Archive for genealogy

Mom’s Boxes Part 8: The Gangster Hideout

The “farmhouse” after being painted white, pillars added, and lower windows remodeled into new front doors.

READERS: This is the sort of story I intend to write more of over the next few years to share with my family. It’s also the sort of story I encourage you to write about your own family! It doesn’t have to be fancy, with links to articles and such. Just capture the memories for future generations.

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Climbing your never-ending family tree

7 Generation Pedigree Chart with sample projects indicated.

Your family tree is never really finished! It is forever growing on both ends. New descendants of your ancestors are continually being born (even if not to you, personally), and no matter how many branches and leaves you’ve added in the past, there are always more for you to discover.

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What’s a photo without the story?

Who is this saucy young woman? Don’t know? Don’t care?

She looks like fun, though, doesn’t she?

What if you found this photo in a bin at Goodwill? For sale on eBay?

Would you buy it? Would you feel vaguely sad that somebody got rid of it, and move on?

What if you found her in your parents’ stuff and didn’t know who she was?

Would you keep, or toss? Would you try to find the story behind the photo?

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Thornton Family History Lost & Found

My grandpa, dad, and brother

My grandpa, dad, and brother.

Have you ever lost part of your family history and found it again? Do you still have unsolved mysteries that intrigue you?

In Puzzling Out Your Family History I talked about the joys and challenges of doing one’s own genealogy research. In The Gift of an Organized Family Tree I describe one of the several types of projects I can do for you. My Family History Research Services web page includes Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ), the first of which is, “What the heck does genealogy have to do with organizing?” In Gifts I Got from Mom, I shared more of my story. And in the Mom’s Boxes series, I share more of hers.

And here’s how it all began…..

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Mother’s Day — Gifts I Got from Mom

Me and mom reading together. Albuquerque, summer 1959.

Me and mom (and my little brother-to-be) reading together. Albuquerque, summer 1959.

I grew up in a family of six, with my parents, three younger brothers, and few relatives. Certainly none that lived nearby. My parents did not share family stories or photos. Not really. There were slide shows of our own family vacations  that we all enjoyed, but nothing historical. I guess they were too busy working and raising us up. It wasn’t until I undertook my first genealogy project, in my 30’s, that I discovered, on my dad’s side, that I am from a long line of Quakers. Including Quaker Loyalists (wrong side of the Revolutionary War, maybe, but fascinating nonetheless) and prominent Quaker ministers. My dad, a Christian minister himself (later a VA chaplain), had no idea, despite the fact that there was only one generation separating him from full-on Quakerism. I guess his family didn’t share much either. (The last generation was largely disowned for marrying outside their faith and such, which is bad, but not as harsh as Amish shunning). Maybe I’ll write more about that for Father’s Day.

My mom was quite interested in my genealogical pursuits as well, offering up unsubstantiated but tantalizing “facts” and bits of lore I’d never heard before in my life, such as: (more…)