Sitting in a Snowstorm, Thinking of Summer

It’s been a beautiful day today, watching the snow fall from the window of my office, and now, cozied up at home in my pjs… but I can’t help but think ahead to the warm days of summer. One of my genealogy goals for 2011 is to go “on location” somewhere. The closest option was Cabell County, West Virginia… about a 6 hour drive (but only an hour or so from my grandfather’s house in southern Ohio.) I’ve also considered North Carolina, in hopes of uncovering the parents of James Hamilton Cummons. However, over the past few days, a little idea has been forming, and it seems that my husband is in favor of it (after all… I can’t haul him off to Timbuktoo, then leave him stranded while I do research the whole time, can I? Hmmm… can I? heehee).

I’m thinking of Maryland. In particular, Point Lookout, Maryland… site of the confederate prison camp where the before-mentioned James Hamilton Cummons was held POW before pledging his allegience to the Union army. You can read about Point Lookout at mycivilwar.com

What gave me the idea was a web page I ran across this weekend for the Descendants of Point Lookout POW Organization. In May, they are hosting a “pilgrimage” to the site, which could be interesting, or admitedly cheesy… so I’m not 100% sold on going THAT weekend. I think I need more information. However, the location is gorgeous, and from the sounds of it, there is plenty of interesting things to see and experience there.

Of course, on the way to Point Lookout, we would pass through the nation’s capitol, which I’ve only been privileged to see once before (and that, for only a short afternoon during my college years, with friends who were more concerned with finding the Hard Rock Cafe, than taking in American history. Thankfully, the Hard Rock was just down the street from Ford Theater, so at least I got something out of the experience.)

But for now, it’s all just a snowy evening dream. By the time warm weather comes, and it’s actually time to plan a vacation, I may have uncovered a new piece of family history, and decided on a new place to haul my dear husband!

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Genea-Goals for 2011

It’s time I get some direction with this blog, and decide where I want to go, and what I want to accomplish this year!

1. I would like to organize my blog by family names, if possible. I tend to jump around with my research, and I think it gets confusing when going back and reading through my blog. I see that you can add stand alone pages, but I’m not sure if that’s what I need or not. Does anyone have any suggestions?

2. I need to branch out. I rely so heavily on ancestry.com that when, like now, I have an expired subscription, I flounder, and my research comes to a stand still. I’ve been to other sites, had some good finds with a free trial on footnote.com, but I keep coming back to ancestry.

3. I want to blog at least once a week about my ancestry. Even if I haven’t uncovered any new information, there are stories to be told, people who need to be remembered. They deserve my attention.

4. I want to research “on location” for my Cummons ancestors, firstly in Huntington, WVA, and then on to Guilford County, North Carolina. I’ve never done any hands on research before, and won’t even know where to begin searching court house records and such like, but I can’t help but wonder what treasures are out there that haven’t made it to the internet yet!

5. Hopefully, if I can achieve goals 1-4, it will lead me to goal number 5… find concrete information on the parents of James Hamilton Cummons, and with any luck, be able to pinpoint where in Ireland my Cummons ancestors came from, and when they made it to the states!

Well, that’s a lot to accomplish, but seeing it all spelled out gives me hope that I’m moving in the right direction! It’s time to get my genealogy boots back on!

My Gran

This holiday season, my thoughts keep turning to my grandmother, my dad’s mom, Nellie Joyce Tomblin Cummons. Physically, she’s 5 hours away from me, but with alzheimers quickly eating away at her mind, she’s really much further away. On December 26th, she and my grandfather will have been married, I believe 57 years. Papaw has not always been the gentlest of men, not always the husband that women dream of marrying, but now, as the sun sets on their life together, I see him struggle to care for her and recognize the love that he’s kept tucked away for so long. Any day now, it’s going to get to the point where he can’t take it anymore, and Gran will have to be placed in a nursing home, and without the familiar things that surround her everyday, I’m sure that she will not last long. I wish that I were closer, so that I could soak in those last fleeting moments of clarity that she seems to have in the middle of the day.

