Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Family Treasures

When I decided to create this blog I was thinking of all the information and photographs I could share on my ancestors. After I posted about the tomato gravy and shared photos of the few dishes I have that belonged to my Aunt Gypsie I thought of the other treasures I have of loved ones.

Some are sprinkled throughout my home while others are tucked away in drawers and a cedar chest. I am comforted by the thought of my family here with me every day.

This also reminded me of a program I gave for my genealogical society called "Creative Ways to Display Your Family History." I will try to dig that up and share with you.

What treasures do you have on display?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Is it true?

One of my favorite records to research is the census. They are little time capsules. One of the lessons I learned early on is that you have to prove what you find. Sometimes even in a record.

An example is this 1900 Federal census taken in Dale County, Alabama. While it shows my Great Great grandparents, Wilburn and Mollie Snell, as being married 9 years, which is true, I can tell you those are not her 8 children. I would not know this until I had also documented Wilburn's first marriage. In fact, only the last 4 are from this marriage to my ancestor, Mollie.

And there is my Great grandfather, Jamie Wesley, as a 6 year old. I barely remember him, mostly his funeral, when I was a small child. I always thought of him as old, but there he is, a child himself.

Mystery Monday

Who are we?

Photos were given to me after the death of my great aunt Lucille in 2003. Lucille Howard was born 1912 in Geneva County, Alabama. She married Mikle Oran Register in 1928. He died in 1972. In 1981 she married Ernest Boyett. He died in 1990. Aunt Lucille lived most of her life in the Slocomb, Geneva County, Alabama area. I know she lived in Columbus, Georgia for some years and worked at Tom Houston. Please help me identify these people.
GeneaBloggers Daily Blogging Prompt
...Mystery Monday is where you can post about mystery ancestors or mystery records – anything in your genealogy and family history research which is currently unsolved. This is a great way to get your fellow genealogy bloggers to lend their eyes to what you’ve found so far and possibly help solve the mystery...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Kansas Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps

I have no Kansas roots, but my husband does, so this is a nice online resource.
The Kansas Collection, Kenneth Spencer Library, University of Kansas, houses and provides access to an extensive collection of Sanborn maps for 241 Kansas towns and cities covering a period from 1883 through the 1930s. With funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, the maps from 1883 – 1922 are now digitally available to researchers everywhere through this website.

History of the Maps

The Sanborn Map Company, of Pelham, New York, began surveying the business districts of cities and towns across the United States in the late 1860s. Their intent was to provide insurance underwriters with detailed information about the locations of businesses, the structures they were located in, and any information needed to assess their liability for insurance purposes.

Surveyors noted the size, shape, and construction of homes, commercial buildings and factories, the location of windows and doors, the existence of sprinkler systems and fire walls, the types of roofs, the widths and names of streets, property boundaries, building use, and house and block numbers.

Tomato Gravy

Willie & Gypsie
 Tomato Gravy

While growing up summertime meant visiting relatives. Some of my favorite childhood memories take me back to the dirt roads in rural Holmes County, Florida to visit my Great Aunt Gypsie and Uncle Willie Smith. Aunt Gypsie was the 9th of 18 children, born in 1906, to George Washington Stafford with his second wife, Nancy Commander. Uncle Willie loved to tell stories and hand out quarters to us children.

Aunt Gypsie’s table offered a full tummy and left over sugar biscuits for between meal snacks. She often served tomato gravy at breakfast time. A few family members, including my Mama, cooked it with a little flour to thicken, but I like it plain. Most people outside of the south have never heard of it.

After her death I received a few of Aunt Gypsie’s dishes. Each time I use her bowl I am drawn back to those dusty summer days filled with family, love and the comfort of home cooking. I have never seen this dish, or many others, measured out and she used home canned tomatoes.

These are my measurements to serve over 2 homemade biscuits. It’s very forgiving and you can tweak it as needed for the amount desired. The simplicity of the bacon and tomato flavors together are what I love about it.

What you need:

• 3 slices of thick bacon, diced
• 1 15 ounce can of diced or stewed tomatoes [use home canned if you have them]
• Salt and Pepper to taste
• 2 homemade biscuits, sliced in half

Fry the bacon to render the fat [several tablespoons]. Set bacon aside. Pour tomatoes into the bacon fat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add bacon to skillet. Cook for 10 minutes breaking the tomatoes down with a wooden spoon. Serve over biscuits. Enjoy.
What is a sugar biscuit? Take a left over biscuit, poke a hole in it with your finger and fill the hole with sugar! Yum!

Gypsie & Willie

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wilburn H. Snell

My Great Great Grandfather

Willie Levi, Alto Lee & their father: Wilburn H. Snell

Name: Wilburn Helton SNELL
Birth: 20 Jun 1853 Alabama
Death: 23 Apr 1923 Chipley, Washington County, Florida
Burial: 26 Apr 1923 Glenwood Cemetery, Chipley, Florida
Father: Wesley I. SNELL (1825-1900)
Mother: Mary DUBOIS (1830-1906)
1: Martha Ellen PETERS
Birth: 11 Jun 1860 Dale County, AL
Death: 25 Nov 1889 Dale County, AL
Burial: Asbury UMC, Dale County AL
Father: Josiah "Joe" PETERS (1813-1893)
Mother: Catherine E. JONES (~1814-1864)
Marriage: 11 Jul 1878
  • Era Mittie (1879-1921)
  • Willie Levi (1881-1937)
  • Alto Lee (1883-1967)
  • Della Argussie (1886-1918)
  • Donie Mae (1889-1973)
2: Maryann "Mollie" Rebecca SMITH
Birth: 4 Oct 1867 Alabama
Death: 31 Oct 1911 Alabama
Burial: Tabernacle United Methodist, Geneva County, Alabama
Father: James "Jim" (J. F.) SMITH (1844-1909)
Mother: Frances Caroline "Callie" LAMMONS (1841-1925)
Marriage: 11 Sep 1890 Dale County, Alabama

  • Jamie Wesley (1894-1973) - Gale's Great Grandfather
  • Naomi Elizabeth (1896-1972)
  • William Elias "Baud" (1898-1980)
  • Callie Mae (1899-1974)
  • Martha Ellen "Mattie" (1902-1991)

3: Ella HILSON
Marriage: 18 Jan 1918 Washington County, FL
Census / Time Line Notes for Wilburn Helton SNELL

-1860 Dale County, Alabama Census, Newton: "William" H. 7 years old. Born in Alabama.

-1870 Dale County, Alabama Census; Skipperville, 16 years old. Born in Alabama. Can read and write. Works on farm. 1 of 4 children listed.

-1880 Dale County, Alabama Census: listed as 26 years old, born in Alabama. Father born in Alabama, mother born in South Carolina. Wife Martha and daughter Eron (Era)

-1900 Dale County, Alabama Census: listed as 46, born June 1853 in Alabama. Father born in Alabama, mother born in South Carolina. Married 9 years. 8 of 8 children living.

-1910 Geneva County, Alabama Census: 56 years old. Married 19 years. Born in Alabama. Father born in Alabama, mother born in South Carolina.

-1920 Washington County, Florida: 66 years old. Born in Alabama. Father born in Alabama. Mother born in South Carolina. Farmer. Married to Ella. Baud and Mattie live at home.

His Florida death certificate lists his parents as "don't know" by a M. Philips [hard to read]. It was ammended in March 1979 to list his parents, by Ida Holley. It is possible this was done to prove the generation for Creek Indian research. I have been told we have family members that have proven our Creek heritage through the line of Mary DuBois, but they refuse to share with others.

Glenwood Cemetery -  Chipley, Washington Co., FL

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Meet My Ancestors

I'd like for you to meet some of my ancestors. I will be sharing about them on this blog. Most of my research is centered in Southeast Alabama, Southwest Georgia and the Florida panhandle, along with parts of North and South Carolina.

BATEMAN, Priscilla
BENTON, Catherine Rebecca
BENTON, James M. "Bomp"
CARLISLE, Susannah "Sookie"
CRUMPLER, Maude Amanda
CRUMPLER, Jefferson Davis
CRUMPLER, Josephine "Jo" Ilena
ELLIS, Experience "Exey"
GOODMAN, Zilpha Mary "Emmer"
GOODMAN, Malachi Dennis
GRANT, Julia Mary
GRANT, John Calvin
HELMS, Eunice "Unicy"
HINSON, Abraham S.
HOLMES, Sarah Lodella
HOLMES, James "Jim" M.
HOLMES, Nathanial James
HOLMES, Stephen
HOWARD, Jessie Nell
HOWARD, William Benjamin
HOWARD, William Jasper "Buck"
HOWARD, Simeon
KNIGHT, James "Jim"
LAMMONS, Frances Caroline "Callie"
McCOLOSKY, Nancy Ann
McDANIEL, Eliza Priscilla "Sillar"
McDANIEL, William J.
McDANIEL, William John
McDANIEL, William
McLEAN, Lucy
McLEAN, Alfred Lovick
McLEAN, Lovick Pierce
MEARS, Ellender
PRESCOTT, Elizabeth "Lizzie"
RIGSBY, Alice Virginia
RIGSBY, Martha "Matt"
ROGERS, Frances
SAWYER, Agnes Lizelle
SAWYER, Carlie Leon
SAWYER, Charles Carter
SMITH, Clara Estelle
SMITH, Henry Dennis
SMITH, Maryann "Mollie" Rebecca
SMITH, James "Jim" (J. F.)
SMITH, Benjamin Franklin "Frank"
SMITH, Daniel Ulysses
SNELL, Cleveland H.
SNELL, Jamie Wesley
SNELL, Sara Estelle
SNELL, Wilburn Helton
SNELL, Wesley I.
SPEARS, Bryant
STAFFORD, Daniel Union
STAFFORD, Daniel Haywood
STAFFORD, George Washington
VARNUM, Narcissa Emaline "Emma"
VARNUM, Aaron Daniel
VARNUM, Reddin
WALLS, Mary Jane
WHITE, Helon
WISE, Zilpha
WISE, William

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Love of Cemeteries

I didn't always enjoy spending time in cemeteries. Genealogy came first. Visits in those early years were to find a specific person, take a photograph for my records and leave. Somewhere along the way that all changed.

Cemeteries can offer an afternoon of discovery. There is beauty and art to be found in the old stones and epitaphs. Stop by and visit me.

Digital Cemetery Walk


It's only appropriate that my first genealogy post be in honor of my Mama. I never could have imagined how she shaped the person I am until she was no longer with me. I miss you, Mama. You left us much too soon.

Mama 1943

Sara Estelle Snell Stafford
b. January 13, 1943 - Columbus, Muscogee Co., GA
d. February 27, 2009 - Columbus, Muscogee Co., GA
buried: Riverdale Cemetery, Columbus, Muscogee Co., GA


May 2007

Mama had 5 daughters. Judine and Joycine died at birth. I am the only daughter living. The rest of my journey will be lonely without them.