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.

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.

Sunday’s Salute ~ Mathew Arvin Register ~ Civil War

Mathew A. RegisterMathew Arvin Register, my 2nd great-grandfather, was born in February of 1832 in Bladen County, North Carolina, the oldest child of Francis and Sarah (Johnson) Register. Sometime before 1850 the Register’s packed up their belongings, loaded them in covered wagons pulled by oxen, and headed for Missouri. It took several months of traveling, but they finally reached the St. Joseph area.

In 1850, at the age of 18, Mathew met and married Elisia Jane White, and over the next 11 years, they had 5 children. By 1855 they moved to Kansas along with Mathew’s 2 younger brothers. 6 years later the CivilNathaniel Lyon 2 War broke out. Mathew and his brothers, Owen and Simon joined the Union Army in July 1861. They mustered into the Army of the West (2nd Kansas Infantry) which was led by Gen. Nathaniel Lyon. Almost immediately they found themselves at Wilson’s Creek located south of Springfield, Missouri along with about 6,000 Union soldiers. The Missouri State Guard was located 75 miles southwest of Lyon and under the command of Maj. Gen. Sterling Price met with troops under Brig. Gen. Benjamin McCulloch near the end of July. The combined Confederate forces numbered about 12,000, and they formed plans to attack Springfield and marched northeast on July 31.

The armies met at dawn a few miles southwest of Springfield on the morning of August 10 in the Battle of Wilson’s Creek. Lyon was wounded twice during the fighting. He was shot in the head and in the leg and then his horse was shot out from under him. He returned to the Union lines and commandeered a bay horse ridden by Maj. E.L. McElhaney of the Missouri Infantry. Lyon, badly outnumbered by Confederate forces, then dramatically led a counter charge of the 2nd Kansas Infantry on Bloody Hill, where he was shot in the heart at about 9:30 am. Although the Union Army was defeated at Wilson’s Creek, Lyon’s quick action neutralized the effectiveness of pro-Southern forces in Missouri, allowing Union forces to secure the state. Owen was captured by the Confederates during this battle. The rebels sometimes made their prisoners fight with them. Because of this Mathew and Simon were always afraid of accidentally shooting Owen during one of the skirmishes.

The brothers continued in this regiment until it mustered out of service and changed to the 2nd Kansas Cavalry on October 31, 1861, under Colonel Robert Byington Mitchell. In the new company, they continued to participate in many skirmishes all over Kansas and Missouri.

Mathew and Owen PayrollOctober 9, 1864, they enlisted in Company E, 19th Regiment Kansas Militia Infantry. It was commanded by Maj. Gen. James Blunt. In this troop, they participated in the Battles of Byram’s Ford and Westport. Mathew and Simon mustered out on October 28, 1864, when the unit disbanded, and they returned home. At the end of the war, Owen was released. Thankfully all three of the brothers had survived the war. While he was a prisoner of the Confederates, Owens’ fingers froze and all of his fingers and thumbs had to be amputated at the first joint.


Owen had married Minerva White, the sister of Mathews’ wife Elisia and they had 7 children. The family continued to live in Kansas and he died in 1892 at the age of 57.

Simon never married, and he died in 1901 in Leavenworth, Kansas at the age of 55.

Matthew moved his family which had grown to 12 children, to Dover, Lafayette County, Missouri. 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 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.

Hometown Tuesday ~ Leavenworth, Kansas

hometown tuesday Leavenworth, Kansas was first settled as Fort Leavenworth in 1827 on the west side of the Missouri River by Colonel Henry H. Leavenworth. The purpose was to protect travelers from Indians on the Santa Fe and Oregon trail and to protect the flourishing fur trade. The town was organized and laid out in 1854. The following year Leavenworth became the first incorporated community in the Kansas Territory.

Kansas territory 1861

By 1857 it was a prosperous supply base for the settlements of the West. It has held many important purposes over its history, such as being the Headquarters of the Upper Missouri Indian Agency, and an operations base during the Mexican War. It was also important during the Civil War, so much so that the Confederate Sterling Price targeted it during a raid in 1864. It also had a federal military prison and later a Federal Penitentiary in 1895. 

This area of the country was a place of great controversy during the Civil War. It was a Popular Sovereignty State which was a pre-Civil War doctrine asserting the right of the people living in a newly organized territory to decide by vote of their territorial legislature whether or not slavery would be permitted there. All the other states made this decision by allowing the existing government vote without citizen input. During the war, thousands of recruits were recruited and mustered out from Camp Lincoln at Fort Leavenworth. Between 1861 and 1865, the regular army formed the foundation on which volunteer forces were built. Railroads stretching towards the west came under increasing attack by the Plains Indians. Because the western posts were undermanned, Confederate prisoners were called upon to help fight the hostile Indians. Five of these regiments were outfitted at Fort Leavenworth.

Elvira Register Hayes sm

This is the Leavenworth that my 2x Great Grandmother was born into. Elvira Register was born on March 31, 1861, to Mathew and Elisia (White) Register. She was the 5th of 12 children. Her parents, along with her 2 paternal uncles and their families moved from St. Joseph, Missouri to Kansas in 1855. They had established themselves as farmers and were very prosperous. At the beginning of the Civil War on April 12, 1861, Elvira’s father and uncles joined the Union Army and went back to Missouri to engage in the fighting. This left her mother alone at home with 5 children aged 8 (twins), 2, 1 and 1 month. I am sure having her sisters-in-law’s were a small comfort for Elisia.

After the war, the Register’s remained in Leavenworth until 1873 when Mathew moved his family to the Cherokee Indian Reservation in Oklahoma to run a trading post. What an exciting life it must have been for a young girl to see and experience the growth of the Kansas territory. She could watch the hoards of pioneers stopping to buy supplies on their way west. It is said that Elvira had a great sense of humor and curiosity like no other her entire life. I believe it was developed during these early years of living in such a grand place.



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 Importance of Family Interviews

We moved to our new house a little over 3 months ago. I have been slow to get some things unpacked so I thankfulmade the decision a month ago that I would get my stored Genealogy research out of the shed and put it away. Of course, you know how that went. Once I got it all in the house I HAD to take a look at it and I spent hours browsing. Lo and behold, I found something a cousin gave me almost 10 years ago when I visited her on a trip to Missouri.

Rosie and baby
Rosie Hayes

One of our cousins, John Duane Willard had the foresight to interview the last living child of my Great Grandparents Hamilton Hayes and Elvira Register, Rosa “Rosie” Lucille Hayes (1901-1988). The interview took place shortly before her death so she was about 87 years old. She gave information on the family and told some great stories. Because of her age, some of the facts were off a bit but it inspired me to take a closer look.


Elisia Jane White Register pic
Eliza White

Since she provided information on both my Hayes and Register lines I have had fun with the research. Reading through the two paged typed transcript I noticed a few things I didn’t see the first time I read it. One discovery was that Elvira’s mother Eliza Jane White had lived to be 99 years and 9 months old! It also listed her two siblings which I never knew of. Eliza has been one of my brick walls, so because of this interview, I now have vital information to work with. I have found her Grandparents information and I am working on finding more. I was also able to add two more generations to the Hayes side.

Matthew Arvin Register pic THIS ONE
Mathew Register

The stories are insightful as well. From what she said Mathew Register, Elvira’s father was quite a character. He transported horses, cattle, and supplies from St. Joseph Missouri to the Cherokee Strip in eastern Kansas. After years of doing this, he established a career as a vocal music teacher. He was supposed to have had an exceptional singing voice. He grew tobacco and Hemp on his farm. As an old man, he owned an apple orchard near Hodge Missouri. He raised Golden Seal apples and ginseng root. Rosie helped him wash the root so they could be sold to the public.

All this (and the other information given) would have been lost to ours and future generations if John hadn’t taken the time to sit with Rosie and write down her stories. I believe so much of our history is gone forever because we didn’t listen to the stories or information told to us as we grew up or that we have neglected to ask someone what they remember about the family while there was still time. I interviewed my in law’s a few years ago while working on my husbands’ Genealogy. I taped it so I could hear it, again and again, to make sure I got it right. Almost 3years ago my father-in-law was killed in an auto accident and I am thankful that I have his stories recorded for future generations.

I have decided that I am going to be more diligent with my seeking out the older generation that is left in my family to see what they may have been told or what they remember about our Ancestors. As we all know, tomorrow is not guaranteed so we need to do it while there is still time.

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.