I realized quickly that I’d have to “think outside the box” to learn about my ancestors. I LOVE to interview people, and listen to stories about "the older days" when life seemed a little slower and simpler. I study USGS maps, plats, read chanceries, look for long forgotten cemeteries and try to help preserve memories people share with me. This blog is ad free, so it's easier to focus on sharing stories. Feel free to sign the guestbook, or join the FaceBook group. Even if we aren't related by DNA, I'd still love to hear about your research efforts and family stories. I am interested in posting (to this blog) stories relevant to the Mecklenburg-Brunswick families.

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.

16 March 2014

Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery

Last weekend, I went to see Point Lookout. I have a lot of Ancestors from VA and NC, who of course would have been Confederate. Many of them spent some time in Point Lookout, and close to 4,000 men didn't make it out alive. Point Lookout was the really bad notorious prison for Confederates suffering, as Andersonville was for Union. As I stood on the coast at Point Lookout, I could see Virginia, which had to be an extra torture for the inmates, so close to home, separated by a mere few miles; but it was water, and heavily guarded.

I took many pictures, of both monuments, and the area. I took pictures of all the names there, at two monuments. So this will be the subject of my next few posts. I also added a tab under pages/pictures so that after this post isn't visible, the pictures will be easily accessible.

Here is a muster roll picture showing my ancestor Alvy Dortch. He was only 17 years old in Point Lookout, already orphaned. He did make it out alive, later married, had 11 children, and raised two grandchildren. (Image downloaded from Fold3.) Click on images to view full screen.
Alvy Dortch muster roll-Point Lookout prisoner
I was surprised that there were no tombstones for the cemetery. I was told by the Park Service that the cemetery had to be moved twice, because of water and loosing land to erosion. The first place prisoners were buried was right outside the hospital. Which was by the hospital, right near the lighthouse. I was there after rain, and there was standing water every where. Over 300 yards of coast have eroded from storms since the war. The Park Service said this monument was only one of two paid for by the Federal Government, for the Confederacy. All other Confederate Cemeteries, markers etc have been privately funded, which I did know. So it was interesting that Point Lookout was paid for by US "Northern" money, and am curious now what the other place is. Here is the monument which is actually also the cemetery, a mass grave:
Point Lookout Confederate Cemetery

At the base of the monument, all the names and unit are inscribed. Here is an example.  Fletcher Floyd and Elizabeth Mathis had several sons join the confederacy. They lived awhile in Brunswick, VA, then Warren, NC. Wyatt Floyd died at the Spotsylvania courthouse battle and I have his tombstone picture. His daughter Mattie Floyd married Charles Gray. Fletcher Floyd had another son Charles Floyd who died at Point Lookout. Here is his name on the monument: 
Charles Floyd Point Lookout
I found another person I believe to be related on another side of my family. WLStowe. Here is his name on the wall, and the notation on his muster roll showing he died at Point Lookout. Next week I will post about the privately funded memorial close by, with the pictures I took of it.
WL Stowe Point Lookout

01 March 2014

Fairs, announcements and great new things coming soon with digitizing projects!

I missed my goal last weekend of doing weekly posts. I was busy preparing for today's local family history fair, practicing my presentation, and a trip to Library of Virginia. Today was a wonderful day! Next time, I'll post on here ahead of time about it. It was a huge success, so another will be done next year. Enormous amounts of preparation went into this. The committee was amazing! I was happy to be a speaker, and enjoyed sitting in the lunch room with the guests from LVA, UVA and locals like me, with varying subject interests. The thought for the fair, was that not everyone could travel to Utah for the Rootstech conferences. This was to make similar types of info available locally. Here is the link to the page for the Fredericksburg, VA fair we had today: http://fredvafamilyhistoryday.com/

Another thing that I have gotten emails and seen presentations about, is joint partnerships with familysearch and Ancestry.com. Whenever familysearch signs a contract, they say the index must always remain free. Indexers before familysearch, did the 1880 Census index and Ellis Island manifest. Those records are of course still free, years later, as the original agreement was made. The numbers of indexers and the rate projects are being digitized and accessible online is really mind boggling. But the familysearch team has bigger, higher goals than even I can fully comprehend. Check out this goal to digitize 70 billion records worldwide! Even with all the amazing volunteer work, at the rate projects are going now, it would take 250-300 years to index. With the new partnership of familysearch, heritage quest, Ancestry.com, Find my past,etc...all the collaborative effort, the records will be accessible in 25-30 years as opposed to 250-300 years. How amazing! Here is the infographic: https://familysearch.org/node/2520 Here is more detailed description, about the partnerships and picture: https://familysearch.org/node/2523

I wanted to find some official statements, not emails and presentations I've seen. There were announcements in Sep 2013 and at Rootstech in Feb 2014. Here is a link to familysearch.org about the partnership in Sep, making 1 billion records available in 5 years: https://familysearch.org/blog/en/familysearch-ancestrycom-working-records-online/
Here is the familysearch Feb info discussed at Rootstech: https://familysearch.org/blog/en/details-free-account-access-familysearch-partner-websites/
Here is the Sep announcement from Ancestry.com's page:
Eastman also wrote about this too, (back in Sept) on his blog.