Thankful Thanksgiving Day Thursday

As I sit here in my home this Thanksgiving, I want to thank my ancestors.  I have been exploring backwards for several years now and every time I discover a new gem or connect with a distant cousin, I am thankful for those that have gone before me.  I just wanted to write a short bit about a few.

 

I am thankful for my great-grandfather Peter Kersten for embarking across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life here in America.  He was 21-year-old, and in his native country of Germany, it was not the familial custom to acquire land from his parents, so he was left with little options.  He chose to come to the new land, America.  The year was 1893, it was known as the Progressive Era, a period of widespread social activism and political reform in the United States.  Support for prohibition was growing as was woman’s suffrage (source:  The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project).  The irony is Peter was a brewer by trade until Prohibition (1920-1933).  According to the 1930 US Census, he was an Elevator Operator.  The effect of prohibition was so profound that he had to change occupations.

Kersten Family

Kersten Family

I am also thankful for my grandfather, Lacy Luke Sublett, he was born in 1909, he was too young for World War I, but when the Second World War came along, he had incurred an injury to his leg that would keep him home.  This had to be difficult to see your other friends and neighbors go off to fight the Axis powers.  I consider him the family chameleon.  He was born in the country on a tobacco farm but made his way to the city of Lynchburg at a young age.  He started out on his own living in Lynchburg as a shipping clerk in 1921.  He married his first wife in 1931.  By 1934 he was working as a Life Insurance Agent for Provident Relief Association of Washington D.C.  He met and married my grandmother, Odelle.  They went on to have two children, my mom and my Aunt Carol.  He worked for a couple different Insurance Agencies until he went to work for Conner Produce Company.  He continued to work for them throughout the war.

Lacy and his daughters

Lacy and his daughters

Lastly, I am thankful for Margaret Agnes Kersten, my paternal grandmother, whom I have never had a chance to meet.  She was a first generation German-American growing up on the south side of Chicago.  Her and her brother during prohibition and she came of age during the roaring 1920’s.  I often wonder how she introduced Fred Whitehead to her parents.  He was a Georgia born, Army man who was working in Chicago at the Army Recruiting Offices when they met.  He had been born and raised Baptist and Margaret was a devout Catholic.  They married and went on to have three children.

Margaret and her Parents

Margaret and her Parents

Although I often write about dead people, I am most thankful for my family that is living in my life today.  My parents are both so warm and loving.  I am so very blessed to have the best siblings and sibling in-laws, nieces and nephews.  So, take the time today to let the “family” in your life how thankful you are for them.  I am thankful for mine.

 

Source:

Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project, retrieved 11/24/19 from https://www2.gwu.edu/~erpapers/teachinger/glossary/progressive-era.cfm

 

 

 

Follow Up Friday DNA revisited

I know I haven’t written in some time.  A lot has been going on.  I was teaching a couple of online classes.  My dog, Junie passed away about 7 weeks ago after a long illness.  My niece got married.  So, a great number of factors have been keeping me away.  The biggest, is probably writers block.  I feel that I have done most of the stories that came easy.  I have to dig deeper as a writer and genealogist to get to some new ones.  I am working towards that.  But, that also means more researching and less writing.

While in Kentucky for the wedding, my mother surprised me by getting her DNA tested through Ancestry.  This was a wonderful surprise and led to many discussions during the wedding weekend with the family.  I had tested my own DNA with Ancestry several months prior.  Trying to explain the different DNA processes to others when I barely knew it myself was a challenge.  So, I came back from the trip and did some reading.  This is what I have learned as it pertains to my family.

 

First, the test that I did on my father is called a YDNA test (Family Tree DNA).  This test traces the Y-chromosome through the direct paternal line.  The reason for this was due to the fact that I have my major brick wall at the 6th great-grandfather of Samuel Whitehead.  This test only tests the Y chromosome, that is passed on through the males (in our case, Larry, Fred, Walter, George, etc.).  As a result it does not test the autosomal DNA like the Ancestry test.  The YDNA test investigates deep ancestry.  It is good for surname studies and looking at migration patterns of various Haplogroups.  It has not produced the smoking gun that I had hoped.  But, I have not given up on it yet.

