Bernice Byers Eaton

I am sad to say that Bernice went home on April 16th, but comforted in knowing that she passed peacefully, holding her Ellen’s hand. Her wonderful spirit is already missed by many.


Bernice Byers Eaton, age 84, passed away Tuesday, April 16th at her daughters home in Columbia, South Carolina. Bernice was a lifelong resident of Gwinnett County until 2004, when she moved to Columbia to reside with her daughters family.

Bernice was born near Grayson, and graduated from Bethesda school, where she was on the State Champion Girls Basketball team in 1946.

She began a career as a secretary – bookkeeper after graduation, only taking short breaks to give birth to her three children. When her husband became too ill to be left alone in the late 70s , she switched gears and went into antique sales and repairing antique porcelain. She earned great respect from fellow dealers and was often consulted by other dealers for her expertise on things she had researched. She survived both lung cancer and emphysema, only to be gripped by Lewy Body Dementia, a debilitating disease that is more common than generally known.

Bernice was preceded in death by her husband Harley Eaton. She is survived by her sons Mark Eaton (Vikki) of Murrayville; Kevin Eaton (Cheryl) of Monroe; daughter Ellen Hinsch (Martin) of Columbia, SC ; sister Mrs. Wilma Spence of Smyrna; brother Leelan (Carol) Byers of Tucker; four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

A Glimpse of “worth” through the eyes of a Tax Digest

Well the really good news is that we have narrowed the death date for William Byars down to a 10 year period. Previously we had no record of him after the 1880 census, and by the 1900 census Tempy was a widow. Now we have a glimpse of him on the 1890 Tax Digest for Pickens co (GA), so that narrowed the gap from 20 to 10 years. Below is a transcription (and images) of the 1878 Dawson County Tax Digest for Redin, and the 1890 for William, Redin and Richard Marion. Its really sad to see how little they really owned.

Militia District: Yellow River
District 989
Post Office: Yellow Creek

Redin is listed on line 19 as Byers, Redding

Value of Household and Kitchen Furniture, Piano, Organs etc

Horses, Mules, Hogs, Sheep, Cattle and all other Livestock

Plantation and Mechanical Tools or other Library Books, pictures, etc

Aggregate Value of Whole Property

Militia District: Dug Road
District 899
Post Office: Marble Hill

William is listed as Byers, Wm R on line 23
Redin is listed as Byers, Reding on line 33
Richard Marion is listed as Byers, R M on line 34

Value of Household and Kitchen Furniture, Pianos, Organs, Libraries, Pictures, etc
Wm R $10
Reding $10
R M $ 8

Horses, Mules, Hogs, Sheep, Cattle and all other livestock
Wm R $ 4
Reding $33
R M $47

Plantation and Mechanical Tools
Wm R $0
Reding $6
R M $0

Aggregate Value of Whole Property
Wm R $14
Reding $49
R M $55

1878 Dawson County Tax Digest

1890 Pickens County Tax Digest

A Ghost Named Charlie

Recently Yvonne posted her ghost story on her blog I miss my Ghost and asked if anyone else had one. I had one to add, but her comment section wouldn’t allow as many characters as what I had written…so for anyone interested in the ghost that shares the house with Dave and I, keep reading :)

We do indeed have a ghost story, and I may be able to add to it in the next 3 weeks. In 2006, right after our wedding, Dave and I moved into a rental home in Lilburn (right down the street from a house a lot of our Byers family lived). It is one of those 1967 ranch houses with a full unfinished basement and we love it. When we were moving into the house, there was an item that had been left by the previous tenant, a bunch of dried flowers tied together. I would put them in a certain place and the next time we’d come in the house they would be laying on the fireplace hearth…this happened many times and I even joked to Dave that we were moving into a haunted house.

Dave travels quite a lot for work, all over the US and the World, and when he is gone, he’s gone for weeks at a time. The first few times he left after we moved in I started hearing something strange….big band swing music. Now while I do not dislike that type of music, its not something I listen to by choice. It didn’t matter what room of the house I was in, I could hear it, but I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. I was almost certain it wasn’t coming from a neighbor, and it sounded like it was coming from my basement, but I knew that wasn’t possible, so I pretty much chalked it up to “hearing things”

There was one November, I think in 2007 or 2008, Dave left for China. I was in our bedroom getting ready for work one morning when a framed picture we kept on his dresser landed on the floor, about the same time a picture we kept on my mirror of Dave’s grandparents fell off. I have to say it scared the crap out of me lol but I really didn’t think anything other than, dang that loud noise scared me! I went into the kitchen to fix my lunch for the day and get my stuff ready to leave and I heard another loud bang, like someone had dropped our kitchen garbage can, but the noise had been in the living room. Needless to say, I freaked, but I went to investigate and couldn’t find a thing in there that had fallen.

At work that morning I was telling my co workers about it, when it occurred to me that maybe it was a mouse, or god forbid rat. I went home with the resolve that I would check the house for “signs” of a rodent (being an ex exterminator, I felt confident I could find any if they were there). When I got home and walked in the living room, I found one of our Doctor Who dvd sets laying in the living room floor. Now this was NOT there when I left, and it was located in the middle of a shelf of dvd’s, so I know it couldn’t have fallen off or anything.

Several days of things showing up where they shouldn’t be occurred, and I never found any evidence of rodents. Then the music started again. Needless to say I became convinced we had a ghost for real. Dave came home from China long enough to celebrate thanksgiving with us and while he was home not one single thing happened. When he left a few days after thanksgiving to go back to China, it started up again.

I had gotten out the Christmas decorations to put out and worked all day on a Saturday on them. When I was finished I boxed up what I hadn’t used and secured the lid..I planned to take them back to the basement the next day. When I got up the next morning, a strand of blue garland had made its way out of that box and had “decorated” my dining room chairs (which were in another room). At this point Im getting a tad unnerved, I wasn’t scared so much, as nervous as to what I was going to run into in the house, if that makes sense.

I was leaving my house one day to run some errands and stopped to talk to the next door neighbor that was out walking her dog. I happened to mention some strange stuff had been going on and I was having trouble sleeping, and she immediately asked me did I think I had a ghost. I told her a few of the things that had gone on, but not about the music I always heard when Dave was gone, and I asked her if she knew if anyone had died in the house. She told me yep, the original owner, Charlie had died of a heart attack in the house, and then she proceeds to tell me a little about him, including the fact that he was a BIG fan of big band swing music (he must have been a fan of Doctor Who as well, because I lost count of how many times I found the DVD’s laying in the floor in front of the DVD player).

Dave came home right before Christmas and I figured it would all stop, because nothing EVER happened when Dave was home…I was wrong. Dave was at home, with a day off, and I get a call telling me that he’d come home from some shopping and found one of the dining room room chairs pulled back from the table like someone had been sitting in it (not a position it was in when he left) and a boxed up Barbie doll we’d bought for my daughter was sitting on the floor, upright, right next to the chair. AHA, I was sooo happy something had happened that he could witness lol.

I think that’s the most active Charlie has been in one specific time period, either that or I’ve gotten used to things being where they aren’t supposed to be. I’ve noticed a few things here and there, and still heard the music when Dave was gone, but to this day I’ve not heard it when he was in town.

Im not scared of Charlie, I talk to him a lot and tell him I appreciate him keeping me company and looking out for me while Dave is gone lol I just ask him not to freak me out too badly.

Dave leaves for California this coming Sunday and it’s the first time he has been gone in a year, so I’m looking for Charlie to be REALLY busy the 3 weeks he’s gone!!

I ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog…

The other weekend I woke up to an email from our cousin, an award nominated family history blogger, Yvonne Mashburn Schmidt, asking me if it was ok for her to post something on her blog and it started like this:

Shannon Byers is our Byers/Byars family “hound dog.” She came into our lives while she was still young and absolutely hounded us all to death for information about our Byers lineage. By golly, she’s the very best hound dog any of us could have in our pound! I wouldn’t trade her for a million snoopies. She’s plundered in courthouses, libraries, under rocks, in cemeteries, and just about any other place you can think of to find information and document it, and she’s successful!

I have to say it really really made me smile and it was much appreciated :) You can read all of the blog (which is a call for help on our DNA saga) here: Count on sex to create thrills

If you haven’t taken the time to check out her blog you should, she has loads of info, pictures, stories etc on the families that the Byers married into.

