Thursday, February 23, 2023

A Time to Write: 4. Charts

I am working on writing, Our Brown Roots, the history of my paternal grandfather’s family & its many leaves & branches. The book includes maps, charts and photographs. 

I try to use charts to illustrate relationships with in our family. Because I have studied these families for such a long time I understand how they are connected. However, my readers will not be familiar with all these people.  

In the book I am writing, I have included a chart at the beginning of each Surname Section. Each chart shows the connection from my paternal grandfather to the branch of the family in the section.

These Pedigree Charts are made with my Family Tree Maker program. They are the same but I am able to highlight the branch being studied.

This chart shows how my grandfather connects to the Smith family.             

This chart shows how my grandfather connects to the Alford family.     

It is my hope that these charts will make our relationships clear to the reader.

Note: In the book, I use no colors in my charts, maps or photos because color printing will be too expensive for the length of the book and number of copies I would like. 

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Thursday, February 16, 2023

Book Report: Understanding Cemetery Symbols

When possible, I try to find the final resting place of my ancestors. If there is a chance that a stone still stands in their memory, I want to see it. The stone could hold a final message. It could be a message the deceased had planned to leave behind. Or it could be a message from a loved one to tell us about our ancestor. Will it unveil their complete name and dates? Will there be an epitaph that reveals something of their life? And what about that rose, book or sword carved into the stone. What does it mean? This book will help translate those final messages. 



Understanding Cemetery Symbols

 A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards


By Tui Snider

Published by Castle Azle Press





Why Symbols Matter

How to Use This Book

The American Burial Landscape

Cemetery Safety & Etiquette

Types of American Cemeteries

Names, Dates & Epitaphs

Sticks & Stones

Coins, Pebbles & Seashells

American Headstone Styles

Monuments & Other Structures

Cemetery Architecture

Hands, Hearts & Body Parts

Saints, Angels & Other Beings

Plants, Flowers & Trees

So Many Crosses!

Clubs, Secret Societies & Organizations

Common Latin Phrases

Misc. Cemetery Symbols from A to Z




First of all, although I walked through many, many cemeteries, I must admit I thought a cemetery and a graveyard were interchangeable terms. Ms. Snider explained that a graveyard is directly beside a church or on land owned by a church. She writes there are 8 basic types of American Cemeteries: Church, Public, Private, Military, Family, Customary, Lodge and Mass Graves. From a description of cemetery types the author focuses on the stones in those cemeteries.


I also did not know that a coffin is narrow at the head and foot but wider at the shoulders and a casket is rectangular. That was just one more thing I learned in reading this book.


The author gives us an overview of the most common materials used for monuments, the styles of headstones and gives many interesting facts about symbols on the stones. 




  • Basket of Flowers. An upright basket means Hope. A spilled basket means Grief.

  • Cyclamen. Stands for deep and enduring true love.

  • Ear of Corn. Could mean Farmer or a Long & Fruitful Life.

  • Holly. Symbolizes Everlasting Life. Folklore says Holly protected the stone from Lightning.

  • Shamrock. May indicate a person of Irish heritage. It could also be a reference to the Holy Trinity.

  • Violet. Symbolizes a person who was quiet, shy & humble.


Now I have to stop myself from revealing too much about this book. Get yourself a copy and see if you can read about just one symbol. I am guessing it will lead to more. Enjoy.



Do you have a favorite book about Cemeteries?

Share it in the comments.


At the top of this blog, click on My Library for many more books that I have found useful for genealogical & historical research.

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Monday, February 13, 2023

Forget Me Not: Roger T. Ellzey, 1966 MS

Roger T. Ellzey

8 February 1890 MS - 10 November 1966 MS

Son of William Franklin Ellzey & Mary E. Gatlin

Tylertown – Services for Roger T. Ellzey Sr., 76, pioneer businessman, were held at 10 a. m. Saturday from the Tylertown Baptist Church with burial in the city cemetery.


Ellzey, a lifelong Walthall area resident, died Thursday night at his home here. He established the Ellzey Building Co. at Tylertown in 1911 and was in business at this company until 1944 when he sold it to hiss son, Wayland Ellzey. 


He leaves his widow, Mrs. Molly Branch Ellzey; three daughters, Mrs. Gertrude McKinney of Jackson, Mrs.  Bertile Fortenberry of Osyka, and Mrs. Mary Ellen Carlisle of Louisville, Ky.


Three other sons, Thomas Ellzey of Tylertown, Cecil Ellzey of Franklinton and Charles Ellzey of Bridgeton, N. J. 


Three sisters, Mrs. Myrtle Fortenberry of McComb, Mrs. Mamie E. Minton of Denham Springs, La., and Mrs. Lois Pope of Magnolia; four brothers, Edgar Ellzey of Franklinton, La., Vernon Ellzey of Rochester, N. Y., Grady Ellzey of Osyka, and Clyde Ellzey of Morestown, N. J.; 12 grandchildren and 12 great – grandchildren.


Dr. Clayton Sullivan of Hattiesburg conducted last rites.


Ginn Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.


Source: Roger T. Ellzey is Dead at 76. (McComb, MS: Enterprise – Journal, 14 Nov 1966) 12; digital image, accessed March 2022. 




Monday, February 6, 2023

Genealogy Charts

I get many comments on my blog posts that ask me about the charts I add to many of my posts. I have Family Tree Maker to record and organize my genealogy data. Therefore, that is the program I use to generate charts. This post is not meant to be an advertisement for that program. I am sure there are many options to use that would do the same things. However, this is what I use and it can give you an idea of what is available. 

When I write a blog post I try to add a chart that can easily show information & family relationships of the person or people who are the focus of the post. 

Family Tree Maker has many options that will generate charts or reports with the data I have already to saved to the program. At the top of my computer screen I click on "People" and find the individual I want and then Click on "Publish" and have the choices seen in this screen shot.

Publication. From these options I usually use "Charts." Then I have many options and I have used most of these charts over the years, depending upon what information I want to display and how much space I have for the chart to fit. The fan chart, for example, is large and if I add it to a blog post then details will be small. If I print it I will need large paper. 

Charts. Each chart can be adapted to your needs. You can decide how many generations of information you want to display. You can decide wha information you want to display for each person. Do you want to display the full birth and death details, day, month, year & location OR do you want to display just the range such as 1900 - 1990? Do you want to add marriage or burial details? You can adjust the chart to your needs.

Vertical Pedigree Chart. For blog posts I use this chart the most often. I go to the "People View" and select the person who I am researching or blogging about. Then I go to the "Publish" tab, select the 'Vertical Pedigree Chart" and click on "Generate Report." A chart will appear and to the right of the chart with many chart options.

  • Items to include
  • Fonts (fonts, colors, sizes, alignments)
  • Box, Border & Line Styles (many options)
  • Inclusion of Images
  • Page Set up (for printing)
  • Margins (for printing)
These options are for any of the charts you chose. I suggest you play with these to find what you like. I have tried many of the options to find what I think will print or display clearly, with the information I want to share, in a manner that is easy for people who are not genealogists to understand. 

In the above chart I have changed colors in the boxes for males & females. I also have "Generation Boxes" on the left which are optional. The font can also be different for males, females, labels. In the chart below I omitted colors, Generation Boxes & the spouse of the primary individual. 

I could add the siblings of the primary individual & change each generation to a different color. I can change the shape & color of the primary individual's box. 

Do you want to add your sources for each fact in the chart? You can do that. Footnote numbers will show in each box and the list of source details will follow the chart. Do you want to add your name & address or blog name to the chart? You can do that. Do you want to add embellishments? You can do that too.

Keep your purpose in mind. Do you want to print the chart? Do you want to add it to a blog post? Is the result for a genealogist or someone who knows little about genealogy? Design the chart for your need. Play with the options. You can always delete the things that do not work for you. When you find a format that works you can save it in the program. You can go to your saved charts & formats to use again.

I hope this inspires you to use charts to share your research with others. 
Do you have a different program or app that you use?  
How do you use your charts? Please comment and share with us.