Posts Tagged ‘family’


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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Mom and I at Hocking Hills State Park

When I was not quite eight years old, my parents took me to Old Man’s Cave in the Hocking Hills State Park area located in southeastern Ohio in Logan county. The drive seemed very long to me but was probably about two and a half hours away.  We stayed in a motel during our short weekend getaway. Mom and Dad were always taking me places when I was young – more before I started school. Once I was in school, we’d take side trips on weekends – hiking at Hueston Woods just west of Dayton, Ft. Ancient near Lebanon, Ohio, or to visit my Aunt Gertie in Zanesville. For holidays we might go to see my mom’s brother, my Uncle Glen, in Battle Creek, Michigan, or to the Detroit area to visit two of my dad’s brothers.

Reading the sign at Ft. Ancient in the Fall of 1969

I’m sure when we went on sight-seeing excursions, Mom and Dad would hope I came away learning something new. Most of that information has been long forgotten but sometimes, when I see pictures, I remember the trips and the fun.


Mom and I in Battle Creek, Michigan at Thanksgiving 1969


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Summer in the mid-1960s (not sure which year).  This picture was taken at my paternal aunt’s home in Zanesville, Ohio.  Pictured left to right: my 1st cousin, June (my dad’s oldest sister’s daughter), my Aunt Eva and Uncle Bervil (my dad’s brother), my Aunt Gertrude (Dad’s oldest sister), Eric (June’s grandson), and me.  Notice the span of ages between my first cousin – who has a grandchild a little younger than me – and me!

I haven’t seen June or Eric since the real early 1970’s. The last time I saw my Aunt Gertie was in the summer of 1972.  I saw my Uncle Bervil and Aunt Eva for the last time in the late 1960’s.  Luckily, I am now in touch with their son, grandson’s, great-granddaughter’s, and their daughter.

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I’m a day late with Saturday Night Genealogy Fun that Randy Seaver of Genea-Musings posted last night.  The challenge was to list the number of descendents of one of the four sets of great-grandparents, how many are living or deceased, and how many we’ve met.

Reunion of the Amore – Werts Family 1924

My paternal great-grandparents, William Henry Amore (“Henry”) and Mary Angelina Werts (Annie) have over 457 descendents!  They had:

  • Children: 7 (Clemmie, Zade, Rollo, Clarence, Lloyd – my grandfather, Bert, and Roy) – all deceased


Back: Bert, Rollo, Zade, Clarence, Lloyd
Front: Roy, Henry, Annie, Clemmie

  • Grandchildren: 36 (Clemmie – 4, Zade – 1, Rollo – 3, Clarence – 2, Lloyd – 8, Bert – 5, Roy -13); Deceased: 30


Gene (my dad), Paul, Bervil, Ella (my grandmother), Gail, Norman, Lloyd (my grandfather), Gertrude, Marie

  • Great-grandchildren: 122 (26 Known – Deceased
  • 2nd great-grandchildren: 166 (10 Known – Deceased)
  • 3rd great-grandchildren: 113
  • 4th great-grandchildren: 13

I’ve met: 

  • Five of the children (my grandfather’s four brothers) – Clarence, Roy, Zade, Rollo, & Bert.  My grandfather and his sister were both deceased by the time I was born.
  • Some of the children of my grandfather’s siblings and their grandchildren – but I was young so I don’t remember names.
  • Almost all of my grandfather’s descendents – my dad’s siblings and their children (my first cousins) – who due to the wide age range – are much older than me.  Some of my first cousins’ grandchildren I’ve never met.

 I’ve had the good fortune to meet one 1st cousin I didn’t know I had a couple of years ago and continue to correspond with her via Facebook and email.  Some of the distant Amore relatives have also contacted me via email or by phone after receiving a query letter from me several years ago.  I feel very blessed that we continue our familial relationship even if it is through email or Facebook.

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The topic for the 79th Carnival of Genealogy is Family Reunions.  Since I have posted several topics about this subject, I won’t repeat! 

My first post was Family Reunions. This was an article concerning preparations for the big event. I also included information about the reunions I attended as a child.

This post, Past Reunions, concerned the newspaper articles and a Reunion Minutes book that was kept. It never ceases to amaze me the gems we find in news articles or through our ancestors’ careful note taking!

