Sunday, October 2, 2016

My Blog Has Changed!

You may notice that I haven't posted in a few months. I had some technical issues and I have now transferred all of my posts to my new blog: The Genealogy Grandma.

Please visit my new blog:

Now that I am back up and running again, keep checking in for new posts!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Respect for Indexers

I have been participating in the FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Project this weekend. This has been a first for me and I wasn't sure what to expect. I started off with several of the beginning projects and my arbitration results were 96%, so I gradually moved up to the intermediate batches.

I have been working on indexing Kentucky marriage records. Some records date as far back as 1861 and others as late as 1940. I love the idea of giving back to the genealogy community, and it has definitely been exciting. Most of the records were clear and fairly legible, while others were more difficult to read. This project has given me a much deeper respect for all of the volunteers who have all ready given so much of their time to index the billions of records I take for granted on FamilySearch and other databases. I encourage others to join the indexing project and help make more records available online. By volunteering, you are giving back to the community and making it possible for others to find their ancestors.

Want to help? Click here to go to FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Project and get started today!

Friday, July 15, 2016

You Know More Than You Think - Ask the Right Questions

Recently, I was able to do some research for a very good friend of mine. Her mother abandoned her when she was very young and although she had limited contact with her over the years, she didn't know that much about her mother's family. She was no longer able to get more information since her mother passed away a few years ago. She had also lost touch with her mother's siblings and longed to reconnect.

Her mother had been adopted when she was a young girl, and I had done previous research on the adopted family, but she was eager to find information on the biological family. This summer I made it my priority to help her find out where she came from.

I would talk to her and gather information, do some research and call her back. Each time I talked to her, I was able to obtain new information. The key was asking very specific questions. Even though she thought she had given me all of the information she had, I discovered that she neglected to tell me certain stories because she didn't think they were important. There were also times when I would tell her what I had found, and that would trigger a vague memory, which in turn brought about new discoveries.

I'm happy to say that she now has information on two new grandparents and four new great-grandparents on her mother's side. I was also able to locate records on her aunt and uncle and used that information to track them down using social media. She was so excited to get this information and she has since talked to both of them by phone several times and has even reconnected with cousins she hasn't seen since she was very young.

Just goes to show that even when a person thinks they don't have much information, they usually have more than they believe they do.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Census Sunday - Eliza Ann (Wickliffe) Wright 1840-1899

This is the 1870 Federal U.S. Census for Tom Township, Benton, Missouri. This is one of my favorite census records, because three of my Wickliffe ancestors are enumerated in a row. My third great-grandfather Charles Wickliffe is enumerated first, just under him is his son, my second great-grandfather William H. Wickliffe, and next is William's sister, Eliza Ann Wickliffe enumerated with her first husband William Harrison Wright.

Eliza Ann Wickliffe and William Harrison Wright married on 14 Jan 1858 in Benton, Missouri. I found them in the 1860 census as a young couple without any children. A decade later, they are listed with three children.

I am working on the descendants of Eliza Wickliffe and William Wright. The transcription for the Wright household is as follows:

* William Wright, 35, Male, White, Farmer, Personal Estate Value - $500, born in Virgina, male U.S. citizen 21 years and up
* Eliza Wright, 30, Female, White, Keeping house, born in Indiana
* Ellen Wright, 11, Female, White, at home, born in Missouri, attended school, cannot write
* Alfred L. Wright, 4, Male, White, at home, born in Missouri
* Laura Wright, 1, Female, White, at home, born in Missouri

By the 1880 Census, William Wright is not listed. According to Find-a-grave, he died in 1876. Eliza married Alfred F. Wight on 17 Dec 1876 and is enumerated with him in the 1880 census. It lists another child, Celeste, 6 years old, as being Alfred's step-daughter. So it appears that Eliza and William Wright had at least 4 children before his death. The 1880 census also lists two more children in the home: Ruffian, male, 2 years, and Daisy D., female, age 4 months. These are Eliza's children by Alfred. I have not discovered any other children as of yet. Eliza Ann Wright died in 1899 according to Find-a-grave.

The source citation for this census is as follows:

Benton, Missouri, population schedule, Tom Township, sheet 283B, page 20 (handwritten), line 18, dwelling #139, family #150, William Wright household; digital image; ( : accessed 15 May 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 759. 

