Wending My Way to Paperless-ness

So, the latest edition of Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter  (if you don’t subscribe already, you should!) had a small article about going paperless.

I remember, way back in the 80s, (yes children, I got my first computer in 1982!) that we all believed computers would eliminate the need for paper. Instead, by 1990, I was buying paper by the case.

And today, the end of January still means one thing to me: shuffling through  365 days worth of paper (at least three pieces per day, minimum) to determine what is deductible and what is not…what yearly statements I have and which I must go out and get somehow…creating and sorting spreadsheets from the 1,000 pieces of paper….ugh.

But Dick Eastman had this little blurb, linking to this LifeHacker article, about going paperless. For real.

I have experimented with Evernote,  with PDF Creator, with ShoeBox, and about half a dozen other iPhone and iPad apps, but other than being able to save quick copies of a family Bible, I have not found any of them convenient or elegant.

The LifeHacker article suggests a little hand held, battery powered gizmo for taking pictures of receipts, making them PDFs, posting them to your Evernote account, and organizing the receipts  there.


I don’t need another battery-powered gizmo in my life. I have enough of those. I also have a HP Photosmart All in One that can scan to searchable PDF for me. I also have a filing system that has worked for me, lo, these 30 years.

It being the end of January, I decided my New Year’s Resolution was to work toward paperless-ness. So I set out, not to reinvent the wheel, but to modify my particular wheel  to carry me into the paperless-ness I desire. 

First I created a new drive on my 1TB hard drive. It is labeled “Paperless”. On my Paperless drive, I now have directories (that’s what we used to call “folders” on our computers, kiddies. Quaint, no?) that match exactly my historical paper filing system: Automobile, Boat, Charitable Contributions,  Credit Cards, House, Insurance, Medical, Misc, Office Supplies, Utilities, and so on. 

Now to my new way of filing: instead of printing out all the email receipts from Amazon, Ebay, and all the other online shopping, I created PDFs of them.  Instead of taking all the paper receipts from the secretary in the living room and filing each in its category in the Bills Box, I started scanning them.  Each scan went into the appropriate folder on the Paperless drive. 

It will take me another day to finish January’s receipts (nothing is ever easy. The printer decided in early January to turn into an electronic brat. I had to re-install it twice before I could start scanning.)  After that, scanning is going to become the habit. However, it will probably be Easter before I have the nerve to recycle all these paper receipts!

Once I get the hang of it for receipts and bills, I’m going to start scanning and sorting all my genealogy paper. The photocopies, the pictures, the citation screen shots, all are going to be scanned and sorted and filed on their own little drive. The pictures I took of my husband’s grandmother’s Bible, the copies of NASA Spinoff, and so on.

It will take a while for this to feel as natural and routine as putting the paper in the folders in the box in the secretary. But I’m determined to do it!

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Support Cyndi’s List

Cyndi’s List (www.cyndislist.com) has been fighting an  intellectual property. This site is always the first one I mention in my popular talk, “Five Favorite Free Genealogy Sites” (which, by the way, I am presenting in Foley, AL this Saturday). Cyndi has been working tirelessly on this site for over a decade and a half, and it is her livelihood. For someone to swoop in, take all her hard work and post it elsewhere for profit is beyond the pale.

Cyndi posted this on Facebook:

People are still asking how they can help me. I can’t tell you how overwhelmed I am with the generosity and kindness being shown to me. It means the world to me. There are several ways you can help:

1. Tell others about Cyndi’s List: http://www.CyndisList.com/

2. Submit new links that I don’t yet have: http://www.CyndisList.com/submit/

3. Report broken links: http://www.CyndisList.com/faqs/#part3

4. Donations are very welcome to help me pay attorney’s fees and also to defer the cost of the upgrade: http://www.CyndisList.com/donate/

5. Share Cyndi’s List online with others:



6. Shop online and Cyndi’s List earns commissions:


So that is what I want my readers to do today. Strike a blow for intellectual property rights! Post about Cyndi’s List on your blog/feed/web page. Find a new link for Cyndi to add. Do all the other things she listed. Let’s help Cyndi fight this!

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Down the Rabbit Hole without a Watch

World Cat: Where you can look in thousands of library catalogs!

Went down the genealogy rabbit hole today. Spent some time looking for info on Edgefield Co SC 1802-1830, and Sumter County AL 1830-1850. Using WORLDCAT, I found a few books on those topics, some of which are in libraries in Baldwin County and Escambia County. – Don’t know that they will mention my Reason, but there’s hope.  Just wish I could find out what he was up to from 1802 to 1832 when he married Anna…..

I also set about printing out all I do know. Marian Pierre-Louis’ webinar on brick walls had some great ideas, one of which is to research siblings. I don’t know Reason’s siblings any more than I do his parents, BUT I do know about his kids, siblings to my ggf James Randolph Powell. So the next little tunnel will be seeing if I can find information on the rest of the brood…and it would be great if I could find out where and when Anna died….But for now, I’m going to chase after Mary Louisa, George Washington, Nancy Ann, Francis Marion, Josephine and Thomas Jefferson Powell….

Just a quick recap:

Children of William Reason “Reese” Powell and Anna Gibson were as follows:
Mary Louisa  Powell, born 1833.
George Washington  Powell, born 1837.

Children of William Reason “Reese” Powell and Louisa Foster were as follows:
Nancy Ann Powell, born 14 Aug 1845 in Sumter County, Alabama, USA; died 8 Oct 1919 in Stonewall, Clarke, Mississippi, USA.
William Henry Powell, born 17 Nov 1850 in Georgia, United States.
-> MY ANCESTOR James Randolph Powell, born 15 Nov 1853 in Kemper, Mississippi, United States; died 1 Jan 1933 in Collinsville, Lauderdale, Mississippi, United States.  He married in 1875 Susan Christian Fortson, born 12 Jun 1859 in Alabama; died 31 Oct 1931 in Collinsville  MS, daughter of Joseph Gail Fortson and Sarah Ann Eliza RADFORD.   Notes: James Randolph was a 32 degree Mason. He and his wife are buried at Pine Grove Baptist Church Cemetery. Souce: Aunt Ruth Beeman Walker (Mrs. Joseph Raymond).
Francis Marion Powell, born 25 Apr 1856 in Meridian, Lauderdale, Mississippi, United States; died 19 Dec 1931 in Martin, Lauderdale, Mississippi, United States. *(I always thought this was ironic, because this great-uncle of my father had the same names as my mother and her brother.)
Josephine Powell, born 22 Apr 1858 in Meridian, Lauderdale, Mississippi, United States; died 26 Mar 1913 in Kemper, Mississippi, United States.
Thomas Jefferson Powell, born 1866 in Meridian, Lauderdale, Mississippi, United States.

So, anyone out there in genealogy land who might be descended from these folks, give me a shout!

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Genealogy at a Glance Guide: Cherokee Genealogy Research

I received a (free) review copy of   Cherokee Genealogy Research (Genealogy at a Glance) the other day and was excited. Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, of course is a recognized Certified Genealogist. She is the author of this handy, four page, laminated guide.  You may also recall that I am chasing down my husband’s ancestor who may have been a member of the Cherokee tribe.

This is a handy guide to have next to you at the computer, at the library or at a courthouse. It lists some of the common surnames the Cherokee adopted, a brief history of interactions between European-descended Americans and the Cherokee groups, and a good list of records and databases to search. She gives details on the different rolls  (censuses) available at the Family History Library, the National Archives and sometimes online.

The three official Cherokee group’ websites, and other online resources, are also listed.

I found this guide very well written, and helpful. This is one is a keeper.

Genealogy at a Glance guide: Cherokee Genealogy Research

Genealogy at a Glance guide: Cherokee Genealogy Research 

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Wish I was there….

This week, the  Federation of Genealogical Societies meeting in Birmingham, and I’m not there. I’m actually packing for a boating trip, and putting things back in order after hurricane preparations. But when I return from that, I’m going to try to start getting back to genealogy, blogging, and writing in general.

