My Heritage Took a Left Turn!

I am sure something unusual has happened to you regarding who you thought you were. Maybe a relative told a story about your parent that surprised you or a new link to an American Indian way back in your lineage appears from nowhere. Some big discovery that reshaped how you thought of your world order.


Well, that happened to me this week. My husband and I have planned to visit Ireland since Christmas 2013 and we are finally going next week. We’re traveling with two other couples, our dear friends, who also wanted to see the Emerald Isle. All my genealogy friends have asked me if I’m researching my family and I’ve told everyone that I don’t have any direct Irish relatives, this was a trip for fun.

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A New Tip for

As you probably know, is a fantastic resource for genealogy research but I’ve been reading about several new strategies to make this site even more helpful so I thought I would share a few here.

First, if you haven’t registered yet, go ahead and create your own account. It doesn’t cost anything and you don’t need an account to use the site, but having one may allow access to some documents because of agreements with other sites. Continue reading

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Davy Crockett Connected to Buncombe County, NC

Last week I was working at the Old Buncombe County Genealogical Library (OBCGS)  and was surprised to have a call from John Le at our local television station WLOS asking about the relationship between Elizabeth Patton and Davy Crockett. We made a few phone calls to our local experts and found the right books with the story. He was researching background information because a portrait of her was being auctioned and he wanted to know more about her relationship with Crockett. Continue reading

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Gravestone Gravity, cont.

rathe_holton_met05asdf  Picture by Joanne Rathe, Boston Globe

Well, I starting reading about the restoration of gravestones so I could learn more about the process since we may be doing this for one of our ancestors this year. There is a lot of information on this topic, but if you need to preserve a stone, be careful and talk to several experts before hiring someone or conducting the work yourself. Continue reading

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Gravestone Gravity

We went to a cemetery a couple of weeks ago to look at an ancestor’s stone to make a plan to install a second stone – for his wife. We have known that she was buried there for many years, even though she has no gravestone. We measured his stone, copied every word and took lots of pictures. We wanted to get the new stone to match as close as possible.


What I wondered was how deep is a stone buried in the ground – it must be several feet. So then I wondered does the stone continue to be buried over the years? This ancestor died in 1857. I know in my garden, stones around a tree get buried in a couple of years and I have to dig them up and re-position them. Could this mean the gravestone has continued to be buried a little bit each year over the last 157 years – is that what happens?

I looked it up on the Internet to see how deep a gravestone has to be buried, but didn’t find an exact answer.  I need to do some more research and report back because I wanted to get this posted on Halloween night so I’m out of time.

Happy Candy Passing!

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Quilts Can Preserve Family History

On a whim, I went to the Asheville Quilt Show put on by the Asheville Quilt Guild last weekend. I just loved all the creativity displayed there, but I was overwhelmed with the thought of making any quilt, especially those abstract designs, until I found the “Art” categories.

IMG_2527 There was “Pictorial”, “Naturescape/Landscape” and “Special Quilt Technologies”. I instantly thought of all the family pictures I have and wondered if there was one or two that I could transfer to cloth to become a new heirloom.



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Where Did They Come From?

I’ve had a really busy summer and was not quite in the habit of writing this blog on a regular basis so I let it lapse for a while. Now I am back and ready to share more genealogy tips and trends. While I was doing some research a few days ago, I found a most interesting interactive map on the New York Times website that shows the movement of people in and out of each of the 50 states between 1900 and 2012. Continue reading

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Family Picnics

Hawkins Family Visits Sardis Cemetery Asheville, NC

We had our family picnic yesterday (14 June 2014) in Asheville on Lake Julian. We started having them again on the second Saturday of June because that was the habit for most summers since the 1920’s.

Our common ancestor is Benjamin Hawkins who came to the western North Carolina mountains when the counties were being formed. He settled in just before the very first U.S. census was taken following the Revolutionary War. Benjamin was living in Rutherford County at the time of that first census (in 1790). Two years later, in 1792, Buncombe County was formed out of Rutherford and Burke Counties, so he next appears in Buncombe County in the U.S. Census of 1800.  Continue reading

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My Thrift Store Families


I was in a thrift store last year looking for some sewing patterns and found an envelope marked $5.00. Inside were some pictures of people from the early 1900’s that looked like they were related. In fact, several of the pictures were marked with names and one or two had dates written on them.

Wow! I thought, how can pictures as interesting as these have been donated to a thrift store? Did someone die without any family and someone unrelated had the task of cleaning out the household goods?  At any rate, I decided right then that I would buy the pictures, research the family on and post their pictures for other researchers to find and use. I have done this several times since then and call them my “Thrift Store Families”. Continue reading

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A Disposing Mind

Today I was talking to another researcher about a will that he transcribed for me and he said he figured out one of the words he just couldn’t decipher earlier.  He recently found the word – disposing – in several other wills he was working on. Here is how it was used in a sentence:

“I, Benjamin Hawkins of the county of Buncombe in the state of North Carolina being distressed in body but of sound and disposing mind and memory….” Continue reading

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