Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Cousins Find Each Other Around the World

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A World of family and ancestors, united by DNA

Today’s technology and DNA testing provide all kinds of exciting opportunities in genealogical research.  Many of us, and I am surely one, believe that each individual has the right to know exactly who she/he is and to know her or his ancestors. As my own genealogical research progressed, it helped strengthen my identity– as I learned about the ancestors whose DNA coursed through my own veins as well as theirs, hundreds of years ago.  Lately, I’ve learned that nowhere is this “need to know” stronger than for adoptees. Many, probably most adoptees feel the need to know their own individual identities and heritage.

I have a cousin named Bradley who was adopted. We didn’t know each other until we both did our DNA tests on Ancestry, and discovered our match.  Bradley and I have worked together a lot over the last year or so.  We have used AncestryFTDNA-Family Tree DNA23 and Me, and Gedmatch.com as well as other genealogical research sites and have learned amazing things.

Before Bradley contacted me about our DNA match, he had met another cousin named Courtney–DNA proved she was my cousin also!  I have to tell you, one of us is from California, one from North Carolina, and one from New York–we cover the whole of America, and we are cousins — united by DNA and ancestors/genealogy.

 

People united by DNA

Bradley is a force of nature, who makes things happen. He found two other cousins, Stella and Zoe, both of whom were also adopted, and who are also related to him, and to Courtney and to me by DNA! That is truly incredible!  In my experience, finding five people, unknown to each other, from all over the world, all of whom are related by DNA to each other–well, I would wager that it would be a zero probability that we would find each other!  However, the miracle continues, even more amazing to me is that Stella had met another DNA matched cousin  named Eva and she was related by DNA to the rest of us as well!  That made six of us, three from across the United States, and three from Central Europe — the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Switzerland.  We are three adoptees and three who know their parents, all 4th, 5th, or 6th cousins! 

Bradley then organized us into a group on Facebook, so that we could communicate more easily.  He invited one other DNA match of his to join the group hoping she might also match some of us. Laura did indeed match another one of us, another cherished cousin.  I asked my daughter Ali to join our group, as she speaks and reads German and French fluently, and was also a cousin of course! Eight of us, what a wonderful group of people, all dynamic and interesting to know!  Typically, the Europeans all speak and read English with different levels of experience, while we Americans only speak English, except for my daughter Ali, whose linguistic abilities did not come from her mother, but from other ancestors.

Eight people, eight cousins, three adoptees from all around the world– united by a desire to know our common heritage — awesome!  We truly engage in “Worldwide Genealogical Collaboration”!

We have been working together for a few months, but we may have just discovered our common line of ancestors, one of Netherlander origin.  We still have research to do to be sure.  As we identify our most recent common ancestor–possibly 4th, 5th, and 6th great grandparents depending on our cousinship and as the ancestral lines fall in place, birth parents are often– usually identified.  It is a fact of research.  What happens next is a choice that adoptees and their birth parents, if living, have to make. Reunions can be fulfilling and joyful, or full of rejection. With DNA, technology, and our heritage research, identities can no longer be secret — instead they can be stronger than ever.

There is one more phenomenal situation that we have discovered with our genealogical work together.  Our common ancestors, the Vreeland family, came to America in the mid 1600’s from the Netherlands to New Amsterdam (New York) in Colonial America. They helped found New Jersey, buying land from the Indians, and fighting in the Revolutionary War. Now, 350 years later, eight of us are getting to know each other and one completes this circle of migration.  Zoe was born in America, in New Jersey.  After her adoption, as a very young child of 2, she was taken to the Netherlands to be raised by her adoptive family. She brings OUR family full circle–from the Netherlands to New Jersey and from New Jersey back to Europe!  Isn’t that amazing!

Worldwide Genealogical Collaboration— aren’t we blessed to be a part of it! Enjoy finding your cousins all over the world. 

Until next time, Helen

 

Map depicting migration of colonial settlers from Europe to America and back to Europe. –From DNA Genetic Communities, Ancestry.com.

Originally published in Worldwide Genealogy- A Genealogical Collaboration , 27 July, 2017

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Mapping My Genealogical Research

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Mapping My Genealogical Research
by Helen Y. Holshouser
-first published on the Worldwide Genealogy–Genealogical Collaboration Blog, May 27, 2017

In honor of Mother’s Day, May 2017, my daughter Annie gave me a world map, cork to post it on, and a large box of colorful push pins!  What a lovely gift to give a Mom who is totally “into” genealogy!  As we opened the gift, she explained that she thought we could post it on a wall and use the pins to mark some of my genealogical discoveries.  I was touched by such a thoughtful gift. 

We had so much fun not only posting the map, but placing the push pins according to  things we thought important.  We have just started this project, and already realize that we need a larger map!  How wonderful is that! 

The first thing we did, was place red pins where our immediate family lives. That is mainly in three places, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia, USA.  Next. we looked at the family trees I had developed for both my side of the family, and for my husband’s side. We also looked at the genetic ancestry, or ethnicity maps that Ancestry gave me based on my DNA testing.  It was exciting to see the details of our family represented on a map, and like my own genealogical work, the map evolved as we thought it through. It is still a work in progress, and I would welcome your suggestions for other things to add. 

