It is indeed desirable to be well descended, but the glory belongs to our ancestors. --Plutarch (AD 46-127) "Of the Training of Children," Morals
I'm a native of Washington, DC, and have lived here most of my life. My parents met while at George Washington University, my father a Mississippi native, and mother a transplanted Kansan. I graduated from the Capitol Page School after four years as a Supreme Court page, then went to Georgetown, and while at GU began a 41-year career working in the House of Representatives. From 1988 until retiring in 2007 I was the House Reading Clerk, or announcer.
Like my father and grandfather, I'm a Mason. I'm also active in the Sons of the American Revolution, belong to a few other lineage societies, and believe it worthwhile to preserve genealogical data found in cemeteries for future generations. I've devoted considerable time in particular to the graveyards of Lamar County, Alabama, where my paternal grandparents were born; Arlington National Cemetery, four miles from my home; and Congressional Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark eight blocks away, of which my wife was Executive Director 2008-2012.
Surnames in my direct lines include Adamson (England>PA>TN>IN>IA) Astle (Derbyshire>IL>KS) Bennett (Somerset>Jamestown) Brewer (NC>KY>AL) Brown (SC>MS>AL) Dark (NC>TN>IL) Dodd (MD) Dowdle (Ireland>SC>MS>AL) Ford (VA>TN>MS) Fountain (DE/MD>IN>IA>KS) Fowler (MA>OH>KS) Hankins (NY>NJ>VA>TN>AL) Hart (NC) Hays/(Haas?) (SC>MS>AL) Hickman (IL>AL) Kennard (PA>NJ>OH) Kirkland (VA>NC>TN>AL) Mattox/Maddox (Eng/Wales>VA>NC>TN>MS) Meixell/Maxwell (Germany>PA>OH>IL>KS) McDougal (Ireland>PA>NC>SC>MS>AL) Melton (NC>TN) Middleton (SC>MS) Moore (NC>TN>AL) Morton (SC>TN>AL) Overman (Germany>England>CT>NC) Peden (Ireland>SC) Sellers (NC>TN>IL) and Williams (Wales>PA>MD>NC>TN>IN>IA>KS).
Please take special note: As with anything you see on the Internet, you should confirm the accuracy of information on Findagrave before accepting it as fact, and especially before spreading it. As a rule, memorials under my care contain only data for which I have evidence, and my goal is to keep it that way. While open to adding information, I do so only when presented clear, specific, verifiable evidence supporting each change. The email address below is provided for that purpose.
I don't require official documents - for example a published obit will often suffice. But please keep in mind that 1) being "related" is not evidence, nor is being "the family historian;" 2) the SSDI proves neither place of birth nor place of death; and 3) edits are suggestions, not commands.
It should not be necessary to explain the meaning of "clear, specific, verifiable evidence," but to avoid misunderstanding, here's an excellent [redacted] response to that request:
"Dear Mr. Hays,
I appreciate your concern for having accurate information posted for your Find-A-Grave memorials. I trust the following references provide sufficient information to confirm the identity of ---------, Find-A-Grave Memorial #-------------:
"13th U. S. Census, Apr 22, 1910, Midland Co., TX, Judicial Precinct 4, E. D. 165, Sheet --, Line --. She appears as “---------” age 3 months (She would be 4 mos. old the next day.), born in Kansas, living with her parents --------- and ---------- in the household of her paternal grandfather ---------, all of whom had recently moved from Finney Co., KS.
"14th U. S. Census, Jan 9-10, 1920, Finney Co., KS, Sherlock Twp., E. D. 49, Sheet --, Line --. She appears as “---------” age 10, born in Kansas, living in the household of her maternal grandfather ---------. Her parents separated after moving to Texas. Her father --------- was a “banana man” for a produce company and living in Portland, OR; and her mother --------- was in Hutchinson, KS, living with a --------- family and working as a stenographer in a produce house.
"Kansas State Census, Mar 1, 1925, Garden City, Finney Co., KS, 1101 4th St., Sheet --, Line [--]. She appears as “---------” age 15, born in Kansas, living in the household of her widowed maternal grandmother ---------.
"15th U. S. Census, Apr 9, 1930, Washington, DC, 2121 New York Ave., E. D. 88, Sheet --, Line --. She appears as “---------” age 20, single, born in Kansas, a stenographer for the U. S. Government. She is living with her mother ---------, a government secretary.
"16th U. S. Census, Apr 1, 1940, Arlington Co., VA, E. D. 7-15, Sheet --, Line --. She appears as “---------” age 30, wife of ---------, age 41, both born in Kansas. He is a senior economist for the Government, she is not employed. They have a son, ---------, age 3.
"-------- accompanied her husband --------- to Havana, Cuba, in the 1950s where he was an agricultural attaché at the U. S embassy until 1961. See Foreign Claims Settlement CU-0377 at http://www.justice.gov/fcsc/cuba/documents/---------.pdf.
"Also see attached their son ---------’s 1958 marriage license where he names his parents [attached to original email].
"Florida Death Index has ---------, born 23 Dec 1909, died 25 June 1996 in Dade County, FL.
"Thanks again for your reliable service to Find-A-Grave.
"Sincerely yours, ---------------"
If you have no documentation please don't bother sending edits. Suggestions received without adequate evidence will be declined.