Second, I tested myself with an autosomal DNA test.  This is the test that Ancestry does.  This is the test of the 22 pairs of autosomes.  These tests are used for recent ancestry, determining genetic cousins.  This test provides an admixture analysis also known as Biogeographical ancestry.  “An admixture analysis is a method of inferring someone’s geographical origins based on an analysis of their genetic ancestry (ISOGG Wiki).”  This is also the test that my mother had done.  The benefits of this genetic testing is that it tries to provide an estimate of one’s ethnicity.  This is very fun for the average person.  It is not as important for the dedicated genealogist, who is more concerned in validating connections.

Lastly, one needs to take these results with the grain of salt.  These tests are still new and the companies responsible for making these estimates are not as accurate as they will be.  By thinking of them as stepping-stones for future inquiries, you will not be unsatisfied.

 

As far as my family goes; this is what I know.

Paternally, I know I have German roots.  My father’s mother was 100% German.  The Whitehead name however has been thought to be English.  But, since I have not made a connection to Europe, it still alludes me.

Maternally, I know I have French roots.  My mother’s father’s name Sublett derives from a well-known Huguenot family, Soblet.  However, on the Moss side, I have not been able to get a connection to Europe.  The name however, lends itself to English and Welsh.

Krista   Betty  
Europe West 41% Europe West 36%
Ireland 13% Ireland 26%
Scandinavia 13% Scandinavia 22%
Great Britain 10% Great Britain 10%
Iberian Peninsula 10% Iberian Peninsula 4%
Italy/Greece 8% Italy/Greece <1%

 

The Scandinavia is the ethnicity that struck us the most, as we do not have any knowledge of having family in this region.  However, I have read recently, this is one of the areas that Ancestry has been criticized for.  According to the International Society of Genetic Genealogy,

The Genetic Ethnicity Summary (of Ancestry) consistently overestimates the Central European and Scandinavian ancestral components for people whose ancestors were from the British Isles. The ancestral component from the British Isles is overestimated for people whose ancestors were from continental Europe. Overall, the European ancestry predictions tend to be inaccurate.

Regardless, the main benefit of doing DNA testing on Ancestry is that you can link your genetic matches to your ancestry tree and that is a pretty cool feature.

 

So, I will continue to explore backwards

 

 

 

 

 

ISOGG Wiki retrieved on 9/30/16 from http://www.isogg.org/wiki

A Revolutionary Connection

One of the great things about genealogy and these National holidays is that I can put my family in the context of the times.  Therefore, this weekend as we celebrate the birth of our nation 240 years ago, I can marvel in the fact that I know that my ancestor Benjamin Sublett was a patriot fighting England for our Independence.

Benjamin was born to Pierre Louis Soblet and his wife Marte Martain on 23 April 1733 in Goochland, Virginia.  Benjamin is my fifth great-grandfather.  Benjamin was the sixth child born in this union.  His parents were Huguenots.  They fled France to Virginia in 1700.

Benjamin grew up with five brothers and a sister.  Both his parents were deceased prior to the Revolution.  Benjamin married Elizabeth Molly Jordan when he was 29 years old (24 June 1762).  Together they had nine children.

Benjamin was part of a variety of Regiments during the Revolutionary war, including the 5th and 11th Regiment.  According to a Sons of the American Revolution Membership application, Benjamin was first a Private and then a corporal in Captain James Grey’s Company of Foot; he was a Corporal of Major Stephenson’s Company.  He enlisted on 6 December 1776 and was discharged on 9 December 1779.  Benjamin has the distinction of having served under General George Washington at Valley Forge (source: Valley Forge Muster Roll).  He was discharged as a Sergeant (Cameron, 2008).

Muster Roll

Muster Roll

On 20 June 1783, Benjamin received a land grant (200 acres of land) as payment for his service to his country.  It was this land grant that moved the family to Kentucky (Kentucky Secretary of State, 2016).  Benjamin was fifty years old.  It is somewhat unclear exactly when the family moved to Kentucky.  It appears to be between 1788 and 1800. As his youngest daughter Mary Scott Sublett was born in Charlotte, Virginia on 12 February 1788 and his wife died in Kentucky in 1800.  I will have to look at deed records to get a more precise time.

Military Land Grant

Military Land Grant

Benjamin died around 1815-1816* and is buried in Highland Cemetery, Bowling Green, Warren County, Kentucky.  He was 82 years old.

*There seems to be some confusion on his date of death.  The marker indicates 1809; however, there seems to be information that there was a will dated 19 May 1815 where he bequeathed his property to his son Benjamin Branch Sublett.  His will was probated February 1816 (Source: Allen, 2008).

Benjamin Sublett Tombstone

Benjamin Sublett Tombstone

Sources:

Valley Forge Muster Roll, Retrieved on 3 of July, 2016 at     http://valleyforgemusterroll.org/muster.asp?id=VA33806

Allen, Cameron, The Sublett (Soblet) Family of Manakintown, King William Parish Virginia, 45th Anniversary Edition, 2008.

Kentucky Secretary of State, Military Register and Land Records, retrieved on July 4, 2016 at http://apps.sos.ky.gov/land/military/revwar/Revdetail.asp?Type=v&warrant=0899.0

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards!  Happy 4th of July!

Georgia Kate

Sentimental Sunday

Apparently I have the matriarchs on my mind right now.  I know historically the men have been the bread winners.  For the most part, family the women kept the home and the family together.  It was no different for Georgia.  I do love her name, Georgia Kate.

Back in 2014, I wrote about my great-grandmother Georgia Kate Holt Sublette.  We discussed her obituary that I had found.  Since then, I have found her death certificate.

Death records can be very enlightening as they tell us the cause of death as determined by a physician or a judge.  It also gives information on additional family members that we might have not any prior.

Death Certificate

Death Certificate

Georgia died on June 3, 1950, of a heart condition, myocardosis.  The death certificate indicates it was sudden.  The informant for the family information is listed as Mrs. Harry Foster, we know her better as Claudia Sublette, Georgia’s eldest child.  Georgia was 63 years old.  The death certificate also states Circulatory failure and myocardial degeneration as antecedent causes.

Georgia Sublette

Georgia Sublette

In the 1910 census, we see Georgia is living with her husband and three children, Claudia, Annie, and Lacy.  It also shows that her husband, John Thomas was a farmer.

2-Susan Holt, Georgia Sublett, Lacy and Clarice-Pete- 001

In the 1920 Census, we see that Georgia and her husband are living with their four children (Mary E, age 2; we know her as Mae) and John Thomas’s father resided with them.

In the 1930 Census, it shows the John Thomas and Georgia own the property in which they lived.  Mae and Clarice are still in the home.  Georgia’s mother, Sue Etta Wood Holt, has come to live with them.  Additionally, a boarder is also residing there, Ralph Dudley.  He is probably there to help work the land.

By following the census, 1940, in addition to Georgia’s mother, there is a nephew living in the home.   Fred Sublett, 34 years old, he is the nephew of John Thomas.  He is living in the home as a Farm Laborer.  We can presume that Fred was working the land as John Thomas was a Maintenance Patrolman for the State Highway system.  We also learn that the value of the home is $1500.  I wonder why Lacy  didn’t stay home to work the land.

Georgia Kate circa 1940's

Georgia Kate circa 1940’s

Georgia was born to Gilbert Walker Holt and Sue Etta Wood on 26 March 1883 in Naruna, Virginia.  She was the oldest of nine children.  In the 1910 census, Georgia and John Thomas Sublette are listed as married.  It seems like the approximation of their wedding date is 1901.

