Monday, April 30, 2007

Go Hokies

One Day Blog Silence


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Is it "SMOKY" or "SMOKEY" ?!

I don't know what the proper spelling is.

But I do know that it is smoky/smokey down here in Florida today!

Seems they've got a huge fire burning . . . way up in Waycross, GEORGIA!

Must be a real inferno for the smoke to be reaching all the way down to these parts.

Hack. Hack. Sputter. Sputter. Cough. Wheez!!

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Saturday, April 28, 2007

Captain Morgan - great new book!

It's not QUITE summer around here, but I did succeed in finding a really good "beach book."

Stephan Talty's new "Empire of Blue Water" brings to life the legendary figure known to a lot of rum drinkers: Captain Morgan.

Of course, he wasn't always a captain.

In his youth, he was simply known as "Henry." And, that's about as far as I've gotten in the book. But, I can tell it's going to be a real page turner.

Check it out for yourself, if you're so inclined. You know Morgans always make great fodder for tall tales!

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Ernestine Craddock, RIP

Condolences to Wanda Morgan (wife of my cousin Jeff) on the loss of her mother this week.

I see in today's Orlando Sentinel that services are scheduled for tomorrow at 10am, at New Life Church of God, 2820 N. Alafaya Trail in Orlando.

Unfortunately, I have already made plans to be out of town this weekend. In fact, I should be walking out the door instead of typing this. But, I wanted to make sure Wanda and her extended family knew I was thinking about them during this difficult time.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Let your voice be heard at the NARA

From previous posts, you know how I feel about the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and their efforts to both jack-up fees and change their hours of operation in what appears to be a very deliberate effort to confound family historians seeking their roots.

Well, their latest unconscionable proposal is to raise the fee for copying a Civil War pension file from $37 to a whopping $125. That's more than tripling the fee! (See

Now, I understand the agency has an obligation to make ends meet and operate within the budget. I can respect that. But, $125 to copy a few pages pertaining to an average American's heritage is just highway robbery.

If you agree, I would encourage you to take the following steps:

1. Go to
2. Under "Search for," select "Documents Open for Public Comment."
3. Under "Agency," select "National Archives and Records Administration."
4. Under "Document Type," select "All Document Types."
5. In the "Keyword or ID" field, type "NARA-07-0001-0001."
6. Select "Exact Phrase."
7. Click the "Submit" button.

And, if you really want to be a proactive, irate citizen, write your members of Congress at:

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Concept of time

It's a cliche' you hear all the time, "That person has no concept of time."

So, it struck me as somewhat humorous as the topic came up while I continue to read Strauss and Howe's book "Fourth Turning," about the cyclical nature of American history/generations.

According to them, there have been (and, I suppose, continue to be) three ways of conceptualizing time:

1. Chaotic. This is the most ancient view, that things happen randomly. One historic event doesn't predicate another. Things just happen. (Think along the lines of Forrest Gump.)

2. Cyclical. As civilization progressed and historians began to record events for posterity, paterns emerged. Obviously, this is the way Strauss and Howe would like us to approach the passage of time. It plays in to their theories.

3. Linear. This is the mindset that has gripped western perceptions since the Protestant reformation, whereby events are seen as happening in a sequence. One thing leads to another in a progression, almost inevitably.

Anyway, I brought all this up in case you're ever accused of having no concept of time. You can just respond to your accuser, "Oh, I do, but I just think cyclically instead of linearly!"

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Memories & Treasures

After lunch today, I visited with Ann Bennett in Belle Isle.

I went down there to help her with a pool deck cracking problem she is having, and ended up getting a "tour" of her home-based business:

She's done some amazing restoration work on old photos that families thought were irretrievably lost.

Anyway, check out her website if you get a chance!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Apartment in New York City?!

Hey, if any of you out there in my blogosphere have a lead on an apartment--or need a roommate--in New York City, let me know.

A friend's brother just landed his dream job up there, and is moving up from Orlando around May 1st.

I can vouch for his character, for whatever that's worth. Clean, quiet, and Princeton-educated.

So, let me know, and I'll put you in touch.


Editing and videos

Spent the better part of the day editing my manuscript for NEHGS.

Particularly wanted to update information on the RINES family I uncovered on a lark after breakfast with Doug Doudney on Thursday.

Anyway, as all this "excitement" was going on, I was also semi-watching two pretty good movies.

One was "Holiday," with Cameron Diaz, Kate Winslett, Jude Law, and Jack Black. The other was "The Last King of Scotland," with Forrest Whitaker. Both were pretty good. But, not enough to completely distract me from the manuscript editing . . . how's that for a ringing endorsement?!

Oh, and Happy Birthday to my brother-in-law Keith. I think he's turning 55 today . . . or maybe that's just the speed limit. I don't know!

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Sunday, April 22, 2007


No, USF doesn't stand for University of South Florida.

At least not today it doesn't.

Today, it stood for Universal Studios Florida.

In the ongoing effort to keep our minds off recent events, old Valda and Howard trotted us out to the theme parks for the day.

Had a great time, and couldn't ask for better weather. Hopefully, I'll get some copies of the numerous digipics to post here.

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Cow Kapow!

A long time ago, I posted a link to a funny little game that let you whack a penguin. Well, now there's a new version that let's you whack a cow. Same general principal, but I scored a 542 on this one:

See if you can beat that!

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Didn't see that one coming!

Survivor has been pretty ho-hum so far this season, but it kicked into high gear tonight.

Alex, the Harvard-educated know-it-all, was so convinced that he was facing eviction that he played the immunity idol to save himself at tribal council.

But, after the votes were read, he discovered that NO ONE had voted against him!

Instead, the rest of the tribe out-witted him, making him feel paranoid enough to needlessly use the idol, then turned around and voted off his ally Edgardo.

I guess this is just another lesson on the power of paranoia, no?


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Somewhere near Laredo, 1916

Our intrepid documentarian Cliff Curley is still working on gathering local history for his project with our PBS station (WMFE-24).

One of the things I gave him was this photo of the Orlando National Guard from 1916, when they were dispatched to the Texas-Mexico border to guard against Pancho Villa's raids.

Somewhere in that surly group are my great-uncles Frank and Cy Cox.

Can you spot them?!

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Alexander Hamilton and constitutional rights

Call me a geek, but I am really getting in to a book on CD about Alexander Hamilton.

Hey, it helped me pass a few hours on the road trip this weekend, so give me a break!

Anyway, I'm enjoying it because of the insights it's giving me on how our constitution was crafted by the founders.

But, what I'm having a little trouble comprehending--especially in light of yesterday's horrific events up in Blacksburg, Virginia--is why do we extend civil liberties to non-citizens?

I differentiate "liberties" from "rights." Rights are inalienable, as has been so appropriately pointed-out by the likes of Thomas Jefferson.

But, liberties are different.

For instance, if you're in this country legally or illegally but are not a citizen, I do NOT believe you have the constitutional RIGHT to bear arms. You are NOT a citizen, therefore you may enjoy whatever LIBERTIES we citizens choose to allow.

Clearly, after the Virginia Tech tragedy, Mr. Cho (a resident ALIEN) should not have been allowed to carry a gun.

Ah, well, back to the Hamiltonia . . .

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Weekend picture gallery

Took the guy at CVS wayyyyy too long to get these "one hour" pictures developed, but here they are:

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Sunday, April 15, 2007

Headed South

After getting some last-minute quality time with the niblings this morning, I had to get on the road home.

Talk about a whirlwind tour!


We had some high winds to contend with, pretty much the whole way home. But, the worst were when we had to cross those way-too-high bridges over the Cooper, Ashley, and St. Johns Rivers.

So glad to be back in Florida!!

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Berkeley Museum, etc.

Spent the morning at The Berkeley Museum in Monckton, South Carolina. As the sign notes, it is the home of The Little David.

When I got inside, I also found it was the home of the taxidermic remains of the largest catfish ever caught. 110 pounds!!

The reason I added this place to my itinerary was I hoped it might contain some information--and possibly some relics--from the plantations our ancestors owned in the area. I was not disappointed in that regard, and walked away with a pretty outstanding book as a souvenir.

Afterwards, met up with Sister and the Niblings (sounds like a bad 80's techno group, doesn't it?!) for some Low Country grub at Seewee.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Birthday to me!

This bird is flying the coop!

Driving up to South Carolina to see my sister and the niblings.

Miss me while I'm away!

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Was it Everett or Everest?!

If you're not in to genealogy, this will probably go right over your head. But, I am really excited by the possibility of breaking down one of the proverbial "brick walls" we poor researchers generally encounter when we attempt to track down our ancestors.

In my case, the ancestor in question was a lady named Hannah. According to the 1850 Census of Shelby County, Tennessee, she was born in Connecticut about 1785. She was living in the household of her son William H. Macy.

From Sylvanus J. Macy's compiled genealogy dated 1869, I found William H. Macy listed as the son of a Thomas Macy. But, old Sylvanus failed to specify which of Thomas's two wives was the mother of his eight children. His first wife was a lady named Phebe Bunker, and the second wife was the Hannah in question. I had always assumed that Hannah was at least the mother of the youngest, William, as she moved all the way out to Tennessee to live with him by 1850. But, you know what happens when you assume anything, especially in genealogical situations.

Anyway, the one thing that Sylvanus did state was that Hannah's maiden named was EVERETT and that she had been previously married to a fellow whose last name was CHAPIN.

Well, this week I was contacted by a lady named Elizabeth Olsen, who is trying to track down the parents of her ancestors Luther CHAPIN and Hannah EVEREST. According to her, this couple divorced in the early 1800's. She has found documentation on Luther's remarriage and move to Indiana. But, she hasn't found anything on his ex-wife Hannah.