FamilySearch Worldwide Indexing Event

I received an email invitation this morning. FamilySearch is looking for volunteers to help with their worldwide indexing project. It is a 3-day long project running from July 15-17, 2016.

FamilySearch is a free site that has helped me solve several family mysteries over the years. I have found many wonderful records on FamilySearch that I couldn't find on any other site. If it wasn't for other volunteers giving freely of their time, I might never have found the documents I needed. 

I love looking at old records and I want to be a part of making these historical records free and searchable. I have already downloaded the indexing software, and I'm excited to begin on this project. If you would like to be a part of something bigger and help make more records available, click here to join the FamilySearch Indexing Event!

Let's make more records freely searchable on the internet and help families find their ancestors!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Trello - Organizing Genealogy

I have a natural tendency to be unorganized. Not on purpose mind you. I work hard to get organized, but it usually doesn't last long. One area of great concern to my organization has always been the numerous lists found about my home and office. I make a list for EVERYTHING! My office was always filled with sticky notes, or scraps of paper. These would get lost or accidentally thrown away. It made staying organized almost impossible. I had been using Excel for my genealogical research, so I thought I would try it for organizing my tasks, but it wasn't a nice fit for me. I have recently discovered another online tool that works for me, and I want to share it with you. A  few weeks ago, I read about Trello on The Cousin Detective's blog. It looked easy enough, so I decided to check it out for myself.

I wasn't prepared for the ease of creating the boards and lists! There's only so many hours a day and if you are like me, you look for quick and easy ways to get you through.

How to Use Trello in Just Four Easy Steps

1) Create a FREE account. 
  • What do you have to lose? Click here to go to the Trello site.
2) Create your first board.
  • They were so easy to do, that I actually created 3 - Genealogy, work, and home, in just a matter of minutes. Create and name your board or boards - and don't worry - if you want to change the name later, it's easy to do.
  • The Welcome Board helps to explain everything you need to know and for now, I have decided to leave it up to remind me of all the wonderful tools Trello has available.
3) Create lists

  • I had a ton of things to list, but I needed it to be in an easy to understand, cohesive format. I used these list headings, but you can choose any format that works for you.
    • Someday - these were things I knew I wanted to do in the future, but they weren't top priorities. They were there to help me remember them - like keeping it on a calendar. 
    • Next week - these were jobs that were higher priority and must get done soon.  
    • Weekly - These are for the tasks I do each week. I may at some point go back and add a Daily List, but for now this works. 
    • Tomorrow - I try not to give myself more than 2-3 jobs to do in order to ensure I have time to do them.
    • Today - Again, I list no more than 2-3 jobs. When I am working in genealogy, I am focusing on quality of work, not quantity of items done that day. 
    • Done - For completed tasks.

4) Fill in the lists with cards
  • Now that you have created lists, start adding your cards (tasks to be completed).
  • In order for this work, you don't want to carry anything over to the next day. Keep all tasks short and sweet. 
    • For example, I am checking and re-writing citations if needed, so my goal is to only do small batches of 10 each time I work on them. I have over 4,000 citations, so just saying "Re-do citations" can be too daunting and take much more than one day.
  • I use the "Someday" list as a catch-all. Whenever I think of a task that needs to be done, I place it here and move it to the today or tomorrow list when I am ready to work on it. You may name your lists differently, but find a way that works for you.
  • The Done list -That's my favorite one! You simply DRAG AND DROP the completed item over to the done board! What could be easier? :-)

Okay, now you have your boards set up, your lists created, and you have some cards put in your lists. 

Now let me show you some other cool things Trello can do!

Here are a couple of things I have found to be invaluable to me:

Color-Coding Labels
 Trello offers color-coded labels to help you organize. You may edit each color and assign it a description. I have only edited and used the green and yellow for the moment. You can change what the colors mean at any time.               

Assigning Due Dates

If you have a task that needs to be done by a certain date, Trello makes it easy to set that up. Just click on the due date button on the right, and a calendar pops up. As you see in this screenshot, you can also add descriptions and attachments. I included the URL for the Google+ Hangout I attend each month.

