Geneabloggers: Genealogy To Do List

Geneabloggers was founded by Thomas MacEntee to unite people globally through their love of genealogy and blogging.  Members are spread all across the world and united with these common bonds and a fantastic FaceBook group!

MacEntee cites:

The purpose of Geneabloggers? Well we have lots of people new to blogging and genealogy. Geneabloggers offers them a community of helpful people who were once at a starting point too – we offer advice, tech tips, and organize group events such as Tombstone Tuesday, etc. This helps people post on certain topics especially when they don’t know what to post about. The level of involvement from bloggers is varied and there are really no requirements for membership – free and easy I guess.

Week #17: Make a research task list. Posting these items to will help you get your tasks done, and may encourage readers to do the same.

Special thanks to We Tree for these fantastic blog prompts!

The Arkansas Trip

Provided that we don’t all perish from the H1N1 virus between now and the end of the month (because wouldn’t that be an interesting genealogical disaster), the fam and I are headed down to Union County, Arkansas for a little jaunt.  My mother and I hope to get to the Southwest Arkansas Archives in Old Washington, Arkansas for a little family research while my father and my husband play golf the whole time!

Honestly, this blog topic couldn’t have come at a better time.  Not only are we planning on a little tiny research trip that I need to organize for, but the Fairfax Genealogical Society (affectionately FxGS) just had their educational meeting on “Three Steps to a Successful Research Trip.”  I learned so much at that seminar.

Three Steps to a Successful Research Trip

We’re headed to the Southwest Arkansas Archives as well as at least one local courthouse.  I’m going to be using the resources that I discovered during last weekend’s FxGS educational program quite a bit.  I’ve already contacted the locations that I know I’ll be visiting to ensure that they’ll actually be open (since it’s a holiday weekend), and my great uncle has been down to the Archives and is some what familiar with what is available.  I’ve been perusing their website too, to gather more information about their collections.  I went to the Union County courthouse last year to do some research, so I’ve got an idea of what their records room looks like.  I wish I’d be going down to the Union Parish courthouse in Louisiana, but I think our stay down south won’t be long enough to make that trip.

One of the things that I hadn’t thought about before going to the seminar was using USGS maps to help aid your research.  I’m contemplating taking a trip over to USGS in Reston since it’s so close and pulling a few maps of the area.  It might help when we’re doing land records research.  I’m also planning on looking up some general historical research on the counties I’ll be looking into.  I’ll probably start at my[state] and then go peruse the GenWeb sites a bit as well.

Also, I’m going to be formulating my research a bit different than I have in the past.  I’ve been doing research to complete DAR Patriot supplementals and I’ve been searching mostly for vital records.  However, after attending the seminar this past weekend and the FxGS annual conference, my eyes have been opened to the value of land records.  I’m going to be taking the plunge into some land records research, and I’m hoping that I don’t completely flounder since it’s a records set I’m unfamiliar with.

Finally, it was recommended that we keep a list of the Soundex number for each individual that we were researching since some microfilm rolls are indexed by Soundex.  I’ve set up my Reunion software to display this information in the name field so that I don’t have to go searching for it or calculate it manually.

Paternal Research List

I’m trying not to set my sights too high and have some very specific research goals because I’m not sure how much time we’ll really be able to devote to researching on this trip.  Our lofty expectations are that we’ll have at least one whole day to spend at the court house and one whole day to spend at the Archives.  Plans may change, so I’m trying to keep my list small.  The majority of my research goals on my father’s side of the family is to shore up the middle generations for another DAR patriot line.  It gets a little sticky, so I’m not expecting to find genealogical gold.

Union County Court House

I spent a day at the Union County Courthouse in El Dorado, Arkansas last May and came up with some good information.  What I didn’t look for were land records.  I didn’t know they were that important back then.  So I’m going to rectify my mistake for not looking.

  • James T. Giles land records (lived in Union County at least from 1860 – 1916)
  • Sarah Elizabeth Feazel Grisham McAfee land records (lived in Union County from about 1850 – 1883)
  • Oliver “Cromwell” McAfee land records (may have lived in Union County around 1846 – 1851)

In addition to land records, I want to try to pull the probate records for all of the individuals listed above as well.  I think that I may have looked for James T. Giles’s probate records, but if memory serves me correctly I did not find any.  I need to go back and look again and make a record in my Reunion software to reflect whatever I might find or not find.

I’m also interested to see if I can find any marriage information for James T. Giles and Tabitha McAfee (daughter of Sarah Elizabeth Feazel and Oliver “Cromwell” McAfee).  I have a marriage date of 28 February 1861 and a note that they were married in Union County, Arkansas but the only thing I have to back it up is the Arkansas Marriages 1779-1992 database on  I think I may have also looked for that on my other trip, but I have no notes saying that I didn’t find it.

Southwest Arkansas Archives

I have reference to two obituaries for Sarah Elizabeth Feazel Grisham McAfee, so I would really love to peruse the Archive’s collection of newspapers to see if I can find a photocopy of them.  Also, I know from a search of the Arkansas History Commission that an “Elizabeth McAfee” made an application for Swamp Land.  I think it’s possible that this is my Sarah Elizabeth, and I hope that they will have this particular land record application on file.

The interesting thing about Sarah Elizabeth and her reprobate husband Oliver Cromwell McAfee is that he apparently was a bigamist.  You may remember from my brick wall post that Sarah and Oliver got divorced after she found out that he had another family back in North Carolina that he never bothered to mention.  I think there’s a good chance that I won’t find any information regarding their divorce in Arkansas (as I think it took place in Louisiana), but I intend on looking at any and all records I can get my hands on.  Oliver supposedly died in Union County, Arkansas around 1851 and I’m hoping he left a will that I’ll be able to link his daughter Tabitha to.

Maternal Research List

My mother’s side of the family is well entrenched in the Southwestern Arkansas area.  There should be no shortage of information on them!  I’m particularly interested in some military records as well as land records.  However, because my mom always says I’m monopolizing all the genealogy research I’m not going to make a formal list for my maternal side.  I’m just going tof ill in where needed and help her out with her list.

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