Saturday, December 15, 2018

Conversations with Kenyatta D. Berry

Kenyatta D. Berry is one of the stars in the genealogy community. If you've watched "Genealogy Roadshow," you'll immediately recognize her as one of the hosts of that show. She meets with people who applied to have their genealogical stories evaluated, and then she takes them through what the professional researchers have found. The facts are not always easy to take, and Kenyatta started crying on one of the episodes as she was sharing documents and details.

Kenyatta D. Berry
at the John F. Germany Public Library
 in Tampa on 13 December 2018
(Photo credit: George G Morgan) 
Kenyatta is a multi-faceted woman who is a lawyer, a well-respected genealogical speaker and writer, a researcher, a television personality, and more. You may have gathered that when Drew Smith interviewed her on Episode #10 of the Genealogy Connection podcast.

She has a new book on the market, The Family Tree Toolkit: A Comprehensive Guide to Uncovering Your Ancestry and Researching Genealogy (Skyhorse Publishing, 2018). It is an excellent book for beginners and intermediate family researchers, covering many record types for all types of families. That includes persons of European ancestry, slaves from Africa, Native Americans, Caribbean persons of color, and more. She provides guidance and research strategies for locating slaves and slaveholding families. She focuses on laws in place at the time and what documentation you are likely - and unlikely - to location. Kenyatta's book includes strategies for researching adoptions, and provides an overview of how to incorporate DNA into your research.

Kenyatta is in the midst of a 20-city book and speaking tour. In each city she participates in "Conversations with Kenyatta," a Q&A session followed by a book signing. Drew and I had an opportunity on Thursday evening, 13 December 2018, to attend her session at the John F. Germany Public Library in downtown Tampa, Florida, answering questions about her own genealogical journey and questions posed by attendees. Confident, congenial, and classy are just three adjectives to describe this intelligent genealogist. And her new book is an excellent addition to the body of genealogical literature.

If you have a chance to see or hear Kenyatta D. Berry present, you will not be disappointed.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

My Parents Married Twice!

I think we all expect that our parents were married, and married once. However, that was not the case with mine. 

My father's name was Samuel Thomas "Tom" Morgan, and he was born on 18 December 1909 in Mebane, Alamance County, North Carolina. His parents were Samuel Goodloe Morgan, born 6 April 1879, and Laura Augusta "Minnie" Wilson Murphy (widow of Jeter Earnest Murphy), born 24 January 1873. My father's parents were married on 24 December 1902 in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, My father had one older sister, Mary Allen Morgan, who was born on 14 June 1905.

My mother's name was Sara Edith Weatherly, and she was born on 10 July 1910 in Rome, Floyd County, Georgia. Her parents were Walton Carey Weatherly, born 24 September 1882, in Cleveland, Bradley County, Tennessee, and Elizabeth Holder, born 19 July 1885, in  Lindale, Floyd County, Georgia. My mother was the second of four sisters and was known by the name of Edith.

My Grandfather Weatherly moved from Rome, Georgia, to Mebane, North Carolina, in April 1914 to accept a position as treasurer of White Furniture Company and purchased a home there. His wife and three daughters followed soon after. Their fourth daughter was born there in 1917.

My grandfather was a kind man who loved his family dearly. He tried to teach them strong values, good manners, and respect for others. He very seldom lost his temper unless strongly provoked.

My parents met in Mebane in the local public school system. Tom as a teenager first dated Edith's older sister, Beth, who was in his class at school. Later, however, he got to know Edith and soon focused his attentions on her. Tom turned 21 in December of 1930. Edith, on the other hand, would not reach her twenty-first birthday until July of 1931. Twenty-one was the legal age to marry in North Carolina at that time, and my grandfather didn't think the couple was yet ready to wed. Still, Tom and Edith were in love and were eager to marry. 

Tom proposed on Christmas Eve 1930 and Edith accepted, both of them keeping their engagement a secret. On Thursday, January 15th, 1931, they eloped to Danville, Virginia, where Edith lied about her year of birth. Tom also falsified his place of birth for some reason. Here is an image from FamilySearch.

The couple returned to Mebane and acted as if nothing had happened, and they continued to live apart. Edith ultimately confided in her sister Beth about the marriage. One of them apparently let the information slip and their parents found out. My grandfather was truly angry with Edith and Tom, their deceit, their lack of respect for their families, and for flouting conventions by eloping. He was furious that Edith had ignored his wishes and that she had broken the law by misrepresenting her age. He demanded that the couple get married again - legally. Edith asked to be married in her church but her father refused, instead insisting that it be a small, private wedding at the Weatherly home. She asked her parents if she could have a traditional wedding dress and her father again refused. He demanded that she wear a tailored suit and definitely not in white.

A newspaper announcement was made, a few invitations were mailed, and the second ceremony took place on Tuesday, January 24th, Here is another image from FamilySearch showing information about the second marriage.

As a result of the clandestine elopement and marriage, my Grandfather Weatherly held a very low opinion of my father for the remainder of his life. At the time of the second marriage, the Great Depression was in full swing. Tom had earlier attended Davidson College and Duke University but withdrew from Duke when his parent's finances - which had been considerable - collapsed. Edith had finished her college education. Both were fortunate to find employment but they struggled throughout the depression.

In later years, Tom and Edith celebrated their wedding anniversary on the date of the second marriage. Unfortunately there are no photographs of either of wedding. I have obtained copies of the marriage documents from both marriages to document this unusual set of circumstances.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Ohio Genealogical Society 2020 Call for Papers

The Ohio Genealogical Society hosts what is, in The Guys' opinion, one of the very best genealogical conferences in the U.S. each year. The society has just issued a Call for Papers (lecture proposals) for their 2020 event to be held April 29-May 2, 2020, at Kalahari Resort and Convention Center in Sandusky, Ohio. Visit their webpage at for all the details.

For information about their 2019 Conference and the great line-up of speakers, topics, and events, please visit to see the full registration booklet. It is definitely not just for Ohio researchers.

Genetic Affairs, a New DNA Tool

Genetic Affairs Logo
Genetic Affairs is a new DNA tool released on 1 December 2018 at It automates the retrieval of your DNA matches from 123 and Me, Ancestry DNA, or Family Tree DNA, processes them and sends you a single email with some new ways to see your DNA matches. Most important, it provides clustering of your matches into familial groups.

First you establish a Profile for the DNA testing result from a company and provide a link. You can then perform a custom AutoCluster analysis using one of three approaches. The choices are:

  1. Using centiMorgan (cM) thresholds,
  2. Using predicted relationships, or
  3. Using both predicted relationships and cM thresholds.
You will receive an email about 10 minutes later. with three reports. Your custom report will be in an HTML-formatted report that will look something like George's, a portion of which is shown below with each family group represented by a different colored cluster. You can analyze the matches in more detail in several view options from there. A manual is provided at the website. 

Portion of a sample Cluster report from Genetic Affairs.
(Click to enlarge image.)

Additionally, the report includes the match data are presented in a searchable, sortable table format that includes match profile and tree links (if the match person has posted a tree).

Credits are used to pay for running your analyses. Users are provided an initial bunch of credits that will cover running the processing several times. After that, additional credits can be purchased for a nominal cost and stored until you use them.

The Genealogy Guys discuss this new tool in some detail in Episode #353 of their podcast.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

George Has a New Article in the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly

You may not have known that George has been a regular writer for the Association of Professional Genealogists Quarterly since 2008 and was awarded their prestigious APGQ Excellence Award in 2013. The APGQ is just one of the benefits of membership in the Association of Professional GenealogistsMembership is open to any person or institution willing to support the objectives and the APG Code of Ethics.

George's latest article has just been published in the December 2018 issue of the e-magazine. It is titled "Add Visual Context to Your Genealogical Research" and discusses the collection, digitization, and addition of graphical materials to your work and that of clients for whom you perform research. He discusses original documents, personal identification documents, family photographs, stereographs, vintage postcards, newspapers, and more that add to the story.  He discusses many places online to locate a wealth of images you may never have imagined.

The APGQ is an outstanding quarterly publication that shares information for professional genealogists, people who want to enter the profession, and casual researchers as well. Learn more about the organization and membership at Association of Professional Genealogists.