Sunday, May 30, 2010

Memorial Day Tribute

To my uncles, Bryant and Leroy, cousins Warren and Clarence who gave their lives while serving in the military during WWII.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Too big

I've been doing genealogy research for way too long. I've used several different software programs over 17 years and have converted the old data from one software program to another, from one version to another.

I've noticed some problems with my data file recently so I do backups on a regular basis. I decided to look at it to see how large it really is.

I have 60,625 people listed in my data file. The earliest record is William de Fulford who was born about 1100.

There are 36 generations of families. There are 6,666 different surnames. There are 20,050 marriage records.

The average life span of the people in my file was 58 years, 2 months.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Shark Tale

My dad's first cousin, Edgar Green was born in Lowndes County Georgia but grew up in Cortez, Florida. His father ran the Manatee River Fish Company in Cortez so Edgar knew all about fishing.

Edgar fished for sharks off the beach of Anna Maria Island. The tourist who flock to that beach today wouldn't want to know there are so many sharks swimming around them so it is rarely mentioned in the local newspapers.

Back then sharks were caught for their oil, much like whales had been. They would setup a big cauldron on the beach and cook the the flesh down to oil, bottle it up and sell it to pharmaceutical companies.

This photo is of the Great White shark Edgar caught on Christmas Eve 1937. He caught it on a fishing line less than 100 yards from the beach. Edgar was by himself that day and so had to fight it alone, finally tiring it out and using his skiff, pulled the shark up to the end of Longboat Beach.
The size of this shark has been debated ever since. Some say it was the largest Great White ever caught in North American waters. Edgar said he laid his fishing oar next to the shark and it was longer than the oar by another 6 feet. That would have made it 22 to 24 feet long. The record Great White caught in North America, most people recognize today, is a 20 foot shark caught off Canada in 1988.

Edgar was a pretty successful fisherman and caught some other large sharks. This picture shows him with a large hammerhead.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mortality Schedules

There are newspaper articles almost weekly about someone objecting to the 2010 census. Some complain of big brother getting too much information. Others worry about identity theft.

The census takers in the mid 1800s obtained a lot more information and considering the literacy level of the people at that time, it is somewhat amazing that they were able to do it.

One interesting part was the Mortality Schedule. No, it wasn't an appointment set by the Death Panel. Those hadn't started yet.

It was a list of the people who died in the year before the regular census was taken. It listed the name, age, race, sex, cause of death, place of birth and physician, Can you imagine someone going door to door today obtaining this information?

Florida as a State doing it's own census for 1885 and 1895, between the Federal census, also did a mortality schedule in 1885. The one for Taylor County Florida has several of my relatives on it.

Holly Ezell Blanchard, my great great great grandmother is listed although her name is shows as Hattie. She died in October 1884. The cause of her death is shown as fall - crippled. She was 87 years old.

Samantha Green Evans, sister of my great grandfather Andrew Jackson Green, also died in October 1884 at the age of 27 from malarial fever.

John Elkin Pridgeon, father in law of my great great aunt Dora Elizabeth Hogan Pridgeon, died on October 25, 1884 at age 64 from Pneumonia. His youngest son, Floyd Pridgeon, died in July from a fever at age 8.

So this one sheet of paper lists five people who are related to my family. Considering that I only know of one of them having a marked grave, this paper is the only way anyone would have ever known what happened to them.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

One Hundred Thirty

Amazing as it sounds, but today is my Grandpa Green's 130th birthday! I've always remembered his birthday because it is close to mine.

He died on July 8, 1973 at 93 years, 1 month, 22 days old. They use to put the exact age on grave markers but for some reason that went out of style. I've seen some that didn't have the date of birth at all but only the age in years, months and days.

Grandpa was 76 years old when I was born so he was always an old man to me. I've often wished I had an opportunity to sit down and talk to him. Many of the questions I have about my Green ancestors he probably could have answered.

