Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

Do you have a well-documented pedigree? Are you from high quality stock? Maybe you descend from kings or royalty… I think there are plenty of skeletons in our closets and if we knew how bad they were, maybe we would take a different approach to people. Maybe we would be more accepting but we pride ourselves of our prized pedigree building walls between those who we believe are of lesser importance when we should open our arms and welcome them.


I have spent years doing genealogy research—some on my family lines and much about others. I have learned a great deal about people in general and I have learned much more than a history book could ever teach. Some people seek pedigrees that others will marvel at. I remember back when I thought about joining the Daughters of the American Revolution…I have several ancestors who fought in the war that broke our chains from the mother country. I was doing it for my daughters’ benefit more than anything else. I wanted to leave some sort of ties to their legacy on my side of the family since there is no real family to help them when they get interested in my family’s part of history. I eventually declined the invitation in the end because I was living too much in the past and I wanted to live in the present and future. That sounds awful but here is a part of my past and why I cannot judge anyone due to race. 🙂


Much of my dad’s family was fairly easy to trace. His paternal line came out of North Carolina and the surnames are all related. Looking at historical records, it is believed that there was a single progenitor who settled here in North America but from where he came is of question. Many believe he came from England before 1700. Oh, again, I don’t know of any ancestors coming to America after 1800. There is more about this line but I won’t proceed right now.


Emotions get caught up in the tales for me because I like to experience and see through each person’s eyes and speaking of eyes…my eyes are bluish greenish with brown spots. My mom’s were darker blue with brown spots and my dad’s eyes were lighter blue—almost silver with brown spots. You would never know that I have Native American blood—actually from both parents. Weird to me. Most of my dad’s family line hails from the British Isles…Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England but there is one family who has been traced to Germany. The Hillis family—my dad’s maternal line and the line that owned the farm on which I grew up were from Ireland but before 1785. I really wish I could get them back across the sea but there are no records of detail that have been found in Ireland and to my knowledge they were not Catholic so I think I am out of luck.


As for my mom’s family…before they settled in Alabama, they mostly came from Virginia through Tennessee. Most were US Revolutionary soldiers or descendants so many of them have left a mark in the historical records such as land grants, etc. I had good times (and bad) locating family ties—connecting with long distance cousins and talking with people. My grandfather—let’s get him out of the way—his line is the most problematic. There is a DNA surname project that is ongoing but his line of DNA markers show his haplogrouping belongs to that of the Nordic tribes while most of the surnames are connected (not his) and they are not Nordic. That would be par for my grandfather. He also had French ancestry that has been hard to prove because I cannot establish who the woman’s father was due to missing records. I cannot establish the validity to the Native American ancestor in his line nor if it is true that there was also at least one African American but odds are good that both are part of my heritage. I laugh at this because my mother’s mom was really racist and she had absolutely no reason to be. Sad. Really sad.


My mom’s mother’s line is the one I know most about. She had a Native American ancestor so I have nothing but mixed blood all around…lol. This same line is where the Huguenots tie in. My maternal matriarch—as far back through the female line as I can go with any certainty—married a third generation Huguenot descendant. You want to talk about religious persecution…the family that came over in 1700 were trying to escape so that they could build new lives here. They were first uprooted out of France into other parts of Europe as they sought freedom but when the influx of refugees disturbed the status quo, they were sent to America–not totally of their own free will.


Four generations of my female line–Mom, me, my grandmother and my great-grandmother.



There is a lot I know about my mother’s maternal line and I have had to fight over it because I was told I didn’t descend from the very line I descend from—even though I had things passed down to me from the 1800s. In fact, the person who told me this made me caused me to dig that much harder to prove what I thought I knew but I filled in a lot of blanks and documented much of the information with historical records that were not in my possession. He even published a book with the wrong facts which he still makes money from. I was kind to him and tried to offer to share what I had not because I knew I was right but because I wanted to share (he had posted a note asking for help–if that doesn’t beat all) and his last response to me was that he felt sorry for me. Please. He was extremely disrespectful. I thought he wanted to know the truth. My mom would have loved to set him straight and she might have known him—I don’t know. He is probably distantly related. See…we don’t get to choose who we are related to.


There is a mindset that tells people they are right and they believe it even when the differing facts stare them in the face. In the case of the person who told me I didn’t belong, the proof was in my family’s cemetery lot–believe it or not. You see, my family always took care of one another. After a sister’s husband died and she was not able to care for herself, my ancestor took her sister in to care for her. The sisters in this generation were very close and remained close no matter how many miles apart.


It turned out that the sister who was taken in outlived the one who took care of her and she is buried in the family plot in Alabama. I had visited it many times but I didn’t know all of the story until several years ago. I was disowned by extended family and believed the guy who failed to do his research because of his title–he is a bigshot genealogist. Her grave and the historical records are there that show what is truth. Census data, pictures, etc. I cannot make him believe it is true–he holds onto another belief and he doesn’t accept me. Is that how we are to treat family? I don’t think so.


What does this say about who we are? Don’t hide behind someone. Don’t hide behind your beliefs. Reach out to those who need. Accept others with love in your heart.


May your gardens grow with great beauty and tenderness! 🙂


A variation of this post has been waiting since last year to be posted…I might catch up one day. 😀




Read Full Post »

I write about love, friends and family, romance and such because these things are important to me. Family is essential but so is your mate. People have wondered if I would be able to withstand some of the things that have come my way lately—sometimes I do too 🙂 but the following is about the women in my family.

  • My paternal grandmother died at 60 years of age. She had been divorced from when she was about 34 years of age—never remarried. She loved my granddaddy until the day she died but when they were married, he liked going out carousing and drinking a bit too much.
  • My maternal grandmother also was divorced but not until she was about 54 years of age. He ran off with a woman, yada, yada… I know how that goes (eye roll). She lived to be 88 years of age and never remarried. 
  • My mother died at 60 years of age and was widowed when she was 48. She never remarried.
  • Then there was my great-grandmother on my mom’s side. I remember her quite well. She died at 84 but was widowed at 39. She also did not remarry.

My mom, me, maternal g-ma and her mother. As usual, there is a story 😀 .

These women withstood all types of hardships and heartache, and they made huge sacrifices. They were strong. They never remarried and I am told they never fell in love or had a relationship with another man again. Very sad but romance isn’t everything. When I was young I wanted to be just like my maternal grandmother – the part where she was strong and independent. I later learned she was vengeful toward all men and I did not want any part of that. I still try to be strong and independent but I don’t want to lose the hope of falling in love again. 😀 The odds are not on my side. Someone said the other day I was too old–what? Hmm… I guess maybe that could be true but I don’t like it when people tell me I can’t do something.


Each woman had problems along the way and had very little help to get through. As for both of my grandmothers…what do I say? The girls and I are all there is to keep their legacy going. It is really tough being an only child of two only children but as women of my family on both sides of the tree, we are strong and we keep going. 🙂 

Happy Gardening! 😀

Happy Birthday, MOM! 😀

Read Full Post »

On the wall at the bottom of the stairs hangs a large portrait of a man who is my great-grandfather—my paternal grandmother’s father (my dad’s mom’s papa). He is a rather handsome guy with his well-groomed mustache and those curly locks that are a family trait. His mustache was always well groomed in every photo I have of him by the way. My children were a bit scared of him (understatement)—his portrait—just as I was when I was growing up. I used to hide and could never look at him in the eyes 😀 . I never knew him and neither did my dad. He was called Clayton and my father who was born a few years after his death was named for him.



