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Thursday, August 4, 2016

What Was Meant for Evil

Day 8: I am thinking about a battle many of us face without us realizing it. It sours our relationships, and blocks our path to true freedom. The biggest problem is that many go through life without a name for the animal. We do not know why we react and feel powerless to choose a better response.

I want to share how I feel the Lord has helped me overcome it to the degree that I am able as Steven Covey taught:

Between the stimulus and your response lies a period of time where you can choose your response. How you use that time makes all the difference.

I have had an horrific life, but you would never know it because I was led to the gospel of Jesus Christ and have been given the Gift of the Holy Ghost which enables me as it is eluded to by Paul in the New Testament to have the benefit in prayer to have the spirit to utter the things to the Lord that I need that I am not able to communicate in words. What mercy!

In the beginning when bad things happened, I would black out and wake up on the other side of my response. Scary eh?   Well after my membership in my church and dedication to newfound principles, I became more conscious. I learned that my responses were a sum total of my experiences and the experiences of my ancestors...both habitual and both in my DNA.

I learned that even though I was not bound in chains, my mind was. I was not free. I attribute this knowledge to the desires I had to become a better person and to help others do the same.

I felt inspired to pray a specific prayer that I would be shown the things that were learned during enslavement and adaptations that I needed to unlearn. My answer came years ago in the book mentioned in the Ebony article, Do You Have Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome? I learned what I asked to learn.

Bad things have not stopped happening to me, but today I feel great power between the stimulus and the response. I am able to prolong the response without flying off the handle. I actually use the bad things smiling because I know by the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ what was meant for evil will always turn for my good.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

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Those Places Thursday: St. Francis Academy

I spent my four years of high school at St. Francis Academy. If you tried to find it today, you would not because the name was changed years ago to Joliet Catholic Academy when the diocese combined the two Catholic high schools in Joliet.

Boys attended Joliet Catholic High School and girls attended St. Francis Academy in my day. I was against being sent here in the beginning because I had always attended school with boys. I felt rather odd at first having only girls in classes.

After the first few months, however, I started noticing how much easier it was to learn without boys interrupting or showing off for the girls in the room. The girls did not feel the need to compete for attention from boys. I felt we were able to concentrate better, and we definitely got a lot of serious work done. We also were able to discuss sensitive topics which we could not have around boys.

Sister Marie Grunloh

It seemed that I had more opportunities for leadership positions, and my ambition to express myself through writing began freshmen year when I joined the school newspaper, "The Focus."  My teacher was Sister Marie Grunloh, which was pronounced Greenlow. The first thing that she taught me was, "You need to have a nose for news." She would click her nails together when she said that. 
                                                                Marie Grunloh

I was prompted to search for a photo of her on the internet so that you can if possible capture her eagerness to serve and sweetness.  At the same time that she was moderator for the school newspaper, she taught GED classes to prisoners in the local correctional facility.   I was her student for three of the four years that I took Journalism at St. Francis Academy, and I know I developed the ability to write in a way that is interesting and informative. I also had four years of grammar and literature.

We would create a sample layout of each page of the newspaper monthly. 
Sample page layout

By my junior year, I was the editor of "The Focus." She taught me how to submit all the articles to the printer and take the copy that came from the printer and stick each pre-cut element (photo, ads, headlines, captions, etc.) onto each respective page. Many deadlines often found me sprawled across my bedroom floor preparing each page to be submitted for printing the next day. 

I had such a great passion to write.  It was a desire that my father could not quench even though he wanted me to love math or sciences more. I am grateful for Sister Marie and this wonderful experience at St. Francis Academy.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Wills Can Prove That Enslaved People Were Inherited

Graves of Burwell Chick (1776-1847) and his wife, Massey Henderson Chick in Springwood Cemetery in Greenville, SC
How would you determine if your ancestor inherited enslaved people or actually was enslaved? Wills are a resource that is color blind when it comes to documenting the former slave owner and the enslaved. Sometimes you can track the descendants of former slave owners and learn the names of the enslaved people that they inherited.

Proving Pettus W. Chick owned slaves
It was not possible to tell from the will of Pettus W. Chick (1806-1887) whether or not he had once been a slave owner. His died almost two decades after the end of slavery, so his will did not list enslaved people as property. If you recall, he did provide for people of color in his will: Eliza, Anderson, Pettus, Myra Dawkins, etc. See Uncovering records that link the slaveholder and enslaved.

Whether you are a descendant of a person of color who was formerly enslaved or a descendant of the Chick family who owned slaves, the next best step would be to look among the indexed wills for people with the Chick surname who lived in Union County, South Carolina. This may help determine the parents of Pettus or find the names of enslaved people.

