The Scrappin Genealogist

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fearless females: days #28 and 29

Do you remember your mother’s best friend? Your grandmother’s? How and where did they meet? How long were they friends? What activities did they share?

My mom's best friend is named LaDonna. She is like family to us. My kids all call her Aunt LaDonna. They met in church when we moved to Texas and have been friends for 25 years. They served together in the church and they have done a lot of things together. We helped LaDonna when her son got married. We have spent time with her, and we even talk to her on the phone all the time. We love her and her husband Uncle Bill.

Create a free Footnote Page or a Genealogy Trading Card at Big Huge Labs for a female ancestor. Tell us about who you've selected and why and then post a link to what you've created.

I didn't find footnote to be very useful so I haven't created one. I do document my family history because I believe that an undocumented genealogy is a mythology. I have photos of several of my ancestors, but like I said, I didn't find Footnote to be too useful.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fearless females: day #27

Do you know the immigration story of one or more female ancestors? Do you have any passenger lists, passports, or other documentation? Interesting family stories?

My great grandmother Ellen Folden Ausmus was born in Nebraska. But, in 1907, she and her sister-in-law immigrated to Canada to be with their husbands who had immigrated a few months back. They moved to Eston, Saskatchewan, Canada and lived there for 21 years. I have census records from Canada in both 1911 and 1916 showing them there as well as earlier (1880, 1900) and later (1930) US censuses showing them here. The story goes that my great grandfather John and his two brothers Bert and Claude went to Canada to settle in order to provide better lives for themselves and their families. A few months later, they sent for their wives and children. Bert was never married and when my line of the family left Canada in 1928, he stayed there along with their brother Claude, who later moved his family to Alberta.

My line of the family went down into Gillette, Wyoming and homesteaded land there. But, they hated the wind and bitter cold and settled in Los Angeles. Nellie died in Torrance in 1953. My branch of the family continues to live in California to this day.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Fearless females: days #25 and 26

Tell how a female ancestor interacted with her children. Was she loving or supportive? A disciplinarian? A bit of both?

My maternal great grandmother Maude Barnett Fogle was a very sweet lady. She loved her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren dearly. When her children were little, she always sided with her husband no matter what, even if she felt he was being too harsh. I guess it was the way back then. My paternal great grandmother Gladys Ruth Wooten was the polar opposite. She adored her daughter and merely tolerated her grandchildren.

What education did your mother receive? Your grandmothers? Great-grandmothers? Note any advanced degrees or special achievements.

My mother received her high school diploma. She never went on to college. My paternal grandmother Joan Graham Ausmus received her high school diploma, but didn't go on to college. My maternal grandmother Patricia Fogle Mason didn't graduate college. She ran away from home when she was 16 and was married with a baby by 17. None of my great grandmothers went to college nor did they finish high school. They were all farmers daughters and left school after grades 8-9 to help their fathers.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Fearless females day #23 and 24

Create a timeline for a female ancestor using your favorite software program or an online timeline generator such as OurTimelines. Post an image of it or link.

I did this, but I couldn't figure out how to show an image and the link I tried was just to the website.

Do you share any physical resemblance or personality trait with one of your female ancestors? Who? What is it?

People tell me that I look a lot like my mother. We also sound a lot alike on the phone. I have also been told that I have my grandma Joan's strong will and my grandma Pat's ability to cook.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fearless females: day #22

If a famous director wanted to make a movie about one of your female ancestors who would it be? What actress would you cast in the role and why?

I'd want a director who would make a good, truthful film. So, I would probably go with Steven Spielberg. As for actresses, there is only one actress who I would cast to play my great grandmother Maude Ethel Barnett, and that would be Jessica Tandy. When she played Mrs. Threadgoode on Fried Green Tomatoes, it was almost like seeing my great grandma on the television. To portray her as a young woman, I would pick Kate Winslet. When Kate was in Titanic, I could just imagine that is what my great grandma would have been like if she hadn't been poor.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fearless females: day #21

It's the second day of spring and it's snowing here! I can't believe it!

Describe a tender moment one of your female ancestors shared with you or another family member.

I've had two personal experiences that would be considered tender. I hesitate to tell them, because some may find it weird. But, I can tell you that they are 100% true.

