Found in the Widow’s Pension File: How to get to “out-of-the-way-places”

USGS Wilmore Quadrangle Snippet

1905 USGS Wilmore Quadrangle Snippet

This made me laugh out loud the first time I read it, just because it was written in 1912 and still holds true 100 years later. “The Pocket”, where the home-place was, is a bit of a ride for “city folk”- now and then!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Lexington, KY., Oct 5 ‘12

Hon. Commissioner Pensions,

Washington, DC.

Dear sir:-

Through investigation it was found that the home of this claimant was in quite an out-of-the-way place and as a guide would be necessary, it was thought best to use automobile service; the driver of which also acted as guide because of his knowledge of the roads leading to the place. Thus, expenses for meals, buggy hire and other incidental expenses were avoided and much time saved.

Hoping this explanation is satisfactory.

I am yours respectfully

P.D. Robinson

Examining Surgeon

If you look at a 1905 US Geological Map (above, red circle marks the approximate spot) and a Google Earth image today (below, star is the marker), you will see, it’s still “out there”.

This is one of the gems I found in my Great-great-great-grandmother’s widow’s pension file. She was applying for a pension for herself and a so-called “helpless child”, since she was the caretaker of her then 16 year old son. An examiner was sent to her house for confirmation, because she had claimed to be unable to travel to the Board of Examinations with her son.

Google Maps Image

Google Maps Image “The Pocket”

I have more than 100 pages of pension and widow’s pension papers, so more finds to come!

A New Year, A Do-Over!

Photo credit: ‘New Year’ by Sally Mahoney on Flickr

Wow! My blog officially turned one a few days ago and it is already week two of a new year! Initially my goal was to post weekly. Well, that was a high bar to set. My site stats tell me I have 12 published blog posts. I can live with having posted on a monthly basis! So, for 2015 my blogging-resolution is to post at least once a month. I have really come to enjoy blogging and have a lot of ideas for posts.

This is a genealogy blog, so I will look at my genealogy goals as well. Last year, I wanted to get more organized. I succeeded in at least starting to rename my digital files, using a system I found in one of my Facebook genealogy groups. I cancelled my Ancestry subscription, to minimize data-hoarding -and save money. In addition to that I was able to get three close relatives to test their DNA. In May, I traveled to my paternal, ancestral home. I talked to relatives and visited the community where my people lived after the Civil War. There, I took photos of about 100 gravestones and started making an Excel sheet to document the names on the stones. I acquired letters written from that time period about the community, downloaded Freedmen’s Bureau records, purchased a Civil War military record of a great-great-great-uncle and found oral history recordings of relatives from a university library online archive. Overall, that doesn’t sound too bad. What I have to admit though, is that a lot of these ‘projects’ have been started and abandoned. I have been all over the place! My number one goal this year is to follow through with whatever I am doing.

To this end I am participating in Thomas MacEntee’s Genealogy Do-Over. It will be a 13 week process, with weekly prompts to do-over your genealogy. There is a Facebook group, a Pinterest page and a resource page. Now, this do-over can be different for whomever takes part in it. For some, it means concentrating on one area that needs work, for others it means starting from scratch. Personally, I need a do-over! I have learned so much since I started this hobby, that I have realized my many mistakes and/or inaccuracies, due to bad organization, inconsistent citing and analyzing of information. I am sure I have loads of info that I have overlooked, due to my mess!

Week one tasks of the do-over were to put our old research aside, think about research warm-up habits and come up with base practices and research guidelines. I have cleared my workspace and piled everything into my bookshelf. By the way, I will NOT be throwing out previous research and especially not any original documents I have, but will rather be reexamining  it and them with the skills and knowledge I have today. I will be making cheat sheets for my research process and file naming standards, as well as for Google operators, since I am bad at remembering those. My research warm-up will consist of me actually having time to do it right. I will not Google an ancestor’s name five minutes before bedtime, in bed! Also, I will be at my desk, in our office, near my reference books and binders, when I decide to work on genealogy. Basically my goals and Base Practices/Guidelines are to plan, organize, track and cite in a manner that lets me pick up where I left off and keeps me from doing things twice. I will be using Evidentia software and my Family Tree Maker for Mac3 database and have started reading Elizabeth Shown Mills’ book Evidence!, which I have had -untouched- for quite some time.

I will do my best to accomplish what I have set out for myself and will not beat myself up if some thing just doesn’t work out. Hey, I have already reached my January blogging goal with this post!

Happy New Year!


Camp Nelson CemeterieS

Memorial Day is a great prompt to blog about my recent twelve day trip to visit family in Kentucky. While there, I decided to do some family research and went to the Camp Nelson Heritage Park and cemeteries. I am using the plural for the latter, because there is the National cemetery, a graveyard at the Park, as well as a cemetery that was used by the families that stayed in the area after the Civil War (scroll left & it is right below the Jim Beam Preserve marker on Payne Lane). I saw them all!

The Camp Nelson National Cemetery is where two of my great-uncles and my father are laid to rest. It is a beautiful place situated upon hills.


From Camp Nelson Heritage Park you can see the National Cemetery and old distillery buildings that mark the U.S. 27 exit, taking you to the Camp Nelson community. I walked the trails of the Heritage Park and got a good feel for how large the Civil War camp must have been. I literally felt it in my feet, due to my bad choice in footwear! I also learned that there was a graveyard at the Park marked by a white obelisk-type marker. The monument reads:


Here lie the bodies of numerous unknown Tennessee white refugees and Kentucky African-American refugees who perished from disease while at Camp Nelson. These civilians sought freedom and protection within this U.S. Army post.


Maybe some of my people lay there. At the time wooden markers were used. They decayed, so the monument was erected.

The community cemetery is located on Payne’s Lane, Nicholasville, KY. It is on the other side of the highway, across from  the National Cemetery.

Refugee Camp U.S. 27 marker

Refugee Camp U.S. 27 marker

Refugee Camp U.S. 27 marker, back







My great-great-great-grandparents Josie and Ed Overstreet are buried there, as well as my great-great-great-uncle William Overstreet, whom I blogged about in earlier posts. William has his Civil War military service with Company K of the 124th U.S. Colored Infantry on his marker. Ed does not, unfortunately. I decided to take photos of all of the remaining grave markers in order to post them, possibly on Find A Grave. Also, I am sure I am related to a great number of the people that were laid to rest there, so the information will come in handy one day.

Edmond Overstreet


Josie Washington Overstreet








William S Overstreet

Happy 2014! A blog is born!


Image courtesy of samuiblue/

Image courtesy samuiblue/

This is my official first post after procrastinating for a while with tweeking the layout. My genealogical resolutions for this year:

– post regularly on this blog
– organize digital and physical files!
– work on research skills (i.e. note-taking)
– give back (i.e. participate in groups, transcribe)

Let’s get to work!