A search among indexed wills turned up Burwell Chick (1776-1847). This was an unfamiliar name, but after locating the actual will, it became obvious that he was the father of Pettus W. Chick:
“Second, I give to my son, Pettus W. Chick, the following negroes to wit, Tom, Hardy, Green, old Sitter patt, Elisa, Jim, Thorton, Tinsley.”
The names of the enslaved people that Burwell divided between his other sons and daughters are named in this will. See Will of Burwell Chick of Greenville.
Having been named in Burwell’s will and with the names of enslaved people he inherited, it is safe to assume Pettus was a slave owner at least as of February 1847. On the 1869 State Census for South Carolina three persons of color with the same names as those inherited by Pettus are living near him: Eliza, Green, and Tinsley.

Is this the same Eliza?
So the question remains: Is the Eliza mentioned in Burwell’s will the same Eliza that Pettus left an inheritance to in his will decades later? There is much information to be found on Burwell Chick and his family, but what might astound African American researchers is that there is also more to discover about Eliza as well.

In the book, Our Father’s Fields: A Southern Story, written by James Everett Kibler, an account of Pettus and Sara Elizabeth Henderson Chick and Sara’s maid, Liza, is given. Liza was supposed to have helped Sara run the Buck Hotel located in Maybinton, Newberry County, South Carolina before the Civil War as well as Chick Springs in Greenville. Alice Dawkins Sims, a slave born before 1850 remembered Sara taking Liza to Chick Springs to help.

Much extensive research is being accomplished in order to determine whether or not this Liza is the same Eliza that lived near the Chick family in 1870 and 1880 who Pettus mentioned in his will.

Next steps
These steps might uncover more:
  1. Descendants of Burwell Chick are beginning to share their history online. It may be helpful to find out if they know more about Eliza.
  2. An historical society was formed for Chick Springs, and they may have resources on Burwell or Eliza: Chick Springs Historical Society.
  3. Check other records generated by Burwell Chick that may reveal more about Eliza (day books, account books, ledgers, bill of sale, etc.).

Genealogy Resources for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin

Milwaukee Public Library - Genealogy Resources
Milwaukee County was created in 1834 in Michigan Territory from Brown and Iowa Counties. The National Genealogy Examiner’s Top Sites for Milwaukee County resources are Wisconsin and Milwaukee County: Online Genealogy and Family History Library. See more resources linked below.

Search through this finding aid to learn about collections held in 19 different repositories across Wisconsin: Archival Resources in Wisconsin: Descriptive Finding Aids

The following Wisconsin State Census records are searchable online:
Search the United States Census here.

Immigration and Naturalization
Milwaukee Public Library Resources
Family History Library Catalog resources

See Wisconsin Military Records. Also, search the following databases at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum:
  • Civil War Database
  • Spanish –American War Database
  • World War I Database
Contact the Milwaukee County Probate Division to locate wills, estate records, and guardianships.

Milwaukee County Historical Society: Genealogy & Historical Research Collections

Vital Records
Learn about other marriage record collections here.


Attacks in Facebook Genealogy Groups

Facebook admin have noticed an influx of accounts with hacked Facebook profiles infiltrating genealogy groups on Facebook. If you are an admin or member of a Facebook genealogy group, how do you keep safe? The admin of the Irish Genealogy Page, Anne-Marie Healy, created a support group on Facebook called Scam & Spam Alerts! Where genealogy buffs can keep abreast of "of current email scams and phone scams and scammers and spammers on Facebook and other internet dangers."

Inactive accounts
A Facebook account brings added responsibilities to protect yourself and the people with which you are connected. The worst thing you can do is to allow your account to remain dormant for months without knowing what is happening with your account. Admins see several dormant accounts when they go through Facebook Group member request. They cannot let if you are just not active or if you were hacked previously and stopped using your account. A good admin will not accept membership requests to a group if the Facebook profile has no posts for six months to a year. You should deactivate you account for a few weeks at a time until you become active again:

To deactivate your account:
  1. Click the account menu at the top right of any Facebook page
  2. Select Settings
  3. Click Security in the left column. Choose "Deactivate your account," then follow the steps to confirm.
"If you deactivate your account your profile won’t be visible to other people on Facebook and people won’t be able to search for you. Some information, such as messages you sent to friends, may still be visible to others. If you've deactivated your account, you can reactivate it at any time just by logging in. If you can't remember your password, you can request a new password" (Facebook Help).

If you have set you Facebook preferences so that your posts or profile photo does not show, a good admin may not accept you to a genealogy group. Consider allowing your posts and profile photo to be visible until you have been accepted to the group you requested to join.
Change your password often, and use passwords that are not words that can be found in the dictionary. Use a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols, and test to see how strong your password is at Password Meter. See more advice on how to keep from getting hacked at How not to get Hacked According to Expert Hackers.

