Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A Courthouse Fire: Hancock County, Georgia (August 14, 2014)

My Warren ancestors moved to Hancock County in the late 18th century and my direct lineage remained there until about 1830. I've been indebted to Family Search for their digitizing of Courthouse records microfilmed in the 1960s.

["Georgia Probate Records, 1742-1990," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 20 May 2014), Hancock > Wills and administration records 1837-1850 vol P-Q > image 3 of 662; citing Houston County Probate Court Judge, Georgia.]

Of course I've alway known that this represents only a part of all the records held in the 1881 Hancock County Courthouse (locally known as "Her Majesty") but I had always hoped to visit there one day and see what more I could learn about my family.

Alas! A fire started in the Courthouse* on August 14, 2014 and burned for three weeks because there was a store of coal in the basement. Enough of the brick structure survived** that the building has been rebuilt*** but it's not clear to me how much, is any, of the historical court records remain.

[31 Aug 2014, ZJ2 - The Atlanta Constitution at]

*Only a year before, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation had placed the building on its “Places in Peril” list.
**More information here from a report by The Heritage Emergency Response Alliance (HERA) published twelve days after the fire started.
***This blogpost by Maria Saporta includes photos during and after the fire.

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Memento Mori: Memorial Day

Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, honors the memory of all the people who have died while serving in the United States military.

This day of remembrance officially began on 30 May 1868 when the head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. It became a federal holiday in 1971.

Parks, Gordon, photographer. Gloucester, Massachusetts. Memorial Day, . A Legionaire sounding taps for the War dead during services. May. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.

The title of the Memorial Day image above (from the Library of Congress) informs us that this bugler was sounding Taps, which dates to 1862.

Harold Delbert "Hal" Currey, Jr. (the only son of the parents who raised me) and my uncle John William "Jack" Slater, both Second Lieutenants in the Army Air Corps, died in action during World War II. You can see their pictures and read more about them here.

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Quick Workaround: When You Can't See Records from the Profile View

My 3rd cousin 3x removed Bixler cousin, Lewis Edward Bixler, who was a glass blower in Muncie, Indiana.  I want to add hashtags to his profile in my Legacy 9.0 database. Most of the hashtags I create come from information in the records I've attached to each profile at

But when I clicked on his 1900 Census to View the image I got this error message.

For whatever reason, sometimes gets in its own way.  As an example, it has been impossible today to look at attached records by simply clicking the View button.

Fortunately there is a quick workaround.

Click on the Search link and...[edited to add: you can also click directly on the small image of the census and that will take you to directly to the image and not the indexed data]

The links to the census records are available to click, and this time they actually work.

And now I can see the indexed data provided, and then View the image (unless there is a snag in the imaging function).

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, February 3, 2020

My Living DNA Has Been Updated!

Yesterday I received an email from Living DNA announcing that a free update was available for my 2017 ancestry results.* So I followed the link, requested my update and was told that it was in process and would be complete in less than 48 hours. The confirming email arrived early this morning.

And here it is:**

[Living DNA Recent Ancestry]

According to their data, my recent DNA heritage is 100% European--5.7% from my 2X great grandmother Delilah Grove (1845-1925) and the remaining 94.3% Great Britain and Ireland from everyone else.

[Living DNA Recent Ancestry]

Of the more exotic traces claimed by my previous results only Orkney remains (with the addition of the Shetland Islands). My alleged connections to the Iberian Peninsula, Scandinavia, and the Kurds and Pashtuns have disappeared.

*See my previous results here.
**Sadly the company has chosen to show everything in a low contrast format so you may find it hard to read.. And I've emailed them about that.

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

I Finally Found My 2nd Grand Uncle Herbert W. "Dutch" Porter's Obituary

Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed 03 February 2020), memorial page for Herbert W Porter (1899–1971), Find A Grave Memorial no. 173492189, citing Mount Harmony Memorial Gardens Cemetery, Mableton, Cobb County, Georgia, USA ; Maintained by Bulldog Fan (contributor 48178484).

I have been struggling for years to find the death record or obituary for my 2nd grand uncle, Herbert W. "Dutch" Porter, my great grandmother Letta Estella Porter's brother.  Because he spent many decades in Chicago I kept looking there for his death record, but none of the Herbert Porters who died there matched his information.  I also had reason to believe he had lived until at least 1974.

