave them the correct date of death and the correct county of death.  I guess it wasn’t obvious to them that T. S. Davis and Theodosia Spires Davis who died on the same day in the same county was in fact the same person.  (I am going to refrain from any further comment).  So how did I get it?  I wrote them back and gave them the death certificate number.  I figured that even they could find it that way.  

Copyright © 2014 Michele Simmons Lewis