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.

Monday’s for Me #51 ~ Why I Hate Horror Movies

Growing up we had a small 12 by 12 inch black and white television set. It had a set of rabbit ears that sat on top and it all sat in a corner of our living room. We were only allowed to watch TV for about 2 hours per night. My Dad would watch the news at 6 o’clock every night and on occasion we would watch a movie. On Saturdays, we could watch the children’s programs in the morning as long as we did our “chores” afterward.

I think I saw my first “scary” show when I was about 9 years old. There were “The Munsters”, “The Addams Family”, “The Outer Limits”, and “Dark Shadows” allof which were pretty tame compared to what you can view today. However, they did there job and really had me freaked out.

I didn’t like the feelings I had when I watched any type of scary program. So I usually stayed away from anything that made me feel this way. Fast-forward to when I was 18 years old. My family had moved to Hollywood, California in 1973. My Dad had worked construction most of his life and had worked with a lot of asbestos. He also smoked about a pack of cigarettes a day. So it was really no surprise when in October of that year he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

He had radical surgery where they removed the right lung. and he had a scar that ran two-thirds the diameter of his chest and back. I drove him to Chemotherapy and radiation treatments 3 days a week. The doctor gave him 3 months to live. After about 6 months, my Dad was convinced that he was getting better. So, I started to go out more with my friends and spend more time away from home. It was now 1974 and the blockbuster movie of the year was “The Exorcist”. Everyone I knew was talking about it but I declined every invitation to go see it. Then my sister who was 4 years older than I and who had always been a bully towards me told me she wanted to see it and I had to go with her. Between my mother and her pushing me to go I finally gave in.

On June 23rd 1974 my sister and I went to see the 11:45 pm showing at a theater on Hollywood Boulevard. I absolutely hated the movie, and I was scared to death! Even my sister was scared, and she had cried during the show. We got home about 2:30 am and I had a hard time falling asleep, but I now I did at some point. I know this because I was abruptly shaken awake at 7:30 by my mother. She was standing over me with a big grin on her face, and she told me to come and see, my Dad was dead. I jumped out of bed and ran to their room, and he was indeed gone. I started to cry hysterically and I ran to my room, threw on my clothes and ran out of the house. I went straight to my boyfriends house 5 house down from ours. I stayed there, sitting on the porch swing with him until the coroners van left.

When I went in the house my mother was so excited, getting ready to go to the funeral home. This is a woman who had lived in the Los Angeles area for over 5 years and had never left the house except when we moved. She had a mental breakdown about 6 years earlier, and she had become a hermit. To say thing was unnerving is an understatement.

Now I know my Dad did not die on June 24th because I went to see that horrible movie the night before, but for many years after this event, that is what I believed. I decided that I would not watch any of these types of movies again and I never saw another horror movie after this.

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 either Facebook or Twitter @VHughesAuthor.

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.

The Plan Was…….

Gpa and Gma Hughes older fixedWhen we first start researching our Family History we usually begin with our parents or Grandparents and slowly work our way back as far as we can go. We spend a tremendous amount of time going over documents, gleaning any information we can from them. We add photos of our relatives, pictures of their headstone, and anything else we find interesting to our trees.

Then at some point, we realize that these people are not just names, birth dates, marriage dates, and death dates. They lived unique lives, had relationships and occupations, owned property, and in some cases did amazing deeds. So we begin to put together the story of their lives taken from all the information we have gathered.

All this is exciting and fulfilling to any Genealogist. We have brought confused-smileyour deceased loved ones back to life. Then we ask the question, “What about those who are still living? Shouldn’t we be recording their stories for the next generations?” Of course, we should. So most of the time we concentrate on our oldest living relative, trying to tell a well-rounded, well-documented story of their life. We feel the urgency to do this because we are not sure how long they will be with us.

Somewhere along the line, we recognize that we should begin writing our own story and that of our spouse as well so that there will be an accurate account of our lives. This way we can choose what we feel is the most important facts and events from our past and include them. We get excited that we are able to add photos and even videos to our legacy. The problem is, writing or recording our own stories usually takes a back seat to our Genealogy quest. We figure there is always time to do it, later.

listI have been actively researching my Ancestry for over 25 years. I have seriously thought of writing mine and my husband’s life stories off and on through all those years. I even began my own story about 15 years ago, but I put it away knowing I would finish it one day. I never started writing anything about my husband’s life because I figured I could always work on it after I research just a few more Ancestors. Besides, we have been married almost 34 years, and he has told me stories of growing up in a small, rural Arizona town so many times I felt I wouldn’t need to ask too many questions to adequately write his history.

Then it happened… a little over 1 ago he began to have problems remembering his childhood. The memory loss quickly spread to what he did a few years ago and then to what he did yesterday. We spent the last year having tests done to try to determine what was going on. About 6 months ago we received the devastating news that he had Vascular Dementia. He had suffered several mini-strokes, and we were told that eventually, he would not even remember my name. The worst part is, he will turn 58 years old in December! I thought I’d have more time to ask him for more details about his life, but now I can’t. I have been trying to remember all the stories he told me, I have asked his family to help fill in some blanks for me, but with 8 kids in the family, they don’t remember who did what. Only he knows the complete story of his life and now it is all buried somewhere in his mind that he can no longer reach.

The moral of all this is: You never know from day to day what may Moral of the storyhappen, so don’t assume that you have plenty of time to write your personal story or that of those whom you are blessed enough to still have with you. Don’t put it off so long that one day you too will say “I thought I would have more 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.

Mondays for Me ~ Can You Say That Again?

Me11I started first grade at the ripe old age of 6. Way back then there was no such thing as Kindergarten, they just threw you right into the classroom. In Arizona if your birthday is before December 31st you could start school at the age of 5, my birthday is in January so I had to wait another whole year. I was so excited, for many reasons. First, I loved to learn. Even though I couldn’t read yet I would spend hours combing through the World Book Encyclopedias we had at home, looking at the pictures. Second, I could make new friends. Ones that didn’t know my sister. Third, I would be out of the house, away from my mother for 8 hours a day! Growing up, I remember talking with other kids and they would either laugh at me or ask me to “say that again”. Most adults would just walk away giving me a sad look. I was quite confused by this so away from home I barely talked.

The first day my teacher, Mrs. Woods, had each one of us stand up and tell the others ourMe22 name and one thing about ourselves. As I listened to the other kids I ran all sorts of things through my head. Should I tell the class I loved to ride my bike? Or perhaps I could tell them our family had a dog? It was hard to decide. When it came to my turn I said: “My name is Valerie and I love to ride my bike”. All the kids started laughing at me. I turned and ran crying from the room. When the teacher caught up with me she just hugged me for what seemed like a very long time. She then took me back into the room and scolded the kids for being cruel. She told them I had a speech problem and the school was going to help me with it.

A speech problem? I never heard that before. On the way home that day a carried a note from Mrs. Woods for my parents to read. I was petrified. My sister, who was four years older than me, was always bringing home notes and my Dad would yell at her and send her to our room. The look on my mothers face when I handed it to her would have killed me if it had the power. When she read it she didn’t look angry or say one word to me. I felt relief. The next morning she drove me to school and we went to the principal’s office. There she told the principal, Mrs. Reinche. that they knew I had a speech problem but they thought it would correct itself as I got older. My mother and sister always spoke baby talk to me since I was born and thought it was hilarious that I talked this way. I can still visualize the look on the principal’s face. She told my mother “We will handle this” and pointed to the door. After she left Mrs. Reinche told me I would be going to speech therapy 3 times a week at the school and it wouldn’t be long before I could speak correctly.

1960s-speech therapyI loved going for the therapy. It was one on one with the therapist and we played “games” and she taught me phonics, helping me to pronounce each word correctly by sounding them out. In class, we were learning to read by using the “Fun with Dick and Jane” series. If you don’t know what that is it was just repetitive words over and over again. Like “See Dick run, run Dick run”. You were learning to read by memory. Since I was learning phonics in therapy I was learning how to sound out the words, and this gave me a great advantage. Once I was able to speak in an understandable way I had enough confidence to stand and read to the class instead of being passed over. I read so well that Mrs. Woods started sending me home with second-grade level books. I would read them and bring them back then she and I would talk about them. She also helped me with my writing and by the end of the school year, I was writing stories.

