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 ( 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

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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),,,, 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 ( 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,,,and, the respective website sponsors of the community project. and 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, 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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The Laws of Genealogy Kick In…

There are several laws of genealogy that shove the poor family historian around like a comet flying by Jupiter. One such law of genealogy is this:
When you are looking hard at family B, something from Family A will pop up to distract you. This is the “Ooh, Shiny Genealogy” rule.

And this law hit me yesterday. I was poking around looking for more on the Perkins and Jolly families that MIGHT be our Cherokee connections, when behold! Ancestry told me of some activity on a possibly related tree: a photograph of the Jessie Daniel Crowe family.

And here it is:
Jessie Daniel Crowe Family

Now anyone who knows my husband’s family will immediately see this is indeed my husbands great-great-grandfather in the center and his great grandfather in the back row.

So I spent another hour on the Crowes instead of on the Jollys and Perkins’. Sigh.

Today, I’m back on the hunt!

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Still Searching….

Haring off into the data and Tennessee…..

My new friend, Kay Rudolph, has been helping me with this brick wall. Kay has much better genealogy chops that I, and an analytical mind that leaves me in awe. We met on the MeetUp group Gulf Breeze Genealogists and she was fascinated by my puzzle.

After our first meetup at the Navarre Public Library, Kay and I both decided to keep looking at Julia Jolley’s family. First, because that surname is on the Dawes Rolls, two or three generations after Julia. Second because that family lived in the area of the Smokey Mountains where the Cherokee were known to live when the Europeans came. And thirdly, we just had a feeling. (True Miracles in Genealogy anyone?)

So I went home and started searching all the usual suspects for clues. First, I found a Kentucky Death Record for one of Julia’s brothers:, Abraham Jolley, as I noted yesterday. About the same time, Kay was finding that Bettie Perkins Jolley died around 1878 and is buried in a cemetery in Kentucky.

Kay continued searching in Jefferson County, Tennesee censuses for clues about the Perkins family (also a surname on the Dawes Rolls). She found one C. W. (Contanstine W.) who is near the Jolleys about the time of the marriage of Elizabeth and Joseph, and finds his occupation is basket weaver.

CW Perkin(s) in Census

In fact, in the 1850 Census this is the only Perkins family in the area at the same time Elizabeth and Joseph (or Betsie and Joe as they seem to have been known to the family) are living in the area, too.


Meanwhile, I am finding that in the 1790 Census, in North Carolina, William Jolley, Joe’s father, is living quite near Charles Jolley in Iredell County, NC. And that one person in the PRF believes that Charles is William’s father.

So we are still looking, but we feel these Appalachian families are a good bet….

Found this today:

Information provided by: Kentucky Historical Society  3/1/2012
100 West Broadway, Frankfort, KY 40601, 502.564.1792

Grave Information

Last Name: JOLLEY
First Name: Betsie
Middle Name:
Maiden/Alt Surname:
Date of Birth: 01 /  / 1838
Date of Death: 01 / 18 / 1878
Date of Birth Note:
Date of Death Note:
Inscription: Wife of J. Jolley
General Notes:
Grave Status: Identifiable
Quantity Graves: UNKNOWN
Quantity Remains: UNKNOWN

Cemetery Information

Cemetery Name: Jolley Cemetery
County Name: Daviess
USGS Quadrangle: UNKNOWN
Physical Location: Off the Harmon’s Ferry Road., east of Livia, KY
Cemetery Type: UNKNOWN
General Notes: 1.



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