Sitting at OGS Conference 2017 Opening Ceremonies

Yes, I am sitting in the audience at the OGS Conference 2017 opening ceremonies blogging while they are reading the opening remarks prior to the opening lecture. My seatmates, the Social Media Team, are tweeting furiously and Kirsty Gray – sitting right next to me is watching the stream live on her laptop!

Oh! The magic that is technology!

None of us would be back here connected, posting, tweeting and generally being good social media team members if not for technology.

This is a great conference already and some of us have been around since Wednesday night. These people had no idea we would stick like glue! But here we are.

Last night’s event was the British pub night. Our team lost the trivia game by one point. ONE point, though we are not competitive. 

The Market Place

There are five Market Halls spread across the campus of Algonquin College and all are open to the public. You can roam around the conference, rub elbows with some of the big wigs, like Josh Taylor, Blaine Bettinger and Kirsty Gray, among others. Rubbing elbows with these people is easy here in Canada because, well it’s Canada, we are too polite to be “in thier space”.

Many lectures and workshops are happening and some of the talks are being live-streamed. I’ve posted a list of the streams here, along with the unoffical WikiTree LiveCast I am doing on Saturday at 3:PM EDT here at the Conference Social Media Hub. Come up to watch and or join in!

I had an interview today with CBC Radio 1’s “All In A Day” host Alan Neal all about Grandma’s Genes and my work with clients here in Ottawa and around the world. The interview was a lot of fun.

So this is day one. We are at the opening ceremonies which will wrap up the festivities for this very busy day. Tomorrow is anothe day and great fun will be had by all. If you can’t be here, find a stream and watch it.

See you at the LiveCast tomorrow.

Live Streaming from the OGSConf2017

We are quickly zooming to the weekend of OGS Conference 2017 and if you can’t make it, there will be a few Live Streams to scratch your itch, quench your genealogy conference thirst! Live Streaming from the OGSConf2017.

What Streams and how do you watch?

Just Click the links…

Stream Number one…Friday June 16th, 2017 – 6:30pm EDT.

Friday night Opening Ceremonies including a talk Destination Canada by Dave Obee. Viewing link The opening Ceremonies begin at 7:00pm EDT.

Stream Number two…Saturday June 17, 2017 – 9:00am EDT.

Saturday morning Plenary including Family Ties: Exploring Genealogy through the Archives of Ontario by Danielle Manning. Viewing Link

(Unofficial) Stream Number 3…LiveCast with Grandma’s Genes, Saturday June 17, 2017 – 3:00pm EDT

Hangout with Mags and others in a LiveCast chat from OGSConf2017. You never know who might pop in. LiveCasts, where genealogist chat. Viewing Link.

Stream Number 4…OGS Annual General Meeting, Saturday June 17, 2017 – 3:30pm EDT

Coverage of the Ontario Genealogical Associations General Meeting. Veiwing Link.

So many things to do, so many places to be…Carry your laptop out to the garden, or to your local coffee shop and enjoy some of the goings on at the conference!

I will see you there or online! Blueberry pie for everyone!

Blaine Bettinger and the Shared cM Project Update

Blaine Bettinger
Blaine Bettinger

From Blaine Bettinger, The Shared cM Project and a shout out for more crowd-souring DNA Statistics – May 26 at 10:20am

You might be familiar with the Shared cM Project, which produced this chart. The Project relies on submissions from genealogists just like you! I will soon be working on an annual update to the Shared cM Project, and I would greatly appreciate tons of new submissions!

I am accepting all submissions, and I am especially looking for relationships more distant than 2C (as well as all half relationships). Because I have limited time, I can ONLY accept submissions through the submission Portal:https://goo.gl/PxATDG.

THANK YOU to everyone! (If you’d like to share this post, copy & paste rather than clicking “share” so it can reach more people).

Blaine

P.S. – I can’t do look-ups, but if you submitted before and now only submit data from testing you’ve done since June 2016, you should be safe.

Sutton Hoo Who?

Sutton Hoo is the site of an East Anglian, AD 600 burial. When discovered this burial revealed large quantities of lavish grave goods belonging to a person of high status. But other than the assumption the person is most likely male, and given the large mustache in the design of the helmet, there is little evidence about who this person really was – no DNA.

