Chesterfield Begins 2012 – 2013 With 63 Members

Our chapter continues to grow and we are planning many exciting activities for our 2012 – 2013 year. Our chapter will be attending Division and General Conferences, hosting the 5th District gathering on March 23, 2013, as well as continuing our social and benevolent activities. Please be proactive and encourage friends and family to learn more about our group. The more support we have, the more we can do.

Daughters of Chesterfield #851 may view our member directory online.

Lorenzo Dow Atha

166th VA Militia

Lorenzo Dow Atha was born about 1829 near Cross Roads, Monroe County, Virginia, to Addison Wesley Atha and Frances “Fanny” (Rains) Atha. On November 29, 1854, Lorenzo married Susan Caroline Vass who was born about 1832 at Little Wolf Creek, Monroe County or Mercer County, in current-day West Virginia. Caroline’s parents were Robert Vass and Mary “Polly” Steel. Caroline died on December 19, 1855, in Monroe County.

Lorenzo Dow Atha was married second to Mary Jane Wiseman (pictured here with him), who was born about September 1834, at Drooping Lick, Monroe County, Virginia. Mary Jane died March 20, 1923, at Matsville, Raleigh County, West Virginia. Mary Jane was buried on March 21, 1923, at Matsville. Lorenzo and Mary Jane were married on August 7, 1856, at Wolf Creek, Monroe County by Rev. Alfred Buhrman. Mary Jane was the daughter of Henry Taylor Wiseman and Nancy Wikle.

Lorenzo served in the 166th Virginia Militia in the fall of 1861. This unit was comprised of men from Monroe County, Virginia.

Reflections on 2011 NGS Conference

I attended the National Genealogical Society’s yearly conference in Charleston, SC this year. This is an event where I can delve more deeply into family research topics of interest to me. I mainly attended presentations on the “military track” (the conference is arranged by general research subjects) which focused on the time period 1861 – 1865 and subsequent years that hold a wealth of records concerning Union and Confederate soldiers. The most helpful seminar I attended centered on what can be found in the Southern Claims Commission. This link is a tremendous help should you wish to explore those records.

I made just a few purchases in the Exhibit Hall: Estate Inventories – How to Use Them by Kenneth L. Smith and Raleigh County, West Virginia Obituaries From The Raleigh Register 1916 – 1919. The latter I picked up at a price less than I had seen it going for online.

The last time I had attended an NGS conference was in 2007. It was nice to experience one again. I had the feeling, however, that attendance was down. With the exception of the booth selling the portable Flip-Pal scanners and the free training sessions that Ancestry and Family Search were hosting at their booths, none of the tables seemed too overwhelmed with buyers. I hope they did well, though. There were great things for sale.

Ebb and Flo

I haven’t blogged as much the last few weeks as I had hoped. A book I wrote was published on 1/24 and most of my time has gone into marketing and promotion (it’s a fantasy fiction, nothing related to genealogy). Between that and it being tax preparation time for my husband’s company — which always buries us in paperwork — I’ve been lax in getting blog posts up.

January and February is a cold, lean time of year for me. It’s the off season for our income and we always find ourselves strapped for cash. This is unfortunate, because I have had to decline attending some of my society luncheons to make the household budget work. One group, however, has decided to save me money by pretending I don’t exist, lol. Somehow I fell off the ranks of a society due to poor record keeping and despite my efforts to communicate and clear it up, no one is responding. I guess it’s for the best, considering how tight things are.

Treasure Can Be Found in Social Feeds

How actively are you involved in social networking for your societies? Currently I use Twitter to announce GRIVA programs, follow other genealogists on Facebook, and comment on select blogs via RSS feeds. I’m finding, however, that social media brings me far more information than I put out. For example, on Facebook this morning, MAKE Magazine features a tutorial on restoring an old pocket knife, very much like the one handed down to me from my paternal grandfather. It is in dire need of care, and now I have learned how to do it myself! I found this a great reminder that family history is more than bringing names, dates and stories to light. There is much we can do to resurrect old possessions as well.

Here’s how the knife looks now.

On one side of the knife is printed: “French Wykle, Sanger W. Va.”
The other side says: “HOWDY PAP”

Societies Reach Out

Several inches of snow last Saturday resulted in the cancellation of Chesterfield #851’s meeting. Today the streets around here are covered with ice from a new storm. I’m glad I can stay home today.

A friend who is not involved in genealogy or societies recently asked me “Just what do your societies do, anyway? Do you just sit around and talk about dead people?” I laughed, realizing that is probably exactly what most people think when they hear about such groups. I enjoy informing them that charitable causes are a big component of my lineage society activities. Each chapter I belong to has a different focus. Money is raised for scholarships, hospitals, museums, cemeteries, medical research, and many other worthy causes. I enjoy being a small part of the larger gifts my groups send to such a broad mix of charities. Through my lineage society memberships, I am able to do so much more than I could do by myself.