“How’s your shorthand?” prospective employers and temp agencies would ask. Oh, mine was lightning fast back in the day. I wonder if my stenography notebooks are still around somewhere…hmm. I even participated in numerous shorthand competitions, receiving sizable monetary prizes as well as scholarship offers from a Tulsa business school and from Northeastern State University.… Continue reading Lost in Transcription
On This Day: Birth of Elizabeth Ann Williamson Laney
Elizabeth Ann Williamson Laney was born 15 July 1915, in Pittsburg, Kansas; she died 9 June 2005 in Joplin, Missouri. If you are a member of Ancestry.com, perhaps you have seen one the of the site's newest features, allowing one to "colorize" old photos. I was skeptical about whether literally one click of my mouse… Continue reading On This Day: Birth of Elizabeth Ann Williamson Laney
Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk!
My maternal grandmother was a huge University of Kansas basketball fan. Like me, my grandmother grew up playing basketball in school. While I’m sure that had something to do with her passion for KU Basketball, my mother tells me that her mother became more interested in KU basketball when the family moved from Iola, Kansas,… Continue reading Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk!
The Color Purple
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 30: Health PROMPT: Week 30's theme is "Health." A person's health has such an impact on everything in his or her life. Do you know of any health related events in an ancestor's life? What about an ancestor who worked in medicine or health care? My Granduncle James… Continue reading The Color Purple
State Your Name
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 31: Favorite Name People sometime ridicule celebrities for the "unusual" names they choose for their children. Clearly, they haven't looked at some ancestral names, like "Strange Powers" or "Preserved Fish." Who's name in your family tree makes you smile? (Of course, you can interpret this theme however you'd… Continue reading State Your Name
The Way You Wear Your Hat
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 29: Fashion PROMPT: It's fun to look at old photos and think, "How did they wear that?!" Corsets, bustles, wool suits, and ridiculously large hats seem so impractical (not to mention heavy!) Any fashion mavens in your family tree? What about an ancestor who had their own sense… Continue reading The Way You Wear Your Hat
A Shovel on Steroids
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 28: Transportation PROMPT: As the daughter of a service station owner, I grew up around cars and developed an appreciation for them. Whether it's planes, trains, or automobiles (or canal boats, or steamships, or... ), think about transportation and how it affected an ancestor. Did canals open up… Continue reading A Shovel on Steroids
Go From Your Country
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 27: Free PROMPT: Week 27's theme is "Free." You could focus on an ancestor seeking freedom, a free-for-all, your favorite free resource, or take it "free form" and write about whatever you want to write about! (Of course, that's true any week!) The Dark Hedges at Bregagh Road,… Continue reading Go From Your Country
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 26: Conflict PROMPT: Conflict seems to be part of the human experience. How did it affect your ancestors? It could be through war, legal conflicts, or bad relationships. You could also think about having to resolve conflicting evidence in your research. Plaque with Agnus Dei on a Cross… Continue reading Religious Animals
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 25: Groups PROMPT: Humans are generally social creatures; that is, we tend to form or join groups. These groups could be familial or they could be by choice. Think about church groups, fraternal organizations, schools, jobs/trades, sports teams, or clubs that an ancestor belonged to. My great-grandfather Ernest… Continue reading Solidarity
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 23: Bridge PROMPT: A bridge connects two things that are separated, whether it's land or people (maybe even time?). You could take the theme literally and write about an ancestor who worked on bridges or had to cross them regularly. How about someone who worked or lived on… Continue reading That’s Entertainment!
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 24: Father's Day PROMPT: In the US, Father's Day is this coming Sunday (June 20), so what better time to have the theme of "Father's Day"? In an attempt to create a quick post in order to get back on track with the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks… Continue reading Father’s Day
The Fighting Falcons
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 22: Military PROMPT: What is something you've learned about one of your military ancestors? I recently discovered information about a family member who died in combat in Germany in World War II. I knew that this new (to me) information would be material most appropriate for this post.… Continue reading The Fighting Falcons
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 21: At the Cemetery PROMPT: Cemeteries are such special places; I feel drawn even to those where I don't have any ancestors buried. Which cemetery is special in your family's history? Do you have a story about "visiting" a special relative? Two of my great great-parents--Walter and Marian… Continue reading Midwest Pilgrimage
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 20: Cousin Bait PROMPT: "Cousin bait" is a term used to describe the ways we try to attract the attention of others researching our families. It could be things like blogging, having a public online tree, or leaving comments on a FindAGrave memorial. Have you successfully set cousin… Continue reading Gone Fishin’!