I would tell her about what a thrill it was as a young girl to go with her to the laundromat, and watch all the close spin around. I’d tell her that it was all I could do, not to beg her to let me take a spin in one of the giant dryers… it looked so fun! Instead, I would settle for climbing into one of the carts you put your laundry in, and propel myself back and forth, pretending I was in a boat, with a shirt hanging from the tall metal hook for a sail.

I would tell her about how “cool” it was to have a Gran who worked for Geno’s and would bring home huge bags of imperfect pizza rolls that my cousins and I knew were in the freezer any time we got the munchies.

I would tell her thank you for allowing my cousin, Kelly, and I to pilfer through her makeup and jewelry, so that we could get dressed up and perform concerts on the back deck of her tiny trailer.

I would tell her that of all her possessions (which really weren’t many, Gran was never blessed with fine things), the things that I remember most, and would love to have someday, was her collection of Avon perfumes… the ones that come in bottles made to look like beautiful women in long, bustled dresses, and elaborate hair-dos. I would stare at those for what seemed like hours at night, dreaming up stories about the women.

I would tell her that one of the best memories of my childhood was of her, packing up Kelly and I (I was probably 14 or 15, Kelly was around 10), and taking us to Myrtle Beach for a week! I remember the thrill of driving through the tunnels that ran through the Appalachian mountains, stopping at HoJos for biscuits and gravy, and the little green, beachfront motel we stayed in. Everyday, Gran would bake in the sun, (and sleep!) while Kelly and I ran up and down the beach, knowing that we had the best grandmother in the world!

There are so many other things I would tell her, but more than anything else, I just pray that I have one more opportunity to tell her how much I love her. Merry Christmas, Gran!

Celebrating Irish Heritage (Random pics from the Dublin Irish Festival)

Well, it’s been months since my blog has been visited, but today’s a slow day, and after taking a break for a while, the genealogy bug is biting again! I actually started this post back in September, but had trouble getting pictures to load, so I thought I’d better get this post up before moving on to meatier things! I hope you enjoy!
On August 7 and 8, I made my first trip to Dublin, Ohio’s Irish Festival. The festival actually began on the 6th, and my best-y (along with her sister) went down the first night. I had another commitment on Saturday morning, so I joined my friend (her sister had already headed back home) that afternoon. I had heard about the festival for a couple of years, but had no idea how large it was… or how much fun it would be! In the 30 some hours I was there, there was no end to the good music, dance, story telling – I even attended an Irish “wake” (I say that in quotes because you couldn’t feel too badly for the passing of the stuffed character they had laid out inside the tent!) Here are some random pictures, and hopefully a video or two if I can get them to upload, of the weekend I spent celebrating my heritage:

I got to meet up with the younger generation of Malone cousins!

Enter the Haggis!

Men in kilts! (There were many… and some looked better than others! *grin*)

Dancers!

Girsha – these gals were great!

The Clancy Legacy, for those who enjoy more traditional Irish tunes.

I didn’t get to see Gaelic Storm, since they performed on Friday evening, but I was happy to discover Scythian… talk about a high octane performance! These guys were a ton of fun!

And the crown jewel of the weekend… meeting St. Patrick himself! Ha Ha!

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – I Write Like…

I had been seeing comments on other blogs I follow about “Genea-Musings” but I just recently subscribed for myself. I guess each Saturday night, there is a fun challenge posted, and as usual I’m a day late and a dollar short, but I thought I’d participate.
The gist of last night’s challenge was as follows:
1. Find something you have written that you are really proud of. Copy it.
2. Go to the website http://iwl.me/ and paste your text into the box.
3. Tell us what famous author you write like.

Well, I’d say my best written work would be some children’s stories I’ve written, but I didn’t have access to those at the moment. Instead, I chose one of my better blog posts to copy and paste. You can reference that post here.

