Posts Tagged ‘cousins’


July started off with a bang! Just like many families around the nation, we went to a local park to watch the fireworks display on the Fourth of July. We are also fortunate to live amidst cornfields and rural areas and can shoot off our own sparklers, firecrackers, bottle rockets, and other types of fireworks. For me the holiday was full of mixed emotions since I knew that just two days later, I would be on my way to Ohio to have my dad’s ashes interred – and – I would see cousins and begin the genealogy adventure that I’ve been waiting to do.

July 6 – Started very early in the morning as my fifteen year old grandson and I finished loading up the car to begin our trip eastward. As we neared the Mississippi River to cross in to Illinois, the sky was full of gray clouds. We drove through Springfield in the rain which turned to sprinkles close to Decatur. By the time we arrived in Brownsburg, Indiana, the sun was out, and it was time for lunch. We arrived at my cousin’s home located south of Dayton before 4:30 p.m.

Our first evening together since the summer of 2010 was full of laughter and catching up. Her two boys are a year older and a year younger than my grandson so the boys disappeared to play video games in the basement. We had a great dinner and then in the late evening, she told me that we needed to go to Bill’s Donuts. Wait a minute – a donut shop – at night? Let me just say that every town across the United States needs one of these places that are open 24 hours! It appeared to be the local hangout for not only teens but families. Picture the very best ice cream shop you’ve visited – but instead of ice cream, it’s donuts! We left there with a baker’s dozen of a variety of sweet treats for breakfast (some of them were still left at breakfast the next morning too!). On second thought, it’s probably not a good idea for one of those to be close to where I live!

July 7 – I used the Keurig coffee maker for the very first time and then headed to the cemetery in order to sign all the necessary documents pertaining to my father’s ashes and the interment. With some heartache, I left the ashes with the cemetery office in order for them to have everything ready for the next morning. After having them in my possession for six months, it felt odd that he wasn’t coming back to the house with me.

For lunch, the boys thought my grandson and I needed to see what all the hype was over Rapid Fire Pizza – so off we went. I love pizza – and I especially love pizza that I can create just for me! Think Subway – but pizza! I absolutely loved this restaurant and this is another place I believe all towns should have (well, on second thought . . . – see my response about Bill’s Donuts in above paragraph!)

That evening was our cousin get-together at Marion’s Pizza (more pizza!!!). We were missing a few but did have a very enjoyable time. Luckily, even though some left after eating, I was able to spend some time chatting with my three first cousins (children of my mom’s sister). This time, I was the one who asked the questions. I wanted to know more about my aunt – as their mom – instead of my mom’s sister. They shared some stories that made me see Aunt Genevieve in a whole new light! I didn’t realize that she pulled pranks and had a wicked sense of humor!


My 3 first cousins and myself

marions-pizza-7-july-2016-family-gathering-judy-karen-wendy-ann-marie2 My first cousin and 2 first cousins once removed

July 8 – cousins all met at the house where I was staying and followed each other to Royal Oak Memorial Gardens in Brookville, Ohio. When we arrived, I noticed that the gentleman who was handling the arrangements had set up a nice table to hold the container of ashes. They had even placed a flag next to my father’s headstone since he was a veteran. It was a wonderful gesture, and I was very touched. My dad didn’t want a memorial service so I knew that our time was going to be brief. A few of us recounted a couple of stories about my dad, I read the obituary I had written, and then we drank a toast. My dad’s drink of choice was vodka and lemon-lime so some of us (adults) either got a small amount of vodka or both vodka and sprite and the three boys got the soda. We raised our glasses (dixie cups!) and said good-bye. I think my dad would have approved.


When we left the cemetery, we headed back to the Dayton area to have lunch at Frisch’s (Big Boy). I can’t begin to tell you how much I was looking forward to this lunch because my favorite sandwich is the Swiss Miss – a hamburger pattie on a rye bun with swiss cheese and tartar sauce. Can not get this sandwich anyplace else except Frisch’s!

My cousins, grandson, and myself at Frisch’s Big Boy

After lunch, my grandson and I took off to drive by important places of my childhood. I had a list of addresses and with the help of a loaned GPS, I knew there wouldn’t be any problem finding them. We stopped by my childhood home in Beavercreek, the townhome where my mother spent the last 32 years of her life, two houses my maternal grandparents had lived, and my three schools.


My childhood home – left (1960s) and right (July 2016)


One of my grandparents’ homes in Dayton (left – 1950s & right – July 2016)


My mom’s former townhome


My grandparents’ house in Kettering, Ohio.


My elementary, junior high (now a middle school), and high school

When I pulled through the parking lot of my high school (which is now the “back” of the school even though it faces the road), I was pointing out windows of the classes I had been in and what the new parts of the school were when a man came to the car and asked if he could help with anything. As soon as I told him I was a graduate and showing my grandson where I went to school, he had me park so he could give us the nickel tour since so much of it has changed.


The picture above is of the auditorium from the stage. When I was in high school, we couldn’t perform any theatrical productions there because we did not have such a marvelous stage or auditorium. We had to travel down the road a bit to the elementary school. I’m a tad bit jealous that not only is the stage wonderful but the dressing rooms are pretty nice as well (sure beats getting in costume and make-up in the girls restroom!) Before we left, I had to take a picture of my grandson with our school’s mascot – Bucky Beaver.