The first involves my great grandmother Ellen Jane Folden. When I was 12 years old, a friend of mine and I were playing on the railroad tracks. We were laying on them to feel train vibrations. We felt some and waited for the train to come. When it was in sight, I started to cross the tracks to get to the other side because we could tell it was a LONG train and we'd have to wait awhile to cross. But, as I was crossing, I tripped and fell right across the tracks that the train was on. As I tried to get up, I panicked more and more and would lose my grip. I was very scared that I was going to die and my friend Donna just sat there in shock. Out of nowhere, I felt myself being carried across the tracks. When I was put down, I looked up into this woman's face. She had a beautiful face, and her hair was pulled up in a bun. She was wearing a white lacy dress like they wore in the 1920s. I had never seen a woman so beautiful. Then Donna came running up to me, and the lady was gone. I forgot about this incident until four years later when we went to California to visit my dad's family. We went to visit my great aunt Ethel (my grandfather's sister) and she gave us a tour of her home. In her den, on the wall, was a photo of the lady that had carried me across the tracks. I asked her who it was, and she said, "That was my mother. She died in 1953." The hairs on the back of my neck stood up because I knew right then and there that I was a participant in my own ghost story. What touched me was how the dimension between this life and the spirit world didn't keep a great grandmother from protecting her great grandchild in her time of need. Since then, I have always felt a very close connection to my great grandmother.

The second incident that I want to tell you about happened with my grandmother Patricia. She is the one that I talked about on my March 19 post. In mid- December 2009, I was called by the hospice nurse that took care of my grammy. She told me that if I wanted to see her alive, I had better get there quick. So, I took a bus and traveled to Texas. When I got there, it was evident to me that my grammy wasn't going to live much longer. I arrived there on December 28 and had two really good days with her. On the 30th, my grammy fell out of her bed and started to panic, which isn't good for someone with advanced emphysema. We called the hospice nurse, and they informed us that the doctor said it was time for comfort measures. So, they gave her morphine and left several shots there that I was to give her every six hours. There were also tablets that I was to give her every four hours. They wanted her to be as comfortable as possible. My mother didn't have the heart to give her the shots, so I told her that I would do it. at 11:00 p.m. on the 30th, I went to grammy, who was out of it, and rubbed the alcohol swab on her to disinfect the area. As I did this, she woke and was very lucid for a mere seconds. I told her that I was sorry that I had to give her the shot, and she said, "I love you sugar" and I replied that I loved her too. Those are the last words she ever spoke to me as she passed away the next morning at 7:15 am. I will always be so grateful that she had those few seconds of lucidity to be able to tell me that she loved me, even though I knew that already, it feels comforting to me to know that in her last moment of lucidity was one of love.

I know these are pretty sensational stories, but I promise you they happened. I am thankful to have had them because I think they helped me realize that the veil between this life and the next is very thin and that even though these ladies are passed on, we are a family and will be forever.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fearless females: day #20

Is there a female ancestor who is your brick wall? Why? List possible sources for finding more information.

Oh yes, I have a few. The first one is my great great great grandmother Mary Ann McCoy. Here's what I know:

* she was born in 1844 in Linn Co., Missouri
* her parents were James M. and Mary Ann Moore McCoy
* her mother died in 1844 presumably in childbirth
* she is NOT on the 1850 census with her dad and siblings
* she IS on the 1860 census with her brother and his family
* she was married in 1861 to William Henry Fogle
* she is on the 1870 census with her husband and children
* she died in 1896

Ok, here are my question. Where was she in 1850? Who was she living with? I want to know who she was living with. She wasn't old enough to be a laborer in 1850, she would have only been 5-6 years old. Was she living with her maternal grandparents? I can't expand this line further because I don't know any information on her early life.

This is Mary Ann McCoy Fogle with her husband.

The second one is my great great great grandmother Martha Luticia Portis. Here's what I know about her:

* she was born in 1841 in North Carolina
* she is not listed on the 1850 census with who I have been told are her parents
* she was married to Calvin Gurley who died in the civil war (they are listed on the 1860 census) - they had one daughter
* she married Charles Henry Clay Walker
* they emigrated to Indiana and had eight children
* she died in Los Angeles, California on 13 Dec 1915

Again, I want to know where she was in 1850. Why isn't she with her family? Who is she with? She was only 8-9 when the 1850 census was taken, so where is she? What happened to her child with Calvin?

This is Martha Luticia Portis Walker with her husband.

These are my two biggest brick walls right now. I want to be able to take the lines farther, but I just haven't found the right pieces of the puzzle in order to do that. One day, I know I will.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Fearless females: day #19

Have you discovered a surprising fact about one of your female ancestors? What was it and how did you learn it? How did you feel when you found out?

I have discovered some things about my maternal grandmother that shocked me somewhat. We had always been told by her that my grandfather left her after she had my mother. For many years, we harbored bad feelings for my grandfather, who I never met. Then in 2002, I found his address and decided to write to him and ask him why he left and to let him know about his three grandchildren and eight (at that time) great grandchildren. His wife wrote me back, and the information contained in that letter was very eye opening.

She explained that my grandfather had tried for many years to find my mother, that he in fact did NOT leave her, but it was the other way around. She said that my grandfather told her that he went to the bank to close on a house for them to live in and that when he returned, there was a letter from my grandmother stating that she didn't love him anymore, and that she was too young to be married and a mother (she was 17). Since they eloped, he didn't know how to reach my great grandparents since he had never met them and they were migrant farmers. Once my grandma left my grandfather, she left my mom with her parents and didn't return for 13 years.

When I found all this out, I was naturally furious with my grandmother and sad for my mother. My mother lived her entire life being told that her dad abandoned her, when in actuality, he loved her greatly and mourned her absence from his life. Then the double whammy of her mother abandoning her for 13 years. I immediately called my mom and read the letter to her and she was glad to know that her dad did love her. I did manage to confront my grandmother about it in 2008 when her husband passed away. The sad thing is that she confirmed it all.

Now I know some who read this may agree that she was too young to be married and a mom, but it's her actions after she did all this that make me furious. My grandmother moved to St. Louis and began an affair with a married man. It wasn't until he died, that she started to want my mom in her life again. To me, there is NO excuse for abandoning your child, especially for a sugar daddy.

I have since forgiven my grandmother for all of this. After all, if my mother (who was the most affected by grandma's actions) can forgive her, then who am I to hold grudges about it? I love my grandmother and miss her every day, but, it makes me very sad to think that she was so selfish to have done this to my grandfather, to my mother, and to her parents.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Fearless females: day #18

Shining star: Did you have a female ancestor who had a special talent? Artist, singer, actress, athlete, seamstress, or other? Describe.

Both of my grandmothers were very talented. My paternal grandma Joan made the most adorable dolls. The photo below is some of the dolls that my grandma made for me before she died. She also was a fantastic crocheter and made many afghans, scarves, pot holders etc. I inherited her crochet and knitting needles when she passed away.

My maternal grandma Pat was an amazing seamstress. She made most of my mom's formal gowns. When I got married, she did all the lace and bead work on my gown. It was beautiful. My grandma had the ability to take a piece of junk and make a beautiful work of art out of it. She made some gorgeous beaded jewelry. When she passed away, I inherited all her knitting needles and craft supplies.

My mom is an avid cross stitcher and seamstress. She made each of my children a cross stitch when they were born and she made my grandmother a cross stitch of a seamstress, a Paula Vaughn pattern. It now hangs on my living room wall.

I am proud to have inherited my grandma Joan's knack for crochet and my grandma Pat's knack for bead work and my mom's knack for needlework.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fearless females: day #17

Happy St. Patrick's Day to everyone!!

Social Butterfly? What social organizations or groups did your mother or grandmother belong to? Sewing circle, church group, fraternal benefit society or lodge? Describe her role in the group.

Besides church groups, my female ancestors weren't members of any groups that I know of. From what I have gathered, they were busy helping to tend the farms and the children in which they lived, and by the time leisure time rolled around, they were sleeping and building up their strength for the next day.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Fearless females: day #16

If you could have lunch with any female family member (living or dead) or any famous female who would it be and why? Where would you go? What would you eat?

I've never been into the celebrity stuff. They are just people like everyone else, so I don't think that I would want to have lunch with any of them. But, if I could have lunch with any of my ancestors, I definitely have a few that I would like to take out. The three that I would take are Lilly Ann Fisher Barnett, Martha Luticia Portis Walker, and Mary Ann Moore Fogle. The reason that I would take all of these ladies would be to ask them some questions about their pasts.

Lilly Ann Fisher Barnett
(the mother in this photo)

Lilly Ann is my great great grandmother and the reason that I would take her is to ask her some questions and her Native American ancestry. We have always been told that she is from the Choctaw tribe, but when I found her son's WWI registration card, it listed him as Chickasaw. I would also ask her about her parents and any siblings she may have had. I definitely would ask her about her first marriage and why it ended.

Martha Luticia Portis Walker

Martha was my great great great grandmother. I would ask her about her life. How did she feel knowing that her husband led a double life and ran off and left her for long periods of time? Who were her parents and siblings? What made her leave North Carolina for Indiana? Why did she marry Henry and did she know that Charles was his real name? Lots of questions for this lady.

Mary Ann Moore Fogle

Mary Ann was my great great great grandmother and I am extremely interested in why she didn't grow up with her father? Her mother passed away when she was little, and she was sent to her uncle's home to live. She later emigrated to California with her brothers and lived with her oldest brother. I don't regret this decision because it is there that she met my great great great grandfather, but what led her there? Was her last name Filmore as some researchers believe, or was it Moore as other's believe?

I don't think the place that I would take them really matters here. What matters is being able to spend some time with these ladies and to ask them some pertinent questions. Oh, how I would love to meet them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Fearless females: day #15

Write a six-word memoir tribute to one of your female ancestors.

Beautiful, hard working, spiritual, sweet, great-grandmother.

My great grandmother Maude Ethel Barnett Fogle was a beautiful lady. Even when she was in her 90s, she had the most beautiful skin I have ever seen. She was a good cook, and enjoyed cooking for her family. She was an extremely hard worker having raised eight children and a few grandchildren while helping her husband tend to their farm. She was a very spiritual lady, being very strong in her faith. Her favorite color was pink, and when she passed away at the age of 96, her children made sure that her casket had pink material in it. She was a very beloved lady and I miss her.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fearless females: day #14

Newsmakers? Did you have a female ancestor who made the news? Why? Was she famous or notorious? Did she appear in the social column?

You know, I have been doing genealogy research for 32 years, and to date, have not found any articles on any ancestor male or female except for obituaries. I guess my ancestors liked to fly under the radar. LOL

In other news, I am halfway through the book The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. It's started to get good. It was a little slow in developing (the first chapter), but now it's getting very good. I guess this means that I'll be reading the next in the series before too long. I am also almost finished with A Series of Unfortunate Events book seven. This one is getting good too. It's a quick read, but quite good. Be on the lookout for my reviews soon.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fearless females: day #13

Moment of Strength: share a story where a female ancestor showed courage or strength in a difficult situation.

My great great grandmother Rebecca Jane Oliver Ausmus was a sweet lady who had four sons. She was married to an absolute, for lack of a better word, ass. He was an alcoholic who beat on her very chance he got. Our family history has it that one day, her mother Janet Kirkpatrick Oliver went to her husband and begged him to use their savings to hire a hitman to kill Frank (Rebecca's husband). Janet was simply tired of seeing her only daughter beaten by a man who was supposed to love and cherish her. Well, Frank went out one day and never returned and he was never found. Family history has it that the hitman was indeed hired and that Frank was murdered and his body disposed of. Rebecca went on to remarry and raise her sons and step sons in peace.

Then, in the early 1900s, her sons moved to Canada. She didn't want her children to live so far apart from her, so she immigrated with them. Her middle son John Calvin Ausmus' wife gave birth to a little girl who only lived for three days. Rebecca was so consumed with grief at her passing that she made her son promise that when she died, they would rebury Ruth with her. She died a year later, and John kept his promise to his mother. Grandmother and grandchild lie together in Rosetown, Saskatchewan, Canada.

I respect this lady a lot. She endured so much in her life. She is the perfect example to me of enduring to the end.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Fearless females: day #12

Working girl: Did your mother or grandmother work outside the home? What did she do? Describe her occupation.

When I was a baby, my mom worked at a bank. She was pregnant with my sister, so after my sister came along, my mom quit. We moved to Arkansas, and my mom started working for 7-11 as a cashier. She worked there several years, and we moved back to California where she got a job as a telephone operator. We were only in California a short year, and we moved back to Arkansas. When we moved back to Arkansas, she got a job as an assistant manager at Kentucky Fried Chicken. She worked there until she was offered a job at the school working in the cafeteria. She worked there until we moved to Texas when I was 14. In Texas, she worked for seven years taking care of two little boys. When they grew up and were able to drive on their own, my mom started babysitting three other kids. She babysat them for nine years, which was when the oldest started driving. She then worked babysitting two little girls and she worked there (11 years) until three years ago when she retired.

My paternal grandmother didn't work outside the home until her kids grew up and moved out. After that, she opened up her home to babysit kids. She did this until she passed away. My maternal grandmother worked as a waitress until she married my step-grandfather. After that, she didn't work outside the home until my mom married. After my mom married, my grandma divorced her husband and re-married a few years later. He had a son who was mentally disabled, and she spent a great deal of her time teaching him life skills. When he became an adult and was able to work outside the home, my grandmother and great aunt bought a clothing store, which is where my grandmother worked for a time, until there was a falling out between the two sisters. After that, my grandma started making beaded jewelry and clothing and selling them at local craft shows.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fearless females: day #11

Did you have any female ancestors who died young or from tragic or unexpected circumstances? Describe and how did this affect the family?

I've had two ladies in my family that have passed away before their times. The first was my great great grandmother Alice Amelia Kirwin Folden and the second is my great aunt Veda Marie Fogle.

