150th Anniversary of the Civil War

We are in the 150th anniversary of the Civil War 1861-1865.  There are many events commemorating this piece of history coming up in the next year or two. Many of our kindred dead were involved in this war.  It’s a great opportunity to enrich your lives while the anniversary is being observed.

You might find something of interest by looking at the Civil War Sesquincentennial Events site.  Just enter a state to see if anything is happening where you’re at.

Civil War Reenactment at Kennesaw Mountain National Park

For instance, this summer on July 28th there is an Artillery Demonstration at Kennesaw Mountain National Park, just northwest of Atlanta.

The Kennesaw Mountain Website posts tidbits of facts named “Did You Know”.  An example of one is below.

Did You Know –  Confederate armies were usually named for states or regions where they campaigned, while union armies were named after major rivers.  Thus the Confederate Army of Tennessee opposed to the Union Army of the Tennessee.

An 1862 Easter

Happy Easter.  Thoughts and hopes of restoration are hard to resist when learning about our kindred ancestors who’ve moved on, especially the many who suffered and died in war.  I found an Easter sermon written in 1862 at Civilwar.com that sheds light on concerns and challenges of the day.

In addition, I’ve included a couple of videos about Aimee Copeland, a young woman who recently suffered the challenges of amputation.  She is an inspiration as are many others in our own family.

The sermon does not lack for words, thought or content.  Death is likened to sleep.  Just as the body requires sleep and rest for restoration, so does the soul require death to be restored, calling it “tired nature’s sweet restorer . . . ”

“Now, such is the effect of the body’s visit to its grave . . .  all weary and worn . . . They go there with the furrowed brow, the hollowed cheek, the wrinkled skin—they shall wake up in beauty and glory. The old man totters there, leaning on his staff. The palsied comes there, trembling all the way. The halt, the lame, the withered, the blind journey in doleful pilgrimage to the common dormitory. But they shall not rise decrepit, deformed, or diseased, but strong, vigorous, active, glorious, immortal!

Out of the 3 million men who fought in the Civil War on both sides, most of them had a rural, agrarian background like James DICKERSON.  They had a keen understanding of the growing seasons and the importance of seeds with their renewal or germinating power.

“The shriveled seed, so destitute of form and comeliness, shall rise from the dust a beauteous flower. A green blade all fresh and young shall spring up where before there was the dried decayed grain . . . “

The casualties of war included not only loss of life, but amputations and disfigurement as well.   The reference to ‘the holy martyrs’ who suffered similar trials gives way to hope of restoration.  Back then in 1862, most relied on faith in God to make sense of death.  But today we have . . . uh, well. . . let’s see . . . about the same thing.

“Well said the holy martyrs, when their limbs were being torn away—’We cheerfully resign these members to the God who gave them to us.’ Our members are not ours to hold or lose, no torment can rob us of them in reality. For when we wake up in Christ’s likeness it will not be as halt or lame, but full of strength and vigor—more comely than earthly sons of men . . . The winter of the grave shall soon give way to the spring of resurrection and the summer of glory. Blessed is death, since it answers all the ends of medicine to this mortal frame and through the Divine power disrobes us of the leprous rags of flesh, to clothe us with the wedding garment of incorruption!”

A modern story of inspiration and bravery in the face of bodily trials is found in Aimee Copeland, a young University of GA student who suffered a gash to her leg from a river rock when she fell from a faulty home made zip line.  An infection in her leg gave way to a flesh eating necrosis that led to amputations and organ failure.  Not only did she beat the odds and survive but Continue reading

5 Fashion Tips from 1862

Even though no picture of Clary DICKERSON has surfaced yet, we can imagine a little bit about how she looked.

Five fashion tips that were popular during her day:

1. Part your hair in the middle.

The popular hair style of the day was to part the hair in the middle with the long tresses rolled and/or  braided into a low bun at the nape of the neck.  In the evening, the pieces of hair could be curled and hung in ringlets.

2. Wear a hoop.

The modern ones made of steel or brass are best but if you can’t get your hands on one of these, your old whalebone or rattan hoop will do.

3. Purple is IN!

The first colorfast synthetic purple dye had just been developed.  Awesome.