Now, thanks to the constant updating of Ancestry's databases, I effortlessly stumbled on his obituary yesterday, but it was in 1971 in Cobb County, Georgia!  I would never have thought to look for him there.

Porter -- Funeral services for Mr. Herbert W. Porter, age 72, 4213 Springdale Circle, Powder Springs will be conducted Wednesday at 3 p.m. from the McEachern Methodist Church with remains placed in state at 2 p.m. Rev. William G. Edwards, officiating. Interment, Mt. Harmony Memorial Gardens. Survivors include wife, Mrs. Helen Porter; sisters, Mrs. Estella Turnball, Dallas; Mrs. Annie Sue Graham, Venice, Calif.; brothers, Mr. Calvin Porter, Dallas; Mr. Orville Porter, Los Angeles, Calif.  Turk's Memory Chapel, Powder Springs, 943-3547.
"Porter," obituary, The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, GA), Wednesday, 29 Dec 1971, page 25, col 6; digital image, (, accessed 2 Feb 2020.

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

i4gg Conference is February 2 & 3

Institute for Genetic Genealogy (

Wow, I haven't posted for about six months!  Since last June my husband retired, a beloved cat died, and I was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer (complete with lumpectomy, radiation, and tamoxifen).

I've worked on my tree almost every day, but didn't put aside any time to do blog posts until things had settled down.

I've also been keeping an eye on the DNA Doe Project (also Wikipedia article "DNA Doe Project"):
DNA Doe Project (AKA DNA Doe Project, Inc. or DDP) is an American non-profit volunteer organization formed to identify unidentified deceased persons (commonly known as John Doe or Jane Doe) using forensic genealogy. Volunteers identify victims of automobile accidents, homicide, and unusual circumstances, and persons who committed suicide under an alias.[1] The group was founded in 2017 by Colleen Fitzpatrick and Margaret Press.
I love being able to see all the cases being solved!

Some of the people who are involved in this are almost certainly at the Institute for Genetic Genealogy (i4gg) conference.

I don't know the details behind the change in time and venue of this conference (it used to be in San Diego in December and now it is in Las Vegas in February), but fortunately for those of us who can't be there in person they have the option to purchase the videos of the sessions.  The videos have historically come out a number of months after the conference, so my guess is they will be available by the summer.

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Eli Matthews (1804 - 1864) Was a Copperhead

Although he would probably have called himself a Peace Democrat.*

[Compromise with the South - Dedicated to the Chicago Convention. Wood engraving after Nast.
Illus. in: Harper's Weekly, 1864 Sept. 3. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.]

Here's a different view of the issue.
[Caption: War and Argument - Cold Steel and Cool Reason - having failed to restore the Union, it is supposed that the South may be bored into coming back. -  Illus. in: Harper's weekly, v. 8, no. 408 (1864 October 22), p. 688.
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.]

Eli, my 3X great grandfather, was born in Tennessee, his family moved to Illinois in 1818 when he was 14. He spent the rest of his life there in that part of Sangamon County which became Christian County in 1839. He and his wife Susan Hanon had nine children, six boys and three girls.** At least two of their sons served in the Union Army during Civil War.

Since it had been years since I have done any research on the Matthews line, this afternoon I decided to see what I could find at

[11 Mar 1863, Page 2 - Chicago Tribune at]

Of course I had to find out more:

[12 Mar 1863, Page 2 - Chicago Tribune at]

Eli sent this letter to his second son, Aaron V. Matthews who had joined Company L, Illinois 10th Cavalry Regiment and remained in that unit until December 30, 1864.*** Aaron's first wife Sarah Short had died around this time, leaving the couple's four children to the care of relatives.****

It's clear from the letter that Eli wasn't a particularly educated man but that didn't seem to hinder him from a public role in Christian County, He was the county's first postmaster, served as a Justice of the Peace and was appointed to several committees that represented the county.

*You can find more about these folks here.
**Their third child and oldest daughter Sarah married George W. Slater.
***About two months after his father's death.
****Aaron did marry again (in 1865) and he and his second wife Martha Jane Walker had five children together, one of whom he named Abraham, known as "Abe".

© 2020 Copyright, Christine Manczuk, All Rights Reserved.