JT and Georgia in front of Homestead

JT and Georgia in front of Homestead

4-JT Sublett and Georgia 001

I do not have much more information than this.  So until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Never Give up on Learning

Sometimes we think we are too old to try something new. The old adage states, “You can’t teach old dog new tricks.”   Well, they never met my grandmother.

Virginia Odelle Moss was born 3 October 1916 in Petersburg, Virginia. She was not her parent’s first child, but she was the first child to survive infancy. Her parents Thomas Irving Moss and Carrie Lou Hicks went on to have three more children, Lillian, Thomas, and Margaret. I will talk more about them in a later story.

I want to share you some of the things about Odelle. She went by her middle name, I am not sure why. Anyhow, Odelle’s family moved from Petersburg to Lynchburg, Campbell County before the 1920 census. Odelle seemed to have a typical upbringing in the 20-30’s. Her senior yearbook states she was in the Honor League, Be Square Club, Girl’s Glee Club, Spanish Club, Volleyball 1933, Basketball 1933, 1934 and the Girl’s Hiking Club. She wrote a fabulous poem that is in her high school yearbook. I have tried to ascertain whether she actually wrote it or if it was one she liked. I have “googled” it to no avail, so I think it is an original.

Gypsy

Oh, to be a gypsy girl,

A life so glad and free,

Oh, to wear the tattered clothes,

Of a wondering, gay gypsy.

 

The wide, wide world before me lies,

No binding ties to keep;

Just to ride in a gypsy van,

Oh, how my heart does leap.

 

With ever the changing landscape

Moving before my eyes,

The riding sun, the song of a bird

Would make a paradise.

 

Yet when all is said and done,

Perhaps ‘twould loose its zest

To roam always like a gypsy girl,

And I’d find that home is best.

 

When my grandfather died in 1983, Odelle was 66 years old. She did not let her life as a widow define her. According to my Aunt Carol, she enrolled in the local community college and took Music and Art Appreciation classes. When she was 70, she took a beginners art class. Over the next 10 years or so, she painted a vast amount of priceless artwork. I have included several of her works below.  You will see not only how good they are, but also how we all cherish them.  They can be found in the homes of my siblings, my mother’s and my aunt’s home.

Grandma with her painting

Grandma with her painting

 

This one hangs in my brother's home

This one hangs in my brother’s home

 

This one hangs in my mother's home

This one hangs in my mother’s home

 

house on cliff-odelle-kw

This one hangs in my home.

 

This one hangs in my sister's home.

This one hangs in my sister’s home.

 

My memories of her include shopping.  She like to go shopping. I do not think she bought much, but she liked to go, go go. She would iron everything; I mean everything, even the sheets and her underwear! She loved her daughters and her grandchildren so much. Family was very important to her. Her kisses had a bit of static in them, I am not sure why. I just remember that.   Mom, Carol, others, what do you remember most about her?

 

Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

 

The wallet

I have been somewhat neglectful on my blog and genealogy lately and I was sitting here looking for some inspiration. When I opened the drawer that contained some keepsakes, I knew exactly what I would do.

A few years ago, my Aunt Carol gave me a few wallets and a coin purse of our departed loved ones. I still consider them among my most treasured keepsakes. They are a time capsule to the past. The things they hold are a clue into what was important to them at the time of their passing.

Today I picked up my grandfather’s wallet. He died in 1983, I was 14 years old.

