It Was Ugly!

Week 20: #52 Ancestors – Textile By Eilene Lyon I did a bad thing. I’m still ashamed. My grandmother, Clare (Davis) Smith, said she had an heirloom to pass on to me, if I would promise to keep and preserve it. I broke that promise. Partly because of a misunderstanding about the nature of this... Continue Reading →

Pioneer Pastimes

Week 18: #52 Ancestors– Social By Eilene Lyon Pioneering was not about rugged individualism. Settlers depended on family connections and other social ties for practical and personal reasons. Survival depended on the community network. Many jobs required extra helping hands. Other events drew on specialized skills, such as midwifery or blacksmithing. Even gatherings for work... Continue Reading →

From German to Italian

Week 15: #52 Ancestors – How Do You Spell That? By Eilene Lyon “How do you spell that?” “E-I-L-E-N-E” “That’s I-L-uh…?” Names can be such a pain! It’s no wonder that many immigrants choose to “Americanize” theirs. I doubt that my grandma, Reatha Gusso Halse, realized that her Grandpa Charlie Gusso and his siblings changed... Continue Reading →

Durango Train Museum

By Eilene Lyon While train history is a big part of this museum’s raison d’etre, the exhibits range far and wide. Nine years after the original roundhouse (where the steam locomotives idle at night) burned down in 1989, a portion of the replacement structure was set aside to house the museum. At least two locomotives... Continue Reading →

Mabel and Her Mom

Week 9: #52 Ancestors – Females By Eilene Lyon I’ve written briefly about my great-grandmother, Mabel Pearl (Cutting) Halse, in relation to her husband and children. It’s a case of having a lot of photographs, but not really knowing her. Unlike her mother-in-law, Lucy Halse, Mabel didn’t get her name in the papers or history... Continue Reading →

South Dakota Scenes

Week 6: #52 Ancestors – Maps By Eilene Lyon Back in the late 1870s and early 1880s, promoters encouraged people to move to Dakota Territory. Naturally, land speculators played up the rich farmland and other selling points, not necessarily squaring with reality. My father was born in South Dakota, though he grew up in Oregon.... Continue Reading →

Parentless

Week 5: #52 Ancestors – Branching Out By Eilene Lyon The genealogical aspect of family history involves sprouting branches on the family tree by adding another generation of ancestors. My tree has robust limbs, at least back to 4th great-grandparents on nearly every line, and much further than that on most. The Putterer’s tree appears... Continue Reading →

The Missing Sister

Week 2: #52 Ancestors – Favorite Find By Eilene Lyon All the genealogical information passed down to me about my Anderson ancestors gave the impression that my 3rd great-grandmother, Elizabeth (Anderson) Ransom, was the oldest child in her family. There was also some confusion about the identity of her mother, and I still haven’t tracked... Continue Reading →

Only Bricks Remain

Week 1: #52 Ancestors – Foundations By Eilene Lyon This week’s theme brought to mind a 3rd great-granduncle, Isaac T. Bedford, who had a career as a bricklayer in 19th-century Philadelphia. Isaac’s parents were my 4th great-grandparents, Thomas and Jane (Thomson) Bedford. The parents belonged to the Society of Friends, but it wasn’t until after... Continue Reading →

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