Monday, April 3, 2017

Handy Lunzon WEST

Due to tantalizing DNA and other clues, I'm wondering if Handy Lunzon WEST could be my missing great-grandfather. He's already a 3rd cousin twice.

I'm not accusing Handy Lunzon of anything; certainly not accusing him of being the one who might have run off on my great-grandmother who seemed to be a free spirit playing by her own rules anyway. I'm just curious.

He was born in the 1870's in Johnston County, North Carolina, the son of Franklin WEST and Narcissus BLACKMAN. By 1900 he'd moved to the Wayne & Wilson County area. He married Effie Fulghum and they had one child but she died soon after. He then married her sister, Fannie. They had 9 children.

1-Handy Lunzon WEST b. 26 Nov 1872, Johnston, NC, d. 1950, Wilson, NC
 +Effie FULGHUM b. 1884, m. 12 Aug 1900, Black Creek, Wilson, NC, d. 1903,
  (Fremont, Wayne, NC), par. John FULGHUM and Nannie LANGSTON
   2-Annie Lee WEST b. 14 Feb 1902, Fremont, Wayne, NC, d. 1989, (Fremont,
     Wayne, NC)
    +Richard Edward DAVIS b. 08 Dec 1894, m. 01 Dec 1926, Nahunta, Wayne, NC,
     d. 31 Oct 1961, (Fremont, Wayne, NC)
 +Fannie Elizabeth FULGHUM b. 23 Aug 1886, NC, m. 17 Nov 1906, Buck Swamp
  Township, Wayne, NC, d. 03 Jun 1964, Wilson, Wilson, NC, par. John FULGHUM
  and Nannie LANGSTON
   2-Ella Mae WEST b. 09 Sep 1907, Nahunta, Wayne, NC, d. 21 Jun 1992, Wilson,
     Wilson, NC
    +James Clenon DANIEL b. 28 Apr 1906, NC, m. 05 Feb 1927, Nahunta, Wayne,
     NC, d. 15 May 1976, Wilson, Wilson, NC, par. Jonathan DANIEL and Henrietta
   2-Daniel Hiram WEST b. 20 Oct 1908, Fremont, Wayne, NC, d. 30 Dec 1994,
     Wilson, Wilson, NC
    +Sonia Belle LAMM b. Abt 1910, m. 24 Dec 1934, Wayne, NC, par. Taylor LAMM
     and Mary L.
   2-John Brantley WEST b. 24 Mar 1910, Fremont, Wayne, NC, d. 08 Aug 1989,
     (Fremont, Wayne, NC)
    +Josephine HOOKS b. 22 Oct 1915, m. 24 Dec 1953, Wilson, NC, d. 08 Aug
     1989, (Fremont, Wayne, NC), par. Milton HOOKS and Repsy UNDERWOOD
   2-Cora Louise WEST b. Abt 1913, NC, d. 1939, (Fremont, Wayne, NC)
   2-Effie Elizabeth WEST b. 27 Jun 1914, Nahunta, Wayne, NC, d. 12 Jan 2003,
     Wilson, Wilson, NC
    +Vernon Lee HOWARD b. 07 Apr 1918, m. 15 Dec 1945, Wilson, NC, d. 28 Oct
     2001, (Fremont, Wayne, NC), par. Frank HOWARD and Nina MOORE
   2-Charlie Frank WEST b. 05 Sep 1916, Wayne, NC, d. 31 Oct 1979, Wilson,
     Wilson, NC
    +Eva Mae ATKINSON b. 26 Nov 1923, d. 30 Aug 2013, (Kenly, Johnston, NC)
      3-Walter Thurman WEST b. 03 Jun 1945, d. 01 Jun 2005, (Kenly, Johnston,
   2-Mary Rachel WEST b. 27 Aug 1919, NC, d. 26 Jun 2011, (Wilson, NC)
    +Herman LaFayette BARNES b. 22 Feb 1922, Crossroads Township, Wilson, North
     Carolina, United States, m. 14 Aug 1943, Wilson, NC, d. 06 May 1998,
     Wilson, NC, par. Mallie G. BARNES and Mary Elizabeth PEELE
   2-Virginia D. WEST b. 08 Aug 1921, NC, d. 09 Jul 2009, Wilson, NC
    +Benjamin BATTS b. 25 May 1902, Wilson, NC, m. 17 Aug 1947, Wilson, NC, d.
     13 Aug 1961, Durham, NC, par. J. L. BATTS and Emma PAGE
   2-Herman Lloyd WEST b. 21 Jul 1924, NC, d. 19 Jul 2006, (Fremont, Wayne, NC)

