Here’s Your Sign #27 ~ Henry Leonidas Stevens Jr.

For many years I have been collecting photos of and information about the various signs that have been placed in honor of some of my ancestors. These signs are a glimpse into some event and/or place where they lived. Some of the signs are small like a placard with a few poignant words, some are large, and they go into great detail, and then there are those that are somewhere in between. Each one gives added life to those ancestors.

Henry L. Stevens Jr. 1896-1971 Veterans Leader. National Commander of American Legion, 1931-32; Superior Court Judge, 1939-62. He lived 2 blocks North.

Henry is my paternal 3rd cousin 2 times removed. He lived his entire life in  Clinton, Sampson County, North Carolina. He was very involved in his community, winning many awards for his extraordinary service.

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.

The Overall Gang #6 ~ Sigal Wallace 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” each week, including the photo and a brief biography of the legacy they left behind.

This week I am featuring my paternal second cousin, Sigal Wallace Hughes. He was born and raised in Missouri, a fifth generation farmer. He owned his own farm in the Sedalia, Pettis County. He also had lots of cows, pigs, chickens, and he raised bloodhound dogs. He grew a large variety if vegetables but his pride and joy where his peach orchards.

This photo is extra special to me because it was taken on his and his wife Betty’s 50th wedding anniversary. As you can see, Betty is all dressed up for the occasion and so is Sigal. He is sporting a brand new pair of dark overalls!

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.

The Overall Gang #5 ~ Oliver Bryan Register

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” each week, including the photo and a brief biography of the legacy they left behind.

Oliver Bryan “Keggie” Register, my paternal 2nd cousin, was born on July 26, 1906, in Jefferson City, Cole County, Missouri. Oliver was raised on the family farm outside of the city limits. This wasn’t his fathers only source of income because he also worked in the Freight Office on the Missouri Pacific Railroad Company. When Oliver was growing up he refused to wear anything but overalls. He had several jobs, each one including working at the same Railroad as his Dad, allowed him to dress as he liked. I was told that the only few times that he did not wear them was the day he got married to Laura Buckner (1903-1979) and to funerals. When he died on December 20, 1993, he was even buried in his favorite pair.

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.

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.

Small ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks ~ Week #32

shortThis weeks prompt happens to be the opposite of last week. It took a little while to think of something large to write about. However, this week it was a lot easier. Small to me is me!

Growing up I was a lot shorter than my parents and my older sister. I always felt out of place when we went somewhere because people always thought I was a lot younger than I was. My Dad was 6 ft. 2 in. tall, my mother was 5 ft. 9 in. tall and my sister was 5 ft. 10 in. tall. Me? I measured a mere 5 ft. 5 ½ in. tall.

Even my 3 children grew up to be a lot taller than me. They alwaysadam 3 laughed when I told them I was the shortest person in my entire family. They thought I was making it up. I told them about the time when we moved to Missouri and I attended my first family reunion. Most of the family were over 6 feet tall. I was about 13 years old at the time and everyone thought I was about 10! They didn’t believe me.

Me as shortyIn 2010 my husband and I took a trip to Missouri to visit some cousins I hadn’t seen in 24 years. I also arranged to meet some new relatives that I had made contact with on social media. We had a wonderful time. I am the photographer in the family, and I am hardly ever in any of the photos that are taken when we go anywhere. Thankfully my husband insisted on me getting a photo with my first cousin and a few of his kids. I am so glad I did. When I returned home, I was able to prove that I am indeed the shortest one.

I can’t positively say that I don’t have a relative that is shorter than me, I just haven’t personally met one yet. Also, I have no proof that my ancestors were all very tall people, but I assume a few of them had to have been.

I received permission to use the two photos I included in this blog.  Can you guess which is my cousin in the first photo?  I am the short one in the second one.  As a final remark, “In light of the prompt this week I decided to keep it short!”

 

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.

 

Freaky Friday’s ~ It Was Murder!

Freaked Out Letters Funny A Little Crazy Word

If you have read any of my blogs you know by now that I was not raised around my relatives. I had 2 years of my life where I lived near them and got meet and get to know a few of them. One set of relatives was my Dad’s youngest sisters’ family. Her oldest son was already married so I didn’t get to see him very often. The next son, Darrell was a few months younger than I, and we became fast friends. Her youngest child, a young girl was a late in life surprise for my Aunt and her husband. She was born when my Aunt was 44 years, quite old for the early 1960s! Her name was Madonna Rose, and she was quite a handful! I was 9 years older than her and at the time I wasn’t used to having young kids around.

When we moved away from Missouri and made California our home Aunt Margaret for blog olderwe were cut off from all family by my mother and her mental illness. For 5 years we had no contact. When my Dad was diagnosed with lung cancer I went behind my mother’s back and contacted my Aunt. She and Dad had always been very close. When we knew my Dads’ time was short, I invited my Aunt to come to visit. She did and they had a great time catching up. Of course, I had to pay the penalty for my actions after she left.

