52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks 2019
No more procrastination! First things first!

I’ve just discovered that many of the things I’m setting aside time for now that I’ve retired (on the so-called bucket list) are things that I thought of doing many years ago and put off for one reason or another.

Which leads me to the question, “How do I choose what is most important to do right now with my time? What really should be first in my life?”

For me, the answer is Family. I’ll be spending more time in person with my immediate family and more time with my ancestors through family tree research. Along the way, I hope to become a better genealogist by returning to basics, pruning my family tree and making sure I’ve documented all my sources.

I love to travel and when I do, it will be aimed at discovering and strengthening those ties, past and present. And I hope to inspire future generations to love the stories and memories that have been passed down enough to carry on the genealogy traditions I love.

Looking forward to sharing something each week. The January Prompts are:
Week 1 (January 1-7): First
Week 2 (January 8-14): Challenge
Week 3 (January 15-21): Unusual Name
Week 4 (January 22-28): I’d Like to Meet
Week 5 (January 29-February 4): At the Library

Please share your SMART genealogy resolutions for this year:

Time-Bound or Trackable

Looking back at my lack of dedication to this project in 2015, I am almost afraid to try again. But thank you, Amy Johnson Crow, for giving me another chance.

The prompt for the first week in January is Start. A small word for that all important first step forward, or in the case of genealogists, backward as we search for those who have come before us.

According to my DNA results, my ethnicity is 54 percent Great Britain and 17 percent Ireland/Scotland/Wales. While researching my Scottish seventh great grandfather Thomas Brownlee, 2nd Laird of Torfoot, I found a very interesting story preserved by the Clements family of Cumberland, WA.

Thomas lived an adventurous, daring and dangerous life that’s well documented and fairly easy to trace. Briefly again, Thomas was the second laird of Torfoot. (Laird meant he was a landowner.) Torfoot is still a farm, now owned by the Drummonds, Billy and Carolyn. Thomas was a Covenanter, a member of the Presbyterian religious movement of his time. A librarian at the East Kilbride library in Lanarkshire told me, “Your grandfather was a very brave man. (By being a Covenanter) he defied the king, which in the 1600s was not something many people would have dared to do.” Thomas fought in the Battle of Drumclog near his home, Torfoot. The Covenanters won this battle. But they lost at the Battle of Bothwell Bridge. There, Thomas was wounded, captured and force-marched to Edinburgh. He was imprisoned in Covenanter’s Prison in Edinburgh Kirkyard. Five months later he was taken from Edinburgh Kirkyard to the harbor and Leith Docks. He was put on a ship, the Crown of London, to be transported to Barbados to be a slave there.But the ship wrecked in the Orkney Islands off Mull Head near Scarva Taing about 9 p.m. the night of December 10, 1679. Two hundred Covenanters drowned that night, unable to escape from below decks. There’s a monument to them at the shipwreck site. But Thomas managed to escape, swim to shore, scramble up the dirt cliffs and survive. He made his way back to his home, Torfoot, in Strathaven in southwest Scotland, regained his lands and died there at age 73.

Needless to say, learning this has made me eager to know more about Thomas, Torfoot and other places in Scotland that were so dear to my ancestors.


RootsTech logo.jpg

#NotAtRootsTech  Feb. 8-11 in Salt Lake City, UT

I’m not there 😦 but I can still enjoy the live streaming at https://www.rootstech.org/


Today I’ll be participating in an interesting webinar coordinated by Geoff Rasmussen titled “Strategies to Find the Most Challenging Ancestors with Autosomal DNA Data”.

Being a newbie to DNA testing and wanting to explore my possible cousin matches as well as shake my family tree for common ancestors, this appeals to me, especially since it’s free!

Future Family Tree Webinars that I’ve registered for include:

  •  January 4: Strategies to Find the Most Challenging Ancestors with Autosomal DNA Data by James M. Baker, PhD, CG
  • January 11: Tips and Tricks to Organizing Your Genealogy by Shannon Combs-Bennett
  • January 13: Legacy Family Tree for Complete Beginners by Geoff Rasmussen
  • January 17: Writing Up Your Research by Michael J. Leclerc, CG
  • January 18: Create a Free Google Earth Historic Map Collection for Your Research by Lisa Louise Cooke

You can register for upcoming live webinars at http://www.FamilyTreeWebinars.com.

Please share the kind of webinars you find most interesting and educational.


Going through many of these in our own DNA research. Well worth reading!

DNAeXplained - Genetic Genealogy

Sooner or later, this happens to every genealogist.  You are “gifted” with an ancestor one way or another and either they turn out not to be your ancestor at all, or at least not by that surname.  Then, you have to saw that branch off of your own tree!  Ouch!


There are lots of ways for this to happen, but this past week, we added a new way – and to me – this new avenue is even more frightening because it carries with it the perception of validation by DNA.  After all, DNA doesn’t lie, right?  Well, it doesn’t, IF it’s interpreted correctly. And that IF should be in the largest font size possible.


Bad New Ancestor Discovery (NAD) #1

Yep, last week, Ancestry.com released a new feature that uses only your DNA to find your ancestors called New Ancestor Discoveries.  Great idea.  Not terribly accurate – at least…

View original post 2,884 more words



As we decorate our homes for the holidays, I thought it would be interesting to see how my ancestors would extend greetings of the season in their own native language:

Merry Christmas – England and America: Reed, Mullett, Rankin, Pollard, Hallett, Trostle, Thompson, Dodds, Gray, Cunningham, Shields, Puckett, Stone, Roberts, Garrett, Roberts, Hutchison, Lewis, Magnes, Munson, Gunning, Bailey, Hendricks, Grizzle

Fröhliche Weihnacten – Germany: Gotto, Fromm, Stitz, Massong, Dostert, Thein, Junemann, Kruse, Isenhour, Dahms, Lehrmann,

Nollaig chridheil huibh – Scotland: Brownlee, Hamilton, Ewing, Finney, Hamilton,

Nollaig Shona Dhui – Ireland: Mulhall,

Joyeux Noël – France: Beauchamp,

ᏓᏂᏍᏔᏲᎯᎲ – Cherokee Nation: McGill

Wishing all my followers Peace and Joy in 2016 …

I guess I’m a victim of writer’s block right now and this blog struck me as very honest and creative too. Enjoy!


In this brand new year, with every day just waiting to be lived and more ancestors just waiting to be discovered, there is so much potential for writing new stories. So the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge seems like the perfect way to bring these stories to life.

And since I’m encouraged that I was able to follow through on my resolve to reach out each day to someone who shares and/or is researching my ancestors, I’m going to choose one ancestor each week and write a little story. As Amy Johnson Crow says, “No story is too small.”


Today, I went to the First Monday Trade Days in Canton, TX. Now, I have to tell you right off that this event is monthly, but is held on the Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday BEFORE the first Monday of each month.

It was an ideal day to wander up and down the little roads and dirt pastures covering the 100 plus acres and browse through the nearly 7000 vendor spaces. Sunny, cool and lightly breezy made for a very pleasant experience. We try to go there at least once a year to see the amazing assortment of odds and ends and antiques and junk displayed by sellers from all over to the delight of buyers who are eager for a bargain or something unusual.

However, I can’t look through these forgotten treasures without thinking about the person who once owned them. The grandmother who put up preserves, beets or okra in the pretty blue-green Ball canning jars. The carpenter who carefully held up the old level to the front door frame of his home that he built with his own hands. The little boy who treasured the worn out baseball glove with laces hanging loose from many seasons of play. The little girl who carried the Raggedy Ann doll around by one arm until it almost pulled loose from her hand-sewn body.

For sure, the next time I go through the boxes of my own keepsakes, I’m going to take a minute or two to step back in time to yesterday, once more and think about the people in my family who have left me more than a cast iron skillet, or a Jewel T coffee pot or a depression glass punch bowl or a celluloid dresser set. They have left me a part of themselves, a token of our connectedness. And I’m going to take a photo of each treasure and include it in the media files for each ancestor so I will never forget how special each piece really is.

Do you have some favorite keepsakes from your ancestors? How do you preserve the memories that each one brings with it?


Or in other words, what have I gotten myself into? National Blog Posting Month is a challenge that I’m hoping I have enough words to fill, because there are other challenges that I haven’t done so well at 🙂

During November, I pledge to write a post each day to at least one of my three blogs. Hopefully, I can find enough inspiration to post to more than one, but realistically, I’ll only promise to post to at least one each day. Since AncesTrees is my primary blog, this is where I’ll be writing most often, which means that I’ll be trying hard to find something interesting to say about my ancestors, or genealogy, or family trees, or cemeteries or any of the dozens of tags I’ve attached to this blog. The hardest part, is of course to keep it interesting.

And I pledge to read posts from at least one other blog each day. I’m going to really enjoy this part of the challenge because there are so many fascinating people blogging about everything imaginable. In addition to learning something new each day, I’ll be seeing new styles of writing and ways of thinking! Talk about broadening my horizons, and all without leaving the comfort of my desk chair.

So thanks for hanging with me during the month of November, and if you are participating in NaBloPoMo as well, let me know and I’ll be sure to check out your blog as well.