Saturday, June 25, 2011

A Change of Pace

As this time of the year rolls around, a group of faithful family members gather for their yearly reunion up in the Portsmouth Ohio area. They are all descendants from one branch of the Pace family.....a branch that has two distinct in Eastern Kentucky and one in Southern Ohio.
The Pace family (L-R: Pearl, Albert, Challie, Fannie, Alberta, Vearl,
Dorie, Gracie Pace Adkins with Husband Raleigh Adkins and two children.)
This Pace story is one of hardship, determination, love and faithfulness. It begins in the Eastern Kentucky Mountains - and exemplifies the rich Appalachian spirit that is so often mocked simply because of their humble way of life. Within the areas of Magoffin, Floyd and Johnson Counties, the Pace and Connelly families united with my Great Grandparents, Albert Pace and Fannie Conley (Connelly). It is said that Albert was a descendant of the early pioneer Richard Pace of Jamestown Virginia, and Fannie the descendant of Captain Henry Connelly of the American Revolution. Within the mingled generations it has actually been discovered that both are descendants of the illustrious Captain, but very far back down ye olde family tree - I better not hear any Eastern KY snickering about that one!

Pace homestead in Bear Tree,
Magoffin County Kentucky
This couple produced many children, and several of their descendants were very faithful in interviewing the children of Albert and Fannie. According to some of the family interviews, Albert and Fannie were greatly admired for their hard work and love of family. They made their home near Salyersville, Magoffin County,Kentucky, in a small area known as Bare (Bear) Tree. Growing up, I always heard Great Grandpa Albert referred to as "Prince" Albert Pace. As an adult, this term always perplexed me because I was pretty sure that wasn't his real name. However, caveat observed - I don't have his vital records, so, Prince could really have been part of his name. Ironically, when a cousin passed along this photo of Albert, all fancied up, I wasn't surprised that the "Prince" portion stuck to his memory. Albert did not live to be an old man, but died rather young and with a full head of hair - which I thought was interesting, since he never looked like the Prince Albert tobacco can image - but when looking at a younger image of the real Prince Albert, the "Prince" label made complete sense!

Tale of two Princes: Prince Albert Pace (1874-1923) and Prince Albert of Great Britain
According to the oral accounts, Albert was a man of many trades. He worked in the "oil fields", he worked in the mines, he "stacked whiskey frames", and according to the census, he was a farmer. All of the accounts from his daughters describe a loving and cheerful man. His daughter Sarah remembered him as a very devout man: "Everyday before he walked the many miles to work he would go to a spot behind our little house, beside a big tree. There he would stop, on bended knee and pray for his family. The spot where he prayed was worn bare from the pressure of his knee on the ground. For many years after he died, the place stayed bare and the print of his knee was there. I always thought that meant he was still watching out for me." Unfortunately, Albert, aka "Poppy" as his children called him, died from an unknown illness in 1923 around the age of 51. At the time of his death, he left a pregnant wife, eight children and one grown daughter from a previous marriage with two+/- grandchildren.

Fannie Lou Conley Pace
Cottle Malone (1882-1956)
After the death of Albert, Fannie's life changed completely. She worked as many odd jobs as she could cram into one day while taking care of her children. The memories surrounding these years include the image of her staying up late at night to do mending by the fire as part of her local paid duties. Instead of marrying again right away, Fannie gave birth to Georgie, four months after Albert's death, but then had to bury Georgie, 22 months later. Not long after Georgie's death, Fannie's two oldest boys learned about work up in Ohio and convinced their mother to take the entire family to Wheelersburg, a suburb of Portsmouth Ohio. Historically, this was a common move for many in Eastern Kentucky at the time. Factories were growing by leaps and bounds up along the river, and the number of jobs grew right along with them.

Not long after settling with her young daughters in a small dwelling near Meade, Fannie married their landlord, Bill Cottle. During these years, she also ran a small store, and faithfully attended a local Pentecostal church in the area. After Bill died, she married a man by the name of Malone, but kept working hard until her death in 1956.
Meade Pentecostal Church
Another consistent memory associated with Fannie was her kind nature. All of her children remember her very fondly. And so, after this northern migration, all of her children and descendants stayed north of the river, for the most part. I think we might be the only ones who returned to Kentucky - many decades later. For this reason, the family reunion is always held near the Portsmouth area each summer. If you recognize this clan and wish to join in the reunion fun, just contact me directly and I can give you the particulars.