One of the best things was I no longer got laughed at. I made great friends and I loved school. I was reading third-grade level books by the end of the year and I discovered I loved to write. Using my imagination and writing stories help get me through my very unpleasant childhood. I did have to take a refresher therapy class for my third-grade year, but I didn’t mind. There are still, to this day, some words I have trouble pronouncing. Even so, I am glad I don’t have to hear “can you say that again?’ from others.


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 ~ My “Hairless” Childhood


I remember when I had my daughter, I imagined all of the ways I would be able to fix her hair. Ponytails, curls or being long and beautiful. Unfortunately, she turned out to be my only bald baby. Her hair didn’t grow much until she was about 4 years old. I felt cheated! Why would I make such a big deal out of this? Well, growing up all I wanted was long hair. However, my mother had other ideas.

A lot of babies have short hair right after they are born and I was no exception. As the years progressed my hair never got much longer. Not because it wouldn’t grow, but because my mother insisted that me having long hair was too much of a bother for her. She had my sister and her hair to deal with. So growing up I usually had the shortest hair in my classes at school. I always wanted to be able to have my hair blow in the wind. Or to put it in a ponytail. Or to just look like a girl. I got teased a lot at school. Kids would say I was a boy wearing a dress. Some of the boys would stand next to me measuring their hair length against mine and most of the time mine was shorter. In the sixties the pixie cut was in style, but so was the long, luxurious hair. 90% of the girls I knew had long hair and that made things worse for me. The following is a snippet of my “hairless” childhood!



1 yo 2         bathing beauty 2               5 yrs old photo booth 2

1 year old.            3 years old Beauty queen LOL.        4 years old. 


rodeo 2         Sus campground 2       1st day of school 2

5 years old.                    My boy cousin & me!        First day of school.


xmas 2            Me as brownie                  5th grade 2

Christmas 6 years old      7 years old Brownie                5th Grade


me & bro older            16 yo 2            19 yo 2

12 years old.                         16 years old.                         18 years old


When we moved to Missouri I had just turned 12. I told my mother I would take care of my hair myself from then on. She didn’t take it too well, at first. Then she realized it was just one less thing she had to do for me. By the time I turned 14 my hair was finally past my shoulders for the first time. As you can see it just kept on growing. For many years it was past my waist. I loved it. As the years went by I would cut it shorter, then let it grow, but it was my choice, not someone else’s.


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.




















Saturday’s Dilemma ~ What about My Own Story?

My-Story-This-is-my-storyObviously from the title, my dilemma is concerning how much I should disclose about my own life. I have been writing stories about my life to leave for my Grandchildren and my new Great Grandson, but they have mostly been funny stories. However, I like many others of my generation, have endured a lot of hardships in my life. Some of the things I have gone through I think #1, may teach a lesson and #2, be like one of those stories we get excited about finding when researching an ancestor! I would like them to know everyone goes through problems, it is a part of life.

I have two main stories I would like to write about, but I am unsure how much to disclose. I would really like some opinions concerning them. I will keep the stories short. Just consider how much you would want to know about something an ancestor went through and how they handled it.

Story #1. My mother had a severe mental illness. It got worse the older she got. She onlyMom 1966 loved two people in her life, my sister and my oldest son. Everyone else was treated badly. Everyone except my dad and I, we received the worst of it. When we lived in Missouri when I was 12-14 years old, she assaulted my dad and me on numerous occasions. She believed he was in the mafia, that our house was bugged, and someone lived under our house (we didn’t have a basement), spying on us through our TV. One time we spent a week going from motel to motel hiding from my dad and his “cronies”. I could tell you things that she did that you probably wouldn’t believe. When we moved to California, she literally rode in the back seat on her knees facing backward to make sure we weren’t followed. When we made it to CA her knees were bruised and bleeding. We lived there for 5 years and she only left the house 4 times, each time we moved. She disowned all of our relatives, my brother and eventually me.

me 1988Story #2.  My previous husband committed suicide, leaving me with 3 kids to raise. I had just turned 31. He had an unshakeable addiction to pornography, and this was his way out. My children knew about the addiction and why he did what he did so it isn’t a secret. Two years after the suicide I started a ministry for women who have been affected by pornography. I have been on national talk shows, radio, newspapers, magazines, a conference speaker and I wrote a book about my life with my husband. I have counseled thousands of women on this issue. I have even spoken to junior and senior high kids about the hazard of porn.  I have always used tact, wisdom, and I don’t go into graphic details. So, how should I approach this story?

Just to make it clear, these would be for my family. I appreciate any and all input. Thanks in advance.


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 ~ Independence, Missouri ~ Bristol Elementary School 1968

mo_oak_grove mapMy family moved from the deserts of Arizona to Oak Grove Missouri in April of 1967. It was a small town east of Kansas City and I had relatives who lived there. Because we moved before I finished 6th grade I had to finish my grade here. The school was one long building that held all of the 1st through 12th grades. I had played clarinet since 3rd grade and I wanted desperately to continue here. They didn’t have a band for elementary school so I had to play in the High School Band. That was quite an adventure. Especially the end of the year concert in the park where they placed me in the middle of the front row and people were pointing at me and taking pictures because I looked like a midget compared to the rest of the band members! Things were definitely different here.

After school was out my parents bought a house in Independence, Missouri. I was soBristol excited to be starting Junior High because, after all, I was 12 years old now. Things were sure to be better in the bigger city. Imagine how crushed I was to discover that 7th grade was still held in the Elementary schools. Junior High was 8th and 9th grade. My old school was barely in the city limits and it was surrounded by desert. It was a single-story building that had 3 separate portable buildings for the 6th graders. Here in Independence, the school was huge! It was 3 stories high and the “playground” was almost all cement. There was a large gym on the bottom floor and that is where we got our exercise.

One thing I thought was odd was once a week a teacher would come to the class to teach Spanish. First, it was odd because there were no Hispanic children in the entire school of about 800+ children! I was raised in a neighborhood and attended a school that was 75% Hispanic. We never took Spanish classes there. Second, with the deep mid-west accent of the teacher, only a few words were pronounced correctly. There were many other things that I found different and one was they offered home economics for us. I had fun learning how to cook as my mother never taught me anything in the kitchen except to clean it.

1960s sewing machineDuring the 2nd half of the school year, I got to take a sewing class. I was so excited. Growing up my mother made about 60% of our clothes. I would watch her cut out the patterns, then cut the cloth and then sit at her machine and in the end there was a garment of some kind. My sister had no interest in learning to sew but I did. I asked several times if she would teach me but the answer was always no. My dad took me to the fabric store and we purchased some rose-colored material that would eventually be a pair of shorts. We picked out a corresponding zipper, buttons, thread, and the pattern and I couldn’t wait for class.

My best friend Kathy and I were in the same class so we teamed up to share the sewing machine. On the first day of class, we were told that all shorts had to be knee-length. Anything shorter would get you an automatic F. We were not happy because the new “style” was shorter shorts. It took about 4 weeks to finish the project. Not bad considering we only went to class 2 times per week and we had to share everything. When everyone was done we all marched downstairs to the girls’ bathroom and put on our shorts. They fit well even if they were longer than we wanted. After the teacher measured the length of each one we had to change back into our regular clothes.

In most schools in 1968, girls could not wear pants or shorts to school. Only dresses orme and bristol 2 skirts were allowed. We were told that for the last day of school we could wear our shorts as a reward for our hard work. Kathy and I went to her house and we “adjusted” the length of the legs. When we showed up to school everyone was staring at us. It was only a half-day but we still got called to the principals’ office. We were threatened with not being able to pass to 8th grade and having our parents come to pick us up but in the end, she just sent us back to class.

Several of us brought cameras and we ran around taking photos of our friends and getting our class picture signed. We had cake and punch around noon and then the class was dismissed. It turned out to be a great day.

Class photo 1968
I am 3rd from the left in the front row

I never really learned to sew well enough to make complicated items. I sewed maternity tops for me and baby nightgowns for each of my 3 children. I really do wish I had maybe tried harder to learn the skill. Then again maybe I wasn’t meant to be able to sew.


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.

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 and You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

I Can Use A Little “Wisdom”

wisdomI have been doing Genealogy research for over 20 years. When I first discovered 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 the 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 led 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 lineage link later.

A 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 of 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 lineage 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 else’s’ 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 or Genealogy do not justmistakes click on those little leaves, blindly trusting that what comes up belongs to your ancestor. 2) If at any time you were a “clickophile” you should go back and make sure the information you added was not erroneous and if it fixes 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 and You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.