Could her Hannah and my Hannah be the same person?! Seems highly likely!

And, all these years I've been looking for Everett connections when I apparently should have been looking for Everest records instead . . .

Anyway, it's always fun to collaborate with other genealogical researchers, and I'm looking forward to solving this little mystery by working with Elizabeth. The added bonus in this case is that she is currently working as a missionary at the LDS Genealogical Library out in Salt Lake City, so she has the finest collection of family history material at her disposal to help us in our quest!

OK, you non-genealogists can wake up now.

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Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Gray Divorce

That's the new term I learned today.

No, it doesn't refer to a Mr. & Mrs. Gray who ended up in Splitsville. Nor does it necessarily refer to older people who get a divorce only after a lengthy marriage . . . although we ARE seeing more and more of that around here lately.

Anyway, the term "Gray Divorce" refers to those situations surrounding some break-ups where there is no black and white, no clearly-defined boundaries. Things are still fuzzy, either because things haven't been clearly stipulated in the marital settlement agreement or, worse, non-monetary questions go unresolved. (Such as, "Who gets to spend which holidays with the kids?" Or, "How do we divide up our mutual friends?")

The worst unresolved issues apparently are the emotional ones that you can't solve even with an army of lawyers and accountants. You've got to sort thru those yourself, or get a shrink to help you. But, until you get some resolution, you're going to be stuck in one of these new-fangled "gray divorce" situations.

And, that can't be a good place!


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Updating Morgan Genealogy Index

Over the last few weeks, I've been sifting thru a bunch of old family documents.

I've been meaning to upload/digitize them for a long while, and am starting to make some headway. You can check out the main page at:

And, I'll try to keep plugging-away on the rest of this stuff!

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Monday, April 09, 2007

The Union Church still stands!

Just got some email from Cliff Curley, who is still gathering material on pioneer families.

I had mentioned to him last week that the old Union Church built to house all the congregations in Pine Castle back in 1900, had been moved many years ago to a spot near Lake Whippoorwill on Narcoossee Road.

Back in those days, there weren't enough Baptists, Methodists, or Missionary Alliance folks to warrant building separate churches. So, they used a single building, and rotated circuit riding preachers. All denominations attended regardless of who was preaching.

Anyway, it didn't take Cliff long to find the "new" site of this historic structure.

He snapped this picture late yesterday afternoon.

Pretty cool to think it's still being used more than a century after it was built!

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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Finding your peeps

I think that's the street definition for "genealogy."

Anyway, the Birmingham Public Library has put together an amusing little movie about "Finding your peeps" that I thought was appropriate for the holiday:

Happy Easter!

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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Family Secrets

A co-worker is uncovering some old family secrets, which brought to mind a book I read a few years ago when I uncovered some old family secrets of my own.

Sometimes, we amateur genealogists uncover "too much info," and I found the book helpful in dealing with those situations. The author was John Bradshaw, and the title was "Family Secrets: What you don't know CAN hurt you." I think it was eventually made into a PBS series.

Anyway, I promised to bring the book in to work on Monday, so had to do some digging thru the "archives" today! Finally found it, and re-read a particularly appropriate section on projection before putting the book on my foyer table so I'd remember to take it to work next week.

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Friday, April 06, 2007

More pictures from Saturday

After yesterday's post, I have received some additional photos from Dad's services on Saturday. I have posted them at:


Thursday, April 05, 2007

Thanks to Cliff Curley

He took these photos of the military honors rendered to Dad this past weekend:

And, he was kind enough to share them with us at breakfast this morning while we discussed the pioneer families project he's working on for our local PBS station (Channel 24).

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Oh, yeah . . . GO GATORS!

In all the hubbub of the last few weeks, I am afraid I was remiss in overlooking the great Gator victory on Monday night.

Four words:

Ohio State? Gator Bait!

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Dad's online memorial

As mentioned in a previous post, Dad has an online memorial at . For those of you who were unable to attend services this weeknd, you can see all the photos that were featured in his video. (Don't feel too bad, because I've heard from some of the folks sitting in the back of the chapel that they couldn't see them, anyway!) I'm told you may purchase your own copy of the video on DVD thru this site. And, there's also a guestbook.


Monday, April 02, 2007

Way to go Sabrina!

My friend Sabrina Martinez is getting serious about her family history research, and has created a cool new web page:

Check it out, and sign the guest book!


Sunday, April 01, 2007

What a difference 24 hours makes

Ok, I'm not April-Fooling you when I say what a great day it's been around here.

The funeral is over. I'm back at home in Apopka. And, the Gators are going to the national championship game tomorrow!

Hopefully, things will get back on an even keel again.

Thanks to everyone who made yesterday as bearable as possible.

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