Blanche McClellan Passes at 104

Blanche McClellan

Blanche McClellan

Blanche E. McClellan of Ozark, Arkansas, died, Tuesday, December 10, 2013 in Ozark. She lived to be 104.
She was born Blanche Payne, on October 14, 1909 in Tennessee.

For many years, Blanche was part of the team of wonderful women who prepared the meals for the school children of Ozark. She lived a full life  out living three husbands. Her first husband, Kerry A. “Swede” Sweten, she married in January of 1929 in Pope County, Arkansas.  Clarence L. Parker she married in November of 1943 in Jackson, Missouri, and Miles Frederick ‘Wood’ McClellan. I could not find a date for marriage.  Sadly, Blanche also lost a son, Kerry Dolan Sweten in 2003 and great grandson Kerry Cornelius Sweten and her aunt who raised her in Montana, Arkansas.

The funeral was officiated by Reverend Jan Akins  with burial at Highland Cemetery in Ozark, under the direction of Shaffer Funeral Home.

She is survived by five grandchildren, Gary, Kerry, Steve and Jennifer Sweten and Teri Larson; numerous great, great-great grandchildren and friends.
Blanche was laid to rest in Highland Cemetery in Ozark.


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Putting it all together

I have started to put together a family tree in a narrative style telling a story the best I can. McClellan family and the Cannon Family have a listing of people and need to be fleshed out to increase the enjoyment of reading about the families.  There are probably many gaps here and there that it makes it difficult to follow. As time goes by, hopefully, I can fill in the gaps. My goal is others will find these pages in the future and will add more information. It would have been great to have done a Wiki, so everyone could contribute and it would be available immediately. Setting up a Wiki is beyond me…  So, this is my best attempt at getting everything out there in a usable and easy to read format. One problem I have ran into is the formatting. WordPress, is not the easiest to format. I am attempting to do indention from father – mother to children and then the children’s children.  That is not working out the best. Hopefully, you will be able to figure out the lines. Then my direct lines I just have to repeat their information to some degree to keep the line going and make sense as to who belongs to who or whom. I am hoping by using the names as tags, they will help other find these pages. We will see. Please use the comments to make any suggestions or add any info. Thanks.

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What’s up with Dead Fred?

I came across and unusual website today. It is called ‘Dead Fred‘. It is a great depository of old (pre-1965) photos and other family history information. First of all, it is a free site, even though the site ask for donations to help it stay alive. The site also has an excellent list of photographers and photography studios from the past. So, if you have that photo with a studio’s name on the back, this site might can help you narrow down who the picture could be of. Also, there is a ‘Mystery’ section. It is possible to search by geographic area for lost photos of your ancestry.  If you have a photo that is a ‘mystery’ to you, it can be submitted with you filling in the info you have and then it is searchable for other to attempt to supply information about the photo.
I kept looking for a place to ‘register’ on the site, since I saw a ‘Login’ button. I could not find one; after I submitted a photo of an individual that was not in there surname database, I got an email with a login and password. So, if you want an account, send in a photo. Currently, the site only accepts JPEG format… which is what almost all of us have anyway.  Plus, this seems to be a great depository of Annuals or Yearbooks dating way back. Try out and let me know what you think.

Dead Fred

Come and Dig Up the Dead!

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‘X’ Marks the Spot!

Where is that place?
Adding  Longitude and Latitude coordinates to your research.

While gathering research,  I have come across numerous townships, villages, or just ‘places’ that do not exist anymore. Well, the ‘place’ exist, it just does not show up on a map, or have anything around it that would be recognized as a village or community. It could be where paths crossed or water was available, a name was casually given to the spot. For example ‘Six Miles’ could have been just be a good place to stop to water or cool the horses or mules.

When you come across enough information from research, or conversations, or old maps, to be able to put a dot on a map it would be nice to be able to capture the Longitude and Latitude coordinates for your ‘spot’. With Google maps it really easy to do. The following are instructions on how to capture those coordinates for copy and pasting into a word processing document or put into your GPS device or smart phone.

Open Google Maps by going to and click ‘MAP’ at the top of page.

Finding Coordinates #1
Enter the name of a town close to where your final destination is located.

In my example I am looking for Cass Arkansas so I entered Fort Smith, which is close. Put your cursor in the general area of your village and right click. A dialogue box opens and towards the bottom you see ‘Center Map Here’.  Click that. Now as you zoom in or out the map will stay centered on the cursor location.

Finding Coordinates #2
Find the spot you believe your village was located, put your cursor on that exact location and right click “What’s here?’

Finding Coordinates #3

When you click on What’s here?, the GPS coordinates will appear in the menu bar. Just copy and paste them to your document or enter them into your GPS device.

Finding Coordinates #4

Easy as pie… now you can set out on your journey to your spot.

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The Card Catalog without the Libarian

If you are an  Ancestry  member and have never used the ‘Card Catalog’, you are missing out on a very powerful tool!  To get to the Card Catalog, reminds me of the old libraries where I would pull out the wooden draws and see hundreds of paper cards just asking to be inspected. The good thing is you do not have the cranky librarian looking over your shoulder making sure you got the card back in the right place. Where was I, oh, yea.. ok the Card Catalog is located under the SEARCH tab on the top row of tabs. You will see Home, Family Trees, and then SEARCH.  Open that tab and go to the bottom. There at the bottom is the most powerful Card Catalog tab!  Once you open it, you will see there are over 34,000 databases waiting to be explored. If you are only going to look in the USA,  select USA or the state search. From here… explore! It is so exciting to see the numerous databases full of goodies. If you don’t have an Ancestry account, it is very possible the local public library or Family Search Center at the LDS church has an Institutional version free to the public. If you have a National Archives center near you, they  too, will have a free Ancestry Institutional version available. What cool things have you found on Ancestry?

Ancestry Nav Bar

Ancestry Nav Bar - Search Click this Tab for Card Catalog

Card Catalog

Tab for Card Catalog

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Getting Started…

Volunteering at the National Archives in Fort Worth has taught me one thing, and that is when people come in to start their search for their ancestors, they do not have a clue where to start. Some folks still believe they will be spending hours looking at microfiche or microfilm or think we have volumes of paper documents to thump thorough. Yes, NARA still has a large selection of non-digitized microfilm, but a large number of documents are available with a few clicks of a mouse.  Searching with the use of the internet and digitized images has changed everything. For most people, they can make their first find within minutes.
I usually start people off with a search of the 1930 Census. That is, if the dates will work for their search. The 1930 Census are so complete that most people will be able to find one or more relative. It is that excitement of seeing a relative listed and all of the other family members listed there as well. Once that spark has been lite, then the fire to search for other ancestors is not far behind. So, if you are getting started, check out the 1930 Census first.

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What’s In A Name…

As I started doing research on my family, I did not have to go back but a couple of generations before I started finding the last names misspelled. Or at least spelled differently than I was accustom to seeing. At first, I was told that for ever government document a government worker had to decipher the name from the written document or when the name was given to the person recording the information, mistakes were made in spelling or hearing the correct name. After finding numerous first and last names with letters left out or added, I decided, government workers or not, there was more to it than transcription errors.
After volunteering at the National Archives all these months and seeing numerous name variations, I have decided there is no one reason for the differences in spellings. Some I have learned just flat out changed their names when they moved to a new area. Not all the reasons where because they were ‘bad’ people or had a criminal past. A change of the last name could help an individual get a job or place to live. Some changes were made because others had a difficult time pronouncing or spelling the name so, an easier version was put into place. For the most part two main reasons seem to rise to the top. One Economics, a name change benefited the family or individual economically. Second, was just the fact a good number of individuals just did not have an opportunity for an education and really did not have a good grasp as to how their name should be spelled. So, spelling by others was accepted.
In any case, the variation of names makes the hunt even more challenging. Happy Hunting.

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