Monday, August 31, 2015

The Slave Name Roll Project - Releasing the Names of 16 Slaves

In February of this year, my friend and fellow blogger, Cathy Meder-Dempsey, who writes the blog, Opening Doors in Brick Walls wrote a series of posts for Black History Month about her 5th great-grandfather, James Sims (1754-1845). You can read her story of James Sims, here (Post 1 for James Sims, Post 2 for James Sims, Post 3 for James Sims). Here in these posts, Cathy released the names of 9 known slaves formerly held by James Sims. Cathy's articles gave my fellow blogger, Schalene Dagutis of Tangled Roots and Trees, the idea to create The Slave Name Roll Project. 

My children's paternal grandmother was born in the state of South Carolina. Her family lines came to South Carolina as early as the late 1600's from England and Bermuda. Once here her family lines spread across the state of South Carolina and down to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas and eventually across the United States. There are several generations of slave holders in the many years prior to the Civil War. Earlier this month I found 5 wills pertaining to the Maxwell lines and some of the allied families. This particular will is that of my children's 7th great grandmother, Mary Simons Maxwell. She married James Maxwell on September 7th, 1722. She was born in South Carolina to Benjamin Simons and Mary Ester DuPre.

Mary's will is unusual to me because I have not seen a will where the slave owner lists both the name of the slave and their mother's name. Could it be that Mary payed closer attention to the slave women she owned and recorded their births as well? Or was it possible that this is how things were done in the Province of Georgia in Saint Philip Parish (now known as Bryan County, Georgia)? I don't have all the answers yet but I do intend to find how the records were kept, providing any of them still exist. Mary Simons Maxwell wrote her will in 1770 and it was recorded in November 1774.

On the first page of her will she bequeaths to her grandchildren the following: " grandson, Morgan Sabb, my Negro boy named Stephen, son of my wench, Lizette; granddaughter, Mary Caldwell, my Negro girl named Maria; grandson, Elisha Maxwell, a Negro boy named July, son of my wench, Mary; grandson, John Butler Maxwell, a Negro boy named Peter, son of my wench, Patty; grandson, James McKay Maxwell, a Negro boy named Tom, son of my wench, Elsey; grandaughter, Ann Jackson Maxwell, a young Negro wench named Patty, being a house wench; grandson, James Benjamin Maxwell, a Mulatto boy named Sam, son of my wench, Clarissa; grandson, William Maxwell, a girl named Fanny, daughter of my wench, Snolly (?); grandson, Adam Joseph Gray a Negro boy named, Gibby and to my grandson, Dunbar Gray a Negro boy named Toncy."

After she is done with bequeathing to her grandchildren she turns to her children and bequeaths to them land,dry goods and livestock. She lists her children as John (now dec'd) and sons James and William. She lists her daughters as Mary Ester Nichols (widow & 6th great grandmother to my boys), Elizabeth now wife of Thomas Young, Esquire and Jane now the wife of Joseph Gray.

It is now my turn to release the names of Mary Simons Maxwell's known slaves as listed in her will. I release these names in the hope that one day it will release their souls and be reunited with each other. I release Stephen and his mother Lizette, Maria, July and his mother Mary, Peter and his mother Patty, Tom and his mother Elsey, Patty, Sam and his mother Clarissa, Fanny and her mother Snolly, Gibby and Toncy.

Over the years, I have been helped by many other genealogists and I have always tried to pay it forward as often as I can. I hope in some small way that I am helping someone else to find their family.


Georgia Virtual Vault, Colonial Wills, Colony of Georgia, digital collection, Georgia Virtual Vault (cdm.georgiaarchives:2011 : 2 August 2015), entry for Mary Maxwell; citing Georgia Archives, Record Group: 49-1-2, Record Id: cw20154, Date: 1774-11-01.

