Harriett Johnston: One Link to the Johnston Family Reunion

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


I grew up attending the Johnston Family Reunion most summers. It was always held at the Ogden High School cafeteria in Liddieville, Louisiana, on the fourth Saturday of July. About 100 descendants of William Silas Johnston and Amarentha “Alma” Smart usually attended back in the 1990s. It was at the 1992 reunion that I met Agnes McWeeny Johnston, wife of Roy Johnston, who researched our Johnston family origins.

Before Agnes’s research, I’m not sure if our Horne family understood how we connected with the Johnstons. We seemed to attend because Martille McKaskle Johnston, wife of Andrew Johnston who was the son of William Silas and Alma, was my grandmother Ethel’s maternal aunt. My grandmother lived with “Uncle Ander” and “Aunt Till” for a short time after her mother died, and in the absence of grandparents, they became important family members for my dad and his sisters. But Agnes’s research showed us that the Horne and Johnston families were intertwined since the 1860s. One of these connections was Harriett Johnston, my 2x-great-grandmother.

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Thomas Hendry: Independent Patriot

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


To celebrate Independence Day, this week’s prompt is “independent” — very fitting! As I contemplated this week’s post, I also learned my Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) application was approved effective July 5. So to celebrate both occasions, I’m profiling my patriot ancestor and 7x-great-grandfather Thomas Hendry. His service is the reason I am eligible for DAR, and his family’s sacrifices benefited their community during the American Revolution.

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John Thomas Horne: Examining a Murder Legend

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


A legend is a traditional story regarded as historical but is unauthenticated. I have a family legend I’d love to prove — the supposed murder of my great-grandfather John Thomas Horne by his step-father William Silas Johnston.

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Nathan Smith: Earliest Smith Ancestor “Gone to Georgia” and Beyond

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


My mother’s paternal line are Smiths — the most common surname in the United States. Researching Smiths can be challenging, but I’ve traced my line to the mid-1700s. The earliest Smith ancestor I’ve proven is my 6x-great-grandfather Nathan Smith.

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TIGR 2019: Recap & Review

Attending a genealogy institute has ranked high on my “to-do list” since I decided to invest more in my family history passion. I thought it would be several years until I could attend one of these week-long educational opportunities, as I’d need to travel to Salt Lake City, Atlanta, or Pittsburgh for a course that matched my research interests. But when the Texas State Genealogical Society announced TIGR 2019 would have an Advanced Southern Research Techniques track — well, I was all-in!

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