What’s In A Name?

Whats in a nameHave you ever wondered why a parent would name their child a certain name? I do all the time. However I am guilty of giving my children “different” names myself and I am asked why all the time. Researching my family’s history, I have discovered that I am not alone in this. I have a first cousin 5x removed born in 1803 North Carolina who was named Wiseman Fisherman Loving. I have tried to no avail to figure out why he was named this. Were his parents hoping that he would grow up to be a wise man and a great fisherman? Was his father drunk the day he was born and just spouted out the name? We may never know.

PeregrineWhiteRock

My 9th Great Grandfather born in England in 1616 was named Resolved White. He came to America aboard the Mayflower with his Father William and pregnant Mother Susanna in    1620. I can only assume he was named this because his father was “Resolved” to make it to the New World. His younger brother was the first child born from those on the Mayflower and he was born on board the ship in Plymouth Harbor. His parents named him “Peregrine”!                                                           Do you suppose the first thing his mother saw after giving birth was a Peregrine Falcon?

William Brewster hsMy other Mayflower Ancestor, my 10th Great Grandfather William Brewster was also born in England in 1567 and traveled aboard the Mayflower with his wife Judith and 6 of his 9 children. My 9th Great Grandfather was named Jonathan, a very common name. However, the last 4 children born were named Love, Patience, Fear and Wrestling! William Brewster was a Protestant who along with others of his faith had to flee to Holland to escape persecution from the King of England. Perhaps he named his children after the struggles he was having before coming to America. He must have experienced Love, Fear, Patience and Wrestling while making the important decision to come to the New World.

There are some names I just can’t figure out. Like my Great Grandmother Asenath Walt born 1863 in Missouri. Was hers a family name? I haven’t found any evidence of that. Was it a popular name during that time? Who knows?  My 4th Great Grandfather Axel Heath Page was born 1785 in Virginia. Was he named for a wheel Axel?

As for my own children at least I can give an explanation for their names.   My oldest son is

Dad at 18

Douglas Age 18

named John Pleasant after my Grandfather. Pleasant was my Great Grandfathers name so we called him “Pleasant” until he reached 18 years old and he decided to go by his initials. John Pleasant Smith was the only Grandparent I ever met so I named him in honor of this wonderful man. My youngest son is named Starr Douglas. My beloved father Douglas died when I was 19 years old so I wanted to name him after my dad. I also wanted his name to be unusual like his brothers. I couldn’t think of anything. When I was about 8 months pregnant I was watching TV and a Senator came on whose first name was Starr. I thought “Starr Douglas” …it fits! He is proud of his name and has lots of fun telling people “Yeah my Mom was a hippy” My daughter’s name is Jerusha Jane. The tradition in my family is my middle name is Jane, my mother’s name is Jane and the name goes back to a great-great Grandmother named Jane. Knowing my entire life that I was expected to name any girl I had by this name I thought of every possible combination of names and nothing sounded right to me. When I was 12 years old I went to see the movie “Hawaii” where Julie Andrews played a missionary’s wife and her name was Jerusha. Jerusha Jane I loved it. I had that named picked out for 10 years before I got to use it.

I love unusual names and finding a treasure trove of them among my Ancestors has been so much fun. How about you? Do you have unique names in your tree? Do you know why they were named that? Feel free to share those names and why they were named that with me! I would love to hear them.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Genealogy, History, Mayflower, Names, Personal Stories, Pleasant Smith, Write Your Story

Explaining Why I Refused To Be Like Them

Over the last 50 years so much of our culture has changed that it is almost impossible to remember how things used to be. If this is so for us, how much more will things change in the next 50 years? I am not just a Genealogist, I am also a Historian of sorts. I believe that I have a responsibility to my descendants to tell them how things were when I was growing up and how it impacted my life and the decisions I have made.

wpaMO320I was born in Missouri but my parents moved our family to Arizona when I was 11 months old. They bought a house outside the Tucson City limits in a new sub-division just north of the Papago (Tohono O’odam) Indian Reservation. I attended the newly built Mary Lynn Elementary School that was about 3 blocks from our home. It was a very diverse school, as a matter of fact Anglo kids were the minority. I grew up with friends of Native American, Hispanic, African American, Chinese and Anglo ancestry. We all seemed to get along very well.

At least that was at school. At home I experienced a totally different atmosphere. Both of brownie troopmy parents were born and raised in Missouri. I do not know what may have happened in their lives to make them this way, but they both were the most racist people I ever knew! Every joke told at home was racist. Remarks were made about people in the grocery store or at the gas station who were “different” from us. I was so confused. According to my parents ¾ of my friends were sub-human, but according to my experiences 100% of them were MY friends! It was very frustrating.

When I was 12 years old our family moved back to Missouri. I was in shock! I had never seen a school with all white kids before. I felt so out of place. I listened to my older relatives talk and I realized they all felt like my parents! At that point I determined it must have just been the way they were raised. I can remember one incident where an Hispanic boy started school and he ended up in my class. I was so happy! I spent his whole first day talking to him. At the end of the day I was given a note to take home to my parents. It was a warning that if I continued to fraternize with this young man I would be suspended from school! My parents laid down the law and I begrudgingly submitted.

Over the course of the next 7 years we moved first to California, then after the death of my Dad we moved back to Tucson. During our time in California I guess you could say I became a “rebel”. I once again had friends of diverse races and to my parents horror I even dated some!

me & George 1987

Me & George 1987

The reason I want to share these experiences with the future generations is I believe I learned a valuable lesson in having to make a decision to not accept my parents racists views. I understand that try as we might, we can not legislate tolerance or acceptance. It has to be a change of the heart and a love for our fellow man, no matter what their ancestry is. This stance has not always gone over well, especially with my mother. 30 years ago, after I became a widow with 3 children, she disowned me because I married an Hispanic man. We are still married and I do not regret the decision I made. I now have 9 beautiful Grandchildren, 3 of them are white, 2 are half-black and 4 are half gypsy. We are one big, very happy, loving family!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Engaging the Next Generation Genealogists!

christmasI have been working on genealogy for over 20 years. I started with just a few names and over the years I have built a very large tree. As a professional genealogist I have been able to build well documented trees for other people. In doing so, I have developed a deep desire to pass on this passion to my children and grandchildren. The problem I have come upon is how I can engage the younger children in a way that they will find Genealogy interesting. With today’s technology there are just too many other ways for them to spend their time. Then of course they have school, sports and many other interests. The trick is finding the right combination of activities, information and technology and bringing that into our efforts to spark the interest in Family History.

In my case, I did not begin my search for my Family History until all of my children were older. Then I was so busy researching and building my trees that I didn’t include anyone else in the process. I told others about the “finds” I made but it was usually met with indifference. Although I was excited about the facts that I had discovered I was not able to convey that enthusiasm in a way that sparked an interest in what I was doing. So eventually I just quit trying.

In the last couple of years I again began to try to pass on my excitement over Genealogy to some of my Grandchildren. This time I came up with some better ways to present it to them and this time I was met with genuine interest. I found that it was not as difficult as I had originally thought; it just required a lot of imagination. It took some effort to develop some of my ideas but when my Grandkids begin to ask questions about their family and take an interest it is worth it.

EBAY and Binders 030I started by making individual binders for some of our “famous” or “infamous” ancestors. I started with the first 2 ancestors to come to America, Thomas Garnett and William Powell in 1609.   William was the Captain of the ship “The Swan” and Thomas was his indentured servant. On the cover of binder I put a picture of Jamestown Virginia Colony, the place the immigrated to. Inside I told the story of each ancestor separately and then the story of the two of them together. It turned out that William is my paternal 9th Grandfather and Thomas is my maternal 9th Grandfather. Adding history, pictures, the genealogy line to us and the stories JamestownFortreally got my Grandkids interested. They could hold the binder and flip through the pages and read the information and see photos and it became interactive. It also sparked questions from them about other ancestors. I also made binders for those who fought in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, and even for our outlaw ancestor.

I came up with a trivia game that we call “Name that Ancestor”. My youngest Grandson, Banon who will soon be 9, loves this game and we play it for hours. I started a scrapbook for each Grandkid (I have 9) and I made 9 copies sized 3×5” of any photos I have of our direct line ancestors. The Grandkids can then place the photo in their scrapbook and write what they remember about the ancestor on the page. This engages them in the research process because sometimes they ask questions and instead of answering it for them they have to look it up. For my 2 youngest Granddaughters I am teaching them to quilt by making a “Family” wall hanging. We are using iron-on transfer photos along with their favorite colored fabric to make the quilt. We are about half way finished with it and as we work on it, I tell them stories about the ancestor we are working on. It is so much fun and it builds great memories all around.

imagination

Getting our next generation interested in Family History/Genealogy may take some imagination and a lot work but the effort is worth it.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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52 Ancestors weeks 11 & 12 William Riley Divine and Thomas Mason Divine – Same and Different

same but differentWilliam and Thomas Divine were the sons of James Marshall and Nancy (Calloway) Divine. Although they were brothers and they were the same in many ways however there was one issue that made them different.

Here is a list of the ways they were the same:

They were both born in Greenville District, South Carolina. Thomas in 1824 and William in 1819.

They were both Farmers.

They both moved their families to Morgan, Dade County, Missouri in 1857.

They each named a son for each other.

They both named a son after their beloved Grandfather Thomas Divine.

They both named a daughter Nancy after their mother.

They both enlisted and fought in the Civil War.

William

William

Thomas

Thomas

Here are the ways they were different:

William and Milly had 15 children; 10 girls and 5 boys. Thomas and Nancy had 6 children; 4 boys and 2 girls.

They were buried in different cemeteries; William in Friend Cemetery in Missouri and Thomas in Falls Cemetery in Oklahoma.

William

William

Thomas

Thomas

The biggest difference between these two brothers was that William enlisted as a private in E Company 14 Missouri Southwest Volunteer Cavalry for the Union  and he was anti-slavery. Whereas Thomas enlisted as a private in the 15th Calvary Missouri regiment for the Confederacy and he was pro-slavery.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under #52ancestors, Ancestry, Civil War, Family History, Genealogy, Missouri, Thomas Divine, William Divine

52 Ancestors, Week #11 – Thomas Lee Divine – Luck of the Irish

Thomas Divine back tombstoneThomas Lee Divine is my maternal 4th Great Grandfather. He was born on February 21 1748 in Dublin, Ireland. At the age of 17 he made the decision to start a new life in America. He arrived in Kent County Delaware in 1765.  He soon found his new adopted country was in great turmoil, most of his fellow citizens wanted desperately to break away from England and begin a new, more Democratic Country.

Thomas Divine letter

When the Revolutionary War broke out Thomas enlisted as a private in the year seventeen hundred and seventy-six under Captain Gray in the Continental Line in Kent County in the State of Delaware and served for six years until shortly after the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown and was then honorably discharged. He was in the Battle of Brandywine, Germantown, Monmouth and he was at the siege of Yorktown. Thomas was wounded by a cannon-ball on the side of the left leg above the ankle in a skirmish with the British when they fired across a small lake or pond but he continued to fight and to serve once his wounds were healed.

In 1782 he married Miss Jemima Dill at the house of Esgr Calhoun that was located within one mile of Black swamp-causeway in the county of Kent and State of Delaware. They lost their first four children to miscarriages but went on to have 6 more children, 3 boys and 3 girls. Prior to 1790 Thomas moved his growing family to Spartanburg, South Carolina.

After moving to South Carolina on the waters of Pacolit River in the Greenville District, the house they were living in burned to the ground and they had to start all over again, building a new home and getting new furnishings. Over the next several years he expanded his lands and crops and provided a very good life for his family.

church_3_945_334_c1In 1825 Thomas moved his family to McMinn County Tennessee. In 1834 on land given by Thomas the Big Creek Baptist Church was constituted. He also furnished the land for the cemetery, which is up the hill from the church.

Thomas Divine tombstone

Thomas Divine died on the twentieth day of June, eighteen hundred and forty at the age of ninety years old.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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52 Ancestors Week #10- Stormy Weather – Peter Rucker, First to Come to America

peter ruckerPeter Rucker is said to be the first of the Rucker line to come to America. He was born in Germany and his family fled to France during an uprising in their native land. Peter and his 3 brothers boarded a ship traveling along with 3 other ships to come to the new land and reached the shores of Virginia in the late 1600’s. There are several stories as to how Peter arrived here. A great storm arose as they were approaching land and it is proven that one of the ships sank before reaching the dock. This is where things change. The debate is how Peter, who was on the sinking ship, got to shore. Below are some of the accounts that can be found. I really like number 6 as this would be a great story to tell!

  1. “Peter Rucker floated for three days on a piece of driftwood, being picked up by a passing vessel.” (From Edythe Whitley’s History of the Rucker Family, p.9)
  1. Peter’s ship was “wrecked in a heavy storm 12 miles from the Jamestown shore—nearly all were lost. [Peter] tied two casks of rum together which buoyed him up and he floated for two days” until rescued. (This story was handed down in the family of Thomas B. Rucker, b. Oct. 29, 1807, Caldwell Co., KY and printed in Eva Cutts Davidson’s Rucker Kinsmen, p.45)
  1. “Peter Rucker . . . landed in Norfolk in 1701 after being shipwrecked and floating on a timber in mid ocean for three days. He landed at Norfolk with two brothers possibly three brothers . . . He left Norfolk in 1715 for the upcountry, and settled in Amherst Co., [VA]. (Written in a letter found by James M. Rucker, Gladys, VA, among his mother’s papers. This version came through the family of Edwin Sorrell Rucker, born April 8, 1803 [Wood, p.82])
  1. “The family of Ruckers were Huguenots and left France in the 17th century and settled near Fairfax, VA . . . The vessel which brought them to America was wrecked and everyone on board lost, except Rucker himself and one companion. (This story came through the family of Jonathan Rucker [Wood, p.299] of Mississippi, printed in The Alstons and Allstons, by Joseph A. Groves, p.147)
  1. “That there were three Rucker brothers who came over from Holland in Colonial Days. Their ship sank and only one lived to get to shore and that all the Ruckers were descended from this one man and most of them lived in the south.” (Neil Lewis Rucker, Burdett, KS, 1966, in a letter to Paul H. Rucker of Burlington, Iowa, submitted by Neil’s son, Clair N. Rucker)
  1. “The first of the name in America was Peter Rucker, a native of France. On the voyage to America, the vessel in which he sailed was wrecked about 12 miles from shore and nearly all on board were lost. Before leaving the wreck, Mr. Rucker took the precaution of tying a couple of large flasks of rum to his neck which buoyed him up. By that means and by taking an occasional drink of it, he was enabled to reach shore.” (‘Early Settlers of Sangamon County, IL,’ by Powers, 1876, submitted by Bette Lou Upton Nienstedt)
  1. “By the grace of God, a deck of cards, and a keg of rum, you are here today” (A talk by Edith Copeland Rucker to descendants at the Rucker Family Reunion, 1994.) “ . . . Peter Rucker was the first Rucker on American soil, and he came on a ship that was wrecked just before reaching the shores of Virginia back in the late 1600s. It seems that there were two potential survivors of the disaster, and they gambled in a game of ‘seven-up’ to determine who would win the remaining keg of rum to use to float to shore. Peter won, and ‘a keg of rum’ has over the years, been used as the password of Peter Rucker’s descendants.” (First printed in Days Gone By in Alpharetta and Roswell, GA, by Caroline Matheny Dillman, Nov. 15, 1986.)

Peter Rucker is my 7th Great Grandfather.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under #52ancestors, Ancestry, Family History, French Huguenot, Genealogy, Peter Rucker, Ship Wrecked, Virginia

52 Ancestors Week #9 – Mary Leella Hughes – Close to Home

Mom, Dad, Bro & SisMary Leella “Le” Hughes was born on February 17, 1951 in Lexington, Missouri. She was the first child of Douglas and Emmajane (Smith) Hughes.  Le is my older and only sister and although our relationship was very rocky she was always the closest person to me. Because of this relationship it is very difficult to write about her. Try as I might, I cannot remember one good thing about her.

Me, Gordon, Le

Me, Gordon, Le

For the first four years of her life she was spoiled by everyone. We have an older brother, Gordon, who was fourteen years older than Le. He overindulged her. When I came along she was jealous, she was no longer the center of everyone’s world.

truckMy very first memory was when I was three years old. My maternal Uncle and his family had come to Arizona from Missouri for a visit. Le, three of my cousins and I were playing in the back of my Dad’s 1953 Ford pickup truck. To be honest, no one liked her because she was extremely mean, so the cousins were avoiding her and were just chasing me around the bed of the truck. Le got mad, picked me up and threw me over the edge of the truck. I landed on a 2×4 board that lined the driveway. My right arm was broken in three places, including having my wrist bone come through my skin! My Dad and Uncle rushed me to the doctor and he set my arm and put on a cast. I was so small that I used a regular sized bandana as a sling. Le never got in trouble.

1999

This was the first of many, many incidents that happened not only throughout our childhood but on into adulthood. Le never married or had children and she lived with our Mother until her death in 1999. Le had diabetes and had to have both of her legs amputated just below her knees. After Mother’s death she had to move into a nursing home. Le died on September 22, 2012 at the age of 61.

I struggle with writing about both my sister and my Mother, because of the broken relationships I had with them. Also, so many things happened during my childhood that sounds so unbelievable, I hesitate to write about them. So the question is how much should I write about them since there isn’t much nice to say. How much truth is too much truth? What does the future generations really need to know? So much about writing about my sister brings many things a little “to close to home”.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: http://tinyurl.com/Your-Family-History and http://tinyurl.com/Genealogy-Research-Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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