In the article, Wilt Cousins, I mentioned the reunions my maternal grandmother’s side of the family had each year and added more information about those in that branch. Toward the end of the article I urged everyone to document the pertinent points of the reunion – who, what, where, why, and how. If our ancestors had done this, we might not have so many questions now!

I’ve included several photographs scattered throughout all the articles – a mixture of very old to new.

Oftentimes reunions aren’t just large everyone-from-each-branch type of events.  More than not they are get-togethers for scattered members of the family when they come together for graduations, births, weddings, and funerals.  Such was the case for my family this past spring as we gathered for my Mom’s memorial service. 


My first cousins – Jane, Judy, Jack (siblings), and my sister and I.  Two of our cousins weren’t able to attend and of course, my brother, was in our hearts.  We are the ones, now, to move forward and make sure our parents and grandparents and all those who have gone on before us, are kept in our hearts and memories.  We will be the ones to share stories, to reminisce and provide family “lore” for our children and grandchildren.

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This time of year families migrate back together from either distant areas of the country or through forgiveness and hope for the coming year.  There are many who spend Thanksgiving alone either by choice or circumstance.  With our technology even those who are alone or too far away from loved ones, can now spend a portion of their holiday feeling not so out of touch.  You can call long distance without worrying about the extra charges – thanks to “all-in-one” phone service or cell phones with unlimited long distance built into the cost of your monthly bill.  You can talk via the computer and web-cam so Grandma and Grandpa can actually see the grandchildren telling them Happy Thanksgiving.  Or spend time instant messaging one another before the Turkey or during the game.

Abraham Lincoln was one smart man to enact legislation making Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863 while the Civil War was raging.  He proclaimed the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  And for 145 years we have done just that.  Thanks, Mr. President.

From my earliest memories, there has always been family around at Thanksgiving.  As a young girl, we’d spend the holiday at our home with grandparents and in-laws swooping in, eating, enjoying company and staying all day.  As an adult I continued the Thanksgiving Turkey and Dressing tradition with my own children.  At times we would travel to Missouri to spend the holiday at my in-laws or they would travel to our home in Texas.

As the children grew older and became close with other people, their friends would eat at least one of the Thanksgiving meals at our home.  We’ve invited families who needed a change of scenery to our house to celebrate and give thanks with us.  Ours is always a bountiful day full of family, food, noise, and (of course) the Cowboy game!


This year we have all four of our adult children home (two who live here, one who lives close by and one who traveled in from out of state), our three grandsons will be here, our son-in-law, and a possible new addition to the family.  We’ll have turkey and all the trimmings along with four different pies and plenty of wine and spirits.  And of course we’ll be watching the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Dog Show and that at 3:30 p.m. Central Time, we’ll have the Cowboy/Seahawk game playing.

This year has brought me in touch with distant cousins including:

  • My great-aunt Rachel (Blazer) Given’s great-granddaughter
  • The granddaughter of Chase Noonan
  • House family cousins
  • Risley cousins (Julie & Becky!)
  • Stern family cousins

Through the newly found family members, I’ve also learned a bit more and was able to share what I’ve learned with them.  My experience has taught me that even though I enjoy the research and new information genealogy brings, I also need to focus on the family that is still providing history and stories for future generations.  Blink and it might be too late.

May you and yours have a blessed Thanksgiving and time with loved ones!

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Some of my earliest memories involve family reunions – whether they were impromptu gatherings with the local family members on the weekend or planned affairs requiring travel to another city or state.  There were reunions that continued throughout my childhood and reunions that began during my childhood.  Before I came along there had been others.

On the paternal side of the family, what once had started as the Amore-Werts Reunion became the Amore-Baker reunion.  Originally, it was to bring together the families of my Great-Grandfather William Henry Amore and my Great-Grandmother Mary Angelina Werts.  The very first reunion was held May 25, 1924 in Roscoe, Coshocton County, Ohio at their home with about 100 persons attending.  This is the newspaper clipping about the gathering:

Other reunions were held and by the time I began attending (in the ’60s), they had changed to the Amore-Baker reunion.  This merged the Amore family with the Baker family (my grandfather’s sister – the only daughter of Henry and Annie Amore – married a Baker).

