Thursday, February 15, 2018

Valentine (#7 of 52)

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

On Valentine's Day 1896, Louisa (Heuszel) Werther gave birth to her 11th child, a son. She and her husband, Emil Werther, named their son Walter Valentine Werther. [Emil's sister, Guntherine (Werther) Peters, was my great, great grandmother.]

Three photos from his life:

Signature from WWII draft card at
The "i" in Valentine appears to be dotted with a heart!

Photo labeled "Children of Frederick August Emil and Louise Matilda (Heuszel) Werther,
Date Unknown" from files of Beulah (Peters) Brewer. Unfortunately, the siblings are not labeled.

Find A Grave, Inc., Find A Grave, database ( : accessed 15 February 2018); Record Walter V Werther (1896-1974), Memorial No. 19333284, Records of Woodland Cemetery, Cleveland, Pawnee County, Oklahoma, photo posted by OkieBran. Walter served in WWI.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Named for States (#6 of 52)

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

Jesse Lank Griffin (1834-1903) and Sarah Holmes (1834-1928) had at least eight children. Most of them had "normal" names: William, Richard, John, Martha, Nancy, Sally, Stephen. But, they also had one daughter with a fairly unusual name: Tennessee, whose nickname was Tennie.

Find A Grave, memorial 27031200, digital image of Tennie L wife of Dot Bratton gravestone
(Marshall Cemetery, Marshall, Searcy County, Arkansas), photo posted 14 May 2010 by Kim REA Mays.

Tennessee was born on 20 July 1869 in Arkansas, but both of her parents were born in Tennessee. She married Dotson "Dot" Bratton and had at least three children. She died on 3 October 1918 and was buried in Searcy County, Arkansas.

Tennessee also had a niece who was named for a state. Tennie's brother, William (or Bill), had a daughter named Arkansas Griffin (1875-1956).

Both Tennessee and Arkansas Griffin are on my husband's trees. He has another female named for a state on his tree: Missouri Alice Leeds (1879-1947) who was born in Missouri.

Do you have anyone on your tree who was named for a state? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, February 5, 2018

"Pauper" (#5 of 52)

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

I recently located my 3rd great grandmother and two of her children—including my 2nd great grandmother—on the 1851 England census. The document is difficult to read as it is faded and stained. It is also difficult to read because of the word written on the line with her: pauper.

1851 census of England, Lancashire, Ashton under Lyne, Leesfield parish, p. 31 (printed), house number 126, Sally Eastwood household; digital image, ( : accessed 5 February 2018). 
After reading she was a pauper, I tried to imagine Sarah's life in 1851. She was living alone with two of her children: Elam, age 9, and Sarah, age 3. Several of her young children had died, and her husband had left for America. Just a few months after this census, Sarah and her two young children left for America, leaving behind family and friends to live in an unknown world. What a difficult journey that must have been!

Map of Lancashire Parishes from Ancestry

When accessing the 1851 census on Ancestry, you also can see a map if you click the button: "view record." In this case, the map is of the "Lancashire Parishes: with dates of commencement of registers for parishes formed before 1832." The Archdeaconry of Chester is outlined in red. I have included just a portion of the map.

The Eastwood family was living in Ashton-Under-Lyne (see the right side of the map). But, this map also shows other places associated with the family: Mossley, Hey, Oldham, and Prestwich. Parish maps, like those found on Ancestry, are wonderful tools to use while researching your English ancestors!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why Blog?

Are you a genealogy blogger? If not, have considered blogging? I have found blogging to be a wonderful tool which helps me to dig deeper and to share my genealogy research. 

image from,
"Another Bog About Genealogy Bloggers" post

Recently, Erin Harris with Famicity interviewed me about my genealogy blog. Some of the questions she asked:
  • Why did you become a genealogist?
  • When and why did you start your blog?
  • Where do you get inspiration for your blog posts?
  • What do you find easy/difficult about blogging?
  • What impact does social media have on your blog?
  • What have you learned from being a genealogy blogger?
  • Has anyone ever thanked you for a specific blog post?
Besides me, she also interviewed Anne Faulkner of Ancestor Archeology. Last year, she interviewed Mary Kircher Roddy of MKRGenealogy and Lara Diamond of Lara's Jewnealogy

If you'd like to learn more about genealogy blogging or any of these bloggers, check out "Another Blog About Genealogy Bloggers" or last year's "A Blog About Genealogy Bloggers." 

And, if you have a blog or are just starting a blog, send me the link. I'd love to see what you're blogging about!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Who Would You Invite to Dinner? (#4 of 52)

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

My great, great grandmother, Sallie (Dickson) Ward, was born 27 November 1860 in Perry County, Tennessee, with the Civil War just months from starting. She lived until 21 August 1960, about 3 months short of her 100th birthday. Over almost 100 years, she saw and experienced an incredible amount of change, both in the world and in her family.

Sisters Mary (Dickson) Dickson Sutton, Julia (Dickson) Dickson, and
Sallie (Dickson) Ward in Perry County, Tennessee. Photo was hanging on
Perry County courthouse wall when I visited in 1999.

What an experience it would be if I could invite "Grandma Sallie" to dinner. Among many others, here are five topics I'd love to discuss with her.


Your husband was a Methodist circuit rider preacher who also appears to have had a drinking problem, was likely murdered at the age of 47, and left a bankrupt estate. What was Reuben Ward like? How did you meet him? Did you love him? Did you argue with him over his drinking? What was it like as you searched for him for weeks and then discovered he had been killed? How did you raise your family after his death?

Headstone of Matthew and Lenora "Nora" (Dickson) Ward
in Perry County, Tennessee taken by me in 1999


Your daughter, Nora, died at the age of 30 only six months after giving birth to my grandmother, Evelyn. You raised Nora while Nora's widowed husband, James B Dickson, raised the four older children. How did you get through the grief of losing your daughter so young? How was this decision made? Did you and Evelyn often see Evelyn's siblings? 


You were born in Tennessee where slavery was legal, yet slavery was abolished probably by the time you started school. What did you know about slavery? In Perry County, Tennessee, how did former slaves and former slave owners interact? Did you hear stories about how slaves had been treated by your family members or others in your community?


You were quite young, but do you remember any stories from the Civil War? Did you listen to men who had fought in the war and hear their stories? Did you listen to the women who had stayed behind during the war and hear their stories? How did the war affect your family?


The world changed incredibly during your lifetime. You grew up with horses and buggies, outhouses, candles, slow communication, and the death of many babies and their mothers through childbirth. Throughout your years, you saw the inventions of cars, planes, indoor plumbing, electric lights, radio, television, immunizations, pain killers, and more. Which invention affected your life the most?

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.

Valentine (#7 of 52)

This post is based on Amy Johnson Crow's " 52 Ancestors in 52 Week s" challenge. This week's theme is: Valentine. On V...