Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The New Ancestry & My Frustration

I have been working on Ancestry, researching for upcoming posts. I am extremely frustrated with some of new things on Ancestry and I am sure my experiences are not at all unusual. If you follow my blog, you know that I very rarely if ever say anything negative. 

My frustration is getting the best of me. Please forgive my ranting!

I can't find my family group sheets any longer, did you take them away? Why when I add a new photo does it go straight to my media gallery and not to the person for whom it belongs? Having to back track to "media gallery central" makes the task twice as long and is ridiculous. And where is the comment section? Are we no longer allowed to leave comments on public trees and media?

You have databases that are available to read but they can not be attached to our profiles of the person to which they apply. Some are extracted records, such as Northern Kentucky Marriages by S. Worrel, while 2 of the new databases for Social Security Applications and Wills and Probates cannot be attached to my ancestor's profile. If you are going to continue adding new databases, which I am all for, please allow us to attach them rather than having to continually search the database for the information.

Ancestry, please give your users the opportunity to attach all available records found in all new, current and old databases rather than not attaching them at all. With the new Ancestry you have added life events into our profiles but we can't remove them! A lot of my ancestor profiles already had these added by me and now I have duplicate entries! Give your users the option of deleting your duplicate information. Oh and why can I no longer leave a comment other than in my own tree? 

This is so frustrating! I choose to use Ancestry and I choose to pay for the All-Access membership is because it gives me access to and Fold, both of which are $79.95 per year. While I see that both sites are currently running specials of  $39.95, there is no guarantee that at the end of said subscription, I will get the same rate. 

I don't want to switch over to another online provider because I have been an member for more years than I can remember right now. However, it is something I may have to consider if you (Ancestry) cannot fix what I consider to be part of the basics on Ancestry. Those basics that allow us to control our media files, allow comments to/from other researchers, allow us to build the life story of our ancestors and not what Ancestry wants it to say.

And now Blogger wants to act up!


Subscription plan, ( : 30 September 2015).

Subscription plan, ( : 30 September 2015).

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Monday's with Easton ~ # 3 ~ Easton's Agenda

 Knowing that I would have Easton yesterday (9/28/2015) and that we would be stuck indoors because of the rain. I decided it would be a great day for arts and crafts. My best friend gave me the idea to make a fall fingerprint tree. She even sent the link on Pintrest of the image she got the idea from. 

Because I live about an hour away, I always go up on Sunday evenings in time to watch him have dinner (which is always fun - he decided to drink his salsa instead of dipping his taco in it) and help with his bath. When I walked in on Sunday, I heard him say, "Dede!". This was the first time that he had called me Dede as I walked into the house. 

The idea was to use a permanent marker to sketch out the tree. I decided to expand it just a little into a genealogy themed tree. My thoughts were to make the tree trunk and limbs with my finger prints and Easton's finger prints could be the leaves. I was then going to take it home and fill in the names of Easton's direct lineage. I was then going to frame it and use it as a gift from Easton to his Mama & Daddy. Well, Easton decided he wanted nothing to do with paint or stamping ink (for the finger prints). No, he had other ideas about what we were going to do. 

Easton wanted to play "Gotcha". It is game we play where I chase him and when I get to him I pick him up and say "Gotcha" and smother him with kisses and tickle him. I can say that I picked up an unusual amount of steps yesterday but that's okay it is well worth it! He has discovered my CPAP machine and loves to feel the air blowing on him. This can entertain him for quite some time.

Then he wanted to dance after lunch! He loves music and we were dancing to music by Dixie Chicks, and Joss Stone. He's got good taste! When we were done dancing we took a nap. Easton woke up after just an hour. I went to his room and told he would need to sleep a little while longer. He likes to fall asleep holding you hand. So like any grandmother would do, I grabbed a pillow and laid down by his crib and fell asleep while we holding hands. Best nap I have ever had!

The lesson I learned to day, don't make plans because your grandchild may have other ideas on how he wants to spend his day. Just make sure you bring your fun bag with several options not just one!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Ancestor Appreciation Day ~ 2015

1. My maternal grandparents, Myrtle & George Rueff. 2. My paternal grandparents, William & Peggy Williams. 3. My paternal great grandparents, William & Sarah Williams. 4. My paternal 2nd great grandfather, William W Williams. 5. My maternal great grandparents, Pauline & Ray Behrle. 6. My maternal great grandparents, Anna & William Rueff. 7. My maternal great aunt and uncle, Cromy & Mory Hoskins. 8. My 2nd paternal great aunt, Georgia Williams Bannister. 9. My 2nd great maternal grandparents, William & Caroline Rueff.

