Monday, May 29, 2023

Find A Grave

 Finding the Graves of Our Ancestors

Today, May 29th, is Memorial Day.  In addition to honoring our fallen Military, many observe Memorial Day by visiting cemeteries to leave flowers for loved ones who have passed on.  Memorial Day is also the perfect time to reconnect with your family heritage by visiting the graves of your ancestors.  Although, it may not be possible to visit all the graves of your ancestors in person, you can visit virtually thanks to sites such as FindAGrave or BillionGraves.  And, it is also possible to leave a flower🌼 or message🗉 on your ancestors' memorial page.  

Bethel Cemetery, Ohio

Much of my time researching family history has been spent searching, locating, and visiting the gravesites of my ancestors. I have visited cemeteries from Massachusetts in the east to Utah in the west, from Wisconsin in the north to Texas in the south, and many states in-between.  Have also visited cemeteries in Denmark, Wales, Scotland, and England.  While most gravesites are found in town, community, or church graveyards, some gravesites are in small private family cemeteries found in the middle of a field or in a grove of trees.  Click here to read about finding John McNeil's grave.  

Finding McNeil Cemetery 2009

Word of caution -- information posted on Find A Grave is user submitted, sometimes wrong, and is not a primary source except for showing a place of burial.  While I have found mistakes on Find A Grave, I have also found a lot of valuable  information that could not be found find elsewhere.  Read about how Find A Grave solved a mystery about an unidentified photo, click here

Below are links to the Find A Grave memorial pages for many of our ancestors.   May I suggest visiting a few of your ancestors' memorial pages and leaving a flower and/or message.🌻🌹🌼



Sunday, May 28, 2023

Memorial Day Observance

 Memorial Day 2023

Memorial Day is a U.S. national holiday that honors our country's military who died in service.  Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, was started in 1868 to remember the soldiers who died in the Civil War, and eventually became an official federal holiday in 1971.  Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday of May -- This year Memorial Day is on May 29, 2023.  Activities might include visiting the graves of veterans and soldiers to leave flowers or flags.  Or, participate in our National Moment of Remembrance by observing a moment of silence at 3:00 pm on Memorial Day. 

A Grateful Land Remembers

Below are links to lists of family veterans: 

Sunday, May 14, 2023

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day🌸 

Happy Mother's Day to all the Mother's in our family.  Those in our family owe much to all the mothers who came before us.  Below are photos of some of these amazing women -- grandmothers, great-grandmothers, 2nd great-grandmother, etc.  They were the very heart and soul of their families.  They settled new lands, traveled in wagons, gave birth at home, sang lullabies to their babies, sewed all their clothes, cooked over campfires and wood stoves, washed clothes on a washboard, grew gardens, made bread, preserved their own food,  taught their children to believe in God, buried children and husbands, had faith to carry on, and most of all they loved their families.  We would not be here without their love, strength, and courage.

To read about each of them, click here.

The slogan of the Mother's Day International association is:

"In honor of  'the best mother who ever lived' -- The Mother of Your Heart."

Friday, May 12, 2023

Stagecoach Driver

 Joseph West, Stagecoach Driver

Stagecoach 1830,

Joseph Jackson West was born September 22, 1819 in Mason County, Kentucky.  His parents were Michael West and Susannah McKee.  Joseph was the brother of our direct ancestor, Susan Emeline Leffel.  Read about the West family here.

Joseph grew up in Ohio, Illinois, and Indiana.  On May 23, 1842, he married Hulda Dunkle in Montgomery County, Indiana.  Joseph and Hulda were the parents of seven children: Adeline, Martha, John, Barbara, Joseph, Thomas, and Mary.  Hulda died in 1894.  Joseph married again a year later to Josephine Blackburn.  On 27 June 1904, Joseph, died at his home in Linden, Indiana.  He was 84 years old at the time of his death.  An obituary was placed in the Attica Daily Ledger on 28 June 1904.

According to the obituary, "Mr. West was an Indiana pioneer and in his earlier days drove a stage coach between Crawfordsville and Lafayette.  He was a man of excellent character and was considered one of the best and most trusted stage drivers in the country, and during the days of overland travel passengers would wait over for many days to ride with him, knowing him to be a man who did not drink, and they felt themselves perfectly safe in his care." 

Stage Coach Driver Is Dead

Attica Daily Ledger, Attica, Indiana
28 June 1904

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

National DNA Day 2023


National DNA Day 2023 will commemorate two special milestones

The 20th anniversary of the mapping the human genome (Human Genome Project) in 2003 and the 70th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix by James Watson and Francis Crick in 1953.

National DNA Day is officially celebrated on April 25th and began after the first session of the 108th Congress passed concurrent resolutions designating the day in 2003. This annual celebration offers students, teachers and the public many exciting opportunities to learn about the latest advances in genomic research and explore what they may mean for their lives.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Marriage for Nathan Cole and Anna M Goble

 1818 Marriage Notice

Nathan Cole and Anna M Goble

Since New York state did not begin civil registration of marriages until the 1880's, marriage information prior to that time can be difficult to find.  So recently while searching through the NYS Historic Newspaper website, I was more than excited to find the 1818 marriage notice for Mr. Nathan Cole to Miss Anna M. Goble.


The Geneva gazette (Geneva, Ontario, New York)
June 24, 1818, Page 3

Nathan Cole and Anna Margaret Goble are my 4th great-grandparents.  Our family descends through their daughter, Sarah Margaret Cole McNeil.

Nathan Cole and Anna Margaret Goble Family

Nathan Cole Jr, son of Nathan Cole and Judith Colburn, was born on 8 Sep 1794 in Hancock, Berkshire, Massachusetts. He died on 5 May 1870 in Taylor, Iowa and was buried in the Graceland Cemetery.  According to the 1870 Mortality Schedule, Nathan died of Scrofula (a disease with glandular swellings, probably a form of tuberculosis).  

Nathan married (1) Anna Margaret Goble, daughter of James Goble and Nancy Mary Pollard, on 24 May 1818 in Jerusalem, Ontario, New York. Anna was born on 27 Jan 1795 in Wyoming, Pennsylvania. She died on 14 Jul 1850 in Parke, Indiana. She was buried on 15 Jul 1850 in Old Rockville Cemetery.  

Nathan and Anna were the parents of eleven (11) children: Nancy Judith Cole 1819-1902; Phoebe Roxena Cole 1820-1905; William Camp Cole 1822-1877; Susana E. Cole 1823-1903; Rev. James Luther Cole 1826-1894; Sarah Margaret Cole 1826-1905; Cynthia Ann Cole 1828-1903; George Edmond Cole 1830-1911; Abigail Tabitha Cole 1832-1913; Sabra Jane Cole 1835-1909; Timothy McCallister Cole 1837-1880.

After Anna died on 14 July 1850, Nathan married Anna's widowed younger sister, Abigail Goble VanCamp "Abby" a month later on 14 Aug 1850 in Parke County, Indiana. Abigail was born on 13 Apr 1808 in New York and died in 1889 in Bigelow, Holt, Missouri. Nathan and Abigail had one son, Nathan David Cole. 

Cole Family Posts:

Monday, March 27, 2023

James Wilson in Jail

James Wilson of Weston

James and Martha Ann Wilson are 3rd great-grandparents on the Wilson family line.  James and Martha Ann were originally from Sumner County, Tennessee.  They moved to Texas in about 1845 when James received a land patent for 640 acres through the Peters Colony land company.  In 1850, James, Martha Ann, and their three children (Sarah Elizabeth, William, and Mary) were enumerated in the Collin County, Texas Federal Census.  They lived in the Weston community of Collin County.

Martha Ann died in Aug 1873.  James died 28 Mar 1891 and was buried in the Chambersville Cemetery next to Martha Ann.  His obituary reads "J.C. Wilson, died at his home near Weston on Saturday, March 28 last.  The cause of his death was tumor of the stomach.  Mr. Wilson was 77 years old.  He was born in Sumner County, Tennessee.  He came to Collin County in 1845.  Thus the old pioneers are passing away." 

