Several months ago, I blogged about starting on my “ancestry” journey. I gave myself a subscription to Ancestry . com, and voila! I was on my way!

I had put off doing that for a long time because I was afraid it would be too expensive and would take up too much time. I was wrong on both counts! I got my membership for only $59 during a Mother’s Day special, and as for time—you can spend as much or as little as you are able.

I find myself just browsing through my ancestors, and learning things that one day, I hope to sit down and write into a linear genealogy “book” or journal.

What makes this so fascinating for me? Probably because family, to my mother and her generation, was everything. And my mom, being the oldest of 11 kids, was charged with “remembering everyone” – sort of like Aunt Pittypat in Gone With the Wind. So to her, it was very important to pass on family history and stories she’d grown up with.

How I wish I had paid more attention! When I write my books and novellas, I do find myself including some of the stories she told us in those writings. But seeing pictures of some of the people I’ve heard her talk about has been such a revelation. And I’m not sure why, but seeing their handwriting has somehow been almost spiritual for me…maybe because I write all my work in longhand in notebooks before I enter them on the computer. So seeing the handwriting of my ancestors lets me imagine them with a pen (or quill) in hand, writing their names—and on the census reports, imagining them writing their children’s names and ages.

Just picturing the point in their lives in these milestone documents—marriage licenses, military registration cards, death certificates, census documents—even some personal letters that have been included are slowly but surely bringing these long-ago relatives to life for me.

My mom’s parents, Mary McLain and Tom Stallings, when they were ‘courting’–this would have been around 1918 or so. These are my grandparents–my granddad died when I was 10, and my grandmother died when I was 16. (My granddad, Tom, is the son of John Stallings and Emma C. Ligon Stallings that I will mention later on.)


This is the page from the 1860 Census for Smith Co., Tennessee. My great grandfather, John Stallings, was only 2 years old. From this record, we can note his father is not in the picture, only his mother, Sarah Hale Stallings. Evidently, she was living with a relative—most likely a brother, Richard Hale, who is 5 years older than she is. There are two other children with the last name of Wooten. I’m anxious to research this part of the family. My mother told me many stories about John Stallings, who was her grandfather, my great grandfather.


John grew up and became the headmaster at a school, but he had a temper. The story goes that he was heavy handed with the paddle on one of the students, and had to “get out of town” quickly—but when he did, he did not go alone. He took my great grandmother with him and they eloped! That was when they left Tennessee and headed for Oklahoma, settling in the southeastern part of what was then Indian Territory.

John B. Stallings, my great grandfather, and Emma Christiana Ligon Stallings, my great grandmother.

There have been some surprises, too! I discovered that my grandmother’s oldest sister was born out of wedlock. Another couple who had lived together as man and wife and raised 11 children together were not legally married until the last child was in college.

My grandmother, Mary born 1900; oldest sister Maude born 1886; sister Byrdie born 1896, sister Grace born 1894. Mary is my father’s mother.

This is a truly fascinating journey, and I’m always anxious to “get back to it” again whenever I can.

I have a lot of work and ‘refining’ to do on my family tree, but oh, the discoveries I’ve made and look forward to making in the future!

On my father’s side, using documentation that has been added by other relatives on their trees, I’ve been able to trace my 8th great-great grandparents back to England and Ireland. Now that I know that, at some point, I will pay the extra money for access to global records and see how much farther back I can go.

Have you ever traced your family ancestry? Did you find a surprise or two? Doing this has inspired me with a couple of really great story ideas!

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A native Oklahoman, I've been influenced by the west all my life. I love to write short stories and novels in the historical western and western romance genres, as well as contemporary romantic suspense! Check my Amazon author page to see my work:
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67 thoughts on “ANCESTRY TIDBITS AND SURPRISES–by Cheryl Pierson”

  1. I personally have not done research on my family, but have family members that have. I do know that my family on my dad’s side came through Ellis Island, we have a photo of my great grandparents, and the name of the ship, on of my great grandfather’s wives. Whenever he list a wife, he went back to the old country, and got another one. I believe he had 3 wives, one was killed by a mad cow, another in childbirth. Wife#3, died of old age. He fathered a total of 16 kids, between the 3 wives. The Old country referred to was Prussia. Relatives have been traced back to early 1800, with family in Germany, Russia, and what is known as Poland. When the Funks came to America, they first settled in Korn, OK. Then my grandfather went to northern Montana, to make his living homesteading. My grandmother Funk’s maiden name was Peters. The familes new each other in the old country, and also settled in OK. Before some moved to Montana.
    My mom’s side came from Ireland, England, Denmark. But I don’t know much about them.

    • Veda, that is so interesting! My great grandmother, my mom’s mother’s mother, had four kids and her husband died young. She married a man who had several kids whose wife had also passed. Then together had had many more–they had 17 kids total! And she would cook up a huge Sunday dinner every week for everyone to come home and eat, including the grown kids who had kids of their own. I can’t even imagine how tired she had to be all the time. She lived to a ripe old age–late 80’s.

      I know where Korn is! I’ve never been there. Do you know if you are related to Bob Funk here in Oklahoma City?

      My mom’s family came from Ireland, and other places, but my mom’s grandfather (the one that died young) was named Euin Tolliver McLain–VERY IRISH! LOL My sister had a 23 & Me DNA test done and they can even tell you what part of the country your relatives were from. Some of ours (probably him!) were from around Dublin.

      • Cheryl, chances are very high that Bob Funk in OK City is related in some way. But since so many sons were born, and some stayed in OK, some moved further west no telling what branch of the family we connect.

  2. I haven’t done research per se on my family tree but learned where relatives came from. A surprise was I may have some Russian in me because at one point those in Germany went to Russia…I think to escape Hitler…not sure though. But there was marriage to a Russian born citizen. And I may have some Swiss also through marriage. I already was aware i had English, German, Italian, and Scottish ancestors. Oh wait there was another surprise when looking up my family tree. I have some American Indian in me. Cherokee I think; I’d have to look again. I find it interesting. I’d love to travel to Europe to see where various ancestors came from.

    • Sabrina, doesn’t that just take your mind down flights of fancy to think about what your ancestors must have gone through to have to have given up everything to escape Hitler, or how the people in our pasts met one another and fell in love? SIGH…I’m always the romantic at heart, even when it comes to genealogy! LOL

  3. How neat for you! I’ve wanted to, but know what a time suck it would be, and I have books to write! Biggest surprise of my family I found out a couple years ago…my mom always told us about her golden boy older brother, who sadly killed himself in college because of horrific headaches the doctor’s couldn’t help. My cousin told me a year or so ago, her mother told her he was shot by an angry husband, exiting a woman’s bedroom window.

    I believe it.

    • I know, Laura, I thought of how much time I would spend on it, too, but the great thing about it is, it’s there waiting for you to come back to and there are times at night when I’m kind of mindless and just want something to “do” for a while before bed. That really relaxes me. Also a lot of the work has already been done by others and you can see what they have done and know you are on the right track, so that helps.

      Oh, what a story about your uncle! That is really something, isn’t it? All kinds of family “secrets” that we can learn about. That’s another thing about Ancestry –there is a place on there where you can add stories about people, and those are just fascinating! These are things that were told to you or passed down stories about this one or that one, and even though many of them are kind of bare bones, at least they are there to read and compare with what you might have heard along the same lines.

    • It has been so much fun for me. Really relaxing. There is no one left alive now that any of these things might hurt if they come to light, at least in my family, so I’m enjoying the surprises I’m finding.

  4. I have always been interested in my ancestry, but have not been able to afford it. We live paycheck to paycheck, so there isn’t a lot left over for extras. The only thing I know is my mother’s parents immigrated here from Hungary. Beyond that, I have no idea.

    • Janine, it is been a matter of just getting it as a gift for myself from my kids or others for different occasions. Regular price is $99 every 6 months, I think it is. So I have to catch the specials. LOL One thing you can do is get a 6 month membership on special like I did, and then just devote all the time you can to it during that time period. You can learn an awful lot in a very short amount of time. Be sure you print it out and save it to your hard drive, all the things you want to save for the future. If your membership lapses, I believe you can renew it later on and all your work will still be there, but I just want to have it ‘for keeps’ just in case.

