…and the rest is herstory ~ searching 101, with google tech and type. Rootsweb started it all we must pray they keep it up and running.

Rule number one – get the death certificate first (and the burial) and all the trimmings especially the graves. –

I got my first computer in 1983, and by 1985 we (me, myself and I) were transmitting data via modems over the two home phone lines in Hong Kong to our respective work places. These years later, what the internet, and we can’t forget Google, has done for communication for the masses can hardly be comprehended, much less described. And genealogy is taking its share of internet time. What was state of the art and almost magical 35 years ago, is shunned today, after all – who on earth wants dial-up anymore?

2 Copy of shirley mtdna
My first phone and my first birthday.  The top picture is my mother, Shirley Ann Nee Kidd with me and I am holding the receiver of the phone. (That phone was finally lost in Toronto 1994) With today’s research, the internet, whether by dial-up, or wireless or cable or satellite, gives the direction to find and order records and information and sometimes even collect the records digitally

In the 1960s we drove the Georgia county roads in vain, searching for the grave of Colonel John Lewis, searching, based on Paw’s childhood and young teen memories of having visited the cemetery, and the town, and cousins, but that had been roughly 50 years before. He knew there was a stone of some kind and thought maybe something marked to note John Lewis’ service in the War of the American Revolution, from Virginia. John Lewis, husband of Anne Berry Earle, sister to General John Baylis Earle (also an ancestor via 1st cousins marrying).

Copy cherie on garbage can of knight harry pearl and

Daddy Paw, Me and Mamma. My paternal grandparents that reared me. From an early age there were many grave searching trips every year coupled with visiting family in far counties and different states – road trips, in Paw’s Studebakers (Hawks were his favorite) were a joy year round. – Yes – you are seeing correctly, I am standing on a galvanized metal garbage can. (Samuel Harry Knight Sr. [Cherie Lynn] and Emma Pearl Stripling Knight)

Paw knew these stories from his maternal grandparents Baylis Washington Harrison Lewis and his wife Sarah Anne Rebecca Gillespie Lewis. Daddy Paw, ‘Harry’,  hailed from Spring City, Tennessee, a suburb of Dayton, and Paw liked to note, the town which held the monkey trial – the Scopes trial about evolution, and Paw had lots of opinions about that as well – he was on the teacher’s side – that stand did not interfere with the glory of his G-d, his G-d was bigger that that. So now the DNA strand has come full circle to me. 
Paw was born in 1897 and Baylis and Sarah had moved with Paw and his family to Tuscaloosa County, Alabama in 1904. The stories from grandparents were at home and plentiful – I wish I had paid more attention myself. Baylis and Sarah both passed in 1915 but there were trips recalled by Paw of them going, not just to visit family back in Rhea County, Tennessee, but also to north Georgia where both the Lewis and Gillespie families had lived – ‘before the war’ (yes, “that” war – that war for freedom, that war we still must fight for to this day – civil rights for all is another blog). 
Paw could describe the graveyard and the grave, but if we found the cemetery, he noted, it had changed too much, and we never did find the graves of John Lewis and his wife. I remember two trips very well just for the John Lewis search and my aunt remembers looking for the graves also. There were  trips my aunt also remembers not only looking for the Lewises but also the Byrds of Virginia, but that is another blog. (See: Alpharetta to the Byrds of Westover on the James River.) 
This was not just a weekend outing looking for old graveyards, this was honor, this was one’s word, and the saving of face for Auntie. Since she had grown up like me, and Paw and Mamma, with some knowledge of her forebears, when her new in-laws mentioned the DAR, she knew she had a guy in that race. Of course, there wasn’t anyone that wanted to hold her, or anyone, to any kind of ‘you made it up, you fibbed’ accusation, but of course that was what it felt like – there was no way around that.In hind sight, the repercussions from those dominoes falling, of failing to find that veteran ancestor, altered the course of a strand of history and herstory.
The family history stories – all the ancestors we had heard of – was one of the recurring in-depth chats my aunt and I would have over many years, that later included the stories of the story tellers themselves. None of the memories are bad or good that is not the point – they are our stories – our histories and herstories – they are all wonderful – Yes, many intense, that is for certain, but all magnificent stories of wonderful lives – some of the most amazing people one would ever meet. And I have to add, people who are afraid of stories are smart to be so – but that does not mean they should not be told – they are history – herstory – they are abFab, embrace them before they are gone. 
The grave thing was not just these occasions of searching for the DAR guy’s grave, they were – first, every year to care for graves. Every spring, every year, expeditions to the various cemeteries to clean up the graves, check and see if any graves had settled or markers tilted, sow some grass seed and plant some flowers and get ready for Memorial Day in May. And these were great times for the telling of family stories. Even a vague memory of searching for a very old and tiny family cemetery and learning with it that searching for the cemeteries in the woods it is best to search in the winter time. The foliage has died back, making it easier to see any partially buried stones and grave shaped impressions, and more over the snakes would be less in the way – depending on what corner of the earth one is on.
Copy of pearl ethel ryan cemetery stripling

Every spring there were graves to clean and flower and ready for Memorial Day in May. More than a few cemeteries were visited and found and some not found again in that life – but now many can be found using the internet to search and if the grave or cemetery itself cannot be found then one can usually find the names and contact information for Libraries and Historical and Genealogical Societies (all over the world) that might know where people are buried and where their records can be found.

Some names from the ancestor stories have faded a bit in time, and some stories got crossed in a party line of who actually did what, and what family, what tale of history, got confused with which other line, and was that daddy’s side, or maybe he was talking about mamma’s side. I was not the only one in the immediate DNA of family to remember stories and my aunt recorded all the names in her bible, she had asked of family, and she had kept the letter that great aunt Mary Ethel wrote, with all the family names from her side through the Byrds of Virginia (she is her own blog) and her letter is now digitized.

Stories of Paw’s Lewis family were wonderful and while grave searching, the stories of Mollie Rose Lewis Knight and her parents Baylis and Sarah were told and retold.

Digging up stories and looking for people is much the same thing and the internet did not disappoint for finding genealogy. I think back to the time of searching for John Lewis and Anne Berry Earle Lewis and remember sadly the disappointment in them not being found, and how easy it would have been to have found them with the internet and then herstory and history would have shifted entirely.




This had more to do with honor, with my family told the truth about our ancestor – this was not a wannabe story, or any presumed snobbery about whose pedigree was more prestigious than another. Auntie did not have to join the society on her husband’s ancestry or even on a linear ancestry – in fact once found – she could join the DAR on several direct ancestors, and multiple linear, but she also had officers, and she could also join Colonial Dames and a number of other fun societies.

The monument today reads:


Major John Lewis born in Va 1757 – died in Ga 1840

A Revolutionary War soldier volunteered under Captain Marks of Charlottesville, VA. Part of the time he belonged to the regiment that was detailed as a bodyguard to General LaFayette. He was in all the principle battles that were fought in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. He was at the Battles of Monmouth, Brandy Wine, Stony Point, Germantown and lastly was present at the ever memorable surrender of Lord Cornwallis at Yorktown.

“How sleep the brave who sink to rest
With all their country’s wishes blest”



If we had had Rootsweb.com’s message boards and mailing lists back in the 1960s, and certainly if we had facebook and facebook groups, we might have posted on Friday and before breakfast on Saturday morning we might have the address of the cemetery, where in the cemetery the graves were located and where to eat in town. With any luck you might have some cousin to show up at the graveyard with pictures and the family bible to show.

But we might not have even needed any of those websites with just a “google” today. To boolean google means to enclose a phrase or phrases inside of quotations marks like

“John Lewis” DAR grave bartow

Without the quotation marks making “john lewis” an exact phrase, then your search results will be any john and any lewis but you have narrowed the number of results you get by telling the computer you only want “John Lewis” as a phrase and use this rule for all searches for people. And using the google search engine pages as opposed to other browsers – I believe gives much more clear and specific search results. so when you begin to search if your home page is not google chrome, then I suggest searching first for



Then from Google’s home main page – search for your people and their places from there.


But the rootsweb.com’s “mailing lists” and “message boards”, now maybe on their last legs taking their last breaths absorbed into history by pages devoted to capitalism, – pay sites. So use them before they go – it is still a magic place of cousins. But of course be careful – make others tell you who their people are to vet they are relatives and another great thing about the internet is that you can keep as much private as you wish. For all you folks know about me, I might be a Martian writing from the moon Europa – and I will not tell you but pretend I am actually on Alpha Centauri.

TOO LATE – as of this writing Rootsweb.com is down for repairs – We need a prayer circle they can fix what ever the problem is

But keep trying – we can hope they come back and when they do I will update all the links here for the several sections of the site which are so wonderful



If you have not gone and searched Rootsweb.com for your own people – it is genealogy 101 – for everybody, in the entire world, all colors, all races, all nationalities, and all religions. You might just find someone researching the same ancestors.

My 2005 post on Rootsweb.com message board asking if anyone knew about the family of Sarah Anne Rebecca Gillespie Lewis – and there was someone!


Copy of rootsweb post 1 cherie


Copy of Copy of rootsweb post 1 cherie




Copy of rootsweb post 2 buddy answers cherie

Copy of Copy of rootsweb post 2 buddy answers cherie



Copy of rootsweb post 3 cherie to buddy

Copy of Copy of rootsweb post 3 cherie to buddy

Finding cousins is remarkable – their side of the family side had the photo of great great grandparents Baylis W H and Sarah A R G Lewis.


baylis and sarah cover best

For all genetically related to Baylis and Sarah we have a little facebook group and from here almost anyone can ask about where people living and death can be found.


Today the internet can give you all the information you need to visit the cemetery of your ancestors – do not forget to boolean google. Begin by learning what county each place is in and then make double sure about your county – because counties changed and grew and split and some places might have been located in many different counties over the years.



The town – community – county website says: “A visit to this “Norman Rockwell” kind of town is a must for anyone who loves history, antiquing and good food! Adairsville, nestled in the Oothcalooga Valley, was the first Georgia town to be listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places (December 1987).”

The county of Bartow has an active facebook page with info and a place to find answers about the history and activities of the entire county.


And many pages are popping up on facebook called:

You Know You Grew Up In…

Or, Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness…

for specific places and one can search for their. And the old stand by of checking on findagrave.com for your families graves and their cemeteries.




The early experience of standing on the garbage can must have left an impression on me. Here in Temagami, Ontario, Canada I not only got out of the car at the dump with the bears present, but I also dashed out to he trash heap and retrieved the above red Adirondack chair, which was named the Cherie Cherry Bear Chair


Rootsweb is partially back up – here is the link for the mailing lists. Look for the message boards to come back as well as trees.





2 thoughts on “…and the rest is herstory ~ searching 101, with google tech and type. Rootsweb started it all we must pray they keep it up and running.

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