Dedicated to the Memory of Combs &c. founder Carole Hammett (1946-2009)
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Carole Hammett

It is with deep sadness I need to tell you that Carole Hammett passed on yesterday, March 5th, 2009 in Colorado. I have requested details regarding where and when she will be buried and as soon as I know more, I will get back to you. Her mother informed a member of USGenNet who contacted me to tell our group.

For those of you who are new to the list in the past few years, a wonderful lady named Carole Hammett designed and started this research project. She established it as one of the very best of such websites in the world and we owe her a debt of gratitude. She wanted very much to resolve questions about her own COMBS ancestry and understood how important it was to create a place where others could share and learn from each other in an effort to find answers to their past.

Carole was very private about a long battle she had with cancer. She decided she needed to forgo her involvement with the project about 6 or so years ago and many who had been involved in the beginning with Carole chose to keep it going as best they could. We have been fortunate in this regard.

Carole was thinking about this project even a few short weeks ago. At the time she was very upbeat and thinking about the project when I had my last interchange with her. She was very glad it had continued in her absence. Carole had been in Hospice since last summer. I had hoped she would be with us longer, but God has done his bidding and she is now in a better place.

In Carole's honor, you can share your love and respect by telling of your fondest memories of her or simply your appreciation or how the website has made a difference in your life. If you are so inclined, please submit these to the list.

Remember that every time you make a contribution to the project you are honoring Carole and what she hoped this could accomplish. Carole will be missed, but her legacy will live on through us as we pursue our COMBS ancestry and support one another.

May Carole rest in peace having known our love and how much we appreciated all she did for us.

Denise Mortorff



~ requiescat in pace ~

Remembering Carole Hammett

I joined the Combs &c. Research Group back in 1998. Carole accepted me with so much love and friendship. She was truly one of the sweetest people I'd ever met. I immediately wanted to help the group all I could so I started contributing much needed documents about the Kentucky COMBS.

One day back in 1999 Carole called me on the phone and we talked for over an hour and a half. She was just like your most favorite first cousin! We talked and talked and laughed and talked and laughed some more. We laughed so much my jaws ached. I felt so close to her even though we had never met in person and didn't know what each other looked like. We didn't have to. It didn't matter.

Carole didn't post to the list every single day but when she did her long emails addressed every contributor....in each paragraph she spoke to a different individual. . She made you feel so special.

Now I hope now she has finally met her COMBS ancestor. If anyone deserves that......she sure does.

Carole made a huge difference in my life......and I will never forget her.

Lynda Combs Gipson
Frankfort, Kentucky

Wonderful Carole Hammett

Carole was very helpful and wonderful to me, not only as a fellow COMBS researcher... but also when my sister and her husband were killed by a drunk driver in 1997.

She made me feel that Becky and Cully were special. She helped me to get Becky's research onto the Combs &. website. She helped our mother and me through the devastation of our loss.

Leslie (Bridges) Kohler
Glendale, Arizona

I've been reflecting about the influence Carole Hammett has had on me, and what she has meant to me over the years. I was not one of the original members of the mailing list. I first came into contact with the Combs &c. site when it was on dragonfire.com many years ago. I was not researching the Combs/Coombs surname, but another surname! I did not do anything that first time I saw the site, for I didn't even realize just how big it was. I kept coming back to explore, though. I finally joined the mailing list after several trips to the site. For a while, I kept pretty mute on the list. I learned to respect Carole as list manager and realized just how much work she did and how dedicated to the list she was. It was a triple, full time job.

Carole managed the list beautifully, though. She requested that all work be documented, and she did so graciously. She was wonderful to amateur genealogists just getting started. She guided and asked questions and answered even more. At first I thought she did all the work, and then I realized that she did have help. Not enough help, but help all the same.

After belonging to the mailing list for a while, I began to discuss a few things, and ask a few questions. I was finally able to start donating some pieces of information to the list. And, I learned to document, document. The quality of my research was vastly improved with my exposure to the list. I began to ask a lot more questions of myself. I thought I knew a fair bit about genealogy already. I had spent quite a few years at it. And I learned just how much I didn't know. I learned that there were many sorts of documents existing that I had not thought to look at.

Carole became increasingly overwhelmed by all she did. She finally started asking for help of any kind, even the help of those not versed in html code. She desperately needed some more editors. I had no experience whatever in html code, but I didn't feel it was right not to volunteer. Carole promised assistance to help me along. And so I began. The first pages I worked on were all sent to her to review and upload. It's a testimony to just how desperate for help she was for she welcomed me with open arms, or so it appeared to me. It wasn't long before she asked me to begin uploading files myself. She became ill shortly thereafter, and stayed ill long periods.

Through Carole's example I've learned to extend myself in directions I would not normally have considered. I have had many others to help me with genealogy, but Carole has had a leading role. I've learned that there are many that I can learn from. I've learned that I can still learn new things. I've learned that there is joy in helping others. She's left me quite a legacy.

My heart goes out to Carole's family.

Deb Coombs

My sincerest sympathies to Carole's loved ones and gratitude for all the time, effort, work and care she put into designing the COMBS research project.

Gretchen Gayhart
Racine, WI

There are not enough 'thank yous' and gratitude that can express all of our devoted appreciation for all that Carole has accomplished for the Combs Family.

I send my deepest sympathy to the family and many friends that will always remember the fine lady that she was, and will remain in our hearts and minds.

