Hazel’s Family Stories

Witches in the Family

By Hazel Thornton | February 16, 2024 |

Yikes! Witches? Really? Well, suspected and accused in court, yes! Convicted and hanged, thankfully not! . The Connecticut Witch Trials You’ve no doubt heard about the Salem Witch Trials in 1692-3 Massachusetts. But what about the Connecticut Witch Trials that predated them by 30 years? Yeah, me neither. The Salem trials were more numerous and…

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How and when to find a common ancestor

By Hazel Thornton | August 28, 2022 |

  I finally did it! Did what? I figured out my relationship to Henry Clay, the 19th century American statesman. How? By finding our common ancestor.

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Gifts I Got from Mom

By Hazel Thornton | May 7, 2022 |

                        I grew up in a family of six, with my parents and three younger brothers. We had few relatives. Certainly none who lived nearby. My parents did not share family stories or photos. Not really. We enjoyed slide shows of our own family…

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Luminarias at the Cemetery

By Hazel Thornton | December 20, 2021 |

(This story originally appeared in a Facebook Note on December 24, 2012.) Luminarias are a New Mexican Christmas Eve tradition with religious origins. (Scroll down to learn more.) They are also one of my favorite family holiday traditions. But… in the cemetery? Let me explain.        

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Mom’s Boxes Part 9: Mom’s Good Silverware

By Hazel Thornton | October 25, 2021 |

UPDATE: Mystery solved! (scroll down) What do you think happened when I offered my mom’s good silverware to my niece, Vinca, as a wedding present? One never knows what will happen when you pass a family keepsake on to the next generation. Will they love it? Or, not so much? There’s only one way to…

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What’s a photo without the story?

By Hazel Thornton | July 19, 2020 |

UPDATE #1: Mystery solved! (scroll down) UPDATE #2: I was so taken by my grandmother’s “bathing beauty” photograph that I used it on the cover of my 2021 book — What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy (click to learn more). The book is not about my family, per se,…

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Black Lives Matter in Genealogy Too

By Hazel Thornton | June 27, 2020 |

  I recently saw this example of white privilege: Ugh! That one really hit home.

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spanish flu victim

Our Ancestors and the 1918 Spanish Flu

By Hazel Thornton | April 1, 2020 |

  So… we’re all locked down, to various degrees, in a worldwide effort to help stop the spread of the novel COVID-19 Coronavirus. And everyone knows that this 2020 pandemic is the worst thing since the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. From Wikipedia: The Spanish flu was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic. Lasting from January 1918…

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The End of an Era: RIP George

By Hazel Thornton | January 20, 2020 |

George was my constant companion for 17-1/2 years. Social media friends got to see a lot of him. He had his own Pinterest board. And a Facebook photo album. He died in December from multiple health conditions (OK, I had him euthanized, ugh!), and I miss him terribly. I know many pet owners who can…

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Thornton Farmstead: Home of the Iowa State Fair

By Hazel Thornton | August 13, 2019 |

I’ve never attended the Iowa State Fair. I gain weight just reading the 2019 Food On A Stick menu! But I did visit the fairgrounds a number of years ago on a genealogy research trip with my dad. Why? Because the land formerly belonged to my 2nd great-grandfather, Calvin Thornton. Prior to that, it belonged…

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Hazel's Books

Book cover: What's a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy

What’s a Photo Without the Story? How to Create Your Family Legacy

Cover of "Go With the Flow! (The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook)"

Go With the Flow! (The Clutter Flow Chart Workbook)

Cover of "Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror"

Hung Jury: The Diary of a Menendez Juror

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