Thursday, October 10

Tracin' the tree roots . . .

As some of y'all may have guessed, part of the title of my blog refers to my long time addiction to genealogy -- and believe me, it is an addiction!  I have been doing family research for over 30 years and if anyone had told me that I would still be doing this after all these years I would have figured they were crazy and should be committed to a home somewhere!  But I was wrong (not the first time I might add) and have come to understand that the more you know the more you want to find.  You begin to fill in the names, dates and places and before long, it is not acceptable to have any blank spaces.  You want to learn everything you can about these people -- how they lived, where they came from, who they were related to, could they read or write, and one of my favorites -- how in the heck did those poor women have 10, 12, even 15 kids with no epidurals!!!  I would have made a terrible pioneer woman -- I like all the creature comforts.  I have never been camping because where would I plug in my hairdryer or charge my phone?

When I was a very young child, my Granny would drive all over the southwestern part of Virginia and tell me about all the ancestors -- only problem was instead of just talking about them or pointing to their house, she would point the car in the direction of the house/farm/store/church and I was so scared of the rapidly approaching mailbox or fence post that I barely heard anything she said.  Much less remembered any of it!  She was the Regent of her DAR Chapter and very active in both the DAR and the UDC (United Daughters of the Confederacy).  On my 2nd birthday, she gave me a book about my ancestors -- now I ask you, who in their right mind would do that to a little kid?  However, I still have that book which has been out of print for many years and it is a treasure.  Many researchers have asked me to make copies of certain pages of their own research which I am happy to do.  Moral of that story -- listen to your elders.

When I began to seriously search for my family lines, I just wanted to know what countries they came from and when they arrived in the US.  Little did I know that I would go back to 1624 when my earliest ancestor on one line came here from England (my husband said "What, they missed the damn boat?").  Okay, so I can't get back to The Mayflower -- yet -- but I still may.  Never give up hope.  As with many other things in life, researching your family history is always a work in progress.  After all these years, I am still finding new things, new distant relatives, new photos, new connections.

I decided to follow in my grandmother's footsteps and join the DAR.  I assumed that I would be accepted under the same ancestor that she was, but I sent in another line at the same time and that one became my Patron for admission.  I woke up one night with the idea that I should do a needlepoint flag that would be a replica of the 1776 flag and stitch the names of my 4th, 5th and 6th great grandfathers who fought in the Revolutionary War.  I was amazed to find that there are currently 32 of them that I have proven.  You will notice that the bottom of the flag is not done because I am still finding out new data that takes me back another generation on some of my lines so I want to be able to add more names as I find and prove my decendency from them.  The close up photo is of my grandmothers Regent pin from the years she was head of her Chapter of the DAR.  It has her name on the back and the name of her Patron on the front.  I had to barter a pair of milk glass lamps with my cousin to get this but she had no interest in genealogy and I did so we made the trade.  I never liked those lamps anyway.

After working on the DAR flag, I felt that I needed to honor my Civil War ancestors as well so I designed this flag from that period.  The buttons on the tabs are actual Civil War buttons found in digs in Virginia at some of the battlefields there.  I have one great-grandfather and two great-great grandfathers who were in the Confederate Army.  The one pictured here with his pistol was a Chaplain and a POW for 11 months.

I am honored to say that I have had a 6th great grandfather who fought in the French and Indian War, at least 32 great-grandfathers who were in the Revolutionary war, about that same number who were in the War of 1812, the 3 from the Civil war, a grandfather who fought in the Spanish-American War, a great-uncle in WWI, my dad was in WWII and I was in the  service during the Viet Nam war.  Finding all this military history has been fascinating and rewarding and I am so grateful for my family "roots".

If you see a name that might connect to you -- contact me!  I am always looking for new information in hopes of finding that one missing piece of the puzzle that will give me answers to questions that sometimes I didn't even know had.


  1. I love this! I have a big interest in my family history. I have Cajun ancestry and have traced my family back to Nova Scotia, and hope to one day trace my ancesters back to France.

    1. Thanks so much for flinging me (and my blog, of course)! It's fascinating to trace your family and realize the journey they have been on. Without their sense of adventure and pioneer spirit they would be no "us".