Mondays for Me #58 ~ Number 400

Number 400. That is how many days in a row that I have written a blog. Last year before the end of January, things were going very bad in my life. My husband was very ill, and I was his sole caregiver. We had to prepare to move, my own heath was getting bad, and I was ready to give up on writing a blog that I had written for 6 years. Then I thought about the concept of New Year’s resolutions.

I then decided that for the next 365 days I would attempt to write a blog each day. I came up with a few weekly titles that I could write about. One’s like: “Thursday at the Cemetery”, “Sunday’s Salute” and “Hometown Tuesday”. To that I added the 52 Ancestors challenge by Amy Johnson Crow. I figured I could fill in the other three days with random blogs. It was difficult at first, but once I started I found I really enjoyed it. Soon I added other “titles” and I pressed forward.

Over the course of the year I had some people tell me that I should be more concerned about the quality of my blogs rather than the quantity. They were referring to my “Monday’s for Me” and the “Freaky Fridays” that I wrote. They also, reprimanded me for not citing sources. At first I was upset. I write solely about my family for myself and to connect with others who share my ancestors. All of my blogs will go into a book that I can give to my children, grandchildren and my great grandson. My daughter will have access to my trees so she will know where my information came from. So I ignored what had been said and pressed on.

At one point I did write more than one blog a day, so during the last 400 days I have written 427 blogs. It became a habit for me, something I really enjoy and actually look forward to every day. Since the first of the year I have thought about starting a new type of genealogy blog and I will need time to develop it. So, starting today I will be blogging only about 3 times per week. I am excited about this new adventure.

I have found so many wonderful friends, a ton of cousins and I have learned so much by writing these blogs. I look forward to sharing my “improved” blog with you in the near future.

OK, I know you many have discovered a couple of contradictory statements in the beginning of this blog. Yes, I did say I committed to writing blogs for 365 days in a row. I also called this blog number 400. That is because it is difficult to stop an addiction cold turkey, so when I got close to my goal I challenged myself to continue on till I hit the 400 mark. I hope I don’t get the shakes now and need a “write another blog” fix!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

“Power” of Love ~ 52 Ancestors #8

During this month where many people celebrate “Love” I decided to write about one of my ancestors who wrote about the “Power of Love”.

George Denison was born in 1618 in Preston, Northamptonshire, England, the son of William Denison (1570-1653) and Margaret Chandler (1575-1645). He moved with his family to Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1631 at the age of 13. He met Bridget Thompson in 1639, and he began to “court” her. They married in 1640 and they had 2 daughters, Sarah (1641) and Hannah (1643). His beloved wife died shortly after Hannh’s birth and George in the midst of his intense grief, left his 2 young daughters with his family and returned to England. He served with Cromwell in the army of the Parliament where he won distinction for his actions. He was wounded at Naseby, and he was taken to the home of John Borodell, where he was nursed back to health by John’s daughter Ann (1615-1712). They were married in 1645, and George returned to Roxbury with his new wife. They went on to have 7 children, 4 sons, and 3 daughters. George died in Hartford, Connecticut, on October 23, 1694, while there on some special business. He was 76 years old. The following poem was written by George for his wife-to-be, the love of his life , Bridget Thompson in 1640 the week before their wedding.

“It is an ordinance, my dear divine

Which God unto the sons of men makes shine.

Even marriage is that whereof I speak

And unto you my mind therein I beak.

In Paradise, of Adam, God did tell

To be alone, for man, would not be well.

He in His wisdom thought it right

To bring a woman into Adam’s sight.

A helper that for him might be most meet

And comfort him by her doing discreet.

I of that stock am sprung, I mean from him

And also of that tree I am a limb

A branch though young, yet do I think it good

That God’s great vows by man be not withstood.

Alone I am, a helper I would find

Which might give satisfaction to my mind.

The party that doth satisfy the same

Is Mistress Bridget Thompson by her name.

God having drawn my affections unto thee

My Heart’s desire is thine may be to me.

Thus, with my blottings though I trouble you

Yet pass these by cause, I know not how

Though they at this time, should much better be

For love it is the first have been to thee

And I wish that they much better were.

Therefore, I pray accept them as they are

So hoping my desire I shall obtain.

Your own true lover, I, George Denison by name.

From my father’s house in Roxbury To Miss Bridget Thompson, 1640.”