East Anglian Chief or King?

Based on the grave goods and the size of the ship, could this burial have been for an East Anglian Chief or King and could someone be related to him?

This question came up in the WikiTree G2G Forum today, Sutton Hoo Connections. The poster ran down a quick pedigree…”descent from King Alfred of England. By a little digging round, I found that he descends from AEthelwulf of Wessex, Ecgbert III of Wessex, his mother, an unnamed Anglian princess and daughter of AEthelbert II of Kent, son of Wihtred of Kent, son of Egbert I of Kent, son of Sexburga of East-Anglia (princess), daughter of Anna, King of East Anglia , who was son of Eni of East Anglia, brother of Redwald, King of East Anglia, who was almost certainly the gentleman buried at Sutton Hoo!!!!!!”

I answered honestly albeit a bit tongue in cheek, “I can supposedly go back to Harold. The fella who lost to William and lay the land open for the Normans. I am waiting for John Smeeckle (one of our great WikiTree Researchers) to find the break in my lines and disprove it.

My suggestion? Get male line descendants to do YDNA tests and try to get information on any DNA work/studies being done on the Pre-Norman Royal Chiefs/Kings. Be a real bummer to do all the DNA testing only to find that the burial belonged to a Woman, a Chieftess or Queen (we can ignore the big mustache on the helmet).”

The Female Break

My suggestion to do male line DNA tests is an honest suggestion. There is, however, a slight problem with the pedigree given, “his mother, an unnamed Anglian princess and daughter of AEthelbert II of Kent…” If there is a female in this line of descent no amount of Y-DNA testing will confirm a connection. If this pedigree is correct we can’t do a Y-DNA line directly back to Redwald.

Are there Anglo Saxon Chief/Chieftess DNA studies going on right now?

Yes. According to Dr Stephan Schiffels, from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridgeshire and the Max Plank Institute in Germany, “38% of the ancestors of the English were Anglo-Saxons. This information was derived “By sequencing the DNA from ten skeletons from the late Iron Age and the Anglo-Saxon period, we obtained the first complete ancient genomes from Great Britain…”PhysOrg 

Other information on this:
BBC – English DNA ‘one-third’ Anglo-Saxon

The Charlotte Observer – Sutton Hoo? Home of buried ancient treasure, “

Q. But no DNA?

A. No. That’s a problem at Sutton Hoo.”

There is also a great forum discussion on Eupedia. This discussion breaks out some of the finer points of the DNA (it is a forum, read with a mind to that).

Finding DNA at Sutton Hoo would have been the nail in the …er ship? But no DNA at this time.

Anglo Saxon DNA Study

Of course someone over at FTDNA has an Anglo Saxon DNA Study on the go!

“The project was created to find a common ancestor among  those who have surnames of an Anglo Saxon origin or those who live or have ancestry in the lands once occupied by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians andFranks.” and “will accept only those people that have tested with a SNP  associated with Germanic origins.”

Interesting.

I still say grab a few of your Male cousins and jump in to the Gene pool on this one.

Lydia Gaulden Shout Out – Come on Social Media, Connect Me!

This is a Lydia Gaulden Shout out. When I discovered Raven Symoné’s mothers surname is Gaulden my curiosity was piqued.

Who is Raven Symoné?

The adorable kid on Cosby, “American actress, singer, songwriter, television personality, and producer”, WikiPedia the former outspoken co-host of the View.

My interest is not so much in Raven, it’s her Gaulden’s I want to know about!

Could we have a Gaulden Cannection?

A part of my Sumter, South Carolina Gaulden Family headed west. Martha Gaulden married Francis Richardson and migrated to Mississippi . They lived in Woodville, MS which is close enough to New Orleans that my ggg Dempsey Gaulden spent time there.

“Dempsey Gaulden was born in Sumter County, South Carolina in about 1767. He may have migrated with his brother William or sister Martha (Patsy) to Mississippi about five years after the revolutionary war.[1]As a young man Dempsey raced horses in New Orleans.

