Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Ollie Mae Calcote French

These two newspaper clippings do not include the name of the paper or the date they were published.  They were scanned while visiting Voncile French Whitehead, her daughter.  The one on the right is covered with plastic wrap, as many of her items are, in an effort to preserve it. Both articles have the name Myrtice misspelled.
It was the week of Spring Break, so my husband and daughter decided to make the trip from Texas to attend the funeral.  Since I had started a new job only a few days earlier, I did not go with them.

They will both remember their trip because they went through rain, hail, snow, sleet, and ice.  They were able to cross the Mississippi Bridge into Natchez before it was closed to traffic and wondered if my husband's sister and family would be allowed to cross.  They remember how cold it was the day of the funeral. They also have some happier memories of sharing a 20-piece box of McDonald's Chicken McNuggets on the way there and visiting Indian burial mounds with family.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Workday Wednesday - Franklin County, Mississippi

Alvie French, my husband's maternal grandfather, is seated second on the left.  It is one of the pictures belonging to my husband's Aunt Voncile has that I scanned in October when we visited her.  Fortunately, this picture was labeled on the back so we know which one is him and the year it was taken. .

back of above picture

In Monday's blog entry, I included a "snip" of the 1930 Roxie, Franklin County, Mississippi Census showing he worked for the railroad as an assistant foreman at that time.  Until I chose this picture to post in connection with today's prompt, I had not made that connection.   After a brief search and reading an article on a website called Mississippi Rails, it seems the railroad may have been called the Mississippi Central Railroad, originally built by the lumber companies, but that is only supposition at this time.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday - City Cemetery - Natchez, Mississippi

Ok, I confess I do not have pictures of these tombstones, but decided to post this entry using the Tombstone Tuesday blog prompt on Geneabloggers anyway because of a phone call I received today.

In October 2011, we visited Aunt Cile, who lives near Natchez.  She told me there were six other family members buried in the family plot where her Granny, Virginia Buckles Calcote, was buried and the eighth plot was unused.
  1. William Harrison Calcote, Jr. - Granddaddy Calcote / Virginia's husband
  2. Alma Calcote Stevens - Grandmama French's sister
  3. Jimmy Stevens
  4. Bertha Calcote Smith - Grandmama French's sister
  5. Bill Smith - Bertha's husband
  6. Uncle Wright - his first name may have been Willie and he was "Granny's sister, Ella's, husband"
While in Natchez, we went to the City Cemetery a couple of times, but weren't there when the office was open and we didn't have Aunt Cile with us.  It's a huge place so we weren't able to locate the graves of anyone but my husband's maternal grandparents since we remembered the approximate location.

At home in November, I went to the cemetery's website and filled out a form requesting information.  The webmaster sent a reply saying the email was being forwarded to the cemetery director.  That was shortly before Thanksgiving and in the blur holiday activities, I had forgotten about my request until the cemetery director called me today and apologized for not replying sooner.  He said if I had time he would look up the information while we were on the phone.  Of course I had time!

The records are still being digitized and he had to do several different searches.  It wasn't as simple as typing in a surname to see if it would pop up.  He gave me the locations of the graves and some dates that he found, cautioning me that they might be the dates of interment rather than the death dates.  Sexton's records often only record the burial date.  I now have confirmation that William Harrison Calcote, Jr. and wife, Virginia Buckles Calcote, Alma Calcote Stevens and husband, James W. Stevens, and Alma Calcote Smith are buried in the Fields Section, Plot 103.  During the phone call we accidentally overlooked Bill Smith, Bertha's husband, but I found the Adams County, Mississippi Genealogical and Historical Research website at that had him listed. 

The cemetery director did not find "Uncle Wright", but mentioned a Sarah Robinson Buckels who died in 1903.  I'll have to email him to see if she is in the same plot as the others or if he just saw that name and mentioned it.  At this time I do not recognize that name.

While I'm excited to have this information, I'm hoping to visit Natchez, Mississippi again before too many more months go by and visit the cemetery to take pictures.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Matrilineal Monday - Myrtice Aline French Fowler

Myrtice, the daughter of Alvie French and Ollie Mae Calcote French, was born in Hamburg, Franklin County, Mississippi on July 14, 1922.  She told me this picture was of her and her Aunt Myrtis Calcote Hunter.

The photo below is of her Aunt Bertha Calcote Smith holding her in Hamburg in front of the train depot.

And this is one of her playing with her dog, Spot.

The 1930 Roxie, Franklin County, Mississippi census shows Myrtice, her two younger sisters, and parents lived in a rented house on West Street. This picture is of Myrtice, Edith Harrigill, Helen, and Voncile French.

