Thursday, December 28, 2017

2018 Resolutions

As we approach another new year of hopeful resolutions, I find myself cleaning up my office.

The most useless of my degenerate habits when it comes to paper is keeping my to-do lists in multiple locations; bulletin board, ActionOutline, digital calendar, paper calendar, notebooks and scraps of paper in other rooms ...

It's very tempting because there are endless software options for note-taking. And there are all kinds of attractive paper notebooks. Me, I just like paper. Genius human invention. And I have enough pens to last me til I'm 200. 

I am choosing just one (again) - my digital calendar attached to Thunderbird email. Because sure as the sun's coming up tomorrow, if I don't make time commitments nothing's going to get done.

Step 1. Gather up all the errant messages to myself and put them on the calendar. It doesn't matter where exactly. Just pick a day in the near future. Nothing's written in stone. The idea is to get them all on there and shift them around later.

Step 2. Go through all the main areas of my home ... there are 9 ... with a notebook and pen and take note of everything that needs to get done. Throw them all on the calendar, spreading them around so I'm not choking myself to death and I've left room for incoming mail, phone calls and visitors.

Step 3. Think of anything else I'd like to accomplish in the near or distant future and toss that on the calendar.

Now I've got a plan.

The only exception I make is one piece of paper on my bulletin board for a shopping list.

All these to-do's break down into simple types:

Actual events. With dates and times. By design I don't have many of these.

Recurring. Monthly, quarterly, whatever. Things like paying bills, changing toothbrush ...

One-off's. Likely involving more than one step, but there is an end in sight. Each week I take a 'next' step, whatever that might be. As an alternative to complete inertia. Then I drag and drop it for a week later to continue. I use the Task icon for these because it's red and I can see it. These are priority things to kill off because I can. The less red icons I see the better I like it.

The Eternals. Some of these just are, like physical exercise. Unless I'm on my death bed, it continues and putting it on my calendar helps to motivate me. Another example would be looking for obits at funeral homes online. The cousins keep dying off and this is not likely to stop.

Other Eternals. They might be finished someday but they're so far away in my lifetime, to all intents and purposes, they're never going to end. This would be things like looking up census records and cleaning up genealogy files. Basically, anything genealogy-related because it does go on and on and on.

I put a * before all the Eternals so I know to drag them forward to continue. My time commitment to any of these is about 30 minutes max. but depending on the day and my level of interest I may get carried away.

Friday, June 30, 2017


I was just about to shut down my office for the summer. And then ...

Oh, I know. There are probably a million ways to solve hand-sticks-to-desk-in-hot-weather.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Reining It In

Every time I find myself looking up records for a 6th cousin 3 times removed I wonder how I got there.

It's another cousin and I'm attached to all of them. But, really?? How long do I think I'm going to live?

Awhile back I worked my way up from the bottom and left things mid-way through the 5th generation with the census records. And then I got sidetracked by something. And HOW does that happen?

I file by generation so this is an easy thing to get back on track.

Theoretically, I should have 16 sets of 3rd great-grandparents but I'm missing a few and a few others were married more than once so I actually have 14 sets in the file folder.

What I did was use the Focus Group search in Legacy to search for the Descendants of each couple.

I tagged them all as I went. Then I un-tagged the Living ones. I have 838 of those but they're living and they're none of my business at the moment unless they want to tell me about themselves.

That leaves me with 2,210.

There are virtually endless numbers of things I can do with these people without trying very hard. I can look up missing census records, birth dates, death dates, burial places, marriage dates and places. And, of course, missing sources. Inlaws. And then I can tidy up all their file folders while reviewing records I haven't seen in years.

If I'm done in this lifetime I can move onto the descendants of my 4th great-grandparents and then the 5th and so on until I get up to the last folder which is 10th great-grandparents whose descendants I often find myself floundering around with because that's the crazy nature of this business. Please see first paragraph above.

Thursday, May 25, 2017


My related peeps: 24,540

People with a gravestone photo: 7,179
Dead people without a gravestone photo: 11,036

Marriage date known: 3,775 couples
Marriage date unknown: 5,491 couples

According to Legacy's Census List Search, people in my database missing a census record:

1940 - 5,707
1930 - 7,249
1920 - 6,982
1910 - 6,516
1900 - 5,891
1880 - 3,948
1870 - 3,878
1860 - 3,180
1850 - 2,462

Total: 45,813, guesstimate average of 5 family members per record = 9,163 records left to find. Approximately 3,500 already found.

I could literally die while entering a census record with thousands left undone.

The last time I looked I had 1,200 DNA matches left to write to after writing to 900. I'm now six months behind in collecting the new ones. My largest address book is called DNA No-Reply. I killed the address book called DNA To-Do.

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: