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In Honor Of My Dad’s 101st Birthday!

me & dad

Me & Dad 

My Dad was the person who influenced my life the most while growing up. He showed me unconditional love, even through all the craziness of my teen years. I never really appreciated him until after he was gone. In honor of this remarkable man, this blog is to celebrate his life on what would be his 101st Birthday.

 

Benjamin Douglas “Doug” Hughes was born in Pettis County, Missouri, August 18, 1915. He

Douglas&Lenoard - Restored - Use

Douglas & Leonard 1918

was born the same day that his Uncle who, was blind, died. He was name after this uncle. He was the 8th of 11children born to Charley Hughes. They lived on a farm in rural Missouri, raising all their food, cows and award winning horses. During the Great Depression of the 1930’s they were fortunate enough to not suffer as others did because they were basically self-sustaining. They shared what they had with others in the community and I believe this is where my Dad developed his giving spirit!

Dad at 18At the age of 15 two events influenced his life. The first was he paid 25 cents and got his first drivers license. He said “In those days there was no driving or written test, as long as you had the quarter you got the license!”  He was always proud of the fact that in all his years of driving he had only received 1 ticket. The second event was when his family was living near Lexington Missouri. He along with his brother Leonard and two brother-in-laws Mitchell and Virgil where riding in a wagon going to town. A neighbor came out and an argument broke out between Virgil and the man. This man drew his gun and shot Virgil between the eyes, killing him instantly! This haunted my Dad his whole life.

In 1934-35 my Dad participated in the Civilian Conservation Corp implemented by CCC Camps DadPresident Roosevelt. He served in Lake Tahoe, California. Here he learned to work with wood and stone masonry. These skills helped him the rest of his life. During his lifetime he worked as a horse trainer, as a farmer, as a coal miner, he worked on the railroads, as a butcher and for the last 19 years of his life he worked in the construction field.

 

dad, mildred, lolaHe was married 3 times; the first time was when he was 22 years old in 1937. He married Mildred Shockley and they had a son Benjamin. Unfortunately Benjamin died at 2 months old from Typhoid and his mom died 3 weeks later from the same thing. My Dad was devastated. He married a second time in 1944 to Mildred McQuillen. She had a daughter name Loretta whom my Dad accepted as his own.Mom, Dad, Bro & Sis They never had children and I don’t know what happened but they divorced sometime before 1948. The third was my Mother, Emmajane Smith in 1948. My Mother had a son, Gordon and once again my Dad took him as his own. My sister Mary Leella was born in 1951 and I was born in 1955.

We left Missouri when I was 11 months old and moved to Southern Arizona. When I was 12 years old my Mother had a mental breakdown and the next 7 years were pure hell! My Dad refused to have her committed and he took care of her even through our moves back to Missouri for 2 years then out to California for 5 years. He showed me that you don’t give up on people because the situation is not ideal. He showed strength of character and resolve that I have always admired.

Dad and my oldest son.

In the Fall of 1973 my Dad went to the doctor for a cough that wouldn’t go away. After many tests and x-rays we were told he had lung cancer. He had surgery to remove his right lung then endured several rounds of chemo and radiation therapy. He lived for 9 months and he passed away at home on June 24, 1974. He was 58 years old. This was 42 years ago and I still think about him every day. I still strive to be the kind of woman, wife, mother and Grandmother that would make him proud. I know that I am proud to be his daughter!

 

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, Arizona, Charley Hughes, Death, Family History, Family Search, Farming, Genealogy, Hughes, Memories, Missouri, Story telling, Uncategorized

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 Use A Little “Wisdom”

wisdomI have been doing Genealogy research for over 20 years. When I first discovered Ancestry.com about 10 years ago I knew that it was a Godsend. I knew it was going to make research so much easier. I transferred all of my written Family Tree to the website and I spent a lot of time finding my Ancestors.

