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Category Archive for 'Primary Sources: Letters, Documents, Diaries, Histories'

Did you know that you can learn a lot of information about the 1940 Census from the 1940 Census Blog? The blog includes posts about famous people found in the census and how to find them, informative posts about the indexing project, and even great contests. You can keep up with news about the 1940 […]

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By this time tomorrow, the 1940 Census will have been released. This is exciting news for genealogists who need data from that census to get past brick walls. Personally, I’m hopeful the 1940 Census will help me answer some of the following burning questions I have: Do I have the right Frank Chatman or Chapman […]

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What follows is a transcription of the Confederate pension application filed by my great-great-great-grandfather, William Jones Bowling (pictured) in 1911.  Underlined portions are written in either W. J. Bowling’s hand or that of the clerk in order to fill out the application. Form A For Use of Soldiers, Who are in Indigent Circumstances The State […]

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Jemmie Ray Campbell was my grandmother’s brother. She gave my father the middle name “Ray” in his honor. The 71st anniversary of his death was yesterday: July 8, 1939. Poverty was not uncommon during the Depression, and Appalachia was particularly hard hit. At the time of Jemmie Ray’s birth on June 17 and his death […]

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Johnson Franklin Cunningham, pictured below with my great-great grandfather Amos Blakey Cunningham, sent the letter that follows to Amos’s daughter Dessie Cunningham Gray. I think it could mean a great deal to an African-American family if I only knew how to get the information to that family. If anyone knows of a good place to […]

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My grandfather Udell Cunningham is fond of telling the story about how his birth was erroneously recorded, causing a great deal of trouble for him later on. My grandfather was born 3 May 1925 in Tulia, Swisher County, Texas.  The Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997 (available on Ancestry.com) lists his birthday as 3 March 1925. The […]

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My cousin Dara sent scans of the following letter from my great-grandmother, Gertrude Nettie Perkins Gearhart Lightle.  I have discussed her story previously on this blog. Kiona, WA April 6, 1940 Dear Bessie, I was sure glad to hear from you again. I looked in vain for a letter all winter. I have been sick […]

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My great-grandfather Herman Cunningham, kept a diary of sorts during his tenure in the U.S. Army in World War I. My Aunt Carolyn, Herman Cunningham’s youngest daughter, sent me the following. Note: I’m not sure if this is the entire diary or an excerpt. Registered for army: June 5, 1917 was examined: March 9, 1918 […]

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In researching my great-great-grandmother’s former beau, John William Tolleson, I was most interested to discover some of his family members living today are genealogists. My grandfather’s cousin Mary had some letters that she believed were from John William Tolleson; however, once she took them out of storage, she realized they were actually from Roscoe M. […]

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John William Tolleson is not my ancestor. If my great-great-grandmother’s life had turned out a bit differently, however, I wouldn’t be here. She was once engaged to John William Tolleson. In my great-great-grandmother’s diary (PDF download), she only mentions him six times: December 2, 1893: “Wrote to J.W.T. and Mary Hutton.” December 12, 1893: “Got […]

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