Mondays for Me #56 ~ A Great Resource

For some of you this may be old news, but for some of us this is a new experience! I recently joined a few Facebook groups designed for reminiscing about the town I grew up in. I was very surprised at how many there were, and they seemed to cover every topic available. One was called “Retro Tucson”, another one was “Remembering Tucson” and one was “Our Sonoran Arizona Ancestors”. To be honest, I ended up joining 6 groups.

As I get older, I realize that my memory isn’t what it used to be. I did buy a book about 23 years ago that asked questions about your life. It was structured to prompt you to write as much as you could remember about such topics like “What was your house like?”, and “What is your favorite memory of grade school?”. There were over 200 questions that you could answer and then you could hand the book on to your children or grandchildren so they could read about your life. I found this book a few years ago and it has helped with my memories. This is one reason I joined these groups, they help bring back memories of places and events.

Francisco & Ramona Acuna

The bonus to these groups is one I just discovered a couple of weeks ago. In the “Our Sonoran Arizona Ancestors” group I saw a lot of people posting photos of their parents or Grandparents, and writing a short paragraph about them. Now, I personally do not have any ancestors from this region, but my husband does. I have researched his family as far back as I could. Once it got into Mexico, the language barrier and the naming practices hindered me. So I decided to post a photo of my husbands Great Grandfather and I included a link to the story I had written about him. The response was amazing!

Letter to Francisco Acuna asking for his daughters hand in marriage

Yesterday, I posted about his Great Grandmother, and I was excited to see the response and very surprised to find so many of the people asking if we could be related. In one day I had contact with and verified 6 new cousins for my husband. The best part is one of his new-found relatives have offered to help me with the research in Mexico and with my lack of Spanish. I am now anxious to join other Facebook groups pertaining to my side of the family!

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.

Freaky Fridays ~ A Strange Happening

freakyfridayI belong to several Genealogy groups on Facebook, both in my personal account and my authors’ account. Most of them I have been in for years. I started writing blogs to document my family almost 7 years ago and I have always posted a link to the blogs in the groups that allow it. Because of this, I have been contacted by the family that I never knew I had, and we have been able to share information. It has been a great experience. At least it was until today.

At the beginning of the year, I made a decision to try to write one blog a day. I had a rough start of it and I only wrote about 15 of the 31 days in January. Starting February 1st I took it more seriously and I have written at least one blog a day since then. I have Facebook Groups in both my pages that I post my blog to daily, as well as on other social media sites. The response has been wonderful and I have made a lot of great friends this way also.

So, here is the strange thing that happened last Sunday. In my personalFacebook groups Facebook page groups, I posted my blog as I always do. Later in the day, I saw that I had a few comments on the blog in one of those groups. I started reading the posts when I noticed that I had one from an administrator. It was a combative post, asking why I included a certain newspaper clipping in my blog as she felt it didn’t go with the storyline. She demanded to know where I got the clipping and wanted to know “why” I used it. She said she was confused by it.

I had to run an errand, so I thought I would respond to her when I got back. I figured that would give me time to think about her questions and provide her with an adequate answer. When I got home, I couldn’t find the Genealogy Group’s name in my list of shortcuts on the left side of the page. I then typed the name in the search bar and when the page came up it said I had to join the group in order to see the content. Imagine my surprise to find that I had been removed from the group! I tried to rejoin the group, but I was denied. I didn’t get a chance to explain the use of the newspaper clipping, where I found it, or my reasons for using it in the blog.

Newspaper Richard's PlaceThe clipping I used was about a house that my 5th great-grandfather had built back in the late 1700s and that is still in use today. It gave a little information about him and his occupation when he had lived here. I thought it was an interesting article. Let me say, I do not write my blogs to please other people. I have two reasons that I do it, 1. To document my ancestors’ lives for future generations and 2. To tell the truth about them and their lives no matter what may have happened during their lives.

I am sorry that adding the clipping confused this person and that they thought it didn’t belong in the blog but did that really warrant me being removed from the group? This particular group is one that I have posted in for at least 5 years. There are 6 administrators but only this one had a problem with it. It is just disheartening to think this type of thing would happen in a Genealogy group. Just to clarify, none of the content of the blog was against group rules. I follow all instructions to the letter in all of the groups I participate in.

Has this type of thing ever happened to you?


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 ~ Creating a Facebook Family Group Page

facebook-logoAfter recent events, I have decided to create a Facebook Family Group page for both my paternal and maternal side. I could use some advice. First, both trees are about medium-sized, up to about 6000 ancestors each, give or take a few. I want to start with direct line ancestors first, beginning with my Grandparents. However, as you know the farther back you go the greater the number of “Grands: there are.

I get a little overwhelmed when I think of how to do it efficiently. I have a tremendous confused-smileyamount of photos, stories, and documentation to go along with each ancestor. Plus, most of them had large numbers of children. I can see this getting out of control. I could just do “blog” type posts but even then, I would have to tie that person to our “common denominator” ancestor. I would like to avoid having to change how I input the information once I get started. I believe this is why it has taken me years to finally decide to do this. I guess I could just make a plan and then stick to it!

Oh, and then there are the rules of the group. I feel like I am getting a headache just thinking about this part of the process. So, I decided to ask a few questions and I hope some of you would be willing to provide some good advice.


1. What are the most important “rules” that should be included?


2. Which format would you use when listing your ancestors and why?


3. Would adding photos and documentation in a separate adjoined page be best? Of course, they would be carefully labeled.


4. Would you separate your paternal and maternal lines into separate groups pages or put them together?


5. If you have a Family Group Page, what is the one thing you would have done differently?



Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions, hints, and/or advice. You guys are the best!


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 ~ A Quick Vent!

cousin1Last week I wrote a blog about my mistake of posting that I discovered that Barack Obama is my 10th cousin. I had posted it on my Facebook page, which is only for family. Some of my cousins were thrilled while some were not. The response to the blog was phenomenal. Most of the comments were great! However, I was surprised at some opinions some of the people gave.

One woman chastised me for posting anything about a living person. She stated that by Woman-Pointing-Her-Finger-006doing so I could damage the persons’ reputation or possibly cause harm to them. What? First, all I did was mention his name and say we are cousins. My blog was about my family and their reactions to the news. I gave no other information about him. Even if I did, his entire life is on the internet for all to read!

I was informed by another lady that I was a horrible person for disparaging a former President! She accused me of writing hateful comments about him. I went back and reread the blog and I don’t know which blog she read but I am 100% positive it wasn’t mine.

Agenda-692-800-800Last but not least, was a remark from a man who stated that political commentaries and agenda were not appropriate for Genealogy blogs. OK, once again I don’t know whose blog he read. Even on my Facebook page, I don’t do any commentary for or against any issue or person and my only agenda is to promote and encourage Genealogy!

I just felt I needed to vent a little. 90% of the people who read the blog and left a comment were wonderful and encouraging….Thank you! If you are part of the 10% may I suggest you read the blog through, thoroughly next time before commenting!


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 ~ My Big Mistake ~ Assuming Civility

facebook-logoFor over 10 years I have been using Facebook to keep my relatives informed about my Genealogical finds. I have posted some of my blogs and made inquires of those who may know more than me about family relationships. My personal Facebook page is basically for family only. Of the 140+ “friends” I have only met 6 in person. I wasn’t raised around family so most of these people are relatives who have found me over the years through other relatives. Most have expressed appreciation for all the history and stories I post.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog about my 9x Great Uncle Jonathan Singletary who changed his last name to his mother’s maiden name of Dunham after he had gotten in Zachary Taylor 2some trouble. While researching I discovered that President Barack Obama and I share my 10x Great Grandfather Richard Singletary. I thought this was a find worth sharing with my family. I had previously shared that Daniel Boone is my 1st cousin 8x removed and that President George Washington is my 3rd cousin 8x removed, and also President Zachary Taylor is my 1 cousin 6x removed. Everyone had been so excited over this news.

Again, I reiterate that I do not personally know most of my family personally. I have my own very strong political beliefs which I have never shared on Facebook. I do not put up memes supporting or disparaging any candidate as this has never been my purpose for my page. I do have several cousins who regularly post their views, some very vigorously, but I do not respond to their posts.

HereticThat brings me to Monday evening when I naively put up the post about my discovery. I did make mention that regardless of your political views this was an exciting find and to please remember this is a genealogy post not a political endorsement of any kind. After putting the post up I had an errand to run so when I returned home about 1 hour later I was shocked to see what had happened. Immediately after I posted, I had gotten a barrage of “worst President, best President” responses, then the fighting began! I do not use curse words, ever! I was shocked by the cursing, swearing, name-calling, and yes, even the threats that went on. Some of the cousins even “blocked” each other. I felt so defeated as all I wanted to do was share my discovery. I took the post down!

I felt bad because I know some of my civil minded relatives would have liked finding out who they are related too! However, I am now hesitant to inform them of it as some of the ones who reverted to name-calling, etc were ones I also thought were this way! This was definitely a lesson learned. I think from now on I will only post about ancestors who were not famous or controversial!

How do you or would you handle such a situation?


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 ~ I’m What?

Mary Lynn Elementary School Tucson AZ
Mary Lynn Elementary School

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

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


A couple of weeks ago I received an invitation on my Authors’ Facebook page to join the “Gibson Genealogy Group”. My first thought was “How did they know I had Gibson’s in my trees?” then I realized I have had that page for over 6 years and I probably wrote something about my Gibson ancestors. So, I joined the group and responded to the survey of who my Gibson’s were. Walter Gibson (1718-1782), my 5x Great Grandfather is one of my brick walls.  Thanks to this group I now know why I couldn’t find information on Walter. He was a Melungeon! I know, my first thought was probably just like yours “a what?”. A Melungeon was considered by outsiders to have a mixture of European, Native American, and African ancestry. Researchers have referred to Melungeons and similar groups as “tri-racial isolates,” and Melungeons have faced discrimination, both legal and social because they did not fit into America’s accepted racial categories.  I can’t help thinking about how upset my parents would be to find out that my dad wasn’t all Anglo!


I want to share these experiences with future generations because I believe I have learned a valuable lesson in having to make the decision to not accept my parent’s racists views. I understand that try as we might, we cannot legislate tolerance or acceptance. It has to be a change of the heart and a love for our fellow man, no matter what their ancestry is. This stance has not always gone over well, especially with my mother. 34 years ago, after I became a widow with 3 children, she disowned me because I married a Hispanic man. We are still married, and I do not regret the decision I made. I now have 9 beautiful grandchildren, 3 of them are white, 2 are half-black and 4 are half gypsy. We are one, very happy, loving family!

Now I will spend time researching my Melungeon roots, hoping to discover where this part of me comes from. I can’t wait to share this with my family. I can hear my youngest Grandson say “Grandma, that’s just FREAKY!”


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.

You Are Just Now Finding That Out?

Daniel Boone picI have a personal Facebook page for family only. Most of the family I have never met as I was raised about 1300 miles from them. Only 2 of the 150+ cousins are doing any kind of Genealogy research. So as I find new or interesting information on one of our Ancestors I post my findings on my page. In the last week, I discovered that Daniel Boone is my 1st cousin 8 times removed. I posted this along with his line to me and I got great responses. Except for one cousin. They made the following comment ”Why would this be a new find? Shouldn’t you have completed our Genealogy by now?”

I just shook my head and laughed. I have been searching my family roots for over 20 years now and I fully understand the effort and time it takes to thoroughly research each Ancestor. I know this cousin has no idea. I sent her a private message and told her the following.

Thank you for your response. Yes, I am just now finding this Man Standing At Beginning Of Winding Roadinformation on our cousin Daniel Boone. Researching Genealogy is not a short sprint, it is a never-ending journey. It can take weeks, months and in some cases years to find the correct ancestor and their documentation so they can be placed in the tree. Every person must have documentation otherwise it is guesswork and hoping that this ancestor is ours.

Another problem is as you go further back you have a large number of Ancestors to go through. Daniel Boone is our cousin through his maternal Grandmother, Sarah Morgan’s father Edward Morgan. Edward is my 8 times Great Grandfather. To put this in perspective, by the time you are researching 8 generations back you will have over 1020 3 times Great Grandparents! So you can see why it could take years to make new discoveries”

I hope this explains it well enough for her. On a side note….when I told my youngest Grandson he was related to Daniel Boone his response was….”You mean he is real?”


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.

Another Internet Surprise

computer-image-ort-hiOnce again, the internet, specifically Facebook has helped me to fill in some holes in my Family History. I wrote a blog (  ) 3 years ago about my Aunt Nellie whose husband was murdered in Lexington Missouri in 1930. I had tried to do research before I wrote it but there wasn’t much information available. My sources were a newspaper article and the story told me by a cousin. Yesterday, I received a message on my Authors Facebook page and I was astounded!

The Great Grandson of the man, Irvan Menaugh who murdered my Uncle Virgil, sent meLexington MO Courthouse information about it and the trial. He told me stories he had heard from his Dad and from a Grandson of Irvan. He even took the time to give me the dates and the outcomes of the proceeding trails associated with the murder. There are still a lot of questions about the entire case, ones like “Why wasn’t Irvan convicted of this murder?”, “Where are the missing court records?” and “Was the presiding judge bribed with a land deal to find Irvan not guilty?” I plan on writing a new blog on this new information and maybe more facts can be found.

I have read a lot of arguments between Genealogists about whether to allow our Family Trees to be seen by the public and to limit the information we use in our Blogs or to make it all public. I understand both sides, the pros, and cons etc. All I know is several times, because of a Blog I have received vital pieces of information I needed to fill in the gaps. 20 years ago, when I first started researching my Family History this could never happen. I would have never known this kind gentleman even existed. My advice is to use the internet to its fullest extent, reaching out to others with any information you may have or to ask others if they have additional information that could help in your research. All I know is I am so thankful to the generous Genealogy Community.

Have you had someone contact you with much need information about an Ancestor because of the internet?


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.


Hitting the Jackpot on Facebook

Cousin Alex
Cousin Alex

Recently my husband’s Uncle passed away. When we attended his memorial we reconnected with one of his cousins Alex, the step-son of the Uncle.  After returning to Colorado Alex befriended both my husband and me on Facebook.

Alex’s mother Elisa and my husband’s mother Minnie are sisters. Alex learned both English and Spanish at home and he also spent a lot of time in Mexico visiting the other sister, Manuela and her twelve children. My husband and his sibling were raised in a home where their mother was trying to learn English and as a result never taught Spanish to any of her eight children. Having this language barrier has been a hindrance especially at family get togethers.  Not only did his Aunt and cousins not speak English but his Grandparents didn’t either.


After George and I got married my in-laws took us to visit Manuela and her family in Caborca Mexico. I had been to several Mexican cities in the past but they were all border towns. I was a little anxious about traveling farther into the interior of Mexico. To my surprise, I had a wonderful time. The inner part of Mexico is nothing like the border towns and Tia Manuela and her family were warm and cordial. We spent three days in this beautiful little town. I got to meet all of George’s twelve cousins and on the second night there my in-laws left George and I alone with them. I remember how awkward it was trying to communicate. It took almost a half an hour for one cousin to let us know that they wanted to take us out to dinner! With the use of hand movements and animal sounds we finally understood and off we went to the best dinner we have ever had!

Tia Manuela and family
Tia Manuela and family

Looking over Alex’s friends list I discovered that he was friends with several of the cousins in Mexico. I told my husband who immediately befriended them also. After about a week I decided I too should be their friends. I had developed a closed family group on Facebook a few years ago for George’s family Ancestry. I put their Genealogy on it along with documentation and photos and added his brothers and sisters and their families to it. His family was very appreciative of all my efforts. I even interviewed my in-laws and wrote stories about their childhood and ancestors.


After befriending his cousins I wrote to them that I was adding them to the group. I got a response in Spanish but I noticed the “Translate” link beneath the post. When I clicked on it the post was translated to English. I was really excited, finally communication! The six cousins have really enjoyed the group page. Many of the stories and photos they have never seen. Then yesterday something incredible happened. One of the cousin posted 15 never before seen photos of my mother-in-law, her sisters, her parents and Grandparents! She also said her mother had lots of photos and documents that she will post when she can. It has been a great blessing to all to connect with each other and to be able to share the family history.

The moral of the story is: with today’s technology there is no reason not to reach out to those family members who may speak a different language than us.

I realize I may be a little late in discovering this great option of Facebook translating posts for us, but I thought I’d share just in case there are some who like me, were not aware of it!

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

“They Were Only Farmers” – Take The Challenge

Cotton FieldsToday at Physical Therapy I was talking with a young Hispanic man who is one of the therapy helpers/receptionist. He asked me what I did when I was not submitting to “torture” and I enthusiastically told him about writing my books and about Genealogy. He asked a few questions and I was very excited to answer them for him. Then he said “I really don’t know why anyone would want to find out about their Ancestors.” I was shocked! Did he really just say that? So I asked him “Why wouldn’t they?”

He looked at me and said “I don’t think I would want to know about my family because they were all just farmers.”  I guess the look on face said it all because before I could reply he said, “I guess if your family was famous or rich then it would be interesting.” Again, I am sure my face gave me away.

I then posed a question to him, “How would you feel if your Great Grandchildren said I don’t want to know about myFarmers Great Grandfather because he was just a receptionist?” The look on his face was priceless.  I went on to tell him that his family were farmers by profession, they themselves were something else altogether. They could have been musicians, dancers. weavers, city leaders or a number of other things. They were definitely Fathers, Mothers, Brothers, Sisters, Aunts or Uncles. Who they were was not defined by what job they performed or how they made their living but by their character and interests.

I offered to help him find some information about his family, so on my next visit he will bring me names, dates, and locations of his Grandparents. I told him to ask his parents about the Family Stories and he might be surprised at what he may find.

I am hoping that I can help this young man find a passion for his Family History. It broke my heart to think that so many of our younger generation probably feel the exact same way. How can we help?

CHALLENGE:   What if each one of us offered to help one young person find their Ancestors and their stories?  My challenge is for each one of you to find a younger person and introduce them to the wonderful world of Genealogy. Yes it will take some time away from your own research or job or leisure time, but think of the reward of seeing a young person develop a love for their Family History.

If you do take the challenge please leave a comment and let me know how it went. I would love to hear about it.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, 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.