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time” and “Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip”, both available on Amazon. You can also connect with me on Facebook and Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

Oops! ~ I Should Have Thought That Through ~ 52 Ancestors Week #49

This week’s prompt seems very fitting to me. I recently spoke with a cousin, “John”, I had connected with on Facebook. Although he had been on my friends list for several years the extent of our “relationship” had been responding to each other’s posts. I try not to overwhelm my family with information about our shared ancestry, but whenever asked about it I gladly share.

A few weeks ago I posted that if anyone had any stories about our mutual ancestors that I would love to hear them. John responded that he had a lot of stories and he wanted to call me so we could discuss them. I was elated! He was from a branch that I had not heard any stories from. We set up a time for the call and I awaited excitedly. We were on the phone for about and hour and I furiously too notes and asked questions. When the call ended, I got to work trying to verify some of the stories he told me about.

The first bit of information was one I had heard before. My Hughes line was related to Jessie James! I remembered doing a quick search about the possibility of Jessie being a relative, but I didn’t remember the outcome. I had already researched our connection to John Wesley Hardin and John Hardin Clements, the notorious Texas outlaws but I had never added Jessie to the tree. When I started researching I realized why. There was no way we were related, no matter how far back I went. So I put that possibility in the “no way” pile.

I moved on to the next story. It was about our ancestors, whom he named, that supposedly helped to dig up and rebury Civil War soldiers that had died and were buried on the grounds of The Anderson House in Lexington, Missouri. Again, I did some research and found nothing. I had been to this house and the museum that they had on the grounds, so I knew if I called the office, someone may be able to answer the question for me. The poor lady must have thought I was nuts! She was so nice though, and she told me they get calls all the time trying to prove some ancestors’ connection to the battle that was fought there or things happening on the grounds. She informed me that nothing like this ever happened here. My “no way” file just got bigger!

John spent about 15 minutes telling me all about his paternal heritage, how they were descendant from Irish Kings, and he told me outlandish stories about them. This line I wasn’t concerned with, nor did I even attempt to do any research of it because he and I aren’t connected through his fathers line.

Now John is bugging me about when I am going to write up the stories he told me and let the family know about Jessie James! I told him that we were not related to him, and he exclaimed “That’s what my Dad told me, and he’s not a liar!” I told him that maybe he was related to Jessie through his Dad’s line, and I told him I have never researched that line since I am not really connected to it. I tried to calm the situation down by telling him that when I have free time I may be able to look into it for him. I then told him the genealogy mantra: “Genealogy without documentation is mythology.” He understood and at least he didn’t unfriend me!

My oops moment was not thinking through the post about wanting stories. Maybe I should have just contacted a few cousins at a time and ask them if they had any information on the family. I could then, at least, give a few guidelines and explain about oral traditions. These stories can be wonderful and add a lot of character to your family history, as long as we state they are stories and are not proven facts. Lesson learned!

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.

Monday’s for Me ~ “A School Field Trip”

Back in the “dark ages” when I was attending elementary school we only went on one field trip each year. Because of that, the teacher would try to make it very special. I vaguely remember most of them, but my 4th grade one left a lasting impression on me.

My first grade teacher was also my fourth grade teacher. I really liked her, and I was thrilled to find that I would be in her class again. All of the other teachers told their students at the beginning of the year where they would be going, however, Mrs. Woods just kept telling us to wait and see. The months passed by without even a hint of where we were going and all of us kids speculated as to what we would be doing. Then, at the end of February in 1965, Mrs. Woods told us that in one week we would be going on our field trip. The cheering was deafening, and one girl actually started crying.

On March 2nd, we all wore our best clothes to school. I was so excited I hardly slept the night before. All of the children sat quietly in our seats watching the hands on the clock edge towards 10. I don’t think I had ever been in a classroom that was that quiet before. At the stroke of 10 we lined up at the door and walked to the school bus that was waiting for us. I lived 3 blocks from school so getting to ride the bus was a thrill. It took a little over 20 minutes before we arrived in downtown Tucson, and we pulled up in front of the movie theater. We all let out a yell when we saw the words on the marque, “Now playing, “The Sound of Music”!

We all filed into the building, and we walked down what seemed like a mile long aisle. I ended up in the very front row and I sat in awe as I watched all the singing and dancing. I loved it. When we were on our way back to school the girls were trying to sing some of the songs we had heard, but we had the lyrics wrong. That didn’t really matter though because we had such a good time.

