Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

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


This gallery contains 4 photos

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

This gallery contains 14 photos

Honoring the Teachers in Our Family

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School is starting again this week for millions of children around the USA and the world. What a perfect time for me to tell you about some of the teachers in our family tree. I can count almost forty teachers in just a couple of generations!  What a legacy they are leaving, what an example they are and have set! I am so proud of each of these educators, and so pleased to be counted among them and related to them!

Teachers are so important, how is it that we, as a society forget that, or neglect them sometimes?  All it takes is to send your 5 year-old child or grandchild off to school under someone else’s control, influence, and guidance all day, to realize just how important they are! As the years progress, not only do we count on teachers to socialize our children, we count on them, depend on them to actually educate them! We want our children not only to read, write and do math, but to learn to think critically and solve life’s problems well! We might also hope they learn a sport and sportsmanship. What about a foreign language? Art, music, theatre, calculus, geometry, history? Yes, we want it all–and we don’t want our teachers to complain that they are poor or to act out in any way!  Wow! Tall order!  I am proud to say many men and women in our family have chosen this noble profession!  

This post will highlight family members who have chosen Special Education and Elementary School Teaching for their career.  The next couple of posts will  feature Middle and/or Junior High School teachers then climb the ladder through High School, and meet the Principals are in our family tree! There are also family members who’ve taught in our business schools, community colleges, and Universities as well! All of these educators represent a  great deal of brain power! 

Special Education Teachers are teachers who teach children with cognitive and/or developmental impairments, learning disabilities, and behavioral  and emotional difficulties that impede learing. They are courageous and magical! 

Kerse, Janey Bell

Janey Bell Kerse Sommers

Previously I wrote a blog post about my Mother’s sister, my Aunt Janey Bell Kerse Sommers! She was a teacher of students with behavioral and learning problems. She spent over twenty years dedicated to helping them do the best they could do, then became the Special Education Supervisor for all of Forsyth County Public Schools, Forsyth County, N.C.,  mentoring other teachers along the way. You can see her story “Janey Bell Kerse Sommers, 1923-2002, Brilliance and Joyfulness Dimmed by Alzheimer‘s” by clicking on the title.

Helen Y. Holshouser, about 48 years old

Helen Y. Holshouser in 1997

  What is amazing to me, is that even though Janey Bell Somers had no children of her own, she inspired several generations of young people to teach and to learn. She motivated me to teach students with special needs–in learning, in behavior, which I did for seven years before I became a family therapist. I taught children in elementary school at first, then I moved to a Junior High where I had children ages 12-16 in my classroom . Their academic skills ranged from about 3rd grade to 9th grade, and I prepared individualized plans for each student at their level in each subject!  Every day we worked on social and behavioral skills and goals as well. One student got angry while in time out, and set our classroom which was in a mobile unit (trailer) behind the school, on fire! Another time a student attacked me physically and took me backwards, over the sofa where I was seated, onto the floor! One student hot-wired and stole my car! (He brought it back after a brief joy ride!) LOL, no wonder I had a heart attack at age 50!  I was challenged everyday with these students, and cared for them deeply. 

Youngblood Kerr, Susan

Susan Youngblood Kerr

One of my younger cousins is still teaching Special Education– Severe Behavioral Needs Children, now in her 33rd year! Susan Youngblood Kerr who lives in Missouri with her husband and three children,  has two Master’s Degrees, one in Special Education and one in Educational Leadership. She served as a Language Arts teacher to General Education students for several years and worked for others at the Middle School level. Susan was honored when one of her former students got in touch with her recently with a heartwarming message: (This from a student she had in 1985. He was from the projects–no dad–she never met his mom.)

