Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Treasure Chest Thursday : No Need to Pass the Salt

Dining at the Vaughan family home meant eating in the dining room, with a pressed linen label cloth, linen napkins, and no salt shakers on the table.  Instead each person had an individual salt dish.  Growing up, I remember the short etiquette lessons we received as we drove down for a meal with members of the Vaughan family.  So, I learned as a child, just how to get a pinch of salt from the salt dish placed above my place.

Prior to the sale of the family home in the 1980s, family members arranged a time for interested family members to come to the house and select a few mementos from the home's contents.  I knew, even if I never used them, I wanted some of the family salt dishes.  My four are pictured above.

Just looking at them bring memories of those family dinners.  Maybe I need to set them on my table when a full table means having to continually pass the salt from one person to another.  Maybe this Thanksgiving ...

Friday, September 26, 2014

The Tale of a House

Vaughan Family Home, LaGrange, Georgia
personal collection
 Once upon a time, my Great Grandfather, Albert Bell Vaughan, decided it was finally time to build a house for his family.  After years of living in various church parsonages and temporary homes from Georgia to Texas and back, LaGrange, Georgia, became their home in 1902.  At that time Dr. Vaughan was called to be the pastor of the First Baptist Church in LaGrange and served the church in this capacity for a number of years.  In addition, he was also the president of Southern Female College in LaGrange for several years.

A 1912 city directory listed the family residence as being on Vernon Road.  Sometime between 1912 and 1920, the family built this home located on Park Avenue in LaGrange; the family was listed as residing at this Park Avenue house in the 1920 census.

As the photo above shows, Dr. Vaughan's study was originally in the right front corner of the second flour.  Later, the family expanded the porch at the left and turned the enclosed area into his study.

Vaughan Family Home, ca 1970s

Dr. Albert Bell Vaughan's study
Following his death in 1930, the family kept his study just as he had left it.  The house, in turn, was left to his widow, my Great Grandmother Georgia Camp Vaughan, who lived in the house until her death in 1934.  According of copies of LaGrange City Directories accessed through, sisters Clara and Louise Vaughan then lived in the family home until Louise's marriage in the mid 1940s. 

In the early 1950s the other children of Albert Bell Vaughan and Georgia Camp Vaughan appeared to have each released or sold any claim to the house.  Through a series of warranty deeds and quit claim deeds signed by her sisters, sister-in law, sister's children and brother, Clara Vaughan became the sole owner of the house.  These transactions were all recorded in the Troup County, Georgia Grantor/Grantee Deed Indexes also accessed on  The entire process took almost two years for the documents from all parties to be signed and recorded.

The Legal Dictionary found on proved helpful to me as I read over the recordings of the various documents.  These definitions clarified the transactions:

Grantee  An individual to whom a transfer or conveyance of property is made (buyer).
Grantor  An individual who conveys or transfers ownership of property (seller).
Quitclaim Deed  A legal instrument by which the owner of a piece of real property (grantor) transfers his or her interest to a recipient, called the grantee.  The owner terminates his or her right and claim to the property, allowing the claim to transfer to the grantee (buyer).
Warranty Deed   A type of deed in which the grantor (seller) guarantees that he or she holds clear title to a piece of real estate and has the right to sell it to the grantee (buyer).

Clara continued to live in the family home until her death in 1979.  Following her death, the home was sold in the 1980s.

Like many old family homes, just looking at pictures of this home brings back many memories of time spent there as I was growing up.  The researcher in me also appreciated having a reason to learn a little more about the transfer of property.  And, I was especially glad I looked at the new records section on Ancestry.  Otherwise, I would never have found all the digitized records from Troup County, Georgia which enabled me to explore property records concerning the Vaughan family home. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday’s Tips --- Where Is It? Organizing My Laptop Files

Flickr Puzzle 2 By Willi Heidelbach
via Wikimedia Commons

About once a year, I take a serious look at the organization of my genealogy files on my laptop computer.  I’m usually spurred on to this task because I’m looking for something, something I know is there but just can’t find.  That is where I found myself last week.

Looking closely at my laptop, I found genealogy files everywhere.   In Pictures, Downloads, and Word documents.   In Excel spreadsheets, PDF files, My Scans, e-mails, and more.  I needed to have this wide variety of files in one central file. 

Previously I had a Genealogy File in my saved Word Documents and a Genealogy File in my Pictures Library.  That had been enough for several years.  Now that I have been saving more and more genealogy things to my laptop, these files were growing.  In addition, I had also gotten into the habit of saving downloads and imported materials with the name suggested from the original source.  It was time for some changes. 

The Organized Genealogist Group on facebook has an ongoing discussion of tips for digital file organization.  Some of them I had even downloaded.  The ongoing thread of the discussions stresses two simple points:

  • Use consistency in file names
  • Organize in the way that fits with how you think.