According to Laura Gaulden Bailey he married ‘(wife’s name unknown) and left at least two sons: John Sidney and _________, father of Sam Gaulden of Windsor County, Mississppi. This information is furnished by John Sidney Gaulden.’ If she got this information first hand from John Sidney Gaulden and he was indeed a son of Dempsey this adds two new , and older sons, for Dempsey than I have in any information about him.” WikiTree

Dempsey sows his wild oats and is back in SC in 1830 working on my part of his family with no sign of Sidney, etc.

Raven Symoné has origins in the south, possibly Louisiana, so I hear. Though it doesn’t matter where, since she is a Gaulden, I want to know how, and who and where in the gene pool we connect. I would like to learn about her family lines and hopefully find some common genetic cousins to connect the story.

I am looking for someone, somewhere, somehow to put me in contact with Raven’s momma Lydia Gaulden Pearman, so I can cure my curiosity.

Come On Social Media Connect your Grandma! Let’s go Viral! 

Share, Share, Share, Spread, Spread, Spread. Please and Thank you!

Visits with Grandma

Had a busy couple of weeks which have included many visits with your Grandma! Besides the hugs and profound elder knowledge, you also got your very own serving of hot blueberry pie, straight from the oven. You missed the pie? The pie was there, I promise.

WikiTree LiveCasts

Grandma’s Genes had a great WikiTree LiveCast on Saturday covering Getting Started with DNA on WikiTree. We had our biggest live audience so far for this livecast and the recorded version views are growing.

This weeks WikiTree LiveCast  will be with Doug Lockwood who leads the One Name Studies Project. One Name Studies are something I use a good bit to help me break down brickwalls. If you have some time, drop by and learn about One Name Studies and the One Name Study Project on WikiTree. The LiveCast will be at 3:00 PM EDT on this coming Saturday. Here is the link: WikiTree LiveCast, Doug Lockwood and the One Name Study Project

Forensic Genealogy and Adoption – Tracking Down Your Living Limbs.

The Ottawa Public Library let your grandma into the Carlingwood Branch to present “Forensic Genealogy and Adoption, Tracking Down Your Living Limbs.” Once the massive crowd (millions I tell ya) settled into their seats they were introduced to the concepts and strategies behind Forensic Genealogy and how those strategies can help with adoption searches.

Since I tend towards the Genetic side of things we delved deeply into my Cousin Betty Jean’s adoption search and the use of Genetic Genealogy. After all Betty Jean’s Genes helped us find one of her birth parents so far (and possibly the other – soon…the test is in processing).

It Takes Time

This was one of the biggest points of the presentation – It takes time. I know. You and everyone else in the world has watched these shows where one instance they are sitting at a table with a Genealogist in Philadelphia and the next they magically appear in Paris talking to their newly found 3rd cousin. It’s TV folks and slow just don’t sell the sponsors DNA test kits.

Be Prepared

Adoption searches can be a roller coaster emotionally. Bolster your support group with more than just friends and family. Get involved in a local support group and even get some professional help.

Be Respectful

This was another big point and a big talking point for questions during the presentation. As someone who is researching to find the birth family of an adoptee or the adoptee for a birth family, you do not have the right to willy nilly spread someone else’s story all over the internet. If you know your surname? Post the surname, but don’t go about saying that Jane Smith had a baby in 1955. Especially if it hasn’t been proven in the least yet. Be respectful and only tell the parts of the story that you have permission to tell.

Telling the tale with caution

Whatever avenue you use to put yourself “out there”, whether it be a Facebook page about your adoption, an adopted and a birth family tree on WikiTree, an instagram feed of photographs of yourself and likenesses between you and people you have proven to be your kin, do so with caution.

I myself, personally, don’t know anyone who has been the target of Genealogical Identity theft, but be vigilant with your own personal information.

I am very much so “out there”. Being “out there” is a part of my business model, so I hope I am ahead of the game and in charge of my own narrative. You? You have to decide how much or how little you want to make public. Take care of yourself.

Judy G. Russell, the Legal Genealogist, covers some of the privacy issues in a posting online in her December of 2016 Blog, The opt-in default

Your Grandma is working away making afghans for all of you. You know, the ones with the big holes that never really keep you warm? The ones you throw over the back of the sofa just when your Grandma comes to visit? They will arrive with blueberry pie stains all over them too. It is, after all, hard to crochet and eat blueberry pie at the same time.

