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My maternal grandmother, Vesta Christena (Wilt) Johnson, was the middle child (and oldest daughter) out of six children born to her parents Martha Jane Stern and Joseph Napolean Wilt. She had three older brothers – Clarence, Jesse, and John, and two younger siblings – Nellie and Clifford. My great-grandparents divorced before my grandmother was ten. Martha went on to marry her late sister’s widower, William Frank Clawson. They did not have any children together; however, Joseph married Anna Park and they had a son named Albert – my grandmother’s younger half-brother.

It was apparent throughout the letters my grandmother wrote to her siblings as adults that none of them spent any time with their father or his new family following the divorce. I’m not sure if my grandmother ever met Albert, but she did have a picture of him at about 16 years of age. There was also a picture taken later of a tombstone shared by Joseph and Anna as well as Albert who died in 1933. The birth year listed 1917.

As new records were added to online databases, I discovered that Albert’s age was listed as 5 years old in the 1920 census and as age 15 in the 1930 census. At least a two year discrepancy according to his tombstone. Then I discovered his birth certificate showing that Albert was born on October 21, 1914! That meant that someone made a big error on his birth year listed on the tombstone.

Then I discovered Albert’s death certificate. Joe was the informant listed on his son’s death certificate and listed August 1, 1914 as the date of birth. There was an inquest to find cause of death. And that is when I read the horrible information. Albert died due to his skull being crushed; struck by a railway train as he was walking along the tracks. No wonder some of the information was off – as a grieving father, Joe may not have been thinking clearly about his son’s birth when his tragic death was fresh on his mind.

How did Albert not know a train was coming? Not paying attention? It happened too fast? Or could he have been deaf and not felt the vibrations in the ground soon enough? I bring up deafness because an earlier collateral relative on the Wilt side – brothers Charles and Absolam Hottinger, “deaf-mutes” according to the Rockingham (Virginia) Daily Record on November 9, 1912, were struck by the Chesapeake Western freight train near Penn Laird. Absolam was killed almost instantly, and Charles had extensive injuries.

I find it quite sad that my grandmother did not have a relationship with her younger brother, and instead of stories and her memories, all we are left with is one close-up photo of him.

Ten years have passed since I started All My Branches Genealogy blog as a way to share stories about my ancestors, collateral relatives, and me. Cousins have found my blog and learned new things about our shared family. In turn, I’ve been able to collaborate with them about information that I didn’t have. 

I hope you’ll stick around for another ten!


Not my life – just my blog posts! In the last two months since my last blog post, life got busy. We had family in town, celebrated the baptism of the youngest granddaughter, found ourselves dealing with more snow, started preparing for our grandson’s prom, worshiped most of Holy Week, and dealt with more snow. My volunteer activities picked up speed – which meant I was in charge of presenting two different programs plus arranging programs for the local historical society.  

In the midst of everything, RootsTech happened. I watch the live stream keynotes and sessions from home. As has happened in the past, I became so caught up in new ideas of research and telling my family story, that I’ve failed to blog!

I have compiled a tour on Google Earth Pro of my great-great-grandfather’s travels from birth to death. Now to figure out how to share it with family. I’m also working on a PowerPoint presentation of the same person with added information.

I apologize for the break in posts, but I’m thrilled to have new storytelling ideas!

(Image from Wikimedia – Creative Commons license)

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)

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.

Some of the prompts for this week included: sharing a family recipe; which ancestor/relative would you have come to dinner; or family dinner traditions. I can’t pick just one ancestor or relative that I would want to have for dinner – besides I wouldn’t want to spend time preparing, serving, and cleaning up because it would cut in to the time to visit! I decided on focusing on family dinners – those way in the past and not so distant past.

When I think about family dinners, I remember many things.. The first is how my niece and nephews and I all had to sit at the “kids” table for Thanksgiving or Christmas. That was not where I wanted to sit, and I wasn’t shy about letting my parents know! My mom always had the table decorated with a gorgeous tablecloth and her good china. Today, I have the same table and one set of the china! I remember Mom and Dad in the kitchen working together to get the turkey sliced and ready for the table.

There were years we went to Michigan for the holidays. Two of my dad’s brothers lived in Detroit, and my mom’s brother lived in Battle Creek. During those meals, there would be aunts, uncles, and cousins at the table.

Some meals of my childhood included Memorial Day picnics where we all sat outside in the backyard at our two picnic tables. Cold drinks and fresh watermelon as wel as Mom’s potato salad were on the menu. There were meals at my grandparents’ apartment with my Uncle and Aunt in attendance. One year during a birthday, all of us “kids” were squished around the kitchen table while the adults took the dining table or TV trays.

Me and my two oldest daughters – Thanksgiving 1984

After my kids came along, most Thanksgivings were spent for the most part in Missouri with all the extended family on my husband’s side. Meals were eaten anywhere someone could find a seat! Two years in the late 90s, we went to my dad’s for Thanksgiving. The first year we went, my brother and his wife were there. It had been the first time since I was about nine that I spent a holiday with my brother and my dad at the same time. It was also the very last meal I shared with my brother before his death almost 3 years later.


My dad Eugene Amore and my brother Jim Amore – Thanksgiving 1998

During my kids’ high school years, we would have their friends in and out – just as my mom had when I was a teen. There was one summer that one of my daughter’s boyfriends was at dinner almost every single evening. At Christmas, their friends, our son-in-laws, their parents, and extended family would join us at our church’s Christmas Eve service and afterwards, everyone would meet us at the house for our “appetizer” meal. Most evenings at home, our family meals were noisy with chatter and laughter. The funniest stories have come out of those meals. As our four children grew up, moved out, got married and had their own families, there were meals spent at their homes.

Many years ago at one of our family reunions, someone made sure to leave a chair empty as a remembrance to those who are no longer able to share our meals. In conclusion, what does “come to dinner” mean to me? It’s a sum of all of the meals I’ve had the priviledge to share with family in the past and to continue to share with in the future.

This is a post in the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge for Week 4. For more information or to sign up to participate (all free!!), check out Amy Johnson Crow’s post: 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

(Top photo: Wikimedia Commons licensed under Creative Commons)

 

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.