State Fair Slider Recipe

State Fair SliderThese tasty sliders are a favorite of my son “Buddy”. Every time I have to go out for essential supplies during our Covid-19 stay-at-home period, I prepare by asking my guys if there is anything in particular they would like me to make these next couple of weeks. This last time Buddy requested these.

I discovered the original recipe last October as I was preparing for Buddy’s game night/Halloween party. If you have been to any of our parties or other get-togethers, you would know that I tend to go all out and often a bit overboard in my preparations and the spread. Nobody goes away hungry; that’s for sure!

I believe that I got this from my mom, Carol Elizabeth WILLIAMS LAKEY. She always made a lot of food for any of our family holidays and celebrations (even when they weren’t at our house) as well as feeding us teenagers during our many sleepover parties.

A few years ago when I reconnected with a dear friend from my teen years, she talked a lot about the spreads my mom always made for our sleepovers. That is well over three decades and the memories are still vivid for one of my guests. That says a lot! I hope that my son’s friends remember our parties fondly for even half of that time. It definitely has become a family tradition!

Now, let’s get to the recipe. It is so convenient that these bake in a 350 degree oven, since several of my other slider recipes and many of my side dishes also bake in a 350 degree oven. 

Pan of State Fair Sliders

I originally discovered the recipe here. I changed it up accidentally the first time I made them and have done it that way on purpose ever since. My way is a bit easier, doesn’t require the egg or mayonnaise, has less salt, requires one less baking dish, and just makes more sense to me and my way of cooking. When preparing a big spread, all of the above can make a big difference. My sliders may be a bit more messy, but BOY! do they taste amazing!

State Fair Sliders

Ingredients

1 package white dinner rolls
1 1/2 lb ground beef
4 strips of bacon, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp granulated garlic – or to taste
1/2 tsp pepper – or to taste
2-3 large yellow onions
Avocado oil (or EVOO, etc), 2 generous times around the skillet (2 tbsp?)
12 slices of American cheese, divided
2 tbsp butter, melted

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Add Avocado oil to a large skillet and turn the heat up to medium.
  • Slice the onions and saute them in the large skillet; stirring every few minutes until the onions are translucent and slightly browned. This usually takes about 15 minutes.
  • You can either use two large skillets (for the onions and the meat mixture) and save time or put the sauteed onions aside in a bowl when done and reuse that same skillet. I have done it both ways, It honestly depends on what is more important at the time: speed or less dishes.
  • In a large skillet, combine the ground beef, bacon, Worcestershire sauce, granulated garlic, and pepper. Break the meat up into small pieces as it cooks. Brown the meat until cooked through.
  • While keeping the rolls connected and in one piece,  gently slice through the middle to make a bottom layer and a top layer. I usually end up cutting the rolls apart (6 rolls still connected together and then the other 6 rolls still connected together). It is usually easier for me and there is less chance of cutting them so unevenly that it negatively affects one of the layers. I just make sure that I know which tops go back onto which bottoms.
  • Place the bottom rolls in a greased baking dish.
  • Add 6 slices of American cheese to cover the bottom rolls; go to the edges of the rolls. I often tear up an additional piece of cheese in order to cover each bite in cheese.
  • Carefully spoon the meat mixture over the cheese layer.
  • Spread the sauteed onions evenly over the beef mixture. This can seem to be too much filling, but it is SO good! You can use less, if desired. Either way, try to make the meat and onion layers flat and covering all of the rolls.
  • Add another layer of 6 slices of American cheese. I often tear up another piece of cheese and cover each bite like before.
  • Place the top layer of rolls on top. Press down gently.
  • Brush the top with melted butter.
  • Cook for 10-12 minutes.
  • When finished baking, carefully cut and separate each slider; take care to get all the way through the bottoms.
  • You may have to use a spatula and another slimmer utensil to get them out in one piece, so you don’t spill out any of the goodness. It’s definitely worth it, though.  😉

Enjoy!

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Charles Oscar and Mary Irene Porter ~ Wordless Wednesday

I discovered both of these pictures recently. What treasures!

Charles Oscar PORTER (April 2, 1884 – April 19, 1946) and Mary Irene Saphronia Jasmine SMITH (July 4, 1890 – June 25, 1947) were the parents of Ruby Irene PORTER (March 24, 1928 – May 13, 2010). Ruby Irene was my maternal grandma.

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My Latest DNA Ethnicity Updates

Well, it’s that time again. I always get a bit excited when I hear there is a new update to any of the DNA companies’ estimations. No, DNA does not change, but their comparison algorithms do. They are supposed to get more accurate as time goes on, since they are continuing to learn and add more base tests from specific ethnic groups.

I have sometimes been discouraged with the updates; like when they take away something I know I should have and/or lump more of my DNA into some of those “Broadly” this or that categories. I have lately been constantly checking my Ancestry page for my updates. Some people got theirs way before I got mine, so I knew this one was coming for awhile.

These latest updates are generally being embraced by me. Definitely more than some previous ones….lol My last 23andMe update took away my tiny bit of Native American as well as good chunks of my Iberian and Scandinavian, but they were looking closer to my paper trail than Ancestry all along. Don’t get me wrong. I do love that I tested with Ancestry, since it has been the most important site in helping me discover who my biological father was, but their ethnicity estimates were more generalized with my particular DNA.

Anyway, I have received new updates from three companies since my latest post about my estimates from all the different companies. To clarify: I tested at both Ancestry and 23andMe. I then uploaded my raw DNA data to other places like My Heritage, WeGene, and GEDMatch; all for no additional charges.

First up is the update I received today from Ancestry.

Here is the update I received this morning.

Ancestry DNA Results as of 11 16 2019

Here is my previous Ethnicity Breakdown from Ancestry.

AncestryDNAChart

Basically, Ancestry’s most recent update focused further in on my DNA related to English, Irish, Scottish, Welch, etc. and separated them a bit better. I honestly believe that I could have a bit more in the Irish and Scottish section due to my current understanding and extent of my paper trail, but this could easily be due to how we each get our DNA. It isn’t literally half of the ethnicities of each of our parents. It is a very random combination that is basically fifty percent from each parent. My most recent estimate is most definitely closer to my paper trail in regards to my Scottish and Irish ancestry.

I did lose some of my Scandinavian, which should not have happen considering what I am finding on my paper trail. The Norwegian part could be correct, but not dropping to about half the previous amount which I assume included my Swedish and Finnish. I honestly do not yet know where the Norwegian comes in. I just know I have some Swedish ancestors along my paper trail in a few different areas.

My French appears to have disappeared, too. Of course, that was more clearly shown on other estimates all along, so Ancestry may not have enough French base testers or something. I was actually surprised to see French in the beginning of this journey, but have found direct ancestors on both of my parents’ sides that are clearly from France. Were they all genetically French or did they just live there for a few generations? I am not totally sure, yet, but the surnames also fit for French.

The Germanic Europe part that I have now makes sense, but I am not totally clear where it fits in, yet. I keep seeing this pop up in my results, so I think it mostly has to be from a few branches that I don’t have as far back. That or it could be from times of conquering countries mixing up the DNA or something.

Now let’s look at my 23andMe update.

This is my most recent 23andMe update.

23andMe as of 11 16 2019

This was my previous update from 23andMe.

23andMe 2nd version 7 30 2018

And these were my first results from 23andMe.

My Compositon of Ethnic Groups

I’m unfortunately back to 100 percent European. I say unfortunately, because I was raised to believe that I was a true “Heinz 57” mix which included some Native American from at least two sides. My first update included a little bit, but they took it away with this update.  😦  They probably saw it as “noise” this time and just lumped it in with my other categories.

