Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Monday, February 28, 2011

Balfour, Davis, and Gartley Families of Madison County, MS

One of my readers, Bill Hays, contacted me several months ago about a post I had written on Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek about Mound Bluff Cemetery in Madison County. In his email, Mr. Hays thanked me for posting photos of the old cemetery in which a number of his ancestors are buried.  According to my contact, many of those buried in the cemetery once lived in an area of Madison County that was referred to as the "Vernon Neighborhood," families that had migrated from Wilkinson County, Mississippi and from Bayou Sarah, Louisiana.  Mr. Hays explained that his great-great-grandfather, William Lovett Balfour and his wife, Elizabeth Davis Gartley Balfour are among those buried in the cemetery, as well as other members of the Balfour, Davis, and Gartley families who were part of the migration.  Proudly, he also related that he was in the process of replacing his great-great-grandparents' demolished grave marker with a "flat plaque."

Recently, Mr. Hays recontacted me and included photos of himself and his cousins from Woodville, Mississippi and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, when the "flat plaque" was placed on the gravesite of William Lovett and his wife, Elizabeth Davis Gartley.  Interestingly, Dr. William Lovett Gartley was a Founder and President of the Board of Trustees of Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi.  A photo of the plaque can be viewed on my other blog, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.

In the weeks ahead, look for posts here about members of these three families and the area known as the "Vernon Neighborhood."

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Barwick Family of Madison County, MS - Part 2

When we left off yesterday, the family of Henry K. Barwick, in 1860, was living in Madison County, with a postal address of Canton, Mississippi. Henry was married to Mary, his second wife, who he had married after his wife, Jane, and their 12 day old daughter, Margaret Eleanor, had died.  A photo of the gravestone marking the burial place of his wife and daughter can be viewed on my other blog, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.  

According to "Barwick Family of the United States: A Concise History of Barwicks, 1664 to the Present, written by Samuel Omar Barwick, M.D. and published on July 1, 1907, Henry Kennedy Barwick, Sr. was born in 1814 and moved to Mississippi in 1851.  He was the son of James Barwick, Sr., and the grandson of William and Elizabeth Barwick of Darlington District, S.C.  Henry's first marriage was to Jane M. Thompson, with whom he had four children, Virginia, Cornelia, Henrietta and William B. Barwick. Henry married Mary Martin after Jane's death, and he and Mary had seven children together.

A review of the U. S. Census for Mississippi, recorded in 1870, shows H. K. Barwick, age 55, and his 37 year old wife, Mary Barwick, living in Beat 4 of Attala County.  Their household included an adult female named Mary A. Barwick, age 45,  Jane A. Barwick, 12,  H.K. Barwick, an eleven year old male, M.A.B. Barwick, 8 year old female,  R.J.E. Barwick, a 6 year old male, Maggie, 4, and Flora S. Barwick, one month old. Since relationships to the householder were not shown on this census record, it can only be assumed the five younger children in the household are sons and daughters of Henry and 37 year old Mary.  The relationship of Mary A. Barwick to Henry is less clear, but it is likely that she is the widow of W. B. Barwick, Henry's son by his first wife, who died in 1868.  A photo of a gravestone inscribed "W.B. Barwick" can be viewed on Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek

In 1880, Henry, then 65, and his wife, Mary Barwick, 46, were living in Newport (Attala County) Mississippi.  Their household included daughters, M. A. Barwick, age 18, Maggie, age 14, Edward, 16, and two more daughters, Ida, 10, and Emma M., 4, and a son, Eugene, 6, who had been born in the ten years since the last census was recorded. An older daughter, Jane A., 22 years old, and her husband, D. D. Simmons, were enumerated in the next household.

Henry K. Barwick, Sr. would outlive a second wife, when Mary Martin Barwick died on March 20, 1885. When Henry died slightly over two years later on May 22, 1887, he was buried near Mary in McLain's Cemetery in Attala County. 

The children of Henry and his two wives, Jane Thompson Barwick and Mary Martin Barwick, married into several Attala County families, and their descendants continue to live in many areas in Mississippi and throughout the United States.


Wren, Aubrey.  Personal email communications dated February 22, 2011, with attachment containing gravestone photos and inscription information.

Year: 1870; Census Place: Beat 4, Attala, Mississippi; Roll: M593_722; Page: 124A; Image: 251; Family History Library Film: 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

Year: 1880; Census Place: Newport, AttalaMississippi; Roll: 641; Family History Film: 1254641; Page: 120D; Enumeration District: 17; Image: and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations Inc, 2010.

Barwick Family of the United States: A Concise History of Barwicks, 1664 to the Present, by Samuel Omar Barwick, M.D; published July 1, 1907, Truth Print, Elkhart, Indiana.

Find-A-Grave website.  Cemetery information for Henry and Mary Barwick accessed online on February 24, 2011.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Barwick Family of Madison County, Mississippi - Part 1

Several weeks ago, Aubrey Wren, a reader, contacted me about an abandoned cemetery in Madison County, Mississippi.  Mr. Wren was kind enough to email me detailed information about the location of this old cemetery, as well as photos of three gravestones and transcriptions of the inscriptions on the stones.  These old and weathered gravestones mark the burial places of four members of the Barwick family. The information and photos provided by Mr. Wren can be viewed on my other blog, Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek.  

According to my contact, the cemetery is on church property, about 200 yards of Cauthen Road, near Highway 43.  The area is fairly remote, with timber activity on pieces of property nearby.  Although Mr. Wren is not familiar with the family name on the gravestones, he has been a faithful steward of this small cemetery he discovered.  A couple of times a year, Mr. Wren tends the small burial place by cutting back the grass and removing brush from around the gravestones. Since the cemetery area is about 40 feet by 60 feet, Wren believes the cemetery likely contains more graves, but to date, he has found no other markers.  

But who was this Barwick family whose graves have been abandoned for years?  I decided that I wanted to know more, so I decided to do a little research to find out.  Census records available on seemed to be the first place to search, and that is where I began.  According to the U. S. Census recorded in 1850, Henry K. Barwick, 35, and his wife, Jane, 33, were counted in the Richland District of South Carolina.  Residing in the Barwick household were four children, William B. 10, Virginia E., 7, Henrietta A., 5, and Cornelia J., 1 year old.  Next, I searched the 1860 U. S. Census and found H. K. Barwick and his family living  in Madison County with a post office address of "Canton," the county seat and not far from the abandoned cemetery. The census record showed that H. K. Barwick was a 45 year old planter and the head of a Madison County household in which he lived with five females named Mary, age 27, Virginia, age 18, Cornelia, 11, Alice, 5, and Jane, age 3.  Barwick was a wealthy man for the time, with real and personal property valued at $25,500. Although relationships were not shown on the 1860 census, it seems fairly safe to assume that Mary Barwick was H. K. Barwick's second wife. That assumption is validated by the gravestone in the abandoned cemetery bearing the name of Jane M. Barwick, who died September 16, 1853.  According to the inscription on the stone, Jane's 12 day old infant daughter, Margaret Eleanor, is buried at her side.  

While the two oldest children in the household, Virginia and Cornelia, were born to H. K. Barwick's marriage to Jane, it seems reasonable to assume the two youngest daughters, Alice and Jane, had been born during his second marriage to Mary and that three year old Jane most certainly was named for her father's deceased first wife.  Further information about the Barwick family is substantiated by the second gravestone belonging to Mary Barwick. According to the inscription on the stone, Mary Barwick was born on May 22, 1783 and died on February 27, 1853, and was the mother of H. K. Barwick.  The third gravestone pictured on Cemeteries of Dancing Rabbit Creek is inscribed with the name of W. B. Barwick (William B., according to the 1850 U. S. Census), showing that he was born on June 12, 1840 and died on December 17, 1868.

Tomorrow:  The Barwick Family of Madison County, Mississippi - Part 2

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thomas Jefferson's Books Found at Washington University

According to an article written by Sam Roberts and published in yesterday's New York Times, Washington University is now the third largest repository of books belonging to Thomas Jefferson.  The top two repositories are the Library of Congress and the University of Virginia.  Appropriately published on Presidents' Day, the article chronicles the discovery that 74 volumes of the 3,000 volume Coolidge Collection were once part of Jefferson's retirement library. Many of the 1,600 books from that library had been auctioned off to pay taxes and other debts due after Jefferson's death in 1826. 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Genesis Program: One Man's Decision

Last week, we lost a close family member to lung cancer that had been diagnosed only two months earlier.  Doctors had determined the tumor was inoperable and had given him only six to twelve months to live, and they told him that while chemotherapy might lengthen his life by three months, his fragile medical condition made it too risky to consider. Sadly, on February 12, 2011, his  short-lived but courageous battle with cancer ended when he passed away in his sleep.  

After his cancer diagnosis, this retired and divorced father of three adult children began to prepare for what lay ahead of him. Aided by hospice workers, one item included in these preparations involved the preparation and signing of a living will.  He was not a well-to-do man, nor was he one who measured his wealth in dollars and cents.  Instead, he considered his family and friends to be his most valuable possessions.  Because he had very little savings and no life insurance, he was surely concerned about funeral expenses that would be borne by his family. And it was out of this concern that he included in the living will a designation that his body be donated to medical research. 

This was our family's first experience with body donation, and although grief clouded our thought processes, we have all learned from it. Surprisingly, the organization handling the donation of his body was not a university medical school - it was a group known as Genesis. According to its website, Genesis, located in Memphis, Tennessee,  is a "willed body donor program for those persons wishing to donate their bodies for the advancement of science"  and works in concert with the organization's Medical Education and Research Institute (MERI.)  Not only does Genesis arrange and pay for transportation of the body to the Memphis facility, the organization issues six death certificates at no cost to the next of kin.  In addition, the agreement with Genesis includes cremation of the body after it has been at MERI for a period of six to twelve months, with Genesis arranging for and paying the cost of cremation services.  

At the time the agreement between the deceased and Genesis was signed, the donor specified in writing who should receive the cremains.  Genesis and its staff ensure the request of the donor is honored and delivers the ashes to the person or place specified in the written agreement. If no one is specified to receive the ashes, Genesis has access to a columbarium in Memphis, and the cremains are interred there. In our family's case, a social worker employed by Genesis made direct contact with the family and expressed sympathy for their loss.  In addition, the contact thoughtfully explained the entire process that follows the donation.

As most people know, the cost of a funeral is often more than the costs related to giving birth.  Although donating one's body to medical research is a serious decision and one that should be carefully contemplated, in today's difficult economic times, it may be something to think about.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday's Poem - "Just One" by Anonymous

Just One 

One song can spark a moment,
One flower can wake the dream.
One tree can start a forest,
One bird can herald spring.
One smile begins a friendship,
One handclasp lifts a soul.
One star can guide a ship at sea,
One word can frame the goal
One vote can change a nation,
One sunbeam lights a room
One candle wipes out darkness,
One laugh will conquer gloom.
One step must start each journey.
One word must start each prayer.
One hope will raise our spirits,
One touch can show you care.
One voice can speak with wisdom,
One heart can know what's true,
One life can make a difference,
That one life could be you.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Ghosts of Our Ancestors

This article was written to commemorate Black History Month in the United States and to remind us all of the contributions made by so many African Americans, as well as those with biracial and multiracial heritage, to the history of our country. 

A few years ago, after I became aware that I had a Gibson great-great-great grandfather, I began searching for my Gibson ancestors with virtually no facts at all. Little did I know, however, how much information I would discover along the way. My research found that much of what has been written about the Gibson family in America concerns this family's biracial roots, ones that began in Virginia and continued as the family migrated into North and South Carolina and on to Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana and places beyond. Today, descendants of the early Gibson family of Virginia can be counted in the hundreds of thousands. My Gibson story began with one man, John P. Gibson. 

