Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Oak Hill Cemetery, Evansville, Indiana

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Joyce Families of Crittenden County

Joyce is not a particularly common surname, but three families of that name settled in Crittenden County, Kentucky. They all connect back in North Carolina, but probably never knew they were related. All of them descend from two brothers, Thomas and Alexander Joyce, who first appeared in Virginia records in the 1740s. Both brothers acquired land in North Carolina, but only Alexander  moved to what is now Rockingham County.

The first Joyce family to arrive in Crittenden County was that of James P. and Lucinda (Hopkins) Joyce, who settled first in Hopkins County and, prior to 1850, in Crittenden County. James P. and Lucinda had a number of children, including the following: Nancy A., James A., Margaret E., Rachael C., Martin Van Buren, Polly, Thomas W., Pleasant E., Lucinda and John. The children intermarried with the Towery, Berry, Asher and Conger families. Lucinda Hopkins Joyce died in 1861 (see tombstone at right) and that same year James P. married Matilda E. Jenkins. James P. Joyce died in 1876 and is buried, along with most of his family, at Shady Grove Cemetery in Crittenden County.

A late comer to Crittenden County was the Joyce family of Dycusburg. Fred Joyce, son of Tandy Joyce, is found on the 1880 Trigg County census. He was in McCracken County by 1920 and, finally, in Crittenden County by 1930. After leaving North Carolina, this family settled in Grainger County, Tennessee before moving on to Trigg County. Some descendants of this family still live in Trigg and McCracken counties.

My family left North Carolina about 1830 and settled in Lawrence County, Tennessee. In the early days of the Civil War, my great-grandfather, also named James P. Joyce, took his family and headed north. He enlisted in the 2nd Regt., Illinois Cavalry and served until he was discharged for health reasons. After his discharge, the family settled in Hardin County, Illinois, just across the Ohio River from Crittenden County. The family remained in Hardin County, but my uncle married a lady from Crittenden County and settled there.  This family descends from Thomas Joyce of Lunenburg County, Virginia, through his son, George, a Revolutionary War veteran.

Published 30 May 2010, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Separated or Divorced?

Words may have a variety of meanings, depending on the location and time period plus who is doing the speaking. Let me give you an example. As a child, I sometimes heard that a man and wife had separated. Divorce was never mentioned and the phrase "legal separation" was not used - just "separated." I grew up believing that no one in my family had ever divorced their spouse. It wasn't until I became interested in genealogy that I asked an uncle when his brother and first wife had divorced. I knew they had divorced as the marriage record to his second wife listed him as divorced. With a raised eyebrow, my uncle quietly told me his brother had "separated" after only a few years of marriage and then had remarried. Apparently, the word "divorce" simply was not used in my family as they preferred to use a kinder, but less accurate, word to describe a permanent separation. Somewhere along the way, my family did incorporate the word "divorce" into its vocabulary and it is often heard now.

So what does this have to do with genealogy? The wise genealogist watches for inconsistencies and takes nothing for granted when doing research.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Mary Smith McKee

Meet Me There

Beneath this stone reposes

All that Death Could Claim of


Wife of

John W. McKee

and Daughter of

John H. Smith

Who Sweetly Fell Asleep

May 20th 1864

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Livingston County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 28 April 2010.

John W. McKee married Miss Mary Smith 8 November 1855 at her father's home. The bride was age 21 and the bridegroom was age 28.

Following Mary's death, John W. McKee can be found in Cairo, Alexander County, Illinois.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

James P. Barnett, Attorney At Law

James P. Barnett Esq.
Attorney at Law
Son of
Rev. John Barnett
was born July 25th
died Aug. 7th

Buried Adamson Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky. This tombstone is unusual in that it lists the occupation of the decedent. Submitted by Jared Nelson of the Times-Leader.

Rev. John Barnett, father of James P. Barnett, was affiliated with the Cumberland Presbyterian church and came to Caldwell County after being ordained in 1815 by the Logan Presbytery. He was pastor of the Bethlehem and Piney Fork congregations and was, for a time, connected to Cumberland College.

According to the Cumberland Presbyterian Church website Mr. Barnett "lost his eldest son, a young man of rather unusual promise. He was one of the early graduates of Cumberland College."