From working on both family trees, I knew before doing my DNA, that I personally was a melting pot American.  On my mother’s side I had inherited traits from Irish, English, French, and Italian ancestors mostly. Perhaps that is where  the  passionate, emotional side of my genetic makeup was nurtured.  On my father’s side, I have the more practical traits of the German and Scottish. (Stereotypes, I know!)  My husband Max’s ancestral make up is mainly English and German.  On our map, I used orange push pins to symbolize our ancestral heritage.  Notice how they are clustered in Western Europe– well, that is 99% of my heritage according to my DNA results.  Look how ancestry breaks it down on this map: 


I keep thinking I need to make a list of all the cousins I have met through my research and on facebook where the many genealogical and family groups enhance our meeting  DNA matches as well as ones found in encouraging each other’s research. For awhile I kept telling people I had met 100 new cousins through my research, then 200, now I have no doubt that it is  500  or more new cousins who have come into my life with a similar interest–genealogy and family  history!  How exciting and life enriching is that!  I used blue pins on the map to represent all the cousins I had met in the States and in Europe and Australia!  Obviously, I did not have a big enough map, nor enough blue pins, to represent all the wonderful cousins I have met. 


The yellow pins stand for the focus of my most recent genealogical research and DNA detective skills that improve with experience. One of the great joys of my life, has been the honor of joining an adoptee’s search for their own ancestral and biological roots. I used the yellow pins to represent some of the adoptees whose journey’s I have joined. Sharing these life experiences–life stories–has been intensely  rewarding—and intensely painful.  There have been the joys of reunions, the pain of rejection, death, lies, hiding, and even discovering horrors like the fact that your biological parent was a rapist or other criminal!  We must look for biological roots with wide open eyes–bracing for the worst that can shake our identities, and allowing joy for good news, which can still shake our identities. We must work to center ourselves before embarking on such a search, which should ultimately enhance, deepen, and expand our sense of self–not shake it to the core! You are not your parents, not your DNA traits, you are who you choose to be. 

This new ancestral map hangs in the hallway in the center of our home. How wonderful to pass by it many times a day and think of all the individuals and their unique stories and personalities–all the new family I’ve come to know and appreciate!  Still it’s evolving.  

All of the authors of this blog engage in genealogical research, most of you  readers are interested as well. What a life enhancing experience doing genealogical work has been for me.  With my severe heart disease, I was told years ago that my time on earth was limited–the joy of this work, the joy of being involved with the people the work represents, well, that has brought an immense quality to my life.  Mapping a few of the projects is a wonderful representation of the joy I feel.

Until we meet again, I am wishing you the very best, and that you meet new cousins who add joy to your life as well!  Helen


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Italian Cousins through DNA and Genealogical Research

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botto-home-in-italy-san-colombano-certenoli-ge-italy

San Colombano Certenoli GE, Italy By Davide Papalini (mio lavoro) [GFDL Commonshttps://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Val_Fontanabuona-IMG_0568.JPG

I suspect I am not alone in being surprised, when we have researched for years already, that breakthroughs in our genealogical research bring us exciting new family information, and if we are really lucky, new cousins! Especially, when it is not really due to our own work, but a gift of someone else’s hard work! That happened to me in just the last three weeks when a woman named Karen Migliori got in touch with me on ancestry to tell me that my DNA matched her husband’s Italian line of ancestors whose DNA and family tree she administered. I was so excited, because I knew very little about the Italian line of my mother’s family except for those who had lived in Richmond, Virginia, USA where I was born and raised. My DNA results said I was 5% Italian, and I was so happy to learn that. My mother often talked of her Italian grandmother, Mary Catherine Botto, who married her grandfather James Henry Kearse, who was Irish. Even though I am 15% Irish, I have always felt an affinity and affection for the Italian passions I inherited.

When I started my family genealogical research, I was thrilled to get my Italian line together, even if only through my second great grandparents who immigrated from Italy to America, settling in Virginia. Lewis Botto, 1831- bef. 1866, of San Colombano Certenoli (GE), Italy, married Catharina Revaro, 1825-1903 of Genoa, Genova, Italy. They married in Richmond, Virginia in 1853. Notice that from this marriage record, I learned the names of Lewis’s parents, my third great grandparents, Lawrence and Mary Botto (Lorenzo and Maria Rosa Costa Botto).Louis Botte (Lewis Botto)

_______________________________________
In the Virginia, Select Marriages, 1785-1940

Name: Louis Botte (Botto)
Gender: Male
Age: 21
Birth Date: 1832
Birth Place: ItalyMarriage Date: 3 Sep 1853
Marriage Place: Richmond, Virginia

Father: Lawrence Botte (Lorenzo Botto)
Mother: Mary (Maria Rosa Costa)

Spouse: Catharine Rivers (Revaro)

