What this blog is about

Discoveries made while researching family history throughout the nation - find out more at the Wise-Stewart Family website!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


I've been using WikiTree the past couple of days - very easy to use. I was going to upload my GEDCOM, until I read their note, which states that I'd be responsible for every profile I created with that GEDCOM. Hundreds and hundreds of people - yikes!

So instead I'm starting slowly, with my direct lines first. As I get more comfortable, I'll add in Husband's direct lines, then collateral relatives. Hopefully this site will stay free and I won't get all the upgrade advertising that Geni brings.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


I've tracked Husband's great-great-grandparents to Orange County, New York, but they originally came from Wales. They have fairly common Welsh names (William Lloyd and Margaret Morgan), but a little digging around Ancestry has given us a likely point of origin: Carmarthenshire.

William and Margaret had a son named Theophilis, though he usually used the name Thomas. When searching for a William Lloyd born around 1865 in Wales, I found many in the 1871 census - but only one with brothers named Theophilis and Thomas.

The nice thing about the UK censuses is that if they don't have a street name or number, the name of the house or farm is provided. The Lloyd family lived at a farm with the euphonious name of Glog. There is still a Glog Farm in Carmarthenshire, listed as a bed and breakfast. Wonder if we still have cousins there?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I bought microfilm . . .

because it was cheaper than driving to the NARA office in College Park, MD to view the daily Secret Service reports held there.

Captain James M. Wright was the agent in charge for the Atlanta area in 1906, and he traveled throughout Georgia, North Carolina, and Florida to track down counterfeiters. One of the ones he caught, with the help of the Atlanta police, was my great-great-grandfather Virgil Baldwin.

Zan Talton, who was arrested at the same time as Virgil, was released because a search of his home turned up no evidence that he had manufactured or passed false coins. The mold for the false coin was found at Virgil's home.

The day after the search, $1,000 bail was set for Virgil, but since he could not pay, he was held in the Fulton County jail. Virgil appeared before the Grand Jury on October 5th, Wright testifying for the prosecution. The jury returned a true bill. My next project is to find out what that means.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Can you get microfilm-sick?

Does anyone else get motion sickness when you use microfilm? I do. Fortunately, I didn't have to look too long at the Atlanta Constitution microfilm today to find my great-great-grandmother's funeral notice.

Mary Brannon Yancey died 6 July 1960 and the funeral notice was in the paper of 7 July. The reason no library could locate it for me was that obituaries are published on one page of the paper, and funeral notices are published several pages later.

Mary had one child still living (Cliff); Eddie died in 1956 and Pearlie in 1948. Nineteen grandchildren (including my grandmother), and "several" grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The service was at Mayes Ward Funeral Home, which I remember seeing on trips to Marietta.

I'm enjoying all these connections I find as I dig into the past.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Spent last night on the DAR website, tracking Revolutionary ancestors. Their online database provides information not only on the Revolutionary soldier, but on civil servants and those who swore an oath of allegiance to the Americans.

Also, you can search descendants of the soldiers, which is helpful - though no one in my direct line has applied for DAR membership, descendants of other lines have. So I can follow collateral lines back to a common ancestor!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baby steps

In my goal of completing a family history in 2011, I am blogging about the steps I take so that I can be accountable to someone, even if it is only myself.

Today, in my quest, I dumped all of the information from my website into four separate files, one for each of Husband's and my parents. I need to synchronize this information with my files in Family Tree Maker. Once all of the information is matched and corrected, I need to document as much as I can, so those following me can track my sources.

Then I will decide upon a narrative arc - should I divide it by families, or create a parallel chronological record, or try something else? There are many books about writing family history, and I've read so many of them that I have confused myself and feel paralyzed.

Hopefully, writing down the steps of how I proceed will help me continue to the end instead of leaving this muddle in the middle.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Presentation problems

A few years ago, I purchased several scrapbooks with a family tree theme, thinking that would would be a fun way to share the family history with my siblings and husband's siblings. They are still sitting in the top of a closet, waiting to be used.

I've been afraid to start doing anything with them, afraid that I will mess them up. I'm not sure how to start - chronologically, family groups, or what. I need to break through the fear of failure and start creating.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Data entry

I've spent a lot of time collecting papers - printouts from Ancestry.com, photocopies from reference books - and not nearly enough time collating that data and putting it into Family Tree Maker.

So, when the library closed early on Monday, I went home and spent the afternoon entering data from my collection of notebooks, adding in collateral relatives that will assist my search in the future. Starting from my child and working my way back, we have 15 generations and over 30 pages of relatives.

I'd update to FTM 2011, but I don't think my poor overstuffed laptop can take it. My really old version is working fine.