Kinsearching May 15, 2011




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     Since it is nearly time for schools to be out for the summer, many families include attending reunions as part of their vacation. As usual, the town of Thomson, Georgia, will be the setting for the thirty-fourth annual ANSLEY family reunion scheduled for June 3-5, 2011. To receive a registration form and to learn details about the meeting, get in touch with Roger R. Spafford, 1257 Arlene Court SW, Lilburn, GA 30047-4301 or call 770-923-6182. The deadline for registering is May 25.

     If you have an ANSLEY ancestor in your pedigree, you may want to join the Ansley Family Association (AFA), the group that plans the reunion each year. At least twice a year, the organization publishes a newsletter, which is available for the low annual subscription fee of $10. Edited by Roger and Marcia Spafford, the AFA periodical updates ANSLEY births, marriages, and deaths from all over the country and includes a variety of miscellaneous genealogical information and research tips. Checks, payable to AFA, may be sent to AFA Membership, Attn: James (Jim) Ansley, Jr., 359 Rainbow Lake Drive, Brevard, NC 28712-9770.

     To coincide with the sesquicentennial commemoration of the beginning of the Civil War, the new Handbook of Civil War Texas is now available on the web. According to page 5 of the Spring 2011 issue of Riding Line, the publication of the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), the site furnishes over 800 entries pertaining to the conflict in the Lone Star State. Although many of the entries appear in the three versions (1952, 1976, and 1996) of the HANDBOOK OF TEXAS, more than 325 are new. In addition, illustrations enliven many of the essays. To access the Civil War data, visit

     Genealogy and social history intermingle in the fascinating article, “Mixed Race in the Seminole Nation” by Kevin Mulroy. Appearing on pages 113-141 of the Winter 2011 (Vol. 58, No. 1) issue of Ethnohistory, the essay probes the family background of Phil Wilkes FIXICO (also known as Philip Vincent WILKES and Pompey Bruner FIXICO), who is of Seminole Indian, African American, and white lineage.

     In early 2011, the well-known periodical, National Geographic, published two short, unpaginated articles that are of particular interest to genealogists. In February, the two-page “What’s in a Surname?” presented a new view of the United States based on the most common last names at the present time. Using the surnames to form a map of the U. S., the study reflects the expansion of Hispanic and Asian last names in certain regions. Despite the increase in the variety of surnames from other continents, and from European countries other than the British Isles, SMITH remains the most common one.

     Another growing trend is explained in “Marrying Out,” which appears in the April issue. The brief article, accompanied by several small illustrations, demonstrates the increase in racial and ethnic intermarriages in the United States. The largest number of mixed unions is between “whites” and Hispanics.

     Change is also affecting burial practices. For instance, more people are choosing cremation. Following the trend of the era, other people are being laid to rest in cemeteries that are “going green.” An unusual burial practice along that way of thinking is the topic of “An Undersea Afterlife” by David Adams. Appearing on pages 63-65 of the June/July 2010 (Number 75) issue of Poder Hispanic Magazine, his article tells about the Neptune Society’s sixteen-acre Memorial Reef, which preserves a person’s ashes in an artificial reef off Key Biscayne in South Florida. Cremated remains are mixed in cement, molded into a shaped memorial (a starfish or shell, for example) with the individual’s name, and deployed underwater. According to the piece, a survey in 2009 showed 5,000 fish living on the reef, along with eels, stingrays, and a turtle.

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