Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Treasure Chest Thursday ~ James H. Curnutt Petition

As I open my little treasure box today, what do you think I will find? Let's open it up and see what treasure awaits me! As the lid opens on the old, wooden box, it creaks open eerily, I look inside and am astonished by what lays before me. My hazel eyes are as big and round as the golden doubloons inside and worth more to me than I ever imagined. I am in awe of the beauty that lays before me. More than the doubloons worth, more than the shiny baubles winking at me with its' rainbow prism of colors. I see something. But wait. Do I dare? Tempting me to touch, but I don't. Instead I delicately pick up an old, printed document. Carefully looking at the text and just skimming the pages.. Why it looks like the petition I was seeking not so long ago! 

Many thanks to fellow researcher, Doris, for all the legwork and emails sent to connect the Cornett family with this document. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Until We Meet Again

Is it possible for someone to grieve over the loss of someone they have loved their entire life? My sister Amy and I can attest that this is true, even after 11 years since our fathers' death in 2001. Some may ask why we are so interested in our dad after all this time, but in truth, we have always wanted to know him, to talk to him, to put our arms around his neck and just say, "Daddy, I love you and always will." When our parents divorced I was only six years old and my sister was only eighteen months. We never had the chance to know our dad like so many daughters have the chance to do in their lives. As children growing up we were told lies. Lies that forever changed our lives. We were told that our dad didn't love us or he would want to be with us. To grow up thinking this all your life, is very traumatic for a child at any age. It changed the way we thought, the way we showed our emotions, and the way we showed our love to those around us. For me personally, it hardened my heart in a way that I cannot explain. 

Just recently I found out from my sister that dad did try to visit us but was told that he wasn't welcome there and he was forced to leave. (I think my mom was at work at the time, so if you are thinking it was her that told him to leave, you can just get that idea out of your head. She was shocked when I told her this new information. She had no idea that my dad and uncle Stewart had driven from Maryland to Florida to come see us, and only to be told to go back home.) So he left. I never seen him again since that day, even though I didn't know it was him standing on the front porch trying to look in. I believe he just wanted to see our faces just one time before he was forced to go. In the back of my mind, I knew someone had come to visit, but I didn't realize it was our dad. He was coming to see us! We never knew until decades later. Sometimes, and I speak for my sister Amy when I say this, "What would our life be like right now if only we were given the chance to truly know him?" I can only say that we wish things had turned out differently. To turn back the clock is an understatement. I would love to just start over, knowing what I know now, I think our relationship with our dad would have been quite different. It could have blossomed into something really special between us and our Cornett family.

Before dad's funeral our Aunt Evelyn called my sister, Amy, and told her she needed to come see dad because he wasn't doing well and should come to his bedside before he passed away. I wasn't able to go because I didn't have the money for plane fare, and I had no one I could ask for money except my husband at the time. Needless to say, I was told we didn't have the money. The one thing I asked for I couldn't have, which hurt me even more. I wanted to see my dad desperately but I couldn't. I felt trapped. I felt cheated. All I can remember is breaking down in tears and running back to my lonely bedroom and just thinking that this could have been the last moment I would ever get to spend with my dad. I don't know how long I cried, I just remember that I looked horrible with red, puffy eyes and a shiny,red nose that I probably could have passed for Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer's twin! I am glad my sister was able to pay her last respects even though I couldn't be there with her. 

The following is my sisters story, painted by her for me so that I could envision what it was like to be in her shoes while she visited with our Cornett family in Maryland and what the funeral service was like. 

Amy's Story

Amy With Grandma, Lucia Rose Cornett

I remember Aunt Evelyn calling me one afternoon, saying dad was in the hospital and he was not doing good at all. She said if I wanted to see him I should make it up there really soon. I was able to get a flight out, but a little too late as dad passed away the night before my flight. I got on my flight anyway; I just wanted to see him at least once. My flight landed in Baltimore, Maryland where Uncle Kyle and Aunt Evelyn were waiting for me. They held up a sign that said "Cornett" so I would know who they were. They seen me in pictures through the years, but had no idea what I looked like now, I was 21 or 22.

