DNA Testing

So, were you lured by the many advertisements during the holiday season to purchase a DNA testing kit?  I saw commercials, advertisements, and social media posts from Ancestry, 23andMe, and My Heritage.  Did you take the plunge and purchase a kit or, better still, receive one as a gift? 
I had DNA testing done a few years ago through Ancestry DNA.I have had an subscription for years and I find it helpful to link my DNA results to my family tree and view the shared ancestry I have with other members who have done the same.DNA testing can lead me to people who have family pictures, documents, and stories that I have never seen or heard.It can provide the final blow that shatters a brick wall I have been chipping away at for years.
Let’s face it, though – what many people are really interested in is their ethnic composition.  Here is my Ethnicity Estimate:
If you are only interested in your ethnic composition, it might be wise to restrict your privacy settings so …

Small Town News

Over the past couple of days I have been doing a lot of newspaper research.  I love reading old newspaper articles.  The minute detail of every aspect of small town life can be entertaining.  Can you imagine supper at your parents’ house making the local news?   How would you like the neighbors talking about the reason for your recent hospitalization over a game of cards?  Few details of small town life were off limits in the local newspapers.
I will focus this post on the tidbits I found on my maternal grandmother Mary Jane Dudley Donaldson’s family.  Her uncle L.J. Dudley was an attorney and his travels throughout Highland and Clinton Counties were well documented in the local papers.  The News Herald of Hillsboro had a tantalizing tidbit about one of L.J.’s trips in its May 6, 1897 edition:  “There must be something attractive in Wilmington for L.J. Dudley, as he has been there twice in one week.”
I’m intrigued, as I am sure were the citizens of his hometown of Lynchburg, Ohio.  Wilm…

My Mom's Oral History

Wow, it has been a long time since I published a blog article.  Although my genealogical research continues, I just haven't had the patience and focus needed to compose an article.  Today, however, I had an experience that I just have to share.  I recorded my mom's oral history.

Recently, my cousin Sue's son, Josh, posted a teaser for a video biography he is working on for his mother's family.  He interviewed his mom and her sisters and brothers about their family.  I was so impressed that I thought it was time I recorded my mom's history, which I have thought about doing for several years.

Several years ago, I gave my mom a book with a list of questions about her life with space for her to write her responses.  My mom is a wonderful writer, but she never even started it.  My maternal grandmother and dad both started writing their life stories and although these writings are certainly treasures, they only scratch the surface of their life experiences.

When I asked …

Uncle Tom

My grand-uncle Thomas Napoleon Dudley was born December 12, 1890 in a one-room cabin in Clark Township, Clinton County, Ohio.   He was the fifth of six sons born to Jesse and Mary Shaper Dudley.  My grandmother, Mary Dudley Donaldson, was the youngest of the Dudley children and the only girl.
The earliest clear photo of Tom shows a sweet-faced teenager with a determined expression.  After working as a laborer for a few years in his hometown of Lynchburg, Ohio, on October 1, 1913 he enlisted in the United States Navy at Cincinnati, Ohio.  The country boy wanted to see the world.  His enlistment papers state that Tom was 5’ 9 ¾” and weighed 145 pounds with hazel eyes, auburn hair, a ruddy complexion, and scars on his left knee and his left index finger.  He had a star tattoo on his left forearm, a common tattoo among sailors symbolizing their hope to find their way home safely.  He reported to the Naval Training Station at Norfolk, Virginia as an apprentice seaman a few days later.
In …

It Was 80 Years Ago Today . . .

80 years ago today, June 19, 1932, my dad, Russell Lee Davis, was born to Quincy and Esther Davis in Williamsburg, Ohio.  As I was leaving work today, I pondered what I could write about him in honor of his birthday.  One thought led to another and I decided upon his love (or hatred, I'm not sure which) of politics.

My dad was not an educated man.  He wasn't exactly a devoted student and didn't graduate from high school.  However, he read the newspaper from cover to cover, watched the evening news and news programs, and read news magazines.  He understood the news of the day and the news makers.

When describing prominent citizens in old county histories, the subject's political affiliation was typically noted.  Being fiercely pro-union, my dad would have likely identified himself as a Democrat, though he wasn't really a big fan of either party.  Sometimes he voted, sometimes he didn't, though he would never hesitate to try to influence his family members' …

2012 National Genealogical Society Conference

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been in a research rut and needed some inspiration.  I was hoping the 1940 census would do it.  I found my parents and other family members, but as exciting as it was (for me at least) to show my mom her name on the census, there were no groundbreaking discoveries.

However, last week I attended the National Genealogical Society conference in my hometown of Cincinnati.  Well, now I am inspired!  I have so many new ideas and research techniques, I don't know where to start.

My plan in attending the conference was to learn about new resources, since I felt I was out of ideas.  Although I learned about  resources that were new to me, it was much more exciting to learn about research techniques from top genealogists.  If you ever have the opportunity to hear Elizabeth Shown Mills or Thomas W. Jones speak, I highly recommend them.  All of the sessions were excellent, but these two speakers opened my mind to new research possibilities.

I hope tha…

Brown County, Ohio Genealogy Facebook Group

For those of you who, like me, are researching ancestors in Brown County, Ohio and have Facebook accounts, there is now a Facebook group devoted to Brown County genealogy.  The link is