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Henderson County, Kentucky Executors 1901

A person who died testate and leaving an estate usually named a person or persons he wished to act as executor of his estate. The duties of the executor, like those of an administrator of estate, were to collect and pay debts due the decedent's estate and to distribute the balance among the heirs. To signify that he would faithfully perform his duties, the executor signed a bond. The female counterpoint of an executor is called an executrix. The following lists of executors has been abstracted from Henderson County, Kentucky Executor Bond Book 1900-1914, located in the County Clerk's Office, Henderson, Kentucky.

George T. Busby and S.B. Busby were appointed executors of the estate of W.T. Busby 28 January 1901.

Grayson P. Watson was appointed executor of the estate of Mary E. Parsens 28 January 1901.

W.S. Rowland was appointed executor of the estate of Mary A. Grissom 31 January 1901.

Mattie Griffin was appointed executrix of the estate of Geo. M. Griffin 25 February 1901.

Mrs. Annie Betts was appointed executrix of the estate of Cabell Betts 25 March 1901.

Mrs. Annie S. Reeder was appointed executrix of the estate of W.J. Reeder 4 April 1901.

Mrs. Bettie B. Powell was appointed executrix of the estate of E.D. Powell 10 May 1901.

Lee Oberdorfer was appointed executor of Hannah Oberdorfer's estate 28 May 1901.

Mrs. Sarah J. Young was appointed executrix of T.E. Young's estate 3 June 1901.

Mrs. Lula Faulkner was appointed executrix of the estate of Ben J. Faulkner 24 June 1901.

Jno. O'Byrne was appointed executor of Thos. F. Tierney's estate 21 July 1901.

Margaret Ann Griffin was appointed executrix of M. Griffin's estate 22 July 1901.

Weston Gibson (colored) was appointed executor of the estate of Ruth Walker 2 August 1901.

Lucy F. Moore was appointed executrix of the estate of J.W. Moore 25 November 1901.

John Goehring was appointed executrix of Mrs. Kate Schilling's estate 26 December 1901.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Rachael S. Kemp

Rachael Salina Kemp was only 25 years old when she died in the earliest days of the Civil War. Because of her age and the era in which lived and partly because she was a woman, we know few details of her life. Much of what we do know comes from the tombstone marking her grave on a hill in the middle of Duncan Cemetery, off Hwy. 365 in Crittenden County, Kentucky.

Rachael S.
Wife of
D.F. Kemp
and daughter of
John P. & L.A. Boyd
Oct. 22, 1835
July 9, 1861

Her tombstone was photographed 20 March 2010. Click on the photo for an enlarged view.

Dempsey Kemp and Rachael Salina Boyd married 4 April 1850 Caldwell County, Kentucky. In the next ten years, Dempsey and Rachael had several children, including Elizabeth, John H., Mary A., Laura A. and Joseph or Josephine. Elizabeth, age 1, died in 1858 of scarlet fever. No death record for Rachael S. has been found, but perhaps she died in childbirth. Just a few months after Rachael's death, Dempsey married (2) Mrs. Harriet Hood. In 1883, he married (3) Miss Nancy Truitt, but they would later divorce. Dempsey died in 1909 and is buried at Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Caldwell County, Kentucky.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Visit to Salem, Kentucky

Salem is one of historic towns of western Kentucky. As the seat of justice of Livingston County from 1809-1842, it was a town of lawyers and merchants doing a thriving business around the courthouse square. Among the early business men of Salem were Sion Bass, Christopher Haynes, Blount Hodge, Allen Hodge, James Hodge, Joseph Watts, Isaac Shelby and George Fisher.

When the county seat was moved to Smithland in 1842, many of these business people moved too. Today Salem is a little village with a few businesses lining U.S. Hwy. 60, the main street.

Salem Business District

My grandparents, Herman R. and Nettie C. (Vaughn) Croft, lived one block from the business section. Just up the alley from the house was my grandfather's business, Salem Feed Mill. He bought the business in 1946 and operated it, along with two of his sons, for a number of years.

Salem Feed Mill

Herman Croft Sr., Haskill Perrin, Herman Croft Jr.
Inside Salem Feed Mill

My grandfather died in 1970 and is buried in Salem Cemetery, along with his wife, sons, Dennis, Oakley and Herman Jr.and a daughter, my mother, Lavern. A son, James H., is buried at Lola Cemetery. Another daughter, Melva, is the only surviving child of this family.

Salem is not the busy town it once was, but it occupies a special place in the hearts of many people.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Are you Building Brick Walls?

