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C1D22922-877D-461C-95DF-6C420EC74B49As I watched our grandson practice “long tones” on his clarinet, I realized what an important place music has had in our family over the generations. Musicians in our family have hummed, whistled and sang through the years. They have played a long line of instruments including guitar, ukulele, drums, xylophone, violin, recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, piano and accordion. It’s so true, music unites our family 🎼 

Mom and me sharing a laugh.

This is one of my favorite photos of my mother, Otha Beauchamp Reed, born in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Her family was not enumerated in the 1930 United States census when she was just a girl herself, and I hope to find out where they were living that year to tie up some loose ends in our family history.

This is my challenge, my course of action for the year, my exercise regimen, day in and day out. Hopefully my reward will be to develop a powerful new habit that will make me stronger in all aspects of my life.

My father, Willard William Reed was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. I was told that his family moved around as part of crop harvesting and they were living in Canada when he was born for that reason.

My first goal for 2020 is to request his Canadian birth record and to locate the house they lived in from the information on the 1921 Canadian census.

Did my ancestors follow the harvests?

My great grandfather Thomas Reed (1843-1917) was listed as a farmer living in Indiana and Nebraska in the US Census records of 1870, 1880, 1900 and 1910. His father, Ezekiel Reed (1818-1891) farmed in Indiana as well according to the US Census records of 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880.

With all this in mind, it should be logical to believe the family story my father told that his father, my grandfather Marion William Reed (1870-1951) was a laborer who worked with a group that went from state to state harvesting whatever was ready to pick, pull, pluck or scythe.

That might also explain why their family moved from Indiana, where my grandfather was born, to Nebraska where he met and married Elizabeth Lillian Gotto, my grandmother, to Calgary, Canada where my father was born, to Colorado, Washington and back to Colorado where he is listed on the 1940 census as a farmer.

It must have been hard to follow the crop harvesting cycle, taking temporary jobs in the off season and moving your wife and nine children across country. However, in the early 1900s, times were economically challenging for everyone and I’m proud to see how resourcefulness and following the harvest helped my family survive.


When we visited Hodgenville, KY on a genealogy research trip, we were fortunate to meet Carol in the LaRue County Kentucky Genealogy Society and the great staffers in the LaRue County Public Library. All of these fine folks were so instrumental in guiding our travels through the county roads and through the cemeteries there.

The 1899 map above was a key find, charting the location of farms in the area listed by the names of the landowners in 1899. So many of the names in the county were familiar to us from our family tree. Seeing where they lived made these ancestors come alive once more!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks
Week 2: Challenge

Because my New Year’s resolution was to keep in touch with my DNA matches, it should not have been a surprise when I went to my Ancestry Message Center and found that notes from my “cousin matches” had been piling up.

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round tuit

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.

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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.

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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


Sharing genealogy wisdom from Roberta Estes, whose blog, DNAeXplained – Genetic Genealogy, I follow. 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, released a new feature that uses only your DNA to find your ancestors called New Ancestor Discoveries.  Great idea.  Not terribly accurate – at least…

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