We left from the airport to Lucia's small but welcoming home and we were supposed to go to a funeral viewing of a lady, named Edith Cox. At first I wasn't exactly sure how we were related ( I figured we must be from Scotland or the lady from there because when we went to her funeral there were men dressed in Tartan plaid kilts and playing "Amazing Grace" on bagpipes.) It turned out that Edith Cox was my grandfather, Walter Allen Cornett Sr.'s sister.The men playing bagpipes was pretty neat to see in person. Not everyone can say that they went to a funeral where there was bagpipes playing. What a cultural treat even though it was for a sad occasion. Kyle and Evelyn waited for me in the car while I changed my clothes. I came out of Lucia's house with my shoes in hand because I was trying to hurry, when I got in the car Evelyn said " We sure can tell your Bill's daughter, because he would always walk around barefoot too". I went to the viewing where I met some of the family for the first time ever in my life. Everyone acted very excited to finally meet me and some I think were even surprised to see me and asked which daughter I was, Kelly or Amy?

I stayed with Kyle and Evelyn the few days I was there, they lived in Westminster,Maryland. They drove me around and showed me the hospital where I was born, the house we used to live in and where mom used to work. I also seen Amish people too which was kinda neat. Pennsylvania is really beautiful and I thought to myself that I wouldn't mind living there. 

I dreaded the day of dad's funeral because I would be seeing him for the first time but definitely not the way I wanted. When we got there I planned on sitting in the back of the Church, the preacher introduced himself to me and told me to sit in the front row next to Grandma Lucia. Everyone who came payed their respects, he had an open coffin and he was wearing a shirt and jean overalls, he looked exactly like in the pictures he sent to me.  There was a little girl standing next to me, she was around 7 years old I think. She asked me if I was Uncle Bill's daughter and I said yes and told her my name was Amy. She said dad was her favorite uncle, she had a stuffed frog which dad had given her and she put it on dad's chest and she said she wanted him to have it. We all sat down and the funeral service started. The preacher mentioned both our names at the funeral. I was so upset that day that I ended up running out of the service, crying. Uncle Greg followed me out and asked if I was okay and tried to console me the best he knew how.

After the ceremony, all the family gathered at Lucia's house for dinner. They had foods like macaroni and cheese, pasta salad, dinner rolls but I can't really remember what else we ate that day. Lucia, Martha, Evelyn, Sue and I sat at the table and they shared stories with me. They told me that he loved baseball and he watched it all the time; I think they said his favorite player was Cal Ripkin. They also shared stories about his epilepsy. 

The night of dad's funeral we (me, Kyle and Evelyn) spend the night at Lucia's house. I think it was because they didn't want to leave Lucia alone; we stayed up late talking about dad and they were telling me what he was like and that he thought of me and Kelly every day and was always talking about us. He would check the mailbox every day, excited when he got another letter from us in the mail. They explained how he came to have epilepsy, that there was an auto accident he was in when he was 18 years old, the car overturned and he hit his head. He had epilepsy ever since that accident; he was also on anti-seizure medication but still had seizures pretty much everyday. They would try to hold him down when he would have a seizure so he wouldn't hurt himself, but he was just too strong. We talked for a long time, for hours it seemed, about dad, about my life and they asked about Kelly and what she was doing now. They asked about mom too. They told me they really loved mom and they were sad when they split up so many years ago.

That night Lucia told me I could sleep in dad's room, so I did. When I went into the room I just looked around, I guess it was just so I could see if any of his belongings would tell me a little more about him. He had a simple room, a twin bed and a dresser with a mirror. On the dresser he had photos of me and Kelly and our children, ones that we sent him throughout the years. There was about four pictures altogether set in photo frames. I remember he had a small box of baseball cards that he had apparently collected. I lay in his bed for the longest time that night but I just couldn't fall asleep. When I finally did sleep, I was awakened by someone touching my shoulder and whispering my name, but when I looked around I saw no one was there. I know this probably sounds really weird but I thought it was dad, you know like his spirit or something there to tell me he loved me and he knew I was there. 

I left on my flight that morning, Kyle and Evelyn took pictures of me and Lucia and everyone that was there. Kelly, I'm pretty sure you know from doing your research we have a pretty big family on the Cornett side. Thee family kept telling me " I bet you didn't know you had such a big family". When I met everyone they remembered me, but for me It was like meeting them for the first time because I was so young I was only a year and a half when mom and dad split up. I had no memories of anyone, not even the one person that I would love to have at least one fond memory of. We all said our goodbye's and the family welcomed me to come back anytime.