He enjoyed keeping up with politics and seemed to be well read. He also enjoyed poetry. I have several poems he wrote and sent to either my Dad or an uncle while they were away from home during WW II.

I'm still learning about him as I continue my family research. In 1910 he was a census enumerator and I've got copies of several census forms in his handwriting.

I found a Taylor County Florida business license for him dated 1913 saying he had a general store. A few years later, in 1918 when he filled out a WW I draft registration card he listed his employment as a clerk at Faulkner Brothers General Merchants in Perry, Florida. The 1920 census listed his occupation as School Attendance Officer.

A Rowell cousin told me he remembered a story from his father that Grandpa sold Singer sewing machines back in the 1920s and had the distribution rights for all of north Florida. They were the old pedal powered model of the singer sewing machine.

I obtained a copy of his social security application dated April 28, 1939 that showed he was working at City Billiard Parlor in Perry. On the 1930 and later census he was listed as a farmer. That is what I knew of him, although I would not have called it a farm. In his old age, he grew vegetables on several acres of land in back of his small house. He sold them to the local grocery store. He would gather what he could carry, put them in a sack and walk to the store with them. For as long as I knew him he never owned a car.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Grandpa's Shotgun

I obtained my Grandpa Green's shotgun recently. He died in 1973 and my father took the gun and kept it until he died in 2001. I am pretty sure my Dad never fired it. He kept it in his closet.

The gun ended up with another relative when my Dad died and he left it out in a leaky garage. When I received it, it was rusted up and pretty much ruined. It was really a shame to see it in such bad condition. I am not a gun person and have never been interested in guns or hunting. Mary definitely feels the same and is not happy at having a gun in the house.

I had it in the closet, with a gun lock attached, until a recent vacation when I decided to see about getting it repaired. I talked to Steve Lawrence, Mary's cousin and gun collector who gave some good advise about how to clean and repair the damage.

After getting the gun so that it looked respectable I decided to see what it was. The markings on the gun said it was made by Harrington and Richardson. It was a 12 gauge, break open shotgun. I wasn't sure how old the gun was. The patent on the manufacturer's imprint was dated February 27, 1900.

I contacted a gun parts dealer and they told me it was made between 1900 and 1916. With those dates I wondered where my Grandpa would have gotten it. He was only 20 years old in 1900. It is possible he bought it then but as I looked at the gun I noticed someone had carved an "H" on the underside of the stock.

So now there was a mystery. There wasn't anyone in the immediate family with the initial H. My Grandpa had a brother named John Henderson Green who died in 1918. I don't know if he went by the name Henderson. Of course my Grandpa Green's grandfather was James Henderson Hogan. So maybe the gun belonged to his grandfather. James Henderson Hogan was a civil war veteran, Sergeant in the famed Florida 2nd Battalion and he died in 1918. I have no way to prove it one way or the other but maybe this shotgun belonged to him. So instead of being my Grandpa's gun it could have belonged to my Great Great Grandfather!

Monday, May 3, 2010

New feature on the blog

At the suggestion of Geneabloggers who listed Southern Greens this week on their web page, I've added a "followers" link.

Look for it on the left and click on it & you will be notified of future posts and updates to the blog. Feel free to share it with your friends.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


Sometimes you need some extra motivation to do something.

I recently met, at least online, two distant relatives who were interested in researching my Wilson family. They were both related via siblings of my great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Wilson.

Kathy Wilson Rigsby is a cousin descending from Moses Wilson Jr., Ben Wilson's brother. Lucy Williams is related to Cincinnati Cohen Wilson the wife of George Newton Wilson, another of Ben's brothers. The three brothers were part of the 25 or so children of Moses Wilson, Sr.

Kathy and Lucy both had some information on the Wilson family I didn't have and I had some they didn't have. For several months we shared emails and research and in the process located most of the other Wilson siblings and many of their descendants. We also located the burial locations for many of them and between the three of us obtained photos of the markers.

I probably could have done this on my own, but it was a lot easier and certainly more enjoyable to do it together.