Help protect others connected to you or in genealogy groups with you on Facebook. Be sure to join the Facebook group, Scam & Spam Alerts! They have more specific suggestions and illustrations:
Do not click on links to websites that you do not recognize. Use Dr. Link Check. As a member of Facebook genealogy groups, help to keep your group safe by reporting spam, pornography, and other suspicious posts to the group admins. You should also report the profile to Facebook.

Recent attacks
Recently, there has been a rash of Facebook accounts being hacked. Another account is created using the person's current Facebook profile. Then all connected friends receive another friend request, and the madness continues. Let your Facebook friends know immediately if you are hacked. Report it to Facebook.

Change your profile photo. Change your Facebook password, and your e-mail password associated with Facebook. Set your preferences to send a notification when someone logs onto your account from a different place than you ordinarily access Facebook.

Search Sleek OldNews US App for Ancestor's Stories

OldNews US app feature: Newspaper clipping, Embed citation on Facebook

The OldNews USA app is a free Android app for easily discovering articles that mention your ancestor on Chronicling America. Many genealogists and family historians research newspapers for obituaries. With this sleek app you will be inspired to dig even deeper and discover every instance where your ancestor is mentioned on Chronicling America.

You may have never dreamed of researching from a mobile device. Now with the OldNews US app, you are not tied down to a monitor and a desk chair. Search from the comfort of your sofa or while in the waiting room for an appointment. Old newspapers are so rewarding because they provide so much more information and detail than you will find in newspapers today.

A great example can be found by searching the OldNews US app for "passengers on the sister ship Olympic" found in "The Day Book," of Chicago, Illinois on April 20, 1912. The passengers on the sister ship, Olympic, were totally unaware of the horror of the "unsinkable" Titanic until they found out about the news from newspapers that were brought on their ship. The captain and crew did not reveal the degree of the tragedy to the passengers for fear of how they would take the loss of over 1,500 passengers and the "greatest ship in the world."

"Many of the women turned faint as they learned of friends and acquaintances on that awful Sunday night at sea," although they had been informed by a false report in the afternoon saying that all of the passengers had been saved. The article goes on to give details about how they had limited use of communication due to the 'wireless" being used to full capacity.

Access to Chronicling America through the OldNews US app opens up US newspapers provided by The Library of Congress from 1836 to 1922. You can download the app here. It works very smoothly, and you can share clippings to any place connected on your device (DropBox,, etc.). If you love sharing your finds on Facebook like so many genealogists and family historians do, share clippings, and the source citation will be included (see example).

“It takes a lot of discipline and effort to create research logs and proper source citations. I know how important it is to properly document research, and realize how easy it is to skip these steps when you are having fun making new discoveries. I want genealogy to be fun, and use technology to automate the important steps that aren’t much fun. That is why I started Revgenea Software. I want to build research apps that automate best research practices while letting you focus on discovering your family’s story,” Bill Nelson. See Find your ancestors in old US newspapers and rediscover stories lost to history using the new OldNews USA app.

Visit the Revgenea Software website to learn more, and be sure to check out the screenshots provided. You will be up and going in no time!

Six Ways to Fill Gaps in South Carolina Genealogy 1868-1870

1869 South Carolina State Census, Newberry County
Did you lose the trail of your South Carolina ancestor in 1870? If you have already tried to locate your ancestor on the 1870 US Census without success, other records exist that help to bridge the 10 year gap between the federal censuses for 1860 and 1870. You may be fortunate enough to locate your ancestor using one of the following resources:

1870 US Agricultural Census
Ancestors that had a large enough farm may be listed on the 1870 US Agricultural Census along with the number of acres they owned. A search of other farmers listed nearby may reveal other family members who were neighbors. This census is available on microfilm through the Family History Library Catalog.

1870 US Census Mortality Schedule
If your ancestor died within 12 months prior to when the 1870 US Census was taken, he or she may be listed on the 1870 Mortality Schedule.
A typical mortality schedule will list the dead person's name, age, sex, color (white, black, or mulatto), married or widowed, birthplace, month of death, occupation, and cause of death.” See United States Census Mortality Schedules.
Mortality Schedules are searchable at, and they can be ordered and viewed at a family history center. See Agriculture, Industry, Social Statistics, and Mortality Schedules in South Carolina 1850-1870.

1869 South Carolina State Census
The 1869 South Carolina State Census lists only the name of the head of household and the number of females and males according to race and age. It is available on microfilm at theSouth Carolina Department of Archives and History. Even though this census does not list the name of each family member, it does provide a clue as to where your family was living in 1869. This census is not available for Clarendon, Oconee, and Spartanburg Counties.