Myrtice's father's occupation was listed as an assistant foreman for a steam railroad.

The writing is difficult to read, but a Google search lead me to a website that translates the occupational codes used on the 1930 census.  In the code 7477, the 74 is the occupational level of "foremen and overseers" and the 77 was for the industry "steam railroad".  That was helpful since it kept me from trying to look for the name of a specific railroad beginning with the letters "St".

In the coming weeks, I plan to have more information about the females in this line.

Since my blog entry for yesterday, the third anniversary of Myrtice's death, was about her obituary and a little about her life, today I'd like to add that she married on 25 September 1942 in Natchez, Mississippi and close with one of my favorite photographs of my in-laws.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - Myrtice Aline French Fowler

This blog was started to share information about my family genealogy.  Until now it has mainly focused on my husband's paternal lines.  Today marks the third anniversary of the day my mother-in-law passed from this life, so I thought it fitting that I post her obituary today.  As of the time of this posting, her obituary is still posted on the Chapel of Hope website.  She also has a memorial page on

She fought a brave battle against breast cancer for about 5 years.  She was such an example to me of how well one could live while fighting cancer.  At one of her treatments she made a comment to me, that maybe her going through this in some way would help others.

Most of her years were spent as a homemaker, but she worked in the office of the Armstrong Rubber Plant in Natchez, Mississippi where she met her future husband.  She enjoyed playing golf and her name appeared in the Hobbs News-Sun many times in connection with that.  After her children had all left home, she became a realtor.

Although it goes without saying, I feel the need to say how very much her family misses and loves her.  Most of all I miss seeing her, talking to her, and hearing her laugh.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy - Paid Genealogy Tools

Week 2 – Paid Genealogy Tools: Which paid genealogy tool do you appreciate the most? What special features put it at the top of your list? How can it help others with their genealogy research?

I'm going to go with one of the obvious choices here and say is the paid genealogy tool I appreciate the most.  I don't even remember how many years I've used it, but I have used it a lot and I like knowing it's there at my fingertips when I want it.

One of the special features on Ancestry is being able to post your family tree so that others can see it and being able to see information on other people's trees.  I have made many connections and filled in many blanks this way.  It's especially rewarding when someone posts a picture that I don't have of an ancestor or a document I haven't located.  My philosophy is, the more people who are interested in what I have gathered that can access it, the better.  Not everyone feels that way, and I respect that.  Ancestry provides a way for them to keep their information private and only supply it to those who request it if they want.

Along with the benefits of a paid service such as Ancestry, comes the downside of much undocumented and erroneous information and the repetitive duplication of it.  However, it is usually very easy to contact the original contributor and ask where the information was obtained.

Ancestry also emails subscribers suggestions for possible documents that match what they have entered about your family members.  The suggestions aren't always applicable, but it's definitely worth checking to see if they apply or eliminate them.  After all, genealogy requires going through a lot of information to find the items that further our research and eliminating the rest.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Another Piece of the Puzzle and More Puzzle Pieces

This find in a family photo album was one more little piece to add to the story we're trying to put together to learn more about our ancestors.
The names are hand written in pencil on the black paper of a small photo album that was in a box of things my husband's cousin, Frances, brought me to go through.  The pictures are also labeled in blue ink and they are Ralph Strother and Edwin Strother, sons of John William (my father-in-law's "Uncle Johnny") and Linnie Bell Patterson Strother.  I wish there had been a picture of their older brother, William Patterson "Pat" Strother as well!
When my father-in-law saw these pictures, he told me he remember Ralph was red headed.  He laughed and said, "Uncle Johnny's boys could grab a rattlesnake by its tail, whip it and snap its neck.  They'd string them up in the loft of the barn.  One was so long it almost touched the floor." 
Many pictures have been pulled off the pages of the photo album, but it contains pictures of family and friends.  Most are labeled. The one below is labeled "The Gang" in blue ink but the only name Ralph is written in pencil above the boy standing on the left.  I'm adding it in case someone viewing the blog can identify those in the picture.  I cannot tell if the Ralph in this picture is Ralph Strother or not.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Mystery Monday - The Fowler Hotel - Jonesboro, Louisiana

While visiting during the Christmas holidays and looking at pictures, my father-in-law told me their house was often referred to as The Fowler Hotel.   He pointed and said the brick pillars (see picture below) on the sides of the porch and the fact that his Papa added a room each time he took in a kid were why it was called that.  His Papa took them in so they would have a place to stay and could attend school.