Many, many years later, my daughter and I would have girls nights at home. We would rent a couple of movies and buy snacks, then we would pull out the bed on the sofa and watch them. They were always musicals, and we would sing-a-long and have a great time. I had fallen in love with musicals way back in 4th grade, and I have Mrs. Woods to thank for that.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.

Monday’s for Me ~ Not Your “Normal” Family

On February 10th, 1991, my mother passed away. If you have read any of my previous blogs pertaining to my mother, you know that she had a lot of mental problems. She also had a lot of other problems as well, such as being a racist. In 1986 when I married my husband George my mother gave me a choice, “Either get a divorce or be disowned!” Why? It was because George is Hispanic. I chose him over my mother and that was the last time I saw her or heard from her. My sister who is 4 years older than I still lived with my Mother, having never married nor having children, so as a result she too disowned me.
I remember this day very clearly. My two younger children, aged 13 and 15 were home with me in the early afternoon. There came a knock on the door and when I opened it, there stood two policemen. I knew it was bad news when I looked at their faces. I had seen that look before when the police came to tell me my previous husband had died in an accident. After verifying who I was they told me that my Mother had died the day before and my sister wanted me to call her and they gave me her phone number. Although it had been several years since we had seen her we were all very upset.
I immediately ran to the phone and called my sister. When she answered, I told her I had received her message and I wanted to know what happened. All she said was “Mom died, I already had her cremated so you are not needed for anything, I just felt you should know” then she hung up. I called both my husband and our Pastor. They arrived at the house at the same time. It was a very trying evening.
Fast-forward to 1997. My oldest son had taken off on his own in 1990. When he came back into our lives in 1993 and this is when he found out his Grandma had died. They had always been very close when he was growing up. Four years later he decided to get in touch with my sister. I gave him the last phone number I had for her, and he called. To everyone’s surprise, my mother answered the phone! She proceeded to tell him that I had purposely lied to him to keep him away from her. This was typical behavior for her. Even though both of the younger children told him about the day the police came and I called my sister, he did not believe them. He promptly decided that he too would disown me. About a year later he came back and apologized and wanted back into my life. Of course, I said yes. He was afraid my mother would find out, and then she would disown him. I told him that she would never find out from me.
June 16, 1999, is another day I will always remember. I was sitting at my desk at work and I received a phone call from my son. He told me, “Granny has died!” To be honest, I didn’t know how to feel. My mother and sister had pulled a horrible prank on me before so I was very apprehensive. I called the Funeral Home where they supposedly took her and found out it was true. I had to make the 180-mile trip from our home in Mesa, AZ to the Funeral Home in Tucson, AZ to sign a permission slip for her to be cremated.

It is a difficult experience to lose a parent. My Dad died when I was 19, and I was devastated! My mothers’ mental illness had always put a wall between her and me because I loved my Dad, and she didn’t (This is another very long story). It doesn’t matter the relationship, she will always be my mother. Going through her death was bad enough the first time, but it was even harder the second time.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.

Monday’s for Me ~ Stop Clowning Around!

File65After the death of my Dad in 1974, we decided to move back to Tucson AZ. We moved into a new mobile home on the far west side of town. In the park where a lot of families with young children. I quickly made friends with several of the young mothers and I would help them with their young children. One of these women kept insisting on paying me for my help but I kept refusing. One day I was helping her clean out her storage shed and we came upon a large box of old Halloween costumes. On the very top was a clown outfit she had made several years before, complete with a detachable neck ruffle and gloves. I guess my face lit up because she asked me if I would like it and I said “Yes!” I had always wanted to be a clown and I had even thrown together a rather ugly clown outfit about a month before and I drove to the local K-Mart and had my picture taken at their photo studio.

Within a month I had sewn large blue pockets on the suit. I practiced File108putting on makeup, which was the hardest part. I went to the library and checked out books on magic tricks. I learned several that were fairly easy but they me as clownwere hard for the observer to figure out. I loved dressing up and going to the malls and just entertaining the kids there. It wasn’t long before I was booking parties and events. My first one was a birthday party. It was so much fun that I felt guilty accepting the money for it. I continued to stay pretty busy being a clown.

File64In October of this year, I was asked to put on a performance for all of the children who lived in the park. It was to be held in the large clubhouse. I thought, “no big deal” since it was just a few kids. Well, I was in for a surprise. Not only did every kid in the park show up but also their parents and lots of the older residents came with their grandchildren! There were almost 200 hundred people there. I was so scared! I guess my performance was good because everyone seemed to love it and I got more bookings for parties.

File151Over the next few years, I entertained at school functions, birthday parties, and carnivals. I had a blast. After I got married in 1977 my husband hated it so I stopped. I really missed it. In 1986 my husband committed suicide. A few years after that I began doing parties again. However, I seemed to have lost my excitement for it. So over the next 13 years, I occasionally put on my suit. Once when I was working at a paper company they had a contest for Halloween. We were all supposed to dress up for work and the employee who got the most votes from the customers got a $100 prize. IFile26 wore my suit and performed card tricks for the customers and I won the prize. My last time I wore my clown suit was in 1999. Our church was putting on a large event and had me and 2 other girls dress up and entertain the children. Not long after that, I donated the entire suit to Goodwill.

On occasion I get the urge to try to “clown around” but it passes really quickly. I have had lots of fun doing my card tricks for the grandkids and watching their faces light up in excitement and amazement. To my dismay, none of them like clowns. They had watched all those scary clown movies and they are frightened of them. I guess I will have to just accept that I will be the only clown in the family!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.

Handed Down ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #24

Francisca and LorenzaWhen my Father-in-law first told me these two stories about his Grandmother Francisca Vega Martinez (sitting) and her sister Lorenza Vega Lozano (standing) I thought “that’s pretty interesting”. Maybe a little far-fetched but that is how oral histories can be. When told from generation to generation some details can be lost, and others can be added. This is verbatim (I recorded it).

Eutimio Martinez (1874-1947) lived in Southern Texas in the early texas map1890s. When he was a young man, he decided it was time for him to find a wife, so he went into town to find one. None of the girls there were what he was looking for, so he got on his horse and headed south towards Mexico. After a couple of days of riding, he found a wagon heading north with several people in it. He took special notice of a beautiful young girl named Francisca Vega (1876-1956) who was traveling alone. He hitched a ride with the wagon heading back north. After talking with the girl for a while he decided that she was the one. No one knows how or why this happened but Eutimio ended up killing all of the people in the wagon and kidnapping Francisca. He then took her back to town and married her.

I started thinking if the kidnapping of Francisca and the murders of those on the wagon were true, why would she stay with him all those years and have children with him? Why didn’t her parents come and rescue her and why would in later years her sister come and live with them? My Father-in-law also told me that Francisca’s sister Lorenza (1874-1958) rode with Pancho Villa. Could either of these stories be true? These are valid questions.  As I was transcribing the tapes from my interviews with my Father-in-law, I decided to do a little research.  First, I Googled their names…nothing.  Then I typed in kidnappings in the 1880s in Texas…nothing, then in Mexico, again nothing. After a few more inquiries I decided to take a different approach.

Pancho VillaI decided to start with Lorenza and see what I could find. I looked up Pancho Villa and The Mexican Revolution. I discovered that Pancho Villa did indeed have women who rode with him between 1910 and 1920. Some of them fought alongside the men and were called Soldaderas, others were “persuaded” to come along, and others followed their husbands who went to fight.  One of the practices of Pancho Villa was to ride into a town and ask the citizens to “donate” to the cause of the Revolution. He would then gather up all able-bodied men and “encouraged” them to join his army. He then would “invite” some of the young women to come along to help cook and care for the soldiers when they were injured. Most of the wives and children of the men who followed Pancho went along because they really didn’t have much choice. I believe this is the case with Lorenza.

 While looking into the Mexican Revolution I found that back in the 1800’s up until 1930 married women and single women living in Mexico had different rights under the law.  Single women had the same rights as a man. They could come and go as they pleased, work, attend church, and even own property. Married women were the property of their husbands. They could do nothing without the permission of their husband. This could explain why no one came to get Francisca after she and Eutimio got married. Regardless of how she became his wife, she was now his property and they accepted it.

I have still not found any evidence that the stories above are true, but they would be considered Oral Traditions and therefore I added them to my husbands’ Family Trees. They add “color” and excitement to the family history.    



I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.


Monday’s for Me ~ Venice High School 1971

Venice HighAfter moving to Culver City, California from Santa Monica we had moved into a new school district. Thankfully we moved in at the start of summer vacation so I was able to meet a few kids in the neighborhood. It was hard enough starting a new school, it was my 6th one in 9 years, but knowing a few people helped. From where we lived, Venice High School was about a 3-mile walk. It wasn’t too bad because I had met a boy during the summer and he would walk to my house and we would walk to school together. Along the way we would pick up 4 more friends, so I really enjoyed the walk.

Venice High was built in 1911 and is located about a mile from Venice Beach. It was really a quite intimidating building. I had never seen a High School this large before. It also had a unique history. Many.myrna.loy.statue.venice.high.los.angeles famous actors attended the school including Gary Collins, Beau Bridges, Crispin Glover (Back to the Future), and the schools’ most famous student Myrna Loy. When she was attending here she served as the model for the statue “Spiritual” which stood on the school grounds. There were many singer/songwriters, a skateboard pioneer, a NASA astronaut, many athletes, the world land speed holder, and perhaps the most important, the founder of In-N-Out burger! It has also been used to film many movies, the most recognizable one is the movie “Grease”.

My favorite class was English because our teacher, although we had a lot of reading assignments, would give us writing challenges. Social Studies and History came in a second favorite. I had never really enjoyed P.E. and here I hated it! I don’t know if it was a rule in all Los Angeles High Schools or if it was only in ours because we were so close to the beach, but in order to graduate you had to know how to swim. The pool there was huge and you would have several classes in the pool at once. I already knew how to swim so I couldn’t understand why I had to take the class. I think it was in my 2nd week of class that I came up with an ingenious idea. I had gone to the library and looked up allergies and I discovered that a person could be allergic to the chlorine they put in pools. They really did put a lot of chlorine in the pool because there were so many kids who used it on a daily basis. So, I was told to go up the high dive and just jump in. I did and when I got out of the pool I faked a faint. They rushed me to the nurse and I described my “symptoms” and the nurse determined I must be allergic to the chemicals. I was taken out of the swimming class with a good excuse, maybe I should have become an actress LOL! Guess what class they put me in? Girls football.

A month after school started my boyfriend got a car, so our walking days were over, We still picked up our friends on the way to school but it was nice not having to get up as early. I did miss walking home because we would stop at a little market to buy treats. One of our favorite things to do was to buy a Pepsi in a bottle and one red vine. Once outside we would put the red vine in the bottle and drink all of it straight down. The candy made the soda rush out of the bottle forcing us to drink fast. Then we would have burping contests on the walk home. I would almost always win because unbeknownst to them I could make myself burp at any time so I would continue to long after they no longer could. Now that I look back on this that really was a strange thing to do.

yamaha-bikes-my-dadIn November my boyfriend and I broke up. So, it was back to walking again. Only now I had to walk alone because our shared friends had been his friends first. After about a week of this, I decided I didn’t want to go back to school. My dad was very upset because he wanted me to finish school and graduate. Knowing his feeling I knew how to turn the situation to my advantage. I had ridden a friends mini bike several times and I found it invigorating. So I told him it was too hard to walk every day, but if I had a motorcycle I would go. He responded with a resounding NO! It took a few days but I finally talked him into just going to look at them. He gave in and that day I came home with a purple Yamaha enduro 250. I loved that bike. I would drive around in my “hot pants” and long hair (no helmet) and enjoy the wind in my hair. Back in those days, there weren’t a lot of female motorcycle riders so I got plenty of stares. I look back on it now and realize how utterly reckless I was. I didn’t have a drivers license, I did stupid stunts, I took it dirt biking and I crashed it 2 times, one that resulted in a concussion. After about 4 months it got stolen from our back yard so I believe that was a “Godsend”.

I returned to school with no bike and I was not happy about it. I used to dress like most kids in those days but I did have a few outfits that pushed the limits. I felt they were okay for school so I wore them on19 yo 2 occasion, even after a few “dress code” calls to the counselors’ office. I told my counselor that there were many girls at lunch who wore short skirts and twirled around but they didn’t wear underwear! I don’t twill and I do wear them. Well, one day I wore a long dress I had just gotten. As soon as I walked into my first class I was sent to the principal’s office. I was told the dress was inappropriate for school and that I had to go home and change. I mentioned that the dress touches the ground so I didn’t see how I violated anything. The principal then told me it wasn’t for the length of my skirt but it was for the halter top part that exposed my entire back! I told her if I went home I would never come back. And, unfortunately, I never did go back to school.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.


Freaky Friday ~ “We Were Cherokee”

ff imageGrowing up I was always told that we were part Native American. On my mothers’ side, I was supposedly Creek and on my dads’ side, I was supposedly Osage, Cheyenne, and Cherokee. For my mothers’ side, I can find no proof of being Creek. My Great Grandfather was our link to this bloodline, but unfortunately, he is also one of my solid brick walls, and the few documents I do have give absolutely no indication that he was. All of the “proof” we had were the far fetched stories my mother told us.

Now, on my dad’s side, there is no proof whatsoever that we have a drop of Native can you prove it questionblood in us. However, every cousin I have ever talked to or corresponded with swears we are Cherokee. So, for over 20 years I have searched the archives for any proof. When genealogy made it easier to find documents etc, I spent a multitude of hours researching. Still nothing. I had one cousin tell me that I apparently am not smart enough to figure out that we are Cherokee. I just laughed. I guess he didn’t realize that the fact that most people in our family have high cheekbones is not proof enough to claim we are.

A few months ago, I decided to revisit the rumors of our Native Heritage. I started with my oldest Hughes ancestor and began to slowly go over all of my documents and notes. I spent a couple of days making my way forward hoping to find one little hint. I took a break and called one of my two living first cousins to try to get more information about why the family believed the story. He told me that my Grandmother Hughes had told him when he was a young boy that we were Cherokee and that it came from our Hayes side a couple of generations back from her. He is the only living cousin who met our Grandmother, so who was I to doubt it?

George W Hayes Finished pic 2I returned to the search determined to find something. I abandoned my search of the Hughes’ and switched to the Hayes’. I was determined to find a link to our story. It didn’t take long. My 2x Great Grandfather, George W. Hayes (1817-1898) was where I found my answer. He was a wealthy man and during the Civil War, he provided aid by way of finances and supplies to the Confederate Army in North Carolina. In Burke County, North Carolina they had a unit called “Company A the Cherokee Rangers”. Although George never joined the army nor fought in any battles he was made an honorary Captain in the unit.

I can see how the “story” may have gotten started. He or his wife could have told a telephone-gamechild or grandchild that he had been in the Cherokee Rangers and just like the “game of telephone” each time the story is passed to another person part of it is changed. So, I can see why we came to believe that we were Cherokee. This whole concept is kind of Freaky because it makes one wonder what other family stories have been changed this drastically?


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.

Freaky Friday’s ~ From Generation to Generation

ff imageDo you ever wonder why some things are done a certain way in your family, but the same thing is done differently in a friend’s family? How about the foods you eat or don’t eat? Well, thanks to a cousin who shared a few stories with me I now know the answer to these two questions.

Mitchell Willard Sr is my 1st cousin. He is now in his late 80’s and is one of only two 1st cousins I have left. He is the only living cousin who got to meet and spend time with our Grandpa Charley Hughes (d. 1944). Here are a couple of stories.

My paternal grandparents lived on a farm outside of Lexington, Lafayette Co., Missouri.Charley & Virginia Hughes new pic Grandma Virginia (Jennie) Hughes would send Grandpa into town to buy items from the store. Is was quite a long trip so by the time he arrived in town he would be hungry. Among the small list of items to purchase she would always have him buy 30 hot dogs. On the way home he would always eat a couple of them uncooked Grandma knew that no matter how she would scold him he would insist on eating 2 so she always added those to the total number.  Why is this so interesting to me? Well, growing up my Dad ate hot dogs uncooked, so I did too. Of course, I would dip mine in ketchup and now I add a slice of cheese to them. My 3 children also eat hot dogs uncooked and now my Grandchildren do the same thing. I never knew until this story was shared with me that Grandpa Hughes did this and I always wondered why we adopted this way of eating them. This is definitely a strange thing to be passed down from Generation to Generation…LOL.

Grandma & Grandpa Hughes and Mr & Mrs Lewis (Neighbors) editedApparently, my Grandma Hughes loved peanut butter. She ate some every day. Grandpa Hughes hated it. He said the smell made him sick. So, Grandma would try to eat it outside when the weather was good. Missouri can have some pretty harsh winters and during that time she had to get creative. She discovered if you mixed peanut butter in a bowl with Karo Syrup that the sweetness from the syrup hid the peanut smell. She would mix up a bowl and just eat it with a spoon. As far as I know, Grandpa never found out! Grandma told my cousin that Grandpa being “sick” from the smell was all in his head. She then found she could eat peanut butter spread directly onto a banana and that too seemed to soften the smell. My dad also ate peanut butter both of these ways and so do I. Only one of my children does it and three of my grandkids.

What makes these two stories freaky? The fact that I just found out about them about 7 years ago, but I have been eating this way my whole life. Yes, my dad also ate hot dogs and peanut butter this way, but I had no idea it was a generational thing!!


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on 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.