It is the First Day of the Month: Back Up Your Genealogy Files

Great reminder from Dick Eastman with this blog and the others, such as Dear Myrtle and Thomas MacEntee. Dick makes the emphasis to basically do it now, its the first of the month. What’s key is to test your backup. I am guilty of not checking, so today, 10/1/2017 I will back up and check it the backup. I would be devastated if I lost my files. Enjoy Dick’s blog on backing up! Please share and take heed.

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

BackUpYourGenealogyFilesIt is the first day of the month. It’s time to back up your genealogy files. Then test your backups!

Actually, you can make backups at any time. However, it is easier and safer if you have a specific schedule. The first day of the month is easy to remember, so I would suggest you back up your genealogy files at least on the first day of every month, if not more often.

View original post 46 more words

Posted in Genealogy | Leave a comment

I have something to say about “Taking the Knee”

Let’s get this straight for those of you (my friends and family, fellow Americans) who do not understand and have chosen to call “taking the knee” something that is it not. I am a proud and a patriotic American. My family lines have been here since the ship rolled in – yep the ship in 1619, I come from 4 lines of the Mayflower, etc. and much more. I am an American.
I have ancestors who fought and died in every WAR this country has ever been engaged in.  I have 10 ancestors I can account for that served in the Rev War and that’s only on one line. I am an American.  I know and love this country and thankful for being an American.
“Taking the knee” does not mean I or anyone is Anti- American.
So let’s try to just stop saying it is and focusing on what it is truly meant to be.
I am not dissing or disrespecting any allegiance to the flag or my country. I descend from slaves who did not ask to come here and immigrants who wanted to come here, just as you and most of all of America. You know there are injustices in this country that need to stop. The injustices are aired daily, no hourly, you know what they are. It is time to stop changing the channel and pay attention. “Taking the knee” is a way to bring the issue to the forefront and to stop the insanity of the injustices. How much more do you really think this country can bear? We need to agree to stop the injustices for all. 
If you do not get it and still think taking the knee is something else, please do not post a response to this thread. It is not welcomed. I will add you to my prayers. I am sorry to say you and others will “never get it” because you choose not to. You have built the wall around you and only focusing on one thing to attach too and can’t see the real point. This also shows your support to the continual abuses and injustices that happen in this country since 1619. It’s 2017, it’s time to stop. 
Posted in Genealogy | 2 Comments

Advice to White Supremacists: You Might Not Want to Test Your DNA

Great article by Dick Eastman at this blog Yes, they might want to avoid doing any DNA. DNA is emotional and individuals need to be ready for the results. As a genealogist I struggle sometimes with my role as a researcher. There was a great discussion on DNA and privacy the other evening on BlackProGen Live hangout with Nicka Smith-

Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter

UPDATE: This news story is mushrooming. The original news article listed in the article below has since been knocked offline, probably because thousands of people were accessing it simultaneously. However, dozens of other news services have since picked up the story and now it is one of the top trending articles on the Internet.

You can find dozens more stories about this by starting at:

The recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, this past weekend speak for themselves. The various news media are full of stories about bigotry, racism, and fringe far-right political activities that resulted in murder and also in a lot of embarrassment to the American people. However, there is one genealogy issue that might affect the motivations of these extremists:

Are these white supremacists really “all white?”

I suspect that many white supremacists won’t like to learn the truth.

A geneticist at the University of California at…

View original post 232 more words

Posted in Genealogy | 1 Comment

I am angry and hurt!

I really don’t have anymore words to say and just going to ramble. I pray to my ancestors to help me get thru the anger and hurt I am feeling about the recent events in my area. I really don’t like the feelings I have. It’s not normal for me. There are so many in this country (including friends and family) that are “in denial” and that hurts more than the “hate” I am seeing. The denial is really a “lethal weapon” that we can’t control and most of the time we can’t see it.  I love this country and wouldn’t live anywhere else. I have really no desire to ever leave this country. But, White America, including those hiding behind the hoods or blatantly showing their faces, or those in denial has a fear of people of color, not just African Americans, simply everyone that isn’t white. Those folks will never see what I and others are seeing or feeling until it hits their front door. Then it’s too late. Daily folks across the country are realizing that something is not right with the country. We are seeing people go to the dark side. 

