I realized quickly, with the lack of records for my family, that I’d really have to “think outside the box”. I LOVE to interview people, and ask about "the older days" in Mecklenburg. I also study USGS maps, plats, read chanceries, look for long forgotten cemeteries and try help preserve some of those memories people share with me. The results of my findings are posted on my blog. Feel free to sign my guestbook stating surnames you are looking for, who you're related to etc. Even if it's for neighboring counties. I added pages to my blog that I will continue to add files to. (Top left column) Pictures of churches and slide shows of whole cemeteries. I have much more records to add, little by little. And much more I want to take pictures of. Always a work in progress, a work that I truly love!

20 April 2014

Easter and thinking about churches our ancestors attended

Today is Easter Sunday. A special Sunday when many people of the Christian faiths around the world attend church. So I thought I'd like to mention thinking about the importance of religion and family history.

What ceremonies or religious things were important to your ancestors? Most likely, because it was important, it was recorded. Either by the church, or in a family Bible or diary. Does that record still exist? If so, it would probably be a great help to you. Ask your relatives. Most religious records list parents names and/or a spouse. Religious records can really help prove the links in our tree a little better. Various rites in religions such as: Sacraments, Holy Communion, Marriage, the various terms for naming a baby.

Different religions and ethnicities have ways of doing things. Patterns. Do you know the pattern for your family? For the religion and ethnicity of your ancestors? I've spoken with several historians that work with Catholic archives in Chicago and Minneapolis. The typical pattern for a Polish Catholic family about 1900-1920 was to settle near the Great Lakes, (similar land and weather to their old home), settle in a Polish neighborhood, pick a Catholic church, then stick with it. Even if that family moved from Chicago to Gary, Indiana,.... if there was a wedding, tradition and the family pattern would say they go back to the church the bride was baptized in. Even if it is a 3-4 hour drive, the whole wedding party would drive that distance. It keeps all the records in one church. Like in Europe. I hear about my husband's Italians, that if you know the Catholic church (which we do), then you can follow the records back for hundreds of years. In Ireland, you often find that people in Northern Ireland were Church of Ireland, and southern Ireland was Catholic. But not always so. The more I read history, the more I get ideas of places to look for records.

Religion can affect where you are buried. In rural America, people were often buried on their family farms. Catholic historians have explained to me there's some pretty specific things about their burial. A Catholic priest-historian explained to me that there are Jewish women buried in their cemeteries during WWII time. If the husband claimed his wife was Catholic for her safety, then, things just happened. Other times, the church allowed them to have the ceremony at the church with family but they were buried somewhere else.  There were many mixed religion marriages during WWII.  Also, many religions used to be very against cremation, but are no longer against it today.

The majority of the marriage records I've found for my ancestors, before WWII, were performed at a church, (of many different denominations). Unless there were conflicts with different religions, then they may have chosen justice of the peace. There are two main type of marriage records. A ledger: a book listing one after the other who was married, in the courthouse. And a certificate. I was married at a church, and there is a certificate for the church, and it is also recorded on the ledger at the courthouse. The same is true for relatives I have found a hundred years ago. Usually the pastor or priest's name and sometimes the name of the church are on the certificate. Often the same records you have today for yourself, also existed 100 years ago.(click on images to view full screen)

John Gray married in Church of Ireland in
1835. There obviously is no Church of Ireland in Mecklenburg, Virginia. I was given a transcription of several Methodist churches in Mecklenburg in the 1850's. A large part of my Mecklenburg, VA families, including John Gray attended Rehoboth Methodist church. My guess is John Gray switched to or rather joined the Methodist church because there was no Church of Ireland, and because his second wife was a member of this church. One of his children has a tombstone at this church, Nannie Gray Kidd. This church, Rehoboth, stood the time John Gray was there until a fire on at Christmas 2004. It is now rebuilt.
Here is an example of the other kind of marriage record:
Perkinson Dortch left half

Perkinson Dortch right half

Do you know what churches your family attended? If so, do you know if they are buried at that church? Or on their family farm, if they owned land? 

12 April 2014

Point Lookout Confederate Memorial Park (all southern states included)

I took a lot of pictures, so I thought the best way to share this was in a slide show. There is no sound. It is a standard setting, the picturing moving every 4 seconds. You can pause this. I have high resolution pictures of all of these pictures that can be zoomed in with still excellent resolution. So if you see a relative on a brick and would like a copy of a picture I took, I'd be happy to email you a copy of the picture. My first time posting this, blogger compressed it too much to read anything. So I posted this to you tube, then attached it to this post. At first I was just going to take Mecklenburg and Brunswick Virginia pictures, then I thought I'd take all the pictures, for those not close by. So all states and all names are represented in this slide show.

The first day, it was rainy and hard to see. None of the "In the Pen" pictures turned out, which are the story of a Point Lookout POW, one per state. I tried several times for each state. Some turned out the second day, March 8th. I'm sure the stories are posted somewhere else too. My goal with these pictures was to let others see what the monument looked like, what all was there, and then get all the names on the bricks to share with those looking for info about Confederate ancestors. One thing I thought was neat, is it listed survivors too. It's really a memorial about the people who were there, not just that died there. The monument for those who died, is the cemetery, just through the small band of trees. The trees were still bare, so I could see this monument through the trees, while I was at the cemetery. My next posting will be a slide show of the cemetery and ALL the names there. Run time 3:44 (at 4 seconds per slide)

30 March 2014

Point Lookout- Where the Prison and cemtery was during the war

I took these pictures on a cold, rainy, overcast (rather dark) day. There were prisoners there on cold rainy days too. Many prisoners from North Carolina and Virginia were there who could see the Virginia coast. The prison and cemetery were in the areas I took these pictures. You can see all the standing water, and why the cemetery had to be moved. Then soil erosion, loosing the coast line, and more standing water cased another move.
Here is a lithograph link to show where things used to be: http://www.mdhs.org/digitalimage/point-lookout-maryland
Now, near the tip of the land, it is barely big enough for the road. There was a lighthouse then too. Click to view the pictures full screen. So these pictures are taken where you see the circle of hospital buildings. Park service told me the first burials were right outside the hospital. These pictures were taken 7 Mar 2014.