Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Aunt Onie Lived to be 104 (#3 of 52)

This post is based on Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge. This week's theme is: LONGEVITY.

Leona (Coppenbarger) Hutchins, who I knew as "Aunt Onie," was my great grandmother's baby sister. Born in Sumner County, Kansas in 1889, she died just across the county border in Cowley County, Kansas. She was 104 years old.

Family photo shows "Onie" as a baby sitting on her mother's lap. Her big sister/my
great grandmother, Myrtle Mae, is the girl standing - second from the left -
with short hair and large collar.

In 1905, at the age of 16, Onie married Frank Hutchins (1883-1975). The childless couple had been married for 69 years at the time of Frank's death.

Wedding Photo of Frank & Leona's 1905 wedding

In 1989 we had a family reunion during which we celebrated Aunt Onie's 100th birthday. (Although this photo might be from 1991.) Aunt Onie is pictured in the center in a wheelchair. Behind her and to the left, the lady in a blue and white striped shirt is my Aunt Beulah who got me started in genealogy almost 10 years after this reunion. I am directly to the left of Beulah with my light blue shirt and "big" 80s bangs! 

Family Reunion and Celebration of Aunt Onie's 100th birthday

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Bastardy Bonds

Last week I found a record for an individual who might be my ancestor. The baptism took place at St. Mary's in Oldham, Lancashire, England in 1784. While the other baptisms on the page listed the name of the father and his wife, this record read as follows:
       BB Sarah Daughter of Ann Bredbury of Lees Widow by John Beswick of Lees Singleman

Parish Registers for St. Mary's Church (Oldham, Lancashire), Baptisms 1766-1792, ordered by date of baptism, Sarah Bredbury or Beswick baptism, 2 May 1784; online image, "Parish Registers for St. Mary's Church (Oldham, Lancashire), 1558-1968," ( : viewed 16 January 2018); FHL microfilm 4661303. [See last line of image.]
Evidently, Sarah was born out of wedlock. But, the "BB" notation had me confused. Several other entries on the nearby pages had the same notation; each of those babies was also born out of wedlock. What did BB stand for?

The following day, I happened to be reading about the use of religious records in genealogy. I came across the term "bastardy bond." Could those two letters mean bastardy bond? And, just what was a bastardy bond?

Some research led me to the London Lives 1690 to 1800 site. It explained that a woman who was going to give birth to an illegitimate child had to take part in a Bastardy Examination. The goal of this exam was to force the mother to name the father of the child. Then, the identified father had to enter a Bastardy Bond "to ensure that they paid regular support to the mother and child. If they failed to pay this support, they were legally obliged to pay the parish a substantial sum in compensation."[1]

It sounds likely the BB on this document did mean Bastardy Bond! I need to do more research to see if I can learn more about this particular case AND determine whether or not this baby is my ancestor. If it is my ancestor, I would have two more 5x great grandparents to add to my tree!

[Sadly, on the facing page is another baptism with a BB notation. For this birth, the father is listed as "a stranger." It sounds like a sad story!]

[1] "Bastardy Bonds: Securities for the Maintenance of Bastard Children (WB)," London Lives 1690 to 1800: Crime, Poverty and Social Policy in the Metropolis ( : dated April 2012), para. 1.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Grandmother as a Little Girl (#2 of 52)

This post is based on Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge. This week's theme is: FAVORITE PHOTO.

My grandmother, Evelyn, the youngest of five children, was born 10 October 1915. Sadly, when she was only 8 1/2 months old, her mother died. Although Evelyn's father raised the four oldest children, Evelyn was raised by her maternal grandmother, Sallie (Dickson) Ward. Evelyn grew up near family, including her father and siblings, in Perry County, Tennessee.

Photo likely taken in Perry Co., Tenn. in ~1918
Elsie Ward (~15), Sallie (Dickson) Ward (~58), Evelyn Dickson (~2), and Ethel (Ward) Pollock (~24)
This is one of my favorite photos as it is the only known childhood photo of my grandmother, Evelyn (Dickson) Keachle (1915-2004). Wearing a bow and a dress, Little Evelyn is looking down at a pet chicken she is holding. Behind her, with her hands resting on Evelyn's shoulders, is Evelyn's grandmother, Sallie (Dickson) Ward, who raised little Evelyn after the death of her mom.

Photo retouched by JRS (my father)
On the left side of the photo is Elise Jo Ward (1903-1989) who is Evelyn's first cousin/Sallie's granddaughter through Sallie's son, Joe. On the right is Sallie's youngest daughter, Ethel Ward (1893-1987).

I often learn more about a family or situation as I write a blog post. In this case, I did not know when Ethel had died. But, as I did research for this article, I located her death certificate. Now I know that Ethel died at the age of 95 of cardiac arrest in a nursing center in Daviess County, Indiana.

Friday, January 5, 2018

My "Start" in Genealogy with Aunt Beulah (#1 of 52)

This post is based on Amy Johnson Crow's "52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks" challenge. This week's theme is: START.

Beulah Peters, born in 1923, was the baby of her family. One of her big sisters, Hazel, was my grandmother. For many years, Beulah was the family historian for the Peters side of our family. Not only did she collect many family photos and documents, but she also wrote down thoughts and stories about various family members.

In 1998, "Aunt Beulah" graciously introduced me to the amazing world of genealogy. She generously sent me a copy of her tree with all of her notes included. After her death in 2009, one of my uncles inherited all of her papers. With help from his wife and a family friend, they have been organizing all of her research and photos into more than a dozen binders.