Over the weekend, I was able to go from files scattered across my computer to having things organized in one place.  Here are the steps I followed using the Windows 7 structure of my laptop.

Step 1:  Set up a Library titled “Genealogy Laptop”.  This is now my one place to save anything related to genealogy - photos, copies of records, maps, e-mails, anything.

Step 2:  Establish a consistent format for labeling my files.
  • For a file related to a person: 
    • Last name, First name – descriptor (ie, grave marker, photo, 1860 census, WWI Draft Registration Card, etc.  If I have more than one photo, they are numbered photo 1, photo 2, etc.)  .
    • Files which covered multiple family members such as family group photos, copies of a family tree, etc, are labeled with just the family name, ex: Camp Family – photo 1
    • Since some records for married women (such as a pension application) contain only a women’s married name, I labeled these files with her maiden Last name, First name, MARRIED NAME in caps
  • For a file not related to a person: 
    • Type of file – descriptor.  For example: Template – Research Log  or  Book – Title of book
    • Geographical files are labeled by name of the state:  example:  Georgia – Counties, Towns, and History

Step 3:  Label every genealogy related file I came across in looking through the file structure of my computer.   Admittedly it took looking back over the trees in Family Tree Maker to know how to correctly label the files for a number of married women.  After labeling all the files found in one section, I moved them to the Genealogy Laptop Library (GLL).  For e-mails and a few miscellaneous files, I ended up having to make a copy to move the file to the GLL.  Within a few hours I had hundreds of labeled files arranged in one alphabetical list in the GLL.  I was surprised to see the number of files (mainly photos) which were duplicates.  Some deleting trimmed my number of files

Labeled files after move into the Genealogy Laptop Library

Step 4:  Using Family Tree Maker, I generated a Bow Tie Family Tree.  This quickly provided me with the names of my 16 2nd Great Grandparents.  In the GLL I created a folder for each of these 16 families.  I followed this same step to create folders for each of my husband’s 16 2GGs.

Family and Topic folders for my labeled files

Step 5:  Since I had previously labeled all people files last name first, it was a simple task to cut and past all people files into the corresponding family folder.  Once inside the family folder, I could see all files for a specific family member and know immediately if it were a photo, a census record, or other document.

Labeled files in the Camp Family folder

Step 6:  Back-up the Genealogy Laptop Library.  I didn’t want to lose all of my work!

Lessons Learned:  Now that my system is in place, in the future it will be easy to label a file correctly when I save it.  Then I will save it in the appropriate folder.  As a friend says, “easy-peasy”.  It turned out to be a simple project to complete, and definitely worth the time.  Plus, when I do my monthly backup of my family tree software, it is easy to also backup the entire Genealogy Laptop Library.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Naming a New Baby

By Photographer "Roberts of Llandrindod Wells" [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons
Last Sunday was Grandparents Day.  What a perfect day for the christening of our youngest grandchild.  Along with all the holy and joyful moments shared with family members, I later pondered on two thoughts related to celebrating our family stories.

This newest grandchild carries the names of his father, a maternal Grandfather, and a paternal Great Grandfather.  He will grow up knowing his father and Grandfather, having his own stories to share of special times.  It will be through pictures and family stories that he will come to know his paternal GreatGrandfather.  If the rest of us do our part, this little one will come to know a skilled craftsman, sharer of family stories, and teller of country yarns, his GGrandfather Nelson.  He will get to know GGrandfather Nelson as a person, not just as the middle name on his birth certificate or another name on a family tree.

A few days prior to the family christening, I had been at the local university doing more rainy day research.  After looking for the books on my To Do List, I started browsing the shelves.  There in the stacks I saw a copy of The Registers of North Farnham Parish.(1)  The book contained transcriptions from the early 1700s 
of church records for births, marriages, and deaths in North Farnham Parish, Richmond County, Virginia, home to many members of the Tarpley family.   

The Registers book provided me with additional documentation about a number of the Tarpley children.   There on one page were the names and birth dates of six of the eight children of my 6GreatGrandparents James Tarpley and Mary Camp Tarpley;  their other two children were listed on the following page.  For a number of these Tarpley children, this meant that I finally had day/month/year birth dates.

Children of James and Mary Tarpley, highlighted in red

Granted, these transcriptions of church registers are derivative documents, secondary sources, but they do provide a lot of family information.  I’m thankful that these old registers exist.  I'm thankful that someone took the time to transcribe them and publish them.  It ended up being yet another rainy day surprise for me.

(1)  Standford, George Harrison.  The Registers of North Farnham Parish 1663-1814 and Lunenburg Parish 1783-1800 Richmond County Virginia,  Fredricksburg, VA: George Harrison Sanford King, 1966.