Friday, August 26, 2016

Reflections on Turning 5

Five years ago Jollett Etc was born. At the time, the only blogs I knew about were ones showing me how to create exciting tablescapes, prepare meals that would delight my family, and upcycle old windows into coffee tables. Pinterest was just a baby tempting me with nifty ideas for creating art from paint chip samples. I was not sure how genealogy fit in that world.

Then I found Geneabloggers, and I realized there were lots of family historians like me trying to share our research. In five years, I have seen lots of blogs come and go, lots of bloggers come and go, and lots of changes to genealogy blogging as a whole.

5 years ago
Family history bloggers who were held up as models of excellence were writing STORIES of their ancestors.
Bloggers who receive recognition are the ones telling the rest of us how to do it – how to write a story, how to write titles, how to attract readers, how to research, how to network, how to promote our blogs, how to organize our research, how to organize our blog, how to measure success. (I still prefer the story tellers.)

5 years ago
Family historians looked for documents and interesting resources to fill in their ancestor’s life story. They eagerly shared those findings.
There is much more emphasis on citations – PROPER citations – for those sources. (You have to be thick-skinned to keep from feeling like a lowlife researcher for recording simply “1880 Virginia Federal Census.”)

5 years ago
Family history meant finding those ancestors and looking for deeds, wills and other documents to tell THEIR story.
We are encouraged to tell OUR OWN story too because one day we will be someone’s ancestor. Someone will be interested in our baby picture, wedding photo, and stories of our glory days in school. (Done! Well, to some extent anyway.)

5 years ago
I was not aware of opportunities to improve my research skills.
There is always a free webinar online even if I cannot get to a state or national conference and collect blogger beads. (I am not looking to be a certified genealogist, but I attend webinars if the topic is interesting.  While I don’t always heed the advice of how-to articles – in fact, sometimes I just give ‘em the eyeball roll – I would have appreciated the help five years ago, so I am confident their service is appreciated by new bloggers.)

5 years ago
Family history bloggers measured success by the number of comments on their blog.
Those predicting the future of blogging say that comments are a thing of the past. “Real” bloggers are moving the conversation to social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter. (Maybe I’m just “old school,” but I prefer seeing comments on my blog. Unless Blogger goes the way of Geocities, my blog with its comments will be there for years to come whereas tweets and “Likes” will disappear with the next scroll.)

5 years ago
Networking for genealogy blogs was mainly through Geneabloggers. I found other blogs by participating in the daily prompts that worked much like a blog hop. We came to expect a return visit if we left a comment on someone’s blog.
Geneabloggers is alive and well, and there are memes like 52 Ancestors and The Book of Me that pull family historians together. Nevertheless, networking is largely dependent on outlets like Facebook,Twitter, and even Pinterest. In addition to their personal Facebook accounts, many bloggers create a page for their blog or a closed group for the family line. (I have mixed feelings about the shift from blogging to Facebook. I understand why many bloggers give up the blog. Writing stories is hard. Keeping to any sort of schedule is hard – and harder still if you listen to the ones saying a definite schedule is a MUST. I understand the frustration and disappointment when family and yet-unknown cousins do not read the blog. So yes, posting photos and latest findings to a Facebook group dedicated to a particular family or geographical region is a heckuva lot easier and still accomplishes the goal of sharing research. Besides, for some people – and it’s not necessarily a generational thing – blogs are just a foreign concept while Facebook is mainstream.)

5 years ago
Blogging was pure and sweet and fairly simple once you mastered your chosen platform, Blogger and Wordpress being the top 2 choices.
Our blogs are subject to the worst of human behavior. Spam has led to comment moderation. Copyright violations are a constant worry. It is not merely about being careful with images; we have to watch out for unscrupulous parties copying our content and posting to other websites. Bloggers are obsessed with checking their stats to see where visitors are coming from and then trying to understand what those numbers mean and how their blog will be affected. (Probably because my blog is story-driven and thus appeals to a limited audience, Jollett Etc has not been deemed worthy of stealing. Furthermore, I have not been bothered by hordes of Russian visitors. Maybe I should be insulted.)

Whatever the future of blogging may be, I am in it for the long haul. Happy Blogiversary, Jollett Etc! 

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: James Henry Jollett

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks bloggers to include an image of a gravestone of one or more ancestors along with a brief description of the image or the ancestor.

Tombstone James Henry Jollett Harriston Methodist Church Cemetery Harriston, VA
James H.
son of
J.F. and E.J. Jollett
Born Apr 21, 1894
Died Aug 29, 1909
James Henry Jollett is buried in the Harriston Methodist Church Cemetery just down the road from his home in Harriston, Virginia. James Franklin and Eliza Jane are buried there as well.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Monday, August 22, 2016

James Franklin Jollett's Kids: James Henry Jollett

As part of my “Genealogy Do-Over” efforts AND to force myself to get crackin’ on my James Franklin Jollett book, Jollett Reunion, I will be researching and writing brief biographies of James Franklin, his wives, and his children.

When James Franklin Jollett was 58 years old, he became a father for the tenth time. He and Eliza Jane Coleman Jollett welcomed her only child James Henry Jollett to their Greene County, Virginia home on April 21, 1894.

Since his other brothers and sisters all attended school, it is likely he did as well. In the 1900 census, James Henry had been in school for five months.

There is little left of James Henry’s story. On August 29, 1909, he and his father were on the way to the train station to meet Eliza Jane who was returning home after being away visiting family. Some of Henry's friends stopped him and invited him to go swimming with them. James Franklin said he should not go since Eliza would be expecting them. Henry promised to be back in time to meet the train. Unfortunately while swimming, he got caught in a current and his friends could not rescue him.