This was really hard for me to write, I think I cried most of the way through it. I just wish things could have been different; I wish I could have met him. I would have been happy with at least meeting him one time, just so I could say I knew my father. I'm sure he remembered me but I don't have any memories of him at all. The only memory that I can fall back on is seeing him laying in that coffin and wishing I would have gotten there sooner. I wish we could just turn back the clocks and go back but I know that's impossible. He left this world too quickly and way before his time, but I know he is in a better place now. Up in heaven with God and in no more pain. I just hope somehow that he knew that I was there, that I did try to be there for him even though it was too late. I love him even though we never met really, and I will think of him everyday for the rest of my life. I love you Daddy! 

Not only was my sister's story hard to read without tears flowing freely, but it was also hard for me to write it. I appreciate the effort she has gone through to share this memory with me. I believe that we have grieved our fathers absence from our lives for so many years. We still grieve to this day. We will probably always grieve for our daddy but as the days pass, the pain hasn't diminished at all for either of us. For me, knowing that I never had any closure with him makes it that much more difficult to talk about without crying like a baby. I wanted to tell him that I know he loved us and my sister and I share that same love in return. I hope he knows this, looking down on us from heaven above. I wish I could turn back time too, but I also realize that it impossible to do. One day we will be with our dad again and  be united as a family once more. 

Until we meet again....

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Mother's Memoir ~ A Daughter's Treasure

I have decided to start a little genealogy project by interviewing my mother to learn more about her life when she was younger, how she grew up and what her life was like in those times. Even though she is my best friend in the whole wide world, there are still some things about her that I don't know and have never bothered to ask about. I will start with the formalities and things I do know and then continue on from there. This should be fun!

 If given the chance, what family member would you interview and why?

Me: What is your given name?

Mom: Carolyn Ann

Me: What are your parents' names?

Mom: My fathers name was Claude Flemon Dodson, he was born in October of 1903 and he died in 1987. My mother was Dora Younas Worley-Dodson. Worley was her maiden name. My mom was born on April 20, 1907 and she died on December 11, 1990. It was a day before your cousins birthday and right before you gave birth to your first son, John.

Me: Do you know why your parents named you?

Mom: They named me because my brother, Otis liked the name. He was killed in a head on car collision when I was three years old.

Me: Did you have a nickname?

Mom: No. But when you were born your grandmother, Lucia, called you "Little Carolyn".

Me: When and where were you born?

Mom: I was born in Belair, Maryland 

Me: Where did you grow up?

Mom: Phoenix, Maryland

Me: Do you remember the house in which you grew up in? Can you describe it to the best of your recollection?

Mom: Yes, I remember it. It was a 2 story red house with a basement but the outside had red shingles on the walls. It had an L-shaped porch and when they remodeled the house and built an extra room they added the porch. There was a basement that had 3 rooms for storage; there was a washing machine down there. On the first floor, there was a living room, den, big kitchen, two bathrooms and a bedroom. One of the bathrooms was originally a closet. On the second floor, there was three bedrooms and a hallway that led to the attic. There were two other rooms in the attic and another storage area that we kept all of our Christmas stuff in. It was just big enough that you could walk through. 

Me: What is your earliest childhood memory?

Mom: Umm...let's see! Learning to swim and I was a Brownie in the Girl Scouts. I also remember going to Bible School. We never missed a Sunday at church because my mom would never let us miss a Sunday service. We had to go to church no matter what.

Me: What kind of games did you play growing up?

Mom: Hopscotch, jacks, jump rope, hide and seek. 

Me: Did you have a favorite toy? Why was it your favorite?

Mom: Yes! I had a Tiny Tears doll. The very first one. Because I could dress it up and feed it. If you fed it water then it would pee.

Me: (Laughing) 

Me: What did you like to do for fun when you were little?

Mom: Ride our bikes and go sleigh riding in the winter time. 

Me: Did you like to read? 

Mom: Yes, I read all kinds of books. 

Me: Favorite color?

Mom: Yellow

Me: Favorite flower?

Mom: Hibiscus, Roses, and Pansies

Me: I thought your favorite was the daisy, because that was in your wedding bouquet! 

