Sunday, May 27, 2018

That Same Old House

It has been over a month since my last post. I guess the time has come. The following post was written back then as well. However, I had some format problems so just abandoned the blog. I checked my stats and this blog has been viewed 19,999 times. Maybe if I get this post published, I can go over the top. One of my format problems had to do with the information on the last two photos. The first one is me with my Aunt Bonnie in approximately 1946. The second is my cousin, Sue, and I in the early to mid-fifties. I included it to show the house must have eventually been painted.

The last blog The House I Grew Up In is a post I have wanted to write for a long time. It is a house with so much family history. As I said before, it was a brand new house in 1910 for my Great-Grandmother, Estella Smith. While sorting old pictures, I found a few more that I want to share. 

Pictured below:

Grandpa Bert Grisso, Vern Wright, John Grisso
Donald Grisso, Marvin Grisso, Grandma Nina Grisso, Mary Grisso Wright.

Grandpa Bert Grisso, Grandma Nina Grisso, Vern Wright, Mary Wright, John Grisso

Donald Grisso, Marvin Grisso

This photo is labeled 1944.  This is before I was born, but where my mom and dad lived. Notice the old house. It certainly needs paint.

This is probably the summer of 1946. The house looks the same.

Aunt Bonnie and Margie

Margie and Susie

Sometime around 1953-1955

It looks like the house was finally painted.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The House I Grew Up In

I grew up on the sixty as we called it. Actually, I only lived there until I was in the ninth grade. My great-grandmother, Estella Smith, owned the farm and my dad farmed the sixty as well as her other two farms. However, in March of 1959 she died and all of her property was sold.  This house had been built new for her as a young bride. I never really thought about it until I started working on the family stories. There are so many extended family pictures taken in that yard from when my parents moved there in the spring of 1941.  But, I would like to know more about the very early years. After the farm was sold in 1959, numerous families lived there including one of my very dear high school friends. The house was torn down in the fall of 2002.

As I said, there are so many pictures which were taken in that yard. Some with the porch open, some with it after it was enclosed. Sometimes it looks really rough and other times, it looks like it got a little paint.

This is a picture from 1959. It is fun to also recognize my Grandma Grisso's blue 1954 chevy in the photo.


Just before the house was torn down.

 I was thrilled to find the following picture in a pile of photos.

This photo has to be closer to when the house was first built (1910). Could that be Great- Grandpa Hiram Smith with his three oldest kids. Even though his stance makes me think of my Grandpa Grisso, I think it must be Hiram, Nina, Merroll, and Neva. I could be wrong.


Sunday, April 1, 2018


     Recently, we attended a music program and heard the well known Kingston Trio M.T.A. song about poor Charlie who couldn't get off the Massachusetts Transit Authority.  "Oh, will he ever return?  No he will never return, and his fate is still unlearned. He may ride forever 'neath the streets of Boston. He is the man who never returned."
     I am betting that some of my regular readers think I am the family genealogy/history storyteller that will never return. After all, I think it has been about two months since my last post. However, I checked my stats and found I have had about 700 viewers in the last two months. Good heavens, I have a following or there are lots of just accidental hits out there. Now I feel like I need to get back. Can I get off the M.T.A. which seems to be my euphemism for being an absent blogger.
     I was quite excited in January when I accepted the challenge of Amy Johnson Crow, a genealogy blogger who suggests a different topic to write about once per week for 52 weeks.
     The challenge started with "Start".    Then, went on to topics like Favorite photo, Longevity, Invite to Dinner, In the census, Favorite  Name, Valentine, Heirloom, Where There's a Will, Strong Woman, Lucky, Misfortune, The Old Homestead, Maiden Aunt, Taxes,  Storms, Cemetery, Storms, Cemetery.
      My only contributions have been those highlighted above. They are all linked to the post for your convenience if you missed one or just want to enjoy it again. (Happy Face)
      I attempted Valentine and Heirloom. They remain in draft form.
     And then I got busy reading, taking classes, entertaining company, and being sick. Lots of excuses. 

      So there we have it.

      Your guess is as good as mine as to when Charlie might get off the M.T.A or when I might post another blog. I am open to requests if any of the above topics sound like they could be interesting.

     The ball is in your court, as they say.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Favorite Name #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

Mary, Sarah, Emma, Elizabeth, Anne

Thomas, John, William, James

I think I must like traditional names.  Even though these are all names from my own family. There are those quirky ones too.

