Treasure Chest Thursday: Hair Wreath

woven from the hair of the women of the family, 19th century south central Illinois.

The Hair Wreath

One of my families, the Carrolls, had a very odd family heirloom for over a hundred years: A hair wreath. Apparently, it was some sort of tradition that the women of the family would weave their hair into a large wreath that was made up of other family members’ hair. This practice went on for about 4 generations, I believe, and it included the hair of my 3rd great grandmother, Sarah Jernigan Carroll, born in 1812, her children, grandchildren and a few of the next generation. This hair wreath was rarely if ever added to after the turn of the century in 1900.

When I visited the original Carroll home place in 1982 where some descendants still live, the wreath was very fragile and beginning to show signs of disintegration. We took several pictures of the oddity.

When passing through about 20 years later, one of the granddaughters of the previous inhabitant of the farm told me that the wreath had long since disintegrated. Attached is a picture of the strange, beautiful wreath made up of my ancestors’ hair.

Has anyone else heard of such a thing?

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Wordless Wednesday: Uncle Wayne Andrews, Illinois State Champion, Long Jump, 1922 and 1923

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New NSSAR Genealogy Library Progress

The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, the male counterpart to the better-known Daughters of the American Revolution, is nearing completion of their new library facility in Louisville, KY. Watch their update video:

The date for the groundbreaking ceremony for this facility is 24/25 September, according to their website. Unfortunately, they were already gone when I attempted to call them for an update this afternoon, so I’ll give them a call another day soon.

Their website also has been updated significantly, and they now have an online library catalog. This organization, while not quite as well-known as the DAR, is making significant strides towards providing more resources for genealogists, thus helping to preserve history. If you’re anywhere remotely close to Louisville, KY, I encourage you to stay tuned, keep informed and perhaps plan to visit their facility in the future.

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The Genealogical Proof Standard – Why isn’t this incorporated into my genealogy software?

I ran across this in my mail from Rootsweb (which, incidentally, seems pretty moribund these days…). I wish applying this standard was better integrated into my genealogy software (The Master Genealogist) and all those available that I’m familiar with:

Preponderance of the Evidence vs. the Genealogical Proof Standard
The final step in proving ancestry lies in the Genealogical Proof Standard (GPS).

Until recently, researchers cited evidence based upon the legal principle of preponderance of the evidence – meaning that if definitive proof documents could not be located, and if all evidence pointed in the right direction, then a lineage or relationship was accepted as true.

But there are numerous examples of why this might not be true.  In my own ancestry, there were three William Harrells, recorded on early census records in Wythe Co., Virginia.  A logical assumption might be that they were kin, given that they shared names and lived in the same vicinity.  But DNA studies imply that they share a more distant relationship, despite the preponderance of the evidence.

Although certification is not a requirement for proving ancestry, you may wish to review the five elements of the GPS, established by the Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG).  They recommend that a strong genealogical proof should include:

  • a reasonably exhaustive search;
  • complete and accurate source citations;
  • analysis and correlation of the collected information;
  • resolution of any conflicting evidence; and
  • a soundly reasoned, coherently written conclusion.

via RootsWeb Review.

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Barn Raising about 1922

My grandmother, an avid photographer all her life, documented her father’s building of a new barn in the early 1920’s in central Illinois. These pictures are at the beginning of her second picture album and demonstrate a keen eye for perspective as well as the engineering involved in doing such an ambitious job without the aid of modern machinery.

Barn Raising c. 1922
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Scotch-Irish in New England

The most interesting of the purely Irish families, who came with the Scotch to Worcester, with whom they had contracted relationship during their long residence in Ulster, or become attached by community of sentiment and suffering, was the Young family, four generations together. They brought the potato to Worcester, and it was first planted there in several fields in the spring of 1719. The tradition is still lively in Scotch-Irish families (I listened to it eagerly in my boyhood) that some of their English neighbors, after enjoying the hospitality of one of the Irish families, were presented each on their departure with a few tubers for planting, and the recipients, unwilling to give offense by refusing, accepted the gift; but suspecting the poisonous quality, carried them only to the next swamp and chucked them into the water. The same spring a few potatoes were given for seed to a Mr. Walker, of Andover, Mass., by an Irish family who had wintered with him, previous to their departure for Londonderry to the northward. The potatoes were accordingly planted; came up and flourished well; blossomed and produced balls, which the family supposed were the fruit to be eaten. They cooked the balls in various ways, but could not make them palatable, and pronounced them unfit for food. The next spring, while plowing the garden, the plow passed through where the potatoes had grown, and turned out some of great size, by which means they discovered their mistake. This is the reason why this now indespensable esculent is still called in New England certainly, and perhaps elsewhere, the “Irish potato.”

via Scotch-Irish in New England.

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Pennsylvania County Maps and Atlases

Pennsylvania County Maps and Atlases.

Lately I have needed a good historical county map for Pennsylvania. Follow the “Rotating Formation Pennsylvania Boundry County Maps” on this page for a good one.

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