Are you building brick walls in your research? Are you putting up road blocks to finding the information you need? Are you overwhelmed by looking for the "big find" and not looking for those tidbits that add up to a solution to your problem?

Let me explain. If you are looking for proof of a marriage, but not finding it, do you become discouraged and decide no such record exists? But what if they married in an adjoining county or even in an adjoining state? Have you expanded your research to include those areas? Limiting your search to only one area may keep you from finding what you need.

If you are looking for the maiden name of an ancestor and, after searching marriages far and wide you have found nothing, maybe it is time to try other tactics. Look at the given names of her children. Does one or more have a name often found as a surname? Could that name be a clue? Have you done any research on the families living near her on the census records to see if they had a daughter of her name? This is especially helpful if the neighbors were born in the same faraway state as your ancestor. Have you checked death records for her children to see if she is listed with her maiden name?

Does your ancestor just disappear, never to be found again? Have you done a little work to see what was going on in the country at the time? Did he disappear about the time of the Gold Rush in California or the cholera epidemic of 1849 or maybe about the times of the Oklahoma Land Rushes in 1889 and 1893? People move for a reason and it could be important to know what events might precipitate a move.

I'm a firm believer in making "To Do" lists, which are really Research Plans. I list what I want to know and then list where to look to find that information. It helps to organize my thoughts and keeps me focused on what I want to know. If I go through the entire list with little to no results, it is time to re-read every bit of information I have documented to make sure it is correct and check for overlooked clues.

If there are still no positive results, I put it aside and work on another family for a while. Sometimes a fresh look will reveal things previously missed. Most of all, don't give up. The information is likely somewhere; you just have not looked in the right place yet.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Wm. D. & Amanda McCarty

William D. McCarty
1849 - 1922

His Wife Amanda
1850 - 1922

Buried Masonic Cemetery, Morganfield, Union County, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 5 May 2010.

William D. and Amanda McCarty are found on the 1900 - 1920 Union County census records. According to his death certificate, William D. died 20 May 1922, parents' names unknown. According to Amanda's death certificate, she was born 1 March 1851, died 25 February 1922 and was the daughter of David Berry and Lovella Reed.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Webster County, Kentucky Ministers

Kentucky required ministers to post bond with surety with the agreement that the minister would not violate the laws of Kentucky regarding marriages. The following entries have been abstracted from Webster County, Kentucky Ministers Bond Book. The information is presented in this order: Name of minister, church affiliation, date of bond.

L.O. Nichols, General Baptist Church, 4 August 1939.

John William Robison, Missionary Baptist Church, 22 August 1939.

J. Walter Robison, Baptist, 29 August 1939.

H.E. Oakley, General Baptist Church, 8 December 1939.

Owen G. Brooks, Missionary Baptist Church, 11 December 1939.

Alpha Warren, no church listed, 19 February 1940.

C.F. Sanner, Christian Church, 2 July 1940.

J.A.G. Lu Valle, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 22 July 1940.

Lonnie Jennings, no church listed, 10 May 1941.

Minvil L. Clark, General Baptist Church, 19 July 1941.

Ben F. Head, no church listed, 30 October 1941.

A.R. Poole, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1 May 1941.

Curtis W. Posey of Florence, Alabama, Church of Christ, 25 July 1942.

Elder M.J. Freeman of Wheatcroft, Kentucky, Assembly of Church of Christ Holiness, 12 August 1942.

L.D. Brantley, Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 6 August 1943.

O.E. Fulcher, General Baptist Church, 28 August 1943.

Rev. C.W. Duffer, General Baptist Church, 24 November 1943.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Wedding Memories - 1855


Joseph H. Fowler and Miss Martha E. Leech were married in Livingston County, Kentucky 11 January 1855. Forty-nine years later they were living in Paducah when an interview with Joe Fowler appeared in the Paducah Sun on 11 January 1904. This article, which was accessed through Chronicling America, provides a good view of western Kentucky wedding traditions in the mid-1850s.

Captain Joe Fowler is one of the few citizens who fully appreciate the difference between the present time and 49 years ago. Today is the anniversary - the 49th - of his marriage. The ceremony was performed at Smithland, Ky., and was a very elaborate affair, and strictly in keeping with that time, although Captain Fowler himself admits it would appear somewhat out of date to the present generation.

"You see," explained Capt. Fowler today, "I'll never forget my wedding day. I worked on the wharfboat at Smithland then. I came to Paducah some times, and then returned to Smithland - whichever Watts, Given & Co., for whom I worked, preferred. At noon on my wedding day, 49 years ago, I quit work. There was a colored barber at Smithland who fixed young fellows up when they married, and I was told the proper thing to do was to turn myself over to him. This belief he shared, and although if I had known as much before as I did when he got through with me, I should have never submitted.

"We didn't have any bath tubs in those days in Smithland, and neither was there any of those perfumed soap you see nowadays. We used a common wash tub and lye soap - lye soap mixed with meal bran. When meal was sifted they saved the bran and put it into the soap. That is, they did all this in Smithland.

"So it was in a common wash tub that this colored factortum operated on me, and it was a steamboat brush and common lye soap that he used on me. I was over six feet tall, but was very thin. Therefore, when that fellow got through with me I was as red as a lobster and in places where my skin fitted pretty tight over my bones, he thoughtlessly took skin and all. I didn't miss it, however, until I put on my clothes. That's the reason my wedding day will always remain green in my memory as a very uncomfortable affair.

"That evening we had the wedding. I was quite a swell affair, and six people stood up with us. It took place at the home of my brother -in-law, and the next night we had at my own house an 'infair.' They don't have them 'infairs' these days, but they had to come 49 years ago, and mine was one to be long remembered.

"I guess such ways wouldn't suit the folks who have grown up in late years." sighed Captain Joe. "but they will always have a tender place in the hearts of us old people. I go back now and think with a great deal of pleasure of those happy days - and yet I'm not so old," declared the captain.

It is somewhat pathetic to realize that Captain Fowler is the last of his family and his wife is the last of hers. Forty-nine years ago today, when they were married, she had a mother and six brothers, and he had a father and four brothers. Today not one, including the six attendants at the wedding, is alive.

Captain and Mrs. Fowler will not formally celebrate the anniversary this years, but with their family and friends look forward with a great deal of pleasure to the golden wedding next year, if both are spared and enjoy their present good health, which everybody in Paducah hopes they will do.

Joe H. Fowler, son of the esteemed judge, Wiley P. Fowler, and Esther A. Given, died at Christmas time 1904. His widow, Martha Leech Fowler, died in 1921. Both are buried at Oak Grove Cemetery, Paducah.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - C.B. and Ida Davis

Charles B. Davis
Jan. 30, 1845
Jan. 4, 1927

Ida Cade Davis
Feb. 14, 1851
Dec. 3, 1930

There is a land that is fairer than day.

Buried Smithland Cemetery, Smithland, Kentucky. Tombstone photographed 1 July 2009.

Charles Bertrand Davis, a merchant in Smithland, was the son of Thomas M. Davis and Emily Roach, who married 4 July 1843 Caldwell County, Kentucky. Ida Cade was the daughter of James W. Cade and Helen Mary Miles, who married 29 April 1846 Livingston County, Kentucky.

Copyright on text and photographs
by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Collaboration Within a Genealogical Society

Carnival of Genealogical Societies
Second Edition: Collaboration

A genealogical society is founded so that a group of people with a common interest may share and exchange information. A common interest, however, will not sustain a society forever. Other components must be present for a society to be successful.

Among these components are the following:

  • Reasonable membership dues. This translates to more members and more support for the society.

  • An online presence. A printed quarterly or newsletter is barely adequate today as an online version is preferred by many and is less costly to produce. Another necessary online presence is the web site and/or society blog, which should act as the public face of the society. It should promote the society by listing coming programs and events and provide information of interest to all members.

  • Willingness to accept new ideas and technology. No society can survive today without embracing the technological advances important to genealogists. It is time to lose the attitude of "We don't do things like that. We prefer the old way." It is necessary to actively court new members because with new members come new ideas and, with new ideas, come the future of the society.

  • Most importantly, society members must collaborate or cooperate with each other. Each member is capable of contributing to the society, but it takes concentration and determination to see that all collaborate . When one segment of the group goes its own way or does not listen to the input of other members, the society has begun to falter. If not set back on course, the society is in danger of failing.

    A society does not thrive without good leadership. There must be cooperation between the leadership and members. The leadership sets the tone of the society and if the leadership is not progressive and does not recognize that all members have equal standing within the organization, the society will not survive. The society is made up of people with various talents and genealogical interests. It takes a great deal of collaboration to see that those talents and interests are utilized to make the society strong.

    Copyright on text and photographs
    by Brenda Joyce Jerome, CG
    Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog