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.     

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

A Favorite Photo

     This is the 2nd week for #52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. This week's challenge is a favorite photo. The only thing wrong with this theme is deciding what to pick. I love the photo of Great Grandma Estella Smith and her father, John M. Vorhies, in the sleigh in 1939.  However, I might have already shown that one a couple of times. For sure, it can be seen here: Christmas 25, 2017.      
      I thought about a photo of my husband and me at his Military Commissioning Ceremony. He was the honor graduate of the class and telling a little more about that could be fun for future generations to read. I wouldn't even be concerned about publishing our picture because it is so old that no one would recognize us.
      However, I am focusing on a photo that I ran across a few years ago which surprised me.  It is a picture of my Grandpa Bert Grisso, and he is holding a toddler. The toddler is, Joe Johnson, my second cousin. Everyone was obviously at Great Grandma Smith's house. Joe was the grandson of Ardea, my grandmother's sister.  This photo is special because I came across it sometime after Joe passed away at the very young age of 58 in 2011. It was touching to see him with my grandfather. And I think his sisters would enjoy seeing it.
      This was not a grandfather who I ever thought of as gentle enough or had the desire to hold a toddler. By the look on his face, I was wrong. Or maybe Joe just brought out the best in him.


Amy Johnson Crow is a well known genealogy blogger. A few years ago I discovered late in the year that she does a challenge to genealogy bloggers called “ 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks”. She has renewed that challenge for 2018. Because my blogging has slowed down, I decided this might be a good way for me to refocus. If you are interested in seeing her site, you can find it here.

What does “start” mean to me. I have shared at different times who my inspirations have been for genealogy. Who do I credit with getting me started? There are actually several.

Great Grandma Estella Smith
     She was my mother’s, mother’s, mother. I spent a great deal of my childhood with her. My dad farmed her land, and I had occasion to spend massive amounts of time in her presence.  She lived at the edge of town in a home that was new in the teens of the twentieth century. The house is still standing and looking quite good for being over 100 years old.
      Grandma told me stories about her aunts and an uncle who died from consumption in the 1880’s and 1890’s. These stories were my first catalyst for genealogy exploration.

Grandpa Bert Grisso
     This Grandpa is my mother’s father. I never realized until one warm summer day in 1971, that I had never had a direct conversation with him. Usually we gathered for family events, Sunday dinners, holidays, etc. Grandpa talked to the men. The ladies and kids hung out in the kitchen catching up on news and putting the finishing touches on the meal. On this particular day, I had my mom drop me off at Grandpa and Grandma’s house with my toddler and baby to visit with Grandma. However, she wasn’t home. Consequently Grandpa had to talk to me. It was a fabulous event. He told me the history of the Grisso family coming to America from Italy. I wanted to know more. When I finally got into genealogy, it was the Grisso line which interested me the most. One of the first things I learned was about family lore.  Sometimes there is just a kernel of fact in the stories we are told. The arrival of the first Grisso was far longer ago than I was lead to believe. The family is not from Italy and there are a few other details that didn’t pan out. However, the quest for Grisso information was started that afternoon. I give my Grandpa Grisso credit for starting me down this road. I have come to see why he was so proud of his name.

Aunt Bonnie
     On my dad’s side, my Aunt Bonnie, his sister, did a lot of the leg work for the DeHart branch of her mother’s family.  In 1988, she and her husband did a genealogy road trip from Oregon to West Virginia in search of the DeHart property. In the summer of 2016, my husband and I tried to find the same spot, but due to car trouble and time restraints, we  didn’t quite make it.

Aunt Cheryl
     My go-to person on my Dad’s side has been my Aunt Cheryl. She was a great researcher and helped debunk several family legends. It is with such sadness that my research buddy, Cheryl, joined these other genealogy enthusiasts on Christmas Day, 2017.

R.I.P. Cheryl, and thanks for all you did. I love you.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

December 25, 2017

                          Merry Christmas

I have shared this photo before, but it makes me think of Christmas when my mother was a young girl. Pictured are Estella Smith, my great-grandmother, and her father, my 2nd great-grandfather, John M. Vorhies. She remembers the day as would her siblings, the parents of my cousins.