James Wilson's Statement

In 1884, James had been out drinking and ended up being put in jail on a Thursday night in the middle of January.   James told his story of what happened to him after being put in jail in a statement printed in the McKinney Democrat newspaper.  This statement ran for two consecutive issues.

The Democrat, McKinney, Texas
26 June 1884
Transcription of above news article:

The Democrat, McKinney, Texas, 26 June 1884



I was put in the county jail on Thursday evening, sometime in January.  On Friday morning I gave Dee Hoskins one dollar to get a quart of whisky, and he brought the whiskey in and put it in to me under the iron railing.  I took a small dram and passed it around.  They all took a dram and I wanted another drink as I had only tasted it, but Dee Hoskins objected to me having any more.

Then we were all called up in line.  I do not remember the name of the man who then brought out the papers and read it that I was to pay $2.00 or take two hundred lashes.  I refused to pay the $2.00, and they forced me down over a box some 10 or 18 inches square and threw my overcoat over my head, and struck me ten licks with a strap, and I did not feel disposed to take it, and I scrambled to get up and three or four of the men took hold of me and I called on Dee Hoskins to put a stop to it.  He failed, and refused to stop it, but gave me some little abuse, but I don’t remember what it was.  Then I took a hard dollar out and threw it down on the floor, and told them to take it.  Dee Hoskins took a hand in making the settlement and I was allowed 90 cents for the quart of whiskey and 10 cents for the ten licks. 

Tobe Giles will make the same statement of facts and I call upon all who wish to do so to call on him.  I was furnished no bedding but was compelled to depend upon an over coat I had and such bedding as was furnished me by other prisoners.  I was there four nights and this was about the middle of January.

 James Wilson


People of Collin County Demand Jailor be Removed

The Democrat newspaper printed several articles about the incident.  There was a public outcry that an injustice had been done to James Wilson.  One commentator suggested that the jailer be removed from office and that the Sheriff not be re-elected.

The Democrat, McKinney, Texas
24 April 1884

In the above article, James Wilson is referred to as "Dady".  His daughter's obituary states that her father was familiarly known as "Daddy" Wilson.

More pushback from the community over the ill treatment James Wilson received in jail.

The Democrat, Mckinney, TX
10 July 1884

These news articles were found on The Portal to Texas History website.  Under the Explore tab go to Counties.  Find Collin County on the map or county list.  From the Collin County page, go to Collections and choose McKinney Democrat-Gazette.

Related Posts:

Chambersville Cemetery 

Mystery Photo Identified 

Friday, March 3, 2023

1950's Cowboys

Jack Baldwin and friends, Ted and Bud Winburn

Found this photo recently.  Great photo of three good looking cowboys from the 1950's!  The handwriting identifying the men in the photo is my dad's handwriting. On the far left leaning against the vehicle is Jack Baldwin, my maternal uncle.  Jack would have been 18 years old at the time of this photo.  His parents are Jess and Mabel Baldwin.  

The two on the right are the Winburn brothers, Ted and Bud.  The Baldwin's and Winburn's lived near each other in Cortez, Colorado.  They appear to have spent the day roping.  The photo is dated March 1957.  And most likely, the photo would have been taken in Cortez, Colorado, unless they were at a rodeo in another town.

Related Posts:

Thursday, March 2, 2023

Snow, Snow, and More Snow

Snow ❄ Snow ❄ Snow

Not only has it been snowing all day, it's been snowing all winter.  Every time I think it will stop or warm up, it starts snowing again❄❄❄  I took this photo a few days ago from my back patio.  The weather reporter said we had 200% of normal snowfall so far this year.  Some of my family, mainly grandkids, love having all the snow in the nearby ski resorts where they are spending a lot of time.  But, for the rest of us, snow means shoveling and snow blowing and driving on slick roads.  A lot of my growing up years were spent in warm sunny mostly hot Arizona, so this long cold snowy winter has been a bit much for me.  Or maybe, I'm just getting too old😉

The above photo I just took reminds me of a photo my grandfather Elmer Martin  took over 100 years ago at his home in Rock Island, Illinois (below, top).  And next is a photo of Elmer in his sleigh - a one-horse open sleigh.


More snow pictures - one with Grandpa Elmer in thigh-high snow and one of me in snow about the same depth.  Same pose for both of us - like we are balancing ourselves with our arms outstretched. Both taken in Cortez, Colorado - but about 20 years apart.  Looks like Elmer is keeping his head warm by first putting on a scarf then topping it off with his fedora hat, which he always wore.

Elmer abt 1947 Cortez, CO

Cathy abt 1967 Cortez, CO

Next is a 1983 photo of my four sons playing in the snow - maybe building a snow fort.  1983 is the last time I remember this much snowfall in one season.  That winter we also had snow all winter long that just would not quit, and then lots of flooding later in the spring😟.

 Love the moon boots the boys are wearing😍

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Relatives at RootsTech

 Relatives at RootsTech 2023

Find Out Who You're Related To!

Once you are signed up for RootsTech, you can join Relatives at RootsTech.  Then, you can find out how you are related to other attendees (those attending in person or virtually).  Relatives at RootsTech works by finding your common ancestors in the FamilySearch worldwide shared tree.  

As of today when I logged onto Relatives at RootsTech, I have 37,266 relatives 😲 who have also signed up to RootsTech.  The more ancestor information shared on the FamilySearch worldwide tree, the more the program can find people you're related to.  Over the years, I have added information (names, sources, records, photos, stories) for my ancestral relatives on the FamilySearch shared tree.  If you are new to FamilySearch, you may need to add your most recent ancestors to connect to the worldwide tree.

Relatives at RootsTech 2023 will only be available to March 31, then will be turned off until the next RootsTech.  Don't miss out on the cousin connections you could make.

I can view my closest 300 (of 37,666 so far) relatives by Maternal, Paternal, Location, Ancestor, or Family Line.  By clicking on By Ancestor, a drop down list of all ancestors with matches can be found.  By clicking on the name of the ancestor, I can see the matches to that ancestor and their relationship to me.😊

Several cousins have already contacted me this year.  And there are several matches I will contact who appear to belong to my brickwall family lines.  I always go to FamilySearch and make sure the connection to the common ancestor appears legit for both me and the match🧐.  It's fun to see how I am related to cousins I see working (adding records, sources, photos, stories) on our shared common ancestral relatives.

The tab for searching By Family Line has a drop down menu listing parents and grandparents, and how many matches are related to each of those line.  My German paternal grandfather has has only 176 matches on his lines, whereas my paternal grandmother, with roots going back to Colonial America, has 25,158 matches on her lines.  Last year, I was able to open up a whole branch on my German lines with the help of Relatives at RootsTech😊.

Information about Relatives at RootsTech:

RootsTech 2023

RootsTech 2023 

This year RootsTech is In Person (Salt Lake City, Utah) and ONLINE.

March 2-4, 2023

How will you experience RootsTech 2023?

You can choose how to attend - In Person or Virtually.  If you are not able to attend in-person in Salt Lake City, RootsTech is still being offered as a full virtual conference experience.  

I have been attending RootsTech since it's inception.  After 30+ years of working on my family history, I still learn something new and helpful every time I attend RootsTech.  There are over 200 classes taught by industry experts.  The list of presenters teaching classes includes top family history experts from around the world covering topics related to genealogy and DNA.  

The in-person experience is fun😃 and informative🧐.  I love the connections to other attendees and to industry experts.  The large Expo Hall is my favorite place to visit during RootsTech, with all of my favorite genealogy vendors: Ancestry, MyHeritage, FamilySearch, FamilyTreeDNA, GEDmatch, AmericanAncestors, and many more.  

Keynote speakers are always inspiring.  This year is no exception with Jordin Sparks, Kirby Heyborne, Sean Astin, Me Ra Koh, and more.

In Person registration is $98 and Virtual registration is FREE.  Click Here to Register.  

RootsTech 2023

RootsTech 2023 Expo Hall

RootsTech 2023 Blog

Participate in Relatives at RootsTech to see how you might be related to other RootsTech attendees.

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Happy Valentine's Day

 Happy Valentine’s Day

I received this cute card for Valentine's Day.  Very appropriate for those of us who love working on family history. Note: The card did not have black hearts - they were a dark glossy red.

This day in our family history

Valentine Day Marriages:  

  • ❤️Rosa Lee Wilson to Daniel B Baugh on 14 February 1897 in Woods County, OK; 
  • ❤️Frances Althea Goble to George E Cole on 14 February 1854 in Lee County, Il;   
  • ❤️Johannes Weiss to Anna Weiss on 14 February 1719 in Wurttemberg, Germany;  
  • ❤️William M Henderson to Texana Conkle on 14 February 1930 in Titus County, Texas

Valentine Day Births:  

  • Jonathan Lindley born 1814 in Illinois; 
  • Alice Oberia Leffel born 1894 in Young County, Texas; 
  • John Samuel Sadler born 1857 in Limestone County, Texas; 

Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Sunbonnet Rock

Several months ago in a blog post called, Where is This?, I wondered WHERE the location was of a 1934 Martin family photo.  Several comments left on the blog alerted me to the location and, as a bonus, where I could find a vintage postcard of the location.  To see the previous blog post, click here.  I sent off for and received the vintage postcard from eBay.  The photo on the postcard (2nd photo below) was probably taken in the mid-1960’s - after a commemorative plaque was placed on Sunbonnet Rock sometime in the 1950’s.

1934 Martin Family Photo

The shape of the rock the Martin family was sitting on was unique, as was the white/lighter band around the bottom of the rock formation.  The same light band can be seen on Sunbonnet Rock in the postcard photo.  The 1960’s postcard photo was taken from the opposite side viewpoint which shows the Navajo Twins in the background of Sunbonnet Rock.  The Sons of the Utah Pioneers attached a historic marker to the side of Sunbonnet Rock in the 1950's. The plaque commemorates the San Juan Mission and the pioneers who settled Bluff.  The plaque can be seen attached to Sunbonnet Rock in the postcard photo.

Below is the 1960's vintage postcard of the Twin Rocks and Sunbonnet rock located in Bluff, Utah.  

Navajo Twins and Sunbonnet Rock
Postcard front

Closeup of Sunbonnet Rock from postcard

Postcard back

Colorized version of the 1934 Martin photo.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

A Tale of Two Brothers

Brothers, Wilbur (1928-2014) and LeRoy (1930-2014), were the sons of Elmer and Maymie Martin.  The Martin family was a very close-knit family.  And, as such, Wilbur and LeRoy were very close their entire lives - often living near each other.  After Wilber died, LeRoy died just a few months later.

1932 Wilbur & LeRoy

Riding Pigs 1933

Martin Family 1934 Bluff, UT

Holding an Orange, Yuma, AZ

Smile for the Camera 1936

Wilbur and LeRoy with their ponies, 1939

Rounding up a calf, Dolores, CO 1939

Baptism 1946, Cortez, CO
Pastor, LeRoy, Maymie, Wilbur, Vern, ?

LeRoy and Wilbur on LeRoy's Indian Motorcycle, Yuma, AZ

A Good Day Fishing

Wilbur and LeRoy

Martin Family 1952

Back: Dorsa & Verna, sitting: Wilbur & LeRoy 1956

Maymie & her boys, Wilbur and LeRoy 1963

Two Old Cowboys - LeRoy & Wilbur 2013

Most of these photos have been colorized using

Related Posts:

Veteran Wilbur Martin

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Where Is This?

This photo belonged to Maymie Wilson Martin.  There was no additional information written on the back, but it looks like a Martin family outing.  Maymie is sitting on the right side of the rock.  The two little boys would be Wilbur sitting in the back and LeRoy sitting in front.  The man on the left should be Elmer.  Judging from the ages of Wilbur and LeRoy, I would say this photo would have been taken about 1933 to 1934.  

The big question is WHERE?   Most likely in the Four Corners area, but not sure of the exact location.  Maymie and Elmer would have been living in Dove Creek, Colorado at the time.  Maybe around Bluff, Utah, or somewhere in Monument Valley, Utah?  Perhaps near Moab?

Martin Family Outing
L-R: Elmer, Wilbur (top), LeRoy (bottom), Maymie

  UPDATE to this post, Click Here.