Friday, November 27, 2009

A mailbox full of history!

I came home from work to find a package in my mailbox with international markings on it. I had been expecting it - more records from the Quaker library in Dublin, from my research trip there last month. Just glancing at the first few pages is wonderful - nothing about my family in that short glance, but I already noticed that some of the letters are from the Women's Meeting in the 1730s. That's amazing because there are no known written records for the women from before the 1800s, but these had been copied into a book of miscellaneous records.

This will keep me busy for quite a while. Imagine the new discoveries!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

That old book smell

I know I'm not the only one who loves the smell of books - fresh, new books; old tomes; sometimes other kinds of paper that are not even bound into books. I don't know why I like it, but I do.

Scientists noticed that preservationists like to smell old books, and they started thinking about how that might help them do their job. Could they invent a machine that would "sniff" the paper, so the right kind of preservation technique can be used? Here's the article from Wired Science: "Judge an Old Book by Its Odor"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Poplar Ridge graves

Cool! Trent Briles has done it again - shared his work so we can research tombstones online. He just posted his transcription of Poplar Ridge cemetery in Randolph County, N.C. (Trinity zip code): Poplar Ridge cemetery

I've been busy with nanowrimo this month, so I don't want to stop and look up that branch of the family. But, note to self: go back and look at this cemetery for the Briles and Kindley families. I already noticed a Queen Briles and I'm pretty sure that's one of my relatives.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A little census humor

Just read a fun post on genealogical humor by Carolyn L. Barkley, including why it's so hard to find some ancestors on the census records. Having fun with genealogy

Sunday, November 08, 2009


I don't work on my novel on Sundays, since writing is my job as well as a passion. I went to the Nanowrimo write-in anyway, for coffee and fun. I took along some dead people to play with — some genealogy notes and blank paper to draw a family tree.

Tonight I was reading through the notes from my research trip to Ireland. You get so many facts running around in your head that sometimes you need to draw pictures or trees, and sometimes you just need to stare at a page or skim through your notes when you aren't doing anything in particular; just time to think. Sometimes those little facts running around my brain start colliding with each other, and that's when I solve mysteries.

For the past few years I've been wondering what happened to Joshua English's two surviving brothers, John and Abraham. He had many siblings that did not live past childhood. One of the little facts I planned to check on this trip was the death date of his baby brother Thomas, because the date was the same as when their father Thomas died.

Tonight, I had one of those wonderful little brain collisions. The incorrect death date (I found out it belongs to the father) collided with some old note I had written somewhere that said, "Who is this?" I did a search on my computer and found the note. There was a Thomas English at Joshua's wedding, long after their father Thomas had died. Joshua's little brother was at the wedding; Joshua's little brother lived!

I have another Thomas English.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

More Irish kindness

So many people helped me out during my trip: librarians, history buffs, B&B owners. Yesterday, I came home to a package from Ireland. What could it be? I wasn't expecting anything. It was from the National Archives in Dublin. I opened it up, and inside were the copies of wills from the Holmes family. I thought I had them with me; I hadn't even missed them, yet. Some very thoughtful employee at the Archives had simply mailed them to me, internationally.

Last night I drew out the family relationships from the wills. Their Mary Holmes is too old to be my Mary - she was old enough to be an executrix in 1691, whereas my Mary was a newlywed in 1725, who had several children after that date.

I still think the family is connected. They have all the right family names. Several wills mention only "the younger children." Mary could still be a granddaughter of Peter and Bridget Holmes. Richard and Isabell Holmes are the right ages and the right county to have been at Mary's wedding. Richard could be Mary's older brother, but my guess would be a cousin.