Your Alabama Genealogy is taking a break

We’re spending the next year in Beijing, China, so Your Alabama Genealogy will be on hiatus. We hope to occasionally post to the blog, but chances are we’ll be spending a lot of time learning Mandarin when we’re not working at our new job. Thank you for keeping up with us. We love living in Alabama and hope to return by 2015!


Auto Industry’s arrival in Alabama is subject of today’s Architreats at the state archives

“Cars Fell on Alabama – The Automotive Industry Comes to Alabama,” a panel discussion led by Bill Taylor and Archie Craft, is today’s topic at today’s Architreats event at the state archives.

The talk marks the 20th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz’s decision to build a sport utility vehicle in Alabama. The impact of that decision has had a profound impact on Alabama’s economy, business expansion and employment.

Bill Taylor is an automotive industry veteran who now is president of the Economic Development Partnership of Alabama.  Craft is vice president of human resources at Mercedes-Benz International Inc.

The noon talk will be at the state archives, 624 Washington Ave. in Montgomery. The event is free and participants can bring a brown bag lunch.

Architreats is made possible by the Friends of the Alabama Archives and a grant from the Alabama Humanities Foundation, a state program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Civil War fort is topic at Saturday’s Mobile Genealogical Society meeting

Sidney Henson Schell will be the featured speaker Saturday, May 11, when the Mobile Genealogical Society meets at 10:30 a.m.

Schell’s topic will be “Fort Powell and The Civil War: Western Approaches To Mobile Bay.” The speaker will share information from his book with the same name.

Fort Powell was a small Civil War fort built on an oyster reef on the north side of Grant’s Pass in Alabama.

MGS meetings are held in the Vitale Room at Holy Family Church, 1400 Joyce Road in Mobile.

Jamestown cannibals: Evidence shows starving colonists took desperate measure

The Smithsonian Institution, Preserve Virginia and  Colonial Williamsburg announced Wednesday that scientists have verified early Jamestown colonists resorted to eating fellow settlers during a brutal winter dubbed “the starving time,” according to a story in USA Today.

Why mention this grisly find? Many of our English and early American ancestors came to Alabama from Virginia and through the colonies and states hugging the Eastern Seaboard.

The article by Jayne Clark says that the discovery of a partial human skull and tibia is the first forensic evidence that cannibalism was practiced at Jamestown during the winter of 1609-10.

Forensic testing shows the bones belonged to a young girl who was about 14 years old and had European ancestry. Clark’s article is interesting and well worth checking out. It also has a picture of what the girl looked like and a video featuring the archaeologists and forensic experts who worked on the remains.


Old Cahawba makes list of USA’s eeriest ghost towns; Civil War walking tour is Saturday

Alabama’s first state capital, Cahawba, is featured on a list of 8 Eeriest Ghost Towns.

Cahawba was a thriving frontier community on the Alabama River near Selma in Dallas County. Yellow fever and flooding were among the reasons Legislators moved the capital to Tuscaloosa in 1826. Later, Cahawba was the site of Castle Morgan, a notorious Confederate prison.

Today the site is a state archaeological park administered by the Alabama Historical Commission and well worth a visit.

On Saturday the park will host Civil War Walking Tour from 10-11 a.m. No battles were fought there, but you’ll learn about the Castle Morgan prison and how the Civil War touched the area. Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Union Gen. James H. Wilson met here in 1865 following the Battle of Selma.

The grounds are open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and the visitor center from noon-5 p.m. Old Cahawba is at 9518 Cahaba Road in Orrville. The phone and fax number is 334-872-8058.

Decoration Day and rural cemeteries are topics of Tuesday’s Book Talk at Alabama Archives

Tuesday’s free Book Talk topic at the state archives in Montgomery will be “Decoration Day and the Shaping of Rural Southern Cemeteries,”  presented by Alan and Karen Jabbour.
The couple’s book, “Decoration Day in the Mountains,” explores the culture of Decoration Day, a cemetery tradition in the South. Now they are researching the cultural features of rural Southern cemeteries. The Jabbours will be speaking on the varied features found in the region’s rural cemeteries, such as mounded graves, shell decoration and rock cairns, according to a news release from the state Department of Archives and History.

Alan Jabbour is a folklorist who spent most of his career in Washington. He was head of the Archives of Folk Song at the Library of Congress, founding director of the Folk Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts and founding director of the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress.

His cemetery research is a joint venture with his wife, Karen Singer Jabbour. Her photographs are a major component of their book.
The recently received a grant from the Joyce Cauthen Fellowship Fund of the Alabama Folklife Association.
Tuesday’s program is co-sponsored by the Alabama Folklife Association, Alabama State Council on the Arts and the Friends of
Books will be available for purchase. For more information, visit the archives’ website or call 334-353-4726. The archives is at 624 Washington Ave. in Montgomery.

National Genealogical Society recognizes Wallace State professor and co-author with Award of Merit for their book

Congratulations to historian Robert S. Davis of Wallace State Community College in Hanceville and genealogist Ted O. Brooke, who  received the Award of Merit from the National Genealogical Society for their book, “Georgia Research.”

The book, subtitled “A Handbook for Genealogists, Historians, Archivists, Lawyers, Librarians, and Other Researchers,” offers readers a comprehensive review of Georgia genealogical resources. It’s a valuable addition to your genealogical library.

Georgia was home to many of our Alabama ancestors before they migrated here, while others passed through the state on their way to new settlements in the deep South.

Monica Hopkins edited the book, which was published by the Georgia Genealogical Society. It’s available on Amazon and other websites.