FHL Film Number: 31855
Reference ID: P1 #39

_______________________________
Together, Lewis and Catharina Botto had two children, James Lewis Botto, 1857-1923, and Mary Catherine Botto, 1858-1906. Mary Catherine as I said before, married James H. Kearse and they were my great grandparents, making Lewis and Catherine Revaro Botto my second great grandparents.. On the 1860 census, Lewis appears as a confectioner in Richmond, VA. and is living with his wife and two children.
________________________________
1860 United States Federal Census
Name: Lewis Batto (Botto)
Age: 28
Birth Year: abt 1832
Gender: MaleBirth Place: Italy
Home in 1860: Richmond Ward 1,Virginia, USA
Post Office: Richmond

Family Number 207

Household Members:
Name                    Age
Lewis Batto           28
Catharine Batto     20

James Lewis Batto  4
Mary Catherine       3
________________________________
However, I have not yet been able to discover for sure what happened to Lewis Botto. I do not know if he died in the Civil War, if he and Catharine got divorced, or just why he disappeared, but I do know that in 1866, Catharine married her second husband, Nicholas Raffo, 1837-1873, also born in Italy. Together they had one son, John Francis Raffo, 1867-1951. On the marriage record of Catharine Revaro Botto to Nicholas Raffo, I finally learned that Catharine’s father’s name was Anton Revaro, sometimes seen as Andrew Rivers. At last, I knew the names of my third great grandfathers.
______________________________________

Catharine Botto

Name: Catharine Botto
[Catharine Revaro] 
Gender: Female
Age: 43
Birth Date: 1823
Marriage Date: 7 May 1866
Marriage Place: Richmond, Virginia, USA
Father: Anton Revaro
Spouse: Nicholas Raffo
FHL Film Number: 33620
Reference ID: p 90
Catharine Revaro Botto Raffo had three children altogether, two sons and one daughter. James Lewis Botto married Margaret Slattery and had six children. Catharine’s daughter Mary Catherine Botto married James Kearse and had four children, including a set of twin girls and two boys. Catherine Botto Raffo’s son John Francis Raffo , 1867-1951, married Mary Margaret “Minnie” Finnegan and had eight children! Blessed to have three children, Catharine had 18 grandchildren! Lewis Botto had ten grandchildren. What a legacy!
James Lewis Botto owned and operated a nightclub in Richmond called the St. Helena. Mary Catherine B. Kearse was a business woman like her mother, collecting rents from rental property they owned, and she was also a jeweler, the co-owner of a well known jewelry store in Richmond. John Francis Raffo was a firefighter who became the Chief of the City of Richmond Fire Department with a career that spanned fifty years! Teachers, Police Officers, Firefighters, and a Catholic Priest. the caretakers of Richmond, Virginia, USA were some of my own family! Previously, I had met, through ancestry, some of my living Raffo cousins, in California, Virginia, and right here in North Carolina, only about an hour away!

That was about all I knew until two weeks ago. Even though I had met and become friends with another Botto cousin through our own DNA match- Eric Dimiceli from New York, he only knew that he had a second great grandmother named Catarina Botto, 1837-1913, who was born in San Colombano, Certenoli, GE, Italy also! She had married a Carlo Molinari. We knew they were related, but could not determine how for lack of records.

Then two weeks ago, I got a note on Ancestry from Karen about her husband Tom Migliori and his cousin Raymond Malispina. She and Ray are the genealogists of the family. Raymond had been to Italy at least five times, and had a cousin who did original research there. Ray sent me this lovely note for my records just a few days after we met:

“Good morning cousin
Amen to that!
One piece of new news you might want for the records is the church containing the data on Botto, Cuneo, et. al. is S. Maria Assunta in the town of S. Colombano Certenoli. It is just about a mile or so southeast of the wonderful city of Chiavari, on the sea some 40 miles south of Genoa and just below Portofino (the Cinque Terra is just a short train ride south of Chiavari). We’ve used Chiavari as our base city on five visits to Italy. Ray”

Raymond shared his own genealogical research and family tree with us, which gave us more ancestors! It also let us know that the four of us descended from siblings! Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto, 1801-1860, married Maria (Mary) Rosa Costa, 1806-1883. I checked my DNA for matches to the surname Costa, and there they were, I matched Eric, Ray and Thomas–Karen’s husband. In fact, Ancestry has now put the four of us in an ancestry DNA circle! Lorenzo and Maria Rosa had six children, and now we know descendants from three of them! Ray sent this information to Eric Dimiceli and me:

“Botto Family Records S. Colombano Certenoli

As promised here is the information found in the records of the church in S. Colombano Certenoli.

Lorenzo Botto (son of Bernardo) was born in the town of Rapallo in 1801 on July 19 1826 he married Maria Rosa Costa (daughter of Luigi) at the church in S. Colombano. Lorenzo died November 14,1860.They had six children:


-Angela Maria born October 16, 1827, She married Bartolomeo Daveggio on February 5 1845 This is my second great grandmother!!!!
-Giacomo Luigi was born July 23, 1831. No record of marriage in S. Colombano.

-Maria Teresa was born October 13. 1834. She married Antonio Raggio May 2, 1859.

-Caterina was born April 17, 1837. She married a Carlo Molinari (no date). She died July 25, 1913.

-Rosa was born October 19, 1841. She died October 9, 1842.

-Bartolomeo born October 9, 1845. Married Angela Cademartori December 31, 1865. Died February 18, 1906.”