The image on the leather wallet is of a hunting dog. He did not own dogs, so I am not sure the significance. My guess is that it was a gift. The pictures inside were somewhat predictable, school pictures of all my siblings and I, as well as my cousins. However, Lacy had multiple years worth. There was a studio portrait of my cousins together, as well as the one my family did. Additionally, there were two portrait pictures of him and his wife Odelle. A portrait of Odelle by herself. There was a small image of Jesus; this is interesting to me as I did not recall him being a religious man. In fact, I recall my grandmother going to church without him. However, since Pete Seeger’s quote about church is dear to my heart, I figured the same could be true of my grandfather. We do not have to go to church to be believe in God.

pete seeger church quote

Another image that was in the wallet is a photograph of a much younger Odelle. If I would guess, it was probably taken about the time they were courting. From my research, I know my grandfather was married before Odelle, but I do not believe he ever loved anyone as much as he loved her. I see it in his eyes. There are countless photos of them together, he always looked so in love.

3-lacy-odelle 001

Lacy and Odelle

Lacy and Odelle

Lacy and Odelle

Lacy and Odelle

Lacy and Odelle

Today I spent a few minutes thinking about my grandfather. He was the only one I met. I believe I know him better because I have been able to reminisce with his wallet.

Grandpa's wallet

Grandpa’s wallet

Virginia Odelle Moss Sublett

Virginia Odelle Moss Sublett

What is in your wallet? That is an advertisement about credit cards these days, and with the advent of mobile phones, most people do not carry images in their wallet. I do carry one. It is from a photo booth with Cheryl and my sister. We are being silly. I think after today though, I am going to find a few more to put in there. I hope you do too.

 

girls being silly

girls being silly

Until we meet again, I will be exploring backwards

 

Birthdays are a funny thing

 

We take for granted that you will always remember the day your child is born. Today, we have pictures, videos, documents to fill out, stork signs to put in our front yard. This was not always the case. If you are into genealogy, you look for birth records, these are a type of holy grail. It gives us birth information for the child. It also gives us information on the parents. The birth, death and marriage records are considered vital records. Historically states did not keep vital records until the 1900’s. Each state is different and started keeping them at different times. So, as a genealogist, you need to know what year the state in question started keeping track. Prior to vital records, people used the family bible as the place to indicate the vital records for one’s family. However, family bibles did not always last, they got lost, and they went to one family member so you might lose crucial information.

Ancestry.com recently uploaded Virginia Vital records that were previously only available individually at $12.00 a pop. I know, because I have given the state many dollars. So, the other day, I went through my family tree and tried to get these vital records for all of my Virginia ancestors.

I came across one of my great-aunts records. It was a “delayed certificate” as she was born prior to 1912, the year Virginia started recording vital records. I had her recorded as Anne Holmes Sublett. However, the record indicates that her father John Thomas Sublette and her mother Georgia Kate Holt had named her Annie Holmes Sublette (notice the “e”, we will talk about that later). Well, the funny thing is that they must have brought the family bible in with them as it indicates that the bible was published in 1902 and the mother had recorded the birth in the bible as 1908 or 1909, but they were attesting that Annie was born on 7 February 1904. I tend to believe the vital record instead of the bible because in the 1910 census, she is listed clearly as 6 years old. Lacy (my grandfather) was listed as 11/12th (meaning he was 11 months old), and that is accurate information. I do wonder why Annie’s mother got it wrong?

Annie Holmes Sublette

Annie Holmes Sublette

Okay, let’s talk about that “e.” When my ancestors first arrived in the new world their name was Soblet, but at some point the name was changed to be more phonetic, Sublette. My grand-father dropped the “e” at some point because he thought it was uppity.

I met a third cousin while blogging, his family kept the “e.” It is interesting because some of the Soblet descendents that traveled to Kentucky and Texas and beyond also dropped the “e.” I can tell you it does make researching ancestors more challenging when you have to search Soblet, Soblets, Sublet, Sublette, and Sublett to make sure you find everyone.

Annie was a character from what I understand.  Here a couple of pictures of her.  Until later, I will be exploring backwards.

 

Annie Sublette

Annie Sublette

Annie Sublett

Classy Annie Sublette

Unknown friend and Annie Sublette

Unknown friend and Annie Sublette