Yesterday, three people died and someone or more than one person should be accountable for their deaths. Those in this country have a choice you either denounced the actions immediately or you are with them. There is no other chances and you can’t make it up two or three days later. It’s chaotic energy and its going to get worst since we have a chaos magician in charge.  It’s wrong and people literally are begging the leaders to step up. Things will get worst if we do not nip this in the bud now. The fear factor is on the rise.

I am angry and hurt. 

A daughter died yesterday and children lost their father yesterday. 

I am not in favor of moving the statue – I want people to know the history and understand the history of ugliness of white supremacy, the civil war and the evils of slavery in this country. But now I see the White Nationalist and Supremacy individuals see it as a shrine and they are bowing down to it. That is why they insisted on holding their rally at Emancipation Park and didn’t care about anyone’s safety not even their own. They pounced their butts right into Charlottesville -ARMED  or better said “locked and loaded” and carrying the Confederate Battle Flag.  When you idolize something that much that you build hate inside and violence that you can’t control. There is need for a change. You should not  be proud when you are operating in a violent mode. 

You are Domestic Terrorists!

We know just as they know this is not about any southern heritage. That is the biggest crock of mess I have every heard. They look stupid when they even try to tell that story. There is no heritage in slavery, owning other human beings, tearing families apart. There is no state rights when they change the laws as needed to keep people in bondage. No, it’s about control & greed.  How many years has this country reaped the free labor of slaves? Add that up and tell me about how your ancestors benefited. As I have mentioned before America has never took a stance on slavery, neither have Christians. Not one African American that I know of is asking White America for any darn thing. All we want is to just be treated fair, stop denying, targeting, beating, and begin to treat us with respect, and don’t repeat history again. All lives matter. If you are not clear on what I am saying-just watch the news.

Again denial about the real history of this country-equals denial about slavery and the treatment of anyone that is not white!  This country can not allow the White Supremacists and Nationalists to continue on. We don’t want to go down the path that is being laid out. I fear the 21st century will see another Civil War on our own land if we do not get this under control. Our ancestors have been through this and there is no reason to repeat it. 

I am angry and hurt. 

A daughter died yesterday and children lost their father yesterday. 

There are other rally’s already scheduled (Texas A & T-9/11, 9/12 U of Florida). How many more will have to “die”, no,  be murdered before the leaders of my beloved country take a stand and not let history repeat itself.  I thank the Governor of Virginia and others who denounced the activities of 8/12/17 in Charlottesville. 


Posted in Genealogy | 3 Comments

Ambrose Cureton Part 3-Let the Evidence Tell the Story!

Here we go. I have to admit there is no real steps that I am following its really about the evidence and having the ability to ask questions. The plan is to develop it and hope it helps others in their quest in finding slave ancestors. I am still in the gathering and analyzing information mode. It will be ongoing and of course teaching moments will come as well. So it’s all over the place as the questions, new information and thoughts come into my head. But I am focused on Ambrose and finding him prior to 1870 is my goal. First, I have a favor to ask for those who are following this blog on Ambrose, if you have questions or realize I missed something or even have suggestions, please say something. As a researcher there is really nothing about doing research alone. We receive guidance from other individuals and of course the ancestors (listening to the whispers). There are a few things I do follow and need to put them out now, as I am moving along. I know for sure (with about 30 years of experience) that you cannot do all your research and I mean good genealogy research online. It is almost impossible. Warning-the majority of what you are seeing in the blog is from “online research”. So please do not get the idea that online is the end all for genealogy research – because it is not. You will have to access the local records and records in a “House Repository” and all that is in my plan now. Also, I don’t believe that all others quality of research are the same as mine and maybe yours. I follow my simple rules and I let the evidence tell the story and maintain an open mind.