Me: What was your favorite book as a child?

Mom: The Three Little Puppies. I liked Cinderella, Bambi, Donald Duck. I liked a lot of different stories and read many different ones.

Me: Did you have to do any chores when you were younger? What were they?

Mom: Milk cows, feed chickens, clean the barn, pull weeds and pick vegetables out of the garden. I washed clothes and hung them on the clothesline. Had to iron them too.There's a lot of stuff we did! 

Me: Did you have a least favorite?

Mom: Pulling weeds.

Me: What was school like for you growing up?

Mom: I used to cry in first grade when I went to school until I got used to it.

Me: Didn't you go to Kindergarten?

Mom: No, there wasn't a kindergarten back then.

Me: Oh! That's interesting.

Me: What was the name of your elementary school?

Mom: Carroll Manor. That was my elementary then I went to Ridgley Middle School and I ended up graduating from Towson High School.

Me: What year did you graduate? 

Mom: 1964 

Me: What was your favorite school subject?

Mom: Reading

Me: I should have known that answer! Because you are always reading on your Kindle app on your iPhone!

Me: Do you remember any fads or fashions that were in style when you were in high school?

Mom: Oh! Hold on! I have to get my laundry! 

(Intermission of sorts while mom gets her laundry in the dryer! Hahaha)

Mom: I used to wear skirts, blouses and dresses. Poodle skirts were the big thing then. We wore skirts with a belt that tied in the back. 

Me: What kind of clothing did you wear to elementary school?

Mom: My mom used to make our dresses from feed sacks and there was a lot of print, no solid colors.

Me: What kind of music did you listen to? Who was your favorite artist?

Mom: Rock and Pop music of the 60's. Dionne Warwick and the Supremes and Frankie Avalon.

Me: Did you go to prom? Who did you go with?

Mom: Yes, I went with my neighbors son, Glen. He asked me and he had a crush on me back then.

Me: What did your dress look like?

Mom: It had a flower print that came down past my knees. I looked glamorous in that dress!

Me: Did you have any pets?

Mom: Yeah I had a rooster for a pet but he didn't have a name because I never named him. I had a Cocker Spaniel named Trixie, a Boxer named Mack, and another dog named Freckles. 

Me: Those are cute names I like the name Freckles.

Me: What was your first car?

Mom: A 1963 Cadillac that I received when I graduated high school.

Me: What was a typical family dinner like? 

Mom: Everybody ate together as a family. Not like today where families eat at different times.

Me: What was your favorite food back then?

Mom: Ham, green beans, and potatoes.

Me: Green beans? Yuck!

Me: Any Christmas traditions in the family?

Mom: Every year on Christmas Eve, we went to the Christmas church service. Me and my brothers and sister would decorate the tree and sometimes my mom would help. I remember getting up on Christmas day and the presents would be under the tree and there was so many presents that it seemed like they were everywhere in the living room.

Me: How many brothers and sisters do you have?

Mom: I had 3 brothers and 4 sisters. I had two brothers and one sister that died in a car accident. One of my brothers was married and his wife died in the accident too.

Me: What were their names?

Mom: Exie, Otis, and Clara. I was only three years old so I don't remember if Clara was my sister's name or if she was the wife of Otis.

Me: What was the full name of your husband?

Mom: Billy Edward Cornett, he was born March of 1944.

Me: How did you meet dad? What year did you meet?

Mom: When I was bowling. I used to belong to a bowling league. We met in 1971. I used to have plenty of trophies from bowling. Me and your dad were on the same bowling team and we both had trophies. 

Me: Wow! That wasn't a very long courtship then since i was born the year after! 

Mom: No we were hanky pankyin! 

Me: Oh my! I don't need to know the details. Hahaha

Me: How did dad propose marriage to you?

Mom: He asked me in a car, we were parked on the side of the road across from his house in White Hall, Maryland. We were just talking normally when he popped the question. 

Me: Did he look nervous like most men do, when he proposed to you?

Mom: Yeah he looked nervous because he didn't know what I would say, I guess.

Me: When and where were you married?

Mom: St. John's Lutheran Church in Sweetair , Maryland on April 24, 1971 

Me: Was it a morning or afternoon wedding?

Mom: I think it was about 2 o'clock in the afternoon. After the ceremony we had the reception down stairs in the church hall. 