“Hi Young lady well so nice to hear from you. I was unforgettable– I hope that’s a good thing. how’s your family doing? fine I hope. they have the greatest mom in the world but you already know that. well I’m doing great myself –just retired last year from the Navy after 20 years of service. I live in Japan with my lovely wife and 3 beautiful kids. yes who would ever think me a husband and a father! well for what it is worth I’ve always known that you cared about us kids even then. when I think about any teacher that cared and made a difference in my life, you are #1 on my list and I mean that from the bottom of my heart!  so you see you did make a change in a little boy’s life, but now I’m a man. thanks and God bless.” 

Wow! The above brings tears to my eyes–what a great tribute! 

 

Nichols, JonathanRemarkably, we have another young cousin, also through the Langhorne line, who taught students with behavioral and emotional difficulties!  Jonathan Daniel Nichols is my second cousin, and he taught in Maryland. He is smart, caring and well-respected.  He continued a family tradition he didn’t even know existed when called to teach the most challenging students.  We especially need men to serve as role models for this population of students. I am so proud of him.

Special Education seems to be a calling for many in our family,Houchins, Mrs. John L. Josephine Ellis Bell as we had a Great Aunt Josephine Bell Houchins who taught deaf students at the Virginia School for the Deaf and Blind in Staunton, Virginia for many years. I remember how interesting it was to go and visit her and her husband my Great Uncle John Langhorne Houchins, and see her talking with the students in sign language. During breaks I was mesmerized to watch the students gather with their friends and engage in animated sign language chatting just like we did between classes at school, only they were quieter but more expressive.  

Jamie Beck SkinnerAnother Youngblood cousin, my second, once removed, Jamie Beck Skinner is a Special Education Paraeducator at Abingdon Elementary School in Abingdon, Maryland. While the teacher leads a group activity, Jamie might be giving another student private reading lessons. She is truly a para–beside–educator who teaches where and when the teacher cannot. It makes it possible to reach some students, to prevent melt-downs, to teach to certain strengths and weaknesses not possible with only one teacher in the room! What a blessing a paraeducator in the classroom is! 

Goodell, Mary, edited from weddingIt’s hard to believe, but in our immediate family system, I have another cousin who is a Special Education Supervisor! She serves the people of New Hampshire!  Mary Casey Goodell is a dynamic, dedicated educator who has been mentoring other Special Education teachers for many years now!  So, two supervisors of Special Education, and eight special education teachers in one family, pretty amazing!  I wonder if there is a call to serve others embedded in our dna?

Elementary School Teachers

Those who teach kindergarten through fifth grade work with children as they meet a great number of their developmental milestones, socially, physically, and intellectually.  Teachers and parents are the ones who help mold and shape us at these formative ages. My sister Anne Youngblood Prince Anne Y. Prince, 2015has retired now after teaching fourth, fifth, and sixth grades in both public and private schools for over 36 years!  She earned her Master’s Degree in Reading at the University of Richmond (Virginia).  Most of her teaching career was spent guiding fourth graders at St. Christopher’s School, a private Episcopal school for boys in Richmond, Virginia. Anne was highly dedicated to her students and was an excellent teacher who was always thinking about, training for, or putting into practice her myriad skills to give her students the best education possible. You couldn’t ask for a kinder, smarter, more successful teacher. She taught long enough to teach the children of some of her students who were so proud to have their children in her care. 

Youngbloods, Liz, and her children, Mary taylor, Susan, and Lewis IIIOne of Anne’s mentors was Elizabeth Walker Youngblood, wife of Lewis Jr. and mother of  Mary, Lewis III, and Susan. As described above, Susan is now teaching for her 33rd year! What a great influence Liz was for her children and many others.  Liz and Anne, my sister,  taught fifth grade at L.L. Beasley Elementary School in Prince George County, Virginia at the same time, and my sister remembers her as creative, skilled and highly motivated to do an excellent job.   I remember Liz also as a wonderful, firm, kind, and very intelligent woman.  Unfortunately, she is the second teacher in our family taken ill by that crushing disease Alzheimer’s! Liz also served as an assistant principal  as well in a school in Colonial Heights, Virginia.

My sister Anne tells an interesting story about how she first met Elizabeth Walker Youngblood in 1952.  Anne was in fourth grade at Bon Air Elementary School, and was her classroom’s representative to the Red Cross School Committee. Elizabeth was the Red Cross School Coordinator for all the schools in Chesterfield County,Virginia.  Liz sat right down beside Anne and introduced herself as the fiancée of her cousin!  (Her husband Lewis Jr. was our father’s first cousin.)  “Let me show you my ring. I just got engaged to your cousin!” Elizabeth was so kind to ten-year old Anne, that they became friends for life and then coworkers.

My first cousin once removed, Susan Youngblood Rawls, Youngblood, Susan Rawlstaught fifth grade for ten years at Crestwood Elementary School in Chesterfield County, Virginia.  She is now the Director of a preschool. Energetic, enthusiastic, and smart as a whip, she is quite amazing! How lucky are all the little children, all the families who enter her school! She will help get them started in the right direction, will help lay the ground work for their happiness and their learning the rest of their lives!  That is one tall order and a major accomplishment! 

Lauren Ruby editedLauren Ruby, daughter of Jamie Beck Skinner and another Youngblood cousin, teaches Kindergarten at Taneytown Elementary school in Carroll County, Maryland. Do you remember the poem by Robert Fulghum that reminds us what we need to succeed in life we learned in kindergarten? Well, that’s Lauren– preparing her students to succeed in life and in school! A tall order that she handles with aplomb! 

Kindergarten all I ever needed to learn

Maryrose Youngblood, my first cousin once removed in my wonderful family tree, taught fourth grade like my sister for many years in Highland County, Virginia. These Youngblood women– we are hard workers, and we are directors at heart and by dna!  Kind, efficient, smart…Maryrose was an outstanding  teacher. 

Youngblood, Marshall daughter kathy Lee Pack 2015Kathy Lee Pack, daughter of Marshall Youngblood Lee and Robert Lee, has been teaching at the elementary school level in Florida for 31 years this year!  All of those years were as a 4th grade teacher until the last two when she changed to second grade! Kathy has four adult children and grandchildren to keep her busy. She is my second cousin once removed, and a Youngblood woman through and through. By that I mean she can handle a room full of 30 restless 6 year olds and make them feel good about themselves because they chose to complete their math assignment while she was reading with a small group! 

A cousin through the Voorus, Hogue, and Spangler family lines, Vorus, BessieBesse B. Voorus was born December 12, 1893.  Miss Voorus was graduated from Pleasantville High School and received her bachelor of arts degree from Slippery Rock Normal School. She was an elementary school teacher for over 43 years, teaching in both the Oil City and Meadville School Districts in Pennsylvania.  One of her great nieces remembers her mother talking about having Bessie as a teacher and her encouraging them to learn about Geography especially.  Wouldn’t it have been a surprise to realize a little girl you taught in elementary school would grow up to marry your nephew and her children would be your great nieces and nephews! 

Besse taught for forty-three years  and died in 1992 at 98 years old! Can you imagine what she witnessed in her lifetime!? The things she witnessed and was able to teach her students–she lived through horse and buggy days to automobiles and rockets to the moon! She saw cooking with wood to gas, electricity and even microwaves! Television didn’t exist in her childhood, but later became a huge part of our lives! Talk about having to be adaptable! Just to live successfully she had to be willing to change, grow, and adapt–weren’t her students lucky to have such an experienced teacher and a versatile one! 

Vorus, Dorothy Pearl VorusBessie’s sister, Dorothy Pearl Voorus Hogg was a teacher also, teaching in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Her husband was also a teacher who will be featured as well.  Dorothy and Calvin had six children of their own, can you imagine how busy this lady was day in and day out! . She began teaching in a one-room school-house with all grades together, and taught long enough to enter a modern elementary school building in the 1950’s and into the early ’70s! This kind of longevity always inspires me. 

Lena Voorus is the third sister to teach in the Elementary Voorus, Lena had a stroke, very sweetSchools of Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania! Born in 1889, Lena died in 1978 all in Venango County, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, Lena had a stroke and became wheelchair bound. Her sisters took care of her and stayed supportive of each other. Her great nieces and nephews remember her as sweet and kind, a great tribute. What’s amazing to me, is that these women, born in the late 1800’s, at a time when women didn’t generally work outside the home, went out and got their education, and worked at a profession. That takes a lot of courage and fortitude, good for them! 

Julia Houchins Patterson

Julia in the 1940’s

My Great-Aunt Julia Houchins Nichols became an attorney. However, she was only 15 in 1900 when her mother died. Her father soon deserted his six children and moved out-of-state. Thank heavens the children did have a guardian angel and grandparents nearby. Nonetheless, never one to let grass grow under her feet, Julia went out and got a job teaching.  The story goes that Julia, only a teen still, went to apply for a teaching job in the mountains of southwest Virginia in Patrick County, where she lived.  The person interviewing her asked her what she could tell him that would impress him and make him think she was smart enough to teach. She told him she could tell him exactly how many boards for lumber he could get from any sized tree.  She had caught his attention, and he pointed to a tree outside the window and said “Okay, tell me how many boards could you get from that tree? Julia solved the problem aloud, and her reasoning and math skills so impressed the man, he hired her on the spot! Later she told family that she was so thankful that her family member, I’m not sure who, had worked in a sawmill, so that she had learned this skill. I’m sure she was an excellent teacher, she had four younger brothers to wrangle with after her mother died, children didn’t scare her! Julia lived from 1885 to 1969, another witness to travel by horse to travel by rockets to the moon! She served as the very first female Assistant District Attorney in the State of Virginia. Julia was a force to be reckoned with, and was highly loved by her family and still is today by grandchildren who are now grandparents themselves! 

Eight Special Education teachers, and ten Elementary Education teachers–what a group to be proud of, but they are not all of the educators in our family!  In the next post I will tell you about our Middle and High School teachers as well as our  Principals, and College Professors! What a legacy they are creating or have left for our family.

 It’s Fall– “time to go back to school”– it seems that teachers  hear this call in their souls!  

Teacher , Thank-a-Teacher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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“G” is for Genealogy, One of My Passions

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 (This blog post was written as part of the A – Z blogging challenge given by 10 Minute Novelists. Therefore it is somewhat of an introduction of my blog and genealogical work, very familiar already to my  blog readers whose support I appreciate greatly, hope you enjoy this as well.)

Langhorne, James Steptoe to Anne Cary, cropped

Everyone who knows me, knows I am into genealogy! Yesterday, I joined a facebook group called “Genealogy Addicts Anonymous”!  Seriously.  Not one of us who joined this group wants to give up genealogy, we just want to join together with other ancestry obsessed!  I belong to four or five other genealogy groups online as well–like Genealogy Bloggers, Genea Bloggers, Irish Genealogists, Scotland’s People, Italian Genealogy, and more. Besides my own blog, I write for “Worldwide Genealogy~A Genealogical Collaboration”.  My blog is featured in a Netherland blog as well, as I occasionally write about my Dutch ancestors.  It’s fun, it’s informative, and we hope our work will leave our families something to treasure. Now that I’ve added stories about my ancestors through my blog “Heart of a Southern Woman”. I hope it just adds joy to the facts I’ve found in my research.

Genealogy picture, funny

 I keep my main family trees on ancestry .com, with a backup on Family Tree Maker on my computer. My main tree, “Old Virginia Families” has over 23,000 people in it now! I have actually got 26 other family trees I have started on ancestry as well. These include, one for my husband’s family, and the rest for cousins! This has been my hobby/avocation for the last nine years.  It is absorbing, intriguing, and makes me feel like a detective at times. Yet, I have several “brick walls” still,  places where I can’t find the next generation. Lots of times, a group of us have gotten together to pool our skills, but we still can’t always find that elusive connection!
Katy and Liam, grandchildren of author, in front of the Governor's Palace, designed by their 10th Great Grandfather, Henry Cary

