GeneaBloggers have been asked consider doing a “Where were you on September 11, 2001″ post for the 11th anniversary of 9/11.
Similar to New York and Washington, DC, September 11 in Middle Tennessee was a beautiful day. I got to work sometime between 7:00 and 7:30 am as I had a doctor’s appointment later that day. I was coming to the end of a long medical battle and finally found a doctor that could help with the odd neurological problems I had been having for the previous six months.
I was in my cubicle, preparing for the day. I turned the radio to a local station we all listened to while working and greeted my co-workers as they streamed in. At the time, I worked for a regional cell phone provider that was in the midst of being merged with a larger company. That larger company would merge with another company becoming T-Mobile. I mention that because, in the cell phone operations departments, it’s quite common to work with ex-military people. Our department was no different with all branches being represented.
Suddenly, the music stopped with that horrible announcement. Like everyone else, I went to the Internet. I called my husband, my sister and my parents. Someone came running into our area to tell us. Someone had pulled a television into the conference room and, like everyone else across the nation and world, we sat dumbstruck, trying to process what had happened.
There were cries, screams and curses as first one tower and then the other came down. Most of the guys in my department had been in Desert Storm and seemed to inherently know who was responsible.
After the second tower came down, I sprang into action. All I knew was I wanted to be at home with my family. I wanted all of us to be safe. I wanted to touch my children and know they were ok. I made my way to their schools and brought them home. We sat and watched more television until it was time to go to the doctor.
My husband and I sat in the doctor’s office and, while they had a television, it was on one of those medical program recording and we were stuck there for two hours. Once the appointment was complete, we hurried to the car and the radio. What was going on? Were there more planes than the four? There were rumors of bombs in downtown Nashville.
Planes were grounded by this point, but there were strays here and there. As the normal sound of airplane engines broke the silence, we all would look up. Is that another one??
Once back home, we sat transfixed by what we saw on the television. By that time, I was able to reach out to friends that either were in New York at that time or had family there. I found that a friend of mine was eating breakfast on his roof when it happened. He watched it all. I found that another friend had a family member who was a responder and she’d not heard from him.
I sit here tonight watching the various specials and remembering. I feel that it’s the least we can do. There are a few that I will not watch. There’s one on that is messages left by those in the towers or on the planes. I think those are too personal. It’s one of those instances that’s intensely personal, perhaps too personal.
Where were you when this happened?
Answers have finally come to the real life soap opera that where my 3x g-grandparents.
I previously posted about the odd photograph shared with me by a cousin. In it, there were my 3g-grandfather, John Andrew Jackson Hoover, my 3g-grandmother, Sarah “Sally” (Richardson) Hoover Reece and her second husband, Elijah Cordia Reece.
We have confirmed that the photo is correctly labeled now. John Hoover is, in fact, on the left. Elijah’s on the right.
We know that John and Lucinda were married by 29 Dec 1862, again, likely in Owsley County. This marriage is mentioned in a letter from his mother to his father that was dated that day. As of this date, I’m unsure where Sarah and their two children between the time of the above census and her marriage in 1867.
As with all other things, answers bring more questions. We know that John is buried in the Hoover Cemetery on the mountain in Estill County. There’s an unmarked grave on either side of him. I suspect that one is a daughter and the other is his second wife, Lucinda. Unfortunately, there are no known burial records for this cemetery.
Elijah Cordia Reece died in September 1921, according to his pension papers. Thanks to the index card, we can determine that he likely outlived Sarah as there is no notation for a widow’s pension. If this is true, it appears that Sarah died somewhere The questions that Elijah’s death raise is why was he buried in Estill County when he likely died in Lee County. At the time of his burial, there was a grandson buried in Double Oak Cemetery, but no other family members. You have to understand – the distance between where he likely died to where he was buried isn’t that far, but is it a case of “You can’t get there from here.”
On a recent visit to this cemetery, I noticed that, to Elijah’s right, if you were standing at his headstone, was a grave, only marked with a field stone. Upon closer investigation, I noticed
that the two graves had similar artificial flowers on them. Could this be where Sarah was buried? Bolstered by the tradition, in this area, of the wife’s grave being to the right of the husband on older graves, I believe she’s there. Again, due to lack of burial records or, in Elijah and Sarah’s cases, lack of death certificates, more research needs to be done, but theories have to come from somewhere!
Local genealogical and historical societies are the lifeblood of genealogy. Members and volunteers give their time and money to preserve local history and promote family history. Tell us about a local society for which you are thankful.
Anyone who knows me, knows which local society I’m going to blog about with this topic.
Most of my maternal, and a few of my paternal lines, center in a small county in East Central Kentucky. Estill County, Kentucky was formed in 1808 from parts of Madison County and Clark County. Parts of it were later used to form several other counties through the years. My earliest Kentucky lines were in present-day Estill County when it was still in Virginia. The latecomers showed up for the party by 1840.
When I started researching my birth family, I actually started with one of my paternal lines in near-by Rockcastle County. I’d learned by this time the value of the local genealogy societies and the help they could give. Naturally, when I started working on my maternal lines, I called the Estill County library to find out if there was a historical society. Lo and behold, not only was there, the librarian provided me with the telephone number of the then president.
I called her that night and we discussed what lines i was researching. As with all things in small towns and close-knit communities, it wasn’t a matter of IF we were connected, but how many different ways. There are certain things you learn to accept in genealogy and that is one of them.
She gave me a tremendous amount of information and put me well on the road of this wonderfully frustrating hobby of ours.
When I asked her how I could pay her back for all the help she gave, she told me to “pay it forward”, which was well before the movie of the same name, but a great concept all the same.