In honor of Ancestor Appreciation Day I am posting these pictures of who I would love to interview if it were possible to travel to heaven and come back. There is a song by Justin Moore called "If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" which inspired me to think of a genealogy version. Of course I should let you know that my version is not really meant for singing! Every time I hear this song, I am reminded of the family and friends who have been gone for more years than I can count. The song was written by Robert Henry Hatch. This is refrain of the original song and my genealogy version follows after that.

Original version:

If heaven wasn't so far away
I'd pack up the kids and go for the day
Introduce them to their grandpa
Watch 'em laugh at the way he talks
I'd find my long lost cousin John
The one we left back in Vietnam
Show him a picture of his daughter now
She's a doctor and he'd be proud
Then tell him we'd be back in a couple of days
In the rear view mirror we'd all watch 'em wave
Yeah, and losing them wouldn't be so hard to take
If heaven wasn't so far away

My genealogy version: 

If heaven wasn't so far away
I'd pack up my papers, pens and recording devices
To visit my kin gone so long now 
Many of whom I would be meeting for the first time
But that doesn't matter because they know who I am
I'd find my long lost Grandpa Williams and find out who his parents are
I'd find all my grandmothers and give them great big hugs
Show them pictures of all their descendants 
I'd ask all my questions and tell them I'll be back
Of course their is one person I would have to see, my son, Kenny
I'd tell him all about the family and his nephew Easton
I'd gather everyone around and hug them all so tight
In the rear view mirror I'd watch 'em wave and feel their love
Yeah, and losing them wouldn't be so hard to take
If heaven wasn't so far away

"If Heaven Wasn't So Far Away" sung by Justin Moore, Lyrics by Robert Henry Hatch, AZ Lyrics ( : 26 September 2015)

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Surname Saturday # 1 ~ My Williams's & their Allied Families

Please note that names above are listed with the wife's maiden name first followed by the husband's name.

These are some of the surnames in my paternal line of Williams. Some of these families I have done quite a lot of research on but there are others that are brick walls for me. 

Some of these surnames go back many generations. Many of my  paternal grandmother Peggy Scott Rich, aunts & cousins have used these lines obtain membership into the Daughters of the American Revolution. There women were great record keepers!

If you are researching any of these fine families who started their lives in England and then came to America to settle in Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina and Kentucky, please let me know and let's see if we may be RELATED! Many of these families were Quakers including my Rich line. 

On a side note, my 7th great grandmother is Mary Boone and daughter of Squire & Sarah Jarman (Morgan) Boone, making Daniel Boone my 7th great uncle.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

Family Photo Friday ~ The Williams Family

My family starting with my sister Patty and her former husband Jim, my sister Kathy and her husband Thomas, me, my brother Billy, my Dad, my youngest sister Susie, and my Mom. Ratterman Brothers Funeral Home, Louisville, KY. May 1991. From my personal collection. 

Last week's family photo was the big family portrait with all of the descendents of George and Mytyle (Behrle) Rueff. After that they grouped each of the Rueff siblings with their individual families for photographs. The only ones who didn't come with us were my sons, Kenny and David. Back then I was a travel agent and I used my 2 yearly free tickets to fly my Mom and I up to Louisville with my Aunt Bonnie and Grandpa. That is a story for another post!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Family Photo Friday - Party With A Purpose!

This is our other family! My husband and I have been involved with Palmetto Parrot Head Club since January of 2010 and they are part of our family. This year our club raised $3000.00 for Alzheimer's. The motto for any Parrot Head is Party with a Purpose! We support other clubs charity events and they do the same for us.We always have a good time when we are together!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Why I Am Repeating the Genealogy Do-Over

Photo Courtesy of Thomas MacEntee

I started my journey with the Genealogy Do-Over in January. If you have not taken advantage of Thomas MacEntee's Genealogy Do-Over, I highly recommend it! I have decided to repeat the final cycle of Genealogy Do-Over when it begins on Friday, October 2nd. By the end of the 13 weeks, I  learned through trial and error that there were aspects of my genealogy research methods that were good and other methods I needed to work on and some methods that I have never done because of online access. 

