A Beloved Mother Passes Too Soon

Week 19: #52 Ancestors – Mother’s Day By Eilene Lyon My grandpa, Laurence M. Smith, lost his mother when he was just nine years old. Though his family had known severe hardships in the early years, Laurence remembered the family’s better fortunes from the time of his birth in 1908 until his mother died. Mary... Continue Reading →

The Runaway

This undated story by my grandfather, Laurence M. Smith, is part of his collection of memoir writings. Smitty, born in 1908 in Colville, Washington, was clearly of the automotive age. Though his father’s delivery business started out with horse-drawn wagons, they soon switched over to trucks. This event took place when he was 18 years... Continue Reading →

Emptying the Bucket (List)

By Eilene Lyon My brother and I, along with our spouses, were visiting Mom in Oregon last week. Because she has rapidly progressing dementia, she lives in memory care at the retirement community she moved into 12 years ago. She’s doing pretty well physically, for now. I took her to see her regular physician so... Continue Reading →

How It All Went Wrong

Week 12: #52Ancestors – Misfortune By Eilene Lyon By all measures, my cousin Orville Bodtker was a very unlucky young man in World War II. But I think for sheer, unrelenting misfortune, I have to turn to the story of my great-great-grandparents, Robert Ransom and Emma Jenkins, the parents of Clara Pearl Ransom. Robert was... Continue Reading →

Research Miracles

Week 11: #52 Ancestors – Luck By Eilene Lyon Given that next week’s theme is “Misfortune,” I take “Luck” to mean Good luck, not Bad luck. I can find innumerable bad luck or misfortune stories in my family history. Finding good luck stories is a real challenge. My ancestors had seriously hard lives. On the... Continue Reading →

Out-of-Mind, Out of Sight

By Eilene Lyon Often the most frustrating people on my family tree to find records for are the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, or physically disabled people. This is true whether they were living in private homes or institutions. Most difficult to find are death records and burials. I’ve discovered that mental illness does tend to... Continue Reading →

A Resilient Woman

Week 10: #52Ancestors - Strong Woman By Eilene Lyon Abigail Gummersal Bedford, my 3rd-great-grandmother, endured many trials in her long life. Much of what is known about her comes from Quaker records, personal letters written during the California gold rush, and a couple brief biographies about her eldest son, William Zane Jenkins. She was born... Continue Reading →

The Fastest Dog on Bald Mountain

Smitty knew how to tell a tall tale. I find it interesting that when this story was written, it was set well into the future, rather than in the present or past.  I thought it might be a typo, but he mentions the “great city of Moscow,” which it certainly wasn’t in 1926. I’ve added... Continue Reading →

Smitty

By Eilene Lyon I’d like to introduce you to my maternal grandfather, Laurence Martin Smith, aka Smitty. In his retirement years, he took to writing down some stories about his life (don’t we wish all our ancestors would do that?!). I’ll be sharing some of them with you over the coming months. The Fastest Dog... Continue Reading →

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