I still have some of the family property that was settled over 200 years ago. The farm was where I grew up, where I have such fond memories. It is said that my G-GF’s grandfather was born in Ireland and had married a Scottish lass. I cannot confirm this definitely and there is not a paper trail that is conclusive on what generation was born in Ireland or where exactly they came from but by 1785 at least one had settled in the area and by 1793 there were enough of the family to name a settlement after them. A couple of years ago, I was shocked to find a plat (1793) with the settlement listed. I had no idea. The area lost its name for a while but then was renamed for the families back in the late 1800s. Now, that is all but a memory. My G-GF was the postmaster for this little hamlet and the post office sat out in front of the old farmhouse. In my grandmother’s photo album, there is a photo of my G-GF on his horse and I have found newspaper writings of people talking about him delivering the mail. Today, very, very few of the surnames are left in the area and the road that was named for them that we lived on has been changed.


There is much that is unknown to me about our family history but there is quite a bit that I do know and that is how they treated others—always helpful—always courteous—always respectful. There have been times where I will forget and will get angry when I am provoked but this is not the way I was taught. I do not know the reasons for this family line settling in America but most likely it was to have a new chance at life. The story goes that there were two men—two brothers who came to America. One went north and one south. Why? I have no clue and I cannot confirm this. As I dug into the family history, I discovered that I have more questions than answers. Even the pronunciation of the name has changed—Americanized? Maybe. I may never know the story and yet I do know. The family that I knew were pious, modest, and simple. They never wanted glory, prestige, wealth, or power because they had more–more than they ever needed. 🙂


I love life. At times, I find that there are enormous barriers that get in my way—more than small obstacles–more like stone walls. I have to remember where I came from—my roots—my family and sometimes I have to be reminded. 😉


Happy Gardening! May all of your memories of family be wonderful! Take care and be blessed! 😀


Read Full Post »

Tybee Nov 2011

Tybee Nov 2011

Savannah is such a beautiful city. It lies along the Savannah River–the same river that I live along now, and did when I was growing up–a stretch of less that 150 miles from here to there. Tybee Island (the beach) lies just east of the city, at the mouth of the river. There are historic landmarks all around from forts to historic homes, cemeteries to places that play a part in our nation’s history. The only thing I don’t like is that it is hot and humid—many times more so than here. I am willing to visit any day or night except March 17th 😐 . There are so many memories I have of this place. Years ago, River Street was revitalized. It is not exactly the same as it used to be 2-300 years ago, but there are telltale signs of the past. A popular tourist “trap” landmark that I actually love is the Pirates House (link) due to the food and stories as well as memories.


Cotton Exchange

Cotton Exchange

My father was born in Savannah and my ancestors came here on special occasions. I have a receipt where my great grand-father bought a dress suit here in 1888. Did he sell his cotton here? I’m not completely sure but cotton was sold along Factor’s Walk back in the day. Today, I enjoy eating at places that served as warehouses and offices such as the Boar’s Head Restaurant and Pub and have been going there since 1981 when a certain young man who had captured my heart asked me to prom—yeah—a long way to go for a date lol but I did say he captured my heart. There are times when I feel my blog is becoming more of romance stories than anything else but it just my remembering some of the good times of the past 🙂 .


The city squares are beautiful in the spring with the azaleas blooming, the birds chirping and butterflies everywhere. I remember feeding pigeons at the fountain when I was very small. Savannah has been my second home all of my life. Today, we are on our way to visit the last cousin from my dad’s family. We will eat great food and have a wonderful visit and bring home eat some great fresh fudge from River Street. You know what is even greater? It will feel like home 😀 .


Have a wonderful day and enjoy it to the fullest! Happy Gardening! 😀


Read Full Post »

As I was sent on my way to first grade my parents said, “Get a spanking at school and there will be one waiting for you when you get home.” I didn’t try to find out how true that was but knowing my parents there would not be just one but two


spankings waiting for me. We didn’t have a woodshed; we didn’t even have a fireplace until I was 14 😀 , but that would NOT deter my parents. Many parents in the area were the same as mine. You know that phrase, “Spare the rod, spoil the child?” That sentiment was emblazoned on a wood plaque in many a home. We were raised to respect people and property—well, most of us.


IN THE NEWS — Another cemetery was vandalized in Alabama last week. I saw the headline and checked to see if it was one I knew. It wasn’t but there was a particular cemetery near where my mother grew up dating back to a battle during the War of 1812. It had been vandalized several times (not the only cemetery but this has become a type of recreation 😦 ). An ancestor that settled this area had a brother killed and is buried at the one from 1812 . The cemetery was moved at least twice, the first was to make way for a lake then it was moved again to make way for a subdivision. People do not have respect for others. It is a shame. It was suspected that teenagers were hanging out in the area drinking when they spray-painted some of the stones and then went back and broke them not once, not even twice, but several times. It was a sad scene. 


I guess you have seen about the Petraeus scandal. I have been trying to avoid as much news as possible but that has not escaped my eyes. At the risk of sounding crass, “Guys, what is it that causes this?” Are you really willing to throw everything away? Women do it, too, but what has happened to respect, respect for others, respect for property, respect for oneself and just pure respect? Where are the boundary lines? You can make anything exciting if you want to and it doesn’t have to be with someone ELSE’s spouse or without your spouse. I’m still trying to get over Mark Sanford and a few others who were out living it up while their wife was performing some super woman feat—one was giving birth to their child. And, let us not forget John Edwards… I can’t even write those words. Men who leave their wives when their wives have health issues… I told my husband that I would so like to take him out to the woodshed, or get someone else to… Well, you get the picture.


I urge us all to know where our boundaries are and if not, learn them. See them and cherish what we have. As for the tombstones…I think this is worse than a crime of vandalism. It is a crime against home and sanctuary—it was their place of rest. When we dumb-down the crime by making it less sensational, we do a disservice to us and all of the people that pass after us. And, infidelity… You wouldn’t want to be treated with such lack of respect so treat others better than you would want to be treated…PLEASE. Thank you!


By the way, I never got a spanking all through school–not from the teachers but I did get in trouble one time…I would rather have had a spanking… 🙂 …I would rather have had three. Be good to others and cherish your spouse! Happy Gardening! 😀


Read Full Post »


Many people don’t believe in luck. Good luck, bad luck, it is all the same, right? No, not necessarily. Many people have told me this year that if I didn’t have bad luck that I would have no luck at all. This is meant in good fun and they are trying to bring a smile to my face if I don’t already have one. BTW, this is supposed to be a “humorous” post except that it is real and is my life right now 😀 .


We all seem to have bad times but I still cannot seem to shake mine. Last week, one of my father’s first cousins called me to tell me about her sister passing—her last sibling. I didn’t know any of my dad’s father’s family except my dad’s father. It was what I call a Christmas miracle several years ago when we got in touch. I wanted to find some of the family and with help from a family genealogist she was able to call me. She had been waiting a couple of decades (or more) for me to find her. Anyway, she hated to call and give me bad news. The guy who helped get us together has also passed away and another relative of theirs. It was a sad call and then I dropped my bombshell of news about my situation. She cried—I cried…


Then as my daughter was putting lights outside for the trick-or-treaters one of my outside lights began to flicker like there was a short. I had already lost an overhead light in the kitchen earlier that day. I didn’t know what was going on. Well, this light fell completely apart—little pieces. Photo included—excuse the cobwebs. Since I have a pair of these, I had to buy two new lights—didn’t get what I really wanted but maybe these will not fall apart. I just have to get them installed 😦 .


Not the end of the story… I was making toast the next day and what happens? I wouldn’t believe it if I had not seen it. The middle piece of the toaster that holds the heating element—part of it fell out. I am not kidding! So, you see, if I did not have this case of bad luck (and worse has happened) I would have no luck at all. I am not even getting into the toilet upstairs, the outside faucet, and so many other things.