All I knew in the beginning was that John P. Gibson had been born around 1799 in South Carolina, and that he first appeared on a U. S. Census record in Mississippi in 1860. I later found that he had married Margaret J. Williams, born around 1820, in Monroe County, Mississippi on January 3, 1843. Through U. S. Census records recorded in Mississippi in 1860 and 1870, I also found that John and Margaret Gibson were the parents of seven children. One of their daughters, Malverda Gibson, later became my paternal great-great-grandmother. Along the research road, I found not only information about my South Carolina Gibson family and its descendants, but a treasure trove of interesting books and published articles about the biracial and multiracial heritage of this country. 

One such book was " The Free State of Jones," written by Victoria E. Bynum and published by the University of North Carolina Press. This publication, a portion of which is available on Google Books, begins with an interesting quote by Sam Dabney, taken from James Street's " Tap Roots," published in 1943: 

"We can't boast of our ancestors, because when we get started talking about our families, out jumps the ghost of a pirate or a cousin of color." 

A reference to America's rich racial heritage, contained in Victoria Bynum's book, states that racial sentiments in the South " evolved over a period of three centuries." She states that " by the 1840's, claims of Indian, Iberian (Spanish), or Mediterranean (Moorish) ancestry, defended one's whiteness against race-based laws and social harassment." Gideon Gibson, a " light-skinned slaveholder of partially African ancestry" and a member of South Carolina's so-called Regulator Movement, is mentioned in Bynum's publication as a person who exemplified how racial identity was often " fluid" and " even negotiable in some cases." Bynum goes on to say that " many of Gideon Gibson's descendants, migrated west in search of whiteness as well as lands." We know this is true, since some of the descendants of the South Carolina Gibson family, Gideon Gibson, Jacob Gibson, and Jordan Gibson, eventually settled in the state of Mississippi prior to the Civil War. The town of Port Gibson, Mississippi, first known as "Gibson's Landing," is named for Gibson family members who settled in that area. And their lives and the lives of some of their descendants have been well-documented in historical publications about several southern states, including Mississippi and Louisiana. Often, these publications discuss the ethnicity of Gibson family ancestors. 

One thing that is known for sure is that regardless of whether a person was labeled as a Mulatto, Mestizo, Mustee, Melungeon, Creole, Cajun, Redbone, or similar names denoting something other than an " all white" ancestry, racial " mixing" has occurred throughout American history. And it has not occurred only in the South Carolina back country and other states commonly known as " The South." Class consciousness was widespread and very real in the 1800s; it became common for those who had migrated from the colonies, including North and South Carolina, to portray their ancestors as aristocratic patriots and slaveholders. The facts, when known, often revealed that many of these " aristocratic" ancestors were actually Regulators, itinerant preachers, and even Tories. 

In my quest to find my own Gibson ancestors, I found that members of this South Carolina family were not only involved in the infamous Regulator movement in that state, but their descendants later became civic and governmental leaders in Mississippi, Louisiana and Kentucky. The involvement of Gibson family members in business and politics has been well-documented. One well-known Gibson descendant, Randall Gibson , was instrumental in the founding of Tulane University, while another descendant, Tobias Gibson , is credited with the spread of Methodism in the South. 

An interesting bit of history that I stumbled upon during this research that began with the Gibson family was the story of Dr. Walter Ashby Plecker, a small-town doctor who became the Registrar of Virginia's Bureau of Vital Statistics in 1912. Dr. Plecker's views about racial mixing became the impetus for the passage of the Racial Integrity Law of 1924, commonly referred to as " Plecker's Law." Details about this law can be read on the University of Virginia's website, in an article entitled " Battles in Red, White, and Black." 

This law became Virginia's infamous " one drop" statute, and its language created two racial categories, " pure" white and everybody else. The law's passage allowed Dr. Plecker ancestral registration." Virginians were reluctant to comply with the idea of " ancestral registration," even though the state had already passed the first anti-miscegenation law in 1662. At that time, "passing" as white may have been rather commonplace, but proof of racial purity was difficult to obtain. 

Plecker's method involved identifying racial impurity by compiling a list of family surnames that were " known" to be " mixed." The list was arranged by Virginia counties and included the names of "racially mixed" families who lived in these counties. Counties and surnames included on " Plecker's List," as this list became known, appear below: 

Amherst County: Pumphrey (Migrants to Allegheny and Campbell) Adcock (Adcox), Beverly (according to Dr. Plecker, this family was trying to evade the situation by adopting the name of Burch or Birch, which was believed to be the name of the white mother of the adult generation at the time), Branham, Clark, Duff, Floyd, Hamilton, Hartless, Hicks, Johns, Lawless, Nukles (Knuckles), Painter, Ramsey, Redcross, Roberts, Southwards (Suthards, Southerds, Southers), Sorrells, Terry, Tyree, Willis, and Wood 

Bedford County: Branham, Burley (See Amherst), Cash, Clark, Coleman, Duff, Floyd, Hartless, Hicks, Johns, McVey, Mason, Maxey, Mayse (Mays), Painters, Pults, Ramsey, and Wood 

Charles City County: Adams, Allmond, Collins, Custalow (Custaloo), Dennis, Doggett, Dungoe, Hawkes, Holmes, Howell, Langston, Miles, Page, Spurlock, Stewart, and Wynn 

Caroline County: Byrd and Fortune 

Henrico and Richmond City: See Charles City, New Kent, and King William 

King William County: Adams, Allmond, Bolnus, Bradby, Collins, Custalow (Custaloo), Dennis, Doggett, Dungoe, Hawkes, Howell, Langston, Miles, Page, Spurlock, Stewart, Wynn, 

Nelson County: See Essex 

New Kent County: Adkins, Bradby, Collins, Langston, Stewart, and Wynn 

Elizabeth City and Newport News: Stewart (descendants of Charles City families) 

Essex and King and Queen Counties: Brooks, Broughton, Byrd, Cooper, Fortune, Hammond, Mitchell, Prince, Nelson, Robinson, and Tate. 

Elizabeth City and Newport News: Stewart (descendants of Charles City families) 

Fauquier County: Colvin, Hoffman (Huffman), Phillips (See Prince William) and Riley 

Greene County: Shifflett, Shiflet 

Halifax County: Epps (Eppes), Stewart (Stuart), Coleman, Johnson, Martin, Sheppard, Shepard, Talley, and Young 

Lancaster County: L awson (aka Dorsey) 

Lee County County: Bolden (Bolin), Bunch, Collins, Delph, Freeman, Gibson (Gipson), Goins, Hawkins, Mise (Mize), Moore, Mullins, Ramsey (chiefly "Tennessee "Melungeons") 

Norfolk County and Portsmouth: 

Bass, Bright, King, Locklear (Locklair), Porter, Sawyer, and Weaver 

Prince William County: 

Tyson, Segar (see Fauquier) 

Lancaster County: 

Dorsey (Dawson) 

Roanoke County: 

Beverly (see Washington) 

Rockbridge County: Southerds (see Amherst), Sorrell, Terry, Tyree, and Wood (including migrants to Amherst Co.) 

Scott: Dingus (see Lee County) 

Smythe County: See Lee County 

Russell County: Castell, Keith, Meade, Proffitt, and Stillwell, also see Lee and Tazewell Counties 

Washington County: Barlow, Beverly, Hughes, Lethcoe, Thomas, and Worley 

Westmoreland County: Atwells, Butridge, Okiff (Okeefe), Sorrells, Worlds (Worrell) 

Wise County: See Lee, Scott, Smyth, and Russell Counties 

As Virginia's Registrar, Dr. Plecker had the authority to change various forms of registration required in Virginia, including birth certificates and marriage records, and he often exercised this authority and changed or added to the documents as he saw fit.  His practices, in part, provided many residents whose surnames were on the list to move elsewhere.  