Fast-forward about 30 years. When I had begun my genealogy journey,Madonna age 6 I concentrated on finding my “older” ancestors and didn’t even think of trying to find the living ones. About 10 years ago I was searching through Facebook for people who lived in the small town in Missouri that my Aunt had lived. I saw that one of my Aunt’s granddaughters had an account, so I contacted her. We became “friends” and we exchanged information on our families. I was heartbroken to discover that my Aunt and Uncle had passed away. But I wasn’t prepared for the news that Madonna Rose had died 9 years before. My cousin began to tell me the story of what had happened.

Madonna had graduated from High School and got married. She had a palmer 3 generations 1987son and after a few years, the marriage ended. She remarried and soon had a little girl. 9 years later Madonna was told she had colon cancer, and she had surgery. Her prognosis was very good and was told with chemo she should have an excellent chance of beating it. She was a fighter and did everything she was told, however, her condition began to decline. On August 21, 2001, at the age of 37, she lost her hard-fought battle.

You may ask why is this blog called “It was murder” when she died from this horrible disease? Here is the rest of the story……

In 1990 Robert Ray Courtney, a pharmacist in Kansas City, Missouri began purchasing pharmaceuticals on the gray market and using them to fill prescriptions at his pharmacy. In time he began diluting prescriptions to increase profits. In 1998 an Eli Lilly sales representative noticed Courtney was selling three times the amount of the cancer drug Gemzar than he’d bought. Lilly initiated an internal investigation but found no evidence of illegality and closed the investigation without further action. In early 2001, this representative voiced his concerns to a nurse who worked for Dr. Verda Hunter, an oncologist in Courtney’s building, who was also one of Courtney’s customers. Hunter noticed that many of her patients were only suffering mild side effects, and their condition didn’t seem to be improving. Hunter had medication that had been supplied by Courtney tested. That test showed that the sample contained less than one-third of the drug prescribed, and upon receiving the test results back, Hunter immediately notified the FBI. Hunter submitted seven additional samples for testing by the FDA’s forensic chemistry lab. Tests on those samples revealed that they contained as little as 15 percent of the prescribed dosage, and at most only half of it. They immediately knew that they had to move quickly. While health care fraud cases normally take years to build, the investigators knew they didn’t have that long.

Investigators persuaded Hunter to help them in a sting operation. Hunter gave Courtney several prescriptions for fictitious patients. After Courtney mixed the drugs and sent them to Hunter’s office, federal agents had them tested. The samples contained less than half of the prescribed dosage, and in some cases contained less than one percent of the active drug. On August 13, 2001, federal agents raided Research Medical Tower Pharmacy. A day later, Courtney surrendered to authorities and was charged with one count of adulterating and misbranding medication.

In 2002, after initially being caught diluting several doses of chemotherapy drugs, he pleaded guilty to intentionally diluting 98,000 prescriptions involving multiple types of drugs, which were given to 4,200 patients, and was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison. He is currently serving his sentence Littleton, Colorado.

Madonnas hsMy cousin, Madonna was one of the 4,200 patients who had received this diluted drug and she was not given the chance to effectively fight for her life. It was murder!

 

 

 

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

Multiple ~ 52 Ancestors 52 Weeks #28

MultipleThis week’s prompt got me to thinking about what would I consider to be a multiple. At first, I thought of twins that run in my family, but I have already written about most of them. Then I thought about a number of ancestors that died in the same years. There were many multiples of them also. Eureka! It finally hit me, and here is my interpretation for multiple.

I have found several lines where I descend from two siblings. Here are 4 examples of that.

 

First Jonathan Brewster (1593-1661) from the Mayflower, is my 9th great-grandfather. I descend from 2 of is daughters making them both my 8th great-grandmothers.

Grace Brewster (1639-1684) married Captain Daniel Wetherell

Hannah Brewster (1641-1711) married Samuel Starr

So how does this make me a descendant of these multiple sisters?

Grace and Daniel had a daughter, Mary Wetherell who married George Dennison

Mary and George had a son named Daniel Dennison who married Rachel Starr

Hannah and Samuel had a son named Thomas Starr who married Mercy Morgan

Thomas and Mercy had a daughter named Rachel Starr who married Daniel Dennison

 

Second is my 4th great-grandfather Colby Rucker (1760-1781) I also descend from 2 of his daughters making them both my 3rd great-grandmothers.ConfusedEmoji

Sarah “Sally” Rucker (1791-1850) married Thomas Hayes (1780-1849)

Elizabeth Rucker (1787-1855) married John Coffey (1776-1845)

Here is where it gets complicated. Thomas is the son of George Hayes (1760-1839) who is the son of Thomas Hayes (1740-1829) who is the son of George Hayes (1714-1747). This George had a daughter named Molly “Polly” Hayes (1742-1829). She and Thomas (1740-1829) are siblings. Molly married Benjamin Coffey (1747-1834) and they had John Coffey (1776-1845).

So Thomas Hayes’ great-aunt is the mother of his brother-in-law!

 

Third is my 9th great-grandfather John Dodson (1571-1652) I descend from 2 of his sons.

Jesse Dodson (1623-1716) married Judith Hagger (1615-1655)

Benjamin Dodson (1624-1652) married Anne Simms (1624-1715)

Jesse and Judith had a son named Charles Dodson (1649-1716)

Benjamin and Anne had a daughter named Anne Dodson (1651-1715)

Charles and Anne got married making them first cousins and becoming my 7th great-grandparents.

