Archive for the ‘challenge’ Category

My family tree has many Johns, Josephs, James, Peters, Williams, Marys,Marthas, Sarahs, Elizabeths, and Catherines but not too many Clementines. There are exactly two. Clementine Romaine Adney, daughter of Henry Harrison Adney and Elizabeth Jane Blazer was born in Holt, Missouri on January 29, 1873 and died on December 23, 1952 in Benton, Oregon. Clementine was my second cousin three times removed. Our shared ancestors are Philip Blazer and Elizabeth Kingsley.

The other Clementine is my great-aunt; sister of my paternal grandfather. Her birth name was Louisa Clementine Amore. Her first name was in honor of her mother’s mom – Louisa (Bookless) Werts Simon. Yet, she was “Clemmie” to everyone else.

Aunt Clemmie was born on March 12, 1874 in Lafayette township of Coshocton county, Ohio to William Henry and Mary Angeline (Werts) Amore. She was the oldest of seven and the only girl. When she was 12, she was an exemplary student with perfect attendance and a grade of 100. Unfortunately, her education went to 8th grade but not beyond according to the 1940 census.

At the age of 19, Clemmie married Benjamin F Baker on December 7, 1893 in Coshocton, Ohio. The couple had four children: Donald Francis, Anna Belle, Clara Ethel, and Charlotte (Lottie) Christina. Ben Baker died on May 19, 1936 leaving Clemmie a widow. Their children were all grown and married by then. The 1940 census lists Clemmie living in the Curtis Davis household on S. Eureka Avenue in Columbus, Ohio as a housekeeper. She had worked every single week of the previous year with an annual income of $260.

At the Amore-Baker reunion in 1951, Clemmie posed with her six brothers for a photo. Left to right: my grandfather Lloyd, Rollo, Clemmie, Zade (Isaiah), Roy, Clarence, and Herbert. It is one of only three I have of Clemmie and her brothers. She died on April 4, 1956 in Springfield, Ohio at the home of her daughter and son-in-law, Anna and Harrie Foster. Her brother (and my grandfather) Lloyd had passed away the year before. Her obituary stated that she was survived by her four children, 12 grandchildren, several great-grandchildren, and five brothers. Aunt Clemmie was laid to rest next to her husband at Sunset Cemetery in Galloway, Ohio.

This is a post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 6. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

(Clementine graphic: Wikimedia Commons – public domain. All other digital photos in possession of Wendy Littrell)


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My paternal grandmother’s mother Frances V Ogan has been a mystery due to the fact that there is nothing that reveals her parents. The family story suggested that she had been left on a doorstep as a baby. The first census that I was able to find for her in the early 2000s was the 1880 census because that particular one was free to view. Her parents were listed as born in Ohio so that gave me hope that she knew that information. As the years went by and access to other census records opened up for me, I soon discovered the first census taken after her birth in 1846.

In the 1850 census in the Evan and Susannah Ogan household is a person with the name of Francis Foster, age 3, and born in Ohio. The person is marked male. The adults in the household, both born in Virginia, were both aged 64 – too old to be the biological parents of young Francis. They were living in Rich Hill township of Muskingum county, Ohio.

In the 1860 census there is a 13 year old Frances Foster – this time listed as female – living in Cumberland township of Guernsey county, Ohio – a distance of almost 6 miles from Rich Hill township. Frances is living in the Evan and Susan Ogan household. The adults are both listed as 73 years old.

Ten years later in 1870, 23 year old Frances Ogan is still in Guernsey county residing at the Eagle Hotel in Cambridge township. She is listed as a cook born in Ohio. Susannah Ogan had died five years before, and Evan was back in Muskingum county living with his 56 year old son Peter’s family.

For awhile I tracked Evan’s and Susannah’s children to see if any could be Frances’ biological parent. Nothing seemed to fit. I keep coming back to the surname used in the first two censuses – Foster. Did Evan and Susannah know that her birth name was Frances Foster? Or did they give her that surname because she was a “foster’ child? And what do I make of the fact that Evan and Susannah seemed to move soon after the 1850 census to a neighboring county and then move back once Frances is deemed an “Ogan” and out on her own? Could this have been a case of Evan and Susannah taking in a neglected child and moving in order for any birth family not being able to  find them? Was Frances related to them through a nephew, niece, cousin or dear friend? What could possibly move two people who had raised many children and were empty-nesters to raise a very young child? I may never know the answers, but I’m forever grateful that Frances had two people who took care of her in order for her to go on and marry a widower with three children. My grandmother was the youngest girl of the eight children they went on to have together.