How exciting to discover that our second great grandparents were siblings! Eric descends from Catherina Botto;  Ray and Tom descend from her sister Angela Maria Botto; and I descend from their brother Giacomo Luigi! Giacomo Luigi, I was so happy I could hardly stop saying that name. I had only known him as Lewis who married Caterina Revaro, and had a son named James Lewis Botto and daughter Mary Catherine Botto! Giacomo Luigi translates to James Lewis also, the name of his son! Live and learn! It was so much fun! I immediately sent out an email to all of my Kearse/Botto first and second cousins to introduce Ray and Eric, and give them the information! I also learned the names of two of my fourth great grandparents! Lorenzo’s father was Bernardo Botto, and Maria Rosa Costa’s father was Luigi Costa! There it was, Luigi, a family name.

Since Ray, Eric, Tom, and I are fourth cousins, we should share a third great grandparent, and indeed we are all descendants of our third great grandparents, Lorenzo and Maria Rosa Costa Botto! Ray and I share 13.1 centimorgans of DNA across one DNA segment! Eric and I share 12.0 cM’s of DNA over one DNA segment and Tom and I share 22.5 cM’s over 2 DNA segments.  Below are our relationship charts, detailing our kinship.

What a blessing from DNA and genealogical research to find three new cousins from California, to New York to North Carolina, USA–from Italy with love!

Genealogy Quotation-Lawrence-Dillard-friends-best-Meetville-Quotes-152308
Sono cosi felice! (I am so happy!)
Fino a quando ci incontriamo di nuovo, benedizioni  (Until we meet again, blessings)
Helen
Relationship Charts:
Raymond (Ray) Malispina (1935 – )

father of Raymond (Ray) Malispina

Louisa Cuneo (1888 – 1953)

mother of Elvin George Malispina

Jennie Deveggio (1867 – 1932)

mother of Louisa Cuneo
mother of Jennie Deveggio

father of Angela Maria Botto

Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto (1831 – )

son of Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto

Mary Catherine Botto (1858 – 1906)

daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto

son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse
Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse
____________________________________________
Eric Dimiceli
4th cousinPrivate Silvinsky 

mother of Eric Dimiceli

mother of Private Silvinsky

Francesco Molinari 

father of Catherine C Molinari

Caterina Botto (1837 – 1913)

mother of Francesco Molinari

Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto (1801 – 1860)

father of Caterina Botto
daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto

son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 – 1980)

daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse
daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse Youngblood
_____________________________________________
Thomas Migliori
4th cousinDora Pedrucci (1916 – 2012)
mother of Thomas Migliori

Della Catherine Cuneo (1891 – 1944)
mother of Dora Pedrucci

Jennie Deveggio (1867 – 1932)
mother of Della Catherine Cuneo

Angela Maria Botto (1827 – )
mother of Jennie Deveggio

Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto (1801 – 1860)
father of Angela Maria Botto

Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto (1831 – )
son of Lorenzo (Lawrence) Botto

Mary Catherine Botto (1858 – 1906)
daughter of Giacomo Luigi (James Lewis) Botto

Thomas Philip Kearse (1883 – 1939)
son of Mary Catherine Botto

Margaret Steptoe Kearse (1918 – 1980)
daughter of Thomas Philip Kearse

Helen Spear Youngblood Holshouser
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kearse

__________________________________________
This blog post was originally  written for  the blog entitled “Worldwide Genealogy –A Genealogical Collaboration”          http://worldwidegenealogy.blogspot.com/                   `

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Happy New Year 2017–Looking Back and Looking Forward

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Until yesterday, when I posted my first post of this year, I had not blogged since June, 2016!  Some of you missed me, thank you very much.  It’s been an interesting six months, good and bad as real life always is.  This is my family’s story, part of it for 2016.

The less than good events were of course, my continuing battle with heart disease, and angina, which only creates problems if I walk too far, more than  20 to 35 feet, or stand more than a few minutes, or get too cold, or too hot!  

Health issues continued to try to bring us down, but didn’t succeed!  My husband of 45 years, Max had cancer last year.  He had surgery and treatments, and appears to be cancer free.  We are keeping an eye on his numbers of course, but so far it’s been great!  Max, who is never sick, but our strength and rock, also had bronchitis which would not stop!  We all had viruses as well, so we kind of quarantined ourselves for a couple of weeks, with coughing and hacking being the ultimate sound in our house!  LOL

 Our adult  daughter, one of them,  hurt her back and has been unable to return to work for over a year! Treatment after treatment, doctor after doctor, she had to give up her apartment and move home–then there were the medical bills. Thank God for Obamacare!  Oh, you say Republicans are going to get rid of it? You say they won the elections?  How did I miss that? Not!

Even in my family of origin–normally healthy people were sick last year! Seriously ill. My sister had quintuple bypass and an ablation for afib.  The ablation failed and in a month they did a cardioversion!  Vasculitis set in, so forth and so on!  She continues to improve, but what a battle!  One brother fights severe diabetes, and another had cancer surgery also!  It’s true what they say…

http://www.criticalchristian.com/view.asp?file=431.%20The%20Latest%20Chapter(1).htm&id=3&feature=Essays&title=The%20Latest%20Chapter%20in%20Growing%20Old

http://www.criticalchristian.com/view.asp?file=431.%20The%20Latest%20Chapter(1).htm&id=3&feature=Essays&title=The%20Latest%20Chapter%20in%20Growing%20Old

So you can see that health concerns overshadowed our lives this past year.

