Thursday, March 31, 2011

Awards and Awardees - Sharing the love

I've been honored recently to receive awards from some of my favorite fellow bloggers and tardy in acknowledging and thanking them. Nick Gombash, who writes both Nick Gombash's Genealogy Blog AND the new Official Blog of the Hungary Exchange AND runs the outstanding Hungary Exchange website gave me the Ancestor Approved award.

Many thanks to Nick. If you're doing research in Hungary or it's former Empire check out his work. I was fortunate to receive this award last December and wrote about it here.

The One Lovely Blog Award has been making the rounds of genealogy blogs.  I have been flattered to have been given the award by several of my fellow bloggers in the last couple weeks, each of whom has a distinct voice and writes a blog I thoroughly enjoy following.

A thank you to each of them. Receiving this from such strong bloggers truly pleases me. I urge you to check out their blogs.

The award was started a little over two years ago at Works of Art by Sara and included the following rules.

  • Add the logo to your blog.
  • Link to the person from whom you received this award
  • Nominate 7 or more blogs
  • Leave a message on their blog, letting them know they are "One Lovely Blog"! 
Here in genea-world the rules have been adapted to acknowledge new (or new to me) bloggers. I've spent the last few days reading some of the newer blogs listed at Geneabloggers. There are dozens and dozens of interesting ones but a few really stood out because of a particular post. I am passing the "One Lovely Blog" award on to the following blogs (listed in no particular order) and the posts that caught my eye -

Check them out! 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Motor Frolics

I am not a car person and have no stories of adventures, shenanigans or derring-dos worthy (or fit) for Jasia's 104th Carnival of Genealogy topic of Cars As Stars of Our Family History II. But I do have my Sawyer aunts' photo albums to mine and mine I have! I leave it to those with more expertise than I to identify makes and models. The dates I have assigned are only guesses and could be very, very wrong.

Aunt Selma's album includes photographs that appear to be from around 1920. Many of the photographs include girls and young women in a uniform. Here some of the girls are on an outing. The tree appears to be bloom so it was probably early spring.

Schoolgirl Outing c. 1920. East Tennessee.

Aunt Mary Kathryn's album is something of a hodgepodge. It covers a wider time period and was assembled long after the photographs were taken. Mary Kathryn, an advocate of frolics at all times, kept photographs of family picnics, outings with friends and general horseplay. Her photographs include the requisite poses made iconic to my generation by Bonnie and Clyde though without the guns and cigars. Mary Kathryn's hemline seems quite short for the late '30s, but she looks older than she would have been during the flapper era. Perhaps fashion trends arrived late along the banks of the Nolichucky.

Winter Outing, c. 1935. East Tennessee

Mary Kathryn on a summer outing, c. 1938. East Tennessee.

This photograph is the easiest to date because my grandfather took it while living in Oregon from 1925 to 1928. He and some friends would drive into the mountains on their days off, hike and picnic. He sent photos of their outings home to his family in Tennessee. He shot this one looking back down the mountain to the car they left parked on the side of the road.

Oregon, c. 1926

This final is my favorite  - Mary Kathryn certainly knew the best use of a car! It was taken in Jefferson City, TN when she worked at Carson-Newman College. It may have been homecoming. Whatever the event, she and her hat rode in style. She reminds me a bit of the Queen Mother.

Mary Kathryn McKenzie, date unknown. Jefferson City, TN

Friday, March 25, 2011

Why I blog and who's behind those Foster Grants?

I suppose the question is more do I blog, rather than why. I've been otherwise engaged for several weeks and my goals for this year have been shot full of holes. Still, I've been inching back toward my piles of geneastuff, reviewing my DNA results at 23andMe and catching up on some blog reading. Kathy Reed at Family Matters posted a wonderful piece reflecting on blogging and awards that got me thinking about the whys of blogging.

I began blogging for the glaringly obvious reason that I have some things to say about the families I've been researching for more than thirty years. Some posts have been written to correct mistaken family trees and histories metastasizing throughout internet. Some are cousin bait (I do so love that phrase), though more are aimed at the family I know than those I've yet to meet. Most posts have simply been an effort to share what has fascinated me about my kinfolk with anyone who might care.

Two photographs I consciously look at every day are of my mother and great-aunt (in a location familiar to most family historians) and of a cousin I met when visiting Berezovo, the village where my grandfather was born.

Mary Kathryn Sawyer McKenzie and Mother c. 1990
Researching is so ingrained a part of my being that I expected to find a genetic link in my DNA results, perhaps on the 15th chromosome near the snp that says I'm a fast metabolizer of caffeine. I'm definitely a carrier. I feel an obligation to preserve and present the work done by my aunts, parents and grandmothers. The photo of Mother and Mary Kathryn encourages me. I'm a big fan of the sunglasses, too.

Paternal cousin, 1992
My cousin knew my grandfather before he left Berezovo, knew the man he was before he became defined by immigration. I look at her photograph, sitting in her daughter's home in the Ukraine with her rosy cheeked great-granddaughter peeking from the doorway, and know that I want my children to have a sense of the world my grandparents left. They never heard the accented voices I heard, never celebrated a traditional Easter, never smelled the incense and heard the music of the liturgies. I blog to preserve the fragments I know, to present the fragments I find.

For a happily solitary person (hermit and antisocial are other words that come to mind) I'm finding the social aspects of blogging engaging.  When I began I saw no reason to share any information about myself - including my name. But I have come to "know" other bloggers as I read their posts, to care about them and the families they write about with such love, laughter and even acerbity.

I've spent several days mulling over anonymity as even my blog title went AWOL for a time. I am sharing my name and genetic information with complete strangers - at times it feels I'm standing on street corners tossing it to the winds. It seems absurd to hide behind Nolichucky Roots any longer - and it's such a mouthful. Especially when compared to Susan Clark (curtsying and saying how 'de do).

Monday, March 21, 2011

"Miraculous Results of Prayer" - Amanuensis Monday

Thanks to John at Transylvanian Dutch who originated the Amanuensis Monday meme, providing a framework (and nudge) for transcribing family records, news clippings and other treasures.

The following article appeared in The Morning Star & Catholic Messenger (New Orleans, LA)  Sunday, 25 Jan 1874 on page 3 and was found through the Chronicling America project of the Library of Congress.

Miraculous Results of Prayer.

[St. Louis Watchman]

Tyndall and the followers of Tyndall have been denying the efficacy of prayer, and have been calling for test of an hospital ward with prayers, against an hospital ward without prayer. The challenge of course has been disregarded. Tyndall was no_ entitled to any notice inasmuch as he had no reason to offer for his conclusions beyond his own infidel presumption.

We have already referred the Tyndall school to the miracles, the fruit of earnest and sincere prayer, that were daily reported as being witnessed at the waters of Lourdes and elsewhere. We now invite the attention of the members of that school that may be enlightening St. Louis by their presence, to two occurrences that have lately taken place in the suburbs of the city; and which being great and sudden cures of deep seated and long existing disease, the subjects thereof attribute to prayer earnestly and continuously addressed.

The first was the case of a girl long paralysed, whose mother despairing of aid in any other way carried her in her arms to the Church of St. Alphonsus, Grand Av., about a month since and asked Father Meredith to do something for the child. Father Meredith said he could do nothing for her, but prayed over the child and directed her to make a novena to "Our Lady of Perpetual Succour."

The mother took away the child and returned about two weeks since, and saying she had made the novena, again called on Father Meredith to do something for the child, that was suffering very much. The Father expressed his sorrow that he could not alleviate the sufferings of the child, but gave a medal, and desired her to renew the novena. She has since returned to Father Meredith, having made the novena, with the child by the hand cured and perfectly well.

The second case was that of Mary Dolan who in September came to St. Alphonsus Church. She complained that she was suffering so that she could not walk without help and had thirteen ulcerous holes in her leg, and asked the Father Superior to give her some relief in the name of God. She felt quite disappointed when he told her that he could do nothing, but that she should appeal to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour who could help her if that was the will of God. The Father read the prayers for the sick and giving her a medal told her to make a novena to Our Lady of Perpetual Succour. She was assisted away and has since returned, her leg being perfectly healed, and able to do her work.

Those are two cases, both of which bear strong and it may be seen, conclusive evidence, that the cures were wrought by Divine Intervention. The diseases in each case were of long standing, matters of notoriety in their respective neighborhoods and apparently incurable by merely human means. The only explanation is the one we have mentioned.

Notes: Father William Meredith, C.SS.R, was my husband's great-great-great uncle, half-brother to his great-great-grandmother Margaret Meredith Palmer. You can read about his early life here and his life as priest here.
John Tyndall from Wikipedia
John Tyndall (1820-1893) was an Irish born physicist and author whose thought provoking and controversial works analyzed Darwin and natural law, religion and prayer. His book The Prayer-gauge debate (1876) is available on-line. The website The Victorian Web has a post about Tyndall and a transcription of his most famous (sixty page!) speech, The Belfast Address which was given in 1874. For a differing present day perspective on Tyndall and the controversy he sparked see John H. Leinhard's Science, Religion and John Tyndall.

From Wikimedia Commons
The history of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour is described in this article transcribed from The Catholic Encyclopedia.  The Marian visions at Lourdes took place in 1858 and healings were reported soon after.

"Miraculous Results of Prayer," The morning star and Catholic messenger (New Orleans [La.]), January 25, 1874, Chronicling America online archive ( : accessed 18 September 2010), Page 3.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Scattered thoughts and daffodils

Some rights reserved by E>mar
I feel rather like one of the daffodils in my yard pushing through the clay soil's surface and this week's snow. I can feel the warmth, know the sun is up there somewhere and am working my way up.

Life briefly interrupted my research and blogging. A good thing. I'm more than a little fond of the living folks that populate my hearth and heart and am in no rush for them to be promoted to a better world. Fortunately, they feel the same way and whatever powers are operating in the universe concur. Blessings and thanks to them all.


During my absence, ever so quietly, my blog turned one year old. No candles - not even the belly rubs my dog got on her birthday last week. I am quite pleased by that reserved milestone. My motivation for beginning this blog was to share the information and documents I had gathered from my relatives and some small victories in my research. While I've been gone people searching the web for information on William Pereksta, Edward Turner, Philip Mulkey, the Sinking Creek Baptist Church and slavery in Washington County, TN have landed on my blog. I hope they've found useful information or hints.  I do hope to see a search for one of the women of our families at some point. How 'bout Margaret Meredith?


I did receive notice that the DNA sample I sent into 23andMe was ready to review. I've been working through the information presented. The medical information is far more interesting than I'd suspected, though there is little new information - with the exception that I am unusually sensitive to a medication that has had great prominence in our household these last few weeks. Explains some of our recent adventures...

I am beginning to contact some of the 985 "cousins" that were identified.  985.  Really.  I hope the 800 plus identified as "distant" aren't waiting up.

One early success connected me to someone with deep Washington County, TN roots and some common surnames. I'm looking forward to seeing if we can make any paper connection for we appear to descend from previously unlinked Duncan and Mulkey families. You know the situation - same name, same place, same time but no evidence connecting the two families. Maybe the minute snip of DNA we share will point us toward a connection.


I doubt I'll ever catch up on blog reading, and it will take a few days at least to pull out my working piles that were stowed away. I did see Family Tree Magazine's announcement of its 40 Best Genealogy Blogs and raised a cup of coffee in honor of them all. Superb choices and great reading. Congratulations!

Blog reading will be even more fun while I'm searching for some new blogs to read. With over 1700 blogs listed at Geneabloggers I know I've barely scratched the surface. But two of my favorite bloggers (love fest!) Yvonne at The Mashburn Collection and Margel at 2338 Washington Blvd. have awarded me the "One Lovely Blogger" award. I need to pass it on to 15 new to me blogs - and frankly I'm so out of the loop right now I can barely remember my own blog's name. Give me a week or two to get my head above ground and I'll do you both proud. Thank you Yvonne and Margel. The camaraderie and support from other genealogy bloggers has been the single most exciting and unexpected gift of this last year.

Happy Spring!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Four Sawyer Girls, 1893 - Wordless Wednesday

Four daughters of Gee and Catherine Conway Sawyer
Emma, Selma, Clevel and Lillian (standing behind) c. 1893