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The Ellen Payne Odom Genealogy Library Family Tree
Coastal Georgia Genealogical Society
News Update November 2002


Y2.2K NEWS11   283 Moss Oak Lane ST SIMONS ISLAND GA 31522   NOVEMBER 2002

November 10th marks our last scheduled meeting for 2002, we'll meet at 2PM, College Place United Metho-dist Church on Altama Avenue, Brunswick. Our Mayor, Hon.Brad Brown will bring the program, and will tell some things about his search for family history. A short business meeting to set up our Year 2003 schedule will be included. Bill Smith will preside. NOTE: Plans for a Christmas gathering this year have been set aside.

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SEPTEMBER 15 th MEETING at College Place United Methodist Church on Altama Avenue, Brunswick was a "Show and Tell". Almost everybody brought an example of their more successful genealogy, and a feeling of good genealogy in action put a happy smile on our faces ( ;>) [well, maybe I didn't smile all that much] . We will do more of this show and tell, and those of us aching for sympathy or acclamation may yet find it in a future meeting. We all can learn something! First-time visitors Glenda and Robert Jones appeared to enjoy the spirited discussions, and hoped to be at our next meeting. We armed them with a September NewsLetter and put them on October's letter mailing list.

E-COMMERCE UPDATE: in a story by Writer Bob Tedeschi for the New York Times, dropped off by Dot Fowler for this NewsLetter there are some interesting facts and figures on the increasing prof-itability of genealogy software companies.

In the late 1900s genealogical websites began a subscription charge for the use of their more desirable family information they were collecting from users and other sources. Since that time, they have amassed more than a million paid subscript-ions, and annual revenue nearing $100 million. Family history is now among the fastest growing and more profitable niches of the commercial Internet..

National Genealogical Society President Curt Witcher is not alone in believing that the internet has truly fueled this activity because it's made easy the transfer of data, collaboration and research without traveling around. Ancestry services experts believe there are at least 60 million people engaged in creating family histories in the United States alone. Few other categories of service have been able to induce consumers to pay for subscriptions in as great numbers as genealogy has.

Largest beneficiary of the genealogical fervor is

MyFamily.com, parent company of Ancestry.com . They began offering subscriptions in 1997, and presently have about 850,000 paid subscribers. About half of Ancestry.com's information is free, while users annually pay up to $190 to access data such as census taker's completed forms from 1790 through 1930. [Ed: of course they need to keep some information free, since their family database is so dependent upon freely given family charts and data from new and old users]

MyFamily.com's CEO, Tom Stockham, is former President of a dating service. He helped implement their e-mail registry where prospective dating partners could match up. In similar fashion, early 2003 will see Ancestry.com's new matching service searching genealogical records on behalf of its users and notifying them when it finds relevant information.

MyFamily.com expects to report around $60M in revenue this year.

A&E Television Networks' Genealogy.com is another genealogy site that appears to be making money. The History Channel, also owned by A&E, airs the commercials for Genealogy.com and appears to be a vital factor in their profitability.

It is said that the more information a service provides, the closer its operators must monitor pricing.

WILKES COUNTY AREA GRAVESITES: are being hunted down, grave by grave, for the past 22 years by 88 year old J. Russell Slaton. A former farmer, with no other hobbies, he hopes to catalog every grave in Wilkes County by "sifting through deeds and wills, interviewing neighbors, and poking around remote woodlands with his walking stick." [gotta', get me one of them sticks that walks along with ya'].

Head Librarian, Celeste Stover, at Wilkes Co's Mary Willis Library says that she sends people to Slaton every week to talk and get his help in tracking down their family history. Many of his tips come from hunters who have stumbled across a grave or an interesting pile of rocks in the woods. Slaton feels compelled to take a look.

Mr. Slaton compiled and published a pamphlet, Vanishing Sites of Old Wilkes, in 1996 which they say is available at the library [what they don't say is whether or not the book is available for sale there]. When he helps someone, he does it without charge.

One facet of Wilkes County history that Slaton likes to quote is the fact that explorer Meriwether Lewis once lived there with his stepfather [and we didn't even know Meriwether Lewis had a stepfather].

- adapted from an Associated Press story in the Oct.31st Florida Times-Union.

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THEY MOW IN THE AFTERGLOW: Former CGGS member Joyce VanMeter, who moved sometime ago to Virginia's Shenandoah County, sent us her once-a-month Bryce Mountain Courier with an interesting story on local restoration of a former slave burial ground, Kipps Cemetery.

Volunteers enjoy the cleanup work, and agree, "When we come up here after work to mow, we sometimes sit and watch the sun go down. It's a peaceful spot." Massanutten Mountain and the Shenandoah River "fill your vision" from there.

The land which Jacob Gips (Kipps), son of German-born George Gips, purchased to farm in 1784, following his service in the Revolutionary War, had a cemetery on it for the family slaves who kept the farm running. The whites and the blacks have always been close in the local community, and when the Kipps Cemetery was rediscovered during a Smithsonian archeological study of another New Market, Virginia cemetery, they decided to work together to protect and restore Kipps. The new owner of the land became involved, and even built a new fence to protect the cemetery from his cows.

A memorial marker is to be erected to honor those graves that are without markers.

[This story by Bill Vaughan, one of the white "movers and shakers" of the project, has this to say about the story: "This information is published here in the hopes that some of their ancestors may learn of their burial site and the effort to restore it. It's not my place to change anything, says Bill. If we can find ancestors, we would like to work with them."].

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MELUNGEON ANCESTRY EXPLAINS IT: most of us have heard of those early American settlers, the Melungeons, claimed by some to be the descendants of stranded Spanish and Portuguese left behind at the Santa Elena Colony near present-day Beaufort, SC in 1586, some 20 years before the founding of Jamestowne.

[Beth Gay uses the Melungeon story for her column for September 1st Prime Time News-magazine for the Florida Times-Union.] Here's how she begins:

"Here's an idea for you to explore if your family has an Indian grandmother/grandfather story that you've been unable to prove. This idea is even more explicitly for you if those ancestors lived in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia or West Virginia. The answer to your own genealogical mystery may be 'Melungeon'. What is that?

Dr. N. Brent Kennedy says 'Intriguing evidence accumulated by the Melungeon Research Team (co-sponsored by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville and VanDer Kloot Film and Television in Atlanta) strongly suggests that they were who they had always claimed to be : the descendants of stranded ....settlers left behind at the Santa Elena Colony.

Several hundred additional Iberian prisoners, including a large number of Moors who used their own word - Melungeon - to describe themselves, were set ashore at Roanoke Island in 1586 by Sir Francis Drake. It is possible this second population made its way to Santa Elena Colony, since it almost certain they would have known of the existence and location of Santa Elena and it would have been nat-ural for them to seek refuge there'.

Dr. Kennedy's personal story is an interesting one. A profesor at Old Dominion University at Wythville,VA, [are there two ODUs in Virginia? We had an ODU in Norfolk,VA, and your Editor attended there after Highschool] Dr. Kennedy became unwell and sought medical help. He was told he had a disease possible only if you were of Mediterranean descent. He was flabbergasted, as his name is Kennedy, and he always assumed he was of Scots-Irish ancestry.

This was the beginning of his book, The Melungeons: The Resurrection of a Proud People.

Dr. Kennedy's book says that the Melungeons were a people who almost certainly intermarried with Powhatans, Pamunkeys, Creeks, Catawbas, Yuchis and Cherokees to form what some have called, perhaps a bit fancifully, a new race.

I strongly suspect, says Beth, that I am Melungeon, and my first inkling of this came at the beauty shop. My hair is baby-fine and absolutely will not curl. After years of permanent waves, sleeping on curlers, hair spray, hair mousse and tortuous curling irons, a kind beautician said, 'Why do you try to have curly hair? You have Indian hair and no matter what you do, it won't curl.'

Beth's doctor confirmed that those of Native American heritage and Asian heritage have hair that is flat like a piece of paper when studied under the microscope. Europeans have hair that is round like a pencil.

Beth declairs that in her years and years of genealogy, she never found a clue as to where this hair came from, until she came upon Dr. Kennedy's book. She says, "Imagine my amazement when I read that some of the common Melungeon surnames are Gibson, Howell, Mullins, Hendrix, and Clemmons. All of these names appear in my father's genealogy, and all are common Melungeon names.

My father, Daniel Clifton Palmer, told me that his family was Spanish. Remember those Portuguese? Recent research says that the Melungeons have Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Moor, Berber, Jewish and Arab ancestry.

You might want to read Dr. Kennedy's book for insight on your own heritage."

Beth says there is a website on Melungeons:

Melungeon-L-request@rootsweb.com Or: Melungeon-D-request@rootsweb.com where you can subscribe.

Today there are many books available on Melungeons, including a work of fiction first published in 1965 by Jesse Stewart entitled Daughter of the Legend Write to The Jesse Stewart Foundation, PO Box 391, Ashland, KY 41114 for information.

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OBITS FOR A CHARTER CGGS MEMBER:

Jean White Hotch May 2, 1920
October 29,2002
Interment - Palmetto Cemetery

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Your editor was able to attend the beautiful service and meet Jean's family. She had three sons, John, Doug and William. John flew from Rotorua, New Zealand with his spouse. Doug and William came from McDonough and Atlanta, respectively, with their spouses, Shirley and Carol and some of the children. Jean's sister JoAnn came from Jekyll Island. CGGS will miss Jean.

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FEDERATION OF GENEALOGICAL SOCIE-TIES RECORDS PRESERVATION AND ACCESS WEBSITE (Launched on November 4, 2002): http://www.fgs.org/fgsrecords.htm

"....to keep delegates and all genealogists informed of world-wide issues relating to the preservation and access of records of genealogical and historical value. (The new FGS site) will feature the following main categories:

  1. Who we are and How we serve you.

  2. Formal actions, opinions and activities.

  3. State-by-State reporting.

  4. International issues.

  5. Stratigies for Records Preservation.

  6. Strategies for Access.

  7. National Reporting.

  8. Panic Button.

At the State level, the information will continue to narrow in focus.

1. Background Information.
2. Record Retention Schedules.
3. County-by-County reporting.
4. State Liaisons.
5. Current Issues.
6. Legislation.
7. Core Records to be Retained.
8. Vital Records information.
9. Panic Button.

To start, there is a lot of data to gather. The site will launch as they are able to collect data. One good example is Linda McCleary's Arizona liaison site. [FGS wants people to see the good things they plan to do -. Jacksonville Genealogy Society is a paying member].


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