Thursday, December 19, 2013

Norwood Heraldry

When I began my genealogical research, I began in Tennessee and South Carolina with Southern American folk.  I never imagined I'd run into anything quite like I did with the Norwood line, a well documented family of knights and English land owners that I became fascinated and fell in love with.  I trace my lineage to the Norwoods via my 5th great grandmother, Elizabeth Norwood.  She married George Yarbrough and they were the great grandparents of Alexander Yarbrough, my third great grandfather.

In researching this branch of my family, their heraldry factors prominently into the pieces of their history that still remain.  Eventually, I wanted to recreate an image of their heraldry and in doing so, began to research it more specifically.

Although I began researching the Norwood de Sheppey heraldry, I quickly ascertained that there is no such thing as a family coat of arms. [11]  Instead, each individual family member achieves their own heraldry that is specific to them and their accomplishments.  Thus, this wound up being a journey through the history of the Norwood Heraldry.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Using Evernote for Genealogy Research

Could I just say... I pretty much live in genealogy geek paradise.
  • I have covered 4,000 years of family history in my research.
  • I have squirreled away tens of thousands of pages of genealogy related books, photos research reports, newspaper articles, vital records and pages of notes in 700 documents
  • My research includes over 30 years of effort from my grandmother and me
.... and I can find absolutely any of it within seconds.  

I can cross reference the state of Tennessee with the name Yarbrough or find every note, photo or scrap of evidence related to my civil war ancestor, Drew Sinks with a few clicks or by typing a few words.  I can create entire research articles with full citations within hours or days instead of weeks.  I have access to entire digitized books on the history of Kent or North Carolina that mentions my ancestors.

I can do all of that with Evernote.  And it can be done for free!  Evernote is a note taking application that I use to organize pdfs, images, documents and research notes related to almost every aspect of my life - but more specifically, to this blog, my family tree stuff.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

John and Patience Turner

John Turner's mark
This is the story of my 5th great grandfather and grandmother, John and Patience Turner.  I first discovered them while researching my Hursey family.  There were smatterings here and there on the internet about it.  John was a slave and his freedom was purchased by his wife.  What?!  Surely, I would have heard about this from my grandmother, who was the family genealogist and our connection to the Hursey family.  But I hadn't.  So I assumed I must have made a mistake and I'd have to come back later to it to prove out my connection to this man - or disprove it.  I came back it early this year when a DNA test revealed Yoruban ancestry that would, in part, be explained by this connection.

Patience's father's name and date and place of birth are unknown.  Her mother was named Rachael Smith and was from Halifax Co., NC.  Rachael was of Irish descent and died while Patience was still a child.  [1][4]

By 1769, Patience's last name was Turner. [2]  Given the evidence I have regarding her maiden name, I believe that this is because she and John married before he was freed (see below) and she took his last name.

It's at this point that I should mention that although I did find some statements about Patience's racial identity being 'mulatto' while doing this research, I was not able to confirm that.  In fact, the evidence I've seen seems to indicate that she was not multiracial.  Although I can find one court record that said "Patience Turner passed and was received as a free white woman not having more than 1/4th negro blood" [6][13], and one could surmise that wouldn't need to be said if she was clearly white, 'less than 1/4th negro blood' could technically include no African heritage and the statement may have been made simply because she was married to a man of color so someone thought it needed to be on the record, so this statement is not evidence of African descent.