He is buried in the Harriston Methodist Church Cemetery.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Ulysses F. Jollette

Sunday’s Obituary is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers asking us to post obituaries along with other information about that person.

The remains of Ulysses Jollette of Baltimore, who died in that city Friday morning arrived at Shenandoah Saturday evening at the home of his brother-in-law D. B. Breeden.

The funeral was held at the U. B. Church at 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Verbena Lodge, 42 I. O. O. F. attending in a body. Rev. Lee B. Sheaffer officiating. Interment was in the U. B. cemetery. He is survived by his wife and one daughter Mrs. G. A. [Vessie] Steppe, and five sisters: Mrs. A. J.[Emma] Coleman, Mrs. W. B.[Mary] Davis, Mrs. D. B.[Victoria] Breeden, Mrs. W. J. [Laura] Sullivan, Mrs. Sallie Clift. All residing in Shenandoah. He was 48 years old. The funeral was attended by a large number of relatives and friends.

We wish to thank the many kind friends, also the Odd Fellows for the many acts of kindness shown us during our sad hours of bereavement.-Mrs. U. F. Jollett, Mrs. Gilbert Steppe, and Mrs. D. B. Breeden.

Source: Page News & Courier Tuesday, Feb. 3, 1931 page 2 Col. 1

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Ulysses and Vessie

Wordless Wednesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks family historians to create a post in which the main focus is a photograph or image.
Ulysses F. Jollette and daughter Vessie
Vessie and Ulysses F. Jollette
Vessie loved her daddy, and judging by this picture, the feeling was mutual. This photo was taken probably about 1910, most likely in Naked Creek, a favorite spot of those living in Page County.

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Ulysses F. Jollette

Tombstone Tuesday is a daily prompt at Geneabloggers that asks bloggers to include an image of a gravestone of one or more ancestors along with a brief description of the image or the ancestor.

Tombstone Ulysses F. and Sadie Jollette Shenandoah, Virginia
Ulysses Finks Jollette
Jan 26, 1883 - Jan 30, 1931
Janeiro S. Lamb Jollette
July 7, 1880 - Feb 5, 1961
Even though Ulysses F. Jollette had lived in Baltimore for several years, his family chose to bury him in Shenandoah, Virginia where he and Sadie began their married life. Sadie joined him 30 years later. Forty years later, daughter Vessie Steppe completed the picture of this little Jollette family all buried in the Coverstone Cemetery (formerly the EUB Church Cemetery).

Tombstone Vessie Jollett Steppe
Vessie Jollette Steppe
Aug 21, 1904 - Jan 28, 2001
© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.

Monday, August 15, 2016

James Franklin Jollett's Kids: Ulysses Finks Jollett

As part of my “Genealogy Do-Over” efforts AND to force myself to get crackin’ on my James Franklin Jollett book, Jollett Reunion, I will be researching and writing brief biographies of James Franklin, his wives, and his children.

The last child born to James Franklin Jollett and Lucy Ann Shiflett was a boy whom they named Ulysses Finks. He never got to know his mother because she died soon after he was born.

Like his brothers and sisters, Ulysses grew up on the family farm in Greene County, Virginia, and he attended school where he learned to read and write.

Newspaper article wedding Ulysses Jollett and Sadie Lamb
from the Richmond Times Dispatch Nov 28, 1903
On November 23, 1903, he married Sadie Janiero Lamb in her parents’ home near Nortonsville. The two set up housekeeping in Harriston, Virginia, where James Franklin Jollett lived. The next year, they welcomed their only child Vessie Bernice.
Ulysses and Sadie Jollett
Vessie Jollett
By 1910, Ulysses, Sadie, and Vessie had moved to Shenandoah where most of his sisters and their families lived. He went to work for the Norfolk & Western Railroad, first as a laborer in the shops repairing wrecked train cars, and then later as a fireman. Eventually he became an engineer. The Jolletts were particularly close to Ulysses’ sister Vic and her husband Decatur Breeden, maybe because they were close in age and maybe also because Decatur was a railroad employee too.
Ulysses and Sadie Jollett, Vic and Decatur Breeden
Standing: Sadie Lamb Jollett and Vic Jollett Breeden
Seated: Ulysses Jollett and Decatur Breeden
Sometime before 1930, Ulysses moved his family to Baltimore, Maryland. He worked as a stationary engineer, another term for power engineer. Apparently he operated industrial machinery and equipment that produced energy.

While by all accounts, Ulysses was successful in his work, something was not right. On January 30, 1931, Ulysses died from a gunshot wound. According to the Coroner’s inquest, it was self-inflicted. Ulysses’ doctor claimed he suffered from “melancholia.”

However, Sadie and some others believe he was murdered by a lover’s jealous husband. According to family lore, he had an eye for the women and was known to take leftovers from Sadie’s good cooking to his lady companion. Apparently there was no investigation into the family’s theory about murder.

Ulysses Finks JOLLETT (26 Jan 1883 Greene Co, VA – 30 Jan 1931 Baltimore, MD) and Sadie Janiero LAMB (7 Jul 1880 Greene Co, VA – 5 Feb 1961 Fredericksburg, VA) married 23 Nov 1903 Greene Co, VA
  1. Vessie Bernice JOLLETT (21 Aug 1904 Greene Co, VA – 28 Jan 2001 Dahlgren, VA) and Gilbert A. STEPPE (1 Mar 1895 Page Co, VA – 12 Jul 1975 Fredericksburg, VA) married 26 Dec 1922 Harrisonburg, VA

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.