Tag Archives: #52ancestors

“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.

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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.

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Favorite Photo ~ 102 years ago ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #4

This is my all-time favorite photo. Growing up my Dad did not talk about his past or his family and no childhood tales or even stories about how he meet my mother. All of the information I have discovered came from his younger sister, my Aunt Margaret or from cousins who knew him.

When my Dad died in 1974, my mother threw away everything that belonged to him. I had to sneak outside in the middle of the night and go through the trash that was at the curb. I was only able to dig out the photos that he had before the porch light came on and I had to pretend that I was taking trash out from my room. I hid the photos in a bush by the front door and I retrieved them the next morning.

I quickly glanced through them before placing them in my locked chest of treasures. I had no idea who most of the people were, but I figured that someday I may be able to ask someone. In 1987 I finally got the chance. My husband and I made the move from Arizona to Missouri, and I was able to ask my Aunt about the photos. She meticulously looked through them, and she even wrote names and dates on the back.

This photo was in really horrific shape. About 10 years ago I restored it and now it is truly my most prized photo.

This is my Dad, Douglas Hughes age 4 and his slightly older brother Leonard age 6 playing on an old swing in the yard of their farm located in Hughesville, Pettis County, Missouri circa 1919. This is the earliest photo that remains of my Dad. I feel so blessed to have it.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have written two books “Your Family History: Doing I 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.

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Namesake ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #3

It wasn’t until I began researching my family history that I realized that my middle name wasn’t as “plain” as I thought. I found that at least one third of my female ancestors share this same name.

Growing up I hated my middle name ….. Jane. My sister taunted me with “plain Jane” throughout my childhood. I once got up the courage to ask my mother why she gave me the middle name Jane, and she told me that was her name, and it went back a few generations. She also told me that if I were to have a daughter I had to name her Jane, even if it was the middle name.


Me at 9 months old

From that time on I would occasionally try to think of a first name that would sound good with it, but I didn’t like any of them. Then, when I was about 12 or 13 years old, my best friends mom took us to see the movie Hawaii. Julie Andrews played the main female lead, a missionaries’ wife named Jerusha. I thought about it ….. Jerusha Jane….I loved it. It just seemed to just flow. I had to wait through 2 sons until my daughter was born when I was 23 to use it.


Julie Andrews as “Jerusha”

My mothers name was Emmajane, her mom was Ella Jane, her mom was Sarah Jane and so on. There are over 200 female ancestors with the name of Jane in the first five previous generations in both my maternal and paternal lines.

In retrospect, I think my dislike of the name came from the dysfunctional relationship that I had with my mother. She had some mental problems that only got worse with age, and I was never close to her. Once I discovered all of the “Jane’s” in my lines, I have grown to love the name.I am proud to be the namesake of these women.

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.

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“Beginnings” ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #1

I am excited to begin this challenge again for my second year! I had such a fun time writing blogs last year, but I also had a few times that I became very frustrated. However, with each new theme I was stretched to do my best.

This year I am planning to start a new beginning in my Genealogy research. I want to start concentrating on just one family line at a time. Currently, I find that I kind of just jump from one line to another, following hints. I have found a lot of interesting ancestors this way and a plethora of documents and information, but I never felt like I had finished well enough. There were several loose ends I should have tied up, but I neglected them because I got distracted.

In my blog on January 1st this year, I stated that I am going to “hire” myself. I now that sounds strange but let me explain. I realized that I don’t always use the same focus when I work on my own lines as I do when I work on a clients’. So, by “hiring” myself (being paid in treats or something I really want) I am hoping I can break my bad habit of leaping into the rabbit hole.

I have developed a way to better document what I am pursuing, where I have found leads to more information and a plan to complete my task. I am hoping that this will help me stay on track.

I am really looking forward to this new beginning!

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.

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Resolution ~ A New Year ~ 52 Ancestors #52

I have really enjoyed this challenge this year. I tried to participate in it about 4 years ago, but I only completed about half the year. At the first of the year we got the news that my husband would never recover from the health problems that was caused by an arrogant nurse practitioner in July of 2019. I had been writing a Genealogy blog since January of 2012, but it was hit or miss at best, and as I found myself in the position of being a full time caregiver, I knew I needed something to help fill the hours. This was a perfect fit!

After a couple of weeks, I made the decision to try to write a blog a day. I was nervous as I didn’t think I could come up with enough to write about, but once I made the commitment and began to write, I found it wasn’t that difficult. Once I came up with a few themes of my own, it became easier.

Because of this challenge from Amy Johnson Crow, I have been able to balance out my love of Genealogy, writing and caring for my husband, which has helped me not to become overwhelmed, especially since the pandemic was thrown into the mix.

The bonus of this challenge was discovering so many interesting details about my ancestors. It pushed me to dig deeper, as well as casting out a wider net. I had gotten into the habit of just researching a few certain lines of my Dad’s side, ignoring the rest. Because of the specific prompts, I was forced to apply the same principles of research to my own ancestry that I apply to my clients. It has really opened up a new, more intense love for family history.

My resolution is to continue with my self-imposed challenge of writing at least one blog a day. I also want to begin organizing the blogs I have already written into a book that I can share with my extended family.

I want to thank Amy for the 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Challenge. It has made a very difficult year a little easier. I look forward to participating in the challenge!

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

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Winter ~A Time for Sweaters ~ 52 Ancestors Week #51


Overheating in a sweater on Christmas Eve

I think I was 12 years old before I got my first coat. We always wore sweaters during the winter time because Southern Arizona rarely got cold enough to warrant anything heavier. I would watch in awe at the movies or commercials that had a winter theme, and the children would have on heavy coats, gloves, scarves, and hats. I was a little envious of the coats that had fur around the hood and sleeves. To me this looked so sophisticated! I remember getting a bicycle and a swimsuit for Christmas when I was 11 and I put on the suit and went riding around the neighborhood on the bike. This was the type of winters we had, and at the time I thought everyone had the same kind.


Snow in Missouri

You can imagine the shock when we moved to Missouri and my Dad took my sister Mary and I to Sears to buy coats and gloves. I didn’t like the way they felt, they were too heavy and bulky. Once the temperatures began to drop, my attitude changed. I suddenly fell in love with these wonderful items that kept me warm! We only lived in this State for two years and I discovered that I really loved the snow. I would throw on my coat and gloves anytime it snowed and I would go outside to watch it fall. I had fun sledding, having snowball fights and building snowmen.


Santa Monica Beach and Pier

From here, we moved to Santa Monica, California. Once again, owning a coat wasn’t a necessity. We lived 7 blocks from the beach so we did experience cool air coming off the ocean, however, it wasn’t cold enough for my Missouri coat or gloves. I got a thin cloth jacket which worked great for me. I enjoyed walking on the beach during the winter because it wasn’t crowded. I was totally amazed at how different this time of years was in each place we lived. We spent 5 years in California, and we moved 4 times. Each time we moved further inland, and we eventually ended up in Hollywood. No matter where we moved the temperature was mild from November until April.


Our house in Nashville, TN

I have lived in seven States over the course of my life. Each one presented its own unique winter weather. Colorado and Missouri made driving difficult, and as an adult I discovered that I did not like snow! In Tennessee there was very light snow and in Mississippi and Louisiana it had very mild weather. I really liked living in each State and experiencing the seasons while there.

As I get older, I can no longer tolerate the cold so Arizona will be my home from here on out. My family that is scattered throughout the Midwest and on to the East Coast think I am crazy when I tell them, winter is my favorite time of year!

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

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Oops! ~ I Should Have Thought That Through ~ 52 Ancestors Week #49

This week’s prompt seems very fitting to me. I recently spoke with a cousin, “John”, I had connected with on Facebook. Although he had been on my friends list for several years the extent of our “relationship” had been responding to each other’s posts. I try not to overwhelm my family with information about our shared ancestry, but whenever asked about it I gladly share.

A few weeks ago I posted that if anyone had any stories about our mutual ancestors that I would love to hear them. John responded that he had a lot of stories and he wanted to call me so we could discuss them. I was elated! He was from a branch that I had not heard any stories from. We set up a time for the call and I awaited excitedly. We were on the phone for about and hour and I furiously too notes and asked questions. When the call ended, I got to work trying to verify some of the stories he told me about.

The first bit of information was one I had heard before. My Hughes line was related to Jessie James! I remembered doing a quick search about the possibility of Jessie being a relative, but I didn’t remember the outcome. I had already researched our connection to John Wesley Hardin and John Hardin Clements, the notorious Texas outlaws but I had never added Jessie to the tree. When I started researching I realized why. There was no way we were related, no matter how far back I went. So I put that possibility in the “no way” pile.

I moved on to the next story. It was about our ancestors, whom he named, that supposedly helped to dig up and rebury Civil War soldiers that had died and were buried on the grounds of The Anderson House in Lexington, Missouri. Again, I did some research and found nothing. I had been to this house and the museum that they had on the grounds, so I knew if I called the office, someone may be able to answer the question for me. The poor lady must have thought I was nuts! She was so nice though, and she told me they get calls all the time trying to prove some ancestors’ connection to the battle that was fought there or things happening on the grounds. She informed me that nothing like this ever happened here. My “no way” file just got bigger!

John spent about 15 minutes telling me all about his paternal heritage, how they were descendant from Irish Kings, and he told me outlandish stories about them. This line I wasn’t concerned with, nor did I even attempt to do any research of it because he and I aren’t connected through his fathers line.

Now John is bugging me about when I am going to write up the stories he told me and let the family know about Jessie James! I told him that we were not related to him, and he exclaimed “That’s what my Dad told me, and he’s not a liar!” I told him that maybe he was related to Jessie through his Dad’s line, and I told him I have never researched that line since I am not really connected to it. I tried to calm the situation down by telling him that when I have free time I may be able to look into it for him. I then told him the genealogy mantra: “Genealogy without documentation is mythology.” He understood and at least he didn’t unfriend me!

My oops moment was not thinking through the post about wanting stories. Maybe I should have just contacted a few cousins at a time and ask them if they had any information on the family. I could then, at least, give a few guidelines and explain about oral traditions. These stories can be wonderful and add a lot of character to your family history, as long as we state they are stories and are not proven facts. Lesson learned!

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

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Gratitude ~ Truly Thankful ~ 52 Ancestors #48

During this time of year that we pause to give thanks, I think it is very fitting that this weeks’ blog should be on Gratitude. We all have a lot to be grateful for, just sometimes we forget to stop and count our blessings and to express gratitude for what we do have.

I am grateful for Genealogy. I wasn’t raised around family since my parents moved us from Missouri to Arizona when I was 11 months old. I lived in Missouri from age 12-14 but because of my mothers mental illness we didn’t get to know many of the relatives. After my mother died in 1999, I had a great desire to know where I came from. And so my journey really began.

Over the last 21 years I have discovered so many amazing things about my ancestors. The most excited thing I have found is actual family! With the onset of social media I have been able to connect with hundreds of relatives. Most are more distant ones but I do have over 150 closer relatives, and only a handful were known to me before this. I have been able to meet a few in person, or talked with them by phone. I have had several who have mailed or emailed me photos and stories about our shared family.


Dad 1939

Mom 1941

Brother 1955


Sister 1986

As of two years ago I am the only living member of my family lines going to me. My Dad died in 1974, my mother who disowned me in 1986, died in 1999, my sister who did the same because of my mothers pressure, died in 2012 and my brother who my mother disowned in 1980, died in 2018. I have always felt disconnected from family because of my mother, however now I have a sense of family because of the blessing of finding so many wonderful cousins. I am full of Gratitude!

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

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Different Language ~ Getting to Know You ~ 52 Ancestors Week #46

I usually write about my ancestors, as I have gone as far as I can with my husbands Hispanic lines. I have told all of the stories I have gathered, so I consider myself finished with his ancestry. You may ask “Why”? Well, it is because of the language barrier.

My husband was raised by parents who are of Mexican and Native American descent. My father-in-law was born in the United States, however his Grandfather was born in Mexico. My mother-in-law was born in Mexico. Her Grandmother was born in the Arizona Territory, so when it became a State, she became an automatic citizen. Neither of them could speak English. When my in-laws got married and started having children, my mother-in-law learned to speak English. My husbands’ parents never taught any of their 8 children to speak Spanish.


Church in Caborca. Me and my in-laws standing in front.

When I joined the family 34 years ago, I encountered several awkward moments. Two months after my husband and I got married, his parents invited us to go to visit one of his aunts’ house in Caborca, Mexico. I had been to Mexico several times before, but only to border towns in Arizona and California. I was a little nervous about going deeper into the country, mainly because of stories my mother-in-law had told me. For me it was really like stepping into another world! I felt out of place because I couldn’t speak the language, and I couldn’t read the signs.

On our last night we were there, my in-laws and the Aunt and Uncle went out to eat, leaving my husband and I alone with 6 of the 12 adult cousins. We sat on the couches just staring at each other. My husband knew a little Spanish but not enough to comprehend what they were saying. They knew even less English. We all laughed as we tried to figure out what each other were saying. Finally, one of the cousins stood up and rubbed her stomach, put her fingers to her mouth like she was putting food in her mouth, and then she said, “Mooooo”. She then pointed at the door. I thought my husband say going to die laughing as he told me, they wanted to go eat. He said “Comida?” which means food. She smiled, and proudly said, “Follow me” while walking toward the door.

Over the years, we have spent many hours at my husbands’ Grandparents house or at his aunts and uncles houses. We always felt like the odd man out. My husband did try to learn more Spanish, but never enough to understand more than maybe 40% of any conversation.I never tried to learn it because to be honest, I often massacre English, so what would I do to a foreign language? Also, it is such a precise dialect that you could insult someone just by using the wrong greeting (I have done this) or by referring to a person with the wrong noun. However, I can now sit in a room and listen to conversations and understand most of what is being said.


Jose Maria Garcia Torres


Getting back to the above comment about the language barrier and my husbands family history. Since most of his ancestors had lived in Mexico, all of their documents are in Spanish, so it makes it difficult to verify documents. Also, because of the way children are named it makes it nearly impossible to be confident in the research. There are, in just 3 generation over 23 Jose Marias’ in my husbands maternal line. So for now, the difference of the language has won!

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

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