Many thanks to my Pace cousins for keeping our oral history alive: Carolyn, Jodi, Brenda, Marcia, Bob, etc. If it wasn't for you, we wouldn't know the rich heritage that comes from this side of our family. For additional connections to this branch, the connected surnames include: Salyer, Caudill, Musick, Crace/Adkins.
Albert and Fannie's children at a Pace Reunion years ago.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Inferential Genealogy Homework #1

During my previous post about Second Life, I mentioned the current course discussions being held in-world, and how they would require some homework blog posts. Before you non-SL people read this and rush off, this seminar is available online for anyone to complete. The only difference with my posting will be the connection to Second Life discussions. If you would like to utilize this free course on Inferential Genealogy by Dr. Tom Jones, offered through the free online courses by Family Search, here is the direct link:

Also, here is the original post about the course and Second Life schedule from Dear Myrtle - the dear who has brought this to our attention and is willing to host discussions in-world!

Our first post discussion assignment required us to write a blog post about our understanding of inferential genealogy at this stage of the course. Also, we are to include any examples we could think of from our own genealogical research.

As far as my understanding goes, inferential genealogy is the method of drawing kinship/relationship conclusions based on partial or piecemeal information. As genealogists we utilize all kinds of factual records - most are accurate, but many are flawed, or even wrong. Since no one document can give us the solid, complete facts about an individual, we must turn to many outside sources to confirm any conclusion we might draw. Dr. Jones describes it as putting together a puzzle. We only have the complete picture after we have put together all of the pieces.

Honestly, after viewing the introduction and reading the handout, I suddenly realized that this is always how I have conducted my research. Perhaps this is due to my past experience as a history major back in my undergrad days, when we learned to never really take history at factual face value. We were taught to check and double check multiple sources (primary sources) and then take the facts we learned and put them together in contextual perspective. In other words, we could only draw reasonable conclusions after multiple sources had confirmed the perceived information and as long as it fit within the context of the period from which it came. After learning this type of methodology I applied it to my genealogy research methods - thereby rendering almost ALL of my genealogy research into a state of limbo or suspicion.

I don't care if my great great aunt told me what her mother's maiden name was, I need multiple records confirming her information (and spelling) before I would conclude it to be fact. Does this mean I did not value the information that was given to me via an oral interview? On the contrary. I am a huge proponent of oral history and interviews. If you want to know where to begin your research journeys, oral interviews are the absolute best place to start - not to mention that at face value they are primary sources when wanting to understand a people, their perspective and cultural experiences. Plus, most of the time, those oral interviews are pretty darned accurate - I love them dearly, and in my opinion, they are more precious than the records, because they represent voices and impressions of the lives that came before me!

So, back to true inferential genealogy and how this has helped me. Since my research is never complete, any piece of information, however small or insignificant, is a puzzle piece that helps me paint a complete picture of an ancestor's life. Even if I have already confirmed in a few records the birth date of a person, by employing the strategies of inferential genealogy, I can put more flesh back on the bones per se. Dr. Jones outlines steps to using this method, and one of his steps involves broadening your research area and scope. Thereby studying the neighbors of your ancestors, community involvement of your ancestors, and migratory patterns that include a whole new set of broadened areas of research. But seriously, when I began my genealogy journey so many years ago, it wasn't the birth and death dates that got me hooked, it was the life led by my ancestors that inspired that passion. The life truly led can really only be found through inferential methodology.

To give a few examples of how I used this method within my own family research:

1. My great great Uncle Lanson Cox died as a young man in his 20s. The story of his death came from my great Grandmother - she mentioned that he died young and that she was very close to him, but never detailed the experience. I used death records to see his death date, cause of death and parents - plus tombstone and other records to confirm his birth/parents, etc. However, the experience of losing a brother at such a young age was the more complete picture. I used local newspaper gossip sections that detailed his lingering illness over the weeks and months. These not only gave me a better understanding of how long he was sick, but also allowed me to see how the community was handling the illness of a local. They detailed when his family members and neighbors visited, and how many local friends visited, always describing how well liked he was in his small community. Later, obituary notices helped detail and confirm some of the familial relationships mentioned earlier. This inference of family connection is a breadcrumb or puzzle piece that can help me later add more members to our family tree once the relationships are confirmed through more sources.