Good news buoyed us however, our faith sustained us and fun and adventures brought joy!  Max is much better, I am stable, and our daughter is improving, slowly but surely!  So why did I not blog for six months?

I kept thinking I would.  But besides health issues, I got into helping people find their birth parents and their true heritage, genealogy!  It was so rewarding, and so much fun, I felt like a detective!  Amazingly, and as we all know, the universe works in strange ways. Most of the people I had the joy of being involved with were people who matched my own dna on ancestry!  I’ve written about a case or two before actually, but in the last six months, the numbers of folks topped fifteen that I was involved in searching for roots with! I can hardly wait to tell you about some of them, some successful, some not, some still in progress. However, all were successful in one way, I met a new cousin!   I met generally  3rd, 4th, even 6th cousins who had been adopted, and were kin to me!  Amazing adventures!

Of course my other special hobbies, of my 3 g’s, besides genealogy, are grandchildren and gardening. They each brought us so very much joy this year, that we can still smile,laugh,and enjoy life…and maybe even blog a little.  

Fully present in the moment, children help you focus on joy! Fully beautiful at the moment, flowers do also.  And don’t forget Elvis, it’s his birthday!

 Lift your head, look around, breathe, smile, life is worth living. Wishing you all the best, and looking forward to the journey. 

Personal photo collection, grandchildren enjoying first snow of 2017

Personal photo collection, grandchildren enjoying first snow of 2017

daylillies-onpatio-of-90-castlerock-dr-youngsville-nc-helen-and-max

Personal photo collection, lillies in our garden

 

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“We Are the Storytellers, Called by Our Ancestors”

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“We are the storytellers– called by our ancestors.

 In each family there is one who seems called to find the 
ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us, “Tell our story!” So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.

 How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh.

 How many times have I told the ancestors, “You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us.” I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.

With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers.

That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory –or greet those whom we had never known before.” Author Unknown
While many of you may have seen this writing, author unfortunately unknown, I have only read it recently.  As a person who has been telling family stories for years, this message speaks to me.  It also reminds me of so many of you whom I have come to know.  You, the genealogy bloggers, the researchers, the family reunioners, the bedtime story tellers about great grandpa folks, you are the Storytellers of your family, and  I know how valuable you are, how much it will be appreciated in years to come, how much I appreciate others who left stories and information for me to find.  

This poem inspired me to get back to blogging, and to start 2017 with enthusiasm and renewed energy.  Looking forward to being in touch with you all again.  I am also wishing you the very best in 2017!  

happy-new-year-message-images-18

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Memorial Day–Remembering Two Who Died Serving Their Country in the Armed Services or Collaterally

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All over the world, people pause to remember those who fought and died trying to protect their countrymen.  Different countries use unique ways to celebrate and honor their lives.  In my opinion, war is a terrible thing. If it can be avoided, I would hope leaders all over the world would choose peace and collaboration over pain and suffering.

In the USA, Memorial Day is celebrated on the last Monday in May. It is a federally declared holiday. Flying our flags, family picnics, parades of soldiers and sailors, decorating cemeteries, and remembering the many who gave of their lives to serve their country are some of  the ways it is celebrated.

Like countries everywhere, we have lost millions of lives in our many wars. Today I want to tell you the story about  two of my family members who suffered dramatic deaths/wounds that represent the tragedies experienced by almost every family in the world.
 

World War II saw millions of people all over the world die due both to armed battles, and/or as civilians caught in those fights. In 1943, one of my aunts, my mother’s sister Nancy, had the opportunity to marry her sweetheart Bob while he was home from the war on leave. He was an Air Force Pilot, and she was so proud of him! I wasn’t even born yet, but my mother told us this story many times.

Kerse sisters at Nancy's wedding

Five sisters participate in their sister Nancy’s wedding to Bob Guthrie in 1943.  l to r, Katherine Kerse Buck with husband Roger next to her.The next two adults are Guthries, she is Cilla Guthrie, sister of the Groom. The child is the flower girl, Claudia Burnett Williamson, daughter of Julia Louise Kerse Burnett standing with her. In the middle you see the bride Nancy Langhorne Kerse and her husband Bob Guthrie. Next is Margaret Steptoe Kerse Youngblood, with an unknown man next to her. The last sister shown is Janey Bell Kerse Sommers, and behind her on the end is Cecil Hogue Youngblood, Margaret’s husband, my father.

