21 July 2015

Project Ireland XO

I recently read something on Dick Eastman's blog I was really excited about, and wanted to share. Here's his write up about this amazing project!  http://blog.eogn.com/2015/06/29/ireland-reaching-out-creates-reverse-genealogy/

Here is a direct link to the project: http://www.irelandxo.com/

I registered and signed up for updates on the Seagoe parish in Armagh County. The site recommended posting a note about your immigrating ancestor on the parish message board, to increase chances of someone in Ireland being able to help you connect. So I posted a note about John Gray, his wife Ann Purdy, and that Nicholas Purdy and his family immigrated with John Gray. I stated the date they left and where they settled in the USA (Mecklenburg, VA). I also stated that John Gray was a weaver at Col Blacker's estate.

The part I think is really great is that even if you don't know where your family is from in Ireland , you can still sign up, and other researchers will help you make connections. I don't know anything further back than John Gray, and I can't quite figure out the connection between John Gray's wife Ann Purdy and his friend Nicholas Purdy, or confirm if there is a connection. Hoping this site will help me with that some day. I'm also looking forward to information they post about Armagh and Seagoe.

03 July 2015

Rehoboth Church, Mecklenburg, VA

Julie (me) at Rehoboth Methodist Church.
I did a short visit to Mecklenburg last week. I asked a few guys who were telling me stories if I could take a picture of them. They said only if they got to take a picture of me first. So here I am, on the front steps of Rehoboth Church! I have a copy of a typed transcript of some membership records, showing my great ...grandfather Granderson Glover and his wife Arimenta Kidd were attending Rehoboth Church in 1855. Another great....grandfather John Gray was attending in 1851. My Jones ancestors were attending in the 1840s.

We have an old family letter that said Alginon Gray died in a construction accident somewhere in Indiana. The letter said he fell off a rail road bridge while he was working on it, hit his head on a rock and died, in October 1912. The letter also said, "his body was shipped back to Lacrosse to be buried in the family church cemetery." The railroad company paid for that cost of being sent back home. The Grays and Jones attended Rehoboth and several family members are buried there. At the time of 1912, only Alginon's sister Nannie Gray Kidd was living in Mecklenburg. The rest of the siblings lived in Danville, VA. My best guess is he was buried close to his sister Nannie. There aren't records anymore, there was a fire several years back. There are some unmarked stones by Nannie, so it is possible he is there. I haven't found a death certificate yet, because he didn't die in Virginia, and I need to know the county for Indiana. Nannie's husband Jimmy had died the year before in Jan 1911. Below is a picture of Nannie's tombstone with her husband Jimmy, and the rocks at a nearby tree. Nannie's daughter Annie Kidd Poythress is the tombstone beside the little tree.
Tombstone of Nannie Gray & husband Jimmy Kidd

Possible place Alginon Gray could be buried.

Rehoboth Church -Jun 2015

Rehoboth Church -Jun 2015

26 May 2015

Library of Virginia, how I view chanceries

I cannot say how much I love to visit the Library of Virginia! LVA is the Virginia State Archives. Most of the research I do is right there on the second floor, in this picture, on the left. On the other side of the bookshelves is the microfilm readers were you can view and save images to a thumb drive. Also in the corner farthest from the steps, is where I go to the reading room to view old chanceries. Some counties are digitized and even online at LVA's site. Mecklenburg and Brunswick, you still need to view the original cases. When I first started going to LVA I loved going up the big staircase. Now I can't do stairs, so I take the elevator. This building is very handicap accessible. It's also really nice that there's a parking garage below the library, free for patrons. You get your ticket validated in the library at the information desk.

I could not find hardly anything for my family in Mecklenburg, Virginia, until I started looking at chanceries which had copies of wills, plats etc. Those copies are often the only surviving documents now. I used to copy the chancery pages and pay 75 cents a copy, which went towards other projects and technology updates. I have several legal binders holding those cases. I signed a photo release, stating my reason for photographing. Now I photograph the whole chancery case and view it more at home. If I have friends wanting to see the case too, I put the file in my Google Drive and share the folder with them. It's pretty neat to see it in color, from pictures. It shows the different colors of ink, types of paper, seals (which I do close up pictures of), etc. You have to turn flash off to take pictures. I shoot in RAW format. My camera takes a RAW image and JPEG at the same time. The lighting is pretty good in the room, from the high ceiling and table lamps. Also, by taking pictures, I have a digitized copy, I can zoom in etc.

In Virginia, older divorce cases, which were circuit court, are now kept with chancery records. If one died without a will, the estate was settled in chancery case. If a plat is referenced, or the estate being divided and sold, a plat is often included. If the will was not being fulfilled, it was brought to chancery, with a copy of the will included. This happened a lot just after the civil war, because the estates lost all their money if run by slave income or backed by Confederate dollars. Those in charge of the estate who were being sued, often answer the chancery "complaint" by telling the court the heirs are correct, but heirs haven't been paid because there wasn't any money left. One of my favorite parts about chanceries is that relationships are explained and women are often referred to with their maiden name stated.

Below is an example from a chancery. It's a stamp, and on the inside is a seal imprint. I talked to the archivist about this and was told this is similar to, but not a postage stamp. It showed payment for copying the will and that it was official. In this case I viewed, Martha Gregg, who married Thomas Bracey had a brother named Samuel. When Samuel Gregg, the youngest, turned 21, they could all inherit their estate from their father William Gregg. This chancery case is listed as: Mecklenburg, VA chancery 1873:009-Bracey vs Bracey
Here's a link to LVA's chancery index page: http://www.lva.virginia.gov/chancery/