And as for the analysis:

I write like
James Joyce

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Oh yeah… I write like a proper Irishman! HeeHee In case you don’t know much about James Joyce, here’s a mini biogrpahy.

Reflections on the 4th

What a terrible blogger I am! It’s not that I’ve slacked off on my research, on the contrary, I’ve made some very notable discoveries of late, but having the time to sit down with a clear head, and blog about these finds… well, that’s where I’m having problems!

However, today being the 4th, and everyone’s minds being on all things American, I’ve been thinking about the number of ancestors I’ve had who quite literally fought for the freedoms that we so take advantage of, and often abuse. I’ve thought about my Mayflower grandfather, William Brewster, who helped forge a new nation; my frontiersman grandfather, Richard Malone, who came to Ohio when it was still considered wilderness. Then there’s James Hamilton Cummons, the confederate soldier, who ended up fighting for the union army.

I recently came across this photo from the Library of Congress website. It’s description was as follows: Washington, Disctrict of Columbia, Hancock’s Veterans Corps on F Street, NW Washington, DC. 1st US Volunteer Infantry.


You can see a larger version of the image here at the Library of Congress.

You can imagine my thrill when I looked at this picture at thought, “It is very possible that my great, great, GREAT grandfather is staring back at me from somewhere in this picture.” This picture was taken in March of 1865, and according to muster rolls, James wasn’t mustered out until July of ’65. If you remember from an earlier post, the 1st US Volunteer Infantry was also known as the Galvanized Yankees. These were men who had enlisted in the confederate army, been captured, and sometime after being taken to a union prison camp, swore allegience to the north, and were placed far away from the war, usually in western forts.

James was just 17 when he enlisted, possibly the son of an Irish immigrant, but when the call came, he answered. I could go on listing grandfathers who fought in the Great War, and World War II, uncles who fought in Korea and Vietnam. Just in my own family tree, there are dozens of men and women who fought, struggled, and died to make a home in America. I hope and pray I never abuse those freedoms they held so dear.

Surname Saturday (on Sunday) – McCutcheon

Not only has my mind been on the McCutcheon surname this Saturday, it’s something I’ve been looking into all week long, and I’m amazed at how this once neglected branch of my tree has just blossomed! Thanks to my new friend and distant cousin, Sarah of mccutchentrace.org I have more information than I could have dreamed possible.

To begin with, let me show you how I fall in line with the McCutcheon name:

My grandpa has always encouraged me to learn more about his mother’s family, the Sprouses and McCutcheons, but I always put them on the back burner. However, a couple of weeks ago, I came across a picture, and a document that sparked my interest, and started my journey.

This picture is of my great grandmother, Bessie Virginia Sprouse, sitting with HER mother, Sarah Catherine (Sallie) McCutcheon Sprouse.

Great Great Grandmother Sallie died in 1964, so this picture could quite possibly be one of the last she had taken.

But who was she? What was her legacy? I had heard stories about circumstances in her life, that made me believe she was a strong woman, one who deserved to be remembered and honored, and as the self-appointed family genealogist, it was my duty to start digging in.

The other source of information that intrigued me was a one page memoir my grandfather gave me, written by a Henry Lee McCutcheon. I knew that this man must have been related to Sallie in some way, for this memoir to come into our possession, and hopefully some of the contents in it could give me a lead into Sallie’s family. (These memoirs are saved to my ancestry.com page, and you can read them here.)

To make a long blog post short, it didn’t take me long to come across the mccutchentrace.org, and now not only can I begin getting to know Sallie, but also many generations before her. And since this is a surname post (although on Sunday, rather than the geneabloggers suggested Saturday!), I will end by giving you an overview of the McCutcheons of Augusta County, Virginia, Sallie’s birthplace. This information was given to me by Ms. Sarah Splaun of mccutcheontrace.org: