Happy Birthday Grandma!


Today is my Grandma’s Birthday. She would of been 96 years old.  I wish she was still here every day. She was such a strong woman.

Grandma introduced me into my love of family history. I can’t listen to Kiss an Angel Good Morning by Charley Pride without thinking of her and smiling.

You were born on July 30, 1922 to Charles Edward Stewart and Mildred Mabel Shumway at Lyon Mountain in Clinton County, New York. You married Grandpa on October 6, 1940 and proceeded to have 7 wonderful humans who have enriched my life in more ways than I can count.

Happy Birthday in Heaven and I will go play Charley Pride for you.

A Feeling? Intuition? The Ancestors are calling..

Dr. Sarah larkin Beardsley

For many years this lady had been an obsession of mine. Her name is Sarah A. Larkin Beardsley and she is my 2X-great grandmother. She lived from 1847-1886 dying at the age of 39. I am working on a profile of her life for my family because I want to share what a kick ass woman she is. For many years I researched her, on the clue of the initials of MD on her tombstone. I wanted to know how she became a doctor. It always came back to her and I am still trying to find out more.

Do you ever feel like your ancestors are trying to tell you a story and you need to find more? Like they are reaching at you beyond the veil. Even when I am working on other families that don’t belong to me I sometimes get a longing to tell their story.

I have been doing research for a friend and their Great Grandfather has become a calling because I loved their name. Jenkins Jeffrey. You can only imagine how this one gets screwed up in the records but these are people and they must have a story that needs to be told. We can put flesh and bones on the dates.

Another friend just recently gave me her information and a story of a Revolutionary War patriot, who is connected to George Washington, I love family lore, but it is her Great Grandmother Goldie Wasserman, who is speaking to me along with her 2X great Grandfather a Monteville Benjamin (isn’t Monteville a great name).

There are names that just jump out at me and call me to learn more to the point I have dreams about these wonderful individuals who came before. I have been toying with the idea of doing some biographical sketches of these people for the blog.

So I am off to see what ancestor speaks to me next, actually I am trying to work on a problem for a DAR supplemental so I can document another patriot in my line but that is a whole other post.


Happy Birthday Grandpa!


Today is your birthday and I miss you. I miss you a lot. Your smile, your stories, your love for neapolitan ice cream.

You were born July 10, 1910. The youngest child of Benjamin Franklin Witherwax and Minerva Ruth Beardsley in Peru, Clinton County, NY.  Your married Frances Mary Stewart in 1940 and raised 7 children.

I have wonderful memories of you and think of you often, seriously daily, you and Grandma had such a profound impact on the person I am. I also tell my own dad often that just because you bought me a horse doesn’t mean he should by my child a horse. I wish you could of known all your great grandchildren. You and grandma have left us a wonderful legacy of love and the importance of helping those in need. I always recall you taking in strays. I miss the days of the adults playing poker in the farm dining room or traipsing through a cemetery with you and grandma or the day we drove to Valley Falls looking for information about Sarah Beardsley and met that man who remembered her sister Lucy and was the paper boy.

Anyway. I hope you have a wonderful birthday and I am grateful for having you in my life for my first 29 years. I love you and Miss you. Give Grandma, Uncle Leslie & Uncle Marc a hug from me.





Leaves, potential mothers & fathers

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Ancestry has a new feature to go along with their shaky leaves. They now give you potential hints for Mothers and Fathers. If you have followed me for a while you know I am not a fan of the shaky leaf, so it goes to say that I am not a hyuge fan of the potential mother and father boxes either.

To me the give people the option to put a tree together without doing their due diligence and connecting the dots.

Above is my 3X – Great Grandmother Jane A. West. I am still not 100% sure of her 1889 death date so their is no way I can give credence to any potential mother or father’s ancestry has decided to recognize.

Now as I have branched out into doing genealogy research for others their is no way, I could in good conscience just click and add people to a tree. Also I have found researching for others is slow going as these are not names that I know like the back of my hand. I have 4 projects in process and I am getting to know some wonderful people in various places. Tennessee has a big one as has Ohio and Indiana.

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In this tree I have hints and potential mother and fathers and so far I am not having luck which is why they are still green. Every hint should be evaluated on its own merit. While I was at GRIP last week, one of the instructors said not to be a source snob and to use everything as clues which I am a big proponent of but remember we need to source everything and employ the best genealogical proof standard.

So my final thoughts on shaky leaves and potential parent hints use them as clues and not fact.


GRIP Day 4 & 5

F4379081-42E6-4345-976D-8CBACEEDD43Asome of the new books I acquired this week at GRIP.

Day 4  of GRIP continued the whirlwind of knowledge acquired at GRIP. It included lectures on NYC Urban Centers of Research. Different special holdings of libraries and museums and I absolutely loved our Case Study of Joseph Johnson Chase and it really opened my eyes to the importance of doing a case study to lay out all the facts. I knew they were important but actually seeing one progress was fabulous. I also loved Karen Mauer Jones’ quote of not being a source snob and using those unsourced items as clues and hints to move forward.

After classes on Thursday, I went and perused the samples of Board of Certified Genealogists portfolios they had for review and it was great to see real samples of client reports and the depth of knowledge required to become certified.

Thursday evening was another lecture this one by the Legal Genealogist, Judy Russell, CG, CGL. It was about telling the stories of the children. The children who did not survive and the effects they bring on to families. This one had me laughing and crying and wanting to dig deeper. It also had me wishing I could attend the July Session for her course on Women and Children.

With Friday it was Day 5 of GRIP and time to pack up and go home but first we had 2 lectures to complete. The first was about Vital Records and different alternatives. The second was about the importance of reading Genealogical Journals and Case Studies and how they can be useful even if they aren’t about your family. Also loved Karen’s prod to submit articles and not be afraid to submit. Editors are  your friends and will provide guidance.

So with that we earned our certificates and it was time to go home. I will be doing a wrap up post in the coming days but for now I want to dive into research and work on some brick wall problems.

I will say after taking this course I feel more adept at tackling my brick walls and have a few research trips planned to get some boots on the ground things done.

GRIP Day 3


Day 3 of GRIP was a bit of a  whirlwind. We covered wills, transportation and military. I was able to glean a few sources out of this overloaded mind of mine. I am sure it will get better when I type up my notes.

Wednesday evening a group of us DAR ladies met up and it was definitely fun to meet a group of daughters from different states. As there was no evening lecture I decided to use some of the newfound knowledge I learned and see if I could find some wills. I found one that was of interest and since I have a Have Written from the DAR I decided to work on it. It was a bit difficult as I didn’t have the letter or the documentation I originally sent. I am now tracing out the lines of the patriot and of his daughter’s family to see what is out there.  I have been writing lots of  notes in a notebook of the research I found but it definitely is not my usual set up making it a bit more difficult. I am thinking a trip to the Essex County Courthouse is in order unless I can convince my loving family who is going to Clinton County in August to go there.

Well it is time for me to have some breakfast before Day 4 of GRIP starts. This has been a wonderful experience so far and I am definitely thinking I want to return.

Have a great Thursday.

GRIP – Day 2

Screen Shot 2018-06-27 at 6.22.52 AM.pngDay 2 was another whirlwind of classes here at GRIP. (above is a picture of LaRoche College where GRIP is being held.)

The morning started with a class on “Dutch” in NY and how the Dutch may just not be Dutch at all which was quite enlightening. We then proceeded to learning about the land in New York. Disheartening to find that the records can be spotty up until 1840 or so after the Anti Rent Wars but I will have to keep plugging away.

After lunch it was back to the Legal system in NY with the fabulous Judy Russell and this is an area of records I am seriously under utilizing. Going to start browsing those early court records soon. The day of classes ended with learning about early Probate in NY.

The classes are seriously a whirlwind and I have a 100 page spiral bound notebook that is almost half full already. I may need to head to the store to get another book at this rate and I would love to take notes on the computer but that is not my way of doing things.

Thursday was a free lecture by DNA Expert Blaine Bettinger and that was super interesting. It was a bit about chromosome mapping and DNA painter and to remember to tie it to the stories and your ancestors. Good Stuff.

Off to learn more about Genealogy and the black hole of New York.

GRIP Day 1


Day 1 of GRIP is in the books. It was a long day for me. Number 1, I did not sleep well and was up way before 6am. I was able to get a workout in way before 6:30. I was actually in the common area by 7am since I needed to get out of the room.

I am taking Researching in New York: Resources and Strategies. The morning opened with an overview by Karen Mauer Jones, CG, FGBS.  We then moved to a tract on the North River from the Verazanno to Albany by Jane E. Wilcox. My head was swimming by my lunch break.

After lunch we dived back in with Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL aka as The Legal Genealogist. We learned about New York’s crazy legal system and my head was ready to explode but I found a couple of resources I want to check out so the headache was worth it. If you ever have the opportunity to hear Judy speak grab it. She was one of the reasons I signed up for this track.

Last but not least for the day was Jane’s talk about the Tenant Farmers of NY. Now while I do not have any tenant farms in my lines it was interesting to learn.

By this time I was ready for a nap but ran to Target for a pillow. Should of brought some of the things on the supply list because the accommodations are sparse but heck I don’t have Jimmy snoring in my ears so it is all good.

After dinner, there was a talk given by David Rencher of Family Search and oh my goodness. Let me tell you I am seriously underutilizing this resource and it is my goal to get better at it. There are so many cool collections and features.

Now I am winding down and am going to read through tomorrow’s lessons before crashing. I am seriously so happy to be here and am a bit overwhelmed with the amount of information being thrown at me but am seriously glad to not be in a class with homework.

Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh

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I am sitting in a dorm room at LaRoche College in outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA, struggling to stay awake. I had trouble sleeping last night as Jimmy (my son with non-verbal autism) did not want to settle down for the night and when he finally did he was snoring in my ear. Awwww, motherhood at it’s finest.

This morning my wonderful husband dropped me off at LaGuardia for my flight to Pittsburgh for this trip. I got in the rental car and followed my Maps app directions. Let me just tell you it took me on some interesting roads.

When I arrived at the Campus, I registered and found said dorm room. Unpacked and headed over to the Campus Center. Everyone is super friendly. I had dinner with some lovely new friends. Chatted with some Boston University Alum. I happened to be the most recent graduate. (I will have to find the picture to share with everyone). I came back to the room after dinner and read over my materials for tomorrow. I am taking a course on New York Research presented by Karen Jones, Judy Russell and Jane Wilcox. Hoping to see if I can get some insight into the black hole of genealogy that is New York.

This kind of reminds me of the scrapbooking retreats I used to do and being with people who have the same interests.

I am going to try and post a daily update while here to share the experience. Have a great night.

52 Ancestors – The Old Homestead

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I am way behind on this project but hope to get moving on it again. This is Week 13. The prompt was the old homestead. My grandparents bought this farm in the early 1960s. It is not the house my Mom was raised in. They owned a farm in Harkness before this. This is the house I spent many summers at.

When I think of my grandparents I think of this house or their house in Florida that originally belonged to my Uncle Les. The Weatherwax family owned a much larger spread in Peru but my Great Grandfather Benjamin sold the spread originally settled by David Weatherwax in 1790.

This summer there will be a family reunion and I am sure lots of stories will be told and memories shared. As I get older I realize that the house is not what holds the family together. It is the bond and the love.

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