When their boyfriends and husbands were at war, several of my mother’s six sisters lived together in an apartment.  My mother Margaret and her sisters Nancy and Julia lived together. After having been married for a very short while, Nancy was missing her husband terribly. One Saturday  afternoon, she napped in her room. Suddenly she ran out into the living room crying and talking rapidly. “No, no, no!  Bob is dead! Bob is dead, I can’t stand it, I can’t say goodbye!”  Her sisters thought she was still sleeping and having a nightmare. However, Nancy soon explained that she awakened to see an image of Bob sitting on the bottom of her bed. She said that he spoke with her kindly, saying he was sorry, but he had to leave her, had to say goodbye. “He told me he loved me, and wanted me to have a good life.”  “No!”, she moaned in inconsolable grief, so sure of the reality of her dream.  The event shook all of the family, but most believed it was just a dream.  However, within 24 hours, two military personnel came to the door and notified Nancy officially that Bob had been killed! The extreme joy of a wedding, dreams of the future,  and it all died that day with her beloved Bob Guthrie. Apparently, Bob had truly appeared to my aunt, how else would she have know that news before it was delivered?  Every Memorial Day as I was growing up, we heard this story which became a family classic. Other relatives died in the wars, but this one stood out. A group of Bob’s classmates at the Military Academy wrote and sent this to my Aunt Nancy:

“Courtesy of His Classmates

United States Military Academy

Robert Wood Dailey Guthrie

14 May 1920 – 14 August 1944

Died near Brest, France, aged 24 years

Interment: Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia

As June 1944 approached, many divisions including the 78th were raided for privates and lieutenants — among them First Lieutenant Guthrie. Even the goodbyes were hasty and Bob sailed for Northern Ireland as one of the many fillers destined for Normandy. His assignment was in Company “D,” 1st Battalion, 28th Infantry Regiment, 8th Infantry Division.

On the fourth of July 1944, the 1st Battalion entered into the severe combat of Normandy and over a month of testing for Bob. The baptism of fire began on the 8th and 9th of July against a determined enemy. This was the most costly combat for the battalion; 124 enlisted men and five officers. But more was yet to come. The best ground over which to break out of Normandy lay in front of the 1st battalion. But the enemy knew it as well. On 25 July, the battalion spearheaded the St. Lo breakout through which moved two armored divisions and the 79th Division. For that action the unit received battle honors in Army orders. In the breakout the battalion went 50 miles by foot to join in the capture of Rennes. In early August, the unit cleaned up enemy resistance and took in more than 300 replacements.

Then the 8th Division and the 6th Armored were sent west to surround the fortified port city of Brest. Here a German hero from Crete commanded three divisions plus many other units and was under direct orders from Hitler to hold out for four months. It was the lot of the 1st Battalion to be the first divisional unit to hit these fortifications. From 8 August, the battalion began to learn how to deal with piercing the forts as they closed the noose around the garrison. But the airfield had to be taken in order to close the last route of escape. On 11 August, while leading his men in that attack, Bob Guthrie was mortally wounded by enemy machine gun fire. He died in a field hospital on the 14th — an infantry combat leader of great courage hit at the head of his troops.”

American Flags Are Placed On Gravestones In Arlington To Honor War Dead

ARLINGTON, VA – MAY 27: A member of the U.S. Army Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), salutes after placing a flag on a grave stone at Arlington National Cemetary May 27, 2004 in Arlington, Virginia. An event called “Flags In” takes place before every Memorial Day weekend in honor of those veterans who have lost their lives. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

When we think of the men and women who gave their lives protecting their countries, most of us think  of the actual fighters, and rightly so. However, “50 to 85 million people worldwide were killed during WWII.”  (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II)  “Over 9 million combatants and 7 million civilians died as a result of WWI.” (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I)  How is it that we choose this suffering for our world!   

Civilian deaths are sometimes called “collateral” damage. Their families might feel collateral  is not the right term. My maternal grandmother was one to be counted as collateral damage from WWI, but I’m sure she was not included in the numbers. On Memorial Day I have come to think of her wounding and death.  

It’s hard to believe, but this wonderful woman, a nurse by profession and by all reports a superb one, met tragedy at the hands of a patient. She was caring for a comatose private duty patient, a veteran of WWI. She had bathed him and went to empty the water, as my mother told the story. When she returned to the room, he yelled out for her to get away and called her by the derogatory name of some of our military adversaries in  WWI. He was delirious, but afraid. Unfortunately, there was a rifle hanging on the wall that was still loaded, no one had realized or dreamed it was still loaded!  In his delirious state he shot my grandmother in the head! Within a couple of hours, he was dead of his own illness, just that last semiconscious rousing  turned her whole world upside down and that of her children and husband also! She was shot on January 28, 1930, but not killed. The bullet apparently split in half, half traveling down her neck, and half lodging in her brain, inoperable. She lived, but was unable to talk and walk well for the rest of her life–and she had six children!  Shot by a mortally wounded soldier, she was a victim of the war herself.

Kate Steptoe Houchins Kearse, w out border

Even though I’d heard this story all my life, as I worked on my genealogy,I found several newspaper articles in archives regarding her being shot. Her death certificate, and the patient’s certificate  were available to me in a records search. Since this was my mother’s mother, I heard the story from family repeatedly.

 These are two deaths that I will remember specifically on this Memorial day. There have been many more in our own family, and in yours, I know. This Memorial Day I will remember and honor the dead, but I will pray for leaders who seek peace.

 

This blog post was initially published by this author in the Worldwide Genealogy~A Genealogical Collaboration.

