Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Legere/McBride (paternal great-grandparents)

Constant Legere and Marie Octavie McBride, my paternal great-grandparents, are buried in St. Peter Cemetery in Carencro, Louisiana.  Carencro is in Lafayette Parish (county) in the southern part of the state.

Headstone of Constant Legere and daughter Odette, St. Peter Cemetery, Carencro, La., Nov. 2007.  Digital photo by Liz Hall Morgan.

Constant was the son of Hypolite Paul Legere and Marcellite Lebert.  He was born 26 Oct. 1837 in Opelousas, St. Landry, La. and died 19 May 1923 in Rayne, Acadia, La.  He was a farmer who was married four times and had 17 children, though not all lived to adulthood.  Octavie, or "Tavie," as she was known, was his fourth wife, and they lived in the small community of Ossun in Lafayette Parish.  (Constant's first three wives, in order, were Estelle Babineaux, Idalie or Udalie (Eudalie?) Landry and Marie Irma Guidry.)

Headstone of Mrs. Constant [Marie Octavie McBride] Legere, St. Peter Cemetery, Carencro, La., Nov. 2007.  Digital photo by Liz Hall Morgan.

Tavie was the daughter of William McBride and Melasie Hollier.  She was born 31 Jan 1859 in St. Landry Parish, La. and died 29 Mar. 1946 in Lafayette, Lafayette Parish, La.  Her first husband was Cyprien Stemmann or Stemann, with whom she had four children. (The spelling has changed in usage over the years to Stemmans and Stemmons.)  Cyprien died in 1887, and on 23 Feb 1889, Constant and Tavie were married at St. Peter Roman Catholic Church in Carencro.  They had five children, including my grandmother Elia Legere Hall.  Both Constant and Tavie spoke Cajun French, and little, if any, English.

Constant and Tavie Legere, c. 1920?, Ossun, La., unknown photographer, scanned photo privately held by Liz Hall Morgan.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Madness Monday: Mystery photo edition

This photo was found in a box of photos belonging to my paternal grandmother Elia Legere Hall (1889-1956), who grew up near Scott, Louisiana, in Lafayette Parish.  These could be relatives or friends of hers or her parents (Constant Legere or Légère and Marie Octavie McBride).  I'm not sure of the date (one fashion/costume-knowledgeable friend estimates 1901-1905), but there's a clue to the woman's identity on the back of the photo.

She writes: These little proofs are not very good but thot [thought] it would give you some idea of how we are all looking.  The boys have short hair now and I look much better than in this.  This was made about 16 mo[nths] ago.  But don't you think these three boys of mine beauties? Excuse my vanity please.
It's signed: Pae? or  Pac?  What do you think?  Pat? Initials?  Oh, and yes, I'm sure she looks much better than in that photo--hideous, right??!! LOL

If initials, I'm leaning toward "P.A.C." (Compare the "c" in "excuse" above it.)  The most prevalent "C" names in their area would probably be Cormier, Comeau(x), and Chiasson.  There are also Credeur (Caruthers) and Constantin families in the area.  None of the "C" names are closely related to our family.

Anyone want to guess at dating the photo or the ages of the people in it? 

Surnames of possible cousins: Legere, McBride, Roade, Royer, Devillier, Duhon, Dupre.  Less likely might be nieces/nephews surnamed Babineaux, Guidry, Malapart, Hernandez.  I'm almost certain it's none of my grandma Elia's siblings, and probably not a niece or nephew.  Perhaps it's a former neighbor from the Ossun or Scott area where they lived, or from Carencro, where they attended St. Peter Catholic Church.  I may post this on the Lafayette Parish GenWeb genealogy site in case anyone recognizes the family there.

Thanks for your input!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Friend of Friends": Fariss slave record, Catahoula Parish

"A friend of friends" was a password used on the Underground Railroad.  My "Friend of Friends" series was inspired by the essay posted by Sandra Taliaferro here.  I am posting slave records occasionally as I come across them, in the hope that it might help other researchers find their ancestors.  Wouldn't it be great if more people joined a "Friend of Friends" Friday (or any day) meme?

