Posts Tagged ‘family history’

Old Valentine’s May Hold Clues to Family History!

Sherry Stocking Kline
first published in Wichita Eagle’s “Active Life” magazine – February 2005

This Valentine’s Day after you stuff, lick, and stamp your Valentine’s cards and drop them in the mail, don’t forget to rummage through your drawers, boxes, and attics for those old Valentines you’ve saved.

If you are a packrat (or lucky enough to have a packrat ancestor) you may find several old Valentine’s with hidden clues to your family’s history.

Old Valentine’s may contain clues…

One of Virginia Downing’s favorite genealogy classes to teach is Valentine and old letter research.

According to Downing, Education Chairman for Wichita Genealogical Society,old Valentine’s may contain clues to births, deaths, marriages, and more.

“You can find addresses of where people lived,” said Downing, “and dates on the envelopes.”

Downing bought a collection of postcards at an antique shop and said she was able to connect the dots between several members of a family even though she did not personally know them.  Downing read the postcards, checked addresses of senders and recipients and paid particular attention to the notes written inside and the way the cards were signed.

Checking addresses may yield surprising results…

Knowing where your ancestor lived at a given time allows you to do further research in area newspapers, libraries, and other town records, so checking those addresses may yield important clues for further research.

According to Ancestry.com, return addresses that don’t match the postmark location may mean the town was too small to have its own post office or your ancestor may have been on vacation or visiting relatives.

Besides learning the location of family residences, Downing said the notes or letters included often contain clues about family relationships, occupations, and daily life.  “A lot of times they may sign the card “‘Aunt Vita’ or ‘your cousin,’” Downing said. “If Aunt Vita mentions in the letter that ‘Uncle John is out feeding the cattle’ you have clues to the family’s occupation as well.”

Downing said some collectors can tell the date of a Valentine without seeing a postmark. “Some people can look and say that was an early 1900 or that was a 1930’s Valentine.” Downing said, adding that if you aren’t one of those people a little research at your library may help you narrow down the dates.

Take one more trip through your keepsake boxes…

According to Ancestry Daily News, even though you may think you have all the family information out of your own cards, one more trip through those keepsake boxes may reveal facts you forgot, photographs you missed, and memories worth preserving for future generations.

The popularity of e-mail may mean your descendants won’t have as many letters to find when they go searching through your old boxes and files according to Ancestry Daily News, so after you check out those old Valentines, be sure and save them for your genealogist descendants to find.

Wordless Wednesday – Daryl Jones, Sr & Golden River

Sherry Stocking Kline
February 10, 2010

I just love this photo of my Uncle Daryl Jones, Sr, my mom’s older brother.

Daryl Jones, Sr. and his Horse Golden River

Daryl Jones, Sr. and his Horse Golden River

Here he is, all dressed up to go somewhere and he and his friend, whoever he (or she!)  might have been, stopped to take pictures.  I’m so glad that he had his camera with him that day.

I imagine his grandchildren and great-grandchildren don’t think about their grandfather as a dashing young man riding a beautiful and feisty horse.  My mother says that Golden River was a very spirited and beautiful horse, and that her parents didn’t want her to ride her.

So, of course she did.

Related posts:

Daryl Jones, Sr (friend of Sherman Rerick) Tombstone

Daryl Jones – Photograph with his Parents & some siblings

Daryl Jones – Fishing photo & story

The Underground Railroad – Great blog Post by Sandra Taliaferro

by Sherry Stocking Kline
February 5th, 2010

When I found this wonderful Underground Railroad post from Sandra Taliaferro, we had just had our Sumner County Historical and Genealogical Society meeting, presented by children’s historical fiction author Jim Baumgardner. Baumgardner spoke about his latest book, “Sarah’s Escape” (www.SarahBooks.net) where Baumgardner’s orphan heroine Sarah becomes involved with her mother’s work on the Underground Railroad, and I learned bits and pieces of information that I’d never heard before.

A few days later, I read Sandra Taliaferros’ great post at “I Never Knew My Father” and she shared with us the ‘password’ that opened the Underground Railroad to escaping slaves:

KNOCK, KNOCK!?!
WHO GOES THERE?

“A FRIEND OF FRIENDS

Taliaferro used such thoughtful and inspirational words, based on the people helping people concept of the Underground to encourage all of us, as genealogists and human beings, to help others along the way while we search and research our family trees.

Please, go read her post, you’ll be glad you did!

Wordless Wednesday – Constantine “Tom” Breneman’s Horse

by Sherry Stocking Kline
February 3rd, 2010

Several last week asked me to post the close-up of Great-Grandpa Constantine ‘Tom’ Breneman’s horse (I meant to do that last week along with last week’s photo!) so here is my follow-up post!

Constantine 'Tom' Breneman's Buggy Horse

Constantine 'Tom' Breneman's Buggy Horse

Like many of you, I love horses, and this is a fine looking horse.  I’m guessing he was a dapple gray with darker mane and tail, but I suppose he might have been more of a cream color with dark mane and tale, like Dale Evans Rogers’ horse “Buttermilk”.

So many questions that I have with last week’s photo and this.  First and most important:

What was his name?   (the horse’s I mean)

What breed(s) was/were he?  In last week’s photo he looks to be a fairly tall horse.   Any horse lovers want to hazard a guess?

Did Great-Grandpa ride him, or was he strictly a buggy horse?

What year were these pictures taken?  I wonder?  I know with some detective work, I can narrow this down considerably.

Where was Great-Grandpa headed looking so spiffy?  Or was he just out for a drive?  Nearly all pictures we have of him, he is dressed in a suit, but in last week’s photo, he looks particularly spiffy.

I asked mom again this week “Was Grandpa a farmer?”

I knew that he lived on at least two different farms here, and she said that he did farm, but he really was more of a blacksmith, and did blacksmith work, rather than doing much farming.

His son, Otto or “Ott” as he was called, followed in his footsteps and had a blacksmith shop in Mayfield, Kansas. Those pictures are in a different box, but I will locate them and share here.

Neat!  I just love old photos, especially with horses!

Great-Grandpa Breneman was a Civil War veteran, but I’ve never seen a photograph of him in uniform.  I hope someday we run across one.

Related Posts:

Constantine Breneman and His Buggy Horse

My Poem to My Ancestors

Salinda E. (Rose) Breneman - Photograph Constantine’s wife,  Salinda, and her tombstone. Salinda and he divorced in later life.

Too Young to Die – Photo of Constantine’s son Albert Breneman,  his siblings, and another photo of Albert’s tombstone. Albert was killed in a Motorcycle Accident.

Tombstone Tuesday – Ruby L. Smith – Barren Co. Kentucky

by Sherry Stocking Kline
February 2, 2010

My Tombstone Tuesday is Ruby L. Smith, buried in a small Smith Family Cemetery, Barren County, Kentucky, near the Temple Hill area.

Ruby L. Smith - buried in the Smith Cemetery - Temple Hill, Barren County, KY

On the Stone:

Ruby L. Smith
Mar 15, 1901
Jan 15, 1919

According to the Kentucky Death Record information I found online, Ruby was the daughter of L. H. and Sabina Smith.

What Did Ruby Die of?

She was so young that I had to wonder, what did Ruby die of at the age of not quite eighteen?  It was shortly after Christmas and the New Year?  Did she have flu?  Pneumonia? An Accident?

To get to this small cemetery, we crossed a bridge over a shallow but fast-moving creek that was rushing down the hill, then drove up a long, shady lane where the trees met overhead in places.  This seemed like a road, but it was narrow and may actually have been the home’s private driveway. It led past a home, past the small cemetery, and back to a field.

The home and the cemetery were on a hill that sloped away to a rolling little valley on the west (I think it was west, but I could have been turned around!) The cemetery was located past this home along the lane.

My first thought was that the home was deserted, as neither the yard  nor the cemetery had been mowed for some time.  But looking again at the photograph of the home that I took that day it’s obvious that there are flowers on the porch along with outdoor furniture.

I Kept Thinking About Snakes…

We parked our cars and hiked through the grass to the stones, (I kept thinking about snakes…) and all the time I was hoping to find names that I knew were “ours” but that day, it wasn’t to be.  That day, none of the names were familiar, so we went on down the road where we did find my mother’s great-grandfather’s farm, and then on to the Caney Fork Cemetery where we found numerous family members.

This cemetery’s proximity to other Smith’s that were our family leads me to believe that these Smith’s are related, and I was able to carve out some time today to do more research on this family.

From the death records that I’ve located today, Ruby is the daughter of last week’s Tombstone Tuesday, Lute H. and Sabina Smith.

Drat! The Name Fits But the Dates Do Not…

According to Lute’s Death Record, he was the son of William Basie Smith. (I’ve not done any fact-checking on these facts yet.)    There is a William in my Charles Smith family, but the dates are simply wrong for Lute’s father to be my family’s William.

I’m disappointed, but this small cemetery is very near to my great-grandparent’s farm, Charles and Virginia Hawley Smith, in the Temple Hill area of Barren County, Kentucky, and while they may not have been related, there is a good chance, too, that they were.

Another puzzle to solve, for another day, but as of today I have more clues to work with!

Other Related Posts:

Tombstone Tuesday: Lute and Sabina Smith Ruby’s parents.

The tombstone of  J. Thomas and Nancy A. (Smith) Harrison is just down the road a few miles in the Caney Fork Baptist Church cemetery. They may (or may not) be related to each other.

Warner LaRue Jones Tombstone. Warner was born in Kentucky to Willis and Martha Ellen Smith Jones.

George W. Smith & wife Lucy’s Tombstone

The Day the Serendipity Genealogy Angels Smiled

Carnival of Genealogy – My Poem to My Ancestors

By Sherry Stocking Kline
February 1, 2010

Smith, Hawley, Laird, Breneman, Stocking & Jones, too
Also McGinnis, Ames, Crabb, Corson
, and other names it’s true.
What inspired these ancestors and led them to leave home
To go far from their homeland and bravely roam?

Who are these brave people who came before?
Oh, How I love it whenever I learn a bit more.
I’m curious about what they sold or they bought,
About their lives and beliefs, even what they thought.

What brought them to America?  Why and when did they come?
What ship did they sail on, where exactly are they from?
All these questions I have, about each and every one,
I love finding clues, solving puzzles is such fun!

Was my Laird ancestor a highland Scots’ ‘prince’ or a pauper’s son?
It’s the hunt and the challenge that makes genealogy such fun!
Each answer brings new questions, then those answers I seek
To answer just one question, solve one clue sometimes takes weeks.

Who was this man, my Jones grandfather so elusive?
Must I dig deeper into the life of his mother and yes -  get intrusive?
Was she un-married/ widowed/ divorced when she married a ‘Crabb’
What was she like, how did she dress? Fashion plate? Or drab?

For religious freedom, in the 1630’s my Stockings sailed
To America on the Griffith, ‘twas from England they hailed.
Part of the history books they became, & helped found a new town
It was Hartford, Connecticut, with Thomas Hooker’s party they founded.

An Anabaptist, our Breneman ancestor left a dungeon deep,
Walked across castle floors and out of the castle keep,
His life spared, he came to America where freedom to worship would be
And down through the centuries, many have fought to keep America free.

In the Revolutionary War, 1812, and World Wars One and Two
Korea, Vietnam, and the Civil War, too.
My ancestors were there, along with many others who served
For keeping our land free, it’s our thanks they deserve.

Great-Grandma (Corson) McGinnis lived to be a whole century old,
My brother still remembers the story she told
About singing for then campaigning Abe Lincoln as a wee child,
When he promised her statehood for Kansas, a territory wild.