In one of her emails to me, Aunt Beulah explained what got her interested in family history. One of our family surnames is Randolph. Beulah had heard the stories of our family being related to Pocahontas and other famous people through our Virginia Randolph's. However, Beulah's research revealed that, although we are from a Randolph family of Virginia, we are not from"the" Randolph family of Virginia.

I owe my start in genealogy to my Aunt Beulah and her search for our connection to Pocahontas.

Thursday, January 4, 2018


Have you ever attended a week-long genealogy institute? For the past four years, I have attended an institute each summer: three years at GRIP in Pennsylvania and last year at IGHR in Georgia. Here's a quick comparison:

Room at GRIP
  • GRIP - Most people stay in the dorms on campus. They provide a set of sheets (if I remember correctly), a thin pillow, and one towel. Most people bring their own sheets - I put their sheets under mine as the mattresses are quite thin! I also bring my own blanket, pillow, towels, and toiletries. The room has a small fridge and a desk. I have had issues with the internet connection in my room and with air conditioners that didn't work - twice! Some people choose to stay at a nearby hotel, but they need their own transportation to and from classes.
    Room at IGHR in Georgia
  • IGHR - Most people stay on site in the Georgia Center where the classrooms are located. Although small, these rooms are typical hotel rooms with all of the regular amenities including a small fridge and a desk.

Cafeteria at GRIP - it gets packed & noisy
  • GRIP - If you're staying in a dorm room, three meals a day at the campus cafeteria are included. The food is pretty good, and individual items are marked for food allergies. Meal times are a great time to meet new people or catch up with your friends. The "scoop your own" ice cream is always a big hit!
  • IGHR - Meals at IGHR are expensive and the food choices are quite limited. Although you go through a buffet line to choose your food, there are waiters who bring you drinks, remove your plates, etc. You can also buy food to keep in your room and eat outside in the courtyard for lunches and/or dinners.

  • GRIP - There are two places I love to visit from campus:
    Sisters of Divine Providence cemetery
    • The Sisters of Divine Providence is located next to the campus and is a nice place to go for a walk. Both the sisters and mothers are buried at a wonderful old cemetery at the top of a hill and I've enjoyed walking there each year.

    • GRIP - North Park - getting ready to kayak
    • North Park is located only a few minutes drive from campus. It's a beautiful park where people walk, run, bike, and get out on the lake. Two years ago, some of us rented kayaks while others chose to walk around the park. It was a wonderful break to sitting behind a desk all week! 
  • IGHR - Athens, Georgia, is a small college town. I only left campus once to go out to lunch with some friends. 
  • GRIP - Early bird tuition (before May 1) is $460 for a course; regular tuition is $485. At La Roche College (Pennsylvania) a single room is $410; a double room is $310 per person. At Daemen College (the new campus in New York), an "apartment-style private bedroom, shared kitchen, dining, and living room" is $475. Fifteen meals are included at either location.
  • IGHR - Early bird tuition (by March 10) is $560 for a course; regular tuition is $600. A classic room with one queen or king bed is $89 per night. The cost is the same for a room with two custom beds. Select rooms with two queen beds or two double beds is $109. That would make a 5 night stay - Sunday through Friday - cost between $445 and $545. Meals are extra and the costs are not posted at this time.
  • GRIP - Registration begins February 14th with three weeks to choose from
  • IGHR - Registration begins January 13th 


Since I live in Texas and have to fly to either institute, I chose the course based on both content and instructors. This year, my first choice will be at GRIP from June 24th-29th in the "From Confusion to Conclusion: How to Write Proof Arguments" which is coordinated by Kimberly Powell. The other instructors are: Catherine Desmarais, CG, Harold Henderson, CG, Melissa A. Johnson, CG, and Karen Stanbary, CG.

Hope to see some of you at GRIP in June! And, if you have any comments or questions, please let me know.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Wishing You a Merry Christmas!

Yesterday, I got my final assignment graded for my BU certificate. BU was a wonderful learning experience, but I'm glad to be done!

Merry Christmas!
This year was a year of growth for me. Not only did I complete BU, but I attended IGHR for the first time, watched webinars, took other online classes, and read genealogy books, articles, and blogs. I also did a lot of research. (Oh, and I started a new hobby: art!) I have so much to share, and I can't wait to really start blogging again!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Monday, December 4, 2017

My "Ancestral Rebellious Streak"

The Church of England is the official church of England. Protestant churches which do not conform to the Church of England doctrines are called nonconformist churches.

Register of Baptisms Kept at Providence Chapel, Spring Head, Saddleworth, County of York, [England], page 83, baptized 12 May 1835, Humphrey Eastwood; The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England; database, "England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Register, 1567-1970," ( : accessed 4 December 2017).

With his first wife, my third great grandfather had two children who were baptized in a nonconformist church. On Ancestry, these two baptisms are in a database titled "England & Wales, Non-Conformist and Non-Parochial Registers, 1567-1970." I found the first sentence of the description of the database to be thought-provoking:

Trace your ancestral rebellious streak through non-conformist and non-parochial birth, marriage, and death registers.

As someone from the States, I don't think I truly understand religion in England. What did it mean to be a nonconformist in England at this time? Did my ancestors really have a rebellious streak? And, since  James' children by his second wife, my third great grandmother, were baptized in the Church of England, did James' beliefs change? Did he just follow his wives' beliefs? Or did something happen in England that I need to learn more about?

I am enjoying learning about my "rebellious" English ancestors!

Aunt Onie Lived to be 104 (#3 of 52)

This post is based on Amy Johnson Crow's " 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks " challenge. This week's theme is: LONGEVITY. Leona ...