4. Full Skirts are Back

Clary might have worn clothes similar to these Civil War re-enactors in the following video:

5. Sheer Elegance

For those warm summer evenings, sheer cotton organdy is the way to go.  You don’t want to miss the 1862 Fashion Show by Robin Stokes.  Live models wear remakes of dresses from the ‘Godeys Lady’s Book’, a catalog of dresses.  It’s fun.  Click here to see it:  1862 FASHION SHOW.

1862 Godey's  Dresses

Next post?  Watch for 2 more letters to Clary from her husband James. He likes her hair . . .

Learn from the Best Without Leaving Home

This week is the 3rd RootsTech.org conference where lots of family historians and genealogists gather to teach and learn how to research with the latest technology.

They are video streaming a select number of presentations and lectures.  I can’t tell if it’s totally free or not but it’s worth a gander.

For example, a few presentations are:

Thursday March 21st – “Tell it Again” and “Finding the Obscure and Elusive. Geographic information on the Web” .

Friday March 22nd – “Researching Ancestors Online” and “Google Search and Beyond”.

Sat the 23rd – “Digital Storytelling”.

Go to www.rootstech.org to see the full listing of the live stream over internet.

Also, look for letters 3 & 4 of James Dickerson, Confederate Soldier in the next day or two.

Spinning the Kindred Past – True or Not?

Knowing that we’ve started a family history website, a friend of mine recently sent me the story about “Remus Rudd”.  Probably you’ve read it before. It’s the story of a horse thief ancestor often associated with a well known politician, any well known politician, which automatically screams “URBAN LEGEND!!”  None-the-less, it’s thought provoking and entertaining so I pass it on:

Remus Rudd 

Judy, an amateur genealogy researcher, was doing some personal work on her own family tree. She discovered that [famous politician’s] great-great uncle, Remus Rudd, was hanged for horse stealing and train robbery in [train town] in 1889. Both Judy and [famous politician] shared the same relative.

The only known photograph of Remus shows him standing on the gallows of [train town jail].

On the back of the picture is this inscription:

‘Remus Rudd horse thief, sent to Stoney Mountain Jail 1885, escaped 1887, robbed the CP AND CN trains six times.  Caught by Police Force, convicted and hanged in 1889.’

So Judy e-mailed [famous politician]  for information about their great-great uncle, Remus Rudd.

[Famous Politician] sent back the following biographical sketch for her genealogy research:

“Remus Rudd was famous in  Continue reading


Alethia Jane DICKERSON lived her life within a 30 mile radius in middle Georgia. She was born in an area called ‘Crowders’ in Monroe County. If you’ve ever eaten or heard of the Crowder pea, it was developed by John Crowder  of the same county. When ‘peas’ are on the menu of a family reunion of southerners, they aren’t talking about the green, English variety.  They’re talking about a field pea, such as ‘Crowder’ or ‘Purple Hull’ that make their own gravy color.

Alethia had almost as many versions of her name as there are field peas.  Her various names appear on documents throughout her life, ‘Letha’, ‘Leitha’,  ‘Lethy’ and ‘Aletha’.  They are all the same person.  She was so named by her parents Continue reading

Newly Discovered

Last week we made several discoveries. While traveling through Augusta GA we were able to locate and visit the site of a place (see picture below) that employed several generations of kindred ancestors. Although it may look like a temple it is not, unless you worship your work.  Watch for future posts that will tell what, who and when about this place.  Very interesting.

Kindred Work Place Sibley Mills Augusta GA

The other discovery was finding another generation of kindred, previously unknown.
It’s been very exciting getting to know this new couple through a series of letters written during the civil war.  We rejoined Ancestry.com which enabled this newest discovery.  Look for a 2 part series revealing the content of the letters .


Fellow Travelers

Rand HOPKINS signed Broadway PlaybillIt’s pretty easy to connect with a first generation of ancestors.  Normally there are memories, pictures, possessions, and documents.  The hardest thing about making and celebrating these connections is our perspective and personal relationships we had with the deceased.



The second generation generally has fewer memories, usually fewer pictures and  possessions, but the documentation might increase.  Kindred can be found on such things as census records, Social Security Index and military records.


Crochet Bedspread by Eula Mae HOLDER LINN close up of pattern

A third generation of kinfolk has even fewer, if any memories available and you’re lucky to possess something they owned.  Records and documents are still readily available and searching for your kindred can be exciting, even addicting.