Hunt-14 of Bedford County Virginia Researcher, My Prom Date

A fellow Hunt-14 researcher contacted me because of a conversation he was having with someone who wants to connect to our Hunt line. The discussion was based on DNA matches to a fella who could be related to the Hunt family brickwall, Dr. Thomas Hunt of Bedford County Virginia, father of the children known as the Hunt 14. This probability has never been fleshed out before using DNA, but…

All this is very interesting (VERY VERY INTERESTING) as I calmly go on to the reason for today’s post…

He is Doug Hunt and we do share our Hunt line back to Dr. Thomas. Like researchers before him, Edgar Hunt, Jean Hunt, Allen Hunt, Jimmy Hunt, Jr., Doug wants to get the many disjointed pieces to the Hunt 14 progenitors life right. He wants to get it right and get it “out there” for all researchers to access. He and I are working on that and I am as giddy as a school girl just asked to prom by the cutest boy in school.

What made you want to do this, go to Richmond for the LVA and Durham for Duke University and do the research?

Basically, I’ve been fascinated with the idea that for so many years our family has run into a dead end finding the origins of the 14 beyond a few bits and pieces about Thomas Hunt. At first, I started by looking up various Hunt families (like the famous Westchester, NY one at Hunts Point) to try to find a link, but often there are too many Thomases and too few facts! I also started to compile facts on what was already known, but I kept finding incomplete or inconsistent information…like did he live in Bedford or Franklin? Was he a Doctor? How do we know? Was he in prison, when and where? Why do people keep saying he is “Thomas Elwood Hunt IV” (probably wrong)…I figured the best way to solve the origin question was I had to find everything that it is possible to know about Thomas Hunt and that hopefully that would lead to a link or discovery. Also, doing that would help me sort through the various rumors (which had turned into several disorganized text files at the time).So I started systematically citing all sources, pulling original documents, and transcribing / interpreting the records. It turned out that by doing so I was able to discover more an more leads into other possible research. Not only did I gain a clearer picture on the life story of Thomas and his family in Bedford / Franklin, but also I began to discover the historical context of some of the events too.I have not yet made the significant breakthrough I was hoping for…to find some clues to his origin…but I still have more research to do, and I feel the information I have gathered will help as a reference in the search, not just for me but for all researchers.

Your Dad and you went together?

Yes we did, back in January. The reason we went was actually the John Hook papers. I had discovered several documents linking the two of them, suggesting a close business or personal relationship. The key findings were (1) in Hook v Hancock 1808 Augusta County, there is mentioned a letter written by Thomas to John Hook (relating to a debt) that was marked “exhibit D”…but when I searched through all the documents (90 pages) there was A, B, C, …. then E, F!!!! It was rather frustrating that the document was missing. I figured it would be really cool to find a letter written by Thomas, but then (2) shortly afterwards I discovered that John Hook and his company had kept a ton of letters and documents (7000+ pages) and they were available at Duke University. I figured there was a high probability of finding a letter to or from Thomas considering their other shared records. So I booked a flight (cheapest time of year, January) and invited my father to come along (he had actually started all this research a few years ago, discovering we were related to Esli and taking a trip to Mississippi). We also made a plan to visit the LVA since it contained a vast repository of county / state records on microfilm.

Unfortunately I didn’t find a letter like i was hoping, but the worst part was I didn’t plan enough time there. My dad and I probably went through 20 or so boxes in an 8 hour period, but I had reserved 46 of them, so we might have missed something. I am hoping to go back someday.

We did, however find other things that were unexpected. I was able to document the land rolls from John Hook’s estate, which showed his land obtained from Hunt. Also my dad found several signed documents from Benjamin Hunt (as witness), and records from him at the “Hailsford” store. I believe (based on handwriting) that Benjamin was actually a clerk at the store (would make sense considering he was a teenager at the time) and later worked for John Hook…though I wouldn’t say with 100% certainty that it was Benjamin of the 14 (probably but not 100%). We also found that Jesse, Uriah, Joel, Thomas, and Benjamin were all customers of Hook at one point or another, and the sequence of indexes indicated that Thomas, Uriah, Joel and Jesse were earlier customers, probably before 1790, then Thomas and Benjamin 1790 to 1795ish…then later only Stephen Hunt appears. It seems to fit with the ages of the 14 and the suggestion that Stephen did not come to Bedford until later.

