Four Generations of Halse Homesteads

Week 13: #52Ancestors – The Old Homestead By Eilene Lyon This is the story of four homesteads for four generations of Halses (my maiden name), going back to my immigrant ancestors, my 3rd great-grandparents. First Generation Robert H. Halse and Eliza Jane Drake immigrated in 1850 and eventually settled in Winneshiek County, Iowa. Samuel Drake,... 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 →

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 →

Probate Gold Mine

Week 9: #52 Ancestors – Where There’s a Will By Eilene Lyon This week’s title should really be “Where There Isn’t a Will.” That’s because sometimes a probate case, when a person dies intestate, can tell you more about that person than a will ever could. When I started writing the California gold rush story... Continue Reading →

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