Cemetery HeadstoneLooking for the fourth tier of kindred dead and beyond, makes one grateful for the internet and the ease of searching all kinds of records like immigration, census, wills, and deeds. The practice of burial with headstones is much appreciated for it is there you find proof of their existence.  It’s common to learn birth and death dates. On a really good day of research you might find other family members in the same cemetery.


WWII Black & White Postcard of City StreetOur parents had parents.  Their parents had parents and the pattern is repeated.  They are like an infinite to us.  Our ancestors existed, regardless of our ignorance of them.  Discovering them and learning about the circumstances of the times and places they lived can expand our thoughts, imagination and compassion.  They, like us, were and are fellow travelers in this journey through life.  Recognizing they had hardships and challenges can help us try to do our best on our own paths.

Scrap Quilt by Eula Mae HOLDER LINN

This quilt is estimated to be made in the 1940’s by Eula.  There are clues that help identify the time period:

  • the fabrics used, their colors and patterns
  • the wear, tear, and aging of the quilt
  • the type of batting or filling in between the top and bottom (some now exposed, see detail photo)

Eula Mae HOLDER LINN sewed strips of fabrics onto 7 x 8 newspaper rectangles for each square in the quilt top.  This method is called ‘paper piecing’ or ‘foundation piecing’.  After sewing the fabric onto the paper pattern, the edges would be trimmed and the newspaper torn away.  The backing fabric of the quilt appears to be off white muslin.  Batting is the middle layer between the top and back and then ‘quilted’ or stitched to hold it all together.

Many of the fabrics have the tell – tale signs of having been manufactured in the 1930’s;  the smallish patterns with a ‘halo’ of white background surrounding it.  It was around this time that the fugitive (fading) properties of colors were being overcome.

Scraps are often collected by sewers over a number of years to use in quilts. Since Eula made dresses and other clothing, she had many left overs fabrics from those projects.  Some of those scraps, if not all, made their way into this quilt.

The growing charm of this quilt includes it’s imperfections.  It’s filled with cotton batting that is spilling out in areas of extreme wear.  It’s the type of cotton that behaves as though it just came from the gin, lumping and bunching together, hence the closeness of the quilt stitches in the ‘shell’ pattern.

The odd size of the blocks, the unevenness of the quilting stitches and now, the stains and gaps seem to give hope for our own lives in the face of imperfections.

As can be seen, this was a utilitarian quilt and it got plenty of use.

1940's Scrap Quilt made by Eula Mae HOLDER LINN

Scrap Quilt probably made in the 1940’s by Eula. Size is 58″ x 78″ .

Close up of 1940's scrap quilt made by Eula Mae.
Close up of Eula’s Mae’s quilt. Notice the exposed cotton batting.

5 Ways to Stay Connected

I’ve been collecting bits and pieces of information about ancestors for a while – since I was a teenager.  My mother introduced me to the idea when she took me on several clue gathering trips of her own.   It seemed to me that there was value in finding and knowing about the people who preceded me in life and shared their DNA with me, whether they meant to or not.

My kindred dead are not the only people I’ve harvested information on.  I started a couple of personal histories about myself and have kept a spotty journal over the years.  My histories are not up to date, but because I wrote them early on, they have details of my life that I have forgotten since and it seems the journal keeping has become a fine source of therapy.  The page always listens.

I was reading a speech by Amy Jensen in which she says, “We all have the opportunity and the responsibility to be record keepers.  Beyond journals and photographs, we now have at our disposal an immense system of record keeping and sharing.  Our blogs, family videos, Facebook pages, and tweets are all opportunities to inject goodness . . . into the world.  Your digital footprint – your record of experiences . . . will have the greatest impact on those who are the most important to you . . . ”  (for full speech see http://speeches.byu.edu/?act=viewitem&id=2023)


  1. Follow a Family History Webpage (my favorite is My Kindred Tree)
  2. Make Comments on a Webpage (like My Kindred Tree)
  3. Contribute to a Family History Webpage (send a picture, description, story, etc. about an ancestor to My Kindred Tree website)
  4. Have a “Virtual” Family Reunion (this would be Facebook for a some)
  5. Tweet, Tweet (is anybody doing this?  please share your experience)

    Snow capped mt with reflection of hands holding camera

    Share your pictures, documents, and stories.

It  is because of this “immense system” of sharing via computers, the internet and clever programs I’m able to connect with you and share my bits and pieces.  The world needs a little more goodness in it.