Thursday, February 21, 2019

Love (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 7)

You’d think that this particular prompt for the 52 Ancestors Writing Challenge would be easy for me. After all, isn’t my maiden name LOVE? Well, strangely, I truly didn’t feel the urge to write about that family right now. I’ve already done enough of that lately. Consequently, since it’s the month of Valentine’s Day, I did feel as though I should write about the various kinds of love that fill our lives on a daily basis.

The love that comes to us first in our lives is the one we have for our parents, whether they are still with us or not. For some people, that type of love can be complicated. Way too often, there is some form of conflict between parents and their children, even to the point of never speaking to each other again. I’ve been lucky. I loved both of my parents very much, even though I didn’t really know my Father well at all. But I loved him and he adored me. His pet name for me was “poochie pie.” (You have to love someone who calls you that!)

My Mother and I loved each other very much, too, even throughout my ‘filled-with-angst’ teenage years. I knew so many people who had huge fights with their moms all the time. I never understood that and was lucky to escape those. I cannot ever remember her raising her voice at me at all. (Of course, she did with my brother on an almost-daily basis, so I know she could!)

Next, if we have siblings, there is the love (and possibly sometimes the opposite!) that we have for them. There were only two of us in my family and we loved each other very much. I will admit that there were times during my life that I didn’t much ‘like’ him, but we always got over those periods and the love stayed with us until the day he died. I love him still.

Then there is the kind of love we have for our friends. I’ve been very lucky in my life to make and have many friends over the years, some of whom I’ve actually known since the first grade. Friends fill my life with happiness and love, something which I rely upon heavily these days. My friends kept me going through the dark days of my initial despair when my husband passed away. They continue to do so. I’m forever grateful for that kind of love.

I have to include love for other family members at this point. Although I didn’t have a big family while I was growing up, I loved each of my known cousins, aunts and uncles. I didn’t get to see them often enough. Luckily, through my pursuit of genealogy, I’ve found many more cousins and even aunts and uncles that I never knew I had! Some of those cousins have lived here in my hometown all of my life, and I never knew them. How lucky I am to have found them, and how lucky I am to have the love of my husband's family, as well. My family has grown in ways that I could never imagine, and so has my heart.
On a separate note, there is the love we have for that special someone, the one who completes our lives and makes it worth living. I was fortunate to have that extraordinary love for 35 years with the man I called  “Moon of My Life, My Sun and My Stars.” Some people never have that with the person they marry, and I feel such sadness for them - and complete and absolute joy for myself that I was blessed to have that person for as long as I did. He is in my heart and will be always. 

Finally, there is the love we have for our children, grandchildren, and in my case, great grandchildren. There is nothing like that love. Even if they are not around often, the love is there and it’s deep and abiding. It never waivers. One can have those “words” or “moments” with them (even times of separation), but the love never leaves. It stays forever. I hope that if you are reading this post, it has for you, as well.

I’ve found myself literally crying many times when I hear of others who no longer speak to a parent or a child or a grandchild. It’s heartbreaking, even agonizing, for me. What a loss for both parties. Life is too short to spend it alone and deprived of the love of that person who should be so meaningful to you; that person who is literally blood of your blood.

Love? Through all its various forms, love can be deep, occasionally wild and passionate, sometimes soft and warm, often powerful, and every so often fleeting. Yet even for those moments when love has left us, its memory nestles in our hearts and stays there forever.

Be sure to tell someone you love them today. We’re not guaranteed a tomorrow.
This is a Valentine that my Mother gave to her Mother 
when she was a little girl. Love for others is strong in my family.

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Friday, February 15, 2019

What a Surprise This Was! (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 6)

One of the first things that beginning genealogists are told is to not pursue their family’s history if they aren’t ready for disturbing surprises. I’ve actually put off the writing and posting of Week 6’s ‘Surprise’ prompt because I knew that it had to be one particular surprise that I would write about, and it is still very emotional for me.

I know that most family historians usually find a number of surprises when researching ancestors from their past; sometimes from their distant past and sometimes not-so-distant. I’ve found many of my own.

However, the biggest surprise that I found while researching my family was the absolutely huge one that involved my own Mother. Yes, that’s right…my Mother.

My Mom and I were very close. I thought I knew everything about her – where she was born, how she grew up, the jobs she had, her marriage to my Dad that sadly ended in divorce. Yes, I knew everything. Didn’t I have her photo albums? You know, the ones that captured much of her childhood and youth? Didn’t I have photos of her with her many friends and even all of her boyfriends?

Well, it turns out that I didn’t know her as well as I thought I did. I actually wrote about this back in 2014. (Please be sure to read that post if you can to get the full story.) I didn’t know about this particular thing until the 1940 Census came out, and it took me that long for it to sink in and actually write about or even talk about it.

My Mother got married at age fifteen – and not to my Dad! This information was given out by my step-grandfather in the 1940 census. She was one of those two people who were highlighted at the bottom of the page for her area. Naturally.

Since the writing of that post, I’ve not been able to find out much. But I did discover that the person to whom I thought she would have married was not the person she did marry.

I was able to find out the last name of the man she married on the Social Security Application on under “Notes:”

Nov 1935: Name listed as EVELYN WALLACE PECK; Oct 1945: Name listed as EVELYNE W LOVE

I suppose that means that she married sometime between October of 1935 and November of the same year. I still haven’t found his first name, and there is not one single photo of anyone named PECK in any of my Mother’s photo albums. It was a secret she obviously never wanted known. She got rid of his pictures and any mention of him.

She almost got away with it.
My Mother - around age 15

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Monday, February 4, 2019

At the Library (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks - Week 5)

The library: a place of refuge; a place of contentment; a place for quiet; a place for insight; a place of discovery; a place for excitement; a place for travel; a place for research; a place of pure delight!

The library is and always has been all of these things to me and, honestly, so much more. I spent many days at the library in my youth, mostly in those wonderful libraries at the schools I attended. I live in a big city, and even though I didn’t have one within walking distance of my home, my mother made sure that my brother and I visited our city’s main library as often as possible. (That main library has since moved to a newer, larger, and much improved facility.) When I finally got my own driver’s license at age 16, the main library was one of the first places I visited.

I still go to the library as often as possible. I’ve lived near the same local branch of our city’s system for the last 40 or so years. It’s less than a mile away from my house. I serve on the Board of that branch’s Friends of the Library and have done so for many years. I love that little library. Its very presence has brought a great deal of happiness to me and my family. Nevertheless, my husband and I would often find ourselves driving the approximately nine miles that it takes to visit the main library. The offerings, the research opportunities, and the special events there are all outstanding.

I will admit, however, that now I have a “new” library that has become near and dear to my heart. That library? The Germantown Regional Historical and Genealogical Center (GRHGC). I only discovered that library sometime around the year 2008 when the Tennessee Genealogical Society (TNGS) moved its headquarters to share the same building with the GRHGC. I joined that Society in 2006 and most of its workshops had been taking place at the main library in Memphis. With the move of the Society to Germantown, I found a new and exciting place to visit!

Since Germantown is a town outside the city of Memphis limits, I didn’t go there often. Nevertheless, it didn’t take me long to determine that the GRHGC and TNGS is located a mere seven miles from my house. That’s even closer than our own main library. The trip is well worth it because of the joys and delights I discover there with each trip!

As a family history researcher, I found an abundance of genealogical sources that aided me in my pursuit of my family’s heritage. In all of the books I used, however, one book in particular kept drawing me to it because so much of my direct line’s origins are documented in it: Early Charles County Maryland Settlers, 1658 – 1745, 2006, Heritage Books, Inc. (I wrote about this particular book in last week's blog post.)

One day I realized that I was using that book so often that I should probably just buy a copy and add it to - yes - my own library at home. The number of books my husband and I collected together over the years is enough for a small library itself.  I know that I need to “do something” with many of those books, especially the ones I boxed up after his death, but it’s truly hard for me to get rid of a book. It’s like losing a friend; like losing part of my own library experience.

“At the Library” was the prompt for week 5 of “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Writing Challenge. How easy this was for me to write about.

 “At the Library?” That’s where I am most of the time; it’s also where I live.

Just a few of the many bookcases and shelves with books 
tucked away in our home.

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Monday, January 28, 2019

Really? Which Ancestor Would I Like to Meet? Are You Serious? (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 4 - ‘I'd Like to Meet’)

Early CT showing Aaron Stark's Property & the location of the Pequot Fort.

The writing prompt this week in the “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks” Challenge is “I’d Like to Meet…”  My answer to that is: REALLY? I want to meet them ALL! How can I possibly narrow down that field and choose just one?
Ultimately, I just can’t. It’s my firm belief that every family history researcher has an insane desire to somehow go back in time and meet their ancestors. I know I do. In fact, I have a few words I’d like to say to some of them, don’t you? You know, like, “Stop! Don’t do that!” Or maybe, “Why in the world did you do that?  What were you thinking?  Where the heck did you go?”
I guess it’s a good thing we can’t really go back in time and give them our words of wisdom, since that might possibly at some point change the course of history. (We have to keep in mind that ol’ time paradox theory!) Nevertheless, I’d love to travel back in time!

In this blog post, I’ll try my best to choose some of my ancestors because I do have a few choice questions for these particular people. 

First, I would love to go back and visit with my Dad, who died when I was only ten. I have so many things to ask him. I really never got to know him. I want to know about his years as a young man, growing up in the early part of the 20th century in Memphis. He joined the US Marines in 1937 and re-upped right before Pearl Harbor. I want to know about his years teaching as a Master Sargent at Parris Island. I want to find out what it was really like to be a part of the battle of Iwo Jima. There were so many things to ask, but I was too young to even think about them before he passed away. My question to my Dad would be: WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME THESE THINGS?
And then there was my Grandfather, the one who left my Mother and Grandmother when Mother was only a little girl. I’d like to ask him why he never tried to see her again. Or did he try? Maybe he did, and my Grandmother kept him from seeing her. My question for him would be: WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU?
Going further back, I’d like to find my 2x great grandfather, Charles R. Sanford (abt. 1843 – aft.1875). I want to know when he was actually born. I thought it had been before 1839, but when I read his father’s letter to the judge in Tuscaloosa Co., AL in 1859, I knew I must be mistaken. The letter was to give consent for his son to marry, something that he wouldn’t have needed if he had already been 18 years old. And why didn’t he appear with his family in the 1850 Census? Lemuel Sanford clearly acknowledged him as his son with that letter, but Charles wasn’t living with them in 1850. Did he really die sometime after 1875? (That was the year his last child was born.) I can’t find a trace of his death - yet. Then again, here’s another thought: Did he leave that life to take up another one with another family? There are hints out there that this may have happened. Oh, Charlie, I HAVE QUESTIONS FOR YOU!
There are so many ancestors in between with whom I would love to have a conversation, but my final two choices include some of the earliest immigrants to this New World. 
My 8x great grandfather, Aaron Stark (1698 – 1685), came here from Scotland before 1637 and (according to page 806 of The Compendium of American Genealogy, Vol. VI Immigrant Ancestors), served in the Pequot Wars in 1638, the Narraganset Wars, and in King Phillips War around 1653. I want to ask him what brought him to this new land; why did he leave Scotland? Were the circumstances there so bad for his family that he felt he had to leave? And why did I read so many accounts of his getting in trouble and being put in the stocks? Really? WHAT ON EARTH WERE YOU THINKING?
Finally, I really want to meet another 8x great grandfather, William Love (abt. 1636 – 1680), the first of my Love Family line to come to this new land. He came from England and settled in Maryland. In the MarylandArchives, the CAREER FILES of Dr. Lois Green Carr, it states that he was in the province of Charles County by 1662.
But was his last name really Love? DNA testing has proven that our family does not match any other Love families that settled here, except one. (We know that we are cousins, but we’re still searching for that connecting ancestor.)
When my brother submitted his DNA to the FamilyTreeDNA site back in 2003, we had no idea that our last name wasn’t originally Love. Our ancestral origins appear to be mostly from Sweden, Denmark, and other Scandinavian countries. Some of the names that match ours include Olen, Ostrander, Andersson, Gustavsson, Sonvik, Hansen, Axelsson, Bostrom. Well, you get the picture. None of those names are anything at all like Love, nor do any of them appear in our family tree.
Therefore, to William I would say, WHO WERE YOU AND WHERE DID YOU COME FROM?
I have one small hint that I found in the book Early Charles County Maryland Settlers, 1658 – 1745, published by Heritage Books in 2006. On page 171, William Love was listed in the index with the name Loofe in parenthesis behind it. The name, William Loofe, appeared right below that, appearing to be the same person. In researching the name Loofe, I found it to be Dutch in origin. Well, I guess that makes sense. Hence, the Scandinavian roots and DNA matches. 

Yes, I have a huge desire to learn more about all of my ancestors, and, as you can see, I have some burning questions for them. There really are so many things that we could ask them, aren’t there?
Perhaps, though, it’s best that we have to seek those answers as researchers. The ‘hunt’ is the fun part, isn’t it?
The hunt is definitely on for that surname Loofe. And Charlie Sanford, watch out. I’m gonna find you one day soon!

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Senith (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 3 – Unusual Name)

“I can almost see her. She’s like a shadow that runs around just out of sight, in the corner of my eye.” The words from my husband’s aunt came slowly as she stared into space. Her words and her eyes evoked a feeling from a time long ago. She was speaking of her younger sister, Senith Marie Crum, who died when she was only 18 months old.

Senith. What an unusual name, I thought, as I listened attentively. My husband and I were visiting with his aunt a few years ago when I brought up the subject of the two children who were her younger sister and brother. They had both passed away before the birth of a fourth child, my husband’s mother.

If she had lived, she would have been Aunt Senith. Would she would have been more like my husband’s aunt or like his mother? Two sisters could never have been so different, and yet two sisters could never have been closer. I’ve often wondered if the death of the two children in between had made them so close.

As she began to talk about Senith, my husband’s aunt suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, wait!”  She got up and went to one of the back bedrooms and returned with treasures. Yes, completely wonderful treasures. She still had the precious little faded pink shoes and hat that belonged to her younger sister, and even more wonderful was the lock of golden hair that had survived all these years!

Those items brought Senith to life for me. I, too, could see a golden-haired child wearing a pretty pink hat and shoes (and probably a matching pink dress) running around happily, bringing joy to her parents and older sister. She must have been a true joy indeed, especially in light of the fact that an older brother, who had been born the year before her, had only lived four hours.

Senith Marie Crum was born on 15 Nov 1931 in Dyer County, TN. She died on 2 Jul 1933. Her death was recorded in Unionville, located south of Dyersburg, but north of Halls, which is where the family appeared to be living. Senith’s father recorded his address as Halls on her Death Certificate. Was the hospital, or maybe the doctor’s office, in Unionville? I don’t know. But I do know how devasted this family must have been at the passing of yet another beloved child. I marvel at their strength and their ability to keep going.

Senith was buried in the Mt. Vernon Baptist Church Cemetery, also located in Unionville, Dyer County, TN. There is no marker for her there and only one person is still alive who remembers her as she once lived.

Senith. I’ve researched the name, and it truly is an unusual name. I wonder why she was given that name? I’ll probably never know. But I do know that in writing about her, more people will come to know her and the memory of her will continue.

Rest in peace, Aunt Senith.

The Death Certificate for Senith gives the cause of death as colitis. 

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Saturday, January 12, 2019

My Wallace Ancestry (52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 2 – Challenge)

Do you have a John Smith in your ancestry? How about a John Brown? Smiths. Browns. I’ve always been relieved that I didn’t have many names like that in my ancestral line – you know, the kind that are so prevalent that you find a gazillion of them everywhere you look.

Then I found out that having a William Wallace as an ancestor was just about as bad as having a John Smith. They are everywhere, and we’re not talking about “the” William Wallace of “Braveheart” fame. (As a side note, I will say that I am actually related to him through his mother’s line, the Crawford family. But that’s another story for another day.)

My Mother was a Wallace. Her father was Baxter H. Wallace (1895 – 1958), and his father was the Reverend William Pierce Wallace (1854- 1919), another William Wallace! But he always distinguished himself with the use of his middle name and the fact that he was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher. I’ve been able to find tons of information about him.

But going further down that rabbit-hole (uh, I mean ancestral line), I’ve discovered that the Right Reverend’s father was a Samuel Wallace (1826 – 1903), whose name was almost as elusive as William. I have, however, managed to find a good deal about him over the years. It took a quite a bit of digging, but his life has become a bit clearer to me as I find more documentation that he was indeed my 2x great-grandfather. And I know from researching this family that he is the son of Archibald “Archer” Wallace (abt. 1785 – aft. 1850). Do I have proof of that fact? No.

I’ve been able to find out some things about Archer, even a record proving his marriage to Henrietta “Ritty” McReynolds. The document completely misspells her name, but other types of documentation proves that she was indeed his wife.

So, who was Archer’s father? Supposedly, he was one William Wallace, my 4x great grandfather who may or may not have been born in Pennsylvania sometime around 1750. I know for sure that he lived in North Carolina (probably Orange County) and that he served in the Revolutionary War. He’s listed as a Patriot on the DAR website. He’s just not listed with my ancestor, Archibald, as his son - naturally!

I also know that he and Archibald and Harbart (the son verified by the DAR) lived next to each other in Sumner Co., TN on land that was most likely given to him for his service. His last appearance was on the 1824 Tax List of Sumner County. Now, I say “last appearance” as if I’ve really done a great deal of research on him.

The truth is, I have not! I’ve been a bit side-lined these last few years by family concerns, and my research on this family came to a standstill a while back.

My challenge this year? I’m going to find out more about those Wallaces. How can I prove that Samuel was really Archibald’s son and that Archibald was definitely the oldest son of William?

Just where was William born? The ‘family story’ has always been that we were Scots-Irish, so was he born here or in Ireland? When did his family leave Scotland and go to Ireland? When did they come to America? I lose him completely when I try to find him in his youth. It’s all a great big blur.

Yes, I have a huge challenge ahead of me. Wallace (from the Scots viewpoint) may as well be Smith or Brown.  But I truly do want to know more about that family, and I am determined to have that DAR Patriot from North Carolina as a supplement!

Yep, I think I’m up to the challenge!
Archibald Wallace & Ritty McReynolds Marriage Certificate
Copy of marriage record between Archibald Wallace and Ritty McReynolds (spelled as McRunnells) found on

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland

Thursday, January 10, 2019

#52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 1 – First

I’ve always wanted to join in on the #52 Ancestors Challenge, but I was afraid that I couldn’t keep up. Guess I was right, since I’m already a week behind! Nevertheless, I’m going to try this year. I need to start writing again and I think it’s a good year for new beginnings for me. If I get behind, that’s okay.

Whenever I consider ‘firsts’ as far as genealogy, I have to remember the first reason I ever got involved in family history research. Aside from my love of history and family stories, it was two stories in particular that intrigued me. I needed to prove or disprove those stories I had heard all my life. Many of you have heard these reasons because I’ve mentioned them often in genealogical circles. But if we’re dealing with ‘firsts,’ I have to address these two stories. Also, I’ve looked back in my blog notes and this was the very first subject that I wrote about, so it’s a natural for me – and an easy one.

The first story that I always heard was that my middle name, Lee, was given to me because our family was related to Gen. Robert E. Lee. As a southerner growing up in the 50s, I heard his name everywhere and believed that story to be total malarkey.

The second story was that my four times great grandmother, Hannah Gage Norman, was the daughter of Gen. Thomas Gage, the British general who sent the troops to Lexington and Concord. Oh yes. I definitely believed that one! Leave it to my family to be on the wrong side of the Revolution!

I actually started my research on Hannah Gage in the mid-70s, often visiting the local library and devouring everything that was written on Gen. Thomas Gage. There was frequently a list of his children, but I never found her name, and I just couldn’t understand that. After all, I had a family tree drawn out in my Father’s beautiful handwriting, and I knew he couldn’t be wrong. I was convinced in my naivete that she wasn’t mentioned because she had obviously gone against her Father’s wishes and married someone who was involved in the Revolution. Naturally, he must have just cut her out of his life.

I never even thought to research the Lee story until the advent of the internet in the 90s, and the ease of researching allowed me to delve into what others had researched about General Lee. I had read a number of books about him before that, but none of them had any familiar names to me and, again, I just couldn’t imagine a connection.

Finding out that my great-great grandfather, Charles Jones Love (1824 – 1890), had married Julia Elizabeth Lee Shrewsbury (abt. 1823 – aft. 1870) was the beginning of a great adventure that led to the discovery that my 9x great grandfather, Richard Lee (1618 – 1664), was also the direct ancestor of Gen. Robert E. Lee. Well, how about that? Old Robert Edward Lee is my 4th cousin, 5x removed.

Poor Hannah, on the other hand, might be a distant relative of Gen. Gage, according to a paper written and published about her grandson (Solomon R. Norman) in the late 1800s. (Kentucky: A History of the State. Perrin, Battle & Kniffin, 6th ed., 1887, Spencer Co.)

I suppose that particular publication is how that ‘family story’ began, and I know for sure that research is how we make sure that the real stories continue.

@2019 Copyright by Carla Love Maitland