Dorothy Jean Hendry Smith: In Memoriam

My maternal grandmother, Dorothy Jean Hendry Smith, passed away this morning at her home on Smith Hill in Liddieville, Louisiana. Her obituary follows:

Dorothy J. Smith
1935 – 2019

Funeral services for Dorothy J. Smith, 84, of Liddieville, will be held 2 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019, in Boeuf River Baptist Church, with Rev. Bruce Cardin and Rev. Kevin Goodman officiating. Interment will follow in Ogden Cemetery under the direction of Gill First National Funeral Home. Visitation will be 1pm until time of service at the church.

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Thomas Leonard Smith & Lillie Modena Ingram: Large Blended Family

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is LARGE FAMILY.  To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index


Large families seem to run in my Smith genes. My mother was the oldest of 11 children, and my ancestors Lot Smith and Elizabeth Loving had sixteen!

My great-grandparents Thomas Leonard Smith and Lillie Modena Ingram also had a large family, but it was a blended brood of his, hers, and theirs. They were kind of like a 1920s version of the Brady Bunch — with an unfortunate mix of the Bible’s book of Job, too.

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John Morgan Smith: Bachelor Uncle?

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is BACHELOR UNCLE.  To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index


Our family histories are often focused on ancestors who married and had children — after all, that’s how we got here. But what about the bachelors and maidens in our family trees? They deserve to be remembered, too.

Photo of John Morgan Smith, late 1940s¹

John Morgan Smith — known as “Uncle Johnny” — lived with my mother and her family in their dog trot-style farmhouse during her early childhood. He was my mother’s great-uncle. Without a family of his own, Uncle Johnny lived at Smith Hill for many years — first with his brother Leo Smith and Leo’s wife Dena, and then with my grandparents James Paul and Dorothy Smith when they took over the farm. Uncle Johnny’s room was the small one, second on the right, walking down the breezeway.

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James Paul Smith: Family Photos from Louisiana REA News

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is FAMILY PHOTO.  To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index


Flipping through my grandmother’s photo albums in 2013, I found a newspaper clipping she carefully preserved. It’s old and yellowed with age, but the article contains the earliest group photos I have of my mother’s family. At the time of the article, my grandparents James Paul Smith and Dorothy Jean Hendry were raising eight children — all age 8 and younger — on their farm in Liddieville, Franklin Parish, Louisiana.

Article about the James Paul Smith Family; published in Louisiana REA News, about Summer 1960
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Elizabeth Loving Smith: Love for 16 Children and Her Church

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is LOVE.  To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index


I mostly research my father’s side of the family. But with this week’s prompt being LOVE, it’s time to show my maternal side some love and feature an ancestor with a name that perfectly fits the theme: Elizabeth Loving Smith.

My 3x great-grandmother Elizabeth Loving was born February 28, 1804,¹ to parents Bailey Loving and Nancy Cook,² likely in Georgia.³ She married Lot Smith on June 15, 1820, in Lawrence County, Mississippi.⁴

Researching female ancestors of this time period can be challenging, as their names appear on few records. Unless they are a head of household (typically indicating they are widowed), women aren’t even listed by name on federal censuses until 1850. I only have three records naming Elizabeth: her marriage certificate, obituary, and gravestone. Therefore, the best way to fill in details about her life is through records generated by her father and husband.

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