My great great grandmother Alice Amelia Kirwin Folden passed away at the age of 28 years old, leaving behind three children. Alice was born in Ohio on 11 August 1863 and died 18 July 1892. Her oldest child, who was my great grandmother, was only 11 years old. Her other children were nine and seven. I have never heard of any affects this had on the family, however, I can only imagine how tragic it would be to lose your mother at that young an age, especially when there were two daughters.

Here's a photo a Alice taken on her wedding day to my great great grandfather, Charles William Folden. They were married on 30 October 1880.

The other woman that passed away too early was my great aunt Veda Marie Fogle. Veda was only 19 years old when she passed away in a car accident. She was born 27 June 1922 and passed away 21 September 1941. Her passing was an awful time for my great grandparents. Veda was their first child to proceed them in death, and my great grandmother mourned her for the rest of her life. Veda was a beautiful young woman, and her tragic death is something that her parents and siblings never really got over.

Here is a photo of Veda, taken shortly before her death.

I am sad that these ladies had to die so soon. Their lives were just beginning. My great great grandmother never got to see her children grow up and have their own families, and I think that is terribly sad. My great aunt never got to fall in love or get married, and knowing that she passed away so young, and alone, makes me feel very sad. But, I am thankful to have them in my family, and to know that they are in a better place reunited with loved ones.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Fearless females: day #10

What role did religion play in your family? How did your female ancestors practice their faith? If they did not, why didn’t they? Did you have any female ancestors who served their churches in some capacity?

I don't know the religions of most of my ancestors, but I do know of one. Her name was Martha "Patty" Puckett and she was a Quaker. Martha was born 23 March 1801 in North Carolina and died 19 April 1863 in Mill, Grant, Indiana. She was married to Lewis Wooten and was the mother of 13 children. She was a pioneer in her day. She was so against slavery, that she often helped slaves escape. Although she was Quaker, she was for the civil war and supported some of her sons as they went to fight. Patty also went out and administered to widows, and wives who had husbands fighting in the war effort. She also wanted women to be able to have a say in who gets elected. She was a feminist in her day. I am proud to descend from this lady.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Fearless females: day #9

Take a family document (baptismal certificate, passenger list, naturalization petition, etc.) and write a brief narrative using the information.

I chose a census because I keep my other documents in my binder in my office, and I'm not at home write now. This is the state census of Nebraska taken in 1885 for Fillmore County. The lines are particular interest are lines 30-33.

Alice Amelia Kirwin was born in 1863 in Ohio to Irish parents. She married Charles William Folden, who was seven years older than she. He was born in Iowa. The couple met in Nebraska and married 30 October 1880. They settled in Fillmore County, where in 1885, they had two little girls. The oldest was Nellie (Ellen Jane) who was four years old when the state census was taken. She was born in Nebraska along with her sister, Alta (Alta May), who was one at the time of the census. After the census was taken, Alice had an additional two children - Charles Leonard and Stella Winnie. Stella Winnie died at the age of three. Alice followed her youngest child a year and a half later and passed away on 18 Jul 1892 at the age of 28.

Here's a photo of Charles and Alice on their wedding day:

I don't know why, but I feel a tremendous loss with this lady. She died so young, and her children were so young when she passed on. It makes me sad that they didn't have her in their lives but a short time.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Fearless females: day #8

Did one of your female ancestors leave a diary, journal, or collection of letters? Share an entry or excerpt.

I am very fortunate that I have inherited letters that my ggg grandparents wrote to each other during the civil war. This particular letter was written on 30 Sep 1862 by my ggg grandmother Louisa Conarroe Wooten to her husband James Wooten.

James, it is with pleasure that I sit down to write to you. We are well, but I fear you are sick. You have not written since last Tuesday, you must write to us whenever you can. Andrew is at Murrys to get the boards for the fence so it can be fixed nice when you get home. I believe you will come, I can not think you will get hurt. I know you are surrounded with dangers but trust God who is the prince of peace and he will keep you safe. You need not be uneasy about us. The boys are good and do very well. They are a little silly sometimes, but are about as good as when you were home.

Come home if you can. I am so lonesome without you. My thoughts are down south where you are all time.

Here is a photo of Louisa.

