Wednesday, June 17, 2020

MY ANCESTRY JOURNEY--by Cheryl Pierson

Guess what I did on Mother’s Day? I bought MYSELF something I have been wanting for a very long time—a six-month subscription to Ancestry . com! I’ve always wanted to do that, but never did because I just knew I wouldn’t “have time” to use it…but guess what? You really DO make time for the things you love! Even if it’s only 15 or 20 minutes here and there, I always discover something I didn’t know.
I think of how my parents would have love to have had this technology and the ability to use it when they were living! There is such a huge network of people out there that are doing the same thing, and contributing what they have to share, so a person can amass a lot of knowledge in a short time!

A lot of family stories can quickly be proven…or DISproven!

I found out that my gr gr grandfather served in the Civil War for the Union in Missouri—I found his application for his pension! I learned that another couple of relatives never married—not until their children were all grown, married and had kids of their own! That was a shocker. But the marriage license is there to prove it.

I’ve used family history in my stories before on several occasions, but this is beyond anything I could have imagined. I have enjoyed this “journey” so much, so far, and look forward to all the things I’m going to find out (yes, if you do this, be prepared to be surprised and shocked) no matter what my discoveries might yield.

I learned that my gr gr grandfather (the Civil War soldier) also was married three times and had thirteen children! Someone else I don’t know had posted a picture of him on her family tree. I actually got to see him at a luncheon he attended with four other Civil War veterans. In the picture below, he’s on the far right, back row.

I have not started on my mother’s side of the family yet—there is so much I’m learning about my dad’s side right now—I don’t want to get them “mixed up” and believe me, I’m going to have to draw up a family tree so I can actually see it all in black and white to get it straight!

One thing that is unusual is that my gr gr grandmother has a discrepancy in her dates of death. I also read in an obituary someone wrote that she was the daughter of a “Cherokee man and his half-blood wife” –now there is a description for you! In the picture below, George Washington Casey is seen holding one of his granddaughters.

I’m a novice at this, but it’s fun to learn—and I’m sure I’ll come across some more skeletons in the closet here and there…maybe some things I can incorporate into my own stories!

Here's a fun fact: When my son was born, we named him Casey. But...I had never had any clue that "Casey" was a family name, or that my ancestors carried that last name. I had not started my "ancestry journey" yet at that point. Coincidence? Or...some other connection? I've often wondered. When a relative told me she was glad I'd named Casey a "family name" I have to admit, I got chills. I had not had any idea.
Here's my Casey in a pic taken last year. It's hard to make out any family resemblance from the poor quality of the pics of G.W. Casey, except that they both have beards! LOL

Do any of you use Ancestry or any other site like that? Have any of you discovered some interesting facts about your long-ago families that you didn’t know? I’m having such fun with this!


  1. Cheryl,

    This is fascinating. I've been interested in an subscription, too, but I've put it off for various reasons, not the least of which is it will be a rabbit hole that I will tumble down and never come up again.

    I know bits and pieces of my mom's and dad's families, and I have a shoe box full of pictures with names, dates, and some locations written on the back. I would like to know more.


    1. Kaye, I had put it off, too, because I thought, "When will I ever have time?" But I find I come to it and work for a few minutes whenever I have a spare 'few minutes' to look at stuff, and I'm amazed every single time. I am sorry I put it off so long. Yes, it can be a rabbit hole, but it's a very worthy one! And there are so many other people who contribute things that you can share with and who will share with you that you can really build your tree and glean a lot of information that would take about 10 lifetimes to get on your own. I hope you will do it!

  2. I've been using Ancestry at the libary for years as I've researched people in history, including my own family. I now, like you, have it here at home. What is really fun is using the newspaper options to find other pieces that add to the story.

    As for my own family, well it's been a ride and I'm not done yet. Gonna tame this animal if it takes the rest of my life. I do know, from my father's side I qualify for the DAR. Who knew? LOL Doris

    1. Doris, that is soooo cool! I think I am going to do the same--tame the animal--if I can! LOL I'm having so much fun with this. Of course, my family tree is looking really rough--I wasn't sure what I was doing at first, so I'm going to have a lot of editing to do but I'm having so much fun learning about these people, I won't mind.

  3. 'Enjoying your Blog and I'm smiling at the great happiness you've found down this genealogy road. I started out with them about six years ago and have never regretted it. I was able to bring up some fabulous facts and while my mom and father-in-law were still living it always seemed to prompt them to bring forth great lost childhood memories. Father-in-law couldn't trace his own father's line back more than a generation or two. Some were illiterate, many records also lost over the years. Through the Ancestry records I was able to take him back to the 1500's in England. The grin on his face was worth more than many years of Ancestry dues. Blessings, Ms. Cheryl, the best is yet to come!

    1. Hi Jay, Oh, how often I've wished I could have done this when my parents were still living. They've both been gone now for 12 years and I am seeing so many things I would love to have shared with them--even just the handwriting that appears on the census forms, and so on, would have been something wonderful for them. I'm so glad you got to do your father-in-law's family for him--I am sure that meant the world to him and you couldn't have ever given him any better gift than THAT! I'm learning so much and you're so right--it's worth every penny, which was surprisingly affordable--$79 for 6 months if anyone wonders, and I have certainly gotten my $79 worth ALREADY in one month's time! Thanks so much for stopping by, Jay--I might have a question or two as time goes by! LOL

  4. I was an invited speaker at a conference years ago, and when I registered, the man behind the desk said, "which brother of the Irish horse thieves are you related to?"
    I laughed and said in our family legend there were 3 brothers exiled from Ireland as trouble-makers and horse thieves. Our family traced to the brother who moved to Chicago, and eventually to MO, where I was born."
    He replied, my mother's family says it was 2 brothers, and we trace our brother to Kentucky, where many of us live today.

    You never know when you'll bump into a distant relative you never knew you had.
    Yes Cheryl, it's fun to locate those lost relatives.
    The conference chairman standing next to me actually gulped and went slack jawed at the registrars question, and took a deep breath when I laughed and joined in the conversation.
    I have written the term "slack-jawed" before but it was the first time I'd witnessed it.

    1. WOW, Frank! You are so right. You just never know. I read something a few years back about a Native American get-together of some kind where one of the women there by chance heard another conversation going on, and the mention of one of her relatives. In the conversation she overheard, there was enough of it that she was certain it was a relative she'd been trying to search for to learn about her own lineage. She went over and introduced herself to the other people and voila! The missing piece(s) of the genealogy puzzle she'd been searching so hard for.

      I love your story about the horse thieves! I am excited to get to jump into this--I'm so grateful to be living in this day and age with so many digital aids available to us in our search. Today I found a picture of my 5xgr grandparents--and I learned that yet another relative served in the Civil War, but this one, for the Confederacy. I found his affidavit signed to pledge he would not take up arms against the US again. I couldn't help but reach up and touch the screen.