Thirteen Families

My mother and I recently returned from an amazing genealogy trip through the south (see my travel blog for details). As we were driving home, we counted up 13 family lines that we touched on...
Thomas, Brevard, Jetton, McKnight, Robinson, Deering/Dearing, Gideon/Giddens, Dickey, Crow, Vandiver, Cox, Russell (on Dad's side), and Clack (for Cheri). I might even be missing one.

One of the exceptional things about this latest venture (besides finding SO MUCH good information) was the amount of help we received from expert genealogists. The cousins we were meeting up with are experts in their own right, but we encountered genealogy librarians, DAR representatives, local experts, and volunteers of genealogical societies that were beyond generous with their time and expertise.

One thing I realized is: I want to be them. I want to be the person who goes out of their way to pull piles of files for people in order to connect them with their family.

I don't know what will come of my gen…

Anna Knust Update

I cannot believe I haven't already posted this. But I just realized I haven't. We've found Anna Knust! Back in 2011, I posted a blog about what I knew and didn't know about Anna Margaretha Knust, my 2-greats grandmother. ["What I Know: Anna Knust Zogg"]

Well, thanks to DNA, I know more now!

Back in July 2017, I exchanged a couple of emails with SSH (name withheld for privacy). She and I have a DNA match on Ancestry, and the only common name in our families is.... Anna Knust! SSH is the great-granddaughter of Anna Knust and Otto Schulze. After comparing notes, we have found that she had no record of Anna prior to 1890, and we had no record of her after 1886. She was just as shocked as I was to have a match on Anna! It appears (because we share DNA) that our Anna and her Anna are one and the same. Since then, my aunt Melinda and my Dad have both had their DNA tested, and both also show a match to SSH.

So, we have been asking the question for many years... what …

I Heart Newspapers

As I've been working on the Payne family tree, I got to a point where I knew there were some newspaper clippings on that might provide some source information. I don't maintain a subscription, but I decided to buy one month to get the information I needed. First I purchased just the basic subscription, but the newspapers I wanted were not included. So I decided to upgrade, but there was no information about how to upgrade without paying the full amount for premium... so I thought I was going to be stuck paying the basic PLUS the premium. I sent an email to their customer support and within 48 hours, I'd been refunded! So, that's reason #1 to love Very responsive and didn't give me grief.

Reason #2 though is... just NEWSPAPERS. I just love how old newspapers used to tell you every detail about a person's life. Like what the bridesmaids wore in the wedding. Or who was visiting from out of town for the weekend. Or who threw a party a…

Habits. Ugh.

Late last year, I mentioned to a friend that she should consider blogging. She always posts hilarious stories to Facebook, and often provides her writings to the church for the Spiritual Formation Blog ( A week or so ago, she took me up on my offer to help her get started. We met for lunch, set up her new blog, and off she went (at In the process, though, I realized that I hadn't written in my own blog in a year!

I started a new blog this year... a travel blog because I've been doing so much running around. But even that didn't keep me faithful. I blogged through England, then Latvia... but failed to blog a spectacular long weekend to the northeast, and a few other here-and-there trips.

Each time I let months or years pass without blogging, I feel the loss of it. I'm disappointed that I haven't shared all the things I learned and have now forgotten. If I'd written about them, I would now have them permanently... so t…

Helpless, Not Hopeless?

With all that is going on in the world that seems unfair to me, it is difficult for me to feel HOPEful when I feel HELPless. I feel very limited in my options to do anything in response to the wrongs I see happening. I talk to the TV, which is pointless. I express my opinions to those who are willing to hear, yet the ones who I wish would hear are not listening.

Last night at Bible study, John was explaining to us about struggling with scripture. He said something like, "When we start to struggle with scripture, that's when we begin to grow." Someone said, "Yes, but it seems like there's never resolution... you never find the answers." He replied with, "It's not the answer that grows you; it's the struggle." (conversation paraphrased)

Since that conversation, I've been mulling over the "struggle." It's a struggle to understand the perspective of others who don't agree with you. It's a struggle to remain hopeful wh…

On Walls

I'm not sure whether to thank The One Who Shall Remain Nameless for getting me to blog again... or to be indignant that TOWSRN has given me so many reasons to rant. I really don't like to be annoyed. But boy am I.

Today's topic: walls. I was watching Cristela Alonzo's latest Netflix comedy special last night and she addressed the topic of the wall along the Mexican border in such a great way. Bottom line: what makes you think your wall is going to keep people who want to get here out? They climb over fences, swim oceans, dig tunnels... all your wall will do is give them a new workout routine. Determined. That's what they are.

I can't help but remember the famous speech by President Reagan at the wall in Berlin... "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" I was just a kid, but I still remember it. And I also remember the day the wall in Berlin actually did come down, and I was so proud of humanity that day. About as proud as I am disgusted with TOWSRN.


What I Fear

Another social media post has me mulling today. First thing this windy, sunny Sunday morning, I read the following:

I keep seeing people post on how they are terrified, or scared? Well.. what are you scared of exactly? War? Because that's happening. School shootings? Because that's happening. Pipeline? That's been happening. Terrorism? Definitely alive and well. Going broke due to health insurance? Mm yes. Corruption throughout the system? Already there. Police officers being murdered? Yep, that's happening. Bullying? Check. Loss of jobs? We've got that on lock. A tanking economy? Yep. Being discriminated against for your religion, political views, , race? That's been going on. Rape, murder, violence, riots.. all going on and has been. So tell me, what are you scared of that is not already happening basically everywhere? This isn't a Trump problem, this is a people problem. Y'all need to reevaluate your own selves.. Maybe America is a little too scared a…