My Christmas Card This Year

Crowe Family Christmas Card

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all! I have decided to do only email newsletters/holiday cards this year. Less waste of gasoline and paper!

2011 brought some pretty wonderful things. Marianne and Ryan were married in Key West in February, my brother Bill and his wife Kathie (and Springer Ria!) came to see us in June and Matthew passed his prelims for his Ph. D. in September. We went boating a lot and camped out on the lovely coastline where we live. From Destin to Pirate’s Cove in Baldwin County, we had a blast on Crowe’s Nest this year.

We hope all of you are well and happy, and will come to see us in the new year!

Below: Matthew, Libbi, Mark, Marianne in Key West!


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West Florida Genealogical Society, Inc. (WFGS)

The West Florida Genealogical Society was kind enough to ask me to speak last Saturday at their regular December meeting. I had a blast!My topic was What’s New in Online Genealogy.  I talked about blogs, and Twitter and social networks like Google+ and more!
For example, I pointed out that   Twitter is where you will find people discussing news and techniques about genealogy. Several sites such as have regular Twitter sessions where you can pepper professional genealogists with questions using the @ and handle, and receive directed replies.

Another topic was social networking.  Google+ has less traffic and less garbage about Fill-In-The-Blank Awareness and Appreciate Your Dog Week than Facebook. Although Google+ works much like Facebook, the way you sort the postings is called “circles” and works much better at filtering the stream of the social network. So I advised one questioner to try that, as he had found Facebook left him cold.

Another questioner asked me about finding African American genealogy in one little town in Louisiana. I showed her quickly how to search Google in my iPhone and there it was, a site about the history of the place where her grandparents had lived!
I also found some folks that had Kentucky genealogy, and had a good time swapping facts with them.

During my talk, promised the group that I would get back to blogging myself. 2011 has been such a busy year, that I have not posted much. My new year’s resolution is to fix that. So this is an early attempt to keep that promise!

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Brown Bag Talk Sept 21

I’ve been invited to speak on genealogy by the Friends of the Navarre Library on the 21st. My friends on the friends’ board suggested some local genealogy and history as the topic. So  I chose the “founder” of Navarre, Guy H. Wyman. It’s been a fascinating two weeks of research!

I’ve found locally written and published books, talked to people who have lived here ‘forever’ and searched everything from the BLM GLO to FamilySearch and NPL’s online genealogy resources.

Just a few interesting tidbits:

  • Wyman married first a woman from France, and second a woman from Pensacola, whose family originated in Italy.
  • His father bought land from Robert Oglesby, who got the original land patent.
  • His parents were murdered while Col. Wyman was serving in the Phillippines.

It’s going to be a fun talk!

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For NGS members: videos to check out

Thomas H. Shawker, MD, is a frequent lecturer on the subjects of DNA and family health history. He is the author of the NGS publication, Unlocking Your Genetic History: A Step-by-Step Guide to Discovering Your Family’s Medical and Genetic Heritage.

This brief conversation provides an introduction to how DNA analysis can support genealogical research as well as some basic guidelines for studying your family health history.

Log in at, click on the Members Only tab, and then click on NGS Videos in the sidebar menu.

Film by Kate Geis and Allen Moore.

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More on Reason

Got this note:

Hi, Libbi. I was reading your blog over at Crowe’s Nest and wanted to see if I could help you find Reason in the census prior to 1950. In looking for clues, I discovered that 1) This property is in Cahaba, Dallas Co., Alabama (not Cahaba Co.; no such animal) and 2) This purchase took place on 21 Oct 1834. The 1820 reference is to the act of Congress authorizing the sale.”

And of course he is correct. Also, I found that someone named Gib(p)son bought land nearby. Now by 21 Oct 1834, Reason was married to Anna Gibson, so this is another clue.

Here is the  Land patent image.

I have sent a lookup request to someone with some South Carolina circa 1800 information, and I am hoping for the best!


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Review: Quicksheet for Genealogical Problem Analysis

Just in time to help, I received a review copy of Quicksheet: Genealogical Problem Analysis- A Strategic Plan- Evidence! Style by Elizabeth Shown Mills.

