This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Work. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
Growing up in rural Louisiana, I’ve always been surrounded by agriculture. Both sets of my grandparents were cotton farmers, so I haven’t been surprised to find generation after generation of farmers in my family history research.
But our family’s farming history hasn’t been one of sweeping plantations and large-scale operations run by slave labor. For the most part, my ancestors had small family farms — fathers and sons working together to provide just enough for their immediate needs. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was their way of life.
My 4x-great-grandfather — and also possibly my 3x-great-grandfather, but that’s another story — James D. Smart, was one of these small-scale antebellum cotton farmers. Ironically, the land he owned in Louisiana is even used for agricultural research today.
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Tragedy. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
Participating in this year-long challenge has resulted in reconnecting with several members of my extended family. Sometimes these family members request I write about certain ancestors, and this week’s post was such a request. My grandfather’s half-niece Wanda Davis Collins thought Walker Guess would be an interesting tale. Walker is my 3x-great-grandfather and Wanda’s great-grandfather. He definitely fits with the “tragedy” theme, as he saw — and was a victim of — much violence during his life.
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Comedy. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
A few unrelated genealogy happenings have aligned the past few weeks to give our family some laughs, culminating in my finding a new cousin — my husband!
We took a family road trip to Kentucky earlier this month and included stops at Daniel Boone’s grave, Fort Boonesborough, and Cumberland Gap National Park purely for their historical value. A few weeks before the trip, my husband’s cousin who does Collins research reminded me that their family is related to Daniel Boone. He is my husband’s 7x-great-uncle; therefore, the boys’ 8x-great-uncle! Our historical sightseeing quickly turned into a mini-genealogy road trip. We checked out age-appropriate books from the library about Daniel Boone’s life and had fun learning more about this distant relative — and then bringing his frontier story to life for our sons.
After our trip, my grandfather’s half-sister emailed me about several research topics, including if I believed we were related to Daniel Boone through our Guess family. She doesn’t use Facebook and hadn’t seen our vacation photos, so she didn’t realize the great timing of her inquiry. I haven’t thoroughly researched our Guess family, but I took her clues and quickly discovered she was correct — it looks like I’m related to Daniel Boone, too!
I went to bed one evening with a husband and woke up the next morning with my 9th cousin. Our shared ancestors are Edward and Elizabeth Morgan, Daniel Boone’s maternal grandparents.
This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series. This week’s prompt is Sister. (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.
If anyone were like a sister to my granny, it was her cousin Bertie Mae McMurry Killen. They were double-first cousins: their fathers, George and Jim McMurry, married sisters, Lula and Mary Frances McKaskle:
According to autosomal DNA statistics published by the International Society of Genetic Genealogy (ISOGG), double-first cousins share about 25 percent of their DNA.¹ That’s the same amount as one might share with a grandparent or grandchild, an aunt/uncle, a niece/nephew, or a half-sibling.² Genetically, Ethel and Bertie Mae were like half-sisters!
Joining the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) has been on my genealogy “bucket list” for awhile. I’ve discovered eight Patriots in my family tree, and joining DAR is a way I can honor their service, while also serving my community. The genealogist in me wanted the challenge of proving my research and having it accepted by an official organization. And one final, important push was my friend Charity. She joined DAR last year and invited me to her chapter’s anniversary luncheon. It was filled with people who shared my love of country, history, and genealogy — and that’s when I knew DAR was for me.