I have enjoyed being able to read these letters. All in all, there are 25 letters. It sure has been wonderful to read the words of my ggg grandparents during such a tumultuous time in our country's history. Sadly, James was wounded and died in November 1863, a year after the excerpt from the letter above. Louisa never remarried and raised her six children on her own in Preble County, Ohio.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Weird Sisters

My goal of reading a new book a month has been going very well. I have now read eight total books. The most recent one that I just finished was The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. This book is about three sisters who come home when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. The oldest one is Rose and she is the one that actually never left their home town. She is bossy and controlling and feels that the family would fall apart if she weren't around. The next sister is Bianca, known as Bean. She is the starlet of the group. She left their hometown as fast as she could for the big city and glamorous life. The baby is Cordelia, known as Cordy. She is the gypsy of the family, roaming around the country working just long enough to earn money to move on. These girls are the daughters of Dr. Andreas, who is the foremost expert on Shakespeare and teaches literature at the local college.

I don't want to say too much more for anyone who may want to read it. But, I really enjoyed it. It was real and I like stories like that. I have also just finished the sixth book in the A Series of Unfortunate Events. I am enjoying these series greatly. They are quick and easy reads and I'm almost finished with the seventh one.

Next up on my reading list is Steig Larsson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I have read up to chapter six and have liked it so far. I am also going to start reading Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah.

I know it seems silly to have so many books on my currently reading shelf, but there are times you want to read something light and easy instead of heavy. That's why I have so many books currently in the reading process.

Fearless Females: day #7

Share a favorite recipe from your mother or grandmother’s kitchen. Why is this dish your favorite? If you don’t have one that’s been passed down, describe a favorite holiday or other meal you shared with your family.

This recipe is actually one that my grandmother's husband used to make, but she made these all the time and we love them. Most people have never heard of them, so I consider them a family tradition. Here's a recipe card I made with the recipe - they are called Chillaquillas.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Fearless Females: Day #6

Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor (wedding ring or other jewelry, china, clothing, etc.) If you don’t have any, then write about a specific object you remember from your mother or grandmother, or aunt (a scarf, a hat, cooking utensil, furniture, etc.)

I have two very special heirlooms that have been handed down to me. Let me give a little back history here. My mother was my grandmother's only child, so me, my sister, and my brother are her only grandchildren. Since I was the first one born, I have always been special to my grandma. Since I'm not a grandparent, I don't understand this, but my mom confirms that although you don't love them any more than the others, that your first grandchild is very special.

The two heirlooms that I have were both given to me by my grandmother. The first one is the pin pictured below. This pin was given to my great great great grandmother on the day she gave birth to my great great grandmother Lilly. Lilly was born on 30 March 1870 in DeQueen, Arkansas. When Lilly gave birth to her first daughter in 1891, my ggg grandmother gave it to her. Lilly wore it often, and on the day that my great grandmother Maude gave birth to her first child in 1913, grandma Lilly gave the pin to her. It was given to my great aunt when she had her first daughter. Now, it never passed to that child as my great aunt Lorene wore it until she became sick with leukemia. When it was apparent that she was going to lose her fight, she gave it to my grandma, who was the youngest daughter. A few years ago when my grandfather passed away and I went out to help with the final arrangements, my grammy gave me the pin and told me about the special significance of it.

I adore this pin because it represents five generations of mother/daughter love. The mothers in my family have handed down this pin to their daughters since 1870.

The second heirloom is the ring pictured below. This ring isn't as old as the pin, but it has a special significance. When my great grandparents were married, they didn't have much money. My great grandpa couldn't afford a ring at the time. But, as they started to have children, raise children, and save money, he bought her the ring below. It's a small eternity band and it doesn't even fit any of my fingers. But, this ring signifies the love that they shared with each other. My great grandma was lost when her husband died unexpectedly. She didn't know how much money they had, and she didn't even know how to write a check. He literally took care of all that. I love this ring because it is a tangible piece of their lives together.

The last one is the bracelet pictured below. This one was given to me by my paternal grandmother. I don't know if you can read it, but it says Graham Ausmus, which is my father's name. This is a baby bracelet that my dad wore when he was a baby. I just love it because I can't imagine my daddy ever being that small to wear it. I cherish this also because it is something that my grandmother made for my dad, her firstborn son.

I cherish all the heirlooms that I have received, but the three above are extra special to me mainly because I know about their histories. I know where they came from, why they are in the family, and how they came about being in the family. They are tangible pieces to the past, and each of them represents love.

Now, did you all see Who Do You Think You Are? last night? Lionel Richie was on it and all I can say is wow. He wanted to find out more information about his great grandparents, and boy did he find out! He found out that his great great great grandmother was a slave and that upon her masters passing, he freed her and her unborn baby as well as provided two years of schooling for the baby. How cool is that? The baby ended up growing up and being a pioneer in the civil rights movement. I always enjoy seeing success stories of African Americans. In my years as a professional genealogist, there have been many African American people who came to me for help, and I was only able to do so much. So, when I see stories like Lionel Richie's or Vanessa Williams', it makes me so happy that they were able to find out about their ancestors.

I didn't catch who was going to be on the show next week, but I am sure it will be just as good as the rest of the stories have been this season.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Fearless Females: Day #5

How did they meet? You’ve documented marriages, now, go back a bit. Do you know the story of how your parents met? Your grandparents?

I don't quite know how my paternal grandparents met, which is who I wrote about yesterday. I do know how my maternal grandparents met, but it's a boring story. LOL But, I think my parents have a very cool story, and I'm gonna talk about them today.

My parents met at the school bus stop when my mother was 14 and my dad was 15. My mom and my dad's sister were best friend's and my dad wanted her to introduce them, which she did. Over the course of the next few years, my mom and dad dated, going to school dances, movies, etc. My dad was a huge track star in high school, and my mom was one of his biggest supporters.

My dad proposed to my mom at the drive in movie. They were sitting there watching the movie, eating popcorn and drinking soda. My dad asked her to get a napkin out of the glove box, and when she opened it, she didn't see any napkins, so he told her to look again, hoping that she would see the ring box in there. She didn't, but on the third request, she did. She immediately said yes. They celebrated their engagement the following week at Disneyland.

My parents were married on 1 October 1965 in Garden Grove, California by the Reverend Robert Schuller. My maternal grandmother made my mom's dress, and she had a pastel rainbow wedding. She had my aunt Barbara as her matron of honor, and two other friends as attendants. My dad's best man was a man named Dave Nelson (they would later name my brother after this man), and his attendants were my Uncle Bob and Uncle Art (Aunt Barbara's husband).

My parents have now been married for 45 years. They have been together so long that they can finish each other's sentences. They are so much a part of each other that they can't imagine life without the other. They have stood by each other in good times and bad and now enjoy retirement and their 11 grandchildren.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Fearless Females: Day #4

Do you have marriage records for your grandparents or great-grandparents? Write a post about where they were married and when. Any family stories about the wedding day? Post a photo too if you have one.

I actually have the marriage certificate of many of my ancestors. But, I want to focus on my paternal grandparents who were Charles Clair Ausmus and Joan Etta Graham. They were married in Yuma, Arizona on 4 September 1942. At first, I wondered why they were married in Yuma, Arizona when they lived in Los Angeles, California, but I found out it's because they eloped. They didn't want the big wedding, they were in love and just wanted to be married. So, they packed a bag, picked up my grandpa's sister and her husband to be their witnesses and headed off to Yuma.

Here's a copy of their marriage certificate. I cropped off the registration information.

We don't have a photo of them taken at their wedding. Their focus was to get married and start their lives together and they didn't worry about photos.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Fearless Females: Day #3

Do you share a first name with one of your female ancestors? Perhaps you were named for your great-grandmother, or your name follows a particular naming pattern. If not, then list the most unique or unusual female first name you’ve come across in your family tree.

I wasn't named for anyone in my family history, but I do have a unique story about how I got my name. I was the sixth of my paternal grandparent's grandchildren. When my mother was pregnant with me, my paternal grandmother Joan, wanted me to be a brown haired, blue eyed baby. All her other grandchildren had blonde hair, but not brown. Grandma wanted a grandbaby with brown hair like her. Well, at 9:47 a.m. on December 14, 1966, I was born with brown hair and blue eyes. My grandmother insisted that I be named Polly Anna after the little girl who was always happy. As my parents discussed this privately, they decided that they just could NOT name me that, so they compromised and named me Paula Ann. To the day she died, she did not know that my legal name was not Polly Anna.

We have two other funny naming stories in our family. The first is with my maternal grandmother. When she was trying to get her birth certificate so that she could get a driver's license, she could not find anything. She had always been told that her birth name was Frankie Earliene Fogle, but she was not able to find a birth record in Wichita Falls for Frankie Fogle. Finally, the vital records people called her and asked if there was a chance that she was named Francis Earliene Fogle because they had a Francis Earliene Fogle in the register with the same birthdate and parents as my grandmother. She determined that she was that Francis Fogle and that whoever took the information took pity on her and named her Francis. When she called to tell my great grandma, all Mama Fogle could say is, "Well, I don't believe it."

The last of the funny naming stories comes with my mother's birth. My grandmother gave birth to my mom in Murfreesboro, Arkansas. She was only 17 when my mom was born and was going through a divorce from my grandfather. When my mom was born, she wanted to name my mother Vicki Jeanette Mason, but my great grandmother wanted to name her Janet Carol Fogle. When my mom was trying to get her birth certificate information - the state of Arkansas had no record of either of the names and my mom was confused as to what her actual birth name was because my great grandmother swore that she informed the state that my mom was born, but we have no idea what name she registered my mom's birth with.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fearless Females: Day #2

Post a photo of one of your female ancestors. Who is in the photo? When was it taken? Why did you select this photo?

I love this photo because it contains three of my direct line ancestors. The lady on the front row is Mirrietta Walker Wooten, my great great great grandmother. The lady sitting beside her is her mother, my 4th great grandmother, Martha Luticia Portis Walker and the young lady standing between the old man and the woman with the baby on her lap is my great grandmother Gladys Ruth Wooten Graham.

We believe this photo was taken circa 1910-12. My great grandmother was born in 1900 and she looks to be between 10 and 12 in this photo. I love this photo because it shows a line of my family that I have worked very hard on. It really brings faces to the names that I've researched for so long. I chose this photo because it represents three of my direct line ancestors and I just love it.

In other news, it's been two weeks since I last spoke about the show Who Do you Think You Are? and we've seen the journeys of Rosie O'Donnell and Kim Cattrall. At first, I didn't really care to see Rosie O'Donnell's episode. She's too far left for me, but since the show is about genealogy, I decided to watch it. It was very neat because it focused on her Irish ancestors who were affected by the potato famine. I have ancestors that were also affected by that, and it really brought home to me what my ancestors may have gone through. She was also united with distant relatives that she didn't know she had, which was very cool. I enjoyed that episode very much.

Then Kim Cattrall's episode was last Friday. Wow! That's all I can say. She had a grandfather that left her grandmother and his three daughters and never contacted them again. It was sad to find Kim Cattrall finding out that her grandfather was really a jerk. I really was affected by this because my grandfather supposedly left my grandmother and mother as well. Only to find out years later that he never left her that it was actually my grandmother who did the leaving, which made huge impacts on my mom her whole life. At the end of the show, Kim decided not to contact her grandfather's four children, but her mother and two sisters did. That made me feel so good. Perhaps I should contact my mother's two surviving half brothers and meet them.

This week is Lionel Richie and that one looks like it's going to be good. I also found out that there will be a third season of this show. I am so happy because I really love it.

Anyway, I hope you all have a great day! Now that I'm feeling alive again, I need to scrap what I didn't get done last week and add this week on top of it.

Fearless Females: Day #1

Once again, in honor of National Women’s History Month, Lisa Alzo of The Accidental Genealogist blog presents Fearless Females: 31 Blogging Prompts to Celebrate Women’s History Month.

Here's the March 1 prompt: Do you have a favorite female ancestor? One you are drawn to or want to learn more about? Write down some key facts you have already learned or what you would like to learn and outline your goals and potential sources you plan to check.

I do have a favorite female ancestor, and I know quite a bit about her. She was my paternal great grandmother and her name was Ellen Jane Folden Ausmus. Nellie, as she was known, was born 4 March 1881 in Strang, Fillmore, Nebraska to parents Charles William Folden and Alice Amelia Kirwin Folden. She married John Calvin Ausmus on 2 March 1902 in Strang, Fillmore, Nebraska. She and John were the parents of four children - Ethel Alberta Claudia Ausmus, John Donald Ausmus, Ruth Ausmus (died at three days old), and Charles Clair Ausmus (my grandfather).

Nellie was only 11 years old when her mother passed away. She lived with her mother's brother and worked for him on his farm. Nellie married John Calvin Ausmus and had her first child Ethel in Nebraska. John and his two brothers wanted a better life for their families, so they immigrated to Saskatchewan, Canada. Nellie came with her daughter and sister-in-law a few months later. Nellie had her last three children in Saskatchewan. They lived there for 11 years and decided that the winters were just too harsh for them. They moved to Los Angeles, California.

Nellie was a wonderful mother and devoted grandmother. She lost her beloved John in April 1940 and devoted the rest of her life to her children and grandchildren. In December of 1952, Nellie was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She was only given a few weeks to live. But, determined not to ruin Christmas for her children and eight grandchildren, she hung on and spent her last Christmas with her family. Nellie lost her battle with stomach cancer on 4 January 1953 in Torrance, Los Angeles, California. Nellie was cremated and her ashes scattered in Palo Verde, California.

I have always felt a deep connection to this lady. I can't explain it, but I have often felt her presence in my life. I know it sounds strange to feel this presence when I've never even met the lady, but her presence is strong in my life and in me. I love her and look forward to the day that I can meet her.