By the way, my next goal is to pinpoint exactly on the map where Thomas’ land was. I have the surveys, but i need to request the full survey microfilm from the LVA to try to puzzle piece the exact location…

Who is the family Historian, you or your dad?

At first my Dad, but I have taken over more and more as I get older (I’m 32 now). I got my interest from my Grandma from her stories about the family and her as a kid. Also, my Dad has a cousin, Marsha, who basically knows everything about our more recent genealogy.

I love stories, and i feel that ancestry is made whole by them (dates and names only give so much). I also feel like a story can come from simple facts, that can be expanded to more by researching the historical context…

What is your Day job?

I am an engineer…hence the desire to systematically organize things!

Thank you Doug for taking the time to answer my questions and thank you for wanting to get this all organized and accessible. Your Grandma is mailing you a Blueberry pie today…

Genealogical Careers -Your Grandma is Molding the Minds of Our Future

I have already ruined my own children, why not find a new set of youngins’ to ruin?! Your Grandma is Molding the Minds of Our Future. I’ll be participating in a Panel at the University of Ottawa on Monday…

“Breakfast with Public Historians, Building a History Business”, Panel Discussion, University of Ottawa

Mags will join a Panel Discussion, “Breakfast with Public Historians, Building a History Business”, focusing on marketing and branding consultancy. Applications of History Outside of the University Setting.

This is a private event for a University of Ottawa, 3rd year class, studying “public history,” applications of history outside of the university setting. The students will hear from a panel of three people who are working in the Public History field, with lots of opportunity for questions and discussion.

It’s not an open event, but it will be a great opportunity to discuss with these students, Ideas about starting and growing a history related business, like Grandma’s Genes.

What Can You Do With That Degree?

When you talk to University Students about their Majors, about their future plans, you often hear something about getting a higher degree and teaching in a University setting. You can do that, but there is so much more to consider.

Become a Forensic Genealogist

Research the living, looking for legal proof of descent to be used in the legal process of disseminating an estate.

Become a Genetic Genealogist

Add a Genetics to your course load and combine a History degree with Science and start helping individuals discover their identity through DNA testing.

Forensic Genealogist – Treasure Hunter

Find lost items, do the research and return them to the heirs of the original owners – people write books about this! A Habit of Dying, by DJ Wiseman

Public Speaking

Get some experience, become an expert and turn your passion into a Genealogical Speaking Career. Travel the world and discuss what you know with people who want to learn. Check into the Genealogical Speakers Guild.

Anthropologist/Sociologist

Turn your degree into studying society and groups as they relate to Genealogy. Fan Study or Cluster Genealogy is the study of places and people in a given area as it relates to family history.

Become a social Media Maven

Thomas MacEntee with High Definition Genealogy is the epitome of this. He uses all forms of monetizing stuff for proclaiming Genealogy happenings and makes more than enough to support himself. Blog, Write, Tweet, Instagram, Pinterest, Post to Facebook, Share!

Start a Consulting Business to Research Government Land Use Proposals

In regards to land, be the person who researches the titles and previous uses of a property in Government acquisitions.

Ministry of Transportation or NCC Rights of Way Agent

Roads and bridges are always being constructed or changed. Become a Right of Way agent and work with landowners on negotiating the sales/use of property. The NCC (National Capitol Commission)? Yes the NCC has right of way agents who negotiate/buy use of land for the Bike Paths we all enjoy and use daily.

Make your Future your Own (Did I really just type these words?)

Be Imaginative and creative. Bust out of the molds set by so many others. How can someone use your particular skill or knowledge? What can you offer that no one else does? Take an existing idea and twist it into something new: make it your own. Become an expert in the field and take your knowledge on the road, doing workshops and seminars.

Genealogy isn’t the old people profession everyone thinks it is. It’s a lot more about finding ones identity than it is about finding your grandparents names. It’s about pushing your ancestral lines back as far as they can go.

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LiveCasts, RootsTech2017, and Client Work, Oh My!

It has been a crazy fun start to this year. Gearing up for RootsTech 2017 while doing Client work, including wrapping-up and finalizing a research report (did I include that bit I found 6 months ago?) and producing LiveCasts. It’s been more than crazy.

