Category Archives: Family History

The Overalls Gang #10 ~ Leonard Monroe Hughes

A lot of time while writing about our ancestors, we focus on those who would be considered successful by current standards. After all, there is usually far more documentation and sources that we can draw from that makes developing the story of their lives much easier. Looking through photos I made a discovery! I have quite a few pictures of my ancestors wearing farmers overalls. The majority of my ancestors spent their whole lives making a home and raising a family on a farm. To them, wearing overalls was a sign of honor, and they were proud of what they did. So to honor these hard-working men I will highlight the life of one of the “overall gang”, including the photo and a brief biography of the legacy they left behind.

This is my paternal Uncle Leonard Monroe Hughes, born April 30, 1913, in Hughesville, Pettis County, Missouri, the 5th of 9 children born to Charley Hughes (1865-1944) and Virginia Belle Hayes (1880-1954). Leonard was raised on the family farm outside of Hughesville. His father not only grew crops, but he also raised and trained champion horses. Life was hectic as more children were added to the family every 2 years. At the age of 9, his family moved to Lexington, Lafayette County Missouri, once again buying a farm and working the land. Leonard Married Cornelia Turis (1908-1969) and they lived with her parents on a small farm outside of Lexington. In 1940 they moved to just inside the city limits where there was still plenty of land to grow their crops. They had 5 children, 3 sons and 2 daughters. Cornelia died in 1969 and soon after that Leonard sold his farm and moved to a home with a large yard in town. He then married Ruth E. Burgy (1917-2010) on May 22, 1971. They spent their years together raising a large variety of vegetables, and planting blackberry bushes and peach trees. Leonard died on September 8, 2003, in Lexington at the age of 90.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Farming, Genealogy, Hughes, Lexington MO, The Overall Gang, Uncategorized, Uncle

My Ancestors Signature #43 ~ Reuben Coffey

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

My 4th Great Uncle


Reuben Coffey 1759-1842
From his pension application dated September 21, 1833

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ancestry, Coffey Family, Colonial Virginia, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, My Ancestors Signature, Revolutionary War, Silhouette Signature, The Coffey Family, Uncategorized, Uncle, Virginia

“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.

2 Comments

Filed under #52ancestors, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, George Denison, Massachuettes, Story telling, Uncategorized

Hometown Tuesday #41 ~ Moberly, Randolph County, Missouri

Moberly lies in a glacial plains area in a county organized in 1829, and named for John Randolph of Roanoke, Virginia in Missouri’s Little Dixie Region. It was first settled by William Holman in 1818. William Fort boiled salt at a spring near Huntsville in the 1820s. The Bee Trace, a pioneer trail, ran along the Grand Divide (the high point in The Grand Prairie) between the Missouri and Mississippi through the county. The Iowa, Sac, and Fox tribes gave up claims to the region, 1824.

Moberly, the “Magic City”, grew from the town platted by the North Missouri Railroad (Wabash) in 1866, it was built to connect to a transportation center with a 6,070 population by 1880. The North Missouri acquired the site when it took over the Chariton and Randolph Railroad after the Civil War. In 1860, the C.& R. had planned to build a road westward to Brunswick from this point on the North Missouri then turning north reaching toward Iowa.

The Chariton and Randolph Railroad named its proposed junction for William Moberly, head of the railroad, and offered free land to residents of once nearby town if Allen to settle here. Patrick Lynch, was the only one to accept this offer, and he was given two lots by the North Missouri after the Civil War for holding the site without “the loss of a life or a house.” On September 27, 1866, the first lots were sold for what would become Moberly. Moberly at this time was a very rough railroad town, considered course with too many taverns and brothels. Moberly in only five years had as many murders as the entire county had in its previous 20 years of history. In light of its mud streets and rough and tumble ways, the St. Louis papers regularly ridiculed the town in light of the more attractive, cultured, and older Huntsville. Despite this, Moberly continued to grow.

Moberly had been a division point since 1867 when the North Missouri (Wabash) reached Brunswick. In 1872 many businesses like the huge railroad repair shops, one of the earliest railroad plants west of the Mississippi, were opened. In 1873 the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas Railroad formed a junction here. Transportation facilities brought industrial growth and the development of the soil, fire clay, and coal resources of the area.

My paternal Great Uncle, Greenbury White was born in Moberly in 1844, the youngest of 4 children of Augustine White (1798-1876) and Margaret McClain (1798-1880). He fought for the Union Army, joining when he was 21 years old. He married Mary Jamison on December 31, 1866, they had 9 children, 5 sons and 4 daughters. He owned his own farm and lived in Moberly his entire life. He died on March 15, 1930, at the age of 86.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ancestry, Civil War, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Home Town Tuesday, Hometown Tuesday, Missouri, Uncategorized, Uncle, Union Soldiers

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Acuna, Ancestry, Arizona, Facebook, Facebook Groups, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Monday's For Me, Uncategorized

Sunday Salute #46 ~ Thomas Ogan ~ Revolutionary War

Thomas Ogan, my paternal 4th Great Grandfather, was born in 1740 at sea in the Caribbean. He was the son of Major Thomas Henry Ogan (1716-1779) and Elizabeth MNK. He married Ann Martin (1738-1813) in Frederick Virginia about 1766. They had 5 children, 4 girls, and 1 boy.

Thomas, at the age of 16 fought under George Washington during the French and Indian War between 1756 and 1763. Twelve years later at the start of the Revolutionary War, Thomas joined Captain William Johnson’s 11th Virginia Regiment under the command of Daniel Morgan’s Rifle Brigade in 1775. After the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775, the Continental Congress created the Continental Army. Thomas was a wagoner in the regiment.

Morgan had served as an officer in the Virginia Colonial Militia since the French and Indian War. He recruited 96 men in 10 days and assembled them at Winchester on July 14. He then marched them 600 miles to Boston, Massachusetts in only 21 days, arriving on Aug. 6, 1775. What set Morgan’s Riflemen apart from other companies was the technology they had with their rifles. They had rifle barrels with thin walls and curved grooves inside the barrels which made them light and much more accurate than the British muskets. Morgan used this advantage to initiate guerrilla tactics by which he first killed the Indian guides the British used to find their way through the rugged terrain and also to kill the British officers that led the troops. While this tactic was viewed as dishonorable by the British elites, it was, in fact, an extremely effective method that created chaos and discord for the British Army.

On December 31, 1775, a battle was fought between the Continental Army and the defenders of Quebec City. During this encounter, Daniel and 400 of his men including Thomas, were captured while leading an assault against the British. Benedict Arnold had originally been leading it, but he was injured and this forced Daniel to take command of the troops. They got trapped in the lower city and were forced to surrender. They were held prisoners until reinforcements arrived in the early spring.

Thomas spent the entirety of the war in Morgans brigade fighting many battles including the one at Valley Forge with General George Washington. He also fought in the battle of Freeman’s Clearing under the command of General Horatio Gates.

After the war, he and his family were given a land bounty of 200 acres in Rockingham Virginia. Here he farmed the land and raised his family under the flag of freedom that he fought for. He died at home in December 1813 at the age of 73.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ancestry, Colonial Virginia, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Military Service, Ogan Family, Revolutionary War, Sunday Salute, Thomas Ogan, Uncategorized

Picture Perfect Saturday #35 ~ John Higgason Ogan

I am currently working on my Family Genealogy Group page for Facebook. In doing so I realized I have a tremendous amount of photos. I decided to feature one a week. No, not everyone is “perfect” however, they are to me!

This week I am showcasing my 1st cousin 3 times removed, John Higgason Ogan. Johns was born in 1844, in Linn County, Missouri. He moved with his family to California in 1856. He was a rancher. This photo is just perfect! He is looking at his cow like it is his best friend. I like the way he is dressed, especially his hat. If has the look of a very kind man. He died on November 11, 1930, in Santa Barbara, California at the age of 86.

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.

1 Comment

Filed under Ancestry, California, Family History, Family Search, Farming, Genealogy, Ogan Family, Photos, Picture Perfect, Picture Perfect Saturday, Uncategorized

My Ancestors Signature #42 ~ Morgan Blair

How many of you have searched for any kind of photo of an Ancestor and you weren’t able to find one? Especially for one who lived before photography was invented? Have you ever looked through documents like wills, or marriage licenses and you discover that your 3x Great Grandpa had signed it? This signature is a little piece of him that was left behind. By posting it online we can preserve it for future generations.

1st Cousin 6 times Removed

Morgan Blair
1812-1886
From Will Dated February 17, 1885

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ancestry, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Morgan Blair, My Ancestors Signature, North Carolina, Silhouette Signature, Uncategorized

Thursday at the Cemetery #55 ~ Cedar Valley UMC Church Cemetery #3

This week I am honoring some of my paternal Hughes/Hayes family. There are several of my ancestors buried in this quaint cemetery located in Caldwell County, North Carolina.


I have spent the last couple of weeks writing a bio about each relative and posting it in a series of blogs. This is the final one.

Morgan Blair, my 1st cousin 6 times removed, was born on September 16, 1812, in Caldwell County, North Carolina. He was the son of John Colbert Blair (1764-1846) and Frances Hill (1768-1853). He was raised on his family’s farm near Cedar Valley. His family were pioneers in what was then Burke County, but is now Caldwell County. At a young age he learned the trade of a wagon maker. When he came of age he homesteaded his own farm, and he built a wagon shop on the property, and here he built and repaired wagons. He continued to acquire more land each year. In 1838, he married Elizabeth McLeod (1817-1877) the daughter of John McLeod and Elizabeth McRea. They had 10 children, 6 sons and 4 daughters. Morgan built his farm into a great plantation. In 1877, he became the postmaster in Cedar Valley where he served until his death on December 14, 1886, at the age of 74.

Elizabeth McLeod , wife of my 1st cousin 6 times removed, was born on May 26, 1817, in Caldwell County, North Carolina. She was the daughter of John McLeod and Elizabeth McRea. Her parents had immigrated to America in 1798 from Scotland. In 1838, she married Morgan Blair (1812-1886) the son of John Colbert Blair (1764-1846) and Frances Hill (1768-1853)). They had 10 children, 6 sons and 4 daughters. She died on September 29, 1877, at the age of 60.

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Ancestry, Cedar Valley UMC Church Cemetery, Cemetery, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, North Carolina, Thursday at the Cemetery, Uncategorized

Unusual Source ~ 52 Ancestors #7

10 years ago my husband and I took a Genealogy research trip to Missouri. My plan was to visit as many courthouses and cemeteries as we could. I also wanted to visit the Midwest Genealogy Center in Independence. I had contacted some cousins, and we made plans to get together with them. Our 10-day visit to the State was full.

We spent a full day at the Center, three days at some courthouses and a couple of days getting together with cousins. These were a lot of fun, however, as odd as it may seem, I enjoyed visiting the cemeteries the most. I grew up “visiting” people at the cemetery, and my mother always packed a lunch and we would eat lunch there. I have never had a fear of them.

On the next to our last day of being in Missouri, we visited the 2 cemeteries in the town I was born in. My Dad, several aunts and uncles, cousins, and my maternal Great Grandparents are buried there. I also got to meet a previously unknown cousin at one of them. When we left Lexington, we made our way to Buckner where my maternal Grandparents are. We attempted to find the Page Family Cemetery in Page City but the town no longer exists and the Cemetery was on private property.

Our last stop was the Dover Cemetery where my paternal Great Grandparents and 2x Great Grandparents are resting. I also found several other relatives graves there as well. We were heading back to our car when a much older gentleman in overalls approached us. He said he noticed our Arizona license plate, and he just wanted to know who we were visiting. I mentioned the names and his eyes lit up! He told us his Grandma was a Register. I asked what her name was, and he responded “Grandma”. I wasn’t sure if he was teasing me or what so I asked him what her first name was. It turned out that it was my Great Grandmother.


Robert, Elvira, Charles Register

We offered to buy him lunch, and we meet him at a small diner in town. We spent about 3 hours talking with him. He struggled at times to remember some details, but once he got started he told us so many stories and gave me verifiable facts that I didn’t already have. He even called his Granddaughter and had her bring a photo of his Grandma, and he gave it to me. So I now possess a photo that I never would have known existed if it hadn’t been for this encounter, and this unusual source.

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.

4 Comments

Filed under #52ancestors, 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks, Ancestry, Cemetery, Family History, Family Search, Genealogy, Machpelah Cemetery, Memories, Missouri, Register Family, Research, Uncategorized