 

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Honoring the College and University Level Teachers in Our Family, Past and Present

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Teachers teach all other professions

During the months of September and October, 2015, we’ve been honoring and recognizing the Educators in our Family Tree, past and present. I am presenting quite a few educators in today’s blog post. I am sure that there are many more whom I either have not identified, or did not know. Please feel free to comment and tell me about those I have missed so that I can either include them here with a correction or write an addendum.

It just so happens that I had the blessing in my life to teach children with behavioral and emotional issues in first  through sixth grade right out of college. After being at that level for three years, I moved to the Junior High level where I taught students aged 12-16, they would be classified middle and high schoolers today.  When we first moved to Raleigh, North Carolina in 1980, I had the opportunity to teach Interpersonal Communication at North Carolina State University for 3 years as a “Visiting Lecturer”. Most of you know, with my BA from Greensboro College and my MA in Clinical Psychology from Chapman College,  I went on to become an individual and family therapist for twenty years after that.  My point is to say, having taught at the different levels, and known so many teachers over the years, I can say that teaching is challenging at all levels! The challenges are different for sure, but the ultimate goal  is to educate, and every single level is needed to create success at the next level! We cannot skip any level of development and learning and expect to have a well-educated person! As the saying above aptly states, “Teaching is the profession that teaches all other professions!”  Nothing could be more true! Why then don’t we make the salary of our CEO’s!  I’d vote for that!  It’s past time the importance and value of our teachers be more highly recognized by our States and National Government budget makers!

We have amazing people in our family–I hope you will enjoy “meeting” these people  and knowing just a bit about what they do and where they teach, if you want to be in touch with any of them, let me know and I will ask them to get in touch. I am presenting them in alphabetical order by first name, we are family after all!

Carol E. Winters, 2013Carol E. Winters, PhD, RN, CNE (Doctorate, Registered Nurse, Certified Nursing Educator) my cousin through the Scottish Hogue family, is currently a Professor of Nursing at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.  She is the Director of the MSN Nursing Education Concentration–she teaches Graduate level nurses to be Nursing Educators! Carol served as the Dean of the School of Nursing at Hawaii Pacific University in Hawaii for 16 years before returning home to North Carolina.  Carol has a BA in Christian Education from Greensboro College in Greensboro, NC, then an M.S. in Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania.  Not only has she these teaching , leadership accomplishments, but so much more! She is a published author, has been a hands-on nurse of obstetrics, and since 2009, has been a Faculty Advisor for the NFLA, Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy, a national organization sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau, the International Nursing Honor Society jointly with the Elsevier Foundation. There is so much more I could tell you about this dynamic woman who happened to be my college roommate and friend of almost 50 years! We only discovered our cousinship last year through my genealogical research!  She has three children, five grandchildren, and has done vast amounts of volunteer work in her communities, and served and led many committees.

 October 1, 2015,–Carol Emerson Winters was honored as the 2015 Nurse Educator of the Year by the NCNA, the North Carolina Nursing Association! CONGRATULATIONS! AN HONOR WELL DESERVED! congratulations in gold

My Hogue cousin, Dee Horn, has tutored College level     Dee Horn also   English at two  different colleges over the years. I have known many college level tutors. When I was at NC State University I quickly learned how invaluable they were to many students–like those who had learning disabilities, some who were blind, and  even some who were valuable sports team members who needed extra help to keep up with academics during their physically demanding playing and practice seasons. We take our hats off to one on one teachers! 

Donna Miller 3Another Hogue cousin  Donna Miller earned her degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and taught Business Education  at the High School level, in Business Schools, and at Community Colleges.  Life, marriage, and children took her from Pennsylvania to Connecticut and Rhode Island.  In Norwich, Connecticut, for 23 years, she taught at a business school and served as an Academic Dean!  After retirement, she worked  part-time at Three Rivers Community College.  

When I asked Donna about some memories, she  said several things which I wanted to share.  One was a simple teaching technique but fun: “I liked making the students think about what they were doing. Sometimes I would purposely make a spelling or grammatical error on a test and then tell the students that they would get extra points if they found it.” That’s the kind of thing that adds an extra challenge and a bit of fun for students!   She went on to say: “It’s the one profession where students have actually come back and said, ‘Thank you for believing in me,’ or ‘pushing me,’ or ‘making me realize that I can do . . . .’  When you are finished teaching, you know that despite some of the negatives (there were stressors), you feel that you have done something positive with your life.”  Oh yes! I know a lot of the educators we have profiled feel this way, and it is why we admire and love them so!  When a teacher’s philosophies so resonate with you, you know you’d love to have that teacher for yourself, or for your children, and you know with certainty that they are a GREAT teacher! 

My first cousin James Goodell, great-great grandson of Goodell, James McClainJ.Steptoe Langhorne, has taught computer sciences for many years at Menlo College in Atherton, California. He studied at the University of Freiburg located in Freiburg im Breisgau, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.  He currently serves as President of the Goodell Corporation, a family real estate school and business his father founded.

Youngblood, LarryLarry Youngblood is one of our multi-leveled/multi-talented teachers as well! For years he has home schooled his grandchildren through all the levels of education!  Having studied at Texas A&M University Larry  has taught at Private Catholic Schools, Business Schools and Universities.  For several years now, Larry has been the Administrator of the International Youngblood DNA Project researching the  different family lines of Youngbloods evidenced by their dna.  He is currently writing a book about the Youngblood/Jungblut/Jungbloedt families. Thank you Larry! 

Pat Spangler, PhD, my second cousin, son of Charles Langhorne Spangler and Kittie Cockram Spangler, grandson of  Fanny Langhorne, and Great Grandson Spangler, Pat, PhD 2014of J.Steptoe Langhorne is a geophysicist in a family with three close cousins who are/were geophysicists! What honor he and they bring to our family!  You can read a previous blog post featuring them  at  Buck, Spangler and Houchins, Three Cousins Who are Geophysicists as Well!   Pat Spangler, PhD, is retired from the University of Florida, and thus his title is now Associate Professor Emeritus of Geology. Pat has published extensively and is highly respected in the academic community as well as in his family community.

Rick White, PhD, Donald Richard White, Professor, 3x gr grandson of James Steptoe LanghorneI am thrilled to introduce to many of you, our cousin Dr. Rick White, PhD, Chemist. Rick is the second great-grandchild of James Steptoe and Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro Langhorne, same as James Goodell, Roger Buck IV, PhD and I are. Pat Spangler above is their great-grandson. Rick is a Professor of Chemistry at St. John’s River State College in Jacksonville, Florida after a twenty plus year career in industry. He has also taught at Florida Southern College, and at the University of Tampa. He earned his PhD at the University of Florida and did post doctoral studies at King’s College in London. (At the time of his post doctoral work, the school was called Queen Elizabeth College, but Margaret Thatcher consolidated the colleges in the mid-1980’s and it became King’s) Rick has three sisters by the way, more cousins for us to enjoy. Another extremely accomplished professional, Rick has over 25 peer-reviewed publications, and over 200 internal company reports from his time with industry.

Rick worked for over twenty years for Procter and Gamble. Twelve of those years were spent in their Food and Beverage business before moving to their Health Care business where he worked for another ten years! He was an analytical chemist, supporting all aspects of product development, from inception to launch. Some of the products he worked with included brands you will recognize like Folger’s Coffee, Pringles Potato Chips, Citrus Hill Orange Juice, Pepto-Bismol, Metamucil, Crest Toothpaste, and Vick’s cough and cold remedies! Just think, from now on when you pick up one of those products, you will know that our DNA is part of the brain that helped develop them! We are very proud to be related to you Dr. Rick White!

Voorus House, Dorothy Pearl

Voorus Home in PA

Robert Voorus, 1891-1985, my cousin through the Spangler and Hogue families, had brothers and sisters  who were featured in the earlier educator posts. Robert worked in the Library of Congress as a young man. When he moved back to Pleasantville, Pennsylvania he taught at a Business School in Oil City, Pennsylvania. He is remembered by family as an excellent educator. 

Roger Buck,III was a master’s level Marine Biologist. He spent Buck, Walter Roger Buck, IIImost of his professional life researching for the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, Gloucester Point, VA, which is now part of William and Mary College for their Oceanography Concentration.  Roger not only researched heavily, but he taught at William and Mary College and earlier at Duke University. With all of his major accomplishments, Roger, my Uncle by marriage to Katherine Langhorne Kerse, was a kind and genteel man who raised a son and a daughter who both earned their  PhD.  His son, W. Roger Buck IV,  became an educator and research scientist as well, while his daughter Tyler Buck is a financial analyst and advisor with her own company.

Roger Buck, IV,PhD, my first cousin through the Kerse, buck, Walter roger Buck IVHouchins, Langhorne families, is a Professor of Geophysics at Columbia University in New York. His speciality is earthquakes and he researches through Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in New York.  He has traveled the world lecturing and researching as he says, from “collecting rock samples for radiometric dating in Egypt, and in the Mojave Desert, to diving on the Reykjanes Mid-Ocean Ridge in a Russian submersible, and helping with GPS surveys on Iceland.” What amazing adventures this cousin has experienced!

I just want to make a couple observations regarding our families. The Langhornes were a wealthy family from England. But James Steptoe Langhorne became blind, several of his children, grandchildren and more, were blinded by the same inherited disease, his only natural son drowned at age 16, and after the Civil War, he was land poor and devastated!  Wouldn’t he be amazed and gratified that his grandchildren and greats would grow to be such good and educated people, and educators! He and his wife Elizabeth started a school and a Sunday School in Meadows of Dan, Virginia both of which were very important to them. We have carried on that philosophy–because it is imbedded in our DNA?  It is interesting!

The Hogues emigrated from Scotland, the Youngbloods from Germany, while the Voorhees originated in the Netherlands.  They fought in our Revolutionary War and our Civil War and many others. They were honorable people who supported their new country, but most of all, the Voorhees and  Hogues were Presbyterian Ministers and educators. It is amazing to me to see the traditions and/or the DNA at work in such a continuing fashion.

 What accomplishments for all of us to be proud of, and thankful for! Thank you our family members who educate all of us– for your inspiration, your wisdom, and your hard work! We honor all of you as you have honored us!

Teaching quote, wisest-mind-george-quote

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