 

Fourth, is my 7th great-grandfather William Bond (1674-1713) married Dorothy Dayne (1677-1720) wait for it….his brother Isaac Bond (1676-1719)  married Anna Holmes (1676-1715) is my 7th great-uncle.

 

cousin1William’s son William Bond (1701-1779) married the daughter of his Uncle Isaac, Clara Bond (1709-1789) making them both my 6th great-grandparents and my cousins.

 

I hope you are not as confused as I was several years ago when I discovered these multiple connections. I have actually found a few more but I have a headache just listing these!

 

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.

Freaky Friday’s ~ 1630’s Massachusetts

Freaked Out Letters Funny A Little Crazy Word

I have found many, many ancestors who have married their first cousin. I have even found some who married their Aunt or Uncle. Back in the early days of the colonies, there were not a lot of choices as to who they could marry. Some of them even immigrated from a country that practiced intermarrying with relatives so it was commonplace. In today’s society, it is definitely frowned upon and in some places in the country, it is illegal!

My first recorded incident of first cousins marrying begins in 1629. Myscotland_16th 9x Great Grandfather, Christopher Lindsay (1592-1669), immigrated to Lynn County, Massachusetts from Scotland. He came over with his brother Daniel of whom I have very little information. He was wealthy and purchased a lot of land in the County.

Abigail shipHugh Alley (1608-1673) my 9x Great Grandfather, immigrated from England to Boston aboard the Abigail in 1635 along with his younger sister, my 9x Great Aunt, Margaret (1620-1669). By 1640 they too moved to Lynn County. Hugh married Mary Graves (1609-1674) in 1641 and they had 8 children, 4 sons, and 4 daughters. The oldest daughter was named Mary (1641-1681) and their third daughter was named Sarah (1651-1731).

Meanwhile, Christopher Lindsay marries Margaret Alley in 1644 and they have 3 children, 2 sons, and a daughter. The sons were John (1644-1705) and Eleazer (1646-1717).cousin1

In 1667 John Lindsay marries his first cousin Mary Alley. In 1668 Eleazer Lindsay marries his first cousin Sarah Alley!

This also makes Hugh and his sister Margaret Grandparents to the same 2 sets of grandchildren. This makes my head hurt!

It doesn’t matter how long ago this happened or the circumstances that brought it about, I find this Freaky!

 

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.

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 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.

Freaky Friday’s ~ “What is “Freaky?”

freaky-friday-logoHave you ever researched an ancestor and saw something you thought was “freaky”? Is that a good thing or a bad thing? I guess that depends on what your definition of freaky is. The word was first used back in 1832 and the meaning hasn’t changed since then. However, in today’s world, something freaky oftentimes means something that is creepy. Merriam Websters Dictionary defines “freaky” as being strange or odd. So, when you find something in your family tree that is freaky it isn’t always a bad thing.

You may wonder “Why the language lesson”? I did it to make a point. The definition of this word has stayed the same although most people consider it differently. This is how it can be when we find something in our family line that we feel is freaky. We look at it through our 21st -century eyes and that makes it difficult to wrap our heads around it.

One example is in my Coffey line beginning with my 4x Great Grandfather, Benjamin. He1st cousins and his wife Mary “Polly” Hayes had 8 children. 4 of his sons married their first cousin and one marrying the daughter of his Grandfather or to put it in easier terms, he married his aunt! Within 3 generations this family had over 15 intermarriages of cousins. To me, I consider this strange, odd and freaky. These types of things are rare in this day and age, but back in the 1700’s it was a common practice for many reasons. Families lived close together in small communities that didn’t include very many non-relatives. So when it came time to get married they had a limited selection. Looking at the facts surrounding the time frame helped me to put it all into perspective.

emigrants 1700Another situation that could be considered freaky would be how entire families just loaded up their belongings and moved hundreds or thousands of miles away. Today it happens all the time. My husband and I have moved from Arizona to Mississippi, Missouri, Louisiana and Tennessee and back again. That is 4 long trips and a lot of miles. However, the entire process was pretty easy compared to the 1700s. We could research information about the area, find housing and jobs before we left here. Moving, although tiring was simple, just pack up the U-Haul and go. We had detailed maps or GPS so we knew exactly how to get where we were going. My ancestors would make the decision to move, raise the funds, sell most of their belonging and if they were lucky within a year or two they could begin their move. They were basically in the dark when it came to what the destination looked like. They had “crude” maps and they just prayed it was correct. Instead of it taking 2 days to drive to their new home it would take weeks or months to get there. Then they had to build their home and plant their gardens and crops and begin anew. They were the brave, adventurous ones. If we had to do this most of us would never leave the area where we were born. Looking back, what they did could be considered freaky.

I am sure that you can think of many things your ancestors did that we would never do today. That in itself would make the action “freaky”. So when we look back on their lives remember, we don’t have to understand the why of what they did as it was a different time. I am sure if they could have seen into the future they would have thought we were all a little “freaky”. My search for the “odd and strange” will continue!

 

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.