William Harden, "A History of Savannah and South Georgia", digital book ( : 2 August 2015) entry for the wedding date of James Maxwell and Mary Simons, page 1086; Original Publisher: Lewis Publishing Company, Publication Date: 1913.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Family Photo Friday ~ The Descendents of George and Myrtle (Behrle) Rueff

Standing L to R: Susie, Dawn Thomas, Jim, Lisa, Patty, Billy, Ronnie, Donna, Bobby holding Jon, Jaclyn, Kristy, Michael, Jeff and Becky. Sitting L to R: My Dad, Kathy, My Mom, Ashley, Aunt Barbara, Melissa, Uncle Kenny, Matt, Aunt Bonnie, Christoper, Uncle Jim and Robin. May 1991. From my personal collection.

When my grandfather, George Rueff passed away on 19 May 1991 we knew that we would all be going to Louisville. He wanted to be buried with his beloved, Myrtle. Each of our families are standing behind our parents. For my instance, my family is on the left so my siblings, each of their spouses, and I were arranged. 

I believe it was a family decision to have the pictures taken of us in one of the bigger rooms at Ratterman Brothers Funeral Home on Lexington Road in Louisville. Know the efficiency of my Mom and my Aunts it was probably before the funeral. Mom doesn't remember and neither do I. 

Our family has grown by leaps and bounds, since this photograph was taken in 1991
My cousins Amy, Donna, Robin and Ronnie and I have added yet another generation as our children (the great grand children) are now having their own families. As of now (grin), providing my math is right, there are fifteen (15), 2nd great children with 2 more due by the end of the year and one due next spring. This generation ranges in age from under a year to about 14 years old. My grandson, Easton is currently the second youngest in the group.

Ratterman Brothers Funeral Home, 3711 Lexington Road, Louisville, KY 40207 ( : 7 August 2015).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Monday's with Easton

 Photo Courtesy of The Kids (David and Cassie), E's first day of school.

This school year my son David and his wife Cassie asked if I wanted to alternate Mondays with my daughter in law's Mother in keeping our grandson Easton. Of course my answer was YES! I may only have him a couple times of month or just once a month depending on the current year school calendar and my son's days off for that particular month. 

I want this to be something that my sweet little fella will one day read and tells his own children about me. Ultimately, at the end of every school year I will put these posts into a book and will present them to him when he is older.

Once I made my commitment to keeping Easton, I decided that I needed a "fun bag". I call it Dede's fun bag. I have filled it with books, flashcards, finger paint, googly eyes, pompom balls, pipe cleaners, small brown paper bags, crayons, foam paint brushes, cup cake papers, cookie cutters in small and big shapes, scrapbook paper, card stock, photographs, and coloring books. I still need to add a few more things but you get the idea. The whole idea for me is that when he sees the bag he will know that I have brought "the fun bag" and we are going to do something special. 

My goal over the next few weeks is to build him a small book with family members so that he can start to learn everyone everyone's name. Our family is much larger and louder than Easton knows. I am printing current photos of everyone, cutting them into shapes and using different color card stock to make cards for aunts, uncles, grandparent's and cousins. Kind of like trading cards. By doing this I hope to help Easton learn who everyone is but to also teach him his colors and shapes, which he is working on in nursery school.

The school Easton attends sends the kids a report every day of what the theme of the week is, how he is doing, what they did that day and photos of Easton with little captions. They forward them to me and Jaja (my hubby) so we can see how his day went but now I can plan my activities with him to go with what he learning. 

Monday's with Easton, is a new column that is about my days with my grandson and I will be posting it on Tuesday's at least twice a month.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Family Photo Friday ~ My Nephew's

In April 2011 we went to Pensacola, Florida to celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jim. Shenanigans from four of my six nephews! Left to right are Bryan, Walker, JJ and Jebb. I love these boys!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Robert Lincoln Rich

From my trip to Northern Kentucky May 2004

Robert Lincoln "Bob" Rich is my paternal 1st great grandfather and he was a locomotive engineer for Southern Railway. He married my great grandmother, Lillian Bergamot Lanahan in 1905. They had 4 daughters, the eldest Helen Elizabeth born in 1906, their daughter Jean was born in 1908 and died in December 1909, their daughter and my grandmother, Peggy Scott was born in 1911 and their youngest daughter, Sarah Jane was born in 1913. He and my great grandmother were divorced in 1922 in Kenton County, Kentucky. In 1938, Bob married Lida Middleton Fowler and they had one daughter named Jane in 1941. Bob died April 14th, 1953 in Erlanger, Kentucky.


Monday, August 17, 2015

Breakthrough on a Monday ~ Yes, No or Maybe?

Yes! What a way to start a Monday! Today I spent some time looking through a new database, U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 on I found my paternal step-grandfather, Glenn L. Hammond. There was much more information for him than others I have been looking up today.

This index provided me with an accurate birth date and year, the place where he was born, the names of his parents, date and place of death, his social security number and under notes were listed alternate name variations for him. I have been wondering what had happened to him for many years now. The last time I had seen him would have been in March of 1974 about three months after my grandmother, Peggy Rich Hammond died. 

The picture of above is the record I found, I took the picture so that you can see what I am talking about. I have blocked the social security number for privacy reasons. As you can can see I found a wealth of information on this record. Here is what I already knew (1) he was born in Saline County, Illinois, (2) his father was Walter L. Hammond and his wife's name was Emma M (no maiden) and I knew from census records that he had siblings and (3) I knew from conversations with his daughter that he possibly died in Alabama, but she wasn't sure at the time we exchanged emails many years ago.

This record now gives enough information to order his death certificate from Alabama and hopefully I can also get his birth certificate from Illinois. I already have the marriage certificate between Glenn and Peggy. It also gives me the opportunity to now search for his maternal lines.

While I still have more research to do on his family and I know I may order his records from the Social Security Administration to see if he remarried after the death of Peggy, if so perhaps she is still alive and can tell me how he spent the last years of his life. 


U.S. Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, database and image, Ancestry ( : 17 August 2015) citing Social Security Applications and Claims, 1936-2007 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Family Photo Friday ~ Tropical Style 50th Wedding Anniversary

Standing L to R: my nephew Jebb, my sister Patty, me, Tommy, my sister Susie and her husband Jason, my sister Kathy and her son Bryan. Seated L to R: my Dad, my Mom and she is holding nephew Walker, my niece Gracie and my nephew Walker.

In April 2011 we went to Pensacola, Florida to celebrate the 50th Wedding Anniversary of my Aunt Bonnie and Uncle Jim. They have lived on or near the beach since the early 1970's so it was only fitting that their "Big Day" was celebrated with lei's, tropical print clothes, and tiki god cups! We all had a great time!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How I Determine Marriages & Pregnancies for my Ancestors When Records Are Scarce

How do you, my fellow genealogists determine your female ancestors marriages and first pregnancies? I have tried several ways to do this depending on how much information I have and what information I am able to find using various resources. As a general rule of thumb I use the age of 45 years as a cut-off point however, that doesn't always work.

Putting my Evidence Together:

Let's take a look at the information I do have for my children's 3rd great paternal grandparents, Anna Catherine Haynsworth and Captain Edwin Ruthven Plowden and their first child, Dr. Haynsworth Dupree Plowden: 
In looking for the marriage date for E. Ruthven Plowden and Catherine Haynsworth I came across information on Ancestry in the form of, The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research, which read, "Married on Thursday the 17th inst., by the Rev. A. E. Chandler, E. Ruthven Plowden to Catherine, daughter of the late Josiah Haynsworth. (Ibid.)".

