The Beginning

For several years I had wanted to begin researching my family history, but just never got around to it. One Sunday evening in the early 1990s, I pulled out my Grandma Davis' Bible. Although family births, marriages and deaths weren't recorded in this Bible, it contained notations of scriptures, poems that she wrote and likely intended to set to music she wrote, pictures, report cards, obituaries, and assorted other items that reflected her life.

My grandmother was born Jennie Esther Ballein on July 17, 1901 near Sardinia in Brown County, Ohio. There is a little booklet in the Bible with a handwritten notation, "In case I should die I want this Bible to go to Jennie Esther Ballein, White Oak, Brown Co., Ohio, and no one else." The Bible was originally owned by one of her aunts.

Included in the Bible was an obituary for Lulu Dunn Wardlow, my grandmother's grandmother and my dad's great-grandmother. I noticed that Lulu had died in 1945 and asked my dad if he knew her. He told me he did . I held in my hand my great-great-grandmother's obituary and my dad could tell me a little about her. The next day, I made my first trip to main branch of The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. One of the first books I found was Historical Collections of Brown County, Ohio by Carl N. Thompson. By the time I got home that evening, I had been able to trace back to my fifth great-grandfather in one branch of my grandmother's family. So, the journey began.


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