Monday, July 28, 2014

Uncle Bethel

My great uncle Bethel was my grandfather's baby brother & his younger twin.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Surname Sundays: The Harrisons

How do you have a blog about the Wickliffe family without talking about the other families that were involved?

This is the question I ask myself every week when I try to think of post for this blog, I find that a lot of went on, specifically with the Wickliffe family, involved other families that I may have never blogged about.  

Which is why I want to start a new tag this week: Surname Sundays!

Surname Sundays features another family line that intertwined with mine.  

This week, I want to start from the beginning:        

The Harrison family.  

 This is a copy of the 1930 census from Muhlenberg county, Kentucky where my grandparents grew up.

Just 5 houses separated them, but so did 13 years!  

I know it is a little difficult to see, but the Harrisons, like the Wickliffes, owned the farm they lived in (worth about $800-roughly $11, 000 today).  

My great grandparents had two children at the time of this census.  One you are able to see, my grandmother, who was only 2 & one who you can't see because he appears on the next page of the census,my great uncle James Henry Harrison, who was only 3 months old.  

10  years later, in the 1940 census, 2 new families separated my grandparents but they still lived in the same area and only 1 other black family lived in the area.
 Now the census record states they are only 10 years apart.
I wonder why their farmers depreciated in value so much over the years?????

The work I've been able to accomplish on this side of my tree is minimal at best.
Can anyone help?

Friday, July 25, 2014

The murder of Elliott Ray Wickliffe

He was the only son of my great uncle Bethel & only 30 when he was brutally gunned done.

When I first started looking for info on my great cousin, I started looking for who he married & who his children were/are.  I had no idea that I would stumble upon such an unbelievably tragic story.

From the multiple newspaper article I found, Elliott was the third person allegedly murdered by Rick Stevens. (The Chronicle)
I never found any information regarding the final charges in the case, but Rick was ultimately accused of kidnapping & robbing 2 group of people, including 2 brother, Andrew Jackson Austin & Harry Austin.  

These murders were proceeded by the home invasion & murder of Elliott Ray.

Elliott, home with his girlfriend Renee, was shot.  His girlfriend was bound, but would eventually escape & go for help.  

Rick took off in Elliott's car, but wanted by the police for the double murders of the brothers, he was finally apprehended in a schoolyard, after he abandoned the stolen car & pretended to be a jogger. 

What happened in the case?  

As far as I can tell, Rick was convicted. (I am not sure of the kidnapping, robbery & car theft charges he was also accused of.).  He spent the next 35+ in jail, but was released in July 2012.

2 other men, Martin Derouen & Roy Davis Jr were also persons of interest in the case.
(I'm unsure if they were charged or convicted.) 

Rick Stevens was the lead singer (at one point in his career) for a group called Tower of Power & since his release, he has gone back to performing. 

I have so many questions, but I have to research & find out the rest of this story.  

Please post a comment below.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Those places Thursday's: Central City & Indianapolis

I couldn't decided on which spot to focus on this Thursday, so I decided to share a movie I created about my grandfather so that I can cheat & post about two places this week.

Comment & let me know what you think.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's my mom!

The moment I saw this picture, I knew what my Wednesday's child post would be about today.

That is absolutely my mother on the right.  She always has the brightest smile, even as a child.  She looks about 4 or  5 in the photo, but that is the smile my son wears in almost all of his photos.

I recognized my aunt Debbie quickly too. (That is her on the left.) My mother has told me often that I favor her & now I see it.

My mother has told me many times, that prior to her mother's death, she made them dresses that looked alike or that were similar.  (Which makes me want to ask my aunt or my mother if she made these too.) They look adorable!

A million thanks to my Great cousin Wanda for the photos!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Jacob Wickliffe: Died a tragic death

Since I started researching my tree, I have found some pretty strange causes of death, but the death of Jacob Wickliffe was one that stood out from the rest.

I know very little about my two times great uncle. 

He was possibly the 4th child born to my great, great grandparents. However, that's about all that I do know for sure.  

I'm only able to find him in 1 census record for sure, the other records I've found him in, may or may not be him.

The only other records I've been able to find for him are a marriage & death record.

Indiana, Select Marriages, 1780-1992 about Jake Wickliffe

Name:Jake Wickliffe
Spouse:Mary Higgs
Child:Baxter Wickliffe

 If you are like I use to be, you can't see or understand what is handwritten here, so let me try to decipher as much as I can.
On a rainy spring day on March 25, 1913, Jacob fell in a pool of water & strangled to death in some weeds.  The cause of death was contributed by epilepsy, but the record does not state that actually did have a seizure.
I just assume that he had a seizure and unfortunately just happen to fall in a pool of water and weeds.
Since backyard swimming pools were not a common feature back then, I also have to assume it was a small pond or barrel used to collect water.

There are several things about this record that bother me though.  Hopefully a real genealogist will read this post & solve the mysteries, but until then, I'm on my own.

  1. This record states that his mother is unknown & his father's name was Josh Wickliffe (Who was Josh Wickliffe?)  Which makes since in a way, because his mother would have been dead for over 7 years, so it makes since the informant did not know any of her information.  Especially since the informant was not his wife.
  2. Why doesn't the record list his wife as the informant?  I have no clue when his wife, Mary died. ( I have yet to find death info on her.)  However, the record does indicate he was married not widowed.
  3. The informant listed is Pink Ross.  To my knowledge, this is not a relative so why is he listed?    I did a little research on Pink & ran into a few brick walls, but did find a Pink/Pickney Ross who lived in the same area at the same time as Jacob,  (As uncommon as I thought this name was though, it was actually pretty popular name back then.) & died in the same area just 6 years later.  
  4. Pink did have a grandson named William Wickliffe living with him in 1900,  (According to the census record.) but who's son is he?

This record is full of questions.

Any help?

Monday, July 21, 2014

Over 1250 views!!!!!!!

Wow!  It's hard to believe, but my blog has been viewed 1290 times! 

It's hard to believe that only 5 short months ago, I decided to stop just collecting all this data & started sharing it.  My thought process was that I would get my mother to read it & maybe my husband, but that would be about it.  WRONG!  I've actually gotten some distant family members & even some strangers to look at my blog as well.

I'm still trying to get people to follow my blog & I'm still struggling with what to post about, but I'm proud of what I've done so far.  

Take a look at my top 5 post!

1.  Blogging my history - This has been the most popular post so far.  (Which is why I posted a similar post today. LOL!)

2. Aunt Pal - I know why this post was so popular, she was an extraordinary person.  She will definitely appear in later post.

3. My grandpa as a child - This post is definitely one of my favorites.  (I wish more people would have commented about what they knew about my grandpa's childhood.)

4. Alfred & Bessie's boys - This post wasn't as popular as I thought it would be.  I've often wondered if any of my uncles even saw the post.

5. Happy's mother's day mom - This is my favorite post!  My mom is always my inspiration & this post was a pleasure for me to write.  My only regret is that I didn't get her to comment on it.

Which was your favorite post?

Leave a comment below & follow my blog for future #1 post.

Blogs that help me

When I first started to blog, I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing.

I've just recently started to research how to blog about my genealogy. 

Tons of sites have caught my attention but here are a few I frequent almost daily.

If you are a beginner or you've been blogging for awhile, you will love Michael John Neill's
Genealogy tip of the day.  I learn something new from this site all the time.  

I recently started to follow a blogger who has been blogging for 8 long years!  Lisa Alzo calls herself the Accidental Genealogist, but her blog is no accident.  I've learned so much about formatting my blog from her.
A recent post of her's discusses some of her personal highlights over the years.  Check it out.

Even though I've only been to Kentucky once, I feel I know it well because of Brenda Joyce Jerome.  She has a blog centered around Western Kentucky Genealogy.
This is a life saver for me because most of my mother's family hails from this part of Kentucky.  Thanks Brenda!

One of the coolest ideas I've seen since I started blogging, was Amy Johnson Crow's blog:
No story to small.  She has a challenge called "52 ancestors challenge."  You have to check this out.  Each week she has a ton of great post sent in by members participating & the post are amazing.   

My all time favorite has to be Jana's genealogy & family history blog.  Not just because she has featured me in her blog,  (Thanks again Jana!)  but because of all of the interesting blogs she features each Friday.  She calls it her: Fab finds of the week.

I wish I could mention every blog, but this is definitely a start.

What happened to R.D.?

Uncle R.D was my Great Grandmother Odie's brother.

As far as I know, he was the 6th son ( 7th child overall) born to my great, great grandparents in 1903.

According to 2 census records, he lived with his parents in 1910 & 1920, but from there, I have no idea what happened to him.

Recently, thanks to, I was able to find his death information, but I have no idea where he was from 1920-1985.

Did he get married & have children?

Did he join the military?

Did he stay in another state from  1920-1985?

My great, great grandmother's side of the family is truly a mystery to me.  Simply because it's tough to find anything about them once they no longer lived with my great great grandparents.

Can anyone help?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

5 sites everyone searching their family tree should be using

Working on your family tree can be a long & exhausting process, but technology can help.

It's amazing how many tools there are to help you search, however, not every tool is free & some can be quite expensive.  Here are a few tools that have been lifesavers for me.

  1. My favorite site is  I have been a member since I starting tracing my tree in 2007.  I can't say enough about the number of features ancestry has to offer even a brand new genealogist.  My favorite is the monthly youtube videos Crista Cowan, the Barefoot genealogist produces monthly describing what's new with ancestry.  Even if you don't want to pay the monthly fee (which is only a little over $20 of month) you can still utilize ancestry's tree maker & several of their records, including some of the 1940 census records free.
  2. is free!  I had no idea about this site when I first started searching, but now I use it as often as I do ancestry.  In fact, I've came across records quicker with familysearch than with ancestry with certain family members. (My two times great grandparents marriage record.) 
  3. The Indianapolis recorder-being an Indy native, I am familiar with this publication, but others outside of Indiana may not be.  When I first started searching through these records, it was an endless process, but I quickly learned how to narrow my search & came up on a wealth of African American history.  (It amazed me how much info they documented back then.  There use to be a section called Teen Talk that was strictly for the high school dating scene.)  
  4. Chronicling America has newspapers on a wider scale (just in case none of your ancestors came from Indiana).  The unfortunate thing about this site is that it is very difficult to search through because the info is not as widely indexed as the other 3 sites. Which means you may have to get really good at looking at very tiny print to find the info you are looking for.  Also, the records are very limited &  most of the newspapers are from before 1922.
  5. Find a grave is my new favorite site.  It is definitely more reliable in regards to info.  Most of the sites I frequent, the info is provided by the users & that is findagrave, but it's different because it is a picture of the actual grave site/headstone.  How much more reliable can your information get?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Happy birthday (maybe) Great Uncle Andy

Andrew Wickliffe (1882 - 1974) was my great grand uncle.  
A short tree review
mother of Andrew Wickliffe
son of Emma Gatton
son of Harrison Wickliffe
daughter of Alfred I Wickliffe
  daughter of Linda Sue Brown 

Uncle Andy lived a long life, in fact, he out lived all 3 of his wives.

I started organizing his records & came across today as the date he gave to the US draft administrator as his birth date when he register for the World War I draft in 1918.  Several records, including the Social Security index conflict with this month & day.

Uncle Andy could not read or write, but held a number of jobs-coal miner, attendant, shingle maker, truck driver, laborer at a tobacco company & a porter at a bakery.

Monday, July 14, 2014

I'm back!

After a very long move & ending my school year (Yeah for all of my fellow teachers who get the summer off!), I'm finally back to blogging.  

Tons of new photos, articles & links to come.

I am so excited to share all that I am learning & will be learning soon (Indiana's Genealogy conference is coming up in a couple of weeks; can't wait to blog about it.)

Who were Grandma Lou's real parents

One of the first people I learned about as a child was my great, great grandmother Lou.

Grandma Lou lived until she was 101!  

My mother has told me many times about going down to Kentucky every year for the Kentucky Derby & visiting with her Mother's grandmother Lou.

The question I have about my great, great Grandmother is who were her real parents?

I think that Grandma Lou was born Louisa Williams.  
(I found this on her marriage record.)

The first census I was able able to find her on, is the 1880 census.  She is listed as the adopted daughter of Henry & Mollie Dodd.  I don't see any other census record with her maiden name.  
I've read in numerous places that it was common practice for black families to "give away" their children to work.  Is that what happened to her?  

Was adoption common in black families in Kentucky in the 1880's?  If so, where would I begin to find records, if they are even available?  I know most adoption records are sealed, but would she have known who her real parents were?