June 24, 2015

Grimes Wills

If you've done research in North Carolina for any length of time, you are probably familiar with Grime's Abstract of North Carolina Wills.

I've referenced it many times at the NC Archives or in one library or another. But did you know that it's online now??  WooHoo!

Maybe it's been online for a long time and I'm just now seeing it. But it's new to me...so it might be new to you, too!

It is on the Library of Congress site, as well as others, but the link I use most often is in the East Carolina University's Digital Collections

Just a bit of North Carolina trivia:

  • John Bryan Grimes was NC Secretary of State for 22 years.
  • His daddy was Confederate Major General Bryan Grimes.
  • His granddaddy was a Congressman.
  • Before he entered NC politics as a Democrat, he was a tobacco farmer. 
  • He grew up on his family's plantation in Pitt County.
Source: NCpedia

God bless Mr. Grimes. He sure left us researchers a true gem.

June 21, 2015

Ancestry.com: Is it time to part ways?

I love Ancestry.com. I know a lot of people gripe about them and I'm sure they have good reason. But my experience with Ancestry has always been a good one, ever since it was MyFamily.com back in the dark ages when not everyone had a home computer. Like around 1989.

Ancestry has kept me entertained and utterly entranced for many a happy hour. And I like having my public tree on Ancestry. Not only does it serve as a sort of back up to my tree on Family Tree Maker (not the only back up, of course) but I've actually made friends and met family members via Ancestry. 

HOWEVER, I'm thinking maybe - just maybe - it's time for a break. And it breaks my heart to think I could no longer log on to Ancestry any old time I need an escape from my real life. But...there are reasons:

1. Ancestry made me fat and lazy. No kidding. I spent so much time on my rump flitting around Ancestry over the years that I've totally ignored the hundreds of documents in my files that scream to be transcribed. I have a blue ton of stuff that needs to be analyzed and sorted. 

2. Ancestry sucks me in to a degree that I ignore other sites that are probably rich in nuggets and information. Like FamilySearch.com, Worldcat.com, and the digital files of the Southern Historical Collection at UNC. Ancestry has actually hampered my development as an amateur genealogist by making me not work for the information I need.

3. It's gotten SO EXPENSIVE!  There used to be a free section of Ancestry. No more. If I want access to the whole shebang, I'll need to fork over $400 a year. That's a LOT of money to me. Not to mention the amount of money I've already spent on YEARS and YEARS of ancestry subscription fees - before they got so darn expensive. 

Oh but it makes me sad to give up Ancestry. I haven't cut the cord yet, but if I find the courage, I'll let you know if it really did cure my lazy research habits and make me a better genealogist. 

June 7, 2015

The Flip Side of Genealogy: Writing About Yourself

Back in January, the Wake County Genealogical Society hosted Dr. David Kendall, author of "When Descendants Become Ancestors: The Flip Side of Genealogy." Not only was Dr. Kendall a great speaker, but I was lucky enough to have him as a house guest and got to know him a little better. How delightful!

I recently ran across some notes I took from his presentation and thought I'd share them here:

5 Reasons to Write Your Own Life Story

1. Continuity is part of your family's history. Continue the story with yourself.

2. Education of future generations. Help them understand by telling your own story and challenges.

3. Self examination. Consider it personal therapy.

4. Consider your own greatness and how you positively impacted the world.

5. Gratitude to our Creator for the opportunity to be the link between people, past and present.

What to Write About

1. Write about what you'd like to know about your ancestors.

2. What made you the person you are today?

3. What makes you similar and different from your ancestors?

4. Live events, a day in the life, your faith, regrets, achievements. 

5. What has mattered to you in your life?

Reasons We Don't Want to Write About Ourselves

1. I don't like to think about myself.

2. "Just a" syndrome. Just a wife, just a regular person, etc.

3. Time, also known as PROCRASTINATION.

4. Any other reason we can think of to NOT think about our personal past.


No one writes their story from scratch. There is already plenty of material, our personal past is our canvas. Everyone matters. Even you.