QuickSheet for Problem Solving

So I am going to start pursuing Reason Powell using her 10-step solution to genealogical problems. The QuickSheet is the outgrowth of a lifetime of professional experience, the 10 steps provide a systematic basis for problem solving unique to genealogy.  In addition to the 10 steps, this  QuickSheet contains a “Life Stages Worksheet”–a form to be filled in covering most life events from birth to death through six specific stages of life. This single-page form allows for a systematic listing of records  to review at a glance. You can copy this form and write on that copy, or use grease pencil and write on the laminated sheet itself, rubbing it clean as you find better data. The problem analysis QuickSheet is a laminated two-sided sheet designed, like its companions, for heavy use, in libraries, at your desk, and so on.

Here’s hoping!

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Beating my head against a brick wall

William Reason PowellHe told census takers from 1850 on that he was born in South Carolina in 1802.He bought land in Cahaba County Alabama in 1820but he is not on any census that I can find before 1850.This is driving me nuts!!!

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Review: German Genealogy Research At A Glance


I got a review copy of a handy guide called Genealogy at a Glance: German Genealogy Research, part of the Genealogical Publishing Company’s At A Glance series, and I really like it.

So far, I have not come across anything more Germanic  than “Miner” in my surnames (and we suspect that is originally Dutch) but if I do, I will turn to this laminated four page guide first. This is an American-centric guide, outlining motivations and dates for German emigrations for the last 300 years or so, for economic, social, political and religious reasons, and pointing to where in the lower 48 states each tended to congregate.

However, it also gives you solid information on researching in Germany once you get “back to the boat”, even listing where certain surnames and given names most likely originate.

The bibliography at the back of four good German genealogy references and six good online resources make this a good thing to take to the library, or on your travels.

At $7.95,  this is a good buy, in my opinion.

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Expanding the trees

Well, thanks to a very rainy weekend, I was able to enter all the names, dates and places on that scroll into Then I started looking for census, birth and death records and had a good deal of luck. Now I’m trying to fill in blanks where my MIL had some clues but no definitive data.

And it got me to remembering that I need to put my mother’s work on as well. Problem is, I don’t have it all. Some is on an old computer whose hard drive fried. No recovery possible, my son in law (who knows these things) tells me, unless some government agency thinks there is something really important on there…I have some paper records of her research , and a book that my friend and cousin Jeanne Hand Henry compiled on her families, that includes my father’s Hamrick, Beeman families and  some of the Powells. This book is well footnoted, so I can put in that data then go looking for the birth, death and marriage records she names.

But Mama had much more, and I can’t find any of the old GEDCOMS that I know we uploaded to RootsWeb and other sites in the 1990s. So if any of you have some data from Frances May Spencer Powell from way back when, on the Spencers, Minors,  and Abbotts, and on the Powells, Fortsons, and  Hamricks, let me know, ok?

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How I’m Spending my Summer

The scroll is handwritten

When we were in Kentucky for my husband’s grandmother’s 100th Birthday, my mother-in-law gave me her scroll of genealogy.

This is a six foot long handwritten document with  the names, dates and some of the places of the living family members and ancestors she knew about in 1973. She asked me to get it reproduced, but I have yet to find a place that can scan this 2 foot by 6 foot scroll on a flat surface, and it is too delicate to feed through a sheet feeder.

It should be noted that she does not have the documentation to go with it. It comes from some interviews with people living at the time, some information from printed genealogies, some personal knowledge (e. g. she was at some of the funerals, so she remembers those dates), and a little bit of hands-on, 1970’s style research in libraries and courthouses. I don’t know how much of this data is provable, in other words.  Maybe all, maybe some, maybe just from the people she and I know or knew personally.  It’s all right with me if she doesn’t need any more evidence, but I’d like to find some just for myself.

The solution I have come up with is to try to type all this data into, and then find a way to output it. As I type, I am looking for the little leaf hint that says some form of documentation may exist  for that person, hoping to fill in the gaps with census records and so on. I am also searching the Web for the names of the 19th, 18th and 17th century people on the scroll. I hope to come up with something!

Then, Russ Worthington suggested for output I try . They offer a variety of styles and as much or as little details as you like, from about $50US and up. He has had one project completed by this company and was very pleased with it.

So that’s what I’m doing this summer!

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