If you know of Handy Lunzon WEST or anyone related to him, please write:

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Customizing Census Search

I'm catching up on census records so I've tried to make that process a little more efficient.

First, what I do is search the descendant line I'm interested in by using the Focus Group Search in Legacy Family Tree and then search within that search for a particular year using the Census Search. Then I go through the resulting search list using Search Internet for Current Person (button added to my toolbar for easy access). First I have to set up the search parameter.

Each database in FamilySearch has an ID number. These are the search parameters for the census years using a first and surname only. If needed, I then add spouse or 'other person', and/or location to narrow it down. It's less typing than starting with a general search.










Once one of these URLs has been added to Customize Internet Search, the only thing that needs to be changed for a different census year is the ID number and the title of the Search.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Prioritizing Census Search

I have 720 people with census records already downloaded and filed, with transcriptions in Research Notes but not entered under Events yet. This will take me a few more months to complete if I work at it consistently.

Then I'll be able to look for records I don't have yet. I'm already looking ahead at how to do this most effectively. Obviously my closer relatives have higher priority.

The plan is to go by generation from my parents at _01 and moving backwards.


I already have census records for my parents so I'll start at my grandparents. A lot of this is already done but I'm sure there are holes and the idea is to fill in the holes as I work my way further back.

In Legacy Family Tree, under Focus Group Search, click "Add an Individual and Descendants". Then tag the list.

Then, go to Search/Census List and start with 1940 for the census year.

Then Search within these results by the tag number above using the radio button for "Only search the Search List".

Tag these on a different number.

Repeat for 1930, 1920, 1910 and so on until there are no more results.

Then go find whatever can be found. I use FamilySearch and have "Search Internet for Current Person" set up to go directly there. I previously wrote a post about how to set up a search parameter. It can be downloaded from Dropbox here if you'd like to customize the original for FamilySearch that's already in the defaults.

When I've completed those descendants, move on to the next marriage and repeat the whole process.

No matter how far I get, and it does look daunting, at least my closer relatives have the best shot at being completed. The 5th cousins four times removed, maybe not.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Lying Grandmother

My maternal grandmother strung such a line of baloney. If it wasn't so sad it would be funny.

I grew up in a world where I had no past. And I had no past because my parents divorced early which just left me with my mother and my mother had no past. And my mother had no past because her father left and her mother lived behind a moat of secrecy.

According to my mother my grandmother had only two vague memories:
  1. A dark lady with braids leaning over a cooking pot.
  2. An Irish man with red hair.
Just the kind of information any family historian would be thrilled to inherit.

The lies my grandmother told:
  • She was born in 1900.
  • She was part Cherokee.
  • Her first daughter was born in 1921.
  • She had only two vague memories.

Here's some truths:

She was born out of wedlock in 1899.

She was not even remotely Cherokee.

She lived with her mother, grandmother, aunt and 1st cousins until she married in 1919.

Her first daughter was born in January 1920, 7 months after she married. She hid her from the census-taker in March.

Her aunt's youngest child was born (also out of wedlock) when she was 15 but she didn't know anything about a man hanging around her house. Total blank.

When my mother, at age 10, asked her why her mother and her aunt had the same surname, my grandmother said they must have married brothers in a tone that told my mother to SHUT UP.

She was 20 years old when her grandmother died but her children never heard anything about this woman.

Her mother-in-law died when she was 31. Her children didn't know anything about her.  

The grandmother of her husband (also born out of wedlock) died when my mother was 12. My mother never met her or even knew she existed.

She had a close relationship with her father until she was 36 years old and he moved out of the area. My mother never heard of him.