Whatever happens in your day may it be a very blessed one! Happy Gardening! 😀


Read Full Post »

Budgets–I’m pretty good at getting my money’s worth–maybe more, and I’ve been known to squeeze blood from a turnip–well, that’s what my family thinks.

I got an email tonight that said the state archives in Morrow will be closing Nov 1 of this year because of budget constraints. Ok. I didn’t know anything about this but I checked and sure enough it appears to be accurate.*** According to the email, this will be the only state archives in the nation that will not be open to the public. There have been some really bad decisions lately to come out of Atlanta and this is another one.


I don’t readily make my opinions known but lately I have done so a bit more often. No, I didn’t sign a petition or


other such document. I decided to email the governor directly and let him know how I felt. Personally, I think he can reduce some of his personal spending out of his office to take care of this. I am nothing great but I do have ancestors who helped settle parts of the state and many of the ancestral lines have remained here—I’m one of them. I think this is a disgrace to the present and past citizens. I know genealogy and research of past history (redundant) is not everyone’s cup of tea but our history is important—all of our histories.


Well, I thought I’d get that off my chest. I feel better. I’m sure nothing will happen but you know, if I don’t say anything I don’t have a right to complain later.


May your gardens look beautiful all through the day! Happy Gardening! 😀

*** The archives will not be open to the public as it is now but will be taking appointments as time and staff allows but with the cut in staff, it does not sound that this will be promising.


Read Full Post »


It is interesting to know our namesake(s) and the history behind our names. Sometimes we are named for an ancestor; sometimes it is a family friend or other family member. Do you know if you were named after someone? Not knowing much about my family history before my mother passed away, my knowledge of my namesakes was limited until I began to do a little digging. Mom said she named me (my first name) after my great aunt—Dad’s mother’s sister—or rather a shortened version of her name. And, my middle name came from my mom’s side of the family—no mystery with that one.


Sisters in front of the old farmhouse
Amanda Pauline, Lillian Ann (my GM), Emma Irene

My great aunt did not marry and she had no children. Her first name was Amanda but went by her middle name because her grandmother, Amanda Amelia, lived with the family. Pauline was like my best friend when I was young and a great substitute for my grandmother after she passed away. I don’t think there was anything she could not do.


The name Amanda has been passed down through my father’s family since at least the 1700s—back to my 5th great grandmother, and I doubt this is the origin. This name has been used in every generation except for my father (I know he was glad 🙂 ) who was an only child and I have not confirmed that my 5th GG daughter’s middle name was Amanda or if there was possibly another daughter who died who might have been named Amanda. The name continued down through several lines and generations—not just mine. I didn’t use Amanda or a shortened form in my girls’ names. I think they are ok with that but I probably would have at the time had I known the family history.


Names should be badges of honor, something we build on as we grow so that when we are gone, there is a sense of respect in the remembrance of our name. Do you know if you have a namesake or perhaps you are a namesake? Is it a name that has been passed down through many generations and has meant something special to the family? Did you name your children after a certain namesake in the family? It is something special when we can connect to our family that has gone on before.


Happy Gardening and may we make our namesakes proud! 🙂


Read Full Post »


In a past life, I did family research of ancestors, etc. It was a hobby that became an awful addiction. Ask my family. We could barely get past a cemetery without me yelling, “Hey, go back!” All of my files that were converted to electronic media including scans of photos and such are stored on my antiquated desktop computer and external hard drive. So much time has been wrapped up in all of this including countless hours and miles spent going to historical libraries, courthouses, etc. And, that’s not counting all of the hours of inputting information on file via the antiquated computer.

Family Tree Maker software from amazon

I wanted to put some of my information on my laptop specifically, my family tree file.  I did not want to crank up old faithful just to access information, so I got my latest edition (antiquated software by today’s standards) of Family Tree Maker and installed it on my laptop… Horrors! I was warned that it is not compatible with my version of windows. What!!! Of course it isn’t. Is anyone surprised? I tried to run it anyway. Not a pretty sight. So, I looked to see what I could do.

