Who Are These People Anyway? How to Find Out.

Example of a Fan Chart from Familysearch.org

Partial of an ancestral Fan Chart from Familysearch.org

‘My Kindred Tree’ has highlighted many ancestors.   Perhaps you knew some of them when they walked the earth with us while others mentioned on the site may have left you scratching your head as to who they are.  There is a way to find out . . .  Continue reading




Odella, or Della HARKNESS married James S. HOLDER in 1909 when she was about 35 years old.  It was a first marriage for her but a second one for Jim, as he was known.   Her new husband’s daughters, Bertha, Eula, and Mamie made her an instant mother.  The three little girls lost their birth mother, Alma JACKSON 3 years earlier.

There are several childhood remembrances of a living relative that add a bit of texture to knowing Della better.  It seems that childhood memory is a lot like taking a snapshot with a camera, it captures details of a moment in time that often become the only thing recalled for an entire event, vacation, or year.

Here are a few memories: Continue reading

Mother’s Day to Teach Charity, Mercy, Patience

Julia Ward Howe, known for writing the lyric to ‘The Battle Hymn of the Republic” was deeply disturbed by the carnage of the Civil War.  She created a ‘Mother’s Day Proclamation’ in 1870 and wrote a poem about Mother’s not tolerating others leading their sons away from goodness.  Here is part of what she penned:

Arise, then, women of this day!
Arise all women who have hearts,
Whether your baptism be that of water or of tears
Say firmly:
“We will not have great questions decided by irrelevant agencies,
Our husbands shall not come to us reeking of carnage,
For caresses and applause.
Our sons shall not be taken from us to unlearn
All that we have been able to teach them of 
charity, mercy and patience.

1870 Mother Holding BabyShe must have believed that a nation is only as great as it’s women.   She created a “Mother’s Friendship Day” to honor peace .  It’s purpose was to reunite families and neighbors that were divided by the Civil War.  The holiday was observed in several U.S. cities until Howe stopped funding it.

In 1908, Anna Reeves Jarvis created “Mother’s Day” and her daughter Anna M. followed it through to a U.S. official holiday in 1914.  They too, wanted to honor motherhood and it’s powerful influence for good.  The unexpected commercialization of the holiday left daughter Anna trying to “undo” the holiday the rest of her life.

A few kindred women that were mothers before “Mother’s Day” became official were:  Martha STEPHENS 1872-1914, Elizabeth FITZGERALD 1870-1912, Mary COCHRAN 1853-1925 and Odella HARKNESS 1873-1944.  Look for a new post about Odella soon.

1+1+1 = The Truth

After reading an article by Kevin Cool, a mathematical equation of sorts seemed to evolve when writing about families.  It boils down to:   1 + 1 + 1 = Truth .  Another way to write it is:  a+b+c = A More Realistic Picture of the Past.  

Kevin Cool, the editor Of Stanford Aumni Magazine tells of his adventure in writing the truth about his dad and grandfather in the May/June issue.  His equation adds up as follows:

Currier and Ives Print of Farm and Fielda) ‘. . . a soft-focus version ‘ that casts his dad and grandfather living on a small farmstead with a meandering stream surrounded by pretty meadows with nearby forest full of woodland creatures. Sort of like a Currier and Ives painting.

Interior of a small cabinb) the ‘ grittier version’ of the small 2 room house with no indoor plumbing, water or electricity with grueling winters. Kevin states that both of the descriptions are accurate BUT neither of them is really true.  It was only after an interview with his father that he ‘grasped the complicated reality of his childhood. . . It was a hard life.  And it was a happy life.”

Old Photo of a Kindred Interviewc) “To reveal how people lived . . . you need more than accumulated facts.  You need Continue reading