It's been a long road but we know who he is now. And we've figured out some of this other bullshit. Rest in peace, Pearl.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Leaving It or Handing It Over

I was having an email conversation with someone the other day about leaving my genealogy work to someone when I die or handing it over while I'm still living. She didn't understand what I was saying so I had to think about it some more.

This is what I mean.

When I die there are provisions in my Will to leave my work to someone in the family who will either be interested or give it to someone else in the family who's interested. Hopefully it will land with someone who carries on giving it due honor and diligence. I'd like to care if that works out but when I'm gone from Earth I just won't.

Leaving it to someone means it may get dumped in the back of their hard-drive and the rest in the basement because it's too disruptive and too much for them to incorporate into their life. They've just come home from a hard day's work and they'd rather flake out in front of the television. There are valid realities to not-interested and not-enough-time.

Although it would be more work for me, I prefer the idea of transitioning while I'm still alive. That doesn't mean 'handing it over' to someone who says they're 'interested'. A lot of people who are 'interested' in the family history don't know what they're asking for. They're asking because it's a fad or because they have 5 minutes to burn right then.

And the reason they don't know is that they don't understand how many moving parts there are. They think the family history is something they can 'get' while they're double-parked at the curb.

I've written README documents for some of the moving parts to go with my Will.

  • Legacy; learning the software
  • familiarity with the family lines; what's known/unknown
  • MRIN digital filing system (IPTC metadata & related software)
  • paper filing system (file-boxes and binders)
  • photo software
  • online resources (bookmarks, webinars, social media)
  • other tools
  • DNA and related correspondence
  • other correspondence
  • privacy concerns, copyright, etc.

That's a daunting lot of stuff.


Off and on over the years I've heard either first or second-hand of someone in my family who's 'interested'.

Ten years ago I wrote 18 weekly installments; the family history as a cliff-hanger. I thought I was being entertaining. I sent it to two sisters and two nieces. Three of them ignored me. Only one sister wrote back to say she couldn't follow it. Really? Am I that abstruse as a writer?

I've stopped being a lemming running to the sea and smartened up. Since I obviously don't know what they mean by 'interested', and they don't know enough to know what they mean, I've made a list of potential candidates and I'm working on creating an invitation for Next Keeper of The Family History. I don't know if I'll send it; I'm just playing with the idea.

Meanwhile, I've thought about what transitioning means exactly. How would I go about this? It seems to me there's a way to develop someone's interest instead of just throwing an 800 page Descendants Book Report at them and watching it go down the toilet because they don't understand what they're being given. And who could blame them? Weekly installments wasn't it either.

If they're interested then let them earn it. Earning it means making time, paying attention and being willing to learn something. Call me old-fashioned.

The only mandatory step in transitioning is they have to have their own copy of genealogy software. If they inherit the whole thing when I die they're going to have to do that anyway. If they can't get that far I figure they're not that interested. Of course I would prefer it be Legacy because that's what I use and it would be easier if we were on the same page.

And it means they're hands-on from the beginning. They don't get a free ride and they don't have to be bored to death by me talking over their heads. They can play with it on their own time putting in a few people they know like their parents and siblings and then I will feed them more information.

In a relaxed sort of way, when they have time, I will export one marriage at a time with the accompanying folder of documents, leaving time for absorption and discussion as I work my way up the direct lines. That means they're learning how to import a family file. They're learning about their ancestors. They're learning the software. They're learning the filing system. They're learning what I don't know yet and they're learning about privacy and copyright issues.

If they poop out after one generation I'm gone too. If they stick with me, I'll stick with them.

Surely, by the time the direct lines are transitioned they'll have a good handle on how things work.

Right now, the next generation of my family range from ages 33 to 44. Some of them have children, some of them don't. All of them work from morning til night in areas of their own interest. The family history is a vague curiosity for some. For some it's not even on their radar; they couldn't care less. So be it. None of them has asked to take this on; I'm just saying I have a plan if they do.

In the meantime, the satisfaction in this biz comes in the present tense; answering questions, solving problems, breaking down brick walls, teaching and learning with people who are presently engaged. And all of this will live to see another day.