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Showing posts from 2011

What If?

A few years ago I was walking from my bus stop to work.As I approached a street where the traffic travelled one way to the north, the “Don’t Walk” signal began flashing.I heard sirens approaching as I stopped at the corner.As I stood there, I saw a car speeding on the intersecting street with a police car in pursuit.The car turned south onto the street I was preparing to cross.It was a “What If?” moment.What if my bus had been just a couple of seconds earlier or I had walked a little faster or I hadn’t stopped to let someone exit the bus before me?I would have arrived at the corner before the “Don’t Walk” signal started flashing and likely been in the middle of that street at exactly the time that car made the wrong-way turn to elude the police. Our lives are filled with these What If moments.However, we are also the result of What If moments in our ancestors’ lives.It is awesome to contemplate how events in our ancestors’ lives, some seemingly insignificant, resulted in our very exist…

Santford and Sarah Ogden

I'm getting lazy.  I will be taking the easy way out this week and instead of writing my own post, I will let the September 7, 1905 News Democrat do the writing for me. 

To provide a little background (well, maybe I'm not so lazy after all), Santford Ogden was born March 19, 1836 in Clark Township, Brown County, Ohio, the son of Alfred and Hannah Harriet Leonard Ogden.  Sarah Steward was born February 17, 1838 to Francis and Catherine Price Steward.  Santford and Sarah were married in Brown County and had at least ten childen, including my great-grandmother, Rosa Ogden Davis.  The article that follows describes their golden wedding anniversary celebration.

The golden wedding of Sanford Ogden and wife of this place was celebrated on Saturday August 26, 1905, with a large dinner and family reunion, their nine living children all being present for the first time in ten years. About the noon hour the ladies began to bring out the baskets and boxes and the men began to prepare a t…

Charles Henry Dudley - A Life in Pictures

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A few years ago I was looking through a collection of family photographs and mementos.I was struck by the number of photos of my grand-uncle, Charles Henry Dudley and his family.

Uncle Charlie was the eldest son of Jesse and Mary Shaper Dudley and brother of my grandmother Mary Dudley Donaldson.He was born October 18, 1878 in Clark Township, Clinton County, Ohio.Below is the earliest photo I have of Charlie.   
Charlie grew up in Clark Township with his brothers Lew, Frank, Ab, Tom, and Clarence.By the time my grandma was born in 1898, Charlie was already a young man.Just a little over a year later, Charlie married the pretty Anna Dora Meyer and they made their home in Clark Township near his aunt Marietta Dudley Himes and her family.Charlie worked as a day laborer.

On August 14, 1900, Anna gave birth to the couple’s first child, Walter Sherman Dudley.Sadly, the child died on September 17, 1900.After Walter’s death, Charlie and Anna had three more sons.James Logan was bor…

The Rusks

This blog has, unintentionally, become the means for me to fill in gaps in my research.When writing a post, my usual process goes something like this: (1) I choose a subject for my post, (2) I review the information I have on that subject, (3) I realize I don’t have as much information on the subject as I thought, (4) I do additional research on the subject, and (5) I compose the post.This week’s post certainly fits this pattern. James Rusk is my fourth great grandfather (James Rusk – Jane Rusk – James Donaldson – David Donaldson – Eddie Earl Donaldson – my mom – me).I thought I had sufficient information on him, since I had his Revolutionary War pension file and he had a famous grandson about whom much was written.But, as usual, once I looked a little closer at my research I realized I didn’t have as much information as I thought.I even made a mostly unproductive trip to the Main Branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to try to gather more information.So, alth…

Where Were You?

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Last week I shared my memories of the days surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.This week, I have asked family members to help me out by sharing their memories of other modern historical events.The family members who were kind enough join me in sharing memories are my mom, my cousins Mary and Sue, and my niece Alyssa. In my early years of researching my family history, I tried to better understand my ancestors’ lives by considering the historical events during their lives.However, I found that it wasn’t really meaningful to me because I had no idea how these events directly affected my ancestors or their feelings about these events.Hopefully, this blog will survive the current generations of my family be meaningful to future generations of our family.


Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day), August 15, 1945 My mom shared the following memories of V-J Day:

When Japan surrendered on August 15, 1945, I can remember hearing all the church bells ringing.We lived on Bedford Street in F…

Modern History

I’m sure I don’t need to tell anyone that next Sunday is the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.I’m also sure that each of us has a story to tell about the 9-11 attacks.As I do my genealogical research, I am often frustrated that it is only possible to get small glimpses of my ancestors’ lives and not really get to know the person.  I would like to know how their lives were impacted by what we now consider history.  I hope this blog will survive in some form for a long time and that someday future generations of our family will be interested in how major historical events impacted our lives.Today, I will share my recollections of September 11, 2001.Next week, I hope to share other family members’ memories of the major events of our time. My 9-11 memory actually begins before September 11, 2001.It starts on Sunday September 2, 2001, the day before Labor Day.There is a carillon in Mariemont, Ohio with concerts every Sunday and on holidays.Although I had often heard parts of these conce…

Happy Sylvester Shaw

From the November 28, 1875 Cincinnati Daily Enquirer:

HAPPY SYLVESTER SHAW, of Russellville, Brown County, Ohio! On Tuesday he celebrated his seventy-fifth birthday in company with his twenty-one children. After dinner he took them out to the mud road in front of the house, and the old man left them all in a scrub race of a hundred yards. The ole man then showed his wondering offspring what boys could do when he was young. He jumped a nine-rail fence without touching his hands, climbed a branch of the apple tree nineteen times, climbed to the top of the well-pole hand over hand, threw a bull calf over the house, and ripped the back seam of his pants in the effort, and told the old woman "if she didn't fix 'em afore mornin' he'd knock the socks off of her!" Hale old SYLVESTER SHAW! Long live the oldest inhabitant!
What a man!  This incredible specimen of manhood was my fourth great-grandfather.  Sylvester Shaw was born November 19, 1800 in Rensellaer County, Ne…

Clearing the Air

I’ll always remember the day I stood in the Wardlow Cemetery, looking at my great-grandfather Hite Ballein’s grave and telling my parents that if I would ever do any family history research, I would like to research the Ballein family.At that time, I was most interested in the Ballein family for a couple of reasons.First, I bear a resemblance to my grandmother, Jennie Esther Ballein, who died when I was a toddler and whom I don’t remember.Second, I was intrigued with the unusual Ballein surname, as well as the name Hite. Of course, I did begin researching my family history, starting with my paternal grandmother’s branch of the family, which includes the Balleins.I then branched out to the other side of my dad’s family and later to my mom’s family also.Along the way I have met a lot of distant relatives with whom I have shared information and am always excited when I meet a “new” relative.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much success with the family that inspired me to start this journey, t…

What's in a Name?

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My recent posts have been a little depressing with tales of hardship and tragic death. This week, I would like to take on a lighter subject – the interesting names of some of the people in my family tree.Now, I realize that some of these names weren’t too unusual in the era in which they were bestowed upon my family members, but they sound a little strange now. ·ELIHU EMBREEElihu Embree was the grandson of my fifth great-grandfather Moses Embree and nephew of my fourth great-grandmother Rebekah Embree Hockett (Rebekah – Prudence Hockett Lamb – Nathan Lamb – Mary Lamb Donaldson – Eddie Earl Donaldson – my mom – me).Elihu was born into the Quaker Embree family on November 8, 1782, the son of Thomas and Esther Coulson Embree.If you wish to research Elihu, you will have little trouble finding information, since he holds the distinction of publishing the first abolitionist newspaper in the United States, the Manumission Intelligencer.Elihu died at the age of 38 on December 4, 1820.
·PLEASANT…

Donaldsons on the Frontier

I have to admit that it wasn’t easy for me to become excited about researching the Donaldson family, my maternal grandfather’s family.Maybe it was because until my grandfather, Eddie Earl Donaldson, moved here in the 1910s, none of my direct Donaldson ancestors lived in southwestern Ohio.So, information on the Donaldson family wasn’t as easy for me to come by as it was for other branches of my family.

For quite a while, I wasn’t able to trace any further back than my fourth great-grandfather, Ebenezer Donaldson and his wife, Rebecca Hillis Donaldson.Then one day I came across A History of the Donaldson Family and Its Connections by Alexander Donaldson on Google Books.The story told in this book of Ebenezer’s parents and grandparents, if accurate, is quite incredible.  Personally, I am a bit of a skeptic about some of this story, since much of it was passed on through family tradition.I have found additional information from other sources, some that corroborates the information in the D…

Putting Things in Perspective

Last week I wrote about what I learned about Campbell Dudley’s death from the military pension application filed by his mother, Lettitia Dudley.My primary objective in ordering the pension file was to learn more about Lettitia.Most of what I knew about Lettitia and her husband Thomas I learned from the Dudley album I received from my great-uncle Clarence Dudley’s step-grandson a year and a half ago. I have gleaned other information from the usual genealogical sources, mostly census records. Iva Lettitia Tankersley was born January 18, 1811 in Virginia.There is a Virginia marriage record that indicates that a Thomas Dudley married a “Malitia Tankesley” in Pittsylvania County, Virginia on November 17, 1830.However, the Dudley album states that Thomas and Lettitia were married in 1829 and moved from Virginia to Ohio.The Dudleys’ first child, Matilda, was born on October 11, 1830 and died June 24, 1831.They then had ten more children, Absalom, Robert, Campbell, William, John, Jane, twins J…