I have, in the last few months, been sending off requests to Ancestry Findings. This wonderful site puts different resources up for free look ups for limited times. Keep up with this site via email, and when something is open for free look ups that involves your surnames or geographic areas, shoot them a request. It takes a bit, because a volunteer will look up for you what you ask for, and then email it to you. If you need hard copy, they can mail that to you surface mail, for a very small fee.

So before I take off for a week of scalloping, snorkeling and swimming, let me leave you with that recommendation, and a shout out to my buddies who are gathered in Birmingham!

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My few minutes of fame.

Wear TV 3 in Pensacola interviewed me about the 1940 Census.

Of course I fumbled a bit, because cameras make me so nervous.

But, here it is.

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1940 Census–First hit

Searching the 1940 Census is quite the snipe hunt…you have to know the address, or at least the general neighborhood, of the person you are searching for. My Uncle Marion, of course, remembers exactly where he lived when he was 8. So he was the first to find the Spencer family in the census:


I thought my Powell grandparents lived on Valley then, but apparently that was much later. They lived at 321 Valley all my life until Grandpowell moved in with us. However,  in 1940, no Powells are listed on Valley at all, and all the families listed on Valley Street are African-American.  So. Hmm.

On the other side of the family, my father in law is pretty certain they lived on the Dixie Highway in the spring of 1940. He is certain that is where they lived the day of the Pearl Harbor attack. I am still going through the pages for Elizabethtown, and although I can find his cousin, and several people I know he grew up with, I can’t find my Crowes or Logsdons. Yet. 

When I get frustrated, I quit looking for a while and start indexing names. This is fun, easy and you can do it while listening to podcasts or music. Go to 1940 Census – Get Started (https://the1940census.com/getting-started/) to download the software. It only takes a few minutes to get up and running with it. You can choose which of the states you want to index but not the county, unless you are part of a specific organization such as a genealogy society that has volunteered to do their localities.

When you are done, some other volunteer “arbitrates” your entries, that is double checks it to see if what you saw is what was meant (some of the handwriting is excellent, some of it not so much.) Then the indexed data will be available at FamilySearch.org.

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The 1940 US Census Community Project — Volunteer Today!

1940 U.S. CENSUS COMMUNITY PROJECT ANNOUNCES CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS TO CREATE FREE, SEARCHABLE DATABASE OF 1940 U.S. CENSUS RECORDSMost Informative Record of American Life prior to U.S. WWII Involvement Has Potential to Unlock New Insights into the Past, Discovery of Unknown Family Connections

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 2, 2012) – The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project—a joint initiative between the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Archives.com, FamilySearch.org, findmypast.com, and other leading genealogy organizations—announced today a national service project to create a free, high quality, searchable database of the 1940 U.S. census records. Through the indexing efforts of online volunteers across the U.S., records from the 1940 census that were closed by law for 72 years will be easier to find. These census records capture countless untold stories of those who lived through the Great Depression—great men and women who have been called “the greatest generation.”

With the support of NARA, the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is leading the digital transformation effort to create an index entirely by online volunteers. Fueled by the joy of discovering fascinating surprises from their own family history, volunteer indexers are excited to join many thousands of Americans in an online community effort to make the historic 1940 U.S. census readily searchable for others.

“Many of us living today know someone in the 1940 U.S. census, but we may not know much more than their name or the town in which they lived,” said David S. Ferriero, archivist of the United States. “The 1940 census will unlock some of these mysteries for us. We are delighted to join with the U.S. Census Community Project to produce an index which will make this census much more user-friendly.”

When complete, the index and images will also be available online for free through the sponsoring organizations’ websites. Those interested in lending a hand can learn more and sign up to be an official 1940 U.S. census volunteer indexer at the 1940 census website (the1940census.com). The project aims to make available to the public a fully functional, free, and searchable record database by the end of 2012.

“Many parallels exist between life in 1940 and 2012: international conflict, the political intrigue of an election year, and efforts to rebuild a flagging economy,” said Dan Lynch, spokesperson for 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. “Our goal is that through the work of online volunteers across the nation, a fully digitized and searchable database of the 1940 census records can help strengthen connections between Americans, their families, and an important time in our collective history while bringing renewed understanding of the resolute courage past generations had in restoring America.”

The 1940 U.S. Federal Census is the largest, most comprehensive, and most recent record set available featuring the names of people living in the U.S. at the time. In fact, the census contains more than one million pages and features a depth of detail that paints a more complete portrait than was previously available of the 132 million people living in the U.S. during the Great Depression. From this new vantage point, we can learn about the life and times of our people living 72 years ago. Several new census questions appeared for the first time in 1940, including:

· Where people lived five years prior to the census
· Highest educational level achieved
· Detailed income and occupation

Perhaps more so than at any other time in American history, these individuals taught us lessons in hardship and survival. The Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, and the subsequent New Deal programs have left an indelible footprint on American history. In addition, many of these men and women listed in the 1940 census went on to support the fight or actually fought in World War II. Helping index the census, for many, is a way of giving something back to this great generation and rightfully preserving their place in our nation’s history.


About the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project
The 1940 U.S. Census Community Project is a web-based, national service project with the goal ofcreating as soon as possible a free, high quality online index linked to the complete set of census images. The index will allow the public to easily search every person found in the census and view digital images of the original census pages. The collection will be available online for free to the general public at 1940census.archives.gov, Archives.com, FamilySearch.org,and findmypast.com, the respective website sponsors of the community project. Archives.com and findmypast.com will make substantial financial contributions to make the 1940 U.S. census online name index possible and will work with the nonprofit organization FamilySearch to bring additional new historic records collections online—making even more highly valued family history resources available to the entire genealogical community.

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Getting closer…?

Kay Rudolph and Cheryl Rothwell have been helping me with this hunt! Big, big thanks to both of them!

Kay started looking in newspaper databases for the obit of Elizabeth (Betsie) Perkins Jolley, but she found “but dead ends. Genealogy Bank doesn’t have any Kentucky papers covering 1878; they have some Owensboro M-I but only for 1988 onward. The Newspaper Archive, Chronicling America, Google newspapers … zip, zip, zip. University of Kentucky has paper copies for 1877-1879, but that’s a long trip with little guarantee of rewards. If Constantine was full-blooded native American, would he have been able to pass as white?”

I was having the same experience. As far as Lexington, we still have friends and family living in Louisville and Elizabethtown so that is not impossible, perhaps sometime this summer…. On the census question, I read this on the NARA site today: “Prior to 1900 few Indians are included in the decennial Federal census. Indians are not identified in the 1790-1840 censuses. In 1860, Indians living in the general population are identified for the first time.”


“The Eastern Band of Cherokees traces its origin to the more than 1,000 Cherokee members who eluded forced movement westward in 1838-39 by remaining in the mountains. Approximately 300 of these individuals were living on tribal lands in 1838 and claimed U.S. citizenship. Other tribal members living in Tennessee and North Carolina towns were not immediately found and removed.”

So if they have been living side by side with the Europeans since before the ToT, maybe the census enumerator didn’t ask and the Perkins/Jolly families didn’t tell?

Cheryl pointed out to me that several censuses exist of the Eastern Tribes of Native Americans and sent me this link:


I’m going to be poking around there a lot in the near future.

Finally, I got some clues from DuckDuckGo, a search engine that is good at finding people. The latest edition of Ancestor Searching from the Huntsville Public Library (a MUST READ) pointed this search engine out to me.

It worked so well that I almost immediately hit upon someone also descended from Elizabeth and Joe Jolley. However, in reply to my email, he said, “I’m sorry that I can’t offer any proof of descent from the Cherokee Jollys. I have often heard older family members claim we are descended from Indian blood, but I have never found any proof.”

Sigh It may be next Monday before I blog on this again, but stay tuned!

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Still on the hunt

Today I’m going to explore some different sites in my quest for the Jolly/Perkins family.

First, On AncestralFindings.com, I am going to ask for a lookup in the Early Kentucky Settlers, 1700s-1800s database.

Next, I’ll prowl around the Kentucky Genealogy and Hard to Find Surnames queries pages there.


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