Check out Trello now to discover even more great features like:

  • Adding members to work on group projects
  • Keyboard shortcuts
  • Adding a calendar
Sign up today and give it a try! This could be tool that gets you organized and ready to tackle those to-do tasks today!

Monday, June 20, 2016

NGSQ Study Group

Although I have been doing genealogical research for years, I feel my skill set has not progressed much over the years. I am able to locate many documents, but there are still so many more sources to learn. I also need to learn how to analyze all of the evidence, including negative evidence. I want to learn more about how to use the F.A.N. method to backtrack and discover the parentage of ancestors. These are just a few of the areas I need to work on.

In order to learn more, it will require actively seeking courses and groups that can advance my knowledge and skills. I have been wanting to join the National Genealogical Society for some time and I finally did it. My wonderful husband paid for my membership! I am so excited to have access to all of the genealogical scholarly articles and to learn from them.  

In addition, I was accepted into the NGSQ study group. I have printed out the June article and I am on my third read through. There is so much to learn. With each read through, I am picking up on something I didn't catch or understand the first time around. I am preparing notes and trying to analyze the process. I can't wait until tomorrow evening when I sit in on the first study group Google+ hangout. 

I will also be enrolling in the American Genealogical Studies in the next couple of weeks. This is through NGS and it is a series of self-graded courses providing instruction, examples, web links, quizzes, written graded assignments, and more. I've got to keep busy this summer and I welcome the challenge!

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Remembering Dad

Father's Day is very difficult for me. I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer on August 4, 2010. I would give anything to celebrate this special day with him one more time.  

I've been feeling nostalgic, and as I sat down the other day to go through pictures, I came across these of my dad. I wanted to honor him today and share these with all of you.  

This is a picture of my dad and sons. It brings back a lot of memories. Dad made one or two trips a year up from Corpus Christi to visit us in Dallas. This picture was taken in 1994.
My children would get so excited when he would come for a visit. They loved being with their Granddaddy. While visiting, my oldest son, TJ, would beg for him to make his Donald Duck voice, or to sing the songs, "A Hole in the Bottom of the Sea" and "The Green Grass Grew All Around." Dad never disappointed. By the time he finished the songs, they were all laughing so hard they were crying.

This picture of my dad and me was taken in Cedar Hill, Texas in 1978.  

Dad loved jokes and playing around. We were throwing snowballs at my sister and grandmother.

I loved being close to him whenever I could, and I am so grateful my children got the chance to know him. 

This last picture still brings tears to my eyes. It is very special and I will treasure it forever. 
It is one of the last pictures I had taken with my dad. It was taken on July 6, 2010 - just a few weeks before Dad passed on in August. 
Although my parents divorced when I was seven years old, my Dad wanted my Mom to be a part of this day. In fact, she was around quite a bit in the last few weeks to help. I have only one other picture with me and the two of them together after the divorce. 

Daddy, you may be gone, but you are not forgotten. You are always in my heart. I love you.

Clay Ford 1934-2010

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

(Not So) Wordless Wednesday - Elisha's Senior Year May 2013

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do.

This picture is special to me. It is of my youngest son, Elisha, taken in May 2013. It reminds me of his senior year and all of the wonderful times we shared during that whirlwind year. We couldn't afford to purchase senior pictures, so I decided we would take our own. We went out to a beautiful spot in a remote area of Waxahachie, Texas. It was a warm spring morning and we had fun shooting in different areas and just exploring. Time flies so quickly - it's been three years all ready!

My youngest daughter, Rebecca was with us that morning, She helped carry equipment and choose the locations. She loves doing everything with her brother, and she couldn't resist getting in on the fun. 
My children have grown up so quickly, and revisiting these pictures reminds me of all the wonderful (and sometimes not so wonderful) times I have spent with them. A reminder to cherish the time we have with our loved ones, for we know not how much time we have with them.

What wonderful memories do you recall as you sort through your photos?

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Plan of Action: William Preston Ford, Part 3

This post is the third part of an ongoing research problem into my great-grandfather's life. In the previous two posts, I began researching to find out who the parents of William were and to find the marriage to his first wife Leona F. Sharp who died a few days after giving birth to their son, George William.

If you would like a recap you may use these links:

Plan of Action: William Preston Ford - part 2

I have been working diligently to locate any information on my great-grandfather, but I am coming up empty-handed at every turn. Here is what I have worked on since my last post.