Mentioned before in this blog is Royal. He is my 2nd great grandfather. See his story here. Suicide of Early Settler.
Then there is my aunt who was named Darlene Doll. Evidently, she was a darling doll.

Both of my grandmothers were named Nina.  One was Nina Lorene and the other Nina Frances. Thus, the name runs rampant in their descendants.  My grandfather also had similar names. One was Bert and the other was Albert. I can only think of one son of Albert who carried his name but none on the other side. I guess the grandma's names were a little more popular than the grandpa's names.

Someday, I hope to do a little "who was named for whom" study. The few I know are fun.  For example, my great aunt, Ardea Agnes Smith Stevens, must have been given her grandmother Mary Agnes Ford Smith's middle name.  Hiram Smith, the father of Ardea, lived to see his grandson, John Hiram Grisso, named for him. John carried both of his grandfather's names. John Martin Grisso and Hiram Lee Smith.

Sometimes when doing research I want to scream.  Please, no more Georges or Williams on my mom's side. Dad's side has more Ebenezers than I want to deal with.  Obviously, the 1000 baby name books were far in the future. Of course, it was a  privilege to be honored with having a baby named for you.

When I was eleven, I had that honor. My aunt and uncle had a little girl who they named Mary Margaret. Mary for my mother and Margaret for me. I know because they told me that. The fact that the baby's mother's name was Margaret made no difference to me. At age 70+, I accept the baby carried not just my mother's name, Mary, but also her own mother's name, Margaret.

In the Census

The first few prompts for #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks seemed to just write themselves. Not this one. In fact, I am now behind. Oh, well.

Census records are interesting. From census records I have accepted that many errors exist in records.   This becomes clear when I found my Grandpa Bert’s name spelled “Burt” in one of the first census records I read. However, I did enjoy learning the various occupations Grandpa had held. He supported family of eight working from one job to another. The times were hard.

In the first census record  for Bert Roscoe Grisso, he is four years old.  The family consisted of:

John M. Grisso         age 33
Laura A.                     age 27
Burt                        age 4
Gertrude                 age 2
John Crick               age 23

Don't you wonder who John Crick might be?

A little further investigations in the census records lists John Crick as a servant and white.  He also is listed as farm labor and John Martin as a farmer.  I always heard Grandpa John Martin was a teacher. In a later census (1920) he is listed as a dry goods salesman. However, his daughter, Gertrude, is listed as a teacher.

Yes, there are many things to learn from the census reports. All one needs is time to do the research.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Invite to Dinner #52 Ancestors Week 4

Here I am having dinner at my great grandmother Emma Borden’s house. I am guessing this is about 1953 when I was eight. I am seated between my cousin, Sue, age 5, and her brother, Bill, age 3. Of course, the older woman is Grandma Borden, my dad’s maternal grandmother. To her left is my mom at about age 34 (check out that dark hair). Seated next to her is my dad, Vern, and then my Uncle Bill, the dad of the cousins. Their mom, Bonnie, must have taken the picture.

Bonnie and Vern were two of the eight children of Nina Borden Wright. Nina was the only child of Emma Susan DeHart Borden.

Sunday, January 21, 2018


#52 Ancestors in 52 weeks

When I see the word longevity, one name pops to mind. Hallie Augustus. I have found a few ancestors that have lived longer than 100 years, but I didn’t actually know them. Grandpa Augustus was doing great on the day of his 100th birthday party. He still lived alone and was looking forward to planting his garden. Spring was just around the corner. He was born March 19, 1890. His party, 100 years later, was well attended by friends and family flying to the Midwest from all over the country. It truly was an event to remember. 

A few months later, Grandpa was gone.

About a month after the party, Grandpa went to get his mail one day, fell and broke his ankle. While hospitalized, he talked and planned for his summer garden. He needed to get home and get going with the planting. It was almost May. While he was talking of tomatoes and peppers, his two children and the Dr. were talking of his need to remain in the Long Term Housing facility of the hospital once his ankle was healed.  He was not actually taking good enough care of himself on his own anymore.  

In time the ankle healed and the truth of his new residence became clear. Grandpa died June 20, 1990 only a few weeks after becoming a resident of Long Term. As my husband said of his Grandfather Hallie Augustus, "Grandpa was determined to get out of there one way or another".

I learned from Grandpa Hallie the power of the will to live. He had lived 100 years on his own terms. And he finished his life the same way.