Me: Did you have a honeymoon?

Mom: No. 

Me: Why didn't you have one?

Mom: We couldn't afford it at the time.

Me: Was dad a romantic kind of guy?

Mom: Not really.

Me: What memory is your most favorite about your wedding day?

Mom: Walking down the aisle

Me: Did he cry when he seen you walking down the aisle towards him?

Mom: No. We were both very nervous. But after the ceremony, everyone got together and we cut the cake. 

Me: So you guys had that deer in the headlights look on your faces? 

Mom: Kelly, you're funny....

Me: Wedding gifts?

Mom: I had a wedding shower at his moms (Lucia's) house and we opened the gifts then. I should have pictures somewhere. 

Me: Do you remember what some of your gifts were?

Mom: Vacuum cleaner, towels, dishes, and we were given a money tree but I don't remember how much it was. That was a long time ago! 

Me: Does that mean I'm old?! Gee thanks mom!

Mom: Don't give me that look either! (laughing)

Me: How would you describe dad? What did you admire most about him?

Mom: Quiet and shy. I liked his personality and he always had someone laughing. He liked to joke around quite a bit. 

Me: How did you find out you were pregnant for the first time?

Mom: I was nauseous and I had bad morning sickness. 

Me: Were you and dad happy about it?

Mom: yes

Me: You're not just saying that? Because that was me in that belly of yours!

Mom: No!

(Both of us are smiling)

Me: How did you come up with my name when you named me?

Mom: Sue, your dads sister, liked the name and was going to name her baby Kelly. We were pregnant at the same time and she ended up having a baby boy, so she chose another name for her son. So I decided to take that name. But if you were a boy, you would have been named Daniel Eugene. 

Me: I'm so glad I am a girl!

Me: How did you choose my sisters name?

Mom: I just liked that name. Because you had my middle name, Ann, and when I named Amy I wanted her to have part of my first name of Carolyn and used that for her middle name for Lynn. That's how I did it :)

Me: Last question. What is one thing that you would want people to remember about you and your life?

Mom: Kelly Ann! I am dependable, like to help people, and a very lovable person. I don't know, I didn't think you would give me such a hard question. 

Image Source: From My Mothers Personal Collection, "Mom's First Grade School Picture"

Image Source: Mom and Dad's Wedding Photos- Taken by a Family Member

Mom and Dad Cutting Their Wedding Cake

Eleanor (moms best friend), Jane (moms sister), Mom, Dad, and Robert Sewell (Best Man)

Bridal Party 

Robert Sewell, Mom, Dad, and Bobby? (one of dads best friends)

Wedding Party 
(After Ceremony Pictures)

My Favorite Photo of My Parents On Their Special Day!

Moms Parents, Dora and Claude Dodson 
with The Bridal Couple

Claude F. Dodson, Dora Y. Dodson, Mom, Dad, and Lucia Rose Cornett

Moms Nephew, Glen with
Bride and Groom

Wedding Shower Gifts!!
Wedding Shower Took Place At Lucia's Home

Matrilineal Monday ~ Gincy Malinda Caroline Long

Remember those times you spent with your grandmother or even your great grandmother? What do you remember most about her? Was it her grandmotherly smile? Maybe it was a stern look. Her baby soft skin? Maybe she smelled of roses or baby powder or maybe even the strong odor of Ben-Gay! Whatever it was, have you ever been reminded of those long forgotten memories or memories you thought you had forgotten? Does something trigger your memory so that you think of her? 
For me, it was a simple photograph! A photograph that reminded me of her birthday party. I remember bits and pieces of that day, not every little detail as that was over thirty years ago. But I do remember being there. 

I remember her "Little House on the Prairie" style dress. Baggy, long sleeves and the skirt that fell nearly to her ankles, the too large, pointy collar that was popular back in the 1970's, the lavender color of her dress which reminded me of her birthday cake. All white with lavender colored roses on the top and a lavender zigzag pattern on the sides of the cake with little lavender pearls. I think the cake had three tiers as I remember it being the tallest cake I had ever seen. 

Meet My Great Grandmother, Gincy.
I am the little girl in the photo.

My Gincy ~ A Social Butterfly :)
My dad, Bill is in the background in the cream colored shirt.

Another memory I have of Gincy is when I was about the same age I use to sit in her lap and she would rock me in her rocking chair on the front porch. I believe she even had a white rocking chair at her birthday celebration. I used to have a picture of the two of us, but I don't know what happened to it. I can picture it in my mind what it looks like, but that is about all. I would love to have another copy of it.

The memories I have of Gincy are few, so here I am typing my last memory of her and smiling because I know what this memory means to me. I used to have this old brown two tone colored teddy bear. I took him with me almost everywhere I went and he would be the first toy I would grab to play with. I never picked a baby doll, but picked up old teddy instead. On my grandmothers front porch I would sit down and dress teddy and pretend he was my baby. I had cloth diapers for him and those diaper pins with the hard plastic covers on them so I wouldn't poke him and end up making him cry! Gincy never liked for me to undress "teddy" for fear that he might catch a cold. She would always make me put his diaper back on! It's kind of cute now that I look back on this memory and see her point of view. I think this was her way of playing with me, because she wasn't able to get down from the rocking chair she was rocking in and play on the porch with me. At that time in my life, I thought she was just scolding me for taking his diaper cloth off! 

Grandma Gincy was born on July 1, 1886 and died on September 24, 1978 when I was only six years old. Not understanding death at the ripe old age of 6, I always thought she would live forever and just be my Grandma Gincy. I miss brushing your hair and I am just so very glad to have these memories of you. I love you my Gincy!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Sentimental Sunday ~ A Daughter's Love...

Dear Daddy,

I miss you so very much. As each Father's Day passes, I miss you even more. I know you are looking down on me from Heaven above, and I hope that I am a daughter that you are very proud of. I look through your photos quite frequently and have even started a web blog about our wonderful family.
I wish I had the chance to start over, I would do so many things differently. 
  Even though my life is a happy one, I still wish that you were here with me right now. If just to fill that empty space in my heart where only a daddy's love will forever remain. You may be gone from this earth, but you are always thought of and loved by so many.
  I have heard a few stories about you and what you were like from other family members, but I wish those memories were forever mine. Do we share common interests? Do I smile like you? Do we have similar facial expressions depending on whatever mood we happen to be in? I don't know these things. I have so many lost memories that a father and daughter should have been able to share. Milestones aplenty. You became an angel before your time. Before I ever had a chance to know you for who you really are. Before I ever had the chance to say good-bye. Letters and photos and sometimes gifts, don't account for all the father and daughter times that we have missed.
  I realize that God has selected you to be with Him, to stand by Him, but there are times when I need you to be here with me too! I know your days here on earth were few, now you're in Heaven starting your eternal life anew. So many years have passed since I last seen your face, one day though I will see you again, by God's grace.
  If I were granted just one wish, I would wish to see you again even if it was only in my dreams. To be able to talk to you, hug you, and tell you that I love you, this would be my forever wish! There are so many things I would like to say, but what I want you to know is this:  For every moment when I think of you, I think of the times I could have spent with you. You're right here in my heart, a place which I have saved just for you. 

Happy Father's Day....

Your Loving Daughter,
Kelly Ann

Image Source: My Personal Collection

Friday, June 15, 2012

Funeral Cards Friday ~ Gincy Malinda Caroline Long

The funeral card below is one of many that my mother had collected and saved over the years.

Belonging to my great grandmother, Gincy Malinda Caroline Long.
July 1, 1886- September 24, 1978.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Genealogy Tips For Beginners

Are you interested and intrigued by your family ancestry but just don't know where to start? First of all, you will want to start by being organized with your findings. You could start by creating folders for known family surnames that you plan on researching. If it helps, write a small note that has surnames of your family listed. This sometimes helps keep you organized but at the same time you don't want to overlook a surname either.

For me, my interest and infatuation with genealogy came from my father. More than 15 years ago, he sent me a packet and in this packet were two different sets of genealogy research papers with names, birth, death, and marriage dates along with the names of children on down the line. When I first started, never having the proper education as far as the topic of genealogy was concerned or having someone say, "this is how you should start and this is what you need to do to get started", so I did what I had to do, on a limited budget. I taught myself! Granted, I haven't learned everything I need to know. Why? Because every day you learn something new. But how you retain that knowledge and use it is entirely up to you, the student.