From there we headed to our favorite frozen custard stand just down the road from my high school – Ritter’s Frozen Custard. When my mom was living, and we would visit her, this is where we all liked to come on warm summer evenings. We’d all order our frozen treats and sit on the stone benches at the tables. Good memories.


Next – the rest of our adventures in Dayton before heading to the second leg of our journey.

(All photos, digital scans are property of Wendy Littrell; address for private use.)

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scientific testing photo from pexels

Oh happy day! Happy dance! I can’t stop gushing about a DNA match I discovered yesterday – less than one hour after I received my AncestryDNA results! A match that more than proved what I have assumed for many years – that Charlotte Reed is most definitely my 2nd great-grandmother!

If you remember, I offered up corroborating evidence in my blog post, Is This My Charlotte? but haven’t found enough documentation to say proof-positive that is the person I thought she was. But yesterday all of that changed when I discovered a DNA match that went directly to Lucy Minerva Imus (apparently the person’s tree didn’t go one generation further to Matilda Reed – Lucy’s mother). That means that I am related to the person who descends from Charlotte’s niece! The person I match is my 4th cousin!

Reed DNA Match Chart

Confirming that Charlotte is my 2nd great-grandmother confirms that Zachariah Reed born about 1793 in Maryland is my 3rd great-grandfather. So, who was his wife – my 3rd time great-grandmother?

Booya! One brick wall torn down! On to the next!

(Top photograph: free at Pexels.com)

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Clara Jennings obit - Democratic Standard Coshocton Ohio Sep 15 1893 pg 6

Clara Jennings, my second cousin twice removed, was the youngest daughter of Mary E Lewis (daughter of George J Lewis and Eliza McVey) and Alexander Jennings. (If you remember my Saturday Surname post from yesterday, then you know that George J Lewis was the brother of my great-great-grandmother Julia Ann Lewis House.)

Clara was born on June 8, 1877 in the township of Tuscarawas in Coshocton county, Ohio. Her mother Mary was about 36 year old at her birth. Alexander was about eight years older than Mary. The couple already had six children. When Clara was six years old, her father died. Seven and a half years later, Clara’s mother died.

On September 7, 1893 as seventeen year old Clara was visiting her older brother, Leander James Lewis’ home in the Flint Hill area of Coshocton county, she died of typhoid fever. Two days later after her funeral at Mt. Zion church, she was laid to rest in the cemetery. A cemetery where some of my Amore ancestors are also buried.

For me, it is a shame that a young girl died without her mother being there to wipe her brow or tell her good-bye. But perhaps, it was her mother who said “hello” as Clara departed one life and in to an everlasting life.

As an interesting aside, I am related to Clara in two different ways. First, is via her mother, Mary E. Lewis, my great-great-grandmother’s niece (the House side). Second, is mainly through half-sibling and in-law relationship via my great-grandmother on the Amore side. My great-grandmother, Mary A. (Werts) Amore’s half-sister, Sarah Ellen Simon, married another Alexander Jenning (they dropped the “s” from the end of Jennings). Ellen’s husband, Alexander, was the nephew of Mary E. Lewis’s husband’s father – making him the husband of my first cousin three times removed!

Obituary: The Democratic Standard (Coshocton, Ohio), 15 Sep 1893, pg 6, Ancestry.com, digital images, accessed 12 Mar 2016.

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Today’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge from Randy Seaver at Genea-Musings is to write about our number of cousins. My maternal grandparents, Glen R. Johnson and Vesta C. Wilt, had four children. Their youngest, Lois Evelyn Johnson, died within months of her birth. Their remaining son and two daughters produced a total of eight children – which included my two siblings and me. My five first cousins had a total of nine kids, and they are my first cousins once removed. My paternal grandparents, Lloyd W. Amore and Ella M. House, had eight children. Their youngest – a daughter – was stillborn leaving my dad as the youngest. There were a total of eleven grandkids and two step-grandchildren. Not including my brother, sister and I, that meant I had ten first cousins (including my uncle’s two step-step-sons on my dad’s side. My paternal first cousins had a total of 26 kids who are my first cousins once removed. Total number of my first cousins = 15. First cousins once removed = 35.

My great-grandparents on my mom’s side includes: John L. Johnson and Katie J. Blazer and Joseph N. Wilt and Martha J. Stern. John and Katie had three biological children (Letis, Glen and Mary) and a foster daughter (Eva). Letis died in his twenties and was never married and did not have children. Mary died before reaching the age of two. Eva had a son and later in life she had a daughter whom she put up for adoption. Her son had two daughters and the daughter had two sons. Joe and Martha had four son’s (Clarence, John, Jesse and Clifford) and two daughters (Nellie and Vesta). Jesse and Nellie were the only siblings of my grandmother to have children. Nellie had two and Jesse had four. Nellie’s son had three children and her daughter had three. Jesse’s oldest son (Fred) had three daughters and his youngest daughter (Joan) had four. That means the number of second cousins on my maternal side totals 17. I am not sure how many children those second cousins produced.