There is no offering for a patch or upgrade since it is so old by their (ancestry dot com) standards. I looked to see what it would cost to get the latest version…… I began to read reviews and they are terrible. Several individuals talk about how they were not able to upload their old files into the new version—many lost everything they had! Can you imagine? Most people could not get their data to transfer like in previous versions. When I read the same thing over and over, I got the feeling I didn’t want to invest in this “garbage.”

What we think of as out of date or antiquated and not usable anymore is not what I like to see. If something works, why must we get rid of it? Much of this promotion it is about greed and consumerism. If someone tells you that you need to get something because it is better, newer, prettier, that means they get money and more money is pumped into the economy, right? That’s a good thing—to an extent. It reminds me of The Story of Fluff… Oh, I’m sorry; I meant The Story of Stuff 😉 😉 of which I disagreed about much that was presented. However, a few of the video’s thoughts were close to the mark though many of the facts were inaccurate and some ideas were way off.

Antiquated, out-of-date, OLD…all of these things do not mean things do not work. My desktop is antiquated but it is still useful. I wanted to save her from being cranked up so much to preserve her not that I think she is out of date. If we are not going to make something better and really improved rather than just saying it, then why bother? We used to take pride in our work but back then people appreciated others more and let them know about it.

Have I become antiquated? I hope not. Have a nice day. Stay cool and Happy Gardening!


Read Full Post »

Do we really know what it means? I had a 4th  great-grandmother on my mom’s side (my great-grandmother’s great-grandmother to clarify :)) who married a man she loved very much. She was a little young and he was older, but they were married in Kentucky back when our country was in its infancy. How do I know of her love? Well, several clues are there but the end of her life said so much about the love she had for him.

from wikipedia

The women in my family have been very strong-willed. Some will say it is a character flaw while others will say it is a gift. It’s probably a little of both. There is no doubt that Elizabeth was a strong woman. After marriage, Elizabeth and her husband moved south as lands were opening to new settlement in order to build a home and raise a family. My mother’s family line remained in this area until just shy of the year 2000.

I have the good fortune of possessing written information passed down through the family as well as stories that were shared along the way. As I was searching for more information about my family and relations, I found journal records belonging to a neighbor farmer of the time that detailed some of the events that led up to those stories and no, the family didn’t get the information from the journal. Little pieces have been put together to tell a bigger story (one I am not telling here :)).

Elizabeth was not a woman of money, fame, or power—well, maybe a little money. She, like so many women of that day, made do of what she was given per situation. She loved her husband so much that one day after he had been sick in bed for quite a while—they were up in age and watched all of their children grow into adults-even buried a few—her husband passed away. The story goes that she was so brokenhearted that she laid there with him in the bed and willed herself to die. She did die that same day–passing away almost 100 years before I was born. This story has touched my heart ever since I heard it almost 40 years ago and brings a tear to my face each time.

After my great-grandmother died (Elizabeth’s great-granddaughter) I went with several relatives to visit the old homeplace. No one had lived there for years. I was young and wasn’t into family history but I remember people pointing to a corner in the room talking about how “he” died first and then “she” willed herself to die. I thought how creepy this was. Later, when I was putting some family history pieces together, I found out who this “he” and “she” really were and that they were interred in the same grave for all eternity. Imagine the love and devotion she had for her husband. This is not a Romeo and Juliet type of story. This is as close as it comes to the happily ever after story you can get though it is still a bit morbid. It is true to life and tells us so much about our ancestors.

And, to add, this house was still standing as of several years ago when I was back for a visit but the land is no longer held by any of the family.

May your life be blessed and filled with love and devotion and may your gardens produce beautiful bounties no matter where they are! Happy Gardening!


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: