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 →

Big On Talent

Week 32: #52 Ancestors – Small By Eilene Lyon The first thing the prompt brought to mind is this photograph I received at a family reunion last year. It isn’t the only image of Elmer Jens Davis, but it is particularly striking. He’s the short man standing in front on the right. Behind him is... Continue Reading →

The Slide Years: Last Family Photo

By Eilene Lyon The Slide Years is a series in which I select an image my dad took from 1957-1982 with Kodachrome slide film, then I write a stream-of-consciousness essay – a sort of mini-memoir. There’s something so prescient about this picture, taken at Christmas time in 1980 or 1981. As far as I know,... Continue Reading →

The Trailblazer

Week 31:#52 Ancestors – Large By Eilene Lyon The person in my tree who looms largest in American history is my cousin, Col. Ebenezer Zane. He could be, and has been, called many things: Frontiersman, Pathfinder, Indian-hunter. Zane was quite literally a trailblazer, helping to open the Midwest to settlement before and after the Revolution.... Continue Reading →

Homeland

Week 30: #52 Ancestors – The Old Country By Eilene Lyon Though I have ancestral origins in England and Wales, perhaps a touch in Ireland, an overwhelming number of forebears came from Germanic regions of Europe. I’ve traveled there several times. On one trip, we specifically visited Heidelsheim and Mainz, because I knew my Springer... Continue Reading →

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