Tag Archives: Larry D Watts

Belated Birthday

15 October 2011 recently passed unnoticed. I had intended to do this write-up on that date, the first birthday of Graham Ancestry.

Writing these articles has required me to focus my research in ways that I likely wouldn’t have otherwise, and therefore I was able to discover and connect together facts that might have remained hidden in the open. I’ve made connections to distant cousins in Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, Oregon, and other places.

To those that read and contribute to this journal, I give my gratitude:

To Kathy Reilly, a great grand-daughter of Eliza Ann Graham, who offered to share some information with me, but hasn’t yet! Nudge, nudge!

To William Gunn, a great grandson of William Thomas Graham, who told me how his great grandfather died. William, does your Uncle Dwayne have a picture of your great grandfather William?

To Doran Marable, who also gave me details on William Thomas Graham and put me on the path to discover his service in the First World War. Have you turned up that copy of William’s discharge papers?

To Michael Graham, a grandson of Jessie Cornelius Graham, who provided me with a copy of Jessie’s obituary.

To Rick Watts, who granted me access to his family tree on Ancestry.com so that I could view photographs of Jessie Cornelius Graham and his wife Callie Watts, and who put me in touch with Barbara Van Camp.

To Larry D. Watts, for the notes and photographs of James Newton Siler Watts and Eliza Ann Graham.

To Debbie, “walkerz4” on Ancestry.com, for the photograph of John Clifton Condley’s grave marker and the notes on the Condley family.

To Louise Graham Bower, for the surprise packet of family notes on John Henry Graham and his children.

To Barbara Van Camp, for offering me a trove of information on the Watts side of the family and for running the Watts site on MyFamily.com.

To Betty Johnson, for putting me in touch with D J Lathum.

To D J Lathum, the son of Nona (Graham) Lathum, for the notes on his parents and the Lathum family.

To Nancy Weaver, a Find A Grave contributor, for her willingness to accept my correction of Nona (Graham) Lathum’s middle name.

To Jerry Maynard, who granted me access to his family tree on Ancestry.com, which provided information on the descendants of Emma Graham.

To Liz Hill, Family Service Manager at Beverly Cemetery in Illinois, for the directions to Robert Daniel Graham’s grave.

To Linda Steen of the Roller-Coffman Funeral Home in Marshall, Arkansas, for the scan of Blanche (Watts) Graham’s obituary.

To Gail Feese, for the voluminous notes on the Watts and O’Neal families, which she has made me promise not to share online!

To Donald Bohannan, for the information on the Bohannan families.

To Carol Molmen and Jim Garrett, just for being regular readers!

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2010 Graham Ancestry In Review

It’s the end of the year, and so it’s time to reflect upon what I’ve accomplished as for researching my family roots.

I started off the year with a family tree online at Ancestry.com.  This tree was based on an older tree compiled by my brother Darryl in the late 1990s, and incorporated data from a cousin with whom he had shared information named Larry D. Watts.  I had subscribed to Ancestry.com and expanded upon that tree by linking to census documents and other family trees.

Then I picked up Family Tree Maker 2010.  I started a new tree document based on the online version, but decided to keep it saved locally and to minimize the amount of un-sourced information it contained.  It quickly became my favorite pass-time to work on this tree.

In April, the National Guard sent me to a two-week course at Camp Joseph T. Robinson in North Little Rock, Arkansas.  While the course itself had nothing to do with my family research, it provided me an opportunity to visit Searcy County, Arkansas, the area where previous generations of my Graham ancestors had lived.  While photographing tombstones at Rambo Cemetery, I encountered a distant cousin named Gail Feese, and we exchanged information.  (This meeting will be the subject of an article in 2011 because it was such a lucky incident.)

In June, I discovered Footnote.com.  They were offering their entire Civil War collection for free during the month of June.  I was able to find the service records for my great great grandfather William Alexander Watts, Jr.  In 1863, he served with the Union Army, Company E, 2nd Arkansas Cavalry.  (He will also be the subject of an article in 2011.)

Later in June a minor tragedy struck – my hard drive failed.  By that time, the local version of my tree had become the most researched and sourced, and probably the most accurate, version of any family tree of my own.  Thankfully, I had saved in my online inbox all of the e-mails I exchanged with Gail, and she had given me hard copies of her own research, so all was not lost.  Also about this time I decided to let my Ancestry.com subscription lapse due to budgetary reasons.

A couple of months passed where I didn’t have much of a desire to pursue the research.  I still had my old family tree online at Ancestry.com, but by this time I knew where it was lacking and how much work it would take to put it right.  It had many duplicate entries for name variations, and accepted far too many un-sourced entries from other folks’ trees.

By October I was really missing working on the family tree.  Who knew that sitting in front of a computer browsing scanned census document could be such a fulfilling hobby?  I began thinking about how I would do it “right” when I inevitably started again.  And I decided I wanted to blog about it.

On 15 October 2010 I launched this here journal, Graham Ancestry.  This has turned out to be the greatest addition to my family research.  First, in compiling an article on an ancestor, I will spend some time focusing only on that ancestor and, in every instance so far, I have found more documents and made more connections.  Second, after posting my findings, I’ve been contacted by distant cousins who are also researching their family trees.  In the three months since this journal launched, I’ve “met” three cousins, and their willingness to discuss our shared ancestry has added greatly to my research, and I hope that I have added to theirs.  Third, having this journal drives me to do more research.  Graham Ancestry has attracted a small audience and a couple of subscribers.  Indeed, it has the most traffic of any online journal I’ve written.  I don’t want to disappoint my audience!

Happy New Year!


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