 

Fast forward to present day. On July 1st it was the 153rd Anniversary of the start of the 3 day battle at Robert E. LeeGettysburg, Pennsylvania. The Confederate Army was lead by General Robert E. Lee. When I read this I remembered that I had some Lee’s in my Hughes line and I thought “wouldn’t that be weird if my line and General Lee’s line were related?” I went searching the tree and sure enough Lee was my 4th cousin 7x removed. My 10th Great Grandfather was Lee’s 4th Great Grandfather. I got excited and announced it via Facebook to all of my Hughes/Hayes family. I posted a photo of Lee with just a quick explanation and a promise to post the linage link later.

clickA couple of days ago I started to do just that. Imagine my surprise and great distress to find that when I first joined Ancestry I had entered this online Genealogy world as a “clickophile”! As I was becoming a professional Genealogist I had gone through most of my trees and corrected a tremendous amount mistakes that I had loaded that I had gotten from other peoples trees. So much of what I had originally linked to was undocumented and not researched. I spent a year and a half going through both my maternal and     paternal lines. I thought I had done a complete job…WRONG!

I started with the linage of Robert E. Lee and traced him back to Col. Richard Henry Lee, our common denominator ancestor. Then I started going back down the tree towards me. The problem is I got stuck about half way down to my 6th Great Grandfather John Wisdom. The only documentation I had on him was his marriage information. Everything else was garnered from someone elses’ tree! AND that isn’t the worst of it. John was born in 1738 and I had his daughter being born in 1746…he was only 8 years old. Now I am having to do some intense research trying to put the correct pieces together. Here I had announced to the family this new finding and now I can’t say positively that it is true. I am totally embarrassed that here I am, a professional, yet I had this glaring mistake in my own tree. I realize that as we go farther back we have multiplied the number of “Grandparents” and it can be easy to overlook one or two, but that doesn’t make this less disturbing to me.

The moral of this story is these few points: 1) If you are new to Ancestry.com or Genealogy do not justmistakes click on those little leaves, blindly trusting that what comes up belongs to your ancestor. 2) If at anytime you were a “clickophile” you should go back and make sure the information you added was not erroneous and if it is fix it and 3) I am ashamed to admit that I should have used better “Wisdom” when I was adding ancestors to my Wisdom line.

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, Corrections, Cousins, Family History, Genealogy, Hints, Hughes, John Wisdom, Research, Robert E. Lee, 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

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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Filed under Uncategorized

Why I Dislike Mothers Day

Mom & Brother 1941 2

This time of year is always rough on me. Everywhere I turn, every Blog I read, every show I watch, every Facebook post I see there is some kind of accolade to Mom. To be honest, I am jealous of those who can post how much their Mom meant to them and how they miss them so much. They can write about the wonderful memories of time spent with their Mom and can be thankful for all of the life lessons that she taught them. Pictures of happy family time are posted and memories are shared.  Oh how I dislike Mothers Day.

You see I didn’t have a great Mom, not even a good one, okay not even a mediocre one. Yes, she lived with us, she showered my sister with great love and affection, I think it was just me she didn’t like. Maybe that’s not the whole truth, she also did not like my Dad, or my Brother, or any of her relatives, or any of my Dads relatives. You get the point. Throughout the years I have tried to remember just one happy moment that I shared with her but I can’t. My sister was her world and I was an afterthought.

According to my Mom’s brother she had always had mental problems. I can look back on my early childhood now and see so many signs of this. When I was 12 years old she underwent a complete hysterectomy. She absolutely refused to take any hormone replacements so as a result her moods were out of control. After we moved to Missouri shortly after the surgery she had a complete mental breakdown. I won’t go into all the things that transpired but I will say that my Dad must have been some kind of saint because he refused to have her institutionalized, opting instead to take care of her himself. At least he tried to. The next two years were almost unbearable.

Forced by my Mom’s hatred of all the family we packed up and moved to California. My Mom literally spent the whole trip from Independence Missouri to Santa Monica California in the back seat of the car; on her knees facing backwards to make sure no one followed us. We arrived in California after 4 days of traveling and her knees were bruised and bloody. We lived in the L.A. area for the next 5 years and she never left the house except when we moved from one home to another. After my Dad passed away we move back to Arizona.

In 1986, when I married my current husband she was outraged. She really hated him. About 3 years later she disowned me because I would not divorce him. I did not see nor speak to her for the last 10 years of her life.

I am not writing this story so people will feel sorry for me, I write it because I want people to know why I cannot post a glowing affirmation of love to the woman who gave birth to me. I do love her, she was my Mom, I just have nothing good I can honestly write about.

So, if you have or had a wonderful, kind and loving Mother, thank God for her everyday and if possible give her an extra hug on Mothers’ day. As you scroll through the posts online this Sunday and you notice there is not one from me, you now know why.

 

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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May 10, 2014 · 2:57 pm