[UPDATE: Search Geneabloggers for more "Friend of Friends Friday" posts from other bloggers. And now Sandra of the essay linked above and Luckie Daniels of Our Georgia Roots and the first Carnival of African-American Genealogy (who previously issued an impassioned plea for sharing info about slaves in order to help African-Americans trace their ancestry) have created the website A Friend of Friends, a place to post slavery records publicly or anonymously and/or find ancestors.]

These are transcriptions from the probate records of David Fariss (Farris, Faress, etc.) of Catahoula Parish, Louisiana (my great-great-great-grandfather).  I have some notes and transcriptions from files given to my mom and I by a genealogist cousin, Zola Scott Hardy, before her death. These records from the Fariss probate concern the 1841 sale of a slave named Alexander, a.k.a. "Elick" (Alec) described as a "negro boy" of "dark complexion."  His age is apparently on one document (see the third image below) but Zola could not read it.

Note: In Louisiana, the term "succession" is used for probate or estate records.  A "conveyance" is a deed.  The first two pages concern an August 1841 family meeting to discuss selling property, including Alexander.    (Click to enlarge each image below.)


My first thought is that if Alexander is a "boy," where is his mother?  Was he sold away from her, or is he being sold away from her? Is he the only slave of David and Lucy (Davis) Farris?  Inventory notes refer to two tracts of land and "negroes" [plural], but I see no other mention of slaves in the notes and transcriptions I have.  Anyone researching the Farris slave(s) should check for microfilm, if any, of the original records.

My second thought is that the document explains the reasons for the sale of Alexander and other "property."  Is this usual?  Can other researchers out there tell me? 

(The names cut off at the bottom of p. 2 are the same ones mentioned in p. 1.  My scanner is being cantankerous.)

Edom L. Fariss (he may be E.E. or Elem Earle Fariss in some records), David's son and administrator of the estate, bought Alexander at auction for $456 (his value was appraised at $400) in September 1841 (below).  The probate file is still open in 1847 when a new administrator is sought after Edom's death.  Alex's fate may be found in Edom's probate file, dated 31 Dec. 1844 (probably in Catahoula Parish).  Edom married Nancy Nettles.  After Edom's death, she married James P. Bambrick.

This is one complicated probate packet.  It spans at least seven years.  David Fariss or Farris was married first to Elizabeth Love and then to Lucy Davis.  Elizabeth's children, or their "tutors" (legal representatives for minors), seem to be disputing things with Lucy and her child (my great-great-grandmother).  Throw in land which is not selling, an administrator who dies, children who die, minors who become adults, a child or two who married their "tutor," and it gets rather convoluted.  If I can understand it all better, perhaps I'll post the rest of the probate packet in a series of posts.

For more research: The Family History Library catalog includes successions (probate records) of Catahoula Parish from 1846-1890 on microfilm.  The David Fariss packet is dated 7 Apr. 1841; I don't know if the later proceedings are included on that microfilm.  Conveyance (deed) records are available from 1807-1887.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: Pate family, near Ringgold, La., 1904

Pate family portrait, Fall 1904, near Ringgold, Louisiana, owned by M. Hall, Louisiana, granddaughter of the Pates. Digital photo by Liz Hall Morgan, Nov. 2007.

L to R, front row: Newton King Bradie (or Brady) Pate, Edna (my grandmother), Zella, Etta Cotter Pate holding baby Brady, Ora, Lucy Cotter Tullis (Etta's sister). Middle: 4 of the 6 girls: Lilla, Lucy, Minnie, Lofie, Margie &/or Lena Pate, though we're unsure who is who. Some facial detail has faded away and it's difficult to tell who some of the children are by only their ages. Weaver, Willie and Andrew are in the back.  We are not completely sure that Willie and Andrew are not misidentified for each other.

A wider view reveals more of the lumber being used to add on to the house, Etta's inheritance from her father (All those kids have to be put somewhere!).  A neighbor stopped by (R) who apparently thought he wasn't going to be in the photo, and a mule makes a cameo from the far right side.

Note: This hung in my grandmother's room at our house for years. Why we never wrote down who everyone was escapes me, but I can't believe we didn't! LABEL family portraits, even if you think you know who they are--because years later, you may not remember who was who & Grandma won't be around to tell you! :(

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Surname Saturday: HALL

("Surname Saturday" is a daily theme many genealogy bloggers use.)

I'm following ahnentafel (chart #) order for my Surname Saturday posts. (Don't worry if you don't know what that means; it's a genealogy thing.) Unfortunately, my shortest lineage and biggest brick wall is the surname I was born with: HALL.

1. Liz HALL married (Hubby :) ) MORGAN.

2 (Dad) HALL married

4 Robert Bunyan HALL. Born on 18 Mar 1877? in Newton, Baker Co., GA? or 1878 near Richmond, VA? Died in Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA, on 20 Nov 1952. Buried in Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA.  On 26 Oct 1918, he married Elia LEGERE in Carencro?, Lafayette, LA.
[Note: Two previous wives: Corrie or Carrie WILLIAMS and Jessie [unknown last name].
5 Elia LEGERE. Born on 18 Sep 1889 in Scott, Lafayette, LA. Elia died in Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA, on 18 Sep 1956. Buried in Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA.

8 George HALL? of GA? or of Richmond, VA area? married

Unfortunately, this is my shortest line, and my biggest brick wall.  For more info, see my posts about my "mystery grandpa" Robert Bunyan Hall, here and here

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: John William Stevenson Bible, La.

Stevenson family Bible, originally owned by John William Stevenson, now owned by his granddaughter M. Hall, La. Digital photos by Liz Hall Morgan,
Jan. 2007.

John William and Maggie Elizabeth (McCoy) Stevenson were my great-grandparents and my mom's paternal grandparents, who lived in Athens, Louisiana.  The family record pages were taken out of the Bible sometime in the past, possibly by one of my great-aunts who inherited the Bible.  The page above reads: "Parents' Names.  Husband: J.W. Stevenson Born: July the ninth 1871.  Wife: M.E. Stevenson Born August sixteenth 1876  Married: Nov. the 30 1893."

This page reads: "Children's Names.  Ethel Gertrude Stevenson was born Oct. the fifth 1894.  Alvin Stevenson was born Feb. the first 1897.  John T. Stevenson was born Sept. the twelfth 1901.  Vera Mae Stevenson was born Nov. the sixteenth 1907[?]"  I'm not sure whose handwriting it is, but I believe the dates are correct.  However, I do remember my grandfather Alvin celebrating his birthday on Groundhog Day, Feb. 2, but after finding this I have discovered that his headstone and Social Security record also read Feb. 1.  Huh??!!

Photos/text copyright 2010 Liz Hall Morgan

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday: 65 years ago today, Dad joined WWII

Flight log, George C. Hall, owned by Hall family of La., digital photos by Liz Hall Morgan, Feb. 2010.

After training as a dive bomber pilot, my dad, George Hall, answered the Navy's call for more fighter pilots and began training on F6F Hellcats with Fighter Squadron Six (VF-6) in Hawaii in December, 1944.  By the end of February, he was "heading for 'The Big Time'" in the Pacific, as he put it in his flight log, above.   His first flight of the war, from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock, took place on March 10, 1945 (below), over Ulithi.   He was 23 years old.


Copyright 2010, Liz Hall Morgan

Monday, March 8, 2010

Madness Monday: My mystery grandpa, part two, or "Eating an elephant."

Note: This post continues my "Madness Monday" post from last week about my "mystery grandpa," Robert Bunyan Hall.

Robert Bunyan Hall and Jerome Guidry, Sabine or Neches River, Texas, abt 1918.  Scan of original photo owned by the Hall family, La., cropped and edited for fading.

Robert listed “George C. Hall and Georgia Burnaman" [Could it be Burnham? Burnam? It's hard to read] as his parents on the application for a marriage license to my grandmother, Elia Legere, in 1918. This is the only George and Georgia Hall with a son named Robert of approximately correct age in the 1880 U.S. Census I’ve found--so far:

1880 U.S. Census, Georgia—Baker Co., ED 2, p. 36, lines 37-39
Hall, George, W, M, 35, farmer, b. GA, father b. SC, mother b. GA
------ Georgia Ann, W, F, 30, wife, keeping house, b. SC? [strike-through and correction], parents b. SC
------ Robert, W, M, 3, son, b. GA, father b. GA, mother b. SC

Following this family in the census, Robert’s POSSIBLE (unproven) parents would be:

George C. HALL. Born in Feb 1843 in GA. George C. died prob. in Quitman, Brooks, GA after 1910.

  • 1850, Lee Co., GA
  • 1860-1880+, Newton area, Baker Co., GA
  • 1900, Cairo, Thomas [now Grady Co.], GA
  • 1910, Quitman, Brooks, GA

Occupation: Farmer [1864-1880+]; woods rider [probably turpentine industry], 1900; church sexton, 1910.  Civil War veteran [?? listed as disabled on the GA militia list of 1864, but can't find him in pension indexes]

Bef 1868 George C. married Georgia [C? Ann? BURNAMAN?], who was b. May 1850 in SC. Georgia prob. died in Quitman, Brooks, GA after 1910, possibly in 1928 [I have a death record for a possible Georgia who died in a poor house, and who had no relatives listed].

They had the following children:
    2    i.    William (b. c.1867 [in 1870 census] - d. bef 1880 census?)
    3    ii.    Robert (b. c. 1877, shows up with parents only in 1880 census)

George/Georgia HALL census sources [some ages/places vary.  Still, I think it is the same couple throughout]:
  • 1870 GA—Baker Co., Newton p.o., p. 68, line 6
  • 1880 GA—Baker Co., ED 2, p. 36, line 37
  • 1900 GA--Thomas Co., Cairo [now part of Grady Co.], ED 89, Sheet 5A, line 3
  • 1910 GA--Brooks Co., Quitman, ED 16, Sheet 2A, line 47.  [A Tom Hall, listed as black, is living next to them.  Who is this?]

As far as George’s parents, he is included in the 1850 Census in Lee Co., GA, in the household of Lucinda [HALL] Millican [with his probable sister, Amanda Hall] and in the 1860 Census in Baker Co., GA in the household of H.H. Hall.  The book “History of Baker Co.” lists Lucy & Henry Holcomb Hall as siblings. George is not listed in the book.  I think he may be a nephew or cousin of these Halls, but have no proof yet.  I've looked at microfilm of Baker Co. estate records and haven't found anything.

 Elia and Robert Hall, Oct. 1946, Sulphur, La.  Grandpa, I think, is looking smugly at me from this photo, chomping on his cigar and thinking, "You'll never find me!"  Just you wait, Grandpa, just you wait!

Interestingly, my parents visited Newton, GA, on vacation once and someone told Dad he looked like the Halls who owned a local grocery.  Why they didn't run right over there and question them immediately, I don't know!  But they didn't, and struck out in local records.

George and Georgia do not seem to have had property.  Perhaps there are poor house records.  

And our DNA is loosely grouped with other Halls whose ancestors were mostly from Virginia.  Should I start over there?  There are no George & Georgias there in 1880, though maybe one of them is there and widowed or remarried with a son Robert age 2 or 3.

As far as Robert, I've scoured city directories, but need to scour more.  There are few Robert B. Halls, but many Robert Halls to rule out, perhaps by following them in census records.  With many Southern states and counties he could have married in (see last week's post for his previous wives Carrie or Corrie Williams and Jessie), I'm not sure where to start again.  I've already chased down and ruled out a couple of other possible wives.  I think I've ruled out the only real Spanish-American War record lead I had.  Sigh.

I need to pull back, examine what I've already done, re-focus, and make a to-do list.  How do you eat an elephant?  One bite at a time.

If you've heard of any of these families or have research ideas for me, leave a comment or drop me a line at hallroots (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.

Copyright 2010 by Liz Hall Morgan

The census is coming! The census is coming!


I'm just enough of a genealogy nerd to be all excited about this pre-census junk mail from the government.  Hubby, amused, agreed that I could be the official census-filler-outer for our household. :)  Then I read more about the questions: What?!!  "One of the shortest forms in history"?  "Ten questions in 10 minutes"?  Phooey!!!  I was excited to fill out the "long form" in 2000, but looks like I'll have to pass down this blog to someone so my gggg-niece or -nephew (in 2082) will be able to learn more about me than my address.  Of course, if genealogists designed the forms, they'd be pages long and no one would ever return them...

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: A card-carrying naval aviator

Note: "Treasure Chest Thursday" is a theme used by some genealogy bloggers.  It's sort of a fun weekly "Show and Tell" for grownups.  You can read more "TCT" posts at Geneabloggers.

Naval Aviator card for George C. Hall (my dad), issued by the Dept. of the Navy, 23 June 1944. Scanned original, Feb. 2010, owned by the Hall family, La.

Page from flight log of George C. Hall, dated 23 June 1944 (the day the above card was issued), detailing flight time to date.  Owned by the Hall family, La.  Digital photo by Liz Hall Morgan, Feb. 2010.

George C. Hall, c. 1944. Photo privately held by Liz Hall Morgan.

Dad originally trained on dive bombers, but switched to fighter planes when he heard more fighter pilots were needed in the Pacific. He flew an F6F Hellcat from the aircraft carrier USS Hancock in 1945 and relished telling tales of his flying days for the rest of his life.  While war was serious business, it was also a very exciting time for a kid in his early 20s from a small town in Louisiana.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Stevenson in La. (maternal great-grandparents)

Note: "Tombstone Tuesday" is a theme used by many genealogy bloggers; you can see other tombstone posts at GeneaBloggers.

John William Stevenson and Maggie Elizabeth McCoy are great-grandparents from my mom's side of the family. They are buried in Tulip Cemetery in the Tulip community near Athens, La. Tulip is in Claiborne Parish (county) in Northwest Louisiana.

 Headstone of John W. and Maggie E. (McCoy) Stevenson, Tulip Cemetery, near Athens, La., Nov. 2005.  Scanned photo by M. Hall, slightly edited and privately held by Liz Hall Morgan.

John was the son of Hannah E. Kilpatrick and James W. Stevenson.  He was born 9 July 1871, probably in Claiborne Parish, Louisiana, and died 29 Apr. 1942 in Caddo Parish, La. 

Maggie was the daughter of James McCoy and Rebecca Jane Harrell.  She was born 16 Aug. 1876 in Louisiana (possibly Mt. Lebanon or Liberty Hill in Bienville Parish, or perhaps in Lincoln Parish) and died 11 Aug. 1937 in Minden, Webster Parish, La.

UPDATE 6/1/2012: Mom now thinks the original photo posted here for John & Maggie was of a Harper couple.  Here is a photo we know to be John and Maggie:

John William and Maggie Elizabeth (McCoy) Stevenson, Crossroads, La.?, c. 1920s or 1930s.  Photo by J. Marler, of original photo privately held by M. Hall, La.

Maggie and John were married 30 Nov. 1893 in Athens, Claiborne, Louisiana, where they spent the rest of their lives, and had four children: Ethel Gertrude, Alvin Jasper (my grandfather), John T, and Vera Mae.
Text copyright 2010, 2012 by Liz Hall Morgan; photos copyright 2010 M. Hall (top) and 2012 J. Marler (bottom), all rights reserved.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Madness Monday (well, Tuesday): My mystery grandpa (part one)

 Robert Bunyan Hall, affectionately known as my "mystery grandpa." Unknown medium/artist [colorized photo?], c. 1940s, Louisiana, owned by the Hall family in La., digital photo by Liz Hall Morgan, Feb. 2009.

My first "Madness Monday" post concerns my biggest brick wall--my "mystery grandpa," Robert Bunyan Hall.  Grandpa Hall never told his kids the names of his parents, and they eventually learned not to ask.  He's one of the reasons I became interested in genealogy when I was young, and I've researched him off and on for more than 25 years.  If you're knowledgeable about Virginia, Georgia, or Spanish-American War records, or just like helping others bust up brick walls (ironically, Grandpa was a brick mason), read on.  I have put him aside for the last few years but am ready to take a sledgehammer to his big ol' wall again.   Would you like to help?

