Monday, April 30, 2012

April Travels

This has been a busy month for You Go Genealogy Girl #1.  I flew to Washington, DC the day after Easter.  A few days later I took Amtrak to Wilmington, Delaware to meet cousins I had not seen since 1994.  Latrer my cousin from northeast Tennessee met me at Lexington, Virginia and we traveled back to his home in Mountain City, Tennessee.  After a few days there, I came back to the DC area and flew back to Nebraska.

Old Swede's Church in Wilmington, Delaware
It was all the things I did between these jaunts that have provided me with memories that will last forever. Because I love cemeteries, I was on a constant lookout for anything that resembled a tombstone.  At Wilmington my cousins and I visited the Old Swede's Church.  My Swedish ancestors attended church there.  The next stop was nearby at the wharf where we saw the restoration of the Kalmar Nycklel, the ship that brought those ancestors to the New World in 1638.

My cousins who met me live a few miles north in Pennsylvania.  Time was spent there catching up on our lives, having a family open house (with lots of great food) and of course, visiting cemeteries.  While I was in Virginia I spent several days at the City of Fairfax Regional Library where I found an excellent collection of books, maps and film.

The trip to Tennessee also included North Carolina and was non-stop each day in my quest to visit as many libraries, museums and cemeteries as we could fit into the day.  I had not seen my Tennessee family since 1997.  So, once again a lot of visiting to catch up on our lives.  This also included seeing a Wyoming cousin who had flown to Tennessee the day before I arrived.  We had not seen each other for over thirty years ... that's way too long to go without family connections.  These are all first cousins and so our memories include being together as children.

Mountain Laurel Inn - Damascus, Virginia
We made a trip to Abingdon in Washington Co., Virginia where I spent hours in the Washington County Historical Society in the old depot.  They have a fantastic collection of documents, photographs and books and I left with many copies.  Before we arrived in historic Abingdon, we drove through Damascus in the same county.  While there we turned up the lane of the Mountain Laurel Inn.  This used to be the home of my Rambo relatives.  It is now a beautiful Bed and Breakfast.  Unfortunately it will not open for a few weeks, so we were unable to go inside.

Met a cousin on the NC mountain top!
The next day we drove to Ashe Co., North Carolina.  I have so many ancestors buried there that almost every cemetery will be worth visiting.  My cousin stopped the pickup in front of our Aunt Bertha's old house.  It is well kept and still as pretty as it used to be.  We drove up the trail beside it as I wanted to locate an old cemetery I had visited many years ago.  It is overgrown.  My cousin kept driving his pickup further up the trail which seemed to run perpendicular.  At the end of the road we saw a lady who had been out for a morning walk.  Even from there the mountains were still higher and higher.

We visited with the lady only to discover that she is a distant cousin.  I quickly snatched my iPad out of my purse and began reciting our relationships.  We share an ancestor who is buried in that overgrown cemetery.  You never know where you'll find cousins!

Next on our trip was the Ashe County Historical Society Museum in the old courthouse in Jefferson, North Carolina.  From there we went to West Jefferson, North Carolina to Ashe County Public Library.  There is a nice genealogical collection in the library.  I whizzed around through books trying to use as much as I could in the amount of time we had for our visit.

Easily this trip could have been expanded into several months.  As the sun would set in Tennessee and the peepers and whip-poor-wills began their chirping and singing, I wished for more daylight hours to locate cemeteries.  I needed time to visit courthouses, libraries and relatives.  With all of my genealogy on my iPad I was pleased with the portability of it, along with the use of the camera and video in the iPad.  I kept notes on Evernote and Drop Box along with PDF Printer.  The iPad was a great way to show my cousins their ancestry and old photos.

In a few days, You Go Genealogy Girl #2 and I will be together at the Nebraska State Genealogical Society conference in Grand Island.  She will be back here in North Platte on May 16th and we plan on making a research jaunt together here in Nebraska.  You got it .... the girls are on the "run."

Ruby --- You Go Genealogy Girl #1

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Finally Here ... the 1940 Census

Anxiously I waited Monday morning, like millions (apparently) of others, for the release of the 1940 US Census.  I had told students and genealogy friends in the last ten years to say healthy, eat their Wheaties and they would be able to use the census.  There I was parked in front of the computer, healthy and ready for ... nothing.

Apparently they underestimated the number of people who would access the census. The server crashed.  Wasn't that expected?  I recall the same thing happening in 1999 when FamilySearch went public.  Over and over I tried with only minor flashes of what might have been a frame of census on my computer.  By afternoon I drifted over to where I was able to find some extremely distant cousins in Indiana ... and I pretended to be excited about them!

Throughout the day, You Go Genealogy Girl #2 and I would talk on the phone and exchange e-mails.  You should realize she's a devoted genealogist to get up that early in the morning.  I'm so proud of her.  I used Steve Morse's web site and she did also, in hopes we would be prepared for those images.  Eventually I was able to get images I wanted for North Carolina and Tennessee.  I looked at neighbors along the roads and it was a great walk back in time to my grandparents' house.

Aunt Lavaughn is a railroad brakeman!
Since Monday I have been using mostly and  Occasionally I have viewed images on FamilySearch.   I am not concerned at this point about the indexing.  It has been fun going through pages of images and looking at enumeration districts, piecing together the landscape.  In time those indexes will make searching much easier and faster.

Yesterday afternoon You Go Genealogy Girl #2 called to see if I had noticed our Aunt Lavaughn had an occupation in 1940.  She was living with her husband and young son in her parents' house in Alliance, Box Butte Co., Nebraska.  All along I was slinging blame at the National Archives and, but now I realize that everybody makes mistakes.  The enumerator didn't skip a line so Aunt Lavaughn was a brakeman on the steam railroad.  How exciting for her, but not true!!

We hope you are all enjoying your journey in 1940.

You Go Genealogy Girl #1 --- Ruby


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