My British and Irish section could be about right. My guess is that I am probably at least twenty-five percent Scottish and Irish, if not more. I thought at the first that I was a lot more Irish than Scottish, but the paper trail is looking like I am actually quite a bit more Scottish. I still have plenty of Irish going on in there, though. I am proud of this and it explains a lot of things.

My Scandinavian is back up and actually shows a bit more here on this latest 23andMe estimate. That’s good, since I know I have enough that it should show up in my DNA.

My Iberian has been absorbed somewhere, it seems; likely in one of the “Broadly” categories. This was something I had no idea about before being tested. A lot of my DNA matches on my biological father’s side on 23andMe also have Iberian DNA (or at least they used to). I discovered recently that one of my way back great-grandmothers was royalty “from the Spanish line”. I cannot find her on my tree at this moment, but she is back far enough in my tree that it is highly unlikely that my Iberian is only from her. 

My 23andMe results always have shown more French and German than I think it should have. It also appears that I should have more French than German, but on my results it shows (deeper down than this graphic shows) that I likely have both although it only knows actual regions related to the German in me. This is another reason why I suspect that a lot of the few branches that are rather short on my tree might have initially been from Germany. Since they actually have narrowed down my particular DNA as matching DNA from some specific locations in Germany… I think it MUST be in there. I just have to find where I got it from. I think my German is probably about ten percent with French being the rest. I would not be surprised (by looking at my paper trail) if my French DNA was at least ten percent on its own.

As for the Southern European and Broadly European, I am guessing that the bit of Italian I saw on another company’s estimate (updated my raw data there, too), is probably in there, too. My paternal grandma’s side has some royalty from Italy on the paper trail, so that’s cool! I also have family way back from several countries (like Austria, Poland, etc) that would be included in here.

Last, but not least, let’s look at my update from My Heritage.

This is my current update from My Heritage.

My Heritage as of 11 16 2019

Here is my original estimate from My Heritage.

My Heritage Breakdown List

My Irish, Scottish, and Welsh went up and I believe this is probably a bit high. Yes, I definitely have some of all three of these, but unless there were many more who originally came from these countries and just moved to England… then this is too high. Like I said earlier, I think I am more like a fourth Scottish and Irish and then “a few drops” of Welsh.

My Scandinavian went up on this estimate and is much closer to the estimates of my Scandinavian from other companies.

My English is most definitely way too low. Their initial estimate of my English DNA was probably too low as well, but there is no way I only have about one percent English. They could have absorbed a lot of my English in the North and West European that about doubled. I would be really happy if I had more variety and not as much English, but unless A LOT of my branches moved to England early on and lived there for several generations (while actually being Irish or Scottish)… it is not so. I have nothing against being English. I just REALLY thought I was a much bigger variety of ethnicities. It honestly has been disappointing to me to not have a lot more variety.

Now, that Middle Eastern lost two-tenths of a percent, but it’s still there. That baffles and intrigues me, totally! I would LOVE to know where that comes from!

Do you need to order some DNA tests? Remember that there are going to be great sales for the holidays. Ancestry’s has already started. Please follow my links to purchase your DNA tests. This does not cost you any more money at all to use my links (and sometimes you can save 15%). If you do use my links, however, I will get a small reward for sending you there.

Click here to purchase DNA tests from Ancestry.com.

Click here to purchase DNA tests from 23andMe.

Have you been surprised by any of your updates? Let me know about it in the comments section.

 

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Martha Agnes FRARY’s Obituary

Martha Agnes Frary Obituary

Ever since I began my hobby of genealogy back in 1987 when I was pregnant with my daughter, I have wondered about my maternal grandpa’s mom. Why did she die so young and what was she like?

My grandma (wife of my maternal grandpa) told me that Martha Agnes passed away when she was 23 (when my grandpa was just a toddler and his older sister was a few years older), that she was Choctaw (probably about 1/2 or 1/4), and then just her name and basic dates. We had her born on June 27, 1900, and passing away on July 6, 1923, for all of these years and many others have those same dates online including “Find A Grave” citations. The stone on her grave says that she was born July 27, 1897, and she passed away on July 6, 1923. This gravestone appears to be MUCH newer than anywhere around 1923, so that explains why these dates are so off, too. The 1900 United States Census also puts Agnes at being born sometime in 1899 or 1900 because she was less than one year old when the census was taken; not being born as early as 1897.

Looking back on these dates tonight, I realize that I had just followed the family story regarding the ages of my grandpa and his sister when their mom passed away and never questioned them. Now knowing that my grandpa probably did not personally remember his mom at all due to his age at her death, make this even sadder to me.

I discovered a copy of my great-grandma’s obituary last night and am amazed at the virtual gold I have discovered with this. We not only have her correct dates, but we also can now know more about her life and her faith. This is the real gold to me. I always love knowing more about my family members and finding this obituary truly fills in many blanks.

Here is the transcription of the original obituary (seen above) in the “Fort Scott Weekly Tribune-Monitor,” page 8, on Thursday, July 12, 1923:

Martha Agnes FRARY WILLIAMS’ Obituary

~~~~~~~~~~

AGNES FRARY-WILLIAMS DEAD

“Young Mother, Who Had Heat Prostration on Ozark Trip, Died At Seven O’Clock Last Night.”

“Unusually sad is the death of Mrs. Agnes Frary Williams, wife of Arthur J. Williams, of 121 So. Lincoln Street, who died last night at 7 p.m. at the home of her mother, Mrs. Alice Frary, 706 So. Wilson Street.

Mrs. Williams’ death was the result of heat prostration, she having been overcome while on a vacation trip to Eureka Springs, Ark., two weeks ago Sunday. Her condition became critical, while at Joplin, Mo., and her mother was called to her bedside. The patient wanted to come to the old home, where she was born. Realizing the end was near, Mrs. Williams said, “The Father has called me. I am going home.”

A few hours before she became unconscious she sang a favorite hymn, “Trust and Obey,” prayed and recited Scripture.

Beside the bereaved husband, she leaves two small children, Genevieve, 3 years old, and Carlton, 1 year old last March. Left to mourn are her aged mother, Mrs. Alice Frary, three brothers: Claude, a mail carrier of Fort Scott; Reed of Lenexa, Kans., who is here and Robert, of Chicago, Illinois; three sisters, Mrs. Edna Brannen of Prescott, Ariz,. Mrs. Cora Thornton of Wilsonville, Ore.; and Mrs. Irene Bach of St. Louis, who is expected.

Three brothers are deceased: Daniel Hays, who died in infancy; John Franklin, of Co. G. 137th infantry, killed in the Argonne in 1918; and Fred Lee, who died two years ago.

Martha Agnes Frary, was the daughter of Sherman Frary, a veteran mail carrier, and Mrs. Frary. She was born in Fort Scott, July 27th, 1899, and would have been 24 years old her next birthday. She attended the public schools, three years in high school, when she took a position with the telephone company.

She was married five years ago next fall to Arthur J. Williams. When a child she was baptized in the Grace M.E. Church, but since her marriage has been identified with the Nazarene Church. She manifested a beautiful Christian faith. A wide circle of friends who knew Mrs. Williams’ kindly influence and devotion to her family, regret her death in the prime of life.

By her request, the Rev. W.L. Morris, of La Harpe, Kans., former pastor of the Grace Church, will conduct the funeral, which will probably be held Monday morning from the home of the mother, 706 South Wilson Street. Burial will be in the family lot at Centerville.  Word is being awaited from distant relatives.”

~~~~~~~~~~

My Thoughts and Questions After Reading This Obituary

What Is Heat Prostration? And then: What Exactly Is Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke and How Do They Differ?

I first of all wanted to know what heat prostration is and more about the fatal consequences of this. Heat prostration is also known as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.  Agnes’ cause of death according to her obituary was Heat Prostration.

I have personally had a somewhat substantial case of heat exhaustion back around 1998. They said it was a case of heat stroke, but reading about it now, it was definitely more of a really bad case of heat exhaustion (except I HAD stopped sweating). Thankfully it was NOT heat stroke in my case, in my opinion. That being said… it was still extremely miserable! …and I had modern medicine and air conditioning to help me.

I also had a severe fever of 105 when I was a teenager. This was from being really sick with what turned out to be a severe kidney infection and not heat exhaustion related, but I remember being totally delirious from this high fever and my mom putting me in a room temperature bath. It did not go well… but the fever DID break. This turned out to be an older treatment, but my mom didn’t know that it was no longer a recommended one, because of the consequences from doing this. That also being said… I can only imagine my great-grandma’s experience.

Heat exhaustion usually includes a fever that is no higher than 104 degrees, excessive thirst, nausea, fainting, cool/clammy skin, muscle aches, heavy sweating, weakness, slow heartbeat, rapid pulse, and dizziness. Heat stroke may develop if heat exhaustion is not treated.

Heat stroke happens at 104 degrees or higher. It can cause permanent damage to your brain and other vital organs that can result in death. At 104 degrees in body temperature, your brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles can become damaged; leading to serious complications or death… even today.

Usually with heat exhaustion, a patient is sweating a lot, although with heat stroke, the patient has stopped sweating and are actually dry. This isn’t always true, but usually.

Questions About What My Grandpa Knew

  • Did Grandpa even remember his mom? I do not see how, since he was less than a year and a half. His older sister, Genevieve, very likely only remembered a few things, if anything at all, since she was just 3 years old. If she did remember, did she tell my grandpa much about their mom? (Genevieve passed away less than 8 years later at the age of 11.)
  • Did my great-grandpa talk much about his first wife? Maybe not. That generation, in my experience, do/did not talk about the hard times and/or upsetting situations that much. I think this could be a part of why there are conflicting dates all around about Agnes.
  • Did my grandpa know that his mom passed away because of something on a vacation to the Ozarks? I’m not sure. It was never brought up in front of me by my grandma (his wife) or my mom even when we went to the Ozarks often. Grandpa was even the one who took me to the bus when I went to camp in the Ozarks. He never showed any hesitation about it or anything. If he knew the details, would our family still have gone there so much? Especially, without ever mentioning it?

What Did I Learn?

  • I learned why/how Agnes died and her true birth date and date of her death.
  • I learned the actual addresses of my great-grandparents as well as the address of my great-great-grandma (which also happens to be where Agnes was born).
  • Agnes wanted to be with her mother in the end and to pass in the home she was born in. This shows me how much she loved her mother and her first home.
  • Agnes was a lot like my great-great-Aunt Susie when she passed away. Something I will always remember. Agnes was singing, praying, and reciting scripture at the end. She obviously was a great witness and full of amazing faith! I also love how she said, “The Father has called me; I am going home.” Sad for those remaining, but SO beautiful for her.
  • It truly appears that Agnes was extremely well-loved by family and neighbors alike. She also appears to be intelligent and very well-spoken.
  • I learned more complete names of some of her siblings and that she had another brother I never knew about who died in infancy. I also learned where they all lived when Agnes passed away.
  • I now know the military company, where, and when her brother John Franklin Frary was killed in the war. All I knew before was that he was the first one killed during the war from Fort Scott or Bourbon County (or maybe the state of Kansas?) and they named the Frary Field (a stadium in Fort Scott, Kansas) after him, because of that.
  • Agnes completed three years of high school and then worked for the telephone company before she got married less than five years before her death.

I am thankful that I discovered this obituary and that I can now know a lot more about my great-grandma Martha Agnes FRARY WILLIAMS. Even if her life was not remembered very well or correctly before, it will be from now on. I will never forget what I learned about her through this and will always admire this young lady who left us WAY too soon.

Where Does Martha Agnes FRARY Fit Into Our Family Tree?

Martha Agnes FRARY was the mother of Carlton Nathanial WILLIAMS, Sr.

Carlton Nathanial Williams, Sr and Ruby Irene PORTER were the parents of Carol Elizabeth WILLIAMS, who was my mom.

Martha Agnes FRARY was my great-grandma on my maternal grandpa’s side.

Martha Agnes FRARY WILLIAMS
July 27, 1899 ~ July 11, 1923

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Finally Chipping at that Wall

It has finally happened! I’ve been actively doing genealogy since 1987 when I was pregnant with my oldest. Pretty much since day one, there has been a brick wall that has refused to be broken down. The wall is just beyond my great-great-grandma on my mom’s mom’s side. Sarah Elizabeth Jasmine Carter MEREDITH (SMITH) was as far as I could go.

My grandma told me starting in 1987 that Sarah Elizabeth’s parents were likely James Henry Meredith (who died at least by the time Sarah Elizabeth was 16 years old) and Sarah (who’s mom’s last name was probably something like Hendricks… but we didn’t know if HENDRICKS was her maiden or married name). Sarah Elizabeth was also supposed to have two brothers who were lawyers.

Well, DNA has come to the rescue! I now can chip away at part of that wall. Mostly, part of her father’s side.

Barbara Bell Whisenhunt

Barbara “Barbery” BELL (WHISENHUNT)

DNA links me as being highly likely a descendant from John Thomas MEREDITH as my 4th great-grandfather with 40 DNA Matches who know that they are also descended from him. This could possibly mean that he could be my uncle and I am just directly descended from his father William MEREDITH (1778-1830)…. BUT, I am also directly descended from John Thomas MEREDITH’s wife’s parents: Adam WHISENHUNT and Barbara BELL. So, unless there is a double cousin type of thing going on, I should be directly related to John Thomas MEREDITH. The picture over to the left is Barbara BELL (WHISENHUNT). I’m not sure if she “looks” 100 percent Cherokee, though. What do you think?

Anyway, John Thomas MEREDITH just happens to be the father of Henry MEREDITH (1836-1865) who married Nancy Jane HENDRIX (1842-1873). This looks like it should be my direct line. The problem is that Nancy Jane died long before Sarah Elizabeth was supposed to have gone to the school for the blind at around the age of 16 with “her mother”. BTW Henry and Nancy Jane happen to have two sons along with a Sarah Elizabeth (as well as their Sarah Elizabeth having the same birth and death dates). It really looks like if Henry and Nancy Jane are not my 3rd great-grandparents, then I am descended from a brother of Henry.

I also have found Sarah J. MEREDITH at the age of 16 in the 1880 census in St. Louis, Missouri. She is listed as living only with her mother, Seraphim MEREDITH, and Sarah J. (my 2nd great-grandma) was listed as “Sick: Opthalmist”. This has to be my great-great-grandma, but who is Seraphim? If her biological mom was Nancy Jane HENDRIX, who continued raising Sarah Elizabeth (since both of her parents appear to have died by the time she was 10 years old)? Did someone named Seraphim/Sarah MEREDITH continue raising her? Who knows?

So what do I know?

My 5th great-grandparents are:

William MEREDITH (1778-1830) who was the son of Junor MEREDITH (Abt. 1752 – Abt. 1831… and Junor was really spelled that way in this instance) and Mary “Polly” (Abt. 1755 – 1834). — and his wife: Rosanna “Rosey” HEARD (1782-1809) who was the daughter of William HEARD (1754 – March 7, 1810) and Jane HICKEY (1765 – August 15, 1852).

…and on the other side… Adam WHISENHUNT (1769 – October 14, 1849) who was the son of George Michael WHISENHUNT (February 10, 1734 – 1815) and Elizabeth CARMON (1750-1770).  —  and his wife: Barbara “Barbery” BELL (1771- December 31, 1870). She was supposed to be 100 percent Cherokee Indian. This would count for the fact that we were told that my 2nd great-grandma was supposed to be either half or full Cherokee…. just inflated a bit.

I have just a few drops of Native American in one of my DNA tests. The other one totally misses it. If it was my 5th great-grandma who was full, that could have easily washed out/disappeared from my DNA. She had one of those longhouse type of homes (much smaller though) built over her gravesite (which was a Native American tradition). This longhouse was there well into modern time until the landowner at the time bulldozed the whole cemetery (headstones and all), so there would not be a reason for family to visit anymore. Yes, you read that correctly.

Something else worthy of noting is that Nancy Jane HENDRIX (wife of Henry MEREDITH and potentially Sarah Elizabeth’s mom) lived in “District 26, Cherokee, Alabama” in 1850. I don’t know what all that means or implies, though. Was Sarah Elizabeth part Cherokee on both sides?

The 1880 census (referenced above) lists Sarah Elizabeth as white, but the 1910 census lists her as “Indian” (which also BTW lists her father’s birthplace as Georgia… where Henry was born). It lists her mother’s birthplace as Arkansas (which is one of the two options listed for Nancy Jane).

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sarah Elizabeth Jasmine Carter MEREDITH (SMITH) was born May 9, 1863, in Arkansas and died March 10, 1940, in Kansas City, Missouri.

She was the mother of Mary Irene “Renie” Saphronia Jasmine SMITH (TARTER ROBNETT TARTER PORTER) who was born July 4, 1890, in Claremore, Rogers, Oklahoma and died June 25, 1947, in Stockton, Cedar, Missouri.

She was the mother of Ruby Irene PORTER (WILLIAMS) who was born March 24, 1928, in Maysville, Benton, Arkansas and died May 13, 2010, in Belton, Cass, Missouri. Ruby Irene was my maternal grandma.

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My Current Genealogy Research Plans

Honestly, I have never really had any “formal” genealogy research plans before. I might have had a specific person or family that I was hooked on at the time and my “plan” was to find out anything and everything I can about them, but no real plans. It is an exciting way to do genealogy, but maybe not the best way.

I have followed SO many rabbit holes, because of this. It has honestly helped me, however, discover some amazing tidbits I would not have even known to search for… so yes, I will still do this from time to time. My ADD might have something to do with this, too, but whatever… That’s just me.

I have been listening to a lot of older episodes by Lisa Louise Cooke on the “Family Tree Magazine Podcast” lately. I listen via Castbox on my Android phone.  It’s a free app that I most often listen to through my Sylvania Bluetooth FM Audio Transmitter in my van. It transmits from my phone through the speaker system in the van. It’s a great and inexpensive way to be a bit more high-tech in a lower-tech vehicle; not to mention hands-free.

Lisa Louise Cooke and her show have convinced me that a “real” plan can do wonders for your research. She also has gotten me totally hooked on using Evernote (especially) for genealogy research. Evernote is the best thing I have discovered in a long while.

So, what are my research plans?

I love variety… maybe a bit too much…lol (see above). So, I cannot narrow my current plan down to just one person or family (or even just one part of their existence…). There are a few really important people I want to work on specifically right now, though. They are from all over my family tree, as well. They include (in no particular order): Lemuel Issac TANNER, John NORRIS, Sarah Elizabeth Jasmine Carter MEREDITH SMITH, Mary “Polly” BOONE? COUCH, and David THALER/THAYLER.

Lemuel Isaac TANNER

Lem was my great-grandfather on my biological father’s side. He was the father of Herbert Woodrow TANNER (19 Apr 1918 – 25 Oct 2002) who was the father of Jerry Lem TANNER (17 Nov 1942 – 7 Aug 2003) who was my biological father I discovered in 2018 through DNA.

What makes Lem TANNER so interesting to me right now?

Lem was shot and killed over land or water rights on his own land (and there was A LOT of it) in 1924 in New Mexico in front of his 4 or 5 year old daughter. His killer was Dempson LEWIS. Dempson claimed that it was in self-defense even though at least two parts of Lem’s family insist that he was shot in the back. Dempson had his brother as a witness and the only other witness was Lem’s very young daughter.

Here are my questions I want to get answered:

  • Was he shot in the back? Can I find a death certificate that shows this or court records? The newspaper articles I have found just keep saying it was unfortunate and in self-defense. Evidently, the LEWIS family was rather large (and maybe important) in the area at the time. I would love to find court records; especially if statements were recorded.
  • I want to know more about his killer Dempson LEWIS. Did he later marry Lem’s widow (as my father believed)? If so, is he the one that lost all of Lem’s land and left his widow totally broke (so she could barely get herself and her children back to Texas or Oklahoma)? There are also murmurings that Dempson was actually related to Lem’s first wife. If so, how and did this have anything to do with Lem’s murder? Did Dempson get into any real trouble at all or not?
  • I want to look for more newspaper articles about Lem, his widow Virginia, and even Dempson.
  • How many times did Virginia get married (3 or 4)? Who (and when) were all of her husbands?
  • What’s the deal with Lem marrying his sister’s husband’s niece? Did they all know each other for a long time or something?
  • Can I find documents that say how much land Lem owned (and where)? It was supposed to be all the land you can see in all directions from up on some peak.
  • Was his widow always extremely mean? Or did the hard times in her life make her that way? This is honestly something I truly want to know. The rest of the McBRIDE family seemed to be loving and family-oriented. The McBRIDE/TANNER DNA cousins I have been in contact with after doing the DNA tests, did not even know what had happened to Virginia “Jennie” Ethel McBride (just had her name and birth information) until I found out and told them that she married their (so many greats-) grandmother Emma Carrie TANNER McBRIDE’s brother. Did the family even back then distance themselves from her on purpose and therefore nobody knew what became of her? Maybe. I have heard from a few corners of the family how she was SO off-the-charts mean! Even to the extent that a short story and soon to be a novel are loosely based on one of her daughters with her treatment from her front-and-center and grandchildren’s main memories are all about how mean she was. SO glad that I never met her!

John NORRIS

John NORRIS is potentially my 11th great-grandfather (1617 England to 1667 Suffolk, New York). John would be on my newly discovered biological father’s side through my father’s mom, Clara Odell HOLLAND (6 Aug 1920 Erick, Oklahoma to 23 Oct 1984 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma).  Abbie NORRIS (below) was Clara’s great-grandmother.

  • Can I find documentation that links Mary Abigail “Abbie” NORRIS (my 3rd great-grandmother Apr 1848 – 3 Oct 1917) to who I think is her father, John Hovering NORRIS (1795 or 1800 – 1870)? If so, I think the rest of the path can be documented connecting me directly to John NORRIS. Why is this important? Because that would link a very good friend of mine to me genetically! We think we are something like 9th cousins once removed or 10th cousins once removed. If so, we won’t simply be “just like family” but be actual family. ❤
  • Are there two John Norris’s who were preachers in the area at that time? Or was it the same man with slightly varying dates.
  •  John NORRIS (at least whomever is the main one there…see above) was evidently important in some fashion during the Salem Witch Trials. I saw something about him being “loyal”. Loyal to which side? What all did he do? Was there any other relatives involved in the Trials? If so, who and how?
  • Did he do anything else of importance?

Sarah Elizabeth Jasmine Carter MEREDITH SMITH

Sarah Elizabeth was my 2nd great-grandma on my mom’s mom’s side. She was born about 1864 in Arkansas (or lately seeing maybe Kansas) and she died about 1940 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Sarah has been a brick wall of mine since the extremely early days of my interest in genealogy. This was back in 1987. I’m starting to realize even more lately why she has been such a brick wall. I have found that most of what we “knew” was possibly incorrect.

We had her father’s name as PROBABLY something similar to James Henry MEREDITH, but that was just a bit more than a guess the way I understand it. As you can see Sarah had many official names, but what you don’t see right off the bat is that she evidently used different variations all through her life… not to mention that Sarah Elizabeth SMITH is entirely too common.

We have figured out over the years that her mom’s name is PROBABLY something like Seraphim (Sarah) CARTER (MEREDITH). Seraphim was born about 1838 in Pennsylvania (or maybe Arkansas) and probably died in Missouri with an unknown date. It looks pretty certain that Seraphim’s mother was Mary HENDRICKS, but was that a maiden or married name? If a married name, was HENDRICKS Seraphim’s biological father? If so, what was his name, ancestors, etc?

Here are the most burning questions for me right now:

  • Was her father James “Jim” Henry MEREDITH (1837 to 1865 or 1885)?
  • If so, when did he die? I was told that he died by the time Sarah was 15 or 16 – when she left with her mother to go to the school for the blind in St. Louis. If others are correct and he was her father, then he didn’t die until much later.
  • If this was her father… was he dead when Sarah and her mom left for St. Louis? If not, did they tell the school that he was dead in order to get in or something? Or was Sarah lied to and told that he was dead when she and her mom left?
  • DNA cousins seem to think that this man was the son of Nancy FAUBION (1817-1890). Is this correct? I had never heard of FAUBION before.
  • Was Sarah on the reservation before she left for the school (like we were always told)? If the correct father, it looks like they were instead living in Kansas for at least ten years or more.
  • If this is the correct father, why wasn’t Sarah’s mom (or any older female) living with them according to the 1870 and 1880 censuses? In 1880, it says that he was a widower. Did they lie or was it misunderstood where the mother was? If he really was a widower (and is the correct father), who went with Sarah to the school for the blind?
  • Who are Sarah’s two brothers who were lawyers?
  • I have been working on this part! — I very recently found and contacted the school for the blind that was and still is in St. Louis on the off chance that they could help me. They did some research, but could not find her anywhere in their records. One lady was intrigued enough, though, that she looked into it a bit further and discovered that there was another school for blind girls at that time in the St. Louis area that has since moved to Kirkwood, Missouri (and is now a home for elderly blind women).
  • I need to contact this second school and see if they can find any information. I think if I find her in whichever school records, there may be the answers that can break down this brick wall once and for all.
  • Find out if Sarah returned (or went for the first time) to the reservation where I believe at least one daughter was born (my great-grandma). If so, how much Native American was Sarah and through whom? Sarah was marked as Native American in one census I can find so far. Otherwise assumed to be Caucasian (and her husband was Caucasian). At first in my DNA testing it said that I didn’t have any Native American DNA, but after 23andMe added some base tests to compare to (including some Native American)… I now show something in between one and two percent. Another site that I uploaded my results to showed that I have a very small percentage of either Native American or Asian… I’m thinking definitely Native American. I was always told that two of my great-great-grandmas were half Native American and that I have Cherokee, Choctau, and a “few drops” of Shoshone. All of the DNA testing companies need more base tests of Native Americans to test against. I’ve read that their Native American base comes mostly from South America and Alaska… that’s not where any of my family came from. When they don’t know, they just lump the unknown into another category or even just say unknown. DNA doesn’t lie, but it’s only as good as the results they are testing against.

Mary “Polly” BOONE

Polly was my 6th great-grandmother who was born 14 Nov 1746 in New River, Ashe, North Carolina and died in 1781 in North Carolina. I have a lengthy (and quite popular) post about Polly here on Digging For Ancestors. It is popular because so many of her descendants don’t know if she is really THE Daniel BOONE’s sister or not… and all want to know!

  • Is she really a descendant of THE Squire BOONE Sr (1696-1765)?  If so, was she his daughter (likely illegitimate) or his granddaughter (something I have seen lately)?
  • If not, who is she the descendant of?
  • Did Polly die in 1780, 1781, or sometime later? If she died in 1780-1781 there are several children that cannot be hers.
  • I also need to do a thorough search of my DNA connections through Ancestry and 23andMe. I need to see if there are any “confirmed” descendants of Squire BOONE that I share DNA with.

David THALER/THAYLER

David was my husband’s 2nd great-grandfather on his father’s side. He was born 10 Mar 1848 in Germany and died 6 Aug 1918 in San Luis Obispo, California.

  • Was the surname really THALER or THAYLER… or a little of both? If both, when/where/etc did it change?
  • Did he get into trouble for embezzlement when he was “missing” for a couple of days? Or was he just (mistakenly) charged with it? I found that he was charged in a newspaper clipping. He was a well-loved citizen before and after this, though, so just curious.
  • Why wasn’t he listed in his daughter Josephine’s wedding announcement? It only says that she was the daughter of “Mrs. David Thaler” and David was still alive.
  • What does the paper displayed on the wall in the museum at the San Luis Obispo Mission say about David Thaler? What was his importance there during the days of the Mission? I have seen it and taken pictures, but I cannot find it.
  • Why did Buffalo Bill call David “Dutch”? See if I can find out any more about their friendship. I found a newspaper article about how David once saved Buffalo Bill’s life.

So… Will I only research these right now? I’m sure that I will get sidetracked… probably a lot, but I do know that this list will help me in my research and help me get answers to some of the questions that are the most important to me at this time. Like I said before, I have found a lot of interesting tidbits researching down those rabbit holes others try to avoid. Plus, those little waving leaves are just too intriguing… am I right?  😉

What about you?

Do you make a genealogy research plan? If so, how do you do it? Have you been successful with this? Do you have any tips to share? Be sure to leave comments down below.

Do you think you have some information for me or that you can help me by looking something up in a resource you have access to? If so, please comment below telling me about it.

Posted in "Genealogy How To", HOLLAND ~ WILSON ~ CULLENDER ~ LAWRENCE ~ NORRIS, PARKER ~ JOHNSON ~ THAYLER, PORTER ~ BOWLES ~ MEREDITH ~ SMITH, TANNER ~ McBRIDE | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Thankful For My Family

Thankful For My Family

I sure have a lot to be thankful for! I come from a wonderful family and have recently increased that greatly because of DNA testing and discovering who my biological father was a few months ago.

I have several branches of family: biological, immediate, step and later adopted, in-laws, previous, as well as my friends who are just like family who are mostly related to me through my church, my son’s special needs cheer team, and our homeschooling community.

I am first of all thankful for my immediate family. Hubby, “Buddy”, and my daughter “C” mean SO much to me! Hubby and I will celebrate our 20th anniversary of our first date in less than a week and our 20th wedding anniversary next summer. I am grateful for him and all that he does for our family.  We have been through so much and it has always made us stronger.  ❤  Buddy keeps me young and on my toes. We share a lot of interests and obviously are together almost 24/7 since we homeschool, too. He is a combination of the best of Hubby and I combined.  He has an amazing heart and soul. ❤  “C” lives hours away and I miss her. Even though she is a grown woman, she will always be my little girl.  ❤

My biological family on my mom’s side has always been there for me, no matter what! I love the fact that I am part of this huge, close-knit, and talented family! Even though I am over 1500 miles away, I am fortunate to be able to keep in touch through our modern technology. My grandpa was amazing! I miss him SO much all the time. My grandma and I developed a wonderful relationship especially in her later years and I miss our hours-long conversations so much! I also have amazing cousins, aunts, and uncles. I also love our ancestry history, stories, and memories. Even though I did not know who my biological father was for over 50 years… I had a larger and often more loving family than many people I know. ❤

My new-to-me biological family is a new blessing to me and I am definitely grateful for them. I don’t know them all, yet, and there are still several key people who don’t even know about me. I am thoroughly enjoying meeting my new-to-me family members and about the family history! I love the fact that some have really taken me in and are already showing that they care a lot about me. I also love that I have the opportunity to get to know a few better by having frequent phone calls with them. I am the closest with my older half-brother, his amazing wife, and one of my aunts so far. We have connected SO well! I just wish that I would have connected with them earlier. It still hurts that I missed getting to know my youngest half-brother who passed away unexpectedly days before he was going to be told about me. He seemed like someone I would have connected well with, too. ❤

My family members through marriage are an amazing bunch! They are loving, fun, and accepting of pretty much everyone (not just family). Even though we don’t always agree on things such as politics (some of us do and some of us don’t), we do agree on a lot of basic principles that are honestly more important than political leanings. Hubby and I don’t always agree politically these days, either, but it doesn’t cause rifts. Same thing with his whole family. The people are SO much more important than political beliefs and leanings.  I just wish that they lived closer. Nowadays we only have my father-in-love who lives close to us. I’m thankful that he is only a few minutes away.  ❤

My step-turned-adopted family took me in and made me feel like I belonged. It’s funny though, I was thinking the other day about how several slipped up throughout the years and said things like, “I remember the first time I met you and you were yay-high….” and no, I wasn’t a baby.  LOL They were demonstrating the height of a 3 year old. I remember that one aunt said this repeatedly before I accidentally learned that Jack was not my biological father at the age of 12. I thought that she was becoming senile a bit young.  LOL  After I discovered the truth, I would try to change the subject quickly, so neither of us would get into trouble.  😉   They evidently weren’t in on the fact that it was supposed to be a secret. That or they didn’t believe it should be. I’m still in contact with several on this side and am thankful for them.   ❤

When I say my “previous” family, I am talking about the family I had when I was married to my ex. I miss several of them including my main aunt, brother-in-law, great-uncle, the Birt family, several others including some who passed years ago, and all of the family reunions. I do still (or again, I should say) have contact with my main aunt. She is precious! Unfortunately, you don’t just marry into a family… you also divorce out of a family.   😦   I appreciate that my main aunt wants to be connected to me regardless, though.  ❤

I also truly love my “family” of friends from my church, cheer team, and my fellow homeschoolers. Since my family on all sides are so far from me physically, it makes my love and desire for more family even more profound. These amazing individuals definitely fit like family and I am extremely thankful for them, as well.  ❤

See! I have SO much to be thankful for! I am truly blessed! ❤ Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! ❤

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My Official Five Generation Birthplace Chart ~ Now With My Biological Father’s Family

Here is my official Five Generation Birthplace Chart that now includes my biological father and his ancestors. My previous post with these and how you can make your own can be found here.

My Official Birthplace Pedigree Chart

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Grieving My Unknown Biological Family Members

Grieving My Unknown Biological Family Members

Here is the first of likely several posts about the loss of my unknown biological family members and the time, experiences, and conversations we could have had… if we had only known of each other in time.

Writing this series of posts seems natural and fitting for me to do, because losing my grandma years ago was what gave birth to my main blog over at The Journey Unexpected.

In the last many years of her life, we would talk on the phone literally for hours at a time and often several times a week. We had grown a relationship where we could both tell each other WHATEVER, bounce it off of the other one, get or give advice, and so much more. I had done some journaling before, but from the time we starting having these conversations I didn’t feel the need to anymore. Once we were done, it felt amazingly cathartic and I was ready to move on and take on the world once more. This was the time period when my grandma truly became like a second mom to me. ❤

When Grandma passed away, I no longer had this amazing outlet that I grew to love and appreciate SO much! I then started my blog then named “The Journey” and dedicated it to her.

Now that I am dealing with such an array of emotions with discovering new-to-me relatives, learning about those who I will never meet, and now losing someone who I was SO close to meeting (I believe) and for him to suddenly pass away…. This is a topic I need to explore deeply and I now believe that I need to share here.

I have this “thing” where I truly do not want to have an experience (neither in my past nor present) that I don’t have “something” positive come out of it. That is actually a really tall order for so many of my life experiences, but it’s a must!

For about the last fourteen years, I have been determined that when I am going through a storm, I ask God to show me what I am supposed to learn within this storm. For one thing, it gives me something productive or more positive to focus on and honestly keeps me sane. Sometimes I totally believe that the reason why (or what I am supposed to learn) is how to truly help someone else in the future.

Examples are: When Hubby was SO sick in late 2005 and I almost lost him SOOO many times, I learned how it is to have a spouse so sick and preparing for them to pass on (almost daily for awhile) and leave you alone. I was a relatively young mom of a then 17-year-old daughter and 4 1/2-year-old son. Fortunately, I didn’t have to go through to the end of that, but I have learned a small part about how others feel as they are losing their spouse or have lost them.

Losing my mom at such a young age also has in a way bonded me with others who lose their parents. I know how it can feel. I have now lost three parents, my mother-in-love, all of my grandparents, now a brother, and too many more loved ones. I know loss.

I also know because of this, that nobody can truly “know how YOU feel”. Don’t say that. You might think you know, but you don’t. Everyone and every situation is different. I can only imagine what they are truly going through. Do I understand better than many others? Probably, but I can’t put all who grieve into a tiny little box.

Also when my aunt became a victim of a serial killer and the aftermath of all that, I experienced so many things that others go through way too often. Like I said before, I know that I cannot truly “sum up” what they are feeling, but I most definitely have an idea. I also learned throughout all of these storms and too many more that the best things to “say” at this time are not words at all. It’s being there for them. Let them say what they need to say or just sit together without saying anything. Sometimes that is what is needed most. Being there is the most important “statement”.

I have even looked up online this morning about grieving those you have never met. There really isn’t much out there other than about grieving celebrities. I believe that it’s an important topic, too, because some of them have “helped” us get through some tough times, we can feel like we have gotten to know them, and/or we are inspired by them. But that doesn’t really cover this specific area at all. I know that I am absolutely NOT the only person to have to deal with this type of thing. Hopefully, I can be an encouragement to someone else as I work through this myself. That can be my “why” for this storm. Will I learn even more throughout this? Probably, but for now that is enough.

First off a little background for those of you who don’t know

I knew that my father I was growing up knowing wasn’t my biological father when I accidentally found out when I was 12 years old. I also remembered standing in front of an honestly scary-looking judge when I’m guessing I was about 5 years old and being asked if I wanted Jack to be my father. I couldn’t figure out why I would be asked that until this realization at 12.

I got into a lot of trouble for looking at the back of some pictures in my baby book, seeing I had a different name, and then asking why. I learned to never bring it up again; it was that severe. I kept trying to figure out more, though, from that point on…. secretly. The day my mom suddenly passed away when I was 19 years old and I was a freshman in college was literally the first time I talked to whom I thought was my biological father. It was actually after she had passed away, but I didn’t know that, yet. I had found him through Naval records and such… using all of the information I gathered throughout the years of my secret “investigation”. I started my active search not long into my freshman year of college. I was several hours from home and could do it without being “caught”.

It turns out that he was just the man whom she married about a month and a few days before my birth. They hadn’t even known each other when I was conceived. He told me this by the third and last time that I ever communicated with him, but I didn’t believe him for many years because I looked a lot like him (and I never have felt that I looked like anyone else before). I could also already tell that he was really into lying to me.

Fast forward several years and after my grandma confided in another family member that Donald Schroeder was actually not my biological father… I asked my grandma and she gave me more details about the whole situation.

She told me that my biological father was a man whom my mom suddenly ran off with on a motorcycle and they went to (or at least ended up in) Texas. She said that he had red or reddish hair (seemed to likely be of Irish descent), was 6’7″, road a motorcycle, and she believed (actually stated as a fact) that my mom’s then best friend, Sylvia, introduced them. No name or any other descriptions.

I also learned that my abortion was totally considered. Because of my mom’s then emotional instability (very likely from the combination of her then best friend wrecking my mom’s car and then moving my severely injured mom to the driver’s seat so the friend wouldn’t get into trouble… both were nurses, too… so she definitely knew better than to move someone so severely injured… and then the father of her unborn child leaving her several states away from home and wanting her to get an abortion… and the times she was living in… late 1960s and a soon-to-be unwed mother…), my grandma said my abortion was actually the plan but a doctor totally advised against it because of her emotional instability.

My grandma then told me I should be thankful for her instability. I know Grandma meant well, but just think about how that would make you feel hearing that. I wasn’t supposed to “happen”. Neither of my parents wanted me. And being from a family whom I have always known that abortions were totally out of the question… makes you wonder why if they believe that (which I do, too) then why did they even seriously consider it with me? Was I THAT big of a problem?

If it hadn’t been for this one doctor out of SO many they could have gone to… I wouldn’t even be here. I am thankful for this unknown man, for sure. It just really does a number on an already low self-esteem. Thankfully, my self-esteem has improved greatly, but it’s still a hurt.

Looking back on things, I think this may have been some of why my grandpa had SUCH a love for me. I think I may have even been favored by him a bit much (but no, I wouldn’t trade it for anything), because he was also in somewhat of a pickle growing up (whether in reality or his perception).

His mom passed away when he was tiny and then his only full-sister passed very young. He was then raised as the only step-child of my great-grandma whom had SO many children with their shared father. Whether or not if there was any real distinction, he apparently felt “different”.

He knew I did, too, and wanted to be the one who showed me totally unconditional love. Do I have him up on a pedestal? Probably, because I think of him as perfection here on earth, but I won’t take him down from there, either. ❤ Yes, I know he wasn’t perfect, but he was totally as close as you can get in my eyes. He honestly was my most stable and consistent person in my young life. He was also the main positive male figure in my upbringing… no question! That is totally why I also named my son who goes by “Buddy” on here after one of his given names (not saying which name, though…lol).

Anyway, when my biological father heard that my mom was pregnant, he left her in a motel in Texas and that was it. She had to get her own way home. I now totally believe that he told her to get an abortion and figured it happened. I have now learned of his major habit of reading birth, death, etc announcements all the time…. and of his time of reconciling and making things right his last year of life. If he had any doubt that I had not been aborted, I am sure that he would have at least told someone at that time. That was the way he was operating that last year while dying of stomach cancer. Also, by the time of my birth (in the same area he was in and they were both from) my mom had just previously gotten married and her name was changed. My birth announcement had a totally different surname now.

I finally found Sylvia a few years ago through Facebook and called her. She denied ever introducing my mom to anyone at all and even acted like they were never really close, but I totally know better.

I also learned this last month that a close friend of my mom’s when I was growing up heard basically the same brief facts and encouraged my mom to at least write down the details for me for when I grew up, because I was going to want to know. My mom said that she did, but she didn’t.

Between the last time I saw my continually (from that point on) hidden baby book during Christmas vacation 1986 (that I found SO often throughout the years to explore more) and when my mom passed away in March 1987, she had put back most of the ripped photo from the time I asked her and then put my baby book in a spot extremely easy to find. Because of this and SO many other reasons, I totally believe that she knew she was going to pass away very soon.

I’m sure she never imagined anything like DNA tests to find biological family members back in the late 1980s, so she likely thought that I would be satisfied believing that Donald was my biological father. She also never imagined (apparently) that he would so quickly deny even knowing her in time to make that even possible if I did find him.

My step turned adopted dad, Jack, was also told the same few facts as my grandma told me and her friend learned a couple of years before he passed away.

What I Have Recently Learned About My Biological Father and His Family

I won’t go into too great of detail here of things like who they are and such, but basically I know who he was and a little more about their trip to Texas. If you want to know the surnames from this side, you can now see them on my page ” Our Surnames“.

We are still waiting on one of my half-brothers to take a DNA test, but with all of the details, the fact that I look like people (one person and I look scary similar, especially when we were younger), the fact that an aunt remembers meeting my mom before their trip to Texas, the timing of my conception and the extremely short time he had a motorcycle, and the DNA results with another extremely close relation led me here. By the way, I have three half-brothers and a half-sister (in addition to the half-sister I grew up with). I only have contact so far with my older half-brother who is from a different mother than the other three who are younger than me.

I have talked quite extensively in our short time of knowing about each other with my older half-brother and his wife. We do have several things in common and I feel like we have known each other for at least a decade. I have also talked to one of my aunts a few times on the phone. We laugh alike. ❤ It’s so funny to find things out like this. We also have led very similar lives and find it really easy to talk with each other.

I have also now discovered where I get several physical issues (illnesses, stomach/digestion issues, etc), my dyslexia, my height, small eyes, smile, my look in general, and more from. I have discovered that I also look A LOT like some double (about) fourth cousins on my father’s father side and have been told that I look a lot like my father’s mother. I cannot wait to see pictures that show our resemblance. She is also one that I have already started admiring for her strength in hard times and all. I would have loved to have gotten to meet her, too. I don’t really look like my father (at least in any pictures I have seen of him, which all include facial hair), but my hair was pretty much exactly the same reddish-color as his in my senior picture and ones of him in the 1980s.

Before I got any confirmation about what I discovered “working my DNA matches” and doing the genealogy for those connections that led me down to my closest matches (since they didn’t know how we could be related)… believe me A LOT of work… but it was totally worth it! …. anyway, before that confirmation I had already discovered that whom I believed was my biological father had already passed away.

I somewhat expected that could be the case since he would likely be in at least his 70s today and in a weird way seemed ok with that possibility since it would probably “make it easier”. What if he didn’t want to know me? What if he wasn’t a good guy? All of those questions were now not even an issue. BUT, once I started to get to know about him and especially his last year here on earth… I got deeply saddened by never getting the opportunity to let him know I survived, learning about his and my mom’s time together, or (most importantly) getting to know him.

My biological father passed away on August 7, 2003, and my step/adopted father passed away on October 16, 2003. I reflect on that and sometimes think that it was probably a good thing that I didn’t know that at the time, but that quickly gets over-ridden with the fact that it would have been SO worth it to have known him even if it would have been doubly painful at the time.

Why Is This Such an Important Topic Today?

Last night I found out that my youngest half-brother is suddenly passing away. He is being kept going until they are ready for all the organ donations to happen. He likely has passed by now. I’m honestly afraid to look. I want to get this post finished before I lose it again.

First off, let me say that I am SO proud of him, his wife, and their children for blessing several people with these amazing gifts of precious organs.

Second, why am I such a mess? I haven’t even met this man. Some of you may be thinking, “What does his death really have to do with you anyway?” Actually, it has many things to do with me. Those who have not gone through this may feel dismayed, disbelief, or discouragement about my feelings. But, that’s what they are: my feelings. They are valid and true. I have learned that over the years trying to survive, recover, and thrive regardless of my earlier years.

This is the brother whom some have figured out would probably be the most open of the three remaining siblings to learning about me and potentially getting to know me. Now he is gone. That’s obviously a big part of it. The grieving of what could have been and maybe not a possibility now.

It’s also about such a young man (I believe right around 37) who has suddenly lost his life and leaves a wife and two children; one of which is a young tween girl. I understand too well what it is like to lose a parent at such a young age. She is even younger than I was, so I know her’s is even worse than mine.

I also have seen pictures (about a week ago on Facebook) of him. We look a like (although nowhere near the resemblance of our mutual sister and me) and he seems to have been a wonderful person. I truly wanted to get to know him! I can’t now.

The way I understand it, he was supposed to have had been told that I exist a few days before or after he went into the hospital. I don’t know if it happened or not. If he was, I don’t know what exactly he was even told nor what his response was. Did he want to get to know me or at least learn about me? Would we have come together as quickly as I have with my older half-brother and his lovely wife? Would I also get along famously with his wife and children? Who knows!

Another biggie for me is that I SO much want to be there for them as they are grieving. That is a genuine piece of me. I thrive on being there, helping, and encouraging others throughout their storms. I can’t do this though, because they don’t even know that I exist.

The way I see it right now is that I am now going to have to be patient once again for time to pass and to let grieving happen. It’s SO hard!

None of us are getting any younger and as we just saw… we have no guarantees of tomorrow. I truly do not want another family member to pass before we can at least know of each other and hopefully get to know each other at least a little bit. The ideal would honestly be to travel to meet them all… really soon.

So what exactly am I grieving at this time (pertaining to only my half-brother who we have lost…. I’m additionally grieving other people and issues that I will write about in another post)? I am seriously grieving the loss of him as a young person… WAY too young to be gone, husband to his wife, father to his children, brother to at least four people, nephew to my new-to-me aunts and uncle, son to his grieving mother, and friend to evidently SO many!

I’m also grieving the loss of at least 35+ years of not knowing him and neither of us knowing about the other one’s existence. What memories could we have made? What sibling secrets could we have had? Would we have gotten along famously? Or would we have been better off living far apart? We will never know.

I’m grieving additionally for the other “what if’s” and questions. One of the biggest ones being: Did he want to know me or about me?

My Suggestions For You All

1. If you are a parent (or other significant person in someone’s life) who doesn’t know who their biological parent(s) is/are, write it all down. If you cannot give it to them at this time for whatever reason (age, current relationships, whatever), at least leave it in a will or something significant. Hopefully you can give them this gift earlier. They will most likely want to know sometime. For me there has been a hole for over 50 years. It’s now starting to fill up.

2. If you don’t know your biological family and want to, do it fast!

When you find your biological family, don’t overwhelm them, though. Remember: you have known that they or at least one individual exists for a while, they may not have a clue that you exist. You want to find that happy medium of being patient (or at least appearing to be outwardly… inside you will likely be a mess like me), but you don’t want to wait TOO long, either.

Do I wish I would have done this much sooner and/or been a bit more active in letting new family members know about me? Yes totally! But I also don’t want to come off as pushy or insensitive.

It’s really difficult to know what exactly is the “right” pace or next actions. For example: Part of me (the anxious part of me…. the part that doesn’t want to miss out on knowing anyone else) wants to wait a couple of weeks at most and then tell my other half-brother and my half-sister and honestly a while later even tell my late half-brother’s wife. She could talk about him endlessly to me. I would love to be there for her! But is this reasonable with their current grieving? No! I don’t want to wait too long again, but I also want to be respectful.

As far as the DNA testing for those looking for their biological family: The best case scenario is to do both the Ancestry DNA test and the 23andMe DNA test if you don’t know who your family is. This isn’t just my recommendation. MANY in the know recommend exactly this… that’s where I initially got it and I totally agree.

Some families tend to use one company more and some the other. There is no way to tell before you test. For example: My WILLIAMS side (for my maternal grandpa’s line) is represented quite heavily on 23andMe as well as the CULLENDER and FANCHER DNA relatives of mine from my biological father’s side including who turned out to be my niece (daughter of one of my half-brothers). Ancestry has much more of my PORTER side (for my maternal grandma’s line) as well as the TANNER and McBRIDE families who are related doubly to me on my biological father’s side. Both companies have deals from time to time (especially around family-related holidays)… especially Ancestry.

  • Please note that the links to Ancestry and 23andMe on this post are referral links. They do not cost you anymore money to follow, but I get a reward for referring people. Actually, at the time of this posting, the link for 23andMe gives you a 10% off deal for using it! This in no way has changed my honest opinions of these companies. I recommend them from my true testimony of how they worked for me.

Anyway… If you can only do one right now, do the Ancestry one. It’s much easier to find information like family trees on there.

My wish for you all who are looking for your biological family is to find them quickly, relatively easily, and then for many happy reunions.

For those of you who are grieving, I totally sympathize with you. Although I don’t know exactly how you feel, I can imagine and I know that you are truly hurting. Don’t let anyone belittle your feelings. They are yours and true. Prayers and virtual hugs to you all!

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Wegene DNA Composition Chart

It was suggested last night on a Facebook group I am in (that is amazing with figuring out DNA stuff and finding bio parents) that I upload my raw DNA to Wegene. It’s free, by the way.

I’m not totally sure what it is I am supposed to do with it now, though.  LOL

I have to say that the results they got from doing my comparison floored me. I actually looked at it and then tried to figure out why I was seeing someone else’s results. It was THAT off from the others.

It shows some crazy stuff that honestly doesn’t even have anything (that I know of) to do with what I know and/or am learning about my ancestry. Someone on that Facebook group said that they are actually quite similar if I ignore the ones under 5% and add the others all up together… then they match. It feels like, “if you squint hard enough and turn your head to the side….”   😉  But hey! I got some Ashkenazi in there with this one!  😉

Check this out and then compare it to the others below (that I got elsewhere). By the way, these results came from the raw DNA from my Ancestry test.

Part of the “other” that isn’t in the European part includes 0.01% Chinese, but it was so small that it didn’t show what branch/group (or whatever) it’s called within the Chinese people.

Wegene composition chart

Wegene Results

23andMe 2nd version 7 30 2018

23andMe

AncestryDNAChart

Ancestry Results

My Heritage Breakdown List

My Heritage results

 

The Wegene results also came with these two sections (I can’t figure out how they could know my paternal haplogroup. I thought that was the one on that extra chromosome or something.):

Maternal HaplogroupPaternal Haplogroup

I will post more later about my searching for my unknown biological father. Long story short… I think I am getting close, but could really use some confirmation that I am on the correct path from a close match. If I am correct, I think I know who my biological grandparents were and likely who my biological father was (this man passed away in the early 2000’s,)

I’m still digging!

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