  5. I love this, I haven’t done this yet but I do know that in my dads side of the family, we are kin to Bonnie Parker.
    My granny Lucas is 1/2 Cherokee.
    My granny Douglas (maiden name Kuehler) was German.
    Now you have Me thinking this would be a great investment to do an ancestry research.

    • Tonya, I have enjoyed this so much. It’s very relaxing to me. I’ve made some errors I need to go back and correct at some point, but right now, I’m just enjoying seeing what all is there. I am so fortunate to have had an aunt who was very invested in this and I can look at her family tree and see what I did wrong later on when I start my correcting. I just love doing it.

  6. My oldest daughter did my dads side and found out we are related to President Grant and my Mom was a Cleveland so related to President Grover Cleveland on her side!! Such fun!

    • Teresa, HOW COOL!!!! Well, this is kind of a funny story. My mom was a dyed-in-the-wool Republican, and just detested Lyndon Bains Johnson when he was president. So my aunt (mom’s sister) did all this research about our family and what did she discover? YES! We are related to Lyndon Bains Johnson. Not too far back up the line, one of the grandfathers married a “Bains” and that’s how we are related. Well, when my aunt told my mom, my mom took it really hard. LOL Aunt Marilyn was so proud she had found this connection and Mom said, “Oh, Marilyn, don’t tell anyone!” LOLLOL

  7. No I never have but someone if the family was doing it and she pasted away so not sure what happened to here information. I do know that my grandfather was born in 1900 also, but really don’t that much about the family.

    • Quilt Lady, if your family member was on the Ancestry web site, all that information may still be posted there. When my Aunt Marilyn died, all her family tree information is still there and the rest of us can access it. It might be worth looking into!

  8. Oh, Cheryl! Love this. So fascinating. I’m especially surprised by the couple who never married but raised 11 children together. I wonder why they didn’t marry – obviously, they were committed to one another – but how did they handle the scandal of having all those children out of wedlock?

    Cool stuff! Three of my grandparents were immigrants – two from Sicily, one from Germany – and I simply must get to Ellis Island some day to see how their journey into America began!!

    • Pam the best I can tell is that they THOUGHT they were married and then it came to light that it was not legal all those years later. The wife was using the same last name as the husband and the kids they had together all had his last name. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the pants, to believe you’d been married all that time and then find out you really hadn’t been? LOL

      Oh, I would love to go to Ellis Island. This will give you chills. I’ve told this story before but I still get chills when I think about it. When I was pregnant with Casey we were undecided about what his name would be–we liked Derrick, Casey, and Nicholas. We settled on Casey and I was really glad about it, because I just felt it was ‘right’ for him when he was born. When he was about 3 we were at a big family gathering and my dad’s cousin said, “I’m so glad you chose a family name for him.” I said I didn’t know what she meant. She said, “Casey is an old family name. That was the last name of our people who immigrated from Ireland.” I had never known that–it was the first time anyone had ever mentioned it to me. A few weeks later she sent me a copy of the ship manifest with his name on it–James Casey–from back in the 1700’s. But I had never had a clue about that when we named him Casey.

    • What I learned in college was many times in rural areas, especially in the West, preachers worked on a circuit, and it could be years in-between regular visits. So couples would “marry” and start families, it was accepted in the community, then they were legally married when the preacher came through. It wasn’t considered a scandal.

    • Pam, you can do some research concerning Ellis Island online. But if you can go to Ellis Island it is well worth the time and money. So much history there. When you are in the main hall, you can feel the history.

  9. Welcome today Cheryl. When I was growing up, my mother would take us on trips from CA to OH to visit her relatives. I met my great grandparents and my grandmothers sisters and husbands. This was so cool to me. I learned a lot about family and history then. I did jot things down in a journal. My dad said that there was no history on his side. What? How could that be? He had to come from somewhere? This is how my brain worked at the time. LOL I listened to stories my mom told us. And again would jot things down. I am so glad I did. It became a useful tool when I married. And my husband was totally enthralled with genealogy. He had so much information on his side. He was able to delve into my side. We found out so many things on both my moms and dads side. He was able to take my family back to the early 1700’s They were all farmers and homesteaders. On his side he was only until early 1900’s when they came to America and then was able to go back to the early 1700’s in Europe. It has been a fascinating and fun ride learning about our ancestors.

    • Hi Lori! Oh, how I wish I had written down the things Mom talked about! I remember a lot of it, and my sister still does, so I need to get with her and write it all down NOW–at least what we can remember between the two of us. My husband couldn’t care less about genealogy! I think men are just not as interested in it as we women are. My dad was somewhat interested in it, but there wasn’t all the information available to him during his lifetime as there is now. I wish he could have lived a few more years and seen all the discoveries that have been made on Ancestry by family members, and the great thing is that it’s all right there in one place. I don’t know if my kids will ever give a flip about all this ancestry/genealogy stuff, but I’m doing it for myself. I hope one they they will also take an interest in it and maybe even find out MORE!

      • We found it interesting why my dad didnt want us looking into his past. Sigh. Yes there were a lot of things I can see why he didnt want anyone to know. But still, it is a part of our history. Plus it gives more understanding to why a lot of things turned out the way they did. I know know from my dads father, I have more cousins than I knew about. On my moms side one of her great or great great grandfather was a sharp shooter in the civil war. Others were in wars. Several had land grants signed by the president. Plus there is all the history of stupid things some men and women did. Laughable now really. And my husband has so many documents and letters from his ancestors. Many written in German and or French. One man traveled the rails and documented what he saw and felt. So cool. One was where he rode to California and there were these fields of orange things growing. Some men would eat them, but he was leery because he didnt know what they were. He was recently off the boat from Germany. Turns out they were cantaloupes. He still has some relatives in France and Germany that they write to each other perodically.

      • Lori, that is fascinating. I know what you mean about things that maybe back at the time were so “horrible” that they didn’t want anyone to know, NOW just doesn’t even matter that much. I have some relatives that fought for both sides in the Civil War, and there are even some handwritten letters back and forth between husband and wife family members who lived during the War of 1812–those are just about every day things, but he was away fighting and she was trying to tell him about the daily running of the farm. Those are just precious. You just never know what glimpses of the past you’re going to see through letters between people like that! I love that you had a relative that documented his travels on the railroad!

  10. I love ancestry. I’ve found out that I’m related to Clinton Eastwood, Hugh Hefner, Susan Surrandon, Deborah Sampson a woman who portraits a man in the Civil War and is only found out because she was shot. Christopher Reeves. And the co-founder of Kodak Mr. Eastman I too have traced relatives back to England and Scotland. The relative I’ve been stumped by is my father who was adopted. I’m excited every time I open Ancestry website and discover new things. It seems that I am of Royalty along the way. My relatives owned a castle named Ashton Hall which is now a Golf course. Thank you for sharing your experience.
    Charlene Whitehouse

    • Hi Charlene! I love it too! Just so fascinating. We discovered that our family owned a huge estate in England at one time–it was the Ligons, which was my great grandmother’s last name, so it wasn’t too far back in the past. I think it’s still there. I’d sure like to go see it someday!

  11. I haven’t done research into my family; however, some cousins have, and I have what they found in their searches! I would like to do some, though I know it would be hard as many of the records would be in GA, and were destroyed by fire, as one of my cousins who used to work in genealogy in GA told me!

    • Hi Trudy! That is so hard when records are burned. That happened with the courthouse in the county here in Oklahoma where my mom was born. My grandmother’s sister had to go with my mom and sign an affidavit that she knew my mom from the time she was born and get her records re-made so she could have a legal birth certificate, etc. It’s tough when records burn and they have to be recreated. Because many times, that isn’t completed or even attempted! I wish you luck in your genealogy search! It has been so relaxing and enlightening for me.

  12. I did not do it, but my ex-mother-in-law did for my oldest daughter’s 16th birthday which 33 years ago. On my mother’s side her grandmother was named Cinderella. Either she or her parents left the Quaker faith which went back generations. Also on her other side her great grandfather came from England when he was 7. On my father’s family an ancestor married the daughter of a slave owner which makes me wonder about the relationship between father and daughter because my ancestor moved to Nova Scotia shortly after marriage. They eventually ended up in Michigan. It is indeed fascinating to study ancestry.

    • What a great birthday gift for your daughter! And what a cool name–CINDERELLA! I love that! And that is very interesting about the daughter of a slave owner and your ancestor — but you know, back then, that was probably the case in many instances. I love finding out the things we learn when we go back in time to study those who came before us, don’t you?

  13. When I was in 6th grade, we had to write a family history and create a family tree in Social Studies.

    I wrote to my great-aunt Edith, because she had my maternal family history going back to Germany. My aunt Lillian had done some research on our paternal side. In addition, our dentists’ uncle had helped a Navy Admiral with research on our surname. We shared the same surname, but we weren’t related. We were able to trace the surname back to Germany, and relatives.

    My mom’s family came for religious freedom and my father’s family came because they were younger sons.

    About a decade ago, someone went through the papers aunt Edith had had, and they found love letters written between my great-grandparents and a whole lot of photos. I took pictures of the photos and created a CD-rom for my mom. She made photocopies of the letters and some extra written history.

    My dad has been going to historical society meetings in his hometown, connected with a distant cousin, and has found some additional information. Over the summer, I read information about my great-great-great grandfather’s widow’s fight to get benefits and pension from the government for his service in the Civil War. These documents changed some facts we had previously known. We always knew he had been killed by rebel bushwackers, but these papers show he died in a different county, that he had enlisted, and his death was as a soldier. While it gave a lot of information, it also left a lot of questions. She ultimately won.

    My MIL has done a lot of research on Ancestry, but she won’t share it. No idea why.

    My husband’s cousin asked me for some info, and I gave her some copies of emails I had saved many years ago. They were conversations between her grandfather (husband’s grandfather) and his cousins.

    • While my ancestry is strongly German, there’s a lot of Scots-Irish on my paternal side, which is not uncommon for East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Appalachia.

    • Denise, it sounds like you have a wealth of information! Thank goodness for our relatives like Aunt Edith, right? In our family it was my mom, but then my Aunt Marilyn (Mom’s younger sister) took over on the computer sites since Mom didn’t know what she was doing with that and got so much more supportive information to go with what Mom had always told us and the relationships she was familiar with.

      I’m so sorry your MIL won’t share what she knows with you. That’s very sad. And you know, the whole thing is, if there is a secret, it’s there for anyone to discover.

      So glad you shared with your husband’s cousin. The more who know about family/genealogy, the better–because everyone can work together, and it’s just so much fun to share with others. I found some love letters between my parents. They are in the attic. I have not read them through and through, but will be sure to keep them safe and sound for the future. I’ve so enjoyed reading letters from my ancestors, just their everyday lives and the things they talk about are fascinating to me.

      Best of luck with your genealogy search. I’m going to delve deeper when the winter months are upon us. It really lightens my spirits to do that kind of research.

  14. I have not done it personally, but on the O’Donnell side of the family, my dad’s cousin did our family tree, going back to sometime in the early 1600’s. On my mom’s side the Campbells, I have a niece and nephew that have been doing this side of the family, along with my grandmother, who was Hopper. It has been interesting what they have found. But I always say when you start to open cupboard doors that have been shut for a reason, the skeletons start to fall out…

    • Kathleen, that is so true about the cupboard doors! LOL But, then again, at this point, most of the thing we discover won’t really affect a lot of people who are living–at least not in my family’s case. My goodness, there is no doubt where your family is from what with O’Donnell and Campbell names being prominent! On my dad’s side Stewart was a family name, too, so I’m anxious to see where that leads.

  15. My fathers mother was a Whittington and we’ve traced that side back all the way to King Edward the IV, who supposedly married a Whittington girl. My mother’s mother’s side came from England, also, the Haymes’s. Some spelled it Hames, some Haynes, some Haynie. There have been a couple of books written about all of those people and saying that no matter how they spell it, we are all related! Wow! It’s all so very interesting!! I love it!

    • Lana, I have found that a lot of the names are spelled differently so you have to look at things with a lot of latitude. LOL One thing I was really happy to discover. I had a great grandmother named “Zania” or “Zaney” or another variation, “Zany”–so in looking at the records, I noted that her grandmother was named Janie. Nope…it was not JANIE, it was Zanie, and she was NAMED for her. I don’t see where anyone else has figured that out yet.

  16. I love your old photos and records! My mom was really into researching family history. My maternal grandmother’s side goes all the way back to the Mayflower (I’m related to John and Pricilla Alden) and my paternal grandmother’s side goes back to the French explorer Jaques Cartier (I’m half French0Canadian).

    • Cathy, I have a lot of old photos that sadly, now, I’m not sure who these people even are. That’s the next stage of the game–to post some of those and see if anyone in the other trees that are related to mine might know who they are! It sounds like you have a treasure trove of ancestors, too! I love doing this!

  17. Cheryl, genealogy is so fascinating and it’s full of buried secrets. I didn’t know until I began my own journey that my grandfather was not really my grandfather. He ran off with my grandmother who already had five kids and was about 6 months pregnant with my mom. He was only 23 and she was 38. Three months later, she gave birth to my mom. She certainly wasn’t a beauty and looks so give out in the limited pictures I have of her. She didn’t smile. I really want to know the reason they ran off. Was he husband mean and beat her? I know he drank heavily so maybe. My grandfather gave my mom his last name but he and my grandmother never married because she never got a divorce. They had another daughter after my mom and they stayed together until my grandmother’s death. Like you, I wish I’d asked my mom more questions. I’m kicking myself. Now, there’s no one left with any answers so it’ll remain a mystery. Keep digging into your people. There’s lots more waiting. I love you, Cheryl. Even if you are an Okie. 🙂

  18. BWAHAHAHAAAAA! Well, guess what! Here’s another tidbit I discovered. One of my great great grandfathers was a cattle drover on one of the trails that came up through southwestern Oklahoma from TEXAS. He and his wife lived in Texas (her name was Rita) and he only joined the trail drives for a short distance, so he didn’t have to be gone from home for a long time, so for maybe 20 miles or so. He could pick up some extra $$ and not be gone for the entire drive. I want to know more about them.

    I love that you discovered some good secrets in your family ‘closet’ too, Linda! My great grandmother I mentioned in an earlier comment that ended up with the total of 17 “yours, mine, and ours” children looked so worn out by the time she was 25. I have a picture of her and she looks like she’s about 50. Such a hard life. You just wonder how people even survived.

    I love you, too! We need to catch up!!!! Hugs, sister!

    • Well, that’s very interesting to find out you have some Texas roots. I’ll have to rethink my remark. HaHa! But no. It’s too much fun. Did you do the Ancestry DNA test? That was a whole lot of other interesting things to learn. I’m mostly Scottish with some Irish and Norwegian thrown in. One of my ancestors could’ve been a Viking, or a woman married to one. The Vikings raided Scotland a lot. Maybe my woman ancestor was captured. My imagination is running in overdrive.

      • I didn’t do the DNA test yet–my sister did the 23 & Me one, and I would love to do that one, too. Did you know that siblings from the same parents can actually have different results on the DNA tests? WHO KNEW? Oh, it would be so fun to think about Vikings being ancestors! I love it! XOXO

  19. Hi Ancestry is so very, very interesting. I had my DNA done , I have not searched much, but I do have a sister in law that is very much into ancestry has gone pretty far into our families ancestry and it is so very interesting. I enjoyed reading your post, thank you so much Cheryl. Have a great week and stay safe.

    • Hi Alicia, yes, it’s very interesting. I wish I had started on this a lot earlier, but…at least I’m working on it now. I’m so glad you stopped by and you are very lucky to have a family member who is so interested and has done so much work on y’all’s ancestry! VERY COOL! You have a great week, too, Alicia!

  20. I’ve never done any research, but I have heard stories from older family members. One of my grandmothers was very young and was sick and not able to travel. The family was moving west and so my grandmother was left in the care of another person. Sadly to say, they never returned for her and no one knows what happened to her family.

    • OH MY GOODNESS, CONNIE. Now THAT is a story in the making right there! There’s no telling what might have happened to them–but I feel sure that if they’d lived and been able, they’d at least have contacted her later on in their lives. That is just terribly sad, but she might have been saved from a very bad end on the way out west by staying back. What a thing to ponder, now…makes you wonder how many times that happened to families, doesn’t it? Probably a lot of illness back then that kept people from making that journey, like your grandmother! Thanks so much for sharing this. I will be thinking about it for a good long while now, wondering what might have become of them.

  21. I love your story. I searched for my family and found an interesting picture of the grandparent i was named after. My mom told me my namesake was a warhorse and a half. Which meant she was scot descent. She was big and tall.

    • Emma, you made me laugh. I have not heard that term for a long while now, but my parents used that to sometimes refer to women. Actually, that’s quite a compliment in my book! I hope someone somewhere is calling me a “warhorse and a half”–those women are survivors! LOL I’m so glad you stopped by today. And how cool you found a picture of the grandparent you were named after! That’s so neat!

  22. Cheryl,

    I think this is a great blog post subject because it’s not something most of us consider and it may turn into a great hobby/pastime for some of your readers. Also, something that caught my eye is that you write your stories out in longhand and idkw but that feels special to me. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • Rachel, I’m not sure why, but my writing is compartmentalized somehow…LOL I can sit down and write blog posts and e-mails and all kinds of things like that on the computer, but when it comes to my short stories, poems, and novels, I go completely blank at the computer. I feel connected to that fresh piece of notebook paper and the pen in my hand and the story flows (well, usually!) but there is no way I could call up that kind of creativity if I was sitting in front of a blank screen and trying to form my characters instead of writing them on paper. I like being able to flip back through my writing and see what I’ve marked out or added–sometimes I might tend to overuse a word or phrase and that’s easier to catch on paper, for me, anyhow. (Just reading through it.) Also, I tend to enter it into the computer about every 50-75 pages that I write, so I can catch things when I do that–just another step of editing. Once it’s all entered, I print it out and go through it and start marking. Things look entirely different on a printed page, for some reason. Writing it first in longhand gives me a chance to think about what I want to say and how I want the characters to act and react. I know there are not many people who still do it this way, but writing with a pen and paper is part of the creativity for me. When I saw that many of our school systems were doing away with cursive writing, it made my heart ache to think about it. Putting your heart and soul and feelings of all ranges on paper with your own hand is special, like a signature that is yours alone. So many kids won’t be able to feel that now. Your comment about writing my stories in longhand feeling special was so precious to me. That’s one of the reasons I love doing what I do.

      I agree with you about genealogy being something a lot of people don’t think about–in our world, it’s hard to make time to consider spending even a few minutes working on something like that that almost seems like a luxury–and I suppose, in many ways, it IS a luxury. I do hope that many of the readers of this blog will consider looking in to learning about their ancestors from the past–there really is a lot of satisfaction in that, at least from my point of view.

      Thanks so much for your comment, Rachel. It meant a lot to me.

      • Cheryl,

        Yes, I also felt sorry when I realized children won’t be taught to write in cursive. Heck, they can barely print anymore, I guess there won’t be anything handwritten, not even autographs, in a few more years.

        I’ve heard that if we read something from paper (whether it’s a book, letter, map) we remember the information much longer than when we read from a screen.

        I found the description of your creative process interesting! Thanks for letting us look in on that. Your books amaze me because the characters come alive and seem real.

      • Rachel, that is so interesting about reading something on screen vs. on paper! I would love to read more about that because I wonder why that is so.

        Thanks so much for your very kind words about my books! I appreciate that. I love knowing that the characters that come alive for me are also “alive” for readers, too!

  23. No, I have not looked into my ancestry. I have two cousins who have been working on it. I have one cousin who has shared a lot of what she learned with my Mom and I. Thank you for sharing.

    • Debbie, I have some other family members who are working on our ancestry, too, and my Aunt Marilyn did a LOT of genealogy work before she passed, so that is a great legacy she left for us. I really do love puzzles and this is the biggest one of all!

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