2. On my Beyersdoerfer side of the family, my 3rd great Grandfather was quite adept at alphabet soup. He was born Johann George and immigrated to America with his brothers in the mid 19th century. However, it seems he not only changed to John George once he landed, but also preferred the name George when dealing with some records (not all) due to the other local John Beyersdoerfers in the area. He therefore used the following given names/initials: J.G., John, John George, G.J., George, and even Johann George in his earliest records on American soil. By the time he died, he had G.J. listed on his tombstone. This man's life can ONLY be documented through inferential means. Due to the other Beyersdoerfer immigrants in the same surrounding counties, I can only count a record as truly being that of my Grandfather if other pieces within that record coincide or match details from other records. In many cases, I really can only count those with the same immediate familial relationships on the record to consider it his.....and even then, I double check birth dates of those family members due to a repeat of given names within this group of German settlers. Ugghhhh!!!

3. One last example from my 3rd great Grandfather Samuel Cox. He was married three times, and no one in the family can ever seem to get the names of the wives straight. Plus, two of the wives had the same given name and died within a few years of each other. Needless to say, I must rely on inferential info to confirm when I have a record about a specific wife. And don't get me started about those in the family who confused the son Samuel with the father....we soooo need a Cox family history do-over! Especially for what is lurking out there in the interwebs!

In conclusion, I really do not believe you can adequately paint a complete portrait of your ancestors, nor understand them, without using this method. It leaves no stone unturned, greatly reduces the chance for pedigree error, and broadens your understanding of the ancestor's life within a community. After all, we are studying relationships, and without exploring the relationships, our research is incomplete and in some cases, completely wrong. As researchers, we should always take pride in having correct research, not just a long pedigree. We all know how wrong the long trees can be.....we should use this method more to prune some of those monstrosities and document the correct information for future generations!

On to Case you follow the course, feel free to stop in Second Life for some lively discussions about what we learn! Next meeting is this Sunday the 5th at 5:15PM SLT (Second Life time is Pacific Time which is 8:15PM Eastern Time) at the Just Genealogy Fire Pit!

Dancing With Abe - In Second Life

Dancing with Abe at the
Land of Lincoln.
It would seem that the virtual environment of Second Life is making a bit of a comeback in the area of genealogy. For those of you not familiar with it, I will include a few links at the end that better explain its existence, but I would describe it as something similar to a free video game, except that the users or players create the world around them. They also completely dictate what their character or avatar looks like while roaming around in this 3D universe. One other thing to remember, unlike a video game, there are no real objectives or goals to this experience - unless you choose to visit such an area that has combative elements. As far as a use for genealogy, there are several ways Second Life can be utilized: One on one research assistance from other residents, links to various databases or sites, instructional notecards or slideshows, seminars/lectures.

My historic quilt exhibit at our virtual campus library.
The woman in the middle is my 3rd great grandmother.
Second Life is not that new having been around since 2005. I myself have been actively using this platform since early 2008. Similarly to genealogy, my purpose "in-world" was solely for educational purposes. As my profile states, my day job is that of a librarian at a major university, and believe it or not, we have our own space or island dedicated to allowing our students to experience some of their classes in this immersive environment. We have classes that experiment with cultural studies, agriculture, medicine/dental, music/theatre and politics, etc. Overall, students that participate in this method of learning give it high marks, as being fun, enlightening and sometimes very challenging. When they first enter this 3D world, they view it as just another video game, and are sceptical to its uses when no goal is waiting to be achieved. However, by the end of their course they have experienced learning on a level that questions their identity, representation, interaction and reality as we know it. To go along with the classroom settings, we also have a virtual representation of our campus library. It is not full of books, but rather, information on how to use SL, points of interest, reference information, as well as art or historical exhibits that teach through interaction.
Henry VIII and I acting
as tour guides during the
Stepping Into History Conference
on Renaissance Island.

Genealogy is also not new to Second Life. When I first entered this new world, I sought out interesting groups I might like, such as Jane Austen fans, art lovers and of course, genealogy. Back then, they were an active group and I have rarely attended an event that did not at least have a half dozen participants. Within my first year, I can remember attending an event with over 20 avatars. Today, the activity is growing with the last event running at the maximum of 40 attendees. Like the educational groups in-world, genealogy has focused on instructional learning and social networking. Although, keep in mind, that Second Life (SL) is designed to be a place of anonymity. If you only want to attend and not reveal your true identity, that is perfectly fine. So, social networking and relationships developed are sometimes relegated to this virtual world. It is also against the rules of SL to actively ask who the real person behind the avatar is, so be careful. If someone wants to reveal their true identity, that is allowed, but some people enjoy becoming another person entirely within the confines of their avatar. Once in-world, simply search for "genealogy" to locate some of the great places to connect with fellow researchers. Also, the APG has recently begun a chapter in-world....which is a big deal on the professional acceptance level.
Clarise Beaumont aka Dear Myrtle conducting a genealogy session
on Tuesday night.

My purpose behind this post is to alert my readers that I may post something from time to time about a discussion that was held in-world. Recently, the Just Genealogy group has begun discussing a course series which includes homework - finished by being posted to your blog for the others to read. I would also like to encourage those of you who have not tried this form of interaction with fellow genealogists, to give it a try!

Playing Marie Antoinette
Caution: opinion coming at you. Ok, here is the lowdown on SL. There are a lot of other things you can do or experience in SL. Some are on the risque side, some are on the amazing side (touring King Tut's tomb or dancing with Abe Lincoln & Henry VIII), and some are on the vain side. You are suddenly presented with a 3D barbie and you can make it look any way you want - of course, that may also cost real money to change the appearance drastically. You can make wonderful new friends, own your own home/land and attend discussions by experts that you could only attend at major conferences - only it is kind of like a big chat room and you can ask questions of these experts. BUT, SL has a steep learning curve. You will have to have fairly up-to-date PC equipment to handle the graphics and processing drain. You will also have to have A LOT of patience. In fact, if you get sucked in to all the amazing things you can do or purchase in SL, it will seriously suck away your time! I recently read a tweet by a fellow genealogist that said she just spent three hours clothes shopping in SL. It can get addictive quite quickly. To be honest, even after all the fun, you will run upon locations that kick you out due to too many attendees, or make your PC crash due to too many animations going on at once, or griefers that try to make trouble for others, or walking through walls, or not being able to control that avatar at the level you need.

Attending a Shakespeare Play at the
full size replica of the Globe Theatre.
Dressed as Queen Elizabeth I.
Just learning to function in SL takes time and practice. My advice: watch YouTube tutorials from Linden Labs that show you how to access things you need or how to accomplish certain/basic tasks. However, if you stick with it initially, and can have an avatar ready to attend events, I think you will really appreciate the rewards of being able to join in live conversations with genealogy experts from around the world. This is the true benefit of SL.....and after all your learning and collaborating, sneak out to have a little people who focus on history, you will love some of the amazing places and communities you will discover. Of course, if you are lucky, you might happen upon a dance! Genealogists definitely know how to boogie!

Some fun SL links

The main site to download SL for free:

Dear Myrtle's Blog (Our SL genealogy expert):

Article by Dear Myrtle about SL:

SL Wiki and video tutorials:

Fabulously Free in SL (for clothes shopping):

Renaissance Island:

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre:

If you join SL and want to be notified of upcoming genealogy activities, join the in-world groups as well as the Facebook group - Genealogists in Second Life.

Sif enjoying
a Mint Julep
at the
P.S. If you choose to join in the fun, feel free to friend me in-world. My avatar's name is Sifriya Devin. Although, these days, she's not around too much except to attend genealogy or a few national library events. Educationally speaking, Linden Labs decided to remove the educational discount for organizations. Therefore, while we have continued our University  presence in SL for the next year, we are not as active as we used to be while we explore other 3D world options such as Open Sim.

See you in-world!

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Second Life® and Linden Lab® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc. All rights reserved. No infringement is intended.


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