Category Archives: Personal Stories

Don’t Lose Your Treasure By Hesitating

gen groupOver the last several years I have been a part of many online Genealogy groups. They are a great place to meet likeminded people, learn helpful hints, receive encouragement and on occasion receive help. This is also a place for discussing topics concerning the right and wrong ways to research, document and share your family information.

 

Over the past two years I have read several such discussions on the topic of sharing your 2 people arguingfamily trees on line. I am amazed how “heated” they can become. On one side there are those who believe we should all freely share and post all of our family history online. The premise being by putting it all “out there” it would make it easier for those who may be related to find you. On the other side there are those who believe it is best to not have it available to everyone on line because there are those who will “steal” their hard work, photos, etc.

Leola & OrvilleWell I’d like to tell you what happened to me yesterday. I checked my email and I had received a message from a woman who had found me on WikiTrees. She told me that she had been shopping in an antique mall in San Jose, California and found a photo of two young children , a young girl and her younger brother. She said she bought the photo because the two were just too cute! On the back of it was written “Charlie and Jennie Hughes’ children, Leola and Leonard” and the picture was taken circa 1914 in Pettis County, Missouri. She did a search for those names and up came my tree. She was able to not only contact me but she sent me a copy of the photo. To say I was grateful, surprised and amazed is an understatement. My Aunt Leola died at age 32 and there aren’t many photos of her. Because of putting my tree online (I have it several places) I have been given an unbelievable treasure.

I hope this story helps those who hesitate to put your Family History online see there are some potential benefits to 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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Filed under Ancestry, Charley Hughes, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Hints, Hughes, Personal Stories, Research, Uncategorized

“I Can’t Correct That!”

treeI recently reconnected with a cousin, “Alice” that I haven’t seen in about 28 years. She was so excited to hear about all of the Family History I written about and the Genealogy research I have done. During our conversation she told me that she really didn’t know much about her maternal Grandfathers side of the family. I told her I would see what I could find.

I started researching and within 3 days I received an email from a cousin of Alice’s. “Jessie” told me that her maternal Grandmother was Alice’s Grandfathers sister. We exchanged photos and information. I was able to get the two cousins in touch with each other. It was a great feeling.

That is until about 2 weeks later when I went to look at Jessie’s family tree. She had not Leola Belle Hugheschanged any of the erroneous information she had posted. You see, Alices Grandfather “Sam” was married to my Aunt Leola, my Dads sister. They were married in 1924 and they had two children, Charles in 1925 and Irene in 1930, Leola died in 1932 from Typhoid Fever. Sam then married Lea in about 1935 and they had two sons. In Jessies tree she only had Sam married to Lea and they had 4 children, those of Leola as well as Leas.

errorsWhen I contacted her about it I was told that “I can’t correct that! No one in the family knows that Uncle Sam had been married more than once. It would be a big scandal!” So she was leaving her tree as it was. I can only hope that she changes her mind about this in the future.

Pondering

I guess I have a hard time with anyone wanting to purposely keep wrong information in their tree. No matter what the reason. To me Truth is Truth whether you like it or not. I also don’t understand how this situation could be a scandal. I think it is a great dis-service to future generations to not know the whole truth.

I might be a little strange but I believe the unexpected in a Family Tree is what makes it more interesting. All the twists and turns, the surprises, the rebels and the saints give my tree character.

 

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, Corrections, Cousins, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, History, Memories, Personal Stories, Research, Uncategorized

“Hot Topic” Genealogy

HottopicsIt is always amazing to see how much society has changed in the last few hundred years. What is the “norm” for today was taboo a century ago and what was accepted 200 years ago seems unimaginable today. Throughout history there has always been a “Hot Topic” in each generation. Topics such as the Suffrage Movement, Religious Freedoms, Slavery, Prohibition, Wars etc. Today we are hard pressed to find out how our ancestors felt about these issues or if any of them actively supported or opposed them. Unless our ancestor was “famous” for their stand we may never know.

We can make assumptions on some of their beliefs by how they lived. Take for instance civil war battlesthe Civil War. If your ancestor fought for the North, you can assume they were anti-slavery and if they fought for the South they were pro-slavery. Also if they owned slaves you can assume that they believed in it and if they didn’t they were opposed. Some of the “topics” were not so obvious.

If we are lucky we can find membership information, letters, affiliations or other documents that can provide a glimpse into our ancestors’ stance on the issues of their day. However, most of us will never find these gems. We are left wondering if they had any opinion at all. This brings us to our own time in the genealogical timeline.  We have so many “Hot Topics” today that in a hundred years our future generations will wonder where we stood and why.

New scans15I am of the belief that I want to leave as much information for our future generations as possible. Not only about our ancestral line but also of the times in which we live. I have started writing about some of my beliefs, my stands on social issues and any participation’s I have had for or against those issues. To be quite honest I have picketed for one issue and I have picketed against another. I have participated in rallies and marches. I have appeared on local and National television, radio programs, been a Conference Speaker and featured in magazines and newspapers as an expert on one issue. I want my Great Grand-kids to know their Great Grandma held strong opinions on certain subjects and she wasn’t afraid to let others know how she felt. I am trying to be fair and explain both sides of the issues and express why I chose the side I did.

 

What “Hot Topics” do you have an opinion or belief on? Have you gotten involved fighting for or against that Topic? Think about leaving your experiences behind for those coming after you.

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, Civil War, Family History, Family Search, Famous, Genealogy, Hints, History, Hot Topic, How-to, Memories, Next Generation, Personal Stories, Story telling, Uncategorized, Write Your Story

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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Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Genealogy, History, Memories, Personal Stories

Don’t Tell The Kids Our Family Secret!

J&J picA couple of years ago my Son-in-law Jake, asked me to research his Genealogy and to send his Grandmother, who was 87 years old, a copy of the results. I was excited to do so and gathered all the information that he knew about the family and eagerly began.

Jake is a second generation Wyomingite. His paternal ancestors came from Missouri and places on the east coast.  His Grandfather Jack Craig was born in Missouri in 1925 and moved to Wyoming in the 1940’s. The family’s ties to Missouri go back to the early 1800’s.

Dolph and Renda Craig

Dolph and Renda Craig

Great Grandfather, Dolph Craig owned and operated a saw mill in Winona, Shannon, Missouri. He married Renda Buff and they had 5 children. In following Renda’s line back through time, 5 generations to be exact, I stumbled on a very familiar last name….Rucker. I know that Rucker is a very common German name and that a lot of Rucker’s immigrated to America starting as far back as 1690. I was intrigued and began to dig deeper.

The first mentioned Rucker named in this line was Frances Rucker born in 1761 in Amherst Virginia. She had married John Canebrake Lea in 1786. Frances was the daughter of Colonel Ambrose Rucker. Frances’ name was not the least bit familiar, but Ambrose? That one I knew I had heard before. Upon further examination I found that Ambrose was the son of John Rucker and Susannah Phillips. John had been born the oldest child of Peter Rucker and Elizabeth (Fielding) Rucker in 1680 in KissinCousinsEngland. I became so excited I could hardly contain myself. Peter Rucker born in 1661 in Germany was my 7th Great Grandfather! That meant that he was my daughters 8th Great Grandfather and he was also my son-in-laws 9th Great Grandfather. My daughter and son-in-law are 10th cousins! Jake descended from John Rucker and my daughter, Jerusha descended from Thomas Rucker the 2nd son of Peter and Elizabeth Rucker.

Oh the fun I have had with this. I have relentlessly teased them about being kissing cousins. I even told their two sons about this unique coincidence and now they have even begun to joke about it. It is amazing that one person born in Wyoming and another born in Arizona somehow meet, fall in love, get married and have children and then discover that they have a common lineage. Here’s to Genealogy (raised wine glasses clinking and hand clapping)!!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Cousins, Family History, Genealogy, Missouri, Personal Stories, Wyoming

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

Christmas morning

 

I am often envious of those who have wonderful Christmas memories from their childhood. I was raised in a dysfunctional home where my Mother had a serious mental illness and my mean older sister was allowed to rule. I do have some good memories although they are mixed in with some very bad ones. Our family did have some Christmas traditions that I continued to carry on into the lives of my own children. These are the things I like to remember.

 

We moved to Tucson Arizona just before my first Christmas. Living in a Aluminum Treedesert area you learn adapt some regular traditions to what is available.  Live Christmas trees, although available, were almost impossible to keep alive until Christmas morning. The air was too dry and it was still warm in December so after the first year my Dad went out and bought an aluminum Color WheelChristmas tree. Yes, I said aluminum!  It came with a color wheel which you aimed at the tree and when it was on it would cast the colors of green, red, yellow and blue onto the tree. The tree would then illuminate the room in the various colors.

Me at 5 years old

Me at 5 years old

My Mother found the Indian culture of the area fascinating and she especially loved the turquoise jewelry that was madehere. When it came time to paint the outside of our home it was white with a turquoise trim. So, she brought those colors into our Christmas decorations. The aluminum tree was decked with turquoise colored ornaments and garland. We had white tinsel on the tree. Even the lighted star at the top of the tree was turquoise. One year she made a large wreath to hang in our oversized front windows. It was an old hula hoop wrapped in white garland. She inserted a string of lights inside the hoop and covered each bulb with a silver aluminum pan that came from the pot pies we ate. Of course the lights were a turquoise color. My Dad would string white and blue lights along the edge of our flat roof and drape some inside the huge Century plant in the front yard.

me & dadInside the house we would remove all the pictures hanging on the walls and wrap them like presents, complete with bows. The large Nativity scene was place atop the Television and candles were placed everywhere.

Every year we would make sugar cookies and decorate them with M&M’s. We would then wrap them in saran wrap and hang them from the tree. Guests could remove one and eat it when they came to visit and on Christmas Eve my sister and I got to have one along with hot chocolate. We were also allowed to open one present on Christmas Eve; of course it was one that was specifically wrapped for that purpose!

 

I remember the last Christmas that we spent in Arizona when I was almost Saguaro Cactus12 years old. I got a new bicycle and a one piece swim suit. I put on the suit and jumped on my bike and road around for hours. When we moved to Missouri a few months later some of the kids in my class were asking me questions about AZ.  When I told them I was excited to actually have snow for the Holidays they asked about the Christmas in Tucson. When I told them about the swim suit and bike experience they called me a liar. They couldn’t fathom how it could possibly be 79 degrees on Christmas morning!

Passing along the traditions that we had while growing up is important to the cohesiveness of the generations. It connects us to the past and helps us to share our reasons for these traditions. Spend some time thinking about how you celebrated the Holidays and then write them down. Future generations will love them!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Filed under Ancestry, Arizona, Christmas, Family History, Genealogy, Personal Stories, Story telling