This is a post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 5. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

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Many of my ancestors and relatives have been blessed to live long lives. Here is my Top Ten List of those who have.

#10 – Leroy Thurman Amore (my paternal great-uncle) was born on July 27, 1879 and died on January 28, 1974 at the age of 94 years 6 months and 1 day. He had been a widower for 17 years. Three of his 14 children predeceased him.

#9 – Eugene James Amore (my dad) was born April 4, 1921 and died December 3, 2015 at the age of 94 years 7 months and 29 days. He had been a widower twice but was married at the time of his death. His son predeceased him.

#8 – Lily Mamie (Amore) Green (first cousin once removed) was born February 17, 1912 and died on March 31, 2007 at the age of 95 years 1 month and 14 days. She had been a widow for 25 years. One of her three daughters died 76 years earlier.


#7 – Virgil Amore (first cousin once removed) was born on January 21, 1914 and died on October 19, 2009 at the age of 95 years 8 months and 28 days. He had been a widower for 4 1/2 years. Two daughters predeceased him.

#6 – Isreal Isaac Wilt (my maternal great-great-grandfather) was born June 20, 1823 and died September 9, 1919 at the age of 96 years 2 months and 20 days. He was a widower for 43 years, and three of his ten children died before he did.


#5 – Anna A (Amore) Moore (first cousin once removed) was born on February 22, 1916 and died on November 26, 2012 at the age of 96 years 9 months and 4 days. She had been a widow for 19 years and one of her four children predeceased her.

#4 – Charlotte (“Lottie”) Christina (Baker) Smith (first cousin once removed) was born November 15, 1904 and died on July 6, 2003 at the age of 98 years 7 months and 21 days. She had been a widow for 8 years.

#3 – Gertrude Pearl (Amore) Shackelford (my paternal aunt) was born April 22, 1904 and died on January 20, 2003 at the age of 98 years 8 months and 29 days. She was a widow for 58 years at the time of her death.

#2 – Isaiah (“Zade”) H Amore (my paternal great-uncle) was born on September 17, 1876 and died on February 18, 1977 at the age of 100 years 5 months and 1 days. His wife was still living.

#1 – Marie Erma (Amore) Quirk (my paternal aunt) was born May 21, 1909 and died on September 3, 2010 at the age of 101 years 3 months and 13 days. She had been a widow for 28 years.


This is a post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 2. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.



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I have a difficult time picking just one photo of an ancestor or relative that is my  favorite. Many of what I consider in the top five include my maternal grandmother, Vesta Christena (Wilt) Johnson. I called her Nana because I believe it was my brother – the oldest of the grandchildren – who gave her that title.

As a child, many people would always comment on my blue eyes and ask me where I got them. My dad and siblings all were blessed with blue eyes so I would say that I got my blue eyes from my dad. There were also others who would tell me that I looked like Nana. I just couldn’t see it. I was a pre-teen or teen, and my grandmother was 63 years older than me. How could anyone tell?

However, in the last ten years or so, as I’ve shared photos of Nana online, many have repeated those assertions – that I did resemble her. Since I am much older now, I do see it. And then back in December, my cousin posted a picture that I had never seen before. It was of my grandparents with my uncle (my cousin’s father) when he was a baby. I cropped the photo to show just my grandmother and compared it to a photo of me about the same age. Well, what do you, my readers think?

This is a post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 2. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


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When I started working on my family history, information on the web was lacking. In fact, aside from the beginnings of Ancestry.com, Rootsweb, and the old LDS FamilySearch.org, the main website was Cyndi’s List. Cyndi Ingle was a one woman show back in 2001, and she still is. Except today, Cyndi’s List is much bigger.

Fortunately, back then a good friend let me borrow her family tree software in order to begin. All the beginning genealogy articles I found online or in a few magazines suggested to start with yourself. That is exactly what I did. Now, almost twenty years later, I am using the latest version of Family Tree Maker (FTM). The database assigns a reference number to each person, and my number is 1. Number 2 is my dad. I really have no idea what the computations are for numbers in FTM. My mother shows up as Reference number 7359!

My descendants include four children and eight grandchildren! My ancestors include my two parents and four grandparents.

• Paternal: Lloyd William Amore and Ella Maria House
• Maternal: Glen Roy Johnson and Vesta Christena Wilt

As I go further back into my family history, not only do the generations become compounded but I am at brick walls on others. I have listed the number of known and documented ancestors after the relationship.

Great-Grandparents – 8

• Paternal: William Henry Amore and Mary Angeline Werts; James Emory House and Frances Virginia Ogan
• Maternal: John Lafayette Johnson and Katie J Blazer; Joseph Napolean Wilt and Martha Jane Stern

Great-Great-Grandparents (AKA 2x great-grandparents) – 14 out of 16

• Paternal: William Amore and Charlotte Reed; William Washington Werts and Louisa Bookless; Florus Allen House and Julia Ann Lewis; BRICKWALL on Frances Ogan’s biological parents.
• Maternal: James Wilson Johnson and Amanda Eveline Mullis; Franklin Blazer and Melissa Goul; Isreal Isaac Wilt and Christena Nash; Emanuel Bushong Stern and Nancy Caylor.

3x Great-Grandparents – 25 out of 32

• Paternal: BRICKWALL on William Amore’s parents; Zachariah Reed and BRICKWALL on Charlotte Reed’s mother; George Peter Werts and Margaret Catherine Maple; David Bookless and Mary Cartmell; Allen House and Editha Bigelow; Abel Lewis Jr and Nancy (Ann) Johnston.
• Maternal: Jacob Johnson and Ann Shields; John Mullis and Darlett Stanley; John Blazer and Mary Ann Nelson; John Goul and Martha McManaway (or alternate spellings); John Wilt and Phebe Hottinger; Alexander Nash and Elsy Minesinger; Peter Stern and Margaret Bushong; Abraham Caylor and Susannah Miller.

4x Great-Grandparents – 42 out of 64

• Paternal: BRICKWALL on Zachariah Reed’s parents; George Peter Werts and Susanna Huff; William B Maple and Mary Fuller; (thought to be but not proven) William Bookless and Ann Pearson; John Cartmell and mother of Mary Cartmell NOT PROVEN; Lazarus House and Rebecca Risley; Eli Bigelow and Anna Freeman; Abel Lewis and Elizabeth Jones; James Johnston and Catherine See.
• Maternal: BRICKWALL on Jacob Johnson’s parents; William Shields and Mary (maiden name is unknown); George Mullis (Sr) and Margaret “Polly” Owens; Thomas Stanley Sr and Sarah Mason; Philip Blazer and Elizabeth Kingsley; John Griffith Nelson and Mary Dickenson Arbuckle; Adam Goul and Elizabeth Lutz; BRICKWALL for parents of Martha McManaway; Peter Wilt and BRICKWALL for John Wilt’s mother; John Hottinger and Mary Orebaugh; Joshua Nash and Abigail (maiden name is unknown); Joseph Minesinger and Christeana (maiden name is unknown); Christian Stern and Susanna Roudebush; John Bushong and Anna Stover; Johannes Caylor (Kohler) and Sarah Salome Kinsey; Joseph H Miller and Catherine Botafield.

Now, 17 years after I began this family history journey, where do I start in order to break down those brick walls? I start with myself once again and go through each person’s documentation, ephemera, and stories in order to pick out as much information as I can. I also check into each person’s FAN club (family, associates and neighbors) – cluster research – for even more evidence.

(Photos above (left to right top to bottom) – First collage: Glen & Vesta (Wilt) Johnson; Lloyd & Ella (House) Amore; William Henry & Mary (Werts) Amore; John & Katie (Blazer) Johnson. Second collage: Peter & Margaret (Bushong) Stern; Joseph & Martha (Stern) Wilt and family; Emanuel & Nancy (Caylor) Stern; George Peter & Margaret Catherine (Maple) Werts. Third collage: James Wilson Johnson; William Amore; Melissa (Goul) Blazer; Isreal Wilt.)

This is the first post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 1. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.


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Today’s #GenealogyPhotoaDay theme is “Cousins.” This is my maternal grandmother’s side of the family. The Wilt cousins met in Indiana on April 29, 1977 (where most of them lived) for this photo.

Left to right standing: the caption says “Eva” but I believe it is Dortha Zirkle McDonnell, Helen Zirkle Lynam, Russell Weiss, Glen R Johnson (my maternal grandfather); seated beginning in center moving clockwise: Edith Pierce Taylor, Eva Zirkle Weiss, Freda Pierce Franklin, Nellie Wilt Lilly (my great-aunt), Vesta C Wilt Johnson (my maternal grandmother), and Hurchell McDonnell.

Eva May Zirkle was a first cousin to my grandmother – Vesta C (Wilt) Johnson. Eva was the daughter of Mary Lou Wilt and Dillman Zirkle. She was born May 10, 1904 in Henry county, Indiana; married Russell Weiss on April 27, 1929 and died December 2, 1999. Helen Zirkle was Eva Zirkle’s younger sister. She was born December 20, 1910 in Middletown, Indiana; married Carl Lynam on January 12, 1935, and died January 22, 2004. Freda Elizabeth Pierce was my grandmother’s 1c1r (1st cousin one time removed). She was the daughter of Bertha Hofherr and Kenneth Pierce and granddaughter of Sarah C Wilt and John Hofherr. Freda was born Oct 23, 1918 in Salem, Indiana; married Harley Franklin on Oct 23, 1937, and died on July 16, 2013. Edith Ethel Pierce was Freda’s older sister. She was born on September 7, 1916 in Salem, Indiana; married Henry Arnold Taylor on September 12, 1936, and died February 6, 1994. My grandmother’s sister, Nellie M (Wilt) Lilly was also in town from Olympia, Washington for this event. The man listed as “Hurschul” – I believe was the husband of Dortha Zirkle (sister of Eva and Helen). (I am not positive but I believe the woman standing at the left was really Dortha and not “Eva” as marked.) Dortha was born on June 12, 1891; married Lawrence Pittsford on April 20, 1912. After he died in 1964, Dortha married Hurchell McDonnell on September 2, 1965. Dortha died on January 24, 1979.

The Wilt cousins had a reunion once a year and for many years it was held in Noblesville, Indiana. In the 1980s, the reunion was once held at my grandparents’ Dayton, Ohio apartment building in the party room and pool and once at my brother’s home outside of Dayton, Ohio. At least one other time during the year, my grandparents would travel from Dayton to Indiana to visit Wilt cousins or some of them even came to Dayton. I am thankful that I remember the reunions – even though I wasn’t old enough or appreciative enough to want to listen to stories then!


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If you are on Instagram, you can follow genealogyphoto to participate in the Genealogy Photo a Day challenge (#genealogyphotoaday). My genealogy Facebook friend, Susan Peterson, also has her’s posted on Facebook. Recently, she posted a list of daily themes. Since I don’t have instagram anymore on my phone (due to storage space), I thought I would post the photos here on the blog.

Today’s theme is “Siblings” – so I will start with my dad’s side. The photo above is my paternal grandparents – Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore – with all seven of their living children (the youngest daughter was stillborn). Left to right standing: Norman, Gail, Bervil, Paul, Eugene (my dad); seated: Gertrude, Lloyd, Ella, and Marie. Even though my grandparents died before I was born, I was fortunate to know all of my paternal aunts and uncles.



This photo was taken in 1939 and is of my maternal grandparents, Glen and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson, and their three surviving children. Left to right: Glen Roy Jr, Genevieve, Vesta, Mary (my mom), and Glen Roy Sr. My mother had a baby sister, Lois Evelyn, who was born premature and died at about 6 weeks of age. My Aunt Genevieve died three years before I was born yet through the stories of my grandparents, my mom, and my cousins, I feel that I do know her.

Tomorrow’s theme: Cousins


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