Friday, February 11, 2011

Naming Conventions: Finding John and Mary

This article was first published on October 31, 2008 and has been modified for posting here today.

Over the past fifty years, we have seen a drastic change in the names parents are giving to their children. It is not uncommon for a new baby to be named for a place, a season, a plant or a flower, or even an inaminate object. Whatever happened to good old-fashioned names like John and Mary?  After the Norman Conquest of 1066, a few individuals passed on heritary surnames, but most of the population seemed to exist quite well without the use of more than one name. In early England, one's surname may have been the same as the location in which he lived. In later years, a man's surname may have been the same as the occupation in which he was engaged. As the number of people in the known world at the time grew, naming conventions changed from one name to two, and first or "given" names were repetitious in families throughout many generations. Most genealogists will tell you that tracing one's family tree is often complicated because of the repetitious nature of given names handed down for several generations, making it almost impossible in some situations to tell one family member from another. Even more complicating is the fact that siblings often named their children the same names. Below you will see how the naming system worked until its demise in the United States sometime during the late 1800's. 


First Son: Named for his paternal grandfather 
Second son: Named for his maternal grandfather 
Third son: Named for his father's paternal grandfather 
Fourth son: Named for his mother's paternal grandfather 
Fifth son: Named for his father's maternal grandfather 
Sixth son: Named for his mother's maternal grandfather 


First Daughter: Named for maternal grandmother 
Second daughter: Named for paternal grandmother 
Third daughter: Named for mother's maternal grandmother 
Fourth daughter: Named for father's maternal grandmother 
Fifth daughter: Named for mother's paternal grandmother 
Sixth daughter: Named for father's paternal grandmother 

As strange as the custom may seem today, it was a common practice to name the next daughter born within a second marriage for the father's deceased wife.  If a mother died in childbirth, the child, if it was a girl, was usually named for the mother. If a family lost a young child to illness or disease,  it was not uncommon for the next child born to be named for the one who had died prematurely. It doesn't matter the century or the place, our names will remain as they have throughout history to be of the utmost importance in our daily lives, making us unique individuals.  As I reflect on the fact that none of us actually get to choose our birth names, I ask this question:  
What would you have named yourself if you had been given the choice? 

