Grandpa and the Aviator

Week 3: #52 Ancestors – Favorite Photo By Eilene Lyon This hand-tinted family photograph has been hanging on my wall for years, but I had never researched it. The man on the left is my great-great-grandfather, Thomas A. Reams (1833–1922). My grandfather, Laurence M. Smith, said that his Grandpa Reams had the opportunity to fly... Continue Reading →

Dear Family…

Week 50: #52 Ancestors – Lines By Eilene Lyon My favorite lines in genealogy are the ones inscribed by hand on paper—family letters. I didn’t always save the letters I received, but I do have a nice representative sampling from many ancestors and relatives. I’ll begin with my immediate family and my ancestors, then I’ll... Continue Reading →

Lila’s Quilt

Week 49: #52 Ancestors – Homemade By Eilene Lyon Recently my Aunt B emailed me to say she had “discovered” an old family quilt in her closet. It came down through my Smith ancestors and appears to have been made by my great-grandmother, Mary Lila (Reams) Smith. This crazy quilt is embroidered with the names... Continue Reading →

Parsing Their Politics

Week 44: #52 Ancestors – Voting By Eilene Lyon Because neither Ancestry nor Family Search have Oregon voter registrations online for my ancestors, I do not really know how they voted. I can’t recall having political discussions with my grandparents. I do, however, have a clue about one grandparent’s leanings. My Halse grandparents grew up... Continue Reading →

Soda Fountain of Youth

Week 27: #52 Ancestors – Free By Eilene Lyon It’s been a while since we heard from my Grandpa Smitty. The childhood treats he recalls weren’t exactly “free,” but they brought to mind some of his carefree younger days when the taste of a soda pop took you to another realm. Excerpt from “The Changing... Continue Reading →

From the Vault: Mount St. Helens

By Eilene Lyon     May 18, 2021 The “From the Vault” series features an artifact or family photo from my collection to illustrate a tale from my distant past. On this day 41 years ago, I was just a few weeks from the pinnacle of many a teen’s life – high school graduation. It also happened... Continue Reading →

That Is Mighty Cold

Week 51: #52 Ancestors – Winter By Eilene Lyon My grandfather, Laurence M. “Smitty” Smith left us with a small stack of typed memoirs written in brief spurts. The following passage opens a piece he titled “The Early Years.” “During the winter of 1921-22 the religious fanatics in California were predicting the end of the... 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 →

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