God Speed, Ms Carole
Flo Ann Scott

This site is one of a kind and really demonstrated how cooperative effort can make a huge difference for many people. The attention to documentation and patience with newcomers is a great asset. Thank you Carole for all your work to make this site an exceptional place to visit and for establishing this amazing group.

Jennifer
Tucson, AZ

I am saddened to hear of Carol's passing. My prayers go out to her family and loved ones.

I remember the day I found this website. The smile on my face could not be wiped off. It didn't take me long to figure out from Carol how to make this website successful-document, document, document. Today I know more about my Mother's Combs family than she actually knew. She passed away in 1998 never even knowing who her grandfather (Samuel Combs) was. Carol created something for all of us and for future generations. For that I am grateful.

My God Bless and may she rest in peace.
Myra Britt

How does one describe an icon?

Carole left a wonderful legacy in Combs-Coombs and set a high standard for electronic genealogy. She was tenacious and relentless in her commitment to excellence, to free genealogy, and to being inclusive. Her enthusiasm was contagious. She led by example and was an inspiration. She was truly visionary when she instantly recognized the threat to “free genealogy” by Rootsweb's commercial direction. She was like a mother bear protecting her cubs.

Carole's chronicle of her battle with lung cancer and her commitment to maintain a “quality of life” as a guiding principal for making decisions is another legacy. Her writing is quintessential Carole Hammett with all of her energy, zest, and personal force bursting through the words. Once again, she chose to share in the desire to help others.

She dragged me into the world of electronic genealogy in 1998 and reintroduced the feeling of excitement. I enjoyed digging around old courthouses, libraries, and archives. I had 4 (maybe 5) Combs lines but never wanted to focus my research on the surname for fear of drowning. Since my other maternal lines were also in the same areas, I just collected Combs records (for 10 years) as a by product. I happened upon the Combs site and was impressed with the presentation and commitment to documentation. I contacted Carole and asked if the research group was interested in the documentation I had. Barely five minutes passed before I received a lengthy reply which was a resounding yes followed by an introduction to Combs &c and an explanation of goals, objectives, philosophies, etc. It was a relief to know I could “unload” all my research and someone else would give it a home and maybe make some sense out of it. The icing on the cake so to speak was Carole's marvelous sense of humor. The rest is history and here I am 11 years later.

I thank you, Carole, for all the years of enjoyment and the rewards that have come from working with you in the past and those that continue to come every day through Combs &c. It has been a privilege. Your stamp on the website is indelible and will remain so. I am pleased to have been inside one of the many different arenas of your life.

Sue Elfving

I received a message from Denise M., with great sorrow, asking a simple question "When did Combs &c start". I knew without being told why she asked. I will always remember that date as Carole's anniversary also. I am so sad for Carole's family especially Chris, James, Amanda and her mother and many cousin's etc., my prayers all go out to them along with heartfelt sympathy at this time.

.....BUT Carole would have wanted everyone to "celebrate her full rewarding life", she never looked back and regretted anything, except maybe her smoking. She was a realist and had an optimistic attitude about her life and love to help others. I can just see her dancing with joy in heaven.

Carole was a little short, bubbly, powerhouse, redheaded individual! In our many phone conversations she spoke like she wrote except you could hear the JOY in her voice when she was able to help her friends on the subject of not only her COMBS family, but each and everyone she worked with to help break down so many brick walls. We were each others confidant about our private lives and our research work with our ancestral lines until around Jan 07 when she was first diagnosed with CA. She had a "bucket list" of the goals she wanted to reach before she could not get around anymore. The last time I was able to get information from and about her she had reached almost all and them plus some more goals and quality of life experiences.

Carole managed the COMBS &c list magnificently an will be "missed", and "remembered" by so many. Carole was first of all, my best Friend, then mentor and teacher. She was such a kind and giving person who never met a stranger and was gracious to all those who became members or poster's to our "Combs &c Research Group". Her talent for explaining and answering "how to" research helped many more "new" and "older" researchers than anyone will ever know. She was instrumental in helping me learn "how to" set up web page's, research and post information to the mailing list as actual and possible documenting our source, most important never "assume" that everything you find was true to fact. It was such a pleasure and privilege to help her with the web pages while I could.

With help and encouragement from Carole I was able to get my TOTTY family research mailing list started after we fought so hard to get our records from "Rootsweb.com" and we were BOTH successful in making them return and take down our research. Not everyone else was as successful. She encouraged me to also put up web pages in memory of my father, she had taught me the ropes so that I could also help her out with the Combs web pages. I will treasure her always.

I remember she laughed with me on our first phone conversation, about her deep voice and made comments about when her voice changed so deeply, she knew then that the smoking caused the change an she regretted it. I told her she talked like my Mom did, because of smoking. One goal she had was to get as many people to stop that "smoking habit" as she could before it was to late. She made great progress in that endeavor. So I repeat for her, Cousins if you smoke please STOP for yourself and your family and especially Carole.

I was going to say rest in peace Carole, but I know Carole's Spirit is in heaven, running around meeting and hugging all her lost ancestor's. Hows elated she must be meeting all of them, and I know she will somehow find a way to send us all a clue to our family research, that's just her way.

Carole's Legacy will live on through her writings, research and love for all. Her picture hangs on my computer now for over 10 years as a reminder to always document what I write.

In loving memory
Birdie (Totty) McNutt

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