Thursday, February 10, 2011 Announces First Grant Recipients

Palo Alto, CA (PRWEB) February 8, 2011 launched its Grant Program in early January and has received a terrific response. In the last 30 days Archives received over 100 applications, and has been extremely impressed with the caliber of project proposals. Archives is pleased to announce not just one, but two Grant recipients for January 2011.
These are the first recipients of the Grant, an award that will be given monthly. Archives is honored to help the two recipients achieve their goals. Both projects will contribute in unique ways to the preservation of family and community history, which is of central importance to Archives’ mission.
Winners of the January 2011 Grant:
Columbia County Historical & Genealogical Society (CCHGS) - CCHGS is an organization dedicated to the preservation of Columbia County, Pennsylvania history. CCHGS would like to transcribe marriage license dockets 1921 to 1939, an estimated nine thousand bride and groom names. Once entered into an electronic database, the records will be made available on the CCHGS website and published in book form. This project will enable researchers worldwide to easily find information about their Pennsylvania ancestors.
CCHGS Vice President Andre Dominguez notes, “This index will be particularly valuable in the case of the bride's index, since the bride's birth name is provided, which could potentially solve a brick wall.”
Archives is honored to assist a project which helps to bring more valuable historical records online. Archives recently integrated a marriage collection from Alachua County, Florida, adding over 45 thousand records and images to its website from a similar time period. We applaud CCHGS’s effort, and are pleased to help them bring these records to the online community.
Myron McGhee - Myron is an amateur historian who would like to explore questions regarding his African-American heritage, and expand on his father’s considerable family history research. Specifically, Myron wants to investigate the hypothesis that his black ancestors were related to a nearby white family of the same name. Myron comments, “In ways yet unknown, I hope that exploration of the relationship between these extended families alters the manner in which typically polarized communities might engage one another.”
Myron seeks to travel to Alabama and interview residents, review deed transcriptions, and scan photographs which will help him to solve this mystery. Ultimately, he will compile and share both his and his father’s findings to honor his family’s proud tradition. is delighted to make this second grant award to a project which will make a positive contribution to the research of African-American families in Alabama during this fitting time of Black History Month.
Each recipient will be awarded a $1,000 dollar grant to pursue their projects. Archives believes the work accomplished will be of significance to their families and communities now and in the future.
Thanks to each and every grant applicant for taking the time to share their stories. Applicants from previous months will still be considered for future grant awards. If you have wanted to pursue a family history project but just need a little extra help, we encourage you to visit and fill out a grant application.
Congratulations to both of the Grant recipients! To read more about the recipients, visit blog where their stories will be posted soon.
About is a leading family history Web site that makes discovering family history simple and affordable. The company has assembled more than 1.1 billion historical records – birth, death, marriage, divorce, census, obituary, immigration, military and more – all in a single location, and makes them available at a price that’s up to 80 percent less than the leading competitor. Archives also partners with other leading family history websites to provide integrated record collections, discounted memberships, official certificates and other special promotions – providing a comprehensive resource for researching your family history. is free to try for seven days, allowing anyone to explore the benefits of membership without risk or obligation. For more information and to start discovering your family history, please visit
Stephanie Gnibus
GMK Communications for Inflection
(408) 776-9727
Email Information 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Reading, Writing, and Family Research: "How to Survive a Snowstorm"

Since I haven't posted since last Wednesday's photo of the beginning of our most recent winter storm, I thought today's post would bring my readers up to date on what has been going on here for almost a week now.  Like most of the rest of the country, we had another severe winter storm.  Really, I don't know how I would have survived this storm without an Internet connection, and I am tremendously thankful that we were not without the power to keep my good old laptop battery charged up. So besides keeping warm and baking a lot, I used the indoor time to begin reading another of Greg Iles's books, "The Devil's Punchbowl" and to do an awful lot of online family research. The results of that research, I might add, will be included in posts later this month. I also spent quite a bit of time responding to comments about some recent postings on this blog, three of them from relatives of those about whom I wrote, readers who live in New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. Receiving positive comments from living relatives, for me, is a particularly pleasant form of what I refer to as "blogger satisfaction." And my ultimate level of blogger satisfaction is achieved when individuals who are researching their own family history find something useful in one of my posts.  The bottom line is that I did not mind being snowbound last week, forced to read and research in front of a warm fire, bundled up in soft, fleecy clothing, with a hot cup of my favorite Caribou coffee beside me.  Oh, and I forgot to mention the goodies I baked. 

 Just how much better can research get?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rufus Vanarsdale of Attala County, Mississippi

Since the first of the year, I have received emails from a number of readers searching for ancestors who lived in Mississippi.  One of these inquiries concerned an earlier blog post that included a photo of Mary Vanarsdale's gravestone in Attala County, Mississippi. The reader is attempting to trace her ancestry through Rufus Vanarsdale, a resident of Beat 4, Attala County in 1870, where he lived with his wife, Sarah, and a 16 year old son named Drurry.  According to my contact, Vanarsdale may have had another name before he was sold to either Lucas or William Vanarsdale, likely brothers, of "Low Dutch" ethnicity of Kentucky.  The U. S. Census of 1870 shows that Rufus Vanarsdale was born in North Carolina about 1820, but my contact's belief is that Rufus was born to another family and was likely sold with land purchased by the Vanarsdale brothers in 1841 around Mercer, Henry, or Shelby Counties in Kentucky. 

Maybe someone else who reads this blog has additional information about Rufus Vanarsdale and his ancestry.  If so, please email me and I will provide contact information for the reader who made this inquiry.