I won't tell you that your family research will be easy, because it won't be. You may have some members in your family that you look up and find everything you could possibly hope for, but not all family members will be so easy. You have to dig deeper for these others because they are hiding out. For all we know, they could be there. Just not in plain view sight! They could be in an old cardboard box at a historical library in a room with other boxes. Just keeping each other company while collecting dust. That's a horrible thought when I think about it.

The following tips helped me in my research and I hope they help you too.

1. Interview Family Members ~ Get in touch with and stay in contact with living family members that you can "talk story" with. You may hear a family story or two that you may be able to utilize later. You could voice record the conversation or even set up a video camera for your family interview. You probably don't have to take it to the video extreme but it is an option you may want to consider. Talk to grandparents, aunts and uncles and anyone else you think may be able to offer some insight to your research.

2. Join a Genealogical Society ~ What are the benefits? You can learn new research skills and techniques for starters. You can meet other local researchers and volunteers that may help you along the way too. It is a great way to network with others that share your passion on the topic of genealogy. You can attend monthly meetings and listen to guest speakers and even if you are like me, and have moved away from the area where the majority of your family may have settled, you can still join! (My family is mostly from Kentucky and Virginia, but I live in Hawaii) You may eventually meet some local family historians who are more than eager to share their own experiences and accomplishments. Another benefit to joining is the newsletter, it may be monthly or bi-monthly, but the information that is in them could be very beneficial! So what are you waiting for?

3. Family Albums and Scrapbooks ~ Looking through an old family photo album or scrapbook, you may find just about anything! One day I was looking through some photos my mother has collected over the years, and not only did I find a few old photographs but I also found obituary clippings and funeral cards too. Scrapbooks and photographs can tell a story like you wouldn't believe. Remember it's not just about finding the photos, you could find birth announcements, wedding invitations, birth and death certificates, vintage postcards, old letters,   military records or enlistment papers.  

4. Family Bibles and Journals ~ Look at an old family bible which most likely has writings of birth and death, names and dates, christenings or baptismal records. The possibilities are endless! My grandmother on my mother's side use to have an old cedar chest in a guest bedroom. I wish I had access to the objects that were inside! I remember as a child, I would wear all her fancy old hats, scarves and jewelry that she kept in there. The jewelry wasn't valuable at that time but they would be considered a great heirloom piece one day. She had old clothes in the chest along with a quilt she made, some doilies and some old books. Memories are wonderful things to behold.

5. Local Libraries ~ Visit your local library as you never know what you may be able to find there. Talk to the librarian and explain the research that you are partaking in. She may be able to offer some guidance or recommend certain texts. Unlocking the door to the past may only be a library card away! Here you can get familiarized with the printed work offered and also microfiche. Microfilm and the readers at your library may help spare you some time in researching and reading book after book. 

6. Internet Research ~ The Internet has evolved in so many ways. There are so many web pages dedicated to the topic of genealogy and family history research. You could read other blogs, read and participate in genealogy forums, read articles on the topic, groups on Facebook you can join, news articles. You can even view archived newspapers, look at old photos and anything related to this subject. Access to libraries online, genealogy files, online family trees, personal web pages that list members of their family tree, cemetery records and many others.

Below are a few of my favorite links that I like to utilize, but remember when doing your research, to have everything documented and to cite the source where the information was obtained from. If you do this right from the start, you can go back further in time and research other members of your family. For example, you may have a copy of your parents and grandparents birth or death certificates. This would name their parents, so this is a lead you can work with! Then you can research the parents and their parents and so on down the line. Good luck!


There are many more sites to choose from but this list is just for starters. Good luck in your research and I hope this article has helped you in some way. 

Image Source:

vintage family photo album and documents

Caption:genealogy & family history
Creative image #:108757760
License type:Royalty-free

Andrew Bret Wallis


Brand X Pictures

Credit:Andrew Bret Wallis
Release information:This image has a signed property release. This image is available for commercial use.
Copyright:Andrew Bret Wallis

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Sabory Jane Roberts Long
My Great Great Grandmother

Date Uploaded: April 5, 2012

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

A Story To Be Told, A Memory To Behold

When I started writing this blog a year ago, my concentration was primarily focused on the history aspect of my family's ancestral roots. I don't know what I expected to find, being a novice and just starting to learn genealogy and all that it entails. I also didn't know that it would become an addiction of sorts! My first impression of genealogy was the history part of it for sure, but also gaining a learning experience. 

Writing has always been a passion of mine since I was probably 17 years old. Not many people know this except my mother, but I actually wrote a romance novel! Ha! Who would have thought that a 17 year old girl would know enough about romance to write a book about it? I even typed the manuscript out on a typewriter, some people don't even know what a typewriter is now that we have all this technology with computers, laptops,the iPad, and our smart phones. As a teenager I never even had Internet! So now everyone who reads this knows my dark secret! I wrote a book, submitted the manuscript to a publisher in New York and it was accepted, but little did I know about the publishing world. They told me I had to pay for the books to be published. Go figure! That never happened to Kathleen Turner in "Romancing the Stone". So in my mind, I thought that it really wasn't good enough to be printed. I requested my manuscript back and tore it to shreds and never wrote another word. Until last year when I started this blog, researching my family history.

So here I am today, still searching in the past. What about the future? What legacy will I be able to give my children and their children and so on? I think every family has a story, a past which no one person knows about unless it's been written in a history book. Some stories get passed on from generation to generation but somewhere along those lines the original story was lost in translation. This reminds me of a time when I was in elementary school. The teacher would whisper a sentence in the first students ear, in turn that student told the next student what the teacher said and by the time the sentence reached the last student in the class, it wasn't anything close to what she had told the first student originally! So you see, how just one sentence can change in just a short period of time between a handful of students. I can imagine what the different variations would be if a story were to be told and passed on from one generation to the next. There is always a story to be told and a memory to behold.

Photography is both a hobby and a passion for me. I take photos of just about everything; I guess it's almost like a photo journal where I want to create the snapshot that will tell my story. One day I will create my own photo book of my life to pass on to my children. Memories are wonderful things and as the saying goes, "A picture is worth a thousand words", I believe it really does ring true. Photos are just memories in time. Times of happiness and memories to be made for future generations to enjoy. 

What keepsake will you create? Share your ideas in the comments below. 

Image Source:
Family Quote ~Tea Cups Of Life

Monday, June 11, 2012

My Cornett Family Tree Flowchart

Trying to explain my genealogy to others is a bit confusing as the Cornett lines seem to intertwine. A family member once told me that my grandmother Lucia R. Cornett married another Cornett (Walter Allen Cornett), so I have two different Cornett lines just based on my grandparents alone! So to start out, my father was Billy Edward Cornett > Walter Allen Cornett and Lucia R. Cornett (my grandparents) > Walter Allen Cornett's parents are Wiley Cornett and Izora Parks Cornett (My Great Grandparents on my Grandfathers side) > On Lucia Cornett's side, her parents are Stuart Marvin Monroe Cornett and Gincy Malinda Caroline Long. (My Great Grandparents from Lucia)

The images below show a flowchart of sorts of my family tree that I have filled in so far based on family research and documents that were given to me so many years ago.  I hope the flowchart makes some sense to those of you who may be curious as to how I may be related to the Cornett families of Grayson County, Virginia and also of Letcher and Perry County, Kentucky. I believe these places are where my ancestors may have settled. Granted, the flowchart doesn't show all siblings and their children, so this is a very basic flowchart just to give you an idea of sorts. The only discrepancy I noticed was in the last flowchart where it shows Mary Hicks and James Cornett as William Cornett's parents- the dates are all wrong and don't mesh with the rest of the tree itself. So please disregard that part of the tree; hopefully the rest is pretty accurate. 

I welcome any comments and look forward to them! 

Family Tree Flowchart from (which I no longer use) but created snippets of the image and saved to my computer as a JPG file. 

Vector Image Source:


Lady at Computer

Creative image #:97403135
License type:Royalty-free

Amanda Bodack


iStock Vectors

Credit:Amanda Bodack

According to the family tree on the information below shows the path from Earl "John" Cornett down to myself. Now all I need to do is verify this with documented evidence!

Earl "John" Cornett (1696 - 1782)
is your 8th great grandfather
Son of Earl "John"
Son of James C
Son of David
Son of James
Son of David Blue
Son of James Monroe
Son of George Wesley
Daughter of Stuart Monroe
Son of Lucia Rose
You are the daughter of Billy E - (not you?)