Freaky Friday ~ “We Were Cherokee”

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

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

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

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

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


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

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.

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up ~ Freaky Friday #2

J&J picSeveral years ago, my Son-in-law Jake, asked me to research his Genealogy and I quickly gathered all the information that he knew about his family and eagerly began. His paternal ancestors came from Missouri and places on the east coast.


During the research, I stumbled upon a very familiar last name…. Rucker. I know that Rucker is a very common German/Dutch name and that a lot of Rucker’s immigrated to America starting as far back as 1690. I was intrigued and began to dig deeper.

Following the line backward I discovered the name, John Rucker. John had been born thecousin quote FF2 oldest child of Peter Rucker and Elizabeth (Fielding) Rucker in 1680 in England. I became so excited I could hardly contain myself. Peter Rucker born in 1661 in Germany was my 7th times Great Grandfather! That meant he was my daughter’s 8th times Great Grandfather and he was also my son-in-laws 9th Great Grandfather. My daughter and son-in-law are 1st cousins 10 times removed! Jake descended from John Rucker and my daughter, Jerusha descended from Thomas Rucker the 2nd son of Peter and Elizabeth Rucker.

Oh, the fun I have had with this. I have relentlessly teased them about being kissing cousins.

Then it hit me. Jake was my 1st cousin 9 times removed. Sorry, but this kind of creeped me out. Then I felt the heat rush through my face and it dawned on me, if he is my cousin then so are my 2 grandsons!!! What do I do now, have the boys call me Grandma Cousin? This is truly 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.

3 Days Too Late

mom & brotherBack in 1981 my Mother, in one of her typical neurotic episodes, disowned my older brother. Although he was 44 years old, had been married twice, had several children and had retired from the Air Force after 20 years of service, he had refused to do as he was told. This was a betrayal in my Mothers’ eyes. It wasn’t the first time I witnessed this type of behavior from her and it wasn’t the last.

That was the last time I ever saw my brother, Gordon Smith Wilson. He was 18 years older than I. When I was 6 months old he graduated High School and joined the Air Force. In the early 60’s he was shipped to Vietnam. He ended up doing 3 tours there by choice. He was a load master on the C-130 Aircraft and was very proficient at loading the planes without the benefit of scales. He was shot 3 different times, each time in the lower Brother in Vietnamextremities. He also received radiation burns on his face when an airplane exploded near him. Because of all the horrific things he saw while in war he became an alcoholic. I only saw him about 10 times in my life. The longest stretch was in 1981. He came to stay with our Mother for 2 weeks. He ended up only staying a week. He left abruptly with no explanation and my Mother said we will never hear from nor see him again.

My Mother disowned me because I married someone she did not approve of. (We have been married for 31 years). She passed away in 1999. From that time on I began searching for my brother. When the internet became available I began to do searches. I made phone calls and sent letters to potential matches, but I had no luck. On February 1st, 2018 during one of my searches I finally found got a hit. I found his information on one of those background checking sites. It gave just enough facts that I knew that it was him. I was ecstatic. My husband and I were leaving for California on the 3rd so I figured I Obituarywould pay for the info after we got back on the 10th. When we returned, life got busy, so I couldn’t get back to it until the 15th. When I put in his information up popped his obituary! He had passed away on February 12th. I missed connecting with him by 3 days. I was devastated. I was able to find some information on 2 of his boys so my plan is to contact them.


The moral of the story is: When you find potential information on a long lost loved one, do not put off making contact. We are not guaranteed tomorrow!

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.

The Truths You Find While Researching Genealogy

The family 1966

Growing up my parents didn’t talk much about our family history. I heard a few stories from my Mother but none whatsoever from my Dad. I didn’t get curious about my family until after my Mother died and by then it was too late to ask the questions I had.

I had always been told that my Mother and Dad had each been married before they themselves had gotten married. My Mother said she had been married twice before. She told me her first husband had died from typhoid fever and her second husband has killed in a house fire while she had gone out shopping.

Truth #1: My Mother married to Earl Joseph Wilson on September 4, 1936. My half-brother was born in April 1937. This is where the information stopped. However, after much research I discovered that Earl Joseph Wilson had served in WWII in the army, he also moved to Dayton Ohio after the war and he passed away there on December 23. 1993. So much for Typhoid Fever.                                                                                                  George C Liermans' Death

Truth #2: She married George C. Lierman on July 19, 1940. On May 14, 1948 George did indeed die in a house fire along with 1 of his step-sons. The newspaper article stated his wife Grace had gone to the store and the kerosene stove exploded shortly afterwards. No mention of my Mother. George and Grace were married in 1946 so apparently he and my Mother had been a divorce prior to that.

Truth #3: My maternal Grandfather’s second wife died February 4, 1948. In her obituary it lists her step-children, John P Smith; Raymond Smith; Mrs. Otto Claxton and Mrs. Ike Cook. My Aunt Mary was married to Otto so who was Mrs. Cook. Of course, it had to be my Mother. There was never a mention of her 3rd marriage the entire time I was growing up!

I had been told that my Dad had been married once before and he and his wife Mildred had 2 daughters. Mildred and the two young girls died of Scarlet Fever.

Dad Mildred 1 MLTruth #1: My Dad married Mildred Shockley November 20, 1937. He was 22 and Mildred was just 17. On February 28, 1938, 3 months after getting married my half-brother Benjamin was born. I never knew I had another brother as I only discovered this about 8 years ago! Benjamin died on May 12, 1938 from Pneumonia. Mildred died on June 12, 1938, also of Pneumonia.


Dad Mildred Loretta

Truth #2: In March 1944 he married Mildred McQuillen Young who had a 2-year-old daughter. They never had any children. They had to have gotten divorced because both were remarried in 1948. Mildred died on December 5, 1981 not of Scarlet Fever. The young girl died in 2008.


I will never know the reason behind my Mother not telling me the truth about their lives. Maybe it was just during that era it was frowned upon to be divorced or married more than once. I also wonder why I was never told about my baby brother who died so young. All I know is I am more determined than ever to leave behind an accurate account of my life, yes even the unflattering things, for my descendants.

Have you uncovered any “untruths” in your linage? I would love to hear about them.

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.