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.