President’s Message

As we begin the new year of 2016, I look back at my first year as president of the Central Virginia Genealogical Association with gratitude.

I am so thankful for the board members, a dedicated group of women who have guided the association through this past year. A huge thank you goes to Susan Emert, who, after seven years of faithfully performing her duties as president, has graciously served in the role of vice-president for 2015 and will continue to serve through 2016.

Susan DuBar, corresponding secretary since 2002, has bravely dealt with questions from members and institutions as we transition from the paper publication of the Central Virginia Heritage to digital publication.

Diane Inman, treasurer since 2012, always has the financial well-being of the association close to heart. She has worked to make it possible to pay dues online using Paypal and is working on making available a CD of all past issues of the Central Virginia Heritage.

Pam Vandenhoff began serving as recording secretary in 1998. She has recorded the minutes of almost 200 meetings of the CVGA. Good work, Pam!

Jean Cooper has ushered us into today’s digital world as our able webmaster. She has designed the beautiful website you are accessing and continues the hard work of making it fully functional for our members. In place is an online registration form which facilitates signing up for membership and soon she will have the bugs worked out so that members can read all of the back issues of the Heritage.

The Central Virginia Heritage will be published on our website. We are in need of an editor for the publication which we plan to produce twice-yearly. If you would be willing to take on this position, please let me know. Of course, the publication needs material. We look for original work within the association’s geographical region which can be found under ‘Home: About CVGA’ on this website.

In December, Sam Towler spoke to the group about his ‘Albemarle Courthouse Chancery Court Preservation Project’ which can be seen at the Facebook page under that name. Clearly, Albemarle County is not the exception with yellowed papers packed away in dusty vaults concealing valuable information about our ancestors. Such archives are there, just waiting for you to open them up and do some transcribing. The mild winter weather we have experienced lately is most suitable for a trip to your local historical repository, whether it’s a courthouse, an historical society, your church’s archives, or even a local funeral home. While you’re there collecting information, consider putting your findings into a form that can be published in the next issue of the Heritage.

Thank you for your continued support of the Central Virginia Genealogical Association in this new year.

Your president,

Patricia Lukas

February 13, 2016 Meeting

Ready to Write Your Family History?

At our meeting on February 13, 2016, Susan Emert will talk to us about the role of genealogists as writers. She will help us warm up our writing muscles so that we can start putting our genealogical discoveries into a narrative we can share with others.

To continue writing on your own after our meeting, Susan suggests participating in the Family History Writing Challenge given by genealogist Lynn Palermo. Lynn blogs at http://www.thearmchairgenealogist.com and she will be starting her annual 28 day (or 29 day in 2016) writing challenge on February 1. If you register early you can take advantage of her tips for getting started so that you can be ready to commit to writing for the full 29 days of the month.

The meeting will take place from 1:30 pm-3:30 pm at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The address of the Church is 1275 Timberwood Blvd., Charlottesville, VA. It is located on the corner of Airport Road and Timberwood. Coming from U.S. 29, the entrance is on the right (north) side of Airport Road immediately before you reach the church. Drive to the back of the building where you will see the entrance to the Family History Center.

Shenandoah Valley Heritage Day 2016 (January 30)

RESCHEDULED FOR JANUARY 30.

Shenandoah Valley Genealogical Society (SVGS) is presenting an all-day genealogy event on Saturday, January 30 at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley in Winchester, Virginia.

CVGA member and former vice-president, Shelley Murphy, will present two sessions: Genealogy 101: Getting Started at 10:30 am and Beginner Challenges of African American Genealogy Research at 1:30 pm.

In addition to the lectures, the SVGS will provide free online resource assistance with several subscription websites from 10 am – 3 pm and there will be door prizes donated by Ancestry.com.

For more information, visit the museum website at www.themsv.org/event/shenandoah-valley-heritage-day-2016

 

January 9, 2016: Jean Cooper talks about newspapers in genealogical research

Please join us on Saturday, January 9, 2016, at 1:30 p.m., when Jean Cooper, genealogical resource specialist at the University of Virginia, will speak about using newspapers in genealogical research. 

The meeting will take place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located at 1275 Timberwood Blvd., Charlottesville, VA 22911, just off Airport Road. Drive to the back of the church and enter at the back door.
For more information, call 434-962-4697.

Dec. 12, 2015: Sam Towler talks about Early 20th-Century Chancery Court Cases

Please join us on Saturday, December 12, 2015, at 1:30 p.m., when Sam Towler will tell us about his new courthouse project. Sam is unpacking boxes of early 20th century Chancery Court cases, placing the papers in archival sleeves and boxes and writing up descriptions which he shares on Facebook at ‘Albemarle County Chancery cases Preservation Project”. Be sure to visit the Facebook page and see what Sam is doing.

The meeting will take place at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located at 1275 Timberwood Blvd., Charlottesville, VA 22911, just off Airport Road. Drive to the back of the church and enter at the back door.
For more information, call 434-962-4697.

 

Nostalgia: JEZEBEL

Jezebel
By Susan DuBar
Central Virginia Genealogical Association member

I don’t know what got into my grandmother that summer. Was it seeing the children next door with a pet pig? Pets moved in and out of their house as might be expected from the children of a veterinarian. Petunia had been the runt of a litter; neither the sow nor the farmer wanted to be bothered with her. My grandmother thought she was cute, and decided that I, too, should have a pet pig. I would have preferred a pony but didn’t really have a choice.

Not just any pig would do—mine had to be a purebred, black-and-white belted Yorkshire from a local farmer. Apparently all had been arranged before my arrival, so within a few days we headed out to Harley’s place, just outside of town. As my grandmother and Harley chatted, I wandered up and down the rows of pens in the barn, staring in fascination at the tiny piglets nursing in contentment, dwarfed by their huge mothers. Some pens held sows whose excessive girth indicated they were about to give birth; other pens held older litters squabbling over food or sleeping in haphazard piles. It was difficult to hear mere human voices over the cacophony of grunts and squeals, but eventually I noticed the two adults beckoning me to come over. Harley gave me a tiny piglet to hold; he said she was less than 24 hours old. Her mother had too many babies to take care of all of them.

Like all infants, baby pigs need frequent feeding. I had the privilege of giving her a bottle as soon as we got home. She was a little messy at first, but soon caught on and polished it off in a hurry. A cardboard box on the enclosed back porch was her bed. That lasted one night as she quickly learned to climb out and squeal for attention. My grandmother must have been prepared to shoulder the main responsibility for the baby; my mother spent her adult life denying all things rural, and I was too young. At any rate, it was my grandmother who had to get up for the two a.m. and four a.m. feedings.

The cardboard box on the back porch, while a temporary expedient, really wasn’t satisfactory for a fast-growing piglet, so she soon moved out to the back yard and into an old safe that had been converted to use as secure housing for previous pets. The screen door allowed plenty of air.

Picking out a name for the piglet was my job, and I wasn’t getting very far with it. Petunia had been taken, Porky was a boy’s name, and what was left after that? I had been sent to the grocery for a few items and mentioned my dilemma to the proprietor. She thought it over as she filled out the charge slip and suggested “Jezebel” after the popular song by Frankie Laine. I liked the sound of it, so Jezebel she became.

Naturally I had to introduce her to the community, and what better place than the ice cream social held in the church yard across the street. I don’t know if the ladies were more amused by her name or by the sight of a bottle-fed piglet swathed in a pink baby blanket, but they were remarkably tolerant and made us welcome. Jezebel didn’t stay long; I put her to bed and returned to enjoy the festivities. Those women could cook! Jezebel hadn’t been the only pig in attendance. There were plenty of the human variety tempted by the array of cakes and pies, hot chicken sandwiches, deviled eggs, and the star of the event, homemade, hand-cranked ice cream in several flavors.

Jezebel wasn’t a bottle baby for long; she quickly graduated to mash (standard pig feed), to my grandmother’s relief. That she thought we were her family was clear; she was happy roaming the yard so long as she had one of us in sight. We had to be careful if she followed us to the garden. She could easily get lost among the beans and would squeal pathetically for us to come rescue her. She gave us all a chuckle the day she discovered a minuscule puddle on the concrete slab behind the house. With happy little grunts she did her best to wallow in that teacup of water, leaving no doubt that she knew what pigs were supposed to do.

Jezebel had all but outgrown her quarters by the time my visit was ending. There was no problem finding a home for her—my grandmother had known all along that her cousin would let Jezebel join the pigs on his farm in the next county. She would visit him from time to time, and always made a point of seeing Jezebel and reporting her progress to me in a post script to one of her weekly letters.

That was the year her cousin discovered the government would pay him NOT to farm; he sold all his pigs, including Jezebel and her litter of eight. The proceeds from Jezebel’s sale were used to buy a nicely trained pinto named Joker for me to ride whenever I visited, so I got my pony after all.

© Susan DuBar 2015. All rights reserved.

 

Nostalgia: HISTORIC UNION CHURCH HOST TO VESPERS — June 3, 2015

HISTORIC UNION CHURCH HOST TO VESPERS
By Charles Crenshaw, Central Virginia Genealogical Association

On Wednesday evening, June 3, 2015, the doors opened at the old Earlysville Union Church in downtown Earlysville, Virginia, for a Community Vespers Service. Walking in the door was like stepping back 150 years in time. Six kerosene lamps on the walls of the Sanctuary and one in the entrance area provided lighting, and the smell of kerosene filled the air just as it did years ago. The old wood floors have survived the years. The pulpit  is a slightly raised rounded area surrounded by a wooden fence. On the wall behind the pulpit is a picture of Jesus with lambs. In the center of the Sanctuary ceiling, the smoke stains are visible from the old wood stove stack. The pews, still in place, are of good hardwood, and no, there are no pillars. On either side of entrance area are very small rooms for Sunday School.

As people arrived, they were greeted by First Impressions member Andy Emert and one other at the doors and handed a Bible and hymnal. At seven o’clock the Ukuleaders played the old hymn, “Shall We Gather at the River,” followed by seven tolls of the hour by John Peterson. There were forty people in attendance on this evening.

There were scripture readings, songs, and prayer. Katie Alfano played her guitar and led in singing. The Chestnut Grove Baptist Church Choir kept us in tune and greatly enhanced the sound. Sarah Ford read scripture from Philippians 4:4-9. Edith Fisher offered the Guided Prayer, reading a line and giving us time to silently say our prayer on the subject of that line.

I sat close to the back and kept an infant entertained with finger and hand movements—even got some smiles. Sitting there I could not help but picture how things must have been in the mid-nineteenth century when this was the building that a number of churches called home, including Chestnut Grove Baptist Church. This location is where the name Chestnut Grove was adopted. I could picture my great, great, great grandfather, William Crenshaw, sitting there with his family in one of those pews. I wondered, could it be the pew where I was sitting? The urge came over me to sit in every pew after the service was over.

I could picture the horses tied up outside, and the horse and buggies parked and tied to hitching posts. The main road outside would have been dirt or mud. The huge old chestnut trees would have provided the shade for the horses and the church. Most of the people attending would have done a half day’s work feeding horses, cattle, hogs, chickens, and turkeys, milking the cows, making a fire in the wood cook stove, doing the cooking for breakfast, and preparing for the dinner when other family members would come after church for the noon meal. Breakfast was not just dumping Cheerios in a bowl; it was freshly made biscuits, eggs, fried ham, and red-eye gravy, maybe even some fried apples. These people had to be strong, tough, and hard-working to survive. I was brought back to the present day when I remembered the lawn outside was now parking for automobiles. Not a horse could be seen.

As people left, they turned in the Bibles and hymnals which were placed in boxes for the trip back to Chestnut Grove Baptist Church. After most had left, Edith Fisher climbed the ladder at each lamp to remove the glass cover and blow out the flame.

For those who may never have read the history marker at the Union Church, I stopped one day and wrote down the words. They are copied below:

Earlysville Union Church is a rare surviving early 19th-century interdenominational church constructed in Albemarle County. Built in 1833, this frame structure served as a meetinghouse for all Christian denominations on land deeded by John Early, for whom Earlysville is named. This building provided an early home for several local congregations of the Baptist, Methodist and Presbyterian faiths. The church is an excellent example of the 19th-century public architecture of rural Piedmont Virginia. It was listed on the Virginia Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Department of Historic Resources, 2003

 © Charles Crenshaw 2015. All rights reserved.

 

THE GREAT THANKSGIVING LISTEN

What is the first step in doing genealogical research? Look anywhere and you will find this advice, “Start with what you and your living relatives know.” Sitting down together with friends and family for Thanksgiving dinner gives many of us a rare opportunity to reminisce about our lives. When dinner is over, sit in a quiet corner with an older person and record a conversation using the StoryCorps app on your smartphone.

Yes, I know, many of you who are reading this are the ‘older person’ and you might not even own a smartphone, but read on. The Great Thanksgiving Listen was designed as a learning tool for students 13 and older to record and preserve the stories and voices of older relatives. It’s all about listening. If you have a teenager in your family, they might have already heard about this project from their history teacher but anyone can participate. If the person being interviewed agrees, the recording will be saved to the StoryCorps archives at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

Go to thegreatlisten.org to read about the project, download the app, and

“Help StoryCorps archive the wisdom of generations.” 

December 12, 2015 Meeting

Please join us on Saturday, December 12, 2015 when Sam Towler will tell us about his new courthouse project. Sam is unpacking boxes of early 20th century Chancery Court cases, placing the papers in archival sleeves and boxes and writing up descriptions which he shares on Facebook at ‘Albemarle County Chancery cases Preservation Project”. Be sure to visit the Facebook page and see what Sam is doing.

The meeting will take place at 1:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints located at 1275 Timberwood Blvd., Charlottesville, VA 22911, just off Airport Road. Drive to the back of the church and enter at the back door.
For more information, call 434-962-4697.