This photograph was taken at Granny Martin's house in Edmonson Co. Kentucky. My Dad, Joseph Wyatt Lowe, is marked with a blue square and the other square is above his Grandmother - Granny Martin - Clara Black Smith Martin.
J. Mark Lowe
Although I don't define myself as a 'Perfect Genealogist,' I do teach across the country sharing my experience as a Professional Researcher. It is only fair to share this new discovery of a record regarding my family, which seems so obvious to me now.
Let's talk about my beginning years. My genealogical search began when I was 7 years old. My family had just left a Martin Family Reunion in Smiths Grove, Kentucky. As soon as we drove away from the reunion, I began asking my Dad about that other Lowe family who attended the reunion - Who are they? How are they related to us?
He explained that they were related to us on the Martin side of our family and the Lowe side of our family. As a 7-year-old this was not clear to me, so I continued to quiz Dad. It was a hot July afternoon and we were packed like sardines in the car, but my Dad made a left turn and then a right turn and then a left turn. He stopped the car and hopped out. I quickly climbed into the seat and hopped out with him. We were in a cemetery.
We stood at the foot of the gravestone of my Dad's Martin grandparents. 'This is my Grandmother. We called her Granny Martin, he name was Clara Smith Martin." He told me other stories about her, and I remembered seeing some pictures of Granny Martin. Next to Granny Martin was buried her husband, James Wyatt Martin. My Dad told me that he was named for his Grandfather Martin (Wyatt) and his Great Grandfather Lowe (Joseph) - he also told me that Papa Martin died about 5 years before he was born. I had heard my Dad tell me many stories about Granny Martin and her family. My Dad was born at Granny Martin's house on the hill in Rocky Hill Station in Edmonson County. (and many that I don't have time to recollect here.)
Going back to the cemetery -->
My Dad pointed to the stones in the next row by his Grandparents. This is Rebecca James Martin, we called her Aunt Jim. She was Granny's sister and married Uncle Mike Martin. In the next row, is Martha Margaret Ann Gilmore Potter Smith Martin. She was Granny's and Aunt Jim's mother and married Uncle John Martin. So you see, a Mom and her two daughters married three brothers.
This 7-year-old needed more information and a genealogist was hatched.
I have so much documentation on Granny Martin and her family, I have original land documents, mortgages, cards, letters, etc. With the beginning of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, a cousin asked me about our Civil War Ancestors. I knew that Granny Martin's father, Moses M. Smith, served in the Union Army. He died when she was a young girl and is buried in Berea Christian Church cemetery in Polkville. However, I had never looked for a pension for Moses M. Smith, since he died a young man and his widow remarried in a reasonable time after his death. I decided to do a search for Moses M. Smith in the new records offered on the Civil War. Within the list of available records there was a listing in "Civil War Pension Index: General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934." Suddenly, I realized he had a young daughter living at this time - my GGrandmother Clara Smith. The pension index card indicated an application for a minor was filed in 1883 and the Guardian was F.M. Hardcastle. I knew that Mr. Hardcastle was married to Clara's Mother's sister (Aunt). This Moses M. Smith served in the 52d Kentucky Mounted Infantry.
Remember this index is titled by NARA as "General Index to Pension Files, 1861-1934. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration. T288" As a good researcher, read the appropriate finding aids and explanations.
I now have a new record to review about my Great-Grandmother Clara Smith Martin and hopefully her father. This is a testament to a regular review of your previous genealogical research. A review may prompt a search in an additional area or encourage further research in a focused area. In honor of the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War, Ancestry.com is offering free access to these records.
I'm still learning about my family and enjoy sharing the stories my Dad told me along the way. Consider a review of your research, focusing on the Civil War era. Are there additional records that will shed light on your Ancestors? Whatever your choice, tell their stories and keep their story alive. I'm doing my part.