1. Out of the eleven William Ford's in Missouri in the 1880 Census, I have ruled out seven. Those seven are all married with children. The ones I am still researching are:

* William Ford, born abt 1853, MO, lives in Prairieville, Pike, MO.

* William Ford, born about 1857, Ohio, living with another family in Sedalia, Pettis, MO, but there is also an older Ford in the home, John L. Ford, age 53.

* William Ford, born about 1857, living with William and Nancy E. Whitfield (nee Scott) in Blackwater, Pettis, MO.

* Wm. B. Ford, born about 1857, MO, living with parents Frank and Elizabeth. The initial could be a transcription error, or the census taker could have heard it incorrectly.

These may or may not be my William, but they are a place to start.

In addition to the above:

2. I have searched for marriage records for William Ford and Leona Sharp on and, as well as using various search engines. 

3. I searched on,, for any sign of a Leona Frances Sharp (birth records, census, death), but could find nothing. I tried with both names and then each name individually and I made sure to not use exact search.

4. I found the marriage application dated 25 Aug 1881 on for William and second wife, Sarah Dodd. It lists Fulton County, Arkansas as where William is from. I did an search for all Ford's in Fulton County, Arkansas in the 1880 census and did not find William Ford there. I expanded the search to surrounding counties and still no luck. 

5. I have sent off for marriage records for William Ford and Sarah Dodd, but have not received them yet. I do not expect to find anything on William's parents on the record, since he was of age, and had been married before, but I am still holding out hope.

6. I have been researching the Nancy E. Nicks (nee Nichols) who was caring for young orphan, George William Ford, aged 1 year. Found information on her husband and children, but have not found any link to William Ford's family as of yet.

Other areas I can continue to research:

1. Although I have not found any probate or will for William Ford online, I can call the county where he died to see if they have any records for him.

Plea for help:

I know there are other resources I have not checked. Is there anyone that could recommend any research strategies I have not already tried? All suggestions welcomed.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Be Judicious When Researching Documents

I know we have all heard it before: check ALL the information given on a record and don't accept it as gospel. I came across this death certificate for my second great grand-uncle, Isaac Wickliffe, a few years ago, but I never took the time to truly check all the information. Thanks to the Genealogy Do-Over by Thomas MacEntee, I have been going over all of my records. I had saved this to my online tree, but had never really looked at it before. Can you spot the error?  Hint: It involves math!

Looking at the birth year of 1872 and the death year of 1934, does not make Isaac 85 years old like the death certificate claims. It makes him 62 years old. On the other hand, if he were really 85 years old when he died, he would have been born in 1849. Based on the other records I have found on Isaac, I know he was born about 1849.

Also, Charles Wickliffe (the father listed on the death certificate) died about 1871 and Barbara Wickliffe (nee Jonas) could not have given birth in 1872. She would have been 60 years old!

It is important to pay attention to all of the details within a record. If not, you could be building a brick wall.

I am still learning to write citations in the Evidence Explained format, but here is what I have for this death certificate:

Texas, "Texas Death Certificates, 1903-1982," digital image, ( : accessed 09 June 2016), Services, entry for Isaac Wickliffe, died 02 February 1934; citing certificate no. 8225, Texas Department of State Health Services, State Registrar Office, Austin.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Reconnecting with Family on Collateral Lines

Growing up, my sister and I never really got to know any of our extended family very well, especially the children our ages. I only had one aunt; her two children were the only cousins I knew and they were 10 and 12 years older than me. I have fond memories of shooting hoops with my cousins when I was about 4 or 5, but soon after that, they were too old to play with us. They were heading off to college and getting married. All my friends in school would come back from summer vacation or Christmas holidays, talking about all the fun they had with their grandparents, cousins, and other family members. As I listened to all of their stories, I longed to have that type of family.

My grandmother was a major part of my life. My parents divorced when I was young, and she moved in with my dad to raise me and a younger sister. She was the only grandparent I ever got a chance to know. The others were all deceased. She would take me to visit her sisters whenever we could make the trip. I got to know three of them; Mary Wickliffe Burnside, Lela Wickliffe Dunnahoe, and Lola Wickliffe Richardson. When we lived in Corpus Christi, we visited Lola. She had one son and I do not recall ever meeting him. Later, we moved to Dallas and Lela and Mary lived in Terrell - only about 40 minutes away. Lela never had children, and we visited with her the most. Mary had three children and several grandchildren. I only met them a few times over the years on these visits. This is a picture of my dad with my grandmother and my grand-aunt Lela.

I remember listening to my grandmother and her sisters as they recounted stories of days gone by. I remember my dad talking about his cousins and how they played marbles, went crawdad fishing and other exploits. They had all been so close in their younger days. Why didn't my generation get a chance to know the other cousins? Maybe it was the physical distance that prevented us from being close to the younger members. I always assumed they moved away from the area. Maybe it was the fact that the older generations, having all ready raised their own children, would rather reminisce with kin their own age, or maybe there was another reason. I never questioned it when I was a child and now it is too late to find out the answers.

The other day, while doing research on collateral lines, I came upon an obituary for the daughter of Mary Wickliffe Burnside. Her name was Helen Josephine BURNSIDE. I remember seeing her maybe three or four times in my life when I was young, but I recognized her picture immediately. She still looked the way I remembered her. She passed away 5 weeks before I discovered the obituary. She was listed as living in Forney, Texas - that is only about 30 minutes from me. I never knew that she had lived so close. The obituary also listed her children and they are all in the area. In the last couple of years, I have found numerous records for extended family within a short driving distance of where I live. Unfortunately, most of the records show it is too late to connect. They have gone home. If only I had researched the collateral lines earlier. It would have been nice to have sat down with my relatives and learned more about them. Instead, I have spent years only working on my direct ancestral line.

Genealogy isn't just about researching the ancestors who have gone on ahead of us. It is about connecting or reconnecting with family. In so doing, we learn more about ourselves. Today, I am more determined that ever to work on descendant research of the collateral lines. I want to reach out to those long-lost cousins to learn more about my heritage and to swap and preserve family stories.

Do you have collateral lines you know nothing about? I challenge you to research those lines and see what you can discover.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Seize the Day

As a genealogist, I love to spend my free time researching, photographing tombstones, organizing my paper and digital files, or scanning old photos and documents. So much so, that I tend to lose all track of time unless I set a time limit. Even though it is a passion of mine, it is even more important to remember to make time for family and friends. 

Spending my time tracing records and documents, I look for proof of familial connection; by blood or marriage. But family isn't that simple. Today I was honored to attend a high school graduation and afterwards, a family celebration. The young lady is not family by blood, but by choice. I was her caregiver when she was three, and have watched her transformation into a beautiful young woman. She has been best friends with my daughter for the last 15 years, and I love having her as part of our lives.

Family means many things to different people. To me, those who love you even when you are not very lovable, who want to be around you, who have your back and you have there's, who add to your life rather than take away from it – those people are family. I can’t imagine my life without those people in it – whether they are blood or not.

Remember to seize the day and make memories with those loved ones you call family. They create our narrative and make our lives whole.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Why Do We Celebrate Memorial Day?

I was at work the other day, when someone asked which holiday was coming up, Memorial Day or Veterans Day? I replied that it was Memorial Day and my co-worker shrugged and responded "What's the difference?" Now, I wish I could say I had never heard that before, but the truth is, many people do not know the difference between the two. Do you?

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Memorial Day and Veterans Day have very different purposes. Sure they both honor those who have served our country, but Memorial Day is set aside to honor the brave souls who died in battle, or who died later as a direct result of injuries sustained during that battle. Veterans Day, on the other hand, is designed to honor all veterans living or dead, whether they served in battle or during peacetime, and to acknowledge the sacrifices each made for our country.

Both days are important to our country, but when you consider how many American lives have been lost in major wars, it is astounding. According to Wikipedia, the total number of Americans who have died during battle tops out over 1.43 million.

               Image from

These brave souls are our ancestors. They fought for what they believed in and paid the highest price - their lives. They left behind wives, children, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and siblings who mourned them. Their deaths left gaping holes in our lives and in our communities.

This Memorial Day I am honoring all veterans who died for our country, but one in particular. He was my second cousin once removed and he died when I was six years old.

His name was John Norman WICKLIFFE. He was born 28 Jul 1940 to Hugh Edward WICKLIFFE and Mable Louise ADAMS. He was from Benton, Saline county, Arkansas. He enlisted in the Army in 1958 and served in the 5 SF Group (Company B, Det A-245) as a radio operator. His rank was Sergeant First Class. He was killed during the siege of Dak Seang, Kon Tum Province, South Vietnam, on 03 Aug 1967, in an ambush by NVA forces. His body was recovered the following day from the field by ARVN 8th Airborne Battalion Troops.  He left behind a wife and child. Thank you cousin for your service to our country. You will not be forgotten!

Photo submitted by Janna Hoehn to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund website.

Who will you be honoring this Memorial Day?

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Census Sunday - Clyde William Ford

Today's census is of a collateral line; Clyde William FORD, who is a first cousin once removed. His mother was Gabrilla Almeda HUTSON, 1881-1960, and father was George William FORD, 1878-1929 (half-brother to my grandfather, Arthur Elisha Ford).

In order to see it better, I am including snippets of the page.

The transcription for this 1940 U.S. Census for Rich Township, Lapeer, Michigan:

The family lives on Brown Road, household #146, renting a farm, valued at $1000
* Clyde W Ford, head, male, white, 33 yrs, married, not in school, completed second year of high school, born in Arkansas, residence in 1935 -Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, not on a farm, employed as an assembly man in an auto factory, worked 36 weeks in 1939 for an income of $1400 and income from other sources.

* Donna Ford, wife, female, white, 28, married, not in school, completed four years of high school, born in Michigan, residence in 1935 -Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, not on a farm, not employed and not seeking work, works at home

* Doyle C Ford, son, male, white, 7, single, attended school, completed first grade, born in Michigan, residence in 1935 -Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, not on a farm,

* Lois Mae Ford, daughter, female, white, 5/12, single, born in Michigan

The citation for this source is as follows:

Lapeer, Michigan, population schedule, Rich Township, enumeration district (ED) 44-33, sheet 8A (handwritten), line 8, family #146, Clyde W. Ford household; digital image; ( accessed 15 May 2013); citing NARA microfilm publication T627, roll 1777. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday - Grand Canyon 2009

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do.

This week I chose to include two of my favorite photos. They are from a family vacation to the Grand Canyon in June 2009. We traveled to the North and the South Rim on that trip. I had never seen mountains before, and I certainly was not prepared for the beauty that I would behold. This candid picture is of my husband (in background), my son, daughter, and my granddaughter on Point Imperial, North Rim. 

This is a picture of me taken on the South Rim. The vibrant colors, the clean, crisp air, and the silence were so alluring. I didn't want to leave and return back to the flat lands of north Texas. This was one of my favorite vacations. So great, in fact, that we went back in 2013 and I wouldn't mind making another trip there in the future. I could never tire of seeing such majestic beauty.

Do you have a vacation that stands out above the others? Tell us about it. Share your vacation story in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or Google+. 

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Randy Seaver's Challenge - My Genealogy Life

Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings asked this question on Saturday Night Genealogy Fun:

1)  Tell us about your "genealogy life."  How much genealogy and family history work do you do, on average, each week?  What tasks do you routinely perform every day, every month, every year?

2)  Share your genealogy life in your own blog post, in a comment to this post, or on Facebook or google+.

I decided to accept the challenge:
My Genealogy Life

I don't spend as much time as I would like on genealogy. As a teacher, for about 10 months out of the year, I create lesson plans, quizzes, grade papers, and look for new exciting ways to get lessons across. I also have one teenager at home who is involved in many extra-curricular activities. She doesn't drive, so I am literally "on the road" much of the time. That doesn't leave much time. So....

Through the school year, I spend 3-4 hours a weekend on some aspect of genealogy. During the summer, that jumps to about 25-30 hours a week. During this time, I...

* Read genealogy blogs - I am following 20, but I am all ways looking for more. 

* Continue to clean up my files from previous years when my citations were sparse. I started the Genealogy Do-Over by Thomas MacEntee in order to organize and clean up both my paper and digital files.

* Write my blog. Although I began this blog in March 2015, I have been inconsistent in posting.  I am working on correcting this oversight. I will be posting daily themes 2-3 days a week, and I will be posting a Plan of Action to help me break through my brick walls. 

* I use Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to get the word out for my blog.

* Doing research - I subscribe to, but I also use FamilySearch, and many other free websites. I enter my findings in Family Tree Maker 2012 and in RootsMagic. I started using RootsMagic when Ancestry stated they would no longer make FTM in the future. They have now reversed that decision. There are many aspects of FTM I enjoy, but I have found that RootsMagic is easier to use for citations and I like the reports better. 

* During the summer, I make day trips to county courthouses, libraries, and cemeteries for research.  

* Watch webinars 1-3 times a week. If I am unable to watch them live, I watch them later in the day.

That is my genealogy life! What is yours?

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday - Arthur Elisha Ford (1896-1946)

I'm posting old family photographs from my collection on Wednesdays, but they won't be wordless posts like others do. 

Arthur Elisha Ford 

Here is one of my favorite images from my collection:

This is an "heirloom portrait" taken from a picture of my grandfather, Arthur Elisha Ford. The original picture had my grand aunt, Mary Cordelia Ford standing on his left with her hand on the wheelchair. Elisha, as he was called by my grandmother, was born 10 August 1896 in Mountain View, Stone County, Arkansas. He started having tingling in his feet in 1944 and it slowly moved up his body until he could no longer walk. This photo was taken in 1946 shortly before his death.This picture was done by the Chicago Portrait Company in Chicago, Illinois.

I have only four or five photos of my grandfather who died before I was born, and this one is very special to me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Clayton Richard Ford (1934-1941)

It is always sad when we lose loved ones so young. I never got to know my uncle, but I miss him just the same.

Clayton Richard Ford (1934-1941) was my dad's identical twin. Born to Arthur Elisha Ford and Ethel (Wickliffe) Ford, he was the younger of the two twins. In an interview in 1985, my grandmother, Ethel Ford, stated that Clayton was born a "blue baby" and that he had always been sickly.

I never knew what she meant by the term "blue baby" until recently. I thought it meant that his lungs hadn't fully developed at the time of his birth, causing him to struggle to take in oxygen. I recently looked up the term and it usually means the baby has a heart malformation that prevents the baby's blood from being fully oxygenated. Now I understand more about this young boy's life and how he died.

Ethel stated that when Clayton was six years old, he got rheumatic fever and he never fully recovered. The death certificate lists endocarditis as the official cause, with rheumatic fever as a contributing factor. The Mayo Clinic website states that endocarditis is uncommon in people with healthy hearts and those who have damaged heart valves or other heart defects are at greatest risk.

Clayton Richard Ford died in his mother's arms and is laid to rest in West Memorial Cemetery in Quinlan, Hunt County, Texas in a plot next to his grandmother, Sara Elizabeth (Dodd) Ford.

May this little angel never be forgotten.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Plan of Action: Discovering William Preston Ford, Part 2

I still have no definitive answers for any of my questions. Instead, I have more questions. I did find something unexpected as you will see below.

I did an search for all Ford's in the 1880 Benton Township, Howell County, MO to see if I could locate William Preston Ford. The only Ford listed in that township was George W. Ford, a  one year old orphan enumerated with Nancy E. Nicks. Upon closer look, I found Sarah Elizabeth Dodd enumerated in her father's home only three  households above the young George W. Ford. In the next year, Sarah Dodd would marry William Ford.

Could this be the young son of William and Leona Frances Ford? Who is this Nancy E. Nicks? Is she a relative? Is she caring for young George, so William can work? So where is William?

The 1880 Census - Benton Township, Howell County, Missouri

The citation for this census follows:

1900 U.S. Census, Howell County, Arkansas, population schedule, Benton Township, enumeration district 050, page 426B (stamped), page 22 (handwritten), dwelling 170, family 170, Nancy E. Nicks household; digital image, ( accessed 15 May 2016); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 691.

Since William Preston Ford was not found in Howell Township, I decided to do a search for all William Ford's in 1880 Missouri Census. I searched for William Ford, but broadened my search to include similar spellings of both given and surname. This is a snapshot of what I found.

Out of the eleven results, I have been able to rule out three. These were enumerated with wives and only daughters in the home.

The others I will need to follow up on and see if I can rule them out.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Plan of Action: Discovering William Preston Ford, Part I

The purpose of this post is to research my paternal great-grandfather, William Preston Ford. I know very little about him or where he came from. His parents have been a mystery. I am hoping that by writing down the bits of information I have, and coming up with a list of questions to guide me, that I can  to begin to unravel this mystery.

This is the information I obtained during family interviews:

  • William Preston FORD was married to Leona Frances SHARP before he married my great-grandmother, Sarah Elizabeth DODD. They had one son, George William Ford. Leona died 8 days after giving birth to George William.
  • My grandmother, Ethel FORD, nee WICKLIFFE, stated that my grandfather was only about 12 years old when his dad, William Preston Ford died.
  • She further stated that William Preston Ford was very young when his dad died. She stated that because my grandfather Arthur Elisha Ford, was one of the youngest children in the family, they never learned much about his father's side of the family.
Records I have uncovered previously:

The transcription:

Application and Affidavits 
Marriage License
     No. 11
W.P. Foard Aug. 20, 1881
Mr. W.P. Foard
Miss S.E. Dodd
This paper must be returned to the office of
Recorder of Deeds before a license can be issued.

The source citation for this marriage record is:

Missouri, Marriage Records, 1805-2002, database and digital image, ( : accessed 08 Jun 2009), W.P. Foard entry, citing Missouri Marriage Records, Jefferson City, Missouri: Missouri State Archives. Microfilm.

Next, I found the 1900 Harris Township, Stone, Arkansas for William and Sarah.

The transcription for this 1900 Harris Township, Stone, Arkansas is as follows:

William Ford, head, white male, date of birth - Jan 1854, 46 years old, married 19 years, born in Arkansas and both parents were born in Arkansas, farmer, can read, write, and speak English, rents farmhouse.

Sarah Ford, wife, white, female, Mar 1865, 35 years, married 19 years, mother of 7 children, 6 of which are still living, born in Arkansas, both parents born in Arkansas, can read, write, speak English

Thomas Ford, son, white, male, Feb 1882, 18 years, single, Arkansas, can read, write, speak English

Mary Ford, daughter, white, female, Oct 1884, 15, single, Arkansas, can read, write, speak English

Jesse Ford, son, white, male, Jan 1889, 11, single, Arkansas, can read, write, speak English

Elisha, son, white, male, June 1894, 5, single, Arkansas, can speak English

Alice G., daughter, white, female, Jan 1900, 4/12, single, Arkansas

The citation for this 1900 Census is:

1900 Census, Stone County, Arkansas, population schedule, Harris, enumeration district 133, page 9B, dwelling 154, family 157, William Ford household; digital image, ( accessed 07 Jan 2015); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 77.

According to this census, Sarah had 7 children, 6 still living, so who would be the 6th child?
 Is Sarah counting George William, her stepson, as her 6th child or was there another child born into the marriage living? That seems doubtful, due to the fact that Thomas, the oldest listed, is 18 and Sarah and William have been married for 19 years. Who was the 7th child?

The last piece of information is William Preston Ford's headstone.

The citation for this headstone is:

Find A Grave, Inc., Find A, digital image, ( : accessed 08 Jun 2009), photograph, “gravestone for W.P. Ford (04 May 1856 - 06 Nov 1908), Memorial No.18069442 , Records of Beech Grove Cemetery, Arkansas.” 

William Preston Ford's headstone in Beech Grove, Greene, Arkansas lists his date of birth as 04 May 1856, which contradicts the 1900 census.

In a review of all the information, I have developed a list of questions to guide my research.
  1. When was William Preston Ford born? 04 May 1856 or Jan 1854?
  2. Who are William Preston Ford's parents?
  3. Were Leona Frances Sharp and William Preston Ford married? If so, where and when?
  4. Where was William Preston Ford living at the time of George William's birth?
  5. Where was William Preston Ford in the 1880 census?

Course of action:
  1. I will send off for the marriage records of William and Sarah to see if that holds any information.
  2. I will look for marriage records of William Ford and Leona Frances Sharp.
  3. I will search for William Ford in the 1880 census. He should be enumerated with either Leona or with George William, an infant.
  4. I will search for death records on Leona Frances Sharp Ford.
  5. Research the 1880, 1870, and 1860 census records to see other Ford families in the area that might be linked to William Preston Ford.

As I uncover information, I will post the news.