These reunions were held at the Grange Hall on the Coshocton Fairgrounds in July each summer.  There was plenty of good food, games (horseshoe, softball, frisbee) and family chat interspersed with the normal “business” part of the reunion – election of the following year’s officers, reading of the business minutes, a treasurer’s report, and planned entertainment.  Up to 80 persons attended these reunions.

My dad’s siblings held a reunion once each summer as well.  The first one was at my Uncle Paul’s home in St. Clare Shores, Michigan in the summer of 1967 attended by all but one of the children of Lloyd and Ella (House) Amore and their families.  Each summer the Descendents of Lloyd and Ella Amore met at one of the sibling’s homes.  The second year we held the reunion at our home outside of Dayton.

(Left to Right: Norman, Gene, Gail and Paul Amore)

My grandmother’s family had the annual Wilt reunion every year.  For many years it was held in New Castle and some times at individual homes.  A newspaper clipping about the 1959 reunion follows:

(Left to Right: Clifford, Vesta, Nellie and Clarence Wilt)

When I was close to adolescence, my grandfather and his two first cousins, Glen O. Blazer and Ada Blazer Black, decided to hold the Johnson-Blazer reunions.  Most of the time these were held in Urbana, Champaign County, Ohio at the home of Glen and Nina Blazer.  Once we hosted the reunion at our home.

(Left to Right: Glen Johnson, Glen and Nina Blazer, Ada Black Blazer)

The descendents of my 2nd great-grandparents – Emanuel Bushong Stern and Nancy Caylor Stern – (Stern Reunion) was held at Beaverton, Michigan in the early in July 1972.  It was held on a descendent’s farm.

Long before I came along, there was also the Caylor reunion for the descendents of Abraham and Susannah (Miller) Caylor.  The only information I have about these reunions is a few pictures with the words “Caylor Reunion” on the back.

My grandfather’s family also held reunions prior to my time.  They ended about 20 years before I was born.  These were the Johnson-Shively reunions.  I have as much information about these as I could hope since I have the actual Reunion Book in my possession.  It includes minutes from each reunion held, those invited, births, deaths and marriages recorded each year, and addresses.

One of my Johnson cousins scanned the photo taken at the first Johnson-Shively reunion and shared it with me.  I don’t know who the photographer was so I would like to thank my cousin, Virginia, for allowing me to have a copy of this.


Minutes (transcribed) from the Minute Book:

Organization Aug 16 – 1915

Johnson and Shively reunion organized Aug 16, 1915 at the home of J.L. Johnson 99 Indiana Ave. Anderson, Indiana. Several relatives and minds were invited to this home in honor of J.W. Johnson. “J.L. Johnson’s father”. It being his birthday. He being the oldest of the Johnson family now living.

A great number of relatives responded from all over the state and a general good time was enjoyed by all.

At the noon hour a sumptious dinner was served. This being one of the most important events of the day was enjoyed by both young and old to the fullest extent.

Before departing for their several homes it was decided that we meet yearly and the following officers were duly elected

                        President          J Milton Johnson, Lapel, Ind.
                        Secretary          Frank Shively, Anderson

A motion was made and 2nded to meet the next August at Riverside Park, Anderson, Indiana.

Business being concluded all departed for their homes thinking it a day well spent.


In July 2002, the 1st “Cousins” reunion was held for the Descendents of Glen Roy Johnson and Vesta (Wilt) Johnson – my grandparents.  It was held at my cousin’s home outside of Dayton, Ohio and attended by all but two of the cousins and their families.

Other gatherings that we generally don’t consider “reunions” are when we are in Ohio or Missouri to visit.  This past summer most of the family gathered at my in-laws’ home to celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary.  The last time most of my husband’s side of the family was together were either at funerals or the 50th Anniversary celebration of his parents.  In Ohio, most of my cousins gather together for a pot-luck meal so we can all visit.


News Clippings:

Amore-Wertz Reunion: Coshocton Tribune, 550 Main St., P.O. Box 10, Coshocton, OH 43812; May 5, 1927

Amore Family Has Reunion: Xenia Daily Gazette, 30 South Detroit Street, Xenia, OH 45385; August 22, 1968

Wilt Reunion: Anderson Daily Bulletin, 1133 Jackson St.; Anderson, IN 46016; September 8, 1959

Johnson-Shively Reunion: Unknown newspaper; clipping emailed from a cousin.

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