You might be wondering why?

It is simple really. I learned so much from Thomas the first go around. There is so much information and there was a lot was going on in the course of my life that I sometimes found myself overwhelmed. Which is no one's fault but my own! Better time management this time around is absolutely necessary! By repeating the class, I can focus on more specific and concentrated areas that I feel I didn't give enough attention too.

For instance I have always done collateral research in my many trees, the problem was I didn't know exactly where to end the collateral research. Which brought me to the "bright shiny object" (BSO) I didn't expect to find. I would then follow it even though it ended up being a distant relative or was perhaps was only related by marriage. 

When Thomas asked us to set aside our previous research, I did so without any reservations. You have to understand that my research is an accumulation of the beginning I have been carrying around in totes, boxes, and bags from one home to the next. The totes, boxes and baskets that contained my research from the beginning when I started researching my children's paternal lines in the summer of 1980.

I made the choice to throw away all information that was not sourced or did not have a some type of documentation as to where I found it. There was the age of the document and who sent there research to me. I have kept all the research materials that were given to me by Grand Aunts, cousin and aunts If I came across a family name I did not know, I checked the families against my databases. If they were not in the 6 active trees I work in well, it became a scratch pad or something for my grandson to color on. I kept all records that I have collected for all the trees and found records I previously thought were lost. I am down to 2 tote boxes of sourced information, 1 basket for all of my correspondence, 1 basket to hold original copies of the forms I use and for my original documents and finally I have 4 baskets of empty file folders. 

Lessons Learned in a Previous Occupation

In another lifetime I was a travel agent and the best way for me to keep track of reservations, ticket processing, planing executive business meetings, deposits and final payments was using a calendar. Until recently I was using Google calendar to keep an electronic calendar for both personal and blogging calendar, which was how I kept track of my blog posts. Then one day my personal and editorial calendars mysteriously became public on my Google+ and Google home page. I am not sure if it was caused by me, my phone carrier or a glitch at Google. I decided then and there that going back to my calendar system was in order. I bought a new weekly/monthly calendar which means now I don't have to worry. 

What I Learned the 1st Time Around

I learned a great many things, the first time around! I also wrote 2 posts about my this experience after our class ended how it affected my research in a many positive ways. You can click here for the first post The Things I Learned By Participating in the Genealogy Do-Over and click here for the second post The Genealogy Do-Over: The Best Thing I Did for My Genealogy

Here are a few things I learned the first time around. Tracking research and time management are vital to any and all research and organization is paramount to any genealogist. I have learned that Elizabeth Shown Mills's, Evidence Explained 3rd Edition is the bible of genealogy. I am technology challenged and I have tried very hard not to be when it comes to Genealogy but some of it is just not for me! I know how to use a computer and various software programs, Facebook, Pintrest, and post to my newly acquired Twitter account. Speaking of Twitter, I can post my blog and retweet everyone's post but I don't know how to actually do a tweet. Oh well, I will eventually figure it out! I am slowly getting the hang of Evidentia 2 and to Mr. E. Thompson, who designed the software please don't make any major changes to it anytime soon!

What I am Looking For the 2nd Time Around

There are some areas of the Genealogy Do-Over that I want to really focus on. For instance I want to focus on managing projects and I want to know what is considered "genealogy project". I would love to finally understand how to use a spread sheet to track my research and my searches. I would like to learn better time management skills for researching, searching, projects and tasks.

I feel as if my source citations have improved greatly since learning the proper formats but they still need work, of course I am not sure I will ever be satisfied with my formats. I have given up on Evernote, it is just not for me. My biggest problem with Evernote is remembering to open it and actually use it. I am sure that is because I prefer my composition books in which I right everything down. I am still "old school" in some areas but I love the challenge it gives me.


I have been actively researching my family tree for 35 years as of this past June. I started with my children's paternal lines during the summer of 1980 in Montgomery, Alabama while I waited for the birth of my first child. I learned that the methods I had been using all of this time actually had proper names like collateral research and the F.A.N. Principle.

Whether you are a new genealogist and/or a veteran to genealogist, or you are self-taught like me, taking Thomas MacEntee's, Genealogy DO-Over is well worth your time!  To me being able to do this not once but twice is not only worth my time, it will also reinforce the lessons I came away with but it will help solidify the lessons I need help with too.

I have one question for you Thomas, are you going to kick things up a notch next year? Perhaps going to the next level of research and adding more challenges.


Mills, Elizabeth S., Evidence Explained: Citing History Sources from Artifacts to Cyberspace, 3rd Edition, 892 pages, Baltimore, Genealogical Publishing Company 2015.

MacEntee, Thomas, Genealogy Do-Over 2015, online education program, Facebook Group - Genealogy Do-Over ( : 16 September 2015).

MacEntee, Thomas, Genealogy Do-Over 2015, online image for Genealogy Do-Over, Facebook Group - Genealogy Do-Over ( : 16 September 2015). 


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Monday's with Easton # 2 ~ Baking Cookies

Yesterday was my Monday with Easton and I decided we would bake cookies. He's not old enough nor does he have the patience for homemade cookies. So we did the next best thing, Nestle's Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip cookies from the dairy case. I had hoped he would be able to take them to school today and share with his friends but due to food allergies that is not allowed.

Easton pulled his stool over to the counter where we would be working. I adjusted it so that he was close enough to help but would not accidentally touch the oven door when I opened/closed the oven door. He was a big help in helping me lay the squares of dough on the cookie sheet, that is until he decided that picking out the chocolate chips was more fun! Needless to say I couldn't let him do that because of the raw cookie dough but we came to a compromise. He would watch them bake in the oven.

After the cookies came out of the over we had to wait for them to cool so we decided to play a game or rather Easton did. His favorite game, "Gotcha!" The goal of this game is for me to chase him around the house, catch and tickle him and say "Gotcha!" He such a silly little boy! Then he had cookies for his morning snack with his banana milk. He has always been very good about eating but for some reason yesterday he decided that all he wanted was the jelly of his PB &J so he sucked out the jelly from his sandwich(see bottom right picture). After naptime (both of us) we played more "Gotcha!"

For weeks now I have been looking for a pair of maraccas for him. He loves music and he dances around. Then my husband pointed out that I had tambourine in our Parrot Head stuff that I used at a Jimmy Buffett concert a few years back. I gave it to him yesterday morning and he thought it was the best thing ever. Especially after he realized that yes it lights up but that he could change the tempo of the lights from flashing slowly to flashing faster and finally to the light becoming solid and unmoving.

Do you know what the best part of my Monday with Easton was this week? He finally called me Dede all day! That melted my heart! He calls my husband Jaja and he has been calling us both Jaja. 

Until next time little man!


Friday, September 11, 2015

11 September 2001 ~ I Remember Now and Always ~

 World Trade Center Towers and the New York City skyline, New York, New York, c.1980-2001, photograph by Carol M. Highsmith

On September 11th, 2001, I sat in my living room, along with American and those around the world as we watched with horror, as our country fall under attack by terrorists. Terrorists who managed to enter our country, plan and prepare for coordinated attacks from within the United States. These terrorist were eventually linked to an Islamic terrorist group known as al-Qaeda. 

There were four jets that were hijacked from Boston, Massachusetts, Newark, New Jersey and Dulles International airport in Washington, DC. Two of these airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center (aka The Twin Towers), the third plane crashed into the Pentagon in Washington D.C and the fourth crashed into a field in Western Pennsylvania. 

American Airlines Flight 11, at 8:46 A.M, crashed into the North Tower (aka Tower 1) at floors 93 thru 99, carrying 76 passengers, 11 crew members, and killing 2,885 victims who were in Tower 1, along with 5 of terrorists. The flight originated in Boston, Massachusetts. At 10:28 A.M. after 102 minutes, the North Tower collapses after being hit.

United Airlines Flight 175, at 9:03A.M., crashed into Tower 2 into the South Tower (aka Tower 2) at floors 75 thru 85, carrying 51 passengers, 9 crew members and approximately killing 900 victims died at Tower 2 and along with 5 of the terrorists. This is the flight that we all saw crash into the tower on television. The flight originated in Boston, Massachusetts. The South Tower was the first to collapse at 9:59 A.M..

American Airlines Flight 77, crashed into the Pentagon at about 9:37 A.M., carrying 55 passengers, 6 crew members and killing 125 military and civilian victims died at the Pentagon along with 5 terrorists. The flight originated at Dulles International Airport in Washington, D.C.

United Airlines Flight 93, crashed into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania at about 10:03 A.M., carrying 33 passengers, 7 crew members and 4 terrorists. These passengers contact their friends & families, and learned of the attacks in New York City and Washington D.C. they attempted an attack of there own in their effort to retake the plane. The hijackers then deliberately crashed UA Flight 93 into the field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. There were no other casualties. The flight originated in Newark, New Jersey.

~ My Thoughts from my journal from 11 September ~ 17 September 2001 ~

9/11 - "The television is full of news reports concerning all four crashes, reports of families and friends searching for survivors at the Twin Towers and at the Pentagon. Emergency and rescue personnel along with volunteers are now sifting through ashes and rubble looking for survivors.",  "I am angry and outraged by today's attacks!" " I am glued to the television afraid that if I turn it off there will be another attack."

9/12 - "We as Americans have been dealt a devastating blow but we are far from divided. We are united as country and becoming stronger by the hour.", "Since 1776, America has stood for freedom and she always will!" "Who do these people think that they are?"

9/13 - "America was carved in diversity, made up of all races, religions, and cultures. Without these none of us would be who we are." "...tell them to never to be afraid of who they are and where they came from, tell them to be proud of their history."

9/14 - "We need to remember the police officers, the firefighters, doctors, nurses, constructions workers, engineers, utility workers and all of the volunteers who gave all they had because they are real life, real world heroes." "Tonight there is a candlelight vigil across America. I have made red, white and blue luminaries for our drive way."

9/15 - "I feel so useless right now! Because of medical issues I cannot physically help. All I can do is offer my prayers, my patriotism and stand as a witness to this devastating blow to America." " Here are some of the headlines from the papers and magazines I have collected, "...Rising out of the Ruins..."; U.S. Braces for War"; and "The Day that Shook America".

9/16 - My heart goes out to the family of young woman who was a flight attendant on United Airlines Flight 93 from Greensboro! How awful for this family to lose their wife and mother. I do not know the family personally but all of Greensboro is mourning her loss.

9/17 - "The New York Stock Exchange has reopened. The federal government has dropped the federal interest rate to 3% and President Bush has put billions of dollars back into our economy." Many countries have allied themselves with the U.S. including Russia, China, England, Germany, France, Spain and Pakistan on a limited basis; even Iran and Cuba - I find this surprising all on its own. To paraphrase President Bush, ..."either you are with us or you are against us...". "Our country is mourning but we are united." The news headlines tonight. President Bush says, "...Osama Bin Laden is 'Wanted Dead or Alive...' ".

 We Will Never Forget Quotes


"9/11 Attacks Facts & Summary",, multiple forms of media ( : 5 September 2015).

"World Trade Center Towers and the New York City skyline, New York, New York" photograph by Carol M. Highsmith, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Highsmith (Carol A) Collection, digital image, Digital ID:  highsm.12368 , ( : 9 September 2015)

The Journal of Dawn Kogutkiewicz, Personal Journal Collection 2001-2002

"We Will Never Forget Quotes",, digital images, ( : 10 September 2015)

Wikipedia contributors. "September 11 attacks.", Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Web, ( : 10 September 2015). 

Wikipedia contributors. "American Airlines Flight 11." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Web, ( : 10 September 2015). 

Wikipedia contributors. "United Airlines Flight 93." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia Wikipedia, Web, ( : 10 September 2015). 

Wikipedia contributors. "United Airlines Flight 175." Wikipedia, Web, The Free Encyclopedia ( : 10 September 2015).

Wikipedia contributors. "American Airlines Flight 77." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, Web, ( : 10 September  2015).  


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Family Photo Friday ~ A Little Early

This is a photo of my children's great grandfather, Simeon Lester Kitts, Sr. (1891-1928). He died of pneumonia at age 36, leaving a wife, Ruth and three children, Susie, Lester, Jr and Betty to mourn his loss.

 This is a photo of my children's great grandmother, Ruth Hair Kitts, widow of Simeon Lester Kitts, Sr. and mother of Susie, Lester, Jr. and Betty. 

These photos are copies of the originals sent to me by the only surviving child of Simeon and Ruth Kitts, their youngest daughter, Betty. I have been having a hard time putting the story of Betty's parents down on paper. Hopefully, this will help me find the words I am looking for!


Friday, September 4, 2015

Lost, Found and Gone...

Back in May for Mother's Day I wrote a post about both my adoptive mother and my birth mother, you can find that post here The Tale of Two Mother's

For whatever reason today, I typed my birth mothers name, Barbara Baugh Aycock into Google.  When the results brought up her obituary I was shocked. Then I realized, she had already passed before I wrote that post. I am at a loss as to how I feel about any of this but I want to pay my respects and this is the only format I have to say goodbye.

Dear Barbara,

I have no idea whether you told my siblings that I had found you. I only know that they knew I existed. I wish I would have thought of taking our picture together on the day we went to lunch. At least then I would have had a picture to show my son and my parents. I wish that you could have met them all but especially my parents.

I wish I had known that you were ill. I would have liked to have had one last chance to say goodbye. However, you made it clear that you were not interested in a relationship and I respected your wishes. Some days, I wish you had said yes instead of no. I really wanted you to see the work I have done in tracing our family tree. I think even you would have liked it very much. I do know that I would like to share this information with my other siblings. Perhaps one day I will but that day is in the future.

I hope you find comfort and peace knowing that you did the right thing for me. Thank you for giving me life and loving me enough to do the right thing.  I am overjoyed that you picked my parents as the ones to love me and adopt me. It is because of these choices that I love you and I could not have asked for better parents or a better life. Rest in peace Barbara.

Yours truly,

Kathleen Scarlet (aka Dawn Marie) 


Family Photo Friday ~ William Elmer Williams and Eloise Williams Rich

This is one of the few pictures I have of my grandfather, William Elmer "Billy" Williams and his sister and my great Aunt Eloise Williams Rich. Billy was born in 1910 and Eloise in 1904. I put the date on this photo at around 1911 or 1912. They are the children of William Points and Sarah Elizabeth (Lucas) Williams. I have written before of my Grandpa Billy and if you can read that post here, ( I have wonderful memories of my Great Aunt, Eloise though! She and her family will be in another post later. I loved it when we would go to visit Eloise and her husband, Dr. Albert Perrin Rich.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tom Bergeron's Episode of WDYTYA? and How it helped me!

 WDYTYA Logo, Images, Free and Clear to Share License,


As I sat watching the WDYTYA episode (DVR'd too) with Tom Bergeron I listened very carefully as he learned the life of his grandmother, Marguerite Ardion who was born La Rochelle, France in 1636. No, my children are not related to Tom Bergeron or his family but there was information there that I needed to know and I knew that La Rochelle was important in my children's family history.

Why was Tom Bergeron's journey important to my research?

South Carolina was the final destination for many of the French Huguenot families who fled France. One such person was Benjamin Simons,one of my children's 8th paternal great-grandfathers, who was born in La Rochelle was born in 1672. 

Thanks to Tom Bergeron's episode I now know where to go and/or who to write to find the crucial records of the early years of Benjamin's life. I would love to find birth records for Benjamin Simons in La Rochelle. Hopefully, there is still a record which could lead me to the answer of who are Benjamin's parents.

A Brief History of Benjamin Simons 

Benjamin was orphaned at an early age and adopted by his aunt Martha DuPre and her husband, Huguenot minister Josias DuPre. From France they fled to Middleburg, Walcheren Islands, Province of Zeeland, Netherlands. From the Netherlands Benjamin and the DuPre's crossed overed to England and then by ship across the Atlantic Ocean to arrive in the Colony of South Carolina in the late 1690's.

There is much more to research on Benjamin Simons and his family. By all accounts he was a very affluent man, owning a great deal of land in the South Carolina low country.  Roughly 1545 acres at the time of his death in 1717. His home, Middleburg Plantation is the oldest wooden home in South Carolina having been built in 1697 and is now privately owned. His primary his crops were timber, turpentine, pine tar and cattle. He was also a slave owner and I hope one day to find out who they were so that names can be added to the Slave Name Roll Project.
I have not found his will and I expect that it may be long gone but all hope for the will is not lost because it is possible that the South Carolina Historical Society in Charleston may have a as well as the Huguenot Society. I am also sure that there many land records and for me to find among other documents on the life of Benjamin Simons.

"Middleburg", Wikipedia Contributors, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia ( : 1 September 2015).

Middleburg - The Oldest Wooden Home in SC, Milligan ( : 1 September 2015).
Notes on the Simons Family, Milligan ( : 1 September 2015)

Genealogy of the Simons Family of the Low Country of SC, Descendants of Benjamin Simons, 1st Generation ( : 3 September 2015).

Research Catalog, The Huguenot Society of South Carolina ( : 1 September 2015).
WDYTYA Logo, Images, Free and Clear to Share License, ( : 3 September 2015).

"Tom Bergeron", Who Do You Think You Are?, Season 7, Episode 6, The Learning Channel (TLC), Air Date: 30 August 2015.

Middleburg Plantation, Wikipedia Contributors, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia( : 1 September 2015).

Middleburg Plantation, South Carolina Plantations, South Carolina's Information Highway [SCIWAY] ( : 1 September 2015.


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

6 Colonial Wills Found in the Georgia Virtual Vault

Photograph by Jason Baker, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

Have you tried looking for genealogy records in the Georgia Virtual Vault? I have been very fortunate to find many documents in this online database. Click here to start searching for your Georgia ancestors here at the Georgia Virtual Vault.

While working on my children's 6th paternal grandmother, Mary Esther Maxwell recently, I found 6 colonial wills through the Georgia Virtual Vault (GVV). Here are the names on the wills I have found thus far, Captain Robert Nichols (1746-1775), Mary Ester Maxwell (1732-c.1774), Audley Maxwell (1697-1768), John Maxwell (1735-1768), Mary Simons Maxwell (1701-1774) and Morgan Sabb (?-1760).

I started with Mary Simons Maxwell in hopes of identifying how all the Maxwell's fit together. Mary Esther and John Maxwell are her children and named in her will. Note that John is listed as deceased. Morgan Sabb is the first husband of Mary Esther Maxwell and Captain Robert Nichols is her second husband. At this point I believe that Audley Maxwell may be the brother of her husband James Maxwell (1697-1768).

After going line by line in her will, I then made a list of her children by name and then proceeded to list her grandchildren by name. Next I made a list of the slaves she named. Listed among the slave names, I did find several who were listed with their mothers. To see my post about Mary Simons Maxwell and the releasing the names of her 16 slaves go here, The Slave Name Roll Project - Releasing the Names of 16 Slaves.

When I started my search on this branch the family I wanted to know the full name of Mary Simons Maxwell husband, however that answer is not going to be an easy one. My search of public trees on was uneventful because not one person seemed to have any place for me to use as a springboard. It seems that everyone wants her husband to be James Audley Maxwell. James Audley Maxwell appears to be the name of every James Maxwell I could find in South Carolina and Georgia. Then I ran across a picture of Mary's will in someone else's tree. Of course, there were no notes, comments or any source listed as to where this person found her will. That's a blog post for another day!

The first thing I did was to go directly to the web to see what, if anything would come up in a search.  One the first things I discovered was a short summary of Audley Maxwell at Liberty County Historical Society. The short summary also includes the names of Audley and Hannah's children. They are listed as Audley Maxwell, Jr., Mary Maxwell, Elizabeth Maxwell and Rebecca Jane Maxwell. The next source I found was Audley's will in the GVV which clearly states that Hanna Maxwell is his wife. I believe that Audley married Hannah Powell in Massachusetts or possibly Pennsylvania but as of now I have not been able find any marriage records to confirm this. 

However when I signed into Ancestry this morning what did I find? A whole new database of Wills, Probate and Estate Records! Hopefully, this new database will allow me to find more of the Maxwell family so that I can make better connections and find new information to support my theory (not every James has Audley as a middle name) or it will disprove my theory. I will let you know what happens once I extracted all of the information I can from from my research of this database.

Bank Vaults under Hotels in Toronto,Ontario, image by Jason Baker from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada Commons Wikipedia image database, (,_Canada_-_3_June_2013.jpg : 21 August 2015)

Georgia, Wills and Probate Records, 1742-1992, Ancestry, database with images on-line ( : 2 September 2015); citing Estate Records, 1775-1892;Author: Georgia. Probate Court (Liberty County); Probate Place: Liberty, Georgia