Showing posts from 2012

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

My Orphan Photos

Well, I still haven't found that spark that will again make my family history research an obsession again.  I keep trying to find that one record that will open the door to new avenues of research.  It will come - it always does - but right now I'm still in a rut.

This morning I was searching for some good cooking blogs to follow.  In the process, I came across a couple of blogs about "orphan photos" - old pictures the bloggers have found or purchased and for which they have no information.  This inspired me to post some of my orphan photographs.

I found these photos in a chest containing photos and documents that belonged to my maternal grandmother, Mary Jane Dudley Donaldson (1898 - 1976).  I believe that many of the items in the chest were passed down to her from her mother, Mary Elizabeth Shaper Dudley (1861 - 1947).  I believe that most, if not all, of the photos are family and friends of the Dudley and Shaper families of Clinton and Highland Counties in Ohio. …

1940 Census Indexing

I have been a bad, bad blogger and researcher recently. I go through these periods when I feel like I am hitting brick wall after brick wall and temporarily suspend my research. Then I find one small clue or piece of information, the floodgates open, and I'm back in the swing!

I know I'll get back in the swing in less than three months when the 1940 census is released. I can't wait to find my mom's name in a census for the first time and be able to show it to her. I plan to help in the effort to index the 1940 census. I have started indexing other genealogical records on to become comfortable with indexing before the 1940 census is available. Access to the 1940 census will be free.

If you are interested in helping index the 1940 census, please click this link for more information: