Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day!  A few years ago I wrote a post about my direct maternal line.  There are many mothers in my family tree and I would like to thank each one for making my being here possible! I want to revisit some of these incredible women today since I have verified a couple more generations. Including myself, I can illustrate 9 generations of women in my direct maternal lineage. 


Me, mother of 2 children.
Mom at her High School Graduation, mother of 2 children.
Roberta Mitchell 1931-2014, mother of 5 children.
Opal Strickler 1891-1970, mother of 5 children.
Effie Flock 1866-1939, mother of 4 children.
Amner Caroline Ramsey 1840-1933, mother of 12 children.

Jane Berry (1803-1870), mother of 10 children.

Margaret McSpadden (1780-1863), mother of 12 children.

Sarah Jane Whitesides (1754-1826), mother of at least 6 children.

I do not have photos of Jane, Margaret, or Sarah Jane.  While the earliest photo was taken in 1826 or 1827, camera photography was not common until the 1880’s.

Blog Birthday Fail

OOPS!!  I missed my own blogiversary this month.  The bad news is the anniversary was two weeks ago. The good news is I was in Virginia talking all things family history with my Mom and her cousins when I missed the big day.

My mom’s cousins flew to Virginia for a visit.  I had been in town the few days before their arrival so I stayed an extra day for some family time.  We spent the day traveling to Page County, Virginia.  I was able to show them the area my ancestors helped found in the mid-1700’s.  The highlight was driving to the Strickler-Louderback house.

The Strickler-Louderback house is on the banks of the Shenandoah River in Page County, Virginia.  My 3rd great-grandfather, David Strickler, built the brick home that stands today.  The Strickler’s owned the home for many years and then sold it to the Louderback family.  It was so fun to share this history with family!

Happy 6 Years to my blog!!

When It Starts To Make Sense

At the beginning of the month, I had the opportunity to present with another member of my local genealogy society to a local breakfast club.  Our topic was “Getting Started With Researching Your Family.”  During the presentation I realized I do not have any of my ancestors added to my watchlist in FamilySearch.

Last week, after adding all direct ancestors and their siblings to my watchlist on FamilySearch, I was taking a look at the family of John F. Flock and Amner Caroline Ramsey.  I noticed that I did not have death dates for several of their daughters.  The shiny blackhole was calling my name again.

Did I jump in?  Of course!  I started by reviewing each daughter’s details page.  The key was to notice that Laura Flock had marriage information added by another researcher. Using the married name, I was able to locate a gravestone on FindAGrave.  I was excited to see Laura’s memorial page had been linked to some of her siblings.  I suddenly had married names for several of the other daughters.

Along with many new facts to add to the family tree, there was an obituary added to the memorial page at FindAGrave for Elsie Clara Flock.  The obituary stated that Elsie and her husband had moved to Fall River, Kansas about 1910.  And it all started to make sense!!

I had always wondered why Effie Flock and Abraham Strickler had moved to Fall River, Kansas.  Now I have a clue, Effie and her family moved at the same time as her little sister, Elsie, and Elsie’s family.  I am still not sure what enticed the families to move such a distance.  Maybe someday that little piece of information will float to the surface.

Effie and her daughters left Fall River only a couple of years later after Abraham passed away.  Elsie remained in Fall River, Kansas until her husband passed away in 1938.  Elsie then moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado.

I started by adding people to my watchlist to see what facts were getting added/changed to people I am related to.  I ended up adding more information because another researcher had done just that.  The one marriage fact opened up a whole can of new facts about the family.  I have heard people voice concerns about others being able to make changes in FamilySearch.  This is just another example of why it is a great idea.  Distant cousins have different information then I do, together we can paint the fuller picture of our ancestors.

Summer Genealogy Happenings

This summer is easily ranked as one of my best summers ever!  Along with some incredible trips and quality family time, I snuck in some genealogy moments.

My first adventure was driving across country with my dad.  We took the Southern route from California to Virginia.  Highlights on this trip included the Grand Canyon, Petrified Natural Forest, adding three new states (I have only 1 more to visit before seeing all 50) and Bristol Motor Speedway.  The best moments occurred in the last 24 hours of our week-long trip.  We pulled off the freeway as we crossed the Tennessee border into Virginia and visited the grave of my 6th great-grandfather, Moses McSpadden.  The next morning I had an incredible visit to the Historical Society of Washington County, Virginia.  I cannot wait to make a trip back to do more research there.

My next adventure began when we arrived at my parents house.  My husband and kids flew in and joined to fun.  After a week of fun, hubby flew home.  The kids and I stayed to play another couple of weeks on the river.  My parents are the best and agreed to watch the kids one day so I could spend a day researching at the National Archives in Washington, DC.  I was a maniac and took almost 300 photos.  Each photo equals a page in a pension or land sale document.

My last great adventure was a trip to Europe.  We did a week of vacation in France with the family before heading to Switzerland for the hubby to work.  The work I have done on my Strickler line has led to Abraham Strickler who came to the United States in the late 1720’s.  Work I have found from other researchers points to my Abraham being related to the Stricklers who lived on the shore of Lake Zürich.  I have not had time to follow-up this research but I looks credible.  Several of our days were spent in Zürich, so one day the kids and I took a ferry ride down the lake to see what Horgen looks like.  Today, the whole lake is surrounded by towns with homes that crawl up the hillsides from lake level.  It was fun to watch and imagine what it must have looked like 300 years ago when it was all farm land.

I will write some follow-up blogs posts with more information about each genealogy adventure I had this summer!

Family Photos – The Mitchell, Gragg, and Elliott Families

This is a photo that was in my grandmother’s possession.  I made digital copies of many of her photos over the years as I would visit.  It was always a fun time to hear her stories as we looked at the photos together.  She always did her best to identify who was in each picture.  Sometimes we were able to identify some or most of the people but not all.  This picture is a good example of that.

This photo was taken about the early 1940’s.  I do know that Laura Mitchell passed away in 1947. My estimation for the photo comes from the age of my grandmother in the photo.

The people in this photo are a mix of families.  Dudley, Laura, and Tava (Nancy Octavia) were all siblings in the Mitchell family.  Tava was married to George Gragg so the Unknown Gragg in the photo could be George Gragg or one of her sons.  Wendell Elliott is the son of Lawrence Elliott.  Lawrence Elliott was married to Opal Strickler’s sister, Ruby.  My best guess is that she took the photo. These families were very interconnected because Lawrence Elliott was Dudley’s nephew and brother-in-law (read more about that here).

If you would like a copy of this photograph, I am happy to share a clean copy without names.

***Family – if you recognize any of the unknowns in this photo, it would be greatly appreciated if you would pass on their names!!

Mitchell family

Tuesday’s Tip – Check Again and Again and Again

I have learned this tip several times in my research history.  I was reminded AGAIN this past week.  The scene is me sitting in my family room watching TV with my tablet in hand.  I was not watching anything in particular and decided to take a look a look at the Ancestry App.  In a tangential genealogist (check out this link for a definition) mood, I let myself be sucked in by those green shaky leaves.  I have not put a lot of time into accepting or ignoring the suggestions by Ancestry.  Most of the time they lead to records I already have documented in my software.  All of my dead people have those shaky green leaves screaming at me to give them attention.

A click into the black hole of green leaves lead to a list of people who have suggestions.   I immediately zoned in on Emma Dovel.  She was the first wife of my g-g-grandfather, Abraham Strickler.  She died young and there are not many records available for her.  I have been trying for years to find out where Emma died.

The previous information was light at best.  Her son’s obituary said that she had passed away in Kansas City as the family was traveling west.  I did not have an exact location or date.  I only knew that Abraham and David W (without Emma) were living with Emma’s mother in the 1880 census in Page County, Virginia. Since David Walter was born in 1876 that left a 4 year gap in information.

I have searched Find A Grave in the past with no luck for Emma.  Guess what the first hint on that shaky green leaf was?!  A link to the gravestone photo for Emma Dovel Strickler.

Emma F. Dovel Strickler Gravestone
Findagrave.com, digital images (www.findagrave.com), accessed 2 December 2014, photograph by Kathy Eltiste, gravestone for Emma F. Dovel Strickler (August 11, 1878 ), FindAGrave memorial # 55549418, Kite Cemetery, Nemaha County, Nebraska.


Emma F.

Wife of

Abraham Strickler

Died August 11, 1878

Aged 25 yrs

8 mos & 8 dys

Along with birth and death dates, I now know Emma was in Nemaha County, Nebraska when she passed away.  She is buried in the Kite family cemetery.  This name is familiar to me as one of the usual suspects in Page County, Virginia.  My first hypothesis is that Emma has a sibling who married a Kite and they traveled west together.  I will have to do some further research of the other burials in the same cemetery to determine just how Emma and Abraham were related to this group.  I also need to check what sources are available for Nemaha County.  There may be additional information about Abraham and David Walter there.

So check again, and again, and again for information you cannot locate.  You never know when and where you will find what you are looking for.



My Maternal Line

Happy Mother’s Day!  There are many mothers in my family tree and I would like to thank each one for making my being here possible!  I want to dedicate today’s post to my direct line of mother’s who helped to make up my mtDNA.

I believe I will be able to go back another couple of generations but need to get the research completed before I will claim my ancestors.  This is the line I have proven so far:

Sierra Excel File


Mom at her High School Graduation
Mom at her High School Graduation
Grandma at her High School Graduation
Grandma at her High School Graduation
Opal Strickler 1891-1970
Opal Strickler 1891-1970
Effie Flock 1866-1939
Effie Flock 1866-1939
Amner Caroline Ramsey 1840-1933
Amner Caroline Ramsey 1840-1933


Unfortunately (but not surprisingly), I have not been able to locate a photo for Jane Berry.  Her death in Appanoose, Iowa in March 1870 makes the likelihood of any photo taken pretty small.

Almost Wordless Wednesday – Emerald Strickler

Emerald Felicia Suzanne Doretta Abigal Strickler is the youngest child of Abraham Strickler and Effie Flock.  She was born April 1st, 1902 in Haddam, Washington, Kansas.  This photo was taken about 1904-1905.  The family was still living in Washington County, Kansas at the time of this photo.

Emerald Mitchell 3

DNA Away

My Christmas present to myself this year was a DNA test.  Not sexy to the average person but thrilling for a genealogist.  I did my research and decided to get a mtDNA test done with Family Tree DNA.  The test arrived this week and my DNA sample should reach Texas on Monday.  My results should be ready in approximately six weeks.

My DNA test kit
My DNA test kit

A mtDNA test looks at the women in your direct maternal line.  I am not expecting anything too mind-blowing.  I have researched my maternal line back to my g-g-g-g-grandmother, Jane Berry.  I am expecting to see the British Isles as the major DNA line.  I am keeping an open mind because anything is possible!

Sierra Excel File

The biggest reason I am doing this test is to see what exactly you get when you have a DNA test done.  It works out great for me that the Marin County Genealogical Society is hosting Katherine Hope Borges at the March meeting.  She will be presenting “I Have DNA Tested – Now What?”

If my DNA test goes well, I will be testing the DNA of my Mom’s cousin.  There is a family story of an illegitimate child forced onto a new bride in 1867.  The story continues that the mother of the illegitimate child was Jewish.  My mom’s cousin is a direct female descendant.  I am hoping that a mtDNA test for her will either prove or disprove the family story.

DNA away, just waiting to play!