Grocery Shopping with a Descendant

My 21 year old descendant called last night wanting to know if I might run him over to a grocery store. The store is walking distance from his apartment, but he wanted to do a big shopping trip and wanted to have help with his trek, via Grandma’s Genes Fleet Vehicle #1, Bernadette the van.

Earlier this week I saw a cartoon with a diagram of how women shop – a continuous line down every Isle – and the way Men shop – one straight line to a point in the store and out again. I haven’t been grocery shopping with my 21 year old in years, so I had visions of the “in, get the item, and get out” version of Man Shopping on my mind.

Not even close.

First off he didn’t want to separate. We, together, made four trips through the produce section. One trip through the sandwich meat section and when we got to the main section of Isles? It was a free-for-all of bouncing back and forth through the isles in a MOST UN-organized way. I felt as if I was moving in slow motion to find my few items while this 21 year old man spun wheelies around me in a frenzy.

Did he find what he was looking for?

He did. Was it efficient? No. Did it get the job done? Yes. Did I get dizzy? Not exactly, but I had fun.

Client Wrap-up

In working to complete a Genetic Genealogy Research Project for a Client, I found myself doing what I always do, Looking back through and reviewing every bit of research I had done. Not terribly in-depth, but enough to make sure I hadn’t missed anything. Working meticulously, I went down the list, checking my report against the research, making sure I had said what needed to be said, checking citations and acknowledgements and rewriting sections of the Genetic Genealogy Research Project. I had started the report the day the client hired me and worked it as I worked the research.

The Rabbit Hole

While working on the “Suggestions For Further Research Section” I got lost. I started looking into the things I would look into if more research was requested by the client. How is Rochester, New York connected to the Client’s family? When did the Underground Railroad Begin? Was it prior to the 1840’s? It would need to be prior to the 1840’s for the clients ancestor to have traveled it. How did Slaves get to Port Hope, Ontario Prior to 1826? Could the family have a connection to Loyalist Slaves? Is there such a thing as a Loyalist Slave?

Funny how real life is mirrored in real life.

Today I realize what happened. I had jumped the rails and become my 21 year old son in the grocery store, popping wheelies with the cart…I stopped and pulled myself up and out of that rabbit hole/21 year old man grocery shopping trip.

LiveCasts and RootsTech 2017

Your Grandma has been producing and hosting (with a little help from fellow WikiTreer Julie Ricketts) LiveCasts for WikiTree. The LiveCasts are every Saturday afternoon at 3PM EST. During the LiveCast we are chatting with WikiTreers about projects and WikiTreeing and generally having fun. We also have a Chat going with questions popping up from people who are watching live. The finished Video’s are posted to Grandma’s Genes You Tube Channel

This week we have Aleš Trtnik dropping by to chat about WikiTree DataBase Errors and the Data Doctors Project.  Visit the schedule of upcoming WIkiTree LiveCasts for more.

RootsTech 2017

Then there is the impending trip to RootsTech 2017. This is  the largest Genealogical conference in the world. Everyone is there who can get there including all the heavy hitters in the Genealogical industry. The conference has a a slant towards the technical with an innovators summit and competition for the best and brightest new ideas.

This will be my third year at RootsTech. If you are there look for me. I will be one of the ones wearing orange and hanging out around the WikiTree booth.

RootsTech LiveCast – DNA

Yes Grandma’s Genes is combining the two! Our LiveCast featuring Kitty Smith and Peter Roberts and all things DNA will be live from RootsTech 2017. If you are at the Salt Palace, we will be live at 1:00 PM (3PM EST). We are hoping to be able to do the LiveCast at the WikiTree Booth, but if connectivity is an issue we might be somewhere else. If you swing by the Booth someone can direct you to where we are.

Free Hugs for anyone who finds me!

Cornbread Genealogy

I am a child of the US South. I grew up eating cornbread in all it’s forms, but I have never thought about Cornbread as a tool in Genealogy (Anthropology, Sociology). Cornbread Genealogy.

Last night the spousal unit and I had dinner here in Ottawa (the 5th coldest national capital in the world – and the snowiest this year) at a warm, comfort food place called the Foolish Chicken. it’s is a good place to have good chicken. It’s not particularly “southern”, no collards or sweet potato soufflé, but they do serve cornbread with most everything on the menu. Being a self proclaimed cornbread connoisseur I have enjoyed the Cornbread at the foolish chicken often.

