Friday, October 11, 2013

About Genealogy Roadshow and WDYTYA

I read this blog post by D. Joshua Taylor this morning and nodded my head in understanding the entire way through. Personally, I totally relate to his feeling like a 12 year old in room full of people who do not understand him when it comes to genealogy. I also appreciate his comments about the recent genealogy television shows.

I am tired of all of the naysayers regarding Who Do You Think You Are? and Genealogy Roadshow. Obviously, it takes thousands of hours of research to come to genealogical conclusions. And yes, the results are shown in a matter of four or five minutes. But, isn't that true for presenting our findings to other family members or clients? They receive a report or book outlining their family tree, often times without having a true understanding of how much work went into the project. Most of us do not get insulted about that, so why be insulted by a television show that essentially shows the same thing happening?

It may seem to non-genealogists that these shows make genealogy look "too easy." My thought on that is this: those who are truly interested will start, realize how difficult it actually is, and if they find they love the hunt, will stick with it and embrace the work. If not, they go on to their next hobby. No harm, no foul. 

As for me, I will continue watching these shows on television and enjoy seeing the participants faces when hidden family secrets are revealed or confirmed. That's what genealogy is all about for me.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Thriller Thursday: Murder at the Poker Game - James Harvey Rector 1882-1934

My great-great granduncle, James Harvey Rector, was a bit of an outlaw. Born June 10, 1882 in Marshall, Madison, North Carolina, he was a younger brother of my great-great grandfather George H. Rector, also of Marshall, NC.

Harvey apparently had a bit of a temper problem, because on November 6, 1911, he shot and killed his neighbor Charley Davis over a game of poker. I believe that Charley Davis may have been a brother to George H. Rector's first wife Molly Davis, my great-great grandmother, but I have yet to solidly prove this. From Page 8 of the November 7, 1911 edition of the Charlotte Observer:

Harvey went on the lam. The great thing about history and genealogy is I caught up with him 24 years later in the death records of Welch, West Virginia, where he died of a gunshot wound to the chest in 1934. It turns out he had been going under the alias of John James since the poker shooting. From page 3 of the January 1, 1935 edition of the Bluefield Telegraph:

My thought when I read that article was “Well, I definitely know the reason for the alias!” Incredible!

In case you were wondering, Alma Phillips was cleared of all charges. 

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