Here is my teaching moment with my rules. They are really are simple and they stick to the basics of genealogical research:

  • FIND IT meaning exhaust your search for information and resources in and around your ancestor. You need to know what records and resources that are available and begin building a TIMELINE on this ancestor. Next you have to…
  • QUESTION IT you have to question the information you are seeing on a document or a resource. What laws were in place to cause this record to be created (I hear Judy G. Russell driving this point all the time, it is now a basic step to my research)? (SO WHAT! has to be done, it’s an art of questioning and exhausting the search. You have to ask SO WHAT to the information, So what -I have Ambrose’s surname-what good is it to me? Will it further my research? What leads or tips is the information giving me and then you ask…
  • WHAT’s NEXT? Where am I going with this information and what information am I lacking? What or who knows what I am missing, is it a record/document that could link to the missing information. Now I want to…
  • BACK IT UP with some evidence, a document or something. It’s how I conduct lineage type research (DAR, SAR)-and I say just simply…
  • PROVE IT-If you say Ambrose Cureton is the father of Govan Cureton you need to locate something that indicates this as a fact and makes good sense. Prove the relationship or the connection that makes the logical connection. I use James Dent Walker’s Rule of 3-to have 3 things to support what you say.
  • Keep in mind the Murphy Rule for genealogical reearch:
    • FOLLOW: the MONEY, LAND, WATER, the COMMUNITY and the FAITH of the people.

I am now coming forth with some of the questions I had from part 1 and what do I know about Tennessee. Do I have any connections in Cocke, Knox, or Loudon County, TN? Is there a genealogy society? Any AAHGS chapters, etc.? What about the Tennessee Archives, they are located in Nashville. I have to answer yes to all. In Knox County, I have now joined the East Tennessee Historical Society and I have a distance cousin living in Knoxville, so another visit will be planned soon. Now for the other counties I will have to rely on the local information. I reached out to J. Mark Lowe a while ago, as many of you know him, as I am looking to hire some help to assist me on this quest. He is known for his expertise on TN-KY! (A new thought just came into my head, hmmm my sister friend Konnetta, a MAAGI student is in Nashville, it might be time for a visit or to hire her, since she is there)

I am realizing I am my own client right now and must continue conducting a thorough and an exhaustive search and building the timeline. As you know timelines are a must to can my information in order. This will be ongoing until I find the slave owner. What I know now, might not be the same tomorrow. Also, when conducting slave research, any research, there is always a chance I might not locate the slave owner or evidence he was a slave. Now that is a fact. There might not be any records to support my goal in seeking Ambrose’s slave owner for various reasons. But, what I do have to do is continue conducting an exhaustive search for information and evidence. So here are some other resources I have now added to my toolbox on Tennessee. Some of these are new to me and I will log them in my brain for other client’s research in other states.

Remember Google is your friend in genealogy and look what I found. TENNESSEE: A GUIDE TO THE STATE Negroes in Tennessee-site

Tennessee Archives-Nashville- I need to learn more about the Archives as in what do they have? What’s the hours, etc., and what’s on the website

Guide to African American Genealogy-Related Documents Prior to 1865

Let’s not forget about the Rootsweb email lists, they are still active. To my knowledge they have all states and counties. Here is Cocke County.

Now to do a bit of follow up with some things questioned in Part 1. I put out a plea on Facebook and my genealogy buddy Andi Cumbo-Floyd shared this Google map to help me understand the Tennessee counties and locations. I needed to understand what North Carolina counties were touching Cocke County.

TN NC counties map

Google TN-NC counties map:

Now I know the specific area I am researching a map helps so much. I will hop in and out of the North Carolina counties in case I see any of my Cureton’s.

