The Successful Farmer

Week 42: #52 Ancestors – Proud By Eilene Lyon The prompt brought this photo to mind almost immediately, though it seems an odd choice. No one looks particularly happy in this image of the Halse family taken about 1912 in Codington County, South Dakota. Back row: Inez, Everett (my grandfather), Hazel, Howard, LloydFront row: Mabel,... Continue Reading →

A Letter from Henry

Week 40: #52 Ancestors - Oldest By Eilene Lyon I believe the oldest document in my possession is this letter written by Henry Z. and Abigail Jenkins, dated October 19, 1855. The entire letter runs to over 1500 words, so I won't give a full transcript here - your eyes would be glazing over long... Continue Reading →

The Rise and Fall of Trenton

Week 38: #52 Ancestors – On the Map By Eilene Lyon I confess to being a bit of a map geek. I even minored in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) when I attended Fort Lewis College in 2004-7. Maps are excellent for visualizing the context of events in our family history. They can help us understand... Continue Reading →

The Cutting School

Week 37: #52 Ancestors – Back to School By Eilene Lyon Today, schools are frequently named for presidents, famous politicians or war heroes (more often than not men). Back in frontier days, naming a school was often a prosaic affair – if you built a schoolhouse on your property, it generally became known after you.... Continue Reading →

The Engineer

Week 36: #52 Ancestors – Labor By Eilene Lyon My grandfather, Laurence M. Smith, has made many appearances on this blog. I’ve shared a couple stories he wrote about his work in A Short Load and A Secret Mission. Laurence was a 1931 graduate of the University of Idaho with a degree in electrical engineering.... Continue Reading →

How We Vanish

Week 35: #52 Ancestors – Unforgettable By Eilene Lyon This week’s prompt really stopped me in my tracks. Unforgettable? If there’s anything I’ve learned from all my years of genealogy research is that family history is eminently forgettable. So many fascinating stories have been rescued from oblivion by sheer determination on my part (and yes,... Continue Reading →

And Ona Makes Three

Week 34: #52 Ancestors – Chosen Family By Eilene LyonI have not come across many adoptions in my family research. I’ve previously written about Ada Coffey, a relative on one branch of my family, who was adopted by my 2nd great-grandparents, Dick and Lucy Halse, from a different branch.This story is from the Ransom family... Continue Reading →

Philadelphia Firestorms

Week 33: #52 Ancestors – Troublemaker By Eilene Lyon Henry Z. Jenkins rose before dawn one morning in June 1827 in his single room in north Philadelphia’s Penn Township. His workday normally began at sunrise and ended at sundown – just like that of every other journeyman in the city. The master tradesmen dictated the... Continue Reading →

Where It Ends: Independence

Week 27: #52 Ancestors – Independence By Eilene Lyon In my story about Emma Jenkins, I detailed some of the events leading to the downfall of my great-great-grandfather, Robert Ransom. The more I discover about the Ransom family, the more I find a humongous, convoluted soap opera. I'm not sure if these people were crazy,... Continue Reading →

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