As a result, I’ve worked with the Estill County Historical & Genealogical Society quite a bit over the past twenty years. Their’s is the standard that I judge (either wrong or right) all other societies by. The amount of books they’ve published through the years is simply amazing. They have their own museum and research library that covers many counties in Kentucky, not just their own. The folks there work tirelessly in promoting the history of that area of Kentucky.
In the fledgling days of Kentucky GenWeb, we on the Estill County Mailing List threw out the thought of meeting for a weekend and researching together. The thought was that those who were familiar with the county could help the ones that weren’t. ECH&GS helped us out and, fifteen years later, that Homecoming Weekend is still going.
Thank you, Estill County Historical & Genealogical Society. Thank you for all you’ve done…and continue to do.
Week #7 – Historical Documents Week 7 – Historical Documents: Which historical document in your possession are you happy to have? How did you acquire this item? What does it reveal about your ancestors?
I’ve been researching my families for over twenty years. As you can imagine, I’ve accumulated quite a few copied documents on both families.
When I began the research on my birth family, I was told (or was it warned) about one of my great-grandfathers. He was a passionate man – quick tempered and violent at times. There were two proven murders and rumors of three more. Family stories ranged between him being coldhearted and loving his family and friends so dearly that he was willing to commit murder for them. He was acquitted on the first murder, but the second one proved to be a bit more troublesome.
As the family story goes, a cousin of my great-grandfather’s was arrested for moon-shining. This was in the early 1920′s and times were hard. Knowing that corn was more profitable in a jug than a bushel basket, the men in East Kentucky provided for their families the best they knew how. My great-grandfather made his way down the mountain to pay his cousin’s bail. He approached the sheriff and his deputies and stated his intentions. He was told that he would have to wait until his cousin had gone to court to take care of that. A friend of my great-grandfather’s soon arrived and said that my great-grandmother, who was seven months pregnant at the time, needed him and he was to come home. Again and again, he tried to give the bail money to the arresting officers. Again and again, he was denied. All the while, the friend was urging him back to the mountain and his wife’s side. Angry words were yelled and guns were drawn. My great-grandfather shot and killed the sheriff. He was arrested and served in the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Frankfort.
Over the years, I gathered bits and pieces of this story. A descendant of the man he killed contacted me and she shared with me more on the events that left a family without their husband and father.
I visited the Kentucky State Library and Archives in March 2011. As well prepared as I thought I was, I spent six hours wandering around. I felt like a kid in a candy store and didn’t know which bin to get into first. I made notes for subsequent visits, looked at more microfilm than I care to admit and generally had a wonderful, if not fruitless, time. The one thing I did manage to do was look at the court transcripts of my ancestor’s trial. Turning those ninety-year old papers was almost a religious experience. For those minutes, there were no other researchers around me. I was alone with him and learning his story, his real story. As I read, parts of the family story were bolstered, while other parts were proven wrong. I ordered a copy and headed to my next destination.
A few weeks later, my copy of the transcripts arrived. I spent all night reading and rereading it.
I found that he was wounded several times in the shooting. I found that it wasn’t his wife, but the cousin’s wife who was needing help. I found that the testimony of the event grew more gruesome as each one told what happened that day. I found that there were two trials as the jury in the first couldn’t come to a decision.
I love the family story that was handed down, but to hold these documents in my hands and learn what really happened? That means more than words can say!
Week 3 – Free Online Genealogy Tools: Free online genealogy tools are like gifts from above. Which one are you most thankful for? How has it helped your family history experience?
It’s an amazing thing to be in on the ground floor of a success. Of course, we didn’t know it was going to be a success at the time.
Around February 1996, there was some grumbling on a genealogy mailing list I was on. This was in the fledgling days of online genealogy. “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a central place we could find information on our ancestors?” This was before Ancestry.com, before FamilySearch.org, before….anything! Censuses and other records weren’t online. These were the days when research meant ordering microfilm/microfiche and spending hours at the machine. Aspirin or some other over the counter pain reliever was always in your research bag because of the headaches caused by eye strain or the ache in your arm from scrolling.
One day, someone on this list put forth the idea, “Well, there’s not a central place, but what if we came up with one? Who would be interested?” Suggestions flew fast and furious. We all had bits and pieces of information on the various counties we were researching. What if we put that information, as well as any that might be submitted by other researchers, on the Internet? That meant we’d have to learn how to code web pages. That meant we’d have to learn to do graphics. That meant that we’d have to find web space and learn how to upload our pages there.
How are we going to organize this brave new endeavor? We decided to divide it by county. You have family in? Great! You’re the new coordinator for that county!
Over the next few months, we struggled and learned and laughed and raged at this project. Just who was the idiot who came up with this? And who are the people trying to do this?
Once the word got out in the genealogy world, other state mailing lists took up our cause. Once the other states organized, we merged under one entity. Next thing we heard, there were other countries who were following our lead. And a world project was born.
Those frantic early days can be summed up in the following blurb that was to appear on all main pages in this project:
In the spring of 1996, a group of genealogists organized the Kentucky Comprehensive Genealogy Database Project, which evolved into the KYGenWeb Project. The idea was to provide a single entry point for genealogy data and research for all counties in Kentucky. In addition, the information for each county would be indexed and cross-linked to make it easier for researchers to find a name or data that they sought.
In June 1996, as the KyGenWeb Project was nearing 100% county coverage, interested volunteers decided to create a similar set of pages for all sates, establishing the USGenWeb Project. Volunteers were found who were willing to coordinate the efforts for each state, and addition volunteers were and are being sought to create and maintain websites for every county in the United States.
Was it easy? No. Does everyone get along? Do they ever? Was it a perfect project? There’s no such thing as perfection. However, in those early days of genealogy research on the Internet, it came pretty close.