Next, I decided to work with a Perpetual Calendar Calculator, one I prefer because it allows me to see the whole year if needed, the first link for the year 1851 is here ( and the second link is for the year 1852 when Haynsworth D. Plowden was born, ( You will find that when looking at the 1851 calendar there are only 2 months in which the 17th falls on a Thursday, April and July. You will also notice in February of 1852 there are 29 days indicating that 1852 was a leap year.

My next step was googling the phrase, "how to calculate pregnancies in the 17th and 18th centuries". What I found was a Wikipedia article entitled "Naegele's Rule".  Naegele's Rule is named after a German born obstetrician, Dr. Franz Karl Naegele (1778-1851). He created the rule as a standard way of calculating the due date for pregnancy. A method that is still used today! 

The method is this, "The rule estimates the expected date of delivery (EDD) (also called EDC, for estimated date of confinement) from the first day of the woman's last menstrual period (LMP) by adding one year, subtracting three months, and adding seven days to that date. The result is approximately 280 days (40 weeks) from the start of the last menstrual period." Now of course, in the 21st century there are other more effective ways and with the help of technology in determining ovulation, conception and due dates.

Naelgele's Rule does have at least one flaw though, for instance, his formula is based on every woman having a 28 day cycle, which we now know is not true. However, it was the best way for me to determine a couple of things. Since I know the birthday of the child in question I was able to work backwards to determine (1) what month that Ruthven and Catherine were married in and (2) going backwards from their son's birth I can estimate an approximate date of conception between the end of May 1851 and the middle of June 1851, give or take a few days. Dr. Haynsworth D. Plowden was born on March 20th, 1852.


The South Carolina Magazine of Ancestral Research SCMAR, database, Ancestry, ( : 1 August 2015) entry for E. Ruthven Plowden and Catherine Haynsworth, SCMAR, Vol. XIV, Winter 1986, Marriage and Death Notices form the Sumter Banner, No.1, p. 35; 

Wikipedia Contributors, Naegele's Rule, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, ('s_rule : 9 August 2015)

Calendar Year for 1851, Year by Year Calendar, The Infoplease Perpetual Calendar, ( : 9 August 2015).

Calendar Year for 1852, Year by Year Calendar, The Infoplease Perpetual Calendar, ( : 9 August 2015)


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Mr and Mrs William J. and Caroline "Carrie" (Kuhn) Rueff, Sr

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Brown Kaltenbacher

This is the tombstone of my 2nd great grandparents, William Joseph Rueff, Sr. and Caroline "Carrie" Kuhn Rueff. They are buried in Saint Louis Cemetery, Louisville, Kentucky. William and Carrie had 4 boys. William Joseph Rueff, Jr (1874-1950), Charles William Rueff (1874-1948), Philip George Rueff (1880-1962) and Andrew Grover Cleveland "Andy" Rueff (1888-1973). They were married for 53 years when William passed away. I wrote a post about the Original Rueff Boys recently, the 4 sons of William & Carrie, here is the link (


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Happy Birthday, Grandpa George Rueff

Back in 1989, I went to a Hallmark store near where we lived in Greensboro, North Carolina looking for a birthday gift for my Grandpa, George Rueff. He was going to be 84 that year, what do you buy a man who really didn't need anything? Well, as I was looking around I saw this sign, "The Birthday Times" and thought this is it! All I needed to do was put his name and birthday into the computer and printed this piece of paper that read, "The Birthday Times - Special Edition". It listed his name and birthday and then listed the highlights for the year of 1905 and for the date of his birth. 

In 1905, the population of the United States was 83,822,000 now as of July 4th, 2014 the population in the US was estimated to be 318,857,056. If you click on this link,, you will find a population clock at the United States Census Bureau which now estimates the US population as of yesterday to be 321,457,554. All I can say is wow, times have certainly changed!

Below is a picture of that special edition. I hope you can read it! Happy 110th Birthday, George! I love you and miss you very much!


Hallmark Cards Inc., The Birthday Times, digital image, purchased August 1989, in my personal possession.

Online Population Clock, The United States Census Bureau, The United States Department of Commerce, ( : accessed on 7 August 2015) 


Friday, August 7, 2015

Family Photo Friday ~ My Brother Billy and our Grandfather, George K. Rueff

Happy Birthday, Billy! Billy was born the day before our grandfather, George K. Rueff's 60th birthday. So it is only fitting that today's Family Photo should be the two of them! This photograph was taken on the occasion of my Great Uncle Frank's 90th Birthday and
Family Reunion Party in October 1988 in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

How to Share My Blog Another Way ~

I have been wracking my brain to find other ways of sharing my blog. I am not a Twitter person but I do share on Pintrest and Facebook. I also save my blog posts to my computer, external hard drive and cloud as well as Dropbox. I want to share what I have come up with because I think it is easy and a great way to preserve the posts we write for future generations.

The fantastic idea I came up with is a simple 4 step process so that I can attach each of the post(s) I have written to the appropriate family or family members I have discussed in my blog. I have only done this with Ancestry and Family Tree Maker 2014. I have no idea if it will work in other programs such as Legacy Family Tree and Roots Magic.

Here are the steps I took:

  •  I pulled up my profile Samuel Edgar Nelson Plowden (1777-1841) in my Ancestry Tree and clicked on Gallery and then "I want to upload a story."
  • I went back to my post, "Tombstone Tuesday ~ Samuel Edgar and Agness DuPree Plowden" and proceeded to copy the entire post (including the pictures) and pasted it into the word processer program I use with Google Drive.
  • Then I renamed the document and saved it to my computer. I checked to be sure the pictures were in the document.
  • I then uploaded the new pdf file I created with Google Drive to I filled in the description box with the title of my post, the name & location of the cemetery and the appropriate link. I used the date of the post for the date entry.
For many of my fellow Geneabloggers, this may not work for you because you all have been blogging much longer than I, however I do hope that you give it try! If you are new to blogging or have been blogging for a year or so like me I this is doable. I have already started scheduling the time to add these posts to my original tree in Ancestry. I am shooting for 6 to 8 stories per day. Now if something were to happen to my blog, or one of my other backup methods, I will be able to find the post in yet another place, Ancestry and Family Tree Maker.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Samuel Edgar and Agness DuPree Plowden

Photos are courtesy of Wade Chewning 2015

These are the tombstones of one set of my children's 4th great paternal grandparents, Samuel Nelson and Agness DuPree Plowden. Samuel and Agness were married in 1812 in South Carolina and they had 6 known children. Their son, Edwin Ruthven Plowden is my children's 3rd great grandfather. They are buried in the Nelson-Plowden-Haynsworth Cemetery in Clarendon County, South Carolina. At the bottom of Agness's stone are the initials "W. T. White", I am not sure if the quote is from him or if he was the stone mason. A search of Google and Bing yielded no results.

The inscription on Samuel's tombstone is: 

To the Memory of 
Samuel Edgar Plowden
A Ruling Elder
In the Presbyterian Church
Who departed this life 
The 11th of July 1841
Aged 64 Years, 3 Months
And 20 Days
Having held fast the profession
Of his faith, without wavering,
He sweetly fell asleep in Jesus
Sustain'd and Cheer'd
By the gracious declaration
He is faithful, that promised 

The inscription on Agness's tombstone is:

Memory of 
Agness DuPree Plowden
Consort of
Samuel Edgar Plowden
Born 5th of April 1777
Died 24th of August 1851
She was a true friend
An affectionate wife
A tender Mother
And an humbled Christian

Far from this world of toil and _____
She's present with the Lord. 
"The labors from her mortal life
have met a rich reward."

W.T. White


Mr. Wade Chewning, photographs, ca. 2014, digital images, personal email correspondence
F. C. Wheeler, photograph, ca. 2015, digital image, ( : accessed 4 August 2015), used for clarification purposes only on the inscription.