H is for Heirloom

H is for Heirloom.

Over the weekend, my friend lost pretty much everything she owned in a fire.  We spent Monday trying to sort through some of the things.  Of course it’s easier to deal with these things when it’s not your stuff that’s damaged from heat, smoke, and fire, but the one area I had a lot of trouble with was the family heirlooms.

The decision to keep heirloom furniture that was only damaged by smoke, soot, perhaps a little heat, was easy to make.  No, it may not be worth much monetarily, but it’s sentimental value is pretty large.

Books were more iffy.  How do you get the smell out of a book?  The only two I considered saving was an 1880 school book and a hymnal from the same time period.  My friend had other books she wanted to try to salvage.

Dishes and china were completely black, the soot baked in.  I don’t see much of a way to salvage that.

I can’t imagine what it feels like to try to find something, anything, that is salvageable. I know it was heartbreaking for her, to lose her pets, her possessions, her home.

G is for Ginger

G is for Ginger.

a light reddish or reddish-brown color

There aren’t many gingers in my family.  In fact, most of my family has darker hair and aren’t even fair skinned.  My granny’s family was fair skinned, her brother a ginger.  That makes me wonder which of her ancestors were gingers.  My husband’s grandfather was a ginger.

Are there any gingers in your family?

E is for Ephemera






is for Ephemera


paper items (as posters, broadsides, and tickets) that were originally meant to be discarded after use but have since become collectibles (Merriam-Webster.com)

Who doesn’t love it?  I mean, why else would it now be collectible?  I’m always super excited when I come across something that was tucked away, perhaps even as an afterthought then forgotten.  How I love to find my grandparents’ writing as well, on small slips of paper tucked inside books and bibles.

I wonder if anyone has a copy of a newspaper with all of my Papa’s arithmetic from figuring the day’s stock gains and losses.

This post card was addressed to Miss Anna Chandler of Eldorado, NC, from Shirlie Russell.  I think this is Anna Russell Chandler and her brother John Shirlie Russell.  Would he have addressed the card Miss?  I’m not sure of all the words, especially since I’m not familiar with the handwriting.  Does anyone else find the card itself as amusing as I do?

The postmark is January 11, 1913, 4:30PM.  It reads  (I think!):

Hello and how are you

well I hope I am well

Mary has got the measles she

is a getting along all right

and how do you like your

cow? I want you and irvin? (wanon?)

to hery on come over hear

just ? be careful how you

ride your hors? come

when you can

from Shirlie Russell




D is for Death Certificate aka Three Ancestors Ago–William Christopher Harris (52 Ancestors)





is for Death Certificate

In addition to the A to Z Challenge,  this post is a part of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge by Amy Johnson Crow at www.nostorytoosmall.com.

William Christopher Harris

harris, wm

  • Born:   December 25, 1871
  • Died April 27, 1924
  • Parents:  James Austin & Luscitta Harris
  • He is my direct ancestor via
  • his daughter, Racie E. Harris
  • her son

I never realized my great-grandfather lived for 12 years after my grandmother was born; after his wife died.  I mean, the children scattered, going to live with relatives or simply to be adopted by someone.  To my young mind, he wouldn’t have lived long after his wife died, leaving the children to grow up not even knowing each other.  My grandmother remembered seeing him a few times, but she was nearly 13 years old when he died.  I actually thought he went to the asylum (the crazy one) after his wife died and pretty much stayed there until he died.

Don’t get me wrong, he didn’t die there.  No, he was on his way home and got hit by a car.  Again, I thought, ‘how sad, to finally be on the way home and to die like that.”  Ironic, huh?

Not once I found this…


Clearly he stepped out in front of a truck, on purpose.  He’d only been there, at the State Hospital in Morganton, for three months.  I’ve requested any records they have on two different occasions with no answer.  I’m going to try again.  Then, if I get no answer, I’ll be making a road trip over the summer.  They could at least tell me, perhaps, if he’d spent more than one bout there.  There’s more to this story, I’m sure.  Evidence from the 1920 census indicates this.  I surely hope I can find out at least part of it.


  • Racie E. Morris
  • Harris, William C.  North Carolina State Board of Health, Bureau of Vital Statistics.North Carolina Death Certificates. Microfilm S.123. Rolls 19-242, 280, 313-682, 1040-1297. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, North Carolina.

C is for Crippled



This is my great-grandfather, Joseph Jones Smith.  When he was in his late twenties, early thirties, he took sick and was bed ridden for two weeks with pneumonia.  When he recovered from the pneumonia, arthritis had attacked his joints and he couldn’t bend most of them.  He spent the last half of his life unable to sit in a chair.  Two of his sons and my great-grandmother had to go to work to take care of the farm and family.

It’s always amazed me how something could set in so quickly.  Perhaps 70 or so years later things are different.


jones joseph jones

B is for Bastard

B is for Bastard.

Aren’t there a few in every family?  Illegitimate children, that is.  So far, in my family, I know of two.  In my husband’s two more.  I have possible names in one case, a nickname in another, but what can be done about it?  Even though all involved are dead, I still worry about putting up theory and supposition in my blog.  Just how long should we worry about privacy and the like?

A is for Ancestor

A is for Ancestor.


I’ve been interested in genealogy for about 30 years.  I’ve always liked hearing the stories about where I came from and the people who made up my family, even when I was too young to put it all together.  Once I was actually grown, my mother began sharing her genealogy work with me.  Her work was compiled from other sources as well as information she found as well.

About 5-10 years ago, I decided I had to have my own proof.  While I’m glad I did, there’s still so much I haven’t been able to prove.  Sure, the new age of websites like family search and ancestry have helped the process along, I still want to see at least a copy of the source document and put it all together in my head.

And, I’m being long-winded in getting to the actually  what behind my letter for the day.

A is for Ancestor. Or Ancestors, as in, how many I know.

In my dad’s family, if I go back eight generations, here’s what I know:

  • One Ancestor Ago:  1/1
  • Two Ancestors Ago:  2/2
  • Three Ancestors Ago:  4/4
  • Five Ancestors Ago:  8/8
  • Six Ancestors Ago:  16/16
  • Seven Ancestors Ago:  12/32
  • Eight Ancestors Ago:  5/64

As you can see, there is a significant drop off at seven generations.

Much is similar on my mom’s side.

  • One Ancestor Ago:  1/1
  • Two Ancestors Ago:  2/2
  • Three Ancestors Ago:  4/4
  • Five Ancestors Ago:  8/8
  • Six Ancestors Ago:  16/16
  • Seven Ancestors Ago:  24/32
  • Eight Ancestors Ago:  15/64

Although a bit better at seven and eight ancestors back, I’m still pretty lacking.  This only shows me just how much more work I need to do.

Here’s to one day knowing all of those 128 ancestors!