Last Night’s Cornbread?

It was fabulous. Creamy, fluffy, slightly sweet with whole corn and green chili’s inside to give it an extra burst of moistness and flavor. Being a connoisseur of cornbread, I can tell you that this bit of cornbread was among the best I had ever tasted.

Cornbread Genealogy

At some point in the last week I read an article about cornbread, Why does sugar in cornbread divide races in the South?
Culinary historians have debated this one for years: Did the descendants of slave cooks who were exposed to British baking styles come to value cornbread that was lighter and softer? Did the children of farm-based white Southerners get used to unsweetened cornbread that tasted more emphatically like corn? Whatever caused it, the line is drawn.

‘You have to have sugar in your tea and your cornbread,’ says La’Wan Adams, the owner of La’Wan’s. ‘People will ask, ‘Is it like Jiffy? Is it like cake?’

If you are white, you likely fall into the camp of Lupie Duran, the retired owner of Lupie’s.

‘To me, sweet cornbread is like Jiffy mix. And that’s not the Southern kind. No sugar. It’s not my thing.'”

Read more here…

It’s an interesting idea.

Where I grew-up, and in my family, we always had slightly sweet cornbread homedmade and via Jiffy Mix. My Mom owns her own business and sometimes having a quick fix for something to go along with her ALWAJiffy Cornbread MixYS well prepared dinners (no tv dinners for us) was a good thing. We also occasionally had cornbread made by Cammie, our nanny, housekeeper, cook and second/third mama. It was always cooked in an iron skillet and served hot from the oven. Comfort food in the extreme.

Cornbread Variations – From WikiPedia

Baked cornbreadIn the United States…Southern cornbread has traditionally been made with little or no sugar and smaller amounts of flour (or no flour), with northern cornbread being sweeter and more cake-like.

Corn pone
– “Corn pone…is a type of cornbread made from a thick, malleable cornmeal dough (which is usually egg-less and milk-less) and cooked in a specific type of iron pan over an open fire (such as a frontiersman would use), using butter, margarine, shortening, or cooking oil. Corn pones have been a staple of Southern U.S. cuisine, and have been discussed by many American writers, including Mark Twain…

In the Appalachian Mountains, cornbread baked in a round iron skillet, or in a cake pan of any shape, is still referred to as a “pone” of cornbread…

The term “corn pone” is sometimes used derogatorily to refer to one who possesses certain rural, unsophisticated peculiarities (“he’s a corn pone”), or as an adjective to describe particular rural, folksy or “hick” characteristics (e.g., “corn pone” humor).”

Hot water cornbread
– “Cooked on a rangetop, one frying method involves pouring a small amount of liquid batter made with boiling water and self-rising cornmeal (cornmeal with soda or some other chemical leavener added) into a skillet of hot oil, and allowing the crust to turn golden and crunchy while the center of the batter cooks into a crumbly, mushy bread….

Johnnycakes – Pouring a batter similar to that of skillet-fried cornbread, but slightly thinner, into hot grease atop a griddle or a skillet produces a pancake-like bread called a johnnycake. This type of cornbread is prevalent in New England, particularly in Rhode Island, and also in the American Midwest and the American South…

Hushpuppies
A thicker buttermilk-based batter that is deep-fried rather than pan-fried, forms the hushpuppy, a common accompaniment to fried fish and other seafood in the South. Hushpuppy recipes vary from state to state, some including onion seasoning, chopped onions, beer, or jalapeños….WikiPedia

Mouth Watering yet?

Aside from Ms. Purvis’s racial line of thought, we should be able to scour family cookbooks for clues about where the recipe authors lived. My family surely shows that the type of cornbread you eat isn’t really an indicator of your race. But it is certainly an indication of geography.

In one of the Recipe books inherited from my grandmother, you can see where she underlined things. Looking closely at it she was underling notes from people who connected to our family in one way or another. She even scribbled brief notes in the margins explaining who they were. This particular cookbook also had old family stories along with the recipes. I can’t wait til I find another seemingly unimportant book to find it is stock full of family history.