I’m taking a genealogy course with the Cobb County Genealogical Society, with whom I am a member. Although I’ve done many webinars, but I’ve never taken an official class in genealogy. I have been asked on a couple of occasions to give classes. I suppose I’ve been reluctant because I’ve not seen classes of this type put on by regular folks, only videos of professionals. So, I thought I’d take the class mostly because I never had taken one before and because I thought I would pick up a few tidbits. I am also new to the CCGC, so I thought I’d be a great opportunity to meet some of the people there. This class would be my first activity with the CCGC folks.
The first of two classes yesterday was on Census Records. It was an excellent class. The instructor reminded me of the mortality schedules and the agriculture schedules. I never look at them and I was reminded that I really should. She did a short bit on Soundex codes and how they work. It was helpful and put it together more clearly for me. (See my frustration in a previous posting.) Really helpful was one of her Internet Resources Links that she suggested was the Soundex Calculator on the Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter site. I bookmarked the calculator and put the bookmark in my Genealogy Tools folder. I feel bookmarks are so much easier than trying to remember where I put the paper instructions.
During the class, I was reminded of the Georgia Virtual Vault and due to funding cuts the Georgia Archives is only open two days a week, the least of any state archive facility. (Note: Contact your state legislators and ask they improve funding for the State Archives.
None of my ancestors are from Georgia nor are my wife’s, so I’ve never done a lot with the Georgia Virtual Vault. I was reminded of it so I thought I’d refresh my memory of some of the things that the site has. My wife’s great-grand uncle, Ted McAllister died in Georgia. Family oral history said he had “bedded a married woman and was killed by a jealous husband.” I wondered if the story was true. A quick search and there was his death certificate. Cause of Death: Murder. Wow. Maybe the story is true. Another part of the story is that Harold, the husband of my wife’s Great-Grand Aunt, went down to take care of business and have his body returned to Pennsylvania for burial. The death certificate shows who the informant was, not Ted’s brother-in-law as oral tradition would indicate but Ted’s youngest brother. The death certificate also says he was widowed. Interesting, I had no information on a wife or other family. It also indicated he was buried in Laurel Grove Cemetery in Savannah. I guess they didn’t ship the body back.
He also worked as a car inspector for the “A. C. L. Ry”. Not being from Georgia, I didn’t know what that was. Over to Wikipedia – Oh, of Course, the Atlantic Coast Line Railway (Railroad).
I did a search of McAllister in Laurel Grove Cemetery on Find-A-Grave (FAG) (one of my favorite sites) and quickly located a memorial for him. The memorial spoke of his first wife, three children, and a second wife who died and was also buried in the cemetery.
Sadly, the memorial indicated that, “A findagrave volunteer reports that he is buried in an unmarked grave in Strangers Ground…- this is where county-paid burials are located.“ His wife is likewise in Strangers Ground so they must have been extremely poor.
The FAG memorial It also mentioned his immigrating in 1886 and even mentioned the ship, “British King.” In genealogy, one bit of information found leads to another and to another.
I knew he came across with his mother and three siblings in 1886, but I didn’t know the date, port, or ship. I’d give a quick look at Ancestry and see if they had the record. Sure enough, there he was with his mother “Marg t” (instead of Margaret) and siblings. Arriving 23 June 1886 aboard the steamship “British King” from Liverpool to Philadelphia. Surprisingly, Ancestry didn’t have a photo of the British King but I found several elsewhere.
So hours pass, as I thoroughly document all these findings. But, so much more to research. Can I confirm his two marriages? What happened to his first wife, divorce or death? Can I find the names of his three children? Did he have other children? Can I find a newspaper article that speaks of his murder? Was he really shot by a jealous husband?
I did confirm, his wife Violet died in 1910. They had three children, Edward L., Albert W., and Paul Y. McAllister. The Savannah Press, 13 January 1925 has a multipage article regarding his murder. The article uses four headlines to really grab your attention.
Edward L. McAllister is Found Murdered in Home
Railroad man had been dead since Saturday
Beaten in head with hatchet; body on kitchen floor
Lived Alone since wife died last year
Edward L. McAllister, employed at the Atlantic Coast Line Railway shops, was discovered murdered at this home, on Thirty-ninth street near Ash by H. B. Brown…..
Now the question is who did it? Was it a jealous husband as oral history indicated. Oral history was wrong in that he hadn’t been shot, rather a hatchet to the head. Much more personal than a shooting. The article also mentions that his wife, who died the previous November, was under the care of the physician at the jail. Why??? Always more questions.
I received an eMail regarding the Georgia State Archives being Closed to Public Access. Today’s number of supporters is 16,626 and 50,000 supporters are needed. I signed the petition and I hope you will too.
The secretary of State has announced that the Georgia Archives will be closed to public access November 1st and that staff serving public access will be eliminated because Governor Nathan Deal required a 3% budget cut from this year’s budget. Public access to the records of government is an essential element of a democratic society.
It is critical that we muster thousands of Georgians to sign a petition requesting that the Governor reverse this decision. Could you please ask the preservation and public history students to sign the online petition and to get at least five of their closest friends to sign the petition as well. As of 4:30 this afternoon 3,333 had signed. We need 50,00 from all parts of Georgia.