Milk of Sisterly Kindness
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 19: Mother's Day Prompt: Sunday was Mother's Day in the US. This week, let's take a look at the mothers you're researching. (They do make up half of your family tree, after all!) I guess you could call this a mother-daughter-daughter story. My husband's great-grandmother Tziporah "Sarah"/"Sela" Fox/Fuchs… Continue reading Milk of Sisterly Kindness
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 17: Favorite Place Prompt: So many records that we use (and memories that we have) are tied to a place. What is a favorite place to research? What is a favorite ancestral home? Feel free to interpret this theme in your own way! Lobster fisherman dressed for the… Continue reading Maine Attraction
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 18: Crime and Punishment PROMPT: Our ancestors were human, so it tends to reason that someone in the family tree found themselves on the wrong side of the law. The upside for us is that they often created more records than the law-abiding ancestors! Samuel Perry Curry's mug… Continue reading Taking Cellfies
“A Dinna Ken”
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 16: DNA PROMPT: DNA. It's amazing how three letters could so completely change the field of genealogy. What's a discovery you've made with DNA? What about a brick wall that DNA might help break down? DNA Mutation Concept My father and I have each done DNA testing. I… Continue reading “A Dinna Ken”
“Sometime I’ll Dance It One Time”
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 15: Brick Wall PROMPT: Brick Walls—we all have them. This would be a good week to write down what you know about your brick wall problem. (Sometimes just writing about it can help!) You could write about an ancestor who used to be a brick wall. Or get… Continue reading “Sometime I’ll Dance It One Time”
The Great Plains
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 14: Great Week 14 should be great... because that's the theme! It could be someone many generations back (like a great-great-great-great-great-grandfather), an ancestor who did something "great," or someone who was great in some other way. (And remember -- there is no "wrong" way to interpret a theme.… Continue reading The Great Plains
The Harmonious Hardings
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 13 PROMPT: Any musicians in the family? How about someone who loved music and dancing? What about someone who makes you think of a song? Reginald Harding I am a professional musician. My parents are both musicians. But even before that, members of my mother's paternal line--the Hardings—were… Continue reading The Harmonious Hardings
Living with Loss
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 12: Loss PROMPT: Loss is universal. There are many ways to explore this theme, whether it's the loss of a loved one, a livelihood, freedom. You could take a research-based angle on it and talk about the loss of records where your ancestors lived. John Wallace Cathcart II… Continue reading Living with Loss
The Real Thing
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 11: Fortune PROMPT: Week 11's theme is "Fortune." Merriam-Webster gives several definitions for fortune: A large sum of money; prosperity attained partly through luck; or destiny, fate. Be creative with this week's prompt! Julie Deppish with a Coca-Cola dispensing machine toy, ca. 1961. The topic of "fortune" brought… Continue reading The Real Thing
John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 10: Name's the Same PROMPT: Is there a name that keeps popping up in your family tree? Have you had to sort out multiple people with the same name? Romeo’s surname mattered not to his beloved Juliet. A mention of “Uncle Dave and Aunt Rose” in any conversation… Continue reading John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt
Double the Pleasure!
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 9: Multiples PROMPT: Any twins in the family? What about triplets? Or maybe you have an ancestor like my 3rd-great grandmother who was married multiple times. How about an ancestor who held down multiple jobs? A set of twins was born into my mother's maternal family, the Cathcarts.… Continue reading Double the Pleasure!
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, Week 8: Power PROMPT: “Power." Does that mean physical strength, political power, power in the family, electrical power? Yes. 😉 It's a vague theme on purpose 🙂 It's whatever the theme sparks in you. Reginald Harding Once Henry Ford successfully installed an assembly line for the mass production of automobiles… Continue reading Twenty-Two Horsepower
On This Day: Woody’s Anthem
Eighty-one years ago today, Woody Guthrie composed what some might call an alternate “National Anthem.” Woody composed “This Land is Your Land” at the Hanover House hotel at 6th Avenue and 43rd Street in New York City, shortly after moving there from his native Oklahoma. Woody Guthrie with one of numerous guitars upon which was… Continue reading On This Day: Woody’s Anthem
Inmate No. 33501
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 7 - Unusual Source Prompt: Not all of our genealogy discoveries come in the "regular" sources like vital records and the census. What is a discovery that you've made using an unusual source? Mug Shot of Samuel Perry Curry - June 1929 - Leavenworth, Kansas One of the most… Continue reading Inmate No. 33501
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 6 - Valentines PROMPT: Do you have any Valentines from any of your ancestors? Or maybe you have an ancestor named Valentine. (I remember when I was little being surprised to learn that Valentine was a "boy's name.") How about an ancestor that you wish you could exchange valentines… Continue reading Valentines
Food for Thought
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 5 - In the Kitchen Prompt: So many memories revolve around meals and cooking together. Do you have an ancestor who was a good cook (or maybe a notoriously bad cook!) What about a favorite recipe -- where did it come from or who always cooked it? If that… Continue reading Food for Thought
My Favorite Photo
On left, Norma Ethel Lewis Laney and her daughter-in-law Ann Williamson Laney, holding her son--my father. 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 4: Favorite Photo PROMPT: Tell the story of a favorite photo -- who is in it, when and where was it taken, and why was it taken. Remember, it doesn't have to… Continue reading My Favorite Photo
A small polyglot Bible passed down to the author. Last week, the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C., was the site of the Inaugural ceremony for the incoming President and Vice President. Those leaders of the Executive branch then in turn swore in new members of the Legislative branch. When taking an oath, it… Continue reading Good Books
Designated by Denomination
Renwick Cargill Smith (1840-1903) 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 3: Namesake Renwick Cargill "Ren" Smith in his Union Army uniform. PROMPT: Are you named for one of your ancestors? Do you have an ancestor who was named for someone else (either in the family or a well-known person?) Renwick Cargill Smith came by… Continue reading Designated by Denomination
Lin-Manuel Miranda Forgot Someone.
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 2: Family Legend Prompt: Is there a tale that's been passed down in your family? Have you proven (or maybe disproven) it? Perhaps you have an ancestor who was legendary (or should have been.) Le Marquis de Lafayette in portrait and as portrayed by Daveed Diggs in the… Continue reading Lin-Manuel Miranda Forgot Someone.
52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge: Week 1 PROMPT: Who inspired your first search? Who is at the beginning of one of your ancestral lines? Who are you beginning to research this year? Anna Young Williamson The genesis of my interest in researching my family tree was my daughter who would invariably ask me prior… Continue reading Beginnings
Inmate No. 33501
I published the following post in February 2021. I’m reposting today in honor of National Moonshine Day. 🌽🥃 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 7 - Unusual Source Prompt: Not all of our genealogy discoveries come in the "regular" sources like vital records and the census. What is a discovery that you've made using an… Continue reading Inmate No. 33501