Brief stats on Grandpa:
Robert Bunyan [a.k.a. Bunyon, Bunion] HALL
b. 18 Mar 1878, in Richmond VA, area, or possibly 1877 in GA.
General whereabouts and life before Oct. 1918 unknown.
m. Elia Legere 26 Oct. 1918, Lafayette, LA.
d. 20 Nov 1952, Sulphur, Calcasieu, LA,
Occupation: Brick Mason, Railroad Worker, Contractor

Possible residences before Oct. 1918: Beaumont, Orange, or other cities in TX [worked construction at Gulf refinery; may have worked on railroads in LA/TX]; worked for Wacheson [sp?] & Henigriff in Westlake, LA in 1918 and may have worked in Lake Charles or other LA cities; Atlanta [worked for George Fuller Construction], Stone Mt., GA; Savannah, GA; Louisville, KY; Nashville, TN; [worked on Louisville & Nashville Railroad]; Richmond,VA; Baltimore, MD.

He did claim to be from the Richmond, Virginia area (we can't find a birth record; based on the 1880 census, he may be from GA) and that his family owned a grist mill.  At least one of his children thought he mentioned a sister named Fanny, and that she may have died young.  His children remember various places in the South he may have mentioned and where he may have lived (outlined above).  He said he was in the Navy in the Spanish-American War (we can't find a record of a Robert B. Hall born in either VA or GA) and that he went to Johns Hopkins at one time (no record in the school archives).  He said he worked on the railroad (but too early to have a railroad retirement record), as a bricklayer, and as a contractor.  He claimed Irish roots, and was Protestant.

He met my grandma Elia Légère in Sept. or Oct. 1918 in Orange, TX, through her brother-in-law, who knew him only as a fishing buddy he met on the Neches or Sabine River.  They married soon after (I wrote about their relationship here) and we know his whereabouts (Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana) from then on, but his life from his birth c. 1873-1878 until 1918 (He and Grandma both died in La. in the 1950s) is almost a complete mystery to us.  Well, the only answers we've found so far, anyway, just lead to more questions.  To wit:

1.  My mom (brava!) found his application for a marriage license to marry my grandmother (Elia Légère), on which he entered his parents' names as "George Hall" and "Georgia" [Burnaman? Burnam? Burnham? -- it's hard to read].  Oh, and a previous wife (deceased) is listed: Corrie [or Connie, Carrie??] Williams.  (My father and his siblings, by the way, had never heard of any other wives, living or deceased.)
Notes: I can't find a George and Georgia Hall (or G. Hall) with son Robert (or R.) of approximately the correct age anywhere in the 1880 census except Georgia.  Nothing in Virginia looks right to me.  I should perhaps go back and check for one spouse alone or remarried with Robert.
Williams??!!  Really, Grandpa???  Couldn't you have married someone with a slightly less common name?  I've barely tried looking for her.  "Williams" is worse than "Hall" for searching!
No marriage records for Grandpa in the Orange or Beaumont, TX, areas where we know he lived.  No Cora/Corrie/Cornelia/Cordelia or Connie/Constance or Carrie/Caroline Halls who died in Texas so far who died by/before 1918 that I've found who fit.

2.  I found his WWI draft registration not long after they became available online--here's the image:

It lists his full name [middle name probably misspelled by the draft board], his birthday, March 18, though the year [1873] is off [it's 1878 in other records], and his description ["medium" height and build, "blue" eyes, "light" hair] fits.  He's a natural-born citizen, working as a bricklayer in Lake Charles, LA, for Wacheson [sp?] & Henigriff in Westlake, LA.  This all makes sense. 
But wait!  He has another wife!  "Mrs. Jessie Hall (wife), Box [579? 577?], Beaumont, Texas."

The kicker?  This record is dated Sept. 12, 1918.  What's the big deal?  Robert married my grandmother on Oct. 26, 1918, just over six weeks later.  What happened to Jessie?
Notes: Could she have died in the 1918 flu pandemic, between Sept. 12 and Oct. 5 or so?  I can't find her in Texas death records so far.  I'd like to access Sept./Oct. 1918 Beaumont, Texas, newspapers for possible obituaries or lists of those who died from the "Spanish flu," but I don't think they're online for that date.  I know Lamar University in Beaumont has them on microfilm; maybe I can request them through ILL or via LDS.  
Or: did she die, they divorced, or could he have just left her?  Or maybe they were not officially married? Were they separated?  He did sometimes travel to get work, so living apart doesn't necessarily mean they were separated.
Would the Beaumont post office have archives of box holders back to 1918?  Or was this a rural route box?  How do I find out?  Would it be on a map, if a rural route?

3. My dad took a Y-DNA test for me a couple of years ago.  We're in a Hall DNA study group, but no one has come closer than matching 22 of 24 markers (we tested 37 markers; our closest match tested on only 24) yet--meaning our nearest common ancestor was probably 18-20 generations ago, most likely in the British Isles, perhaps Ireland.  Maybe as more folks join, we'll find a closer match.

Interestingly, the others preliminarily grouped with us have roots going back to Virginia in the 1700s, so maybe Grandpa actually was telling the truth about being from Virginia.  And now at least we know Grandpa was really a Hall, and not a Dillinger or a Capone! (though the jury's still out on whether he was in trouble with the law--which would explain why he didn't discuss his past... )

More to come, including notes on Grandpa's parent-candidates in Georgia...  
UPDATE: Read Part Two here.

If you have ideas, please leave a comment or drop me an e-mail at hallroots (at) sbcglobal (dot) net.  Or stay tuned for more info.  Thanks!

Copyright 2010 by Liz Hall Morgan, all rights reserved

Légère relatives "light" up our family tree

Click photo collage to see an enlarged version.

My entry for the 7th edition of the Festival of Postcards, with a theme of "light," (mine is postcard-inspired mail art) is "Légère family of Louisiana."

"Légère" in French means "light," and my Légère relatives have brought joy and light into my life by being the connection to both my Acadian and French-Canadian roots. They have a real lightness of heart, a joie de vivre, and I've pictured the family members who embody that for me. (They also happen to have been the storytellers of the family, especially my late father.  He died last month, and I wrote recently of his passing [before knowing about this carnival] that I felt "like our family had lost its spark.")

My grandma Elia Légère Hall is pictured in the center photo lighting candles for a 1950s holiday meal in Louisiana.  The only letter I own that was written by her is the background, and her signature cropped from the letter is at the bottom right.  I put a photo of her with my grandpa Robert B. Hall in the photo as though it were displayed on the side table.

Clockwise from the top are the following photos:
  • My dad, George Hall, with brothers John and Bob and their dog, c. 1924, Beaumont, TX.  Dad told me stories of their childhood that evoked "The Little Rascals," delighting me as a child.
  • Yours truly with my dog Dotty c. 1974, Sulphur, LA.  I seem to be keeping the Légère family flame alive by being the storyteller and history keeper for my generation, a responsibility I hold sacred.
  • Cousin Allen Légère, 1980s, Sulphur, LA, the night he told some great stories at my parents' house in LA.
  • My dad who, from his gesture, I just know is telling a Cajun joke to cousins at my wedding last October in California.  Dad couldn't resist entertaining whenever he had an audience. :)
  • Dad and cousin Ashton Légère clowning around with a big jug pretending to drink moonshine, c. 1945, Sulphur, LA. The same jug is used for prop humor in at least one other family photo.
  • Dad with cousin Thelma Légère Sonnier a few years ago in Lafayette, La., when I taped her relating family stories for at least two hours--and who told one of my dad's favorite jokes [unbeknownst to her] to us, to our delight.
  • Grandma Elia as a young woman, c. 1906, Lafayette, LA.

This is the first time I've played with photo collages in Picasa and also the first digital scrapbooking I've tried. I'm really pleased with the result and am looking forward to making some time to explore more options for digital art. I have had some ideas for art-making with my family tree, but I am not gifted at drawing or painting. Digital art could be fun, though, so I'll have to play with it more.

Got any digital scrapbooking or Picasa tips?  (I use a Mac and iPhoto.)  Leave me a comment!

Photo collage and text copyright 2010 by Liz Hall Morgan.