Maggie and Joe Fowler on their front porch


Who were they and what happened to them?  So many stayed "in the Fowler Hotel" over the years that my father-in-law couldn't remember all of their names.  He did remember the name Lillian Mason, but we did not find pictures of her.  There were two sisters named Ruby and Ivy. The picture below is labeled Talba or Falba and Ruby, but he only remembers someone named Ruby.                                                   

The only male name he could remember, other than the man called "Dad Thomas" I blogged about yesterday, was Thurman Heflin.  My father-in-law said the last he heard of Thurman he had a processing plant in Lake Charles, Louisiana.  Thurman Heflin is posing between someone named Elsie on the left and Nellie Fowler on the right.
Thurman Heflin
Thurman Heflin on the left with "Harley" 

52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy Blogs

I've added the badge to my blog using the directions from Thomas MacEntee's Geneabloggers and I'm ready to attempt Amy Coffin's first weekly challenge of 2012.

Week 1 – Blogs: Blogging is a great way for genealogists to share information with family members, potential cousins and each other. For which blog are you most thankful? Is it one of the earliest blogs you read, or a current one? What is special about the blog and why should others read it?

When I first read this week's prompt,  I thought as a new blogger I wouldn't be able to answer, but the prompt must have stayed in my mind or maybe the addition of the badge to my blog page kept me challenged.  I remembered something I wrote only a few weeks ago comparing my entrance into the bloggesphere to being a kid in a candy store.  Fortunately there is an abundance of free information available so price is not a factor.

The blog for which I am most thankful at this time is Thomas MacEntee's Geneabloggers.  Without his blog I would not have known about this 52 Week series.  His Upcoming Events calendars not only keep me informed about events, but also daily blogging themes, blogiversaries, and webinars.  The Genealogy Blog Roll with over 2,000 blogs listed was one of the main things that made me feel like a kid in a candy store.  As in the candy store, it all looks good.  It's difficult to choose which ones to try and I want to overindulge.

Since choosing is so difficult, I have to list some very honorable mentions.
  • For a long time Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter was the first and only blog I read.  It is still a favorite because of the wealth and variety of information Dick Eastman provides. 
  • Because we're distantly related with ties to Rockdale, Texas, I next found Vickie Everhart's BeNotForgot with it's beautiful digital artwork and "On this day in history..." entries.  It has been rewarding to connect on other sites with her such as Facebook and Find A Grave.
  • Without two webinars presented by Dear Myrtle, her advice, and encouragement, I would not have attempted blogging.  As someone who retired from working with technology, I was not afraid of the technology required; I just never felt the urge to produce a personal blog or website.  My passion for genealogy and wanting to share what I've gathered was the reason. I especially wanted to share information with my niece, Cindy, who has become my research buddy and has given me such positive feedback.
  • Another obvious favorite is Amy Coffin and her We Tree blog. Her blogging prompts and ideas are helping me so much. I enjoy reading her snippets about her non-genealogy life as well as how she has gleaned information from documents. I was so pleased with The Big Genealogy Blog Book I was able to download on my Kindle.  Kudos, Amy, and thank you!
I'm already looking forward to discovering more favorites.  Happy Blogging in 2012 and thank you everyone for sharing!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Sunday's Obituary - J. E. Thomas of Jonesboro, Louisiana

Before the Christmas holidays, my husband's cousin, Frances, met us for lunch and brought with her a box of family photos.  Shortly after we got home I started going through the box and scanning.  We took the box with us when we went to visit my father-in-law so I could go through it with him.
An unexpected treasure was this obituary of J. E. Thomas.  I had no idea who this was, but since he died in the home of my husband's grandfather, I wanted to know more.  The transcription follows.
Last Rites For J. E. Thomas Held Tuesday
   Funeral services for Mr. J. E. Thomas, age 68, of Jonesboro, who died Monday, Oct. 5th, in the home of Mr. J. C. Fowler, were held Tuesday afternoon at three o'clock in the Nazarene church here, with Rev. W. D. Peacock officiating.
   Interment was made in the Jonesboro cemetery, under direction of Edmonds Funeral Home.
  "Dad" Thomas was employed as a cook in the S. S. Cafe here for many years.  He leaves one grandson, James Thomas, to mourn his death.

When I asked my father-in-law about it, his eyes lit up and he said, "Oh, that was Dad Thomas. I never knew that was his last name, but we always called him Dad Thomas. That was another one Papa took in when he wasn't able to work any more and got turned out."
The year of his death was not given.  Searches of,, and the Jackson Parish information on the Louisiana GenWeb site have not given me more information thus far.  Based on the information in the obituary, I have added a memorial page for him in the Jonesboro Cemetery and hope to eventually find out more information even though he is not related.  A few more blog entries will be about my most recent conversation with my father-in-law.