My paternal grandparents both had so many siblings who in turn had many children and grandchildren that I’m not sure just how many there are but it is a large number!

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Today’s date marks the anniversary of the births of:

  • Silas Hills – 1739
  • Josiah House – 1814 (first cousin, 4 times removed)
  • John  H. Caylor – 1827 (2nd great grand uncle)
  • George K. Blazer – 1862 (first cousin, 4 times removed)
  • Florence Ethel Loveland – 1883 (fourth cousin, 1 time removed)
  • Berney Frank Rivers – 1883
  • Myron Ricker – 1907
  • Lannie O. Rhodes – 1908
  • Roger W. Gerwing – 1928
  • And 6 other people who are still living.

It is the anniversary of the death of 12 individuals:

  • James E. Davis – 1882 (2nd cousin 3 times removed)
  • Henry Goul – 1898 (3rd great grand uncle)
  • Jesse James Stern – 1935 (2nd cousin 3 times removed)
  • John W. Bushong – 1940 (4th cousin 4 times removed)
  • Joseph Napolean Wilt – 1944 (maternal great-grandfather)
  • Harry Martin Blazer – 1957 (2nd cousin 3 times removed)
  • Agnes E. Lynn – 1971
  • Harvey M. Macy – 1972
  • Jenny Elora Stephens – 1975
  • Albert Keeney – 1977 (7th cousin 1 time removed)
  • Mary Helen House – 1994 (first cousin 1 time removed)
  • Mary Arlene Amore – 1996 (2nd cousin)

Seven couples married on this date and one couple is still living.  The others are:

  • Austin Harvey and Anna Bushong, 1818 in Kentucky (wife is 3rd cousin 6 times removed)
  • Jehu Hendren and Elizabeth Combs, 1833 in Wilkes County, North Carolina
  • Earle Kinsey and Mary Shideler, 1835 in Preble County, Ohio (husband is 2nd cousin 5 times removed)
  • David B. Crawford and Elizabeth Ann Davis, 1907 in Logan, Cache County, Utah (wife is 7th cousin 1 time removed)
  • Grover Johnson and Esta Fern Rinker, 1907 in Perkinsville, Madison County, Indiana (husband is 2nd cousin 2 times removed)
  • Wilmer E. Keeney and Mabel Buell, 1914 in Manchester, Hartford County, Connecticut (husband is 6th cousin 2 times removed)

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Recently our family took our annual vacation to visit relatives in the midwest.  During the trip, I gave my first cousin’s granddaughter a gift for her baby that is due this fall.  When I was thanked for it, it was mentioned that she and I were third cousins.  That’s not exactly true but that is how my family calculates.

Mom was never a fan of the “first cousin removed” type of saying – probably because it was never explained how one can be “removed” as a cousin.  I finally “got it” after seeing a consanguinty chart.  The key to any calculation is the closest ancestor to both.

There are several sites to determine how you are related to someone else.  I like to use the relationship tool in my Family Tree Maker (v. 16) software.  At It’s All Relative, there is an actual chart you can print to take to family reunions and gatherings to show relationships. Another site to check out is Cyndi’s List – Cousins & Kinship.

In order for me to show my relationship with the above mentioned cousin, I have included my chart below.

Despite the “distance” of our relationships within our family as well as the miles between us, I’d like to think that we are “close” – in heart, in common heritage, and in communication.  Thanks to Facebook, we are able to keep in touch weekly or even daily if we choose – and more times than not, we find out interesting tidbits about each other and our families that we might not have even thought to relate in a phone call or a visit.

Have you calculated your consanquinity?

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I posted a few days ago about my new found cousin, Julie Cahill Tarr, of GenBlog. Today my other new found cousin, Becky Wiseman of Kinexxions posted her line back to Richard Treat – our common ancestor.

When I first entered the genea-blogging world back in the early spring, little did I realize that some of the people who I met in this wonderful community would turn out to be distant relatives – not to mention blogging friends. On GenBlog, Julie writes that she

. . . started this blog to share my genealogy research with others. Mini-bios of family members is my main focus. However, I also plan to share research challenges and successes, hint and tips I learn along the way, and participate in various carnivals and memes to add variety.

Julie is researching and preserving the past of the Cahill, Miller, McMahon, Rottman, Stoffel, Wach, & Webster families (and over 1,000 other twigs)! She is also the owner of Design Write Communications in Central Illinois.

Becky considers herself a GeneaHistorian and is a native Hoosier (which is great since a lot of my ancestors on my maternal grandparents side lived in Indiana!). She served in the U.S. Navy and also writes Whitley County Kinexxions. Becky’s web site is Kinexxions – Kin Connections. Her blog states:

Kinexxions will be presenting the History and Heritage of my ancestors and their kin, many of whom settled in the Northern Indiana counties of Elkhart, Kosciusko, and Whitley.

Maybe I’m a little biased, especially now that we are “kin”, but I urge you to go check out Julie’s and Becky’s sites and blogs. Two very talented ladies that I’m proud to call my cousins!

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