My ancestors were farmers, blacksmiths, merchants and more,
Teachers who taught, and those who owned stores
As we build for the future, on their shoulders’ we stand
And our family still has teachers, and farmers who farm the land.

There are plane builders, engineers, and more than one preacher,
There are programmers, a writer, and an NASA astronaut once a teacher
So many different folks now make up our family tree,
As we live here in America, land of the brave and the free…

I tried to intersperse some of the stories and legends that come along with my family.  I can’t prove that my Great-grandmother McGinnis (she would have been a Corson then) did sing for Abraham Lincoln as a child when Lincoln was campaigning, but she did live in the Springfield, Illinois area, did have a famous photograph that became part of the family story, and that is the story that she told her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, so I believe it to be true.

My Stocking ancestor, George Stocking’s name is on the founding father’s stone in Hartford, CT, and there are many documents on-line (and off) about George and the Thomas Hooker party that founded Hartford.  It’s a small world when I found out years later that my Junior High Latin teacher was a descendant of the Hart family that Hartford was named for.

My cousin has been to the castle in Switzerland and even down in the dungeon where my Breneman ancestor was kept a prisoner.  She said that it gave her goosebumps…

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Use Your Family Tree Program to Make a Calendar

by Sherry Stocking Kline
by January 30, 2010

The following is from Randy Seaver’s Genea-Musings! It is our Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge!  Don’t forget to cue up the “Mission Impossible Music”

Hi SNGF fans – it’s Saturday Night, time for some major Genealogy Fun!!!

Your mission, should you decide to accept it, is to:

1) Open your genealogy software or family tree program of choice and make yourself the highlighted person.

2) Find out how to create a Calendar to show birthdays and/or anniversaries of yourself and all of your ancestors (or all relatives, or all persons – your choice!). The “Help” button is your friend here!!! It can be done in all of the current software programs.

3) Create your calendar. Pretty it up if you want. Save it. Can you show us a page from your calendar – say January 2010?

4) Which of your ancestors (or relatives, or descendants – your choice!), if any, were born on 30 January?

Have fun with this. How can you use this information during the coming year?

I have to confess it took me longer than 30 minutes, and that just for one program!  I chose Legacy, though I do have Family Tree Maker 16, and also the free Roots Magic software.  I’ve read great things about Legacy, and so wanted to try it out, and a cousin swears by RootsMagic, so downloaded the free software.

But I digress…

I just did one photo and one calendar page, and I’ve scanned the photo page and will post it here:

Stocking Legacy Calendar Page for January

Stocking Legacy Calendar Page for January

Legacy Calendar for January

Legacy Calendar for January

When I first began entering my family into my family tree programs, I did it in a way that I wish I hadn’t.

I created a separate file for each surname.  I know that I can combine them all into one comprehensive family tree and I plan to but I’ve not done it – yet.

Five or six years ago, I bought Broderbund’s Calendar Creator and because I already have the birthdays of all family members (from all my trees!) and friends and neighbors that I would send cards to and it’s very simple to create a new one each year by  just adding new photos I may stick to using it.

However, if there is a way to have Broderbund’s Calendar Creator tell me that today is Susie and Joe’s 25th anniversary, or next month it’s Kris’s 50th birthday without me manually entering it, I’m not aware of it, (which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist!) and that was a nice feature when I printed out the calendar from the Legacy software.

And from the short time that I played with it, it looks like the calendar creator in Legacy is pretty similar to the one in Broderbund, and if I had spent a little more time, my Legacy calendar would have looked much nicer!

Related post: Stocking Family Genealogy

Wordless Wednesday – Constantine “Tom” Breneman and his horse and buggy

by Sherry Stocking Kline
January 27th, 2010

My almost Wordless Wednesday!

Here is a favorite photo of mine, my great-grandfather, Constantine “Tom” Breneman and his horse and buggy.  Tom was a Civil War veteran and then later farmed in Sumner County, Kansas, near Mayfield and Milan.  My mother, his grandaughter remembers that  he “had high stepping horses”.

Constantine "Tom" Breneman & Horse & Buggy
Constantine “Tom” Breneman & Horse & Buggy

Constantine “Tom” was married to Salinda E. (Rose) Breneman, but they divorced later in life. Constantine and Salinda had five children, Ira, Albert, Harvey, Otto, Carrie, and May and you can see their photographs here.

Other Breneman Posts:

Tombstone Tuesday – Salinda E. (Rose) Breneman

Tombstone Tuesday – Albert Breneman – Too Young to Die

Music Monday – “Baby It’s Cold Outside” – this post includes a saying that Carrie Breneman Jones used to tell her children about cold weather.

Tombstone Tuesday – Lute & Sabina Smith

by Sherry Stocking Kline
January 26, 2010

This tombstone is located in a Smith Family Cemetery in or near the Temple Hill area in Barren County, Kentucky.  (there are several Smith Family cemeteries in Barren County.) It is a small family cemetery, but I would guess there might be as many as 20 or 30 burials there.

The cemetery was located behind a farmhouse, and the whole area was overgrown with tall grass.  One clue to note is that someone (probably on Memorial Day given the plastic flowers are only slightly faded) had placed flowers on their grave. So most likely they have living children or grandchildren in the area.

Lute & Sabina Smith - Barren County, KY - Smith Cemetery

Lute & Sabina Smith - Barren County, KY - Smith Cemetery

Smith
Lute H.
1857 – 1936

Sabina
1860 – 1940

While I suspect Lute and Sabina Smith may be family, I haven’t verified it yet, and I hope that can be part of this year’s adventures.  I think Sabina is a very pretty name, one that I’d never heard before, and if it truly is unusual, that should make sorting her out of the other Smith’s easier. The name Lute doesn’t seem that common, either.

My next steps when I start working on this couple will be to check on the census for them, get a copy of their obituaries, will(s), and perhaps even give the local funeral homes a call as that has worked well in the past.  Those are my first steps.

If it looks like there is a family connection, I will also contact the South Central Kentucky Cultural Center, as they have several family histories there, along with miscellaneous family information, and see if perhaps they have a family history for the family there that I can use as a springboard to use to locate the documents that would verify relationships.

We were at this cemetery  5  July 2005, looking for our own family burials, but we did not find any names in the cemetery that we knew to be our kin.  We had my mother with us and were trying to locate her grandfather’s homestead.

We did not find my mother’s grandfather’s homestead, but were able to locate her great-great grandfather’s homestead about three miles on past this farmstead.  Unfortunately, my ancestor’s Smith cemetery had already been returned to farm ground.

Related Posts:

The tombstone of  J. Thomas and Nancy A. (Smith) Harrison is just down the road a few miles in the Caney Fork Baptist Church cemetery. They may (or may not) be related to each other.

Warner LaRue Jones Tombstone. Warner was born in Kentucky to Willis and Martha Ellen Smith Jones.

George W. Smith & wife Lucy’s Tombstone

The Day the Serendipity Genealogy Angels Smiled

Wordless Wednesday – Dad & Dimples

Sherry Stocking Kline
January 20, 2010

This is going to be an almost wordless Wednesday.  My mom was going through old photos this week, and found this gem of my dad, Harold F. Stocking, Sr. (mostly known by his childhood nickname of “Jiggs” all his life)  and his favorite registered Ayrshire cow, “Dimples”.  This was, I believe, before I came along, as I don’t remember her at all.

My folks were wheat and dairy farmers in south central Kansas (a.k.a. tornado alley) and they raised and milked registered Ayrshire cattle.

Harold F. "Jiggs" Stocking, Sr. & Dimples

Harold F. "Jiggs" Stocking, Sr. & Dimples

Mom said that Dimples was his favorite, and that he was very proud of her, but she developed some health issues and was sold.

If my dad were still alive, today, January 20th,  would be his 99th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Dad!

More Stocking family memories & genealogy here…

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