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.


Monday’s for Me ~ My Baby Shoes

me babyGrowing up with a mentally ill mother wasn’t easy. We didn’t know from one day to the next what we were waking up to in the morning. When we left Missouri for California in 1969 my mother either gave away or threw away all of our things. Even our memorabilia’s. I remember the day before we got on the road she gathered almost all of my clothes and took them to a neighbor. I saw my dad get in the garbage can and pull out a small box of photos and he put them under the front seat. I ran to the can, opened the lid and started digging through it. I found my baby shoes, so I stuck them in my small purse. I was going to keep looking but I heard my mother coming down the street, so I closed the lid and ran inside.

We lived in California for 5 years and my dad passed away from lung cancer. All my mother and sister wanted was to go “home” to Tucson, AZ. We sold most of our belongings and we packed up what we were hanging on to. I saw her sneak out the small box of photos that belonged to my dad and threw them away. I waited until dark and I went and got it out of the trash and I put it under the driver’s seat. Neither my mother nor my sister drove so I knew it would be safe.

dad ccc

Fast forward several years when I married my current husband. Over the next 33 years, we moved around, a lot! I never looked in the small box of photos and I kept the pair of baby shoes in an old trunk but they always went with us wherever we moved. I believe I didn’t take them out because I was afraid that something would happen to them. About 5 years ago I finally took out the photo box and went through it. It was amazing. There were photos of my dad when he was 3 years old in 1918. There were pictures of both of his previous wives, his family and a bunch from his time in the CCC Camp in Lake Tahoe, CA in 1935.

baby shoes & wrist band

Over a year ago we moved into a new home. I was setting up my curio cabinet when my husband brought in the old trunk. He wanted to know where to put it. I said “Right there” and he set it down. Imagine my surprise when I found the baby shoes, I had totally Wrist bandforgotten about them. I decided I should include them with my other treasures in the cabinet. When I picked up the shoes one slipped out of my hand and fell to the floor. It made a rattling sound! I picked it up and looked inside. Surprise! There was my baby bracelet with my last name on it that they put on my wrist right after I was born. I literally cried. I had never seen it before. I placed it and the shoes in a prominent place in the cabinet.

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

Mondays for Me ~ No, I Wasn’t a Hippy

My-Story-This-is-my-storyThe purpose of this blog is to document the stories of my life. When I am gone my children, grandchildren and great-grandchild will have the memories of my life written by me. I am excited to begin this journey.

While growing up my three children used to always respond to their friends when asked where they got their names from with, “My mom was a hippy”. Later in life, they became even more convinced that I had been one when they saw some photos of me in my teens. I tried to explain about the photographs, but they were never convinced.

Evidence #1:  I named my children unusual names. My oldest son I named Pleasant. He is named for my Grandfather and Great Grandfather, but that didn’t convince him otherwise. My youngest son I named Starr Douglas. Douglas was after my dad, but I named him Starr because I wanted to keep the tradition of unusual names. My daughter, I named Jerusha. I heard the name when I was 12 years old in the movie Hawaii and I loved it.


Conclusion: No proof of being a hippy. The act of naming your children with unconventional names doesn’t mean you’re a “hippy”.


Evidence #2: Some photographs they saw of me in “hippy” attire. Because of my Indianupbringing of being almost totally ignored by my parents and sister, I had a habit of doing things to get attention. When we moved from Arizona to painted shortsIndependence Missouri in 1967, I didn’t fit in with the kids at school. I talked “with a weird accent”, my style of clothes was different, and I didn’t like the strange foods they served in the cafeteria. So, instead of fitting in I deliberately tried to stand out. I loved the TV show “The Monkees” (Davy Jones!!!). They dressed different so I adopted this style. My one friend and I would paint our facesme and darrell in multicolored shapes with brightly colored cream eye shadow and go to the town square and walk around. We definitely got attention! I also used paint to decorate my jean shorts in flowers and peace symbols. My cousin and I talked my Aunt into making us Nehru jackets. She was a professional seamstress and could make anything! I was once sent home from school in Junior High for wearing the cloth belt from my dress as a headband!


Conclusion: No proof that I ever adopted the hippy lifestyle, all of the above was done to get attention and to have fun.


Santa Monica BeachEvidence #3: In 1969 my family moved to Santa Monica California. We lived 7 blocks from the beach, and I spent every moment there I could. I wore a lime green bikini that had purple polka dots on it. I grew my hair long; it was past my waist. I wore big floppy hats and bell bottoms. Again, my old photos and my stories convinced my children of my being a “hippy”! My oldest son told me he had read all about the “Summer of Love” that took place in ‘69 and that was proof enough for him! I was guilty of liking “hippy” music, I danced like one, and I had the lingo down…. Groovy.

me long hair

Conclusion: No proof because almost all 14-19 year-olds liked the music of the late ‘60’s back then. The clothes were fun and comfortable, and bikinis were the norm at the beach. The long hair was the style of the day and it was a big improvement over the pixie cuts my mother had me wear growing up. No proof that this made me a hippy.


My children have now passed on the idea of “hippy” Grandma to the Grandkids. However, they all think it is “Cool Man”.


View the photos and decide for yourselves!!!



cropped-blog-pic1.jpgI 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.

My “Favorite Photo”, Mathew Arvin Register ~ 52 Ancestors

Mathew A. Register new photo


I was not raised around any family, almost all of them lived over 1200 miles away. My parents were not the kind to talk too much about their families and neither of them were sentimental about photos nor memorabilia. It wasn’t until I began my Genealogy journey over 20 years ago that I came into contact with several “unknown” cousins who had been blessed with an abundance of photos. Thankfully they had no problem sharing.

I have a lot of favorites but this one warms my heart. This is my paternal 2x Great Grandfather, Mathew Arvin Register. It was taken around 1895 while visiting his farm in Alexandria Township, Kansas. Standing in the corn, he has a very content look on his face. I like that the two corn stalks are taller than him. At this time, he was in his 60’s and had led a very exciting life. Although he had been a farmer his entire life, he did not restrict himself to this one thing.

He was born in Bladen County, North Carolina in February 1833. Sometime before 1850 the Register’s packed up their belongings and moved to the St. Joseph, Missouri area. Within a couple of months, Mathew met and married Elisia Jane White. They built a home there and began to farm. Mathew was a singer and he established himself as a well-known vocal teacher in the area. Singing and teaching was a passion for him. He was known as a kind and compassionate man.

By 1855 he moved his family along with 2 of his brothers to Kansas and once again began farming. Within a few years, the Civil War began. Although the entire Register Family had several slaves they sided with the Union.  Mathew and 2 of his brothers, Owen and Sim joined the Union Army. Owen was soon captured by the Confederates. It was a custom of the rebels to sometimes make their prisoners fight with them. Because of this Mathew and Sim were always afraid of accidentally shooting Owen during one of the skirmishes. Thankfully all three of the brothers survived the war, however, while a prisoner of the Confederates, Owens’ fingers froze, and all of his fingers and thumbs were amputated at the first joint. For a wedding present, Mathew’s father had given them 2 slaves named Tid and London. After the War, Mathew bought a house in St. Joseph, Missouri for them.

In 1873, Mathew moved his family from Kansas to Perry, Oklahoma which was located in the Cherokee Nation.  He had obtained a government contract to deliver supplies and horses to the Cherokee Strip. Mathew started and ran a wagon freight line between St. Joseph and Perry for several years. He also raised broodmares on his farm in Missouri (which he still owned) and delivered them to the Army Fort in Oklahoma. The family only lived in Oklahoma for 2 years before returning to St. Joseph. Mathew continued with his freight business, running it from his farm.

In about 1880 they moved near the town of Dover, Lafayette County, Missouri. There he owned a farm with an orchard and grew Golden Seal apples. He would comb the hills around the town digging up wild Ginseng Root and he sold both apples and the Ginseng to the public. In 1902 his beloved wife died. In June of 1913, Mathew made a trip to St. Joseph to visit some of his married children. While there he fell ill. He died on 23 June 1913 at the age of 80.

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.

Fresh Start ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks


I decided to participate in the 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks Challenge this year. I tried it a few years ago and although I enjoyed it I didn’t complete it. Let’s see how far I get this time!

The theme for this week is “Fresh Start”. I have hundreds of Ancestors who had fresh starts. Many came to Colonial America looking for a better life, and many more of my family moved west for the same reason.  Some remarried after the death of a spouse. So, the problem was, which one should I write about? After much thought, I decided to take a different look at a “Fresh Start”.

You see, I have one brick wall in my maternal line that has driven me batty since I first began researching my lineage. I have tried every method that could find and I did make a few minor finds, but I still only have minimal information on him.


I decided to make a “Fresh Start” in the hunt for my Great Grandfather, Pleasant/Plesent Smith born February 14, 1853, in Hazel Hill. Missouri. My goal is to revisit all the information I currently have and to start thinking outside the box, looking for new ways to obtain what I need.

I have also made the decision to release my quest for trying to verify the family lore concerning him. I believe this may be what is hindering my searching.  The following is the story my mother told us about him when we were young children.

creek indianPleasant Smith was a Creek Indian Chief who left the tribe to marry my Great Grandmother Sarah Jane Page. They had one son John Pleasant Smith. Sometime after this, he was found murdered. His body was discovered dismembered and placed on the railroad tracks to make it look like he had been hit by a train. He was found before the train was to pass through town. The murderers were never found. A few years after his death my Great Grandmother received a letter from the Creek Tribe addressed to Pleasant Smith, but she never opened it. She sent it back to the addressee.

Let the journey to find the real Pleasant Smith begin!

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

In My Wildest Dreams

Ok, this title sounds kind of strange coming from a Genealogist. It does make you wonder what kind of dreams do people in this profession have and why would they write a blog about it?

bg-dreamcloudActually, this blog is about a dream that I would love to have come true! A couple of weeks ago I was walking through the cemetery where my grandson is buried. We live close by, so quite often I walk over, and I spend time looking at the headstones and the flowers left by loved ones. I find it peaceful and it gives me a chance to just think. This cemetery was built-in 1883, a youngster compared to other parts of the country. There are many types of headstones of various shapes and sizes. I sometimes contemplate as to why the family chose this particular one. I may be odd, but these things fascinate me.

I came across a headstone and thought “If only I could find one like this in my family!”. IElla McGowan Smith headstone have been cross-country, visiting the cemeteries of my ancestors and taking photos. They usually look like the one I posted here. This is my Grandma Smiths stone. It is very plain and has just the basic information on it. Name, Date of Birth and Death and the word “Mother” on it. Don’t get me wrong I was thrilled to find it in a little graveyard in Buckner Missouri. But it was nothing like the one I just found.

Digital CameraLet me introduce you to Rosalie Nichols Woods. In this one headstone, I was able to garner quite a bit about her and her family. First, her maiden name was Nichols. Second. Her husbands’ name was Murray Edwin. Third, since there is no death date on Murray’s’ side, I assume he is still alive. Fourth, the date they got married, June 6, 1947, is included on the front as well as the normal dates of birth and death. This gave me a small look into their lives.

I walked on by and I happened to look behind me and there it was….my dream. On the Digital Camerabackside of the stone was listed the names of their 6 children and their spouses! 3 boys and 3 girls. What a nice, big family they had. I then started thinking of all my deceased ancestors where I have had problems verifying a family connection because I don’t have some of the children/sibling’s names or marriage date. With this headstone, there would be no doubt of the connection. I wonder if Rosalie loved Genealogy.

What is your “wildest dream” when it comes to Genealogy?



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.


Including Family Traditions

In Genealogy circles the term “traditions” means oral accounts of usually unsubstantiated stories of our family history. An example of this is my Great Grandfather Pleasant Smith. According to the information written in my baby book he was born on February 14, 1853 in Hazel Hill, Johnson County, Missouri. I have not been able to find any documentation to prove this other than this entry. He married Sarah Jane Page on April 13, 1882 in Lafayette County, Missouri. I have found this record. My Grandfather, John Pleasant Smith was born September 8, 1882. I have records for this.  My Great Grandmother Sarah married James Newhouse on February 27, 1894. I have this record. What happened to Pleasant Smith? There is no record of him after the birth of his son. Sometime between this and Sarah’s new marriage he disappeared.

The Tradition in our family is that he was a Creek Indian in a high position in the tribe. He deserted the tribe and lived in hiding from them. Sometime after my Grandfather was born members of that tribe found him, murdered him, cut him into pieces and placed his remains on the railroad track. They did this shortly before the train was to come by. Someone found his body before the train came. Supposedly a few years after this occurred Sarah received a letter addressed to Pleasant which included the name of the position he held among the tribe. She never opened the letter and sent it back to the sender.

I have no proof that this Tradition ever happened. So, the question is, do I include this in my Family History or just pass it on orally like it was given to me? I have decided that, although I love genealogy and enjoy the research it entails, I need to be honest with myself that no one else in my immediate family has any interest (yet) in it. I often wonder if this tradition may pass away with me.

As a result, I am now including all the family traditions I have heard of. I write out the story as completely as I can and then include all documentation I have on this particular person. I make sure that anyone reading it will understand that further research needs to be done to make it a “fact”. Who knows, many years from now one of my Grandchildren may discover proof of this and my recording the story helped them find it!

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.

Adding Your Blog to Find-a-Grave

Isidro graveI was recently asked to add one of my Blogs to my Find-a-Grave Memorial. It was one that I made for my husband’s Great Grandfather Isidro Torres. It had never occurred to me before to do this. I have seen very nice obituaries and bios added to the Memorials but never a link to a Blog.

Today I went to the Memorial and I posted the URL to the Blog in the Bio section. The direct link did not work. I tried several different ways and it still didn’t work. So the following is what I did:

Birth: May 15, 1862
Sonora, Mexico
Death: May 15, 1927
Maricopa County
Arizona, USA [Edit Dates]
Isidro Torres was born in Sonora Mexico. He was a scout for the Mexican Government during the Yaqui Uprising. He married Juana Garcia in 1904. He and Juana had 9 children. His Mother died when he was born and his Father returned to Spain. Isidro was raised by an Uncle and an Aunt.

Here is the Story of his life: Copy and paste this URL into the address bar on your computer to view it.

[Edit Bio]
Family links: [Edit]
Juana Garcia Torres (1889 – 1938)

Jose Maria Garcia Torres (1907 – 2002)*

*Calculated relationship

This is what I placed in the Bio Section:

Here is the Story of his life: Copy and paste this URL into the address bar on your computer to view it.

If the URL is copied and pasted to the address bar then the Blog can be viewed. Within 25 minutes of adding it I received a message on my Blog page from a distant cousin of my husbands’ who saw this on Find-a-Grave. She was thrilled to read about her Great-Great Grandfather and to connect with a part of the family she didn’t even know about. She also spent some time reading some of the other Blogs I have written not only about her family but also mine.

I am going to be doing this with all the other Memorials I manage, connecting any Blog I wrote about certain family members. Who knows who else I may meet?

If any of you have any suggestions as to how to get the URL to give the direct Link I would appreciate it. I am still in the learning stages on some aspects of these types of things.

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.

I Received A Very Nice Surprise – “One Lovely Blog Award”

one-lovely-blog-award_thumbI received a very nice surprise a couple of days ago. I was nominated for the “One Lovely Blog Award” by Jana Last who writes an incredible Blog

Janas Genealogy and Family History

Thank you Jana!

Here are the rules for this award:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to that blog
  2. Share Seven things about yourself
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers you admire (or as many as you can think of!)
  4. Contact your bloggers to let them know that you’ve tagged them for the One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you Jana! I am so honored that you included me in your list of nominees.

Seven Things About Me

  1. I am the last surviving person of my immediate family.
  2. I was given the middle name of “Jane”. It is a family tradition on my mother’s side to give this name to one daughter. The tradition goes back to my 3x Great Grandmother. As a result I named my daughter Jerusha Jane!
  3. My paternal Grandfather, Charley Hughes was born in 1867, 147 years ago!
  4. I was born in Lexington Missouri and my parents moved us to Tucson Arizona when I was 11 months old. I have lived in 7 different States throughout my lifetime but I always end up back in Arizona.
  5. I have had many jobs throughout my life but the one I enjoyed the most was counseling women.
  6. In school I played the clarinet but when I turned 30 I learned to play the drums and have played in a music group and for worship services in several churches.
  7. I have 3 grown children and 9 grandchildren. They are the reason I became a Genealogist.

15 Bloggers I Admire
This is a hard one. There are too many awesome blogs out there that it is difficult to choose only 15.
Here’s my list (in no particular order):

  1. The Ancestor Hunt By Kenneth Marks
  2. Treasure Chest Of Memories by Laura Hedgecock
  3. Rooted In Foods by Niki Davis
  4. Sassy genealogist by Carla Love Maitland
  5. Living In The Past by Elise Wormuth
  6. The Family History Rogue by Marylene Goulet
  7. Relative Musings by BB Petura
  8. 3 Houses by Bernice L. Rocque
  9. Keeping Grandma Alive…and all the others, too by Nancy H. Vest
  10. Voices Inside My Head by Bernita Allen
  11. Confuse The Dead by Laurie Desmarais
  12. Tracings by SAM by Susan
  13. Genealogy Circle by Cindy Freed
  14. Roots, Branches, and a Few Nuts by Bev McGowan Norman
  15. Carolina Girl Genealogy by Cheri Hudson Passey

Contact Bloggers 
I will be contacting the fifteen bloggers on my list, unless they see this post and contact me first.

Thanks again Jana for nominating my blog for the “One Lovely Blog Award!”

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.