Next the Freedmen’s bureau map and using the mapping site (I love this site). I didn’t find a field office in Cocke County or in Loudon Counties. The closest field office to Cocke County is about 50 miles away in Knoxville. Would Ambrose and his family go to that location for assistance after the Civil War? I have to put away my 21st century thinking. Would you go 50 miles to a field office, if you knew about it once you became free? What about North Carolina is there a closer office? I can’t forget the Cocke County is a border county to North Carolina. Madison and Haywood are touching Cocke County. Also, I can’t forget the Mecklenburg County, NC- also in 1870 census there is a white named Govan Cureton located in Mecklenburg NC. (Cocke to Mecklenburg is 3 hours distance). Now I reviewed this census years ago and just put it aside. Now is the time to take a better look at it. There might be some connections to Govan Cureton, Ambrose’s son who has three different birth locations in the various records and death info as well. I don’t want to ignore anything even if it is incorrect, it is still information and it is time to look at it thoroughly. The name Govan is not a common name to my knowledge, sounds kind of biblical. I am going to research Knox County, the Knoxville field office and take my chances, even though I know they went to Loudon after they left Cocke County.

mapping freedmen TN-NC

Now regarding the Post Offices there is a site to go to find listings of the post offices for any state. It is on hold for now; I am waiting for a response to the email I sent for information. My thought is that the Wmsburg Post Office referenced in the 1870 census was only opened for a limited time. But we shall see.

More resources: and it only shows two post offices so still not settled on what Wmsburg Post office is.

Here is an interesting site about Postal histories located on

The Wiki’s are good go to sites for information, it is always worth checking there first:

Using under Birth, Death and Marriage (I love that they put these three together, lol, I think it is trying to tell us something) I see a few Eliza Cureton’s-one who got married in 1896, well she is eliminated, one born in 1823, died in 1906, she would fit the slot except she is white and the wrong husband. Another one who died about 1862, I can eliminate her as well, because my Eliza would still be alive in 1870.

Checking catalog I pulled up the Tennessee County Marriage Records-1790-1950. Just by chance I hope to find anyone in Cocke County that might be linked to Ambrose. Since we looked at the 1870 census you know there was a “wife” named Eliza, and two children; Govan and Elizabeth. There is probably not a record of Ambrose and Eliza’s marriage but you never know what I will find. What I did find is a marriage record for a Mollie Cureton born in 1881. I had Mollie Love’s death record but didn’t know her husband’s first name, Judson. Hmmm.

Mollie Cureton and Joshua Love marriage 1905

Tennessee, County Marriages, 1790-1950″, database with images, FamilySearch( : 21 December 2016), Judson Love and Mollie Cureton, 1905.

mollie love death Tennessee, City Death Records, 1872-1923 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2012.

These two documents raise some interesting questions-it’s time for the SO WHAT action. Now the death certificate says Mollie was born in Cocke County, she dies at the age of 26. The poor thing, she was married in 1905 and died about two years later. Okay back to the death certificate-it lists her father as Ambrose Cureton with his birthplace appears to be Green County, now is that Greene County that is next to Cocke County, or Greene County NC? This is now telling me I need to put Greene County, TN on my to do list and this information will also be added to the timeline. Do you see who the informant is, well Ms. Lula, you are the one providing the information on your daughter and your husband birth location. Hmmm…Now it says that Mollie’s mother is Lula Cureton, and she was born in N. Carolina. Okay, I can go with this and it looks like her last name is Grinway, so now I will have to see if I can locate a marriage record for her and Ambrose. She would be the second wife and married after 1870. I will have to figure out the location-Cocke or Loudon. But, what is interesting is that Mollie is born in 1881 in Cocke County, hmmm…so this helps determine she is not Elizabeth who was listed on the 1870 census. Elizabeth her mother Eliza had to die before there was a move to Loudon and Ambrose marries Lula Grinway.

But it’s confusing if she is born in Cocke County, TN in 1881 (1907-26yrs =1881), how can Ambrose and Lula (her mother per death certificate) be in Loudon County in the 1880 census. Did they go back and forth? Oh geez, I will have to resolve this issue. Could they be in Loudon in 1880, leave and go to Cocke County and have Mollie in 1881, then go back to Loudon? Where are Eliza and Elizabeth? I am going a bit forward in time with this, but will have to go back in time to find Ambrose prior to 1870. There is a lot more work to do on this.

Newspapers: I haven’t had much luck with other newspaper sites so my go to is Chronicling America-Newspapers…

I also will need to check Loudon County newspapers and get back to seek other, mainly white Cureton’s in Cocke County.

Enough for today! For the next part I will look at the 1860 and 1850 Slaves Schedules for Cocke County, deal with the cemeteries and what ever I can come up regarding the movement of Ambrose from Cocke, to Loudon, to Cocke and back to Loudon and on to Knox county.

Know your roots, they are long and strong!

familytreegirl’s email is

@familytreegirl on Twitter

Posted in Genealogy | 2 Comments

You never know what you will find under a tree!

Part 2 of my quest to locate Ambrose Cureton has began this morning. I remembered my visit to Loudon County, TN a few years ago. As mentioned I have Ambrose and now wife Lue J. (Grinway) in the 1880 census in Loudon Co. I remembered this blog about meeting folks and having a beer under the tree. It was time to revisit my notes about this day and plan a trip to Loudon County. I need to find out where Ambrose died. I have narrowed it down that Ambrose died after 1880 and before 1903. Why 1903, because I just located his wife Lue/Lula in 1903 city directory in Knox County and she is a widow and Black. (love the city directories) Lue dies in Knox County TN. Now Ambrose’s son Govan is also in Knox County, so I am not sure – yet- if Ambrose made it to Knox County also. I also have to separate the Cureton’s by race to avoid confusion and stay on track with the right family. There is a white Govan born in Mecklenburg, NC around the same time as my Govan Cureton. So what’s my next move—find the death record between Loudon and Knox counties TN. Yes, you never know what you might find under a tree.


Genealogist at any level will follow the basic steps to locate information. Our goal is to find information or leads that document our ancestor’s life. There is a need to talk to family and others in hopes of a connection to our ancestors. First, we try to figure out what we “already know” about our ancestor then, what we “need to know”, such as where an ancestor was born, married or died, and last, who knows “what we need to know.” This will lead us to the state or local vital statistics records. We know we can obtain these records if they exist by writing and requesting a copy or ordering online. We wander aimlessly throughout courthouses seeking land records, such as a deed or bill of sale, or any type of public records. We like to ask questions-where did uncle Carl grow up, where did he attend school, what…

View original post 523 more words

Posted in Genealogy | Leave a comment

Ambrose Cureton…I am coming for you! Pt. 1

As we know when you are getting started or refreshing your research you have to stick to the basics of genealogy research. I am sure this line will take me past 1870. It’s going to be a challenge since I don’t know much about Tennessee. I will have to make a few turns because I am assuming I am leading into doing some deep rooted slave research on this line. African American slave research has its own set of genealogy challenges but we shall see. Now “what do I know about you” Ambrose Cureton:

  1. You are my great great grandfather on my father’s side. Your name is Ambrose Cureton. You are African or African American. I am not sure you were born in America due to some oral history. My Uncle Carl shared with me and my mother back in the 60s (here the hints from oral history) that Ambrose or his father (I do not have his father’s name) was a 9 year old African who came in on a slave ship either into North or South Carolina or from the West Indies. Also, my dad mentioned something about Dutch people when two Jehovah Witness individuals knocked on our door. I am not sure what that means actually and of course I am going by my memory. So, with this blog I am going with the thought that the 9 year old is Ambrose until some other evidence shows itself.  The plantation owner who brought Ambrose had the last name of Cureton and that is a good place to start.
  2. What resources are available for me to learn about TN and Cocke County, TN. I had to make a list where I can go to first:
    7.,_Tennessee_Genealogy#African_American It appears that Ambrose was born between 1833 to 1840 and thats only because of what I have seen on the 1870 and 1880 federal population census. Now we know the census are not always the most accurate so we will consider anything on the census on “quick leads” to follow up on.
    8. Another great site to check out is there is a State and a Slave research  forum. It’s time to post some questions and gets some help. Maybe I will connect with someone else who is also researching the area which is always good to have a genie buddy.
    9. Mapping the Freedmen Bureau site developed by Angela Walton-Raji and Toni Carrier can show the closest Bureau Office, maybe Ambrose went there for help once he became free-
  3. Yes, I first see you Ambrose in the 1870 census with a wife, Eliza and two children; Govan age 5 and Elizabeth  age 3 months. Where you free? or if not who “owned” you prior to 1865? Are you the only Blacks on this census page? Note where everyone was born-it looks like Tennessee is where most of the folks were born besides one in Kentucky and a few from North Carolina. As you see Ambrose your son, maybe your first born son Govan is 5 years old and is noted as being born in North Carolina. Why? (Yes, I will be bringing out my thoughts and talking to my great great grandfather while doing my research. It helps me to have good conversations with my thoughts).  I believe I resolved where Govan was born since he was the informant on one of his daughter’s dead record and he says he was born in Cocke Co. Tennessee. But let’s hold that thought anyway. Also, I know Ambrose you all show up in Loudon Co, TN in the 1880 Census with Govan, but not Eliza or Elizabeth maybe they have died prior to the move to Knox Co. for a few years and then Govan and family moves on to Ft. Wayne Indiana around 1917 and Govan dies in 1928. I will need to research for possible death records on Eliza and Elizabether before 1880. So note in the 1880 census in Loudon Co. there is a new wife and children and all of the children’s names in the 1880 census are just initials. Now if I ever meet that census taker, you know what I want to do to her/him, huh…initials only, geez another topic to blog about. It is time to do a “SO WHAT” and WHAT’s NEXT on what I know. ambrose cureton 1870 census Cocke County TN
  4. I have checked for other Blacks in the 1870 census and there are only three Black households per the census with the last name of Cureton: 1) James b. 1808 and Mary J b. 1819, there is a total of 16 in the household and the post office is Newport. 2) Elbert b. 1844 and Abagail b. 1845, household of 9 and the post office is Wamsburg. 3) Ame (Ambrose) b. 1833 and Elzia b. 1843, household of 4 and the post office is Wamsburg. I need to know if the other Black Cureton’s are connected to Ambrose or Eliza. If you both were previous slaves I will need to know who is connected to you or not. Just because Ambrose has the last name Cureton doesn’t mean he is a blood Cureton, or he took an owners name, but you never know.
  5. The census year of 1870 is key for African American research there are so many questions and possibilities that can arise from being found in the 1870 census. It is the first census where former slaves now have names and surnames in the federal census. It gives us names and approximately birth years and clues to birth locations. I have to keep wondering if the others are related…I will look at the birth years of these other two households, and the different post office locations, there is more to check our here. I wonder how far they were living from each other?  Hmmm! I have to find the locations of these post offices-I need a map of Cocke County!
  6. Next I checked for all of the white Cureton’s in 1870s in Cocke County. There are six white head of households: 1) RF b, 1811 and Nancy E b. 1829, only those 2 in the household and the post office is Newport 2) William b. 1816 and Mary b. 1820, 7 in the household and the post office is Newport 3) Robt b. 1840 and Cassandra b. 1845, 7 in the household and the post office is Parrottsville (a new one), 4. Catherine b. 1841 and Thomas b. 1850, 4 in the household and the post office is Newport, 5) Richard b. 1844 and Margaret b. 1845, 6 in the household and the post office is Newport. I also note all of the other surnames on this page and will review the rest of the “whole” county later.
  7. These post office’s are going to be key in determining where in Cocke County in 1870 the Cureton’s were living, the white and black Cureton’s. So I wonder if I can find out the locations of Newport, Parrottsville, and Wamsburg post offices. Okay I need to make a few posts on Facebook and see if anyone else is researching Cocke County, Tn and I also wonder if Wamsburg is an abbreviation for maybe Williamsburg, since the founder of Cocke Co, is William Cocke. (just a thought). I did learn that Newport is the county seat for the county and still has a post office, Parrottsville is a still a town and also has a post office location. Hmmm but no Wamsburg post office. I believe I have enough to focus on when I return from work.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of finding Ambrose Cureton!

“Know Your Roots, they are Strong and Long”

Happy digging from familytreegirl

(Feel free to share my blog posts, I write them to keep myself focused and share tips, etc. Just make sure you cite where you received the information. Mahalo!

Posted in Genealogy | 6 Comments