Introducing Marie Martin Cummings

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from someone that had read a query I put out several years ago when I was looking for descendants of Redin’s kids to come to the dedication service. She is a direct descendant of Lula Byers Martin, Lula being Redin’s youngest child. I have spent some time talking to her and she’s just awesome. Unfortunately for us she is not local as she lives up in Maine 

She has provided us with some pics of her grandfather (who was Lula’s son) Judge Martin and some other family members which I will be adding to the pictures pages soon. For now I will just post a picture of Judge and his wife Barbara 

Welcome Marie, we are so very glad you found us!!!
Judge & Barbara Martin

Ga Archives in Danger of Closing to Public

(this is not to start any kind of political debate, this is for information only for those of you that also use the archives for research)

On March 11, 2011 the Georgia legislature approved a bill that COULD result in the Ga Archives closing to the public. Below is a letter from FOGAH Chair, Virginia Shadron that was posted on FOGAH:

The Fiscal Year 2012 budget that passed the Georgia House of Representatives on March 11 as HB 78 includes budget reductions that could result in the State Archives closing its doors to the public.

The budget contains two items that together would reduce the Archives’ budget by at least $300,000.

The Archives’ base budget, after preceding budget cuts, is $4,643,588. Over 65% of that goes to pay fixed costs (such as rent) that cannot be reduced. The current bill proposes an additional cut in “personal services and … savings from reduced hours …” in the amount of $260,458. The second way in which the Archives’ budget is eroded is that the House budget does not fund the annual increase in the Archives’ rent, an amount of more than $40,000 for FY12.

Altogether, the additional cuts to personal services and the failure to fund the rent increase means that the Archives’ sustains a critical $300,000 in cuts. You might wonder, “What is the fuss about?” That shortfall can come from one place only—and that is staff.

Without intervention the Archives will almost certainly be forced to close its doors to the public, reduce scanning operations and preservation activities, and eliminate most transfers of records from state agencies—the records that protect Georgia financially and legally.

The House version of the budget now goes to the Senate for adjustment and passage. Call and write your state senator immediately and ask that a minimum of $300,000 be restored to the Archives budget! Go to and click on “Find Your Legislator” to find your senator.

– Virginia Shadron

I just had to brag

You, as my family, know just how much genealogy means to me. How passionate I am about correct research and helping others find low cost or free ways to obtain information. Almost 3 years ago I started the first social networking site just for genealogists (like myspace or facebook). It is not the only one now, nor is it the biggest and thats ok with me, it really is. But when I get surprised by a recognition I didn’t know about I just had to brag.

Tonite when I was looking at the profile of a new member on I was surprised to find how they have filled out the “how did you hear about us” portion of their profile: Taking a course through The National Institute for Genealogical Studies called “Social Media for the Wise Genealogist” and this site was one of the suggestions to join.

In a “hobby” dominated by you have NO idea how much this means to me.

New Pavlovsky Files Added

I have added some death certificates to picture gallery.  They are of various Pavlovsky family members, some acquired at the archives and some donated :)   You can see the certs in a readable size by going to the Pictures tab and choosing the Birth/Marriage/Death category

John Pavlovsky Katie Carr Pavlovsky Frank Pavlovsky Augustus Pavlovsky Victoria Pavlovsky

Pavlovsky Children

Up until now, we have not had a picture of the two Pavlovsky sisters that married into our  family.  Thanks to Bruce, who is a descendant of another of the Pavlovsky girls, Sophie,  now we do!!

The picture below is of John and Victoria Pavlovsky’s children (L-R) Mary, Annie, John, Sophie, Frances & Walter (Annie & Frances are the girls that married into the Byers family)


John Pavlovsky

John Pavlovsky was born in in Poland in 1842.  According to the census, he immigrated here with his wife Victoria in 1872.  Among his many children were two daughters, Annie and Frances, who are connected to the Byers family.

Let’s look at two of Redin’s kids… Matilda Jane Byers Mashburn and Thomas Francis Byers (Frank).

Matilda Jane had a son named John Mashburn (and John would be Frank’s nephew)…HE married Frances Pavlovksy

Frank married Annie Pavlovsky (Frances’ sister)

So…two sisters married into our wonderful family, and this is a picture of their father


His Obituary


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