1869 Militia Enrollments
This database is searchable online. Enter the last name of you ancestor then enter his first name separated by a comma. His name should appear in the drop down menu as you type if he is in the database. Here is an example of a militia enrollment.
“Search for male ancestors who would have been between 18 and 45 in 1869. This repository may help to establish which county an ancestor was living. The record gives the name, age, occupation, residence, and color. Different races are listed together not separately. It is possible that this holding may also help to establish the location of the family in 1865 if they did not migrate previously.” See South Carolina 1869 Militia Enrollments.
1868 Voter’s Registration
Males who voted are listed alphabetically by county, and whites are listed separately from blacks who voted. These records are not indexed and are on microfilm at South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

1868 South Carolina State Agricultural Census
This is a state agricultural census that is on microfilm at South Carolina Department of Archives and History. If your ancestor was a farmer, look for him to be listed here. Also, you may discover other family members living nearby.

How Can Local History Help Me with Genealogy?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
A library and an archive carry different resources. Most people who have researched for some time have accessed the holdings at the local archives, but resources in the local history section of the local library have been widely overlooked.

Researching library holdings
If you have never thought to research the holdings in the library in your ancestor's hometown, you may be in for a surprise. It is possible for you to glean much more than names and dates from the resources in a local library.

If you do not live close enough to the library, search their catalog and digital collections online. E-mail them to find out the resources they have in their local history department that may identify your ancestor.

Accessing resources
Local history librarians have begun to receive many requests for help with genealogy research. Be courteous of their time, and be generous with paying requested fees. You may find that it would be worth your while to pay to have the same access to resources as a resident especially if resources are not accessible online.
Create a timeline of your ancestor's life for easy reference, and search the resources suggested here in search of your ancestor.

What school did your ancestor attend?

You may be interested in researching the school records of your ancestor. The local library may have year books or be able to help you identify the schools that existed that your ancestor may have attended.
Contact the school archives for a transcript. Be sure to research the names of extinct primary and secondary schools and where the record would be held. Researching the schools your family attended may reveal ancestors who helped to provide land or other resources to establish the school.

Which churches did your family attend?

Researching the churches in your family may prove to be very significant if you are able to trace records back before the time births and marriages were recorded on civil registers.
You may discover that the church also has an adjacent cemetery where other family members are buried. You will need to identify the person in charge of the archived records. Set an appointment to view these records. Some record keepers are church secretaries who keep records in their homes while some can provide access to the records on site.

What can an old newspaper tell you?

Many researchers have discovered how to access obituaries to document ancestors. In cases where you cannot locate a death certificate, the obituary is the next best resource.
Historic newspapers can help you in many other ways not yet fully understood. Take time out to research the names of the local newspapers that were published during your ancestor's life. Some of them may have stopped publishing long ago. Many are on microfilm or online.
Read through the issues that may mention your ancestor. Older newspapers were much different long ago. They give many more details, and more social activities were shared.
Some of the types of articles include:
  • a soldier returning home
  • a former resident coming home for a visit
  • social gatherings (who attended and what they were wearing)

Check the vertical file

Often the vertical file in the library goes unnoticed. It may have never been digitized. This is the place where you can find loose clippings of newspaper articles, programs, photos, or letters filed by topic or alphabetically by surname.
If the local history department of the local library has a vertical file, you might discover leads to more information that you may have never stumbled upon otherwise.
Look for information about businesses, churches, schools, or organizations that your ancestor would have been affiliated with.

Search for history books on the local area

Many local history books in the library give biographical information about local residents. It is fascinating to learn more about the locality where your ancestor lived. It is important to understand the formation of counties and towns and how those changes effected the local residents.
Most of the time this information can help you keep your bearing straight as you try to make sense of where to look for records during certain time periods.
Records were generated according to locality. If you are searching for resources for a locality, a great place to start would be at the Research Wiki. It will help you link to genealogical records online and in local repositories.

What can you learn from city directories?

If your ancestor lived within a city, he or she may be listed in the old city directories. City directories are great because they help to account for family members in between census years. Search each consecutive year to see if you can find your family. You may discover much more such as:
  • ancestor's occupation
  • other members of the family group
  • address changes
If you discover the occupation of an ancestor, search the newspapers and other resources for mentions of the company. If your ancestor was a clergy member or teacher and you discover it in the city directory, you can then search out possible churches or schools. Many city directories are being made available online.

Periodicals may hold biographical data

Many libraries carry volumes of genealogical periodicals where the history of local residents are published. Most have been indexed making it easier to tell which volume contains information about your ancestor.
These resources are helpful even if they do not contain your ancestor because they are sourced and will reveal historical resources that you may have not checked.
The first volume of the South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research was published in 1973. Each volume has a wealth of information, and it is available in many public libraries in South Carolina. Take a look at the list of Volumes I through XL to see an example of what a genealogical periodical can contain.