Katy and Liam, grandchildren of author, in front of the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia, designed by their 10th Great Grandfather, Henry Cary

 A lot of people ask me questions about my work, other than who did you discover in your family tree this week? (one of my favorites) Questions like have you found anyone famous? Yes– how exciting is that! How about anyone historical? Yes, and yes!  Have you ever found someone in your family tree in jail? The answer is yes, I was shocked!  These finds thrilled and surprised  me! I had no idea I could trace my family back to Jamestown and the Mayflower! That I had ancestors who were the first in New Jersey! No idea one of my cousins married the daughter of Daniel Boone–after saving her from the Indians! Can you believe I am kin to the Plantagenets, the Tudors, and royalty in Scotland, Denmark, and Russia for heaven’s sake!  You can find all these stories in the index of my blog.  I actually did trace my granddaughter Eve back to Eve of Adam and Eve! No wonder I am kin to everyone, I guess we really all are!
Six Degrees of Separtion visualization by Dnnie Walker featured in Wikipedia article about this subject. see link in accompanying post

Six Degrees of Separtion visualization by Dnnie Walker featured in Wikipedia article about this subject. see link in accompanying post

 As for you  metaphysical folks–I’ve found some interesting phenomena in my family tree. In fact I wrote a five-part series about it in my blog, which you can find if interested at Interesting Phenomena in our Family Trees–in Our Lives–Coincidence? Happenstance? Serendipity? Reincarnation? Six Degrees of Difference?”
 One of the most fun things I have done in my life, was to get my dna done for genealogical purposes! Oh my gracious, it opened doors and introduced me to a hundred cousins I never knew before! I have attended at least two family reunions, with a third planned, for family I met through my dna or genealogical research alone, who are now good friends and actual family! The heart just grows you know!

DNA relative

 DNA also gave me my ethnic background, and verified what I already knew from my research–I am a melting pot American!  Scottish, Irish, English, Welsh, French, Dutch, Danish, Russian, Italian, Iberian Peninsula, Caucasus and more! LOL What fun is that, kin to the World!
This journey of genealogical research has turned into a lifetime’s adventure and more fun than I ever dreamed possible! What do you know about your own ancestors?

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Interesting Phenomena in Our Family Trees—Coincidence? Serendipity? Six Degrees of Separation? Reincarnation–traveling through time with our tribe? Two more families in the neighborhood.

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Aerial view of cul-de-sac with neighbors who are related from Google Earth

Aerial view of cul-de-sac with neighbors who are related from Google Earth

Due to privacy concerns, I will not name two of my neighbors whom we love and are involved with, and with whom I’ve found that I am kin to or were neighbors of as much as 400 years ago!

Founders of New Jersey by Evelyn Hunt Ogden
I wrote a blog post about my 7th great-grandfather, Hartman Vreeland (read it here) who was one of the Founders of the state of New Jersey in the USA. I found a marvelous book by Evelyn Hunt Ogden who listed the founders of NJ and included brief biographies of all the founders. Besides our 7th great-grandfather, I have discovered kinship or connections in present times with ten of this community who were alive and well in New Jersey in the mid and late 1600s!
One of my neighbors used to be a police officer in this area of North Carolina where we now live. In my research, I find his own 10th great- grandfather was the sheriff of the community in New Jersey where my Hartman Vreeland lived! How is that possible? They both purchased land from the Native Americans as well! What an incredible find, and what an amazing ancestral history to discover you share with your neighbor. His grandfather kept my grandfather safe in 1665, and now my neighbor helps keep us safe!

Jamestown Society symbol
Also living on our street is a family where the father used to teach in the same school with my husband, before my husband retired. They are a loving, young family whose child is friends with our grandchild. They moved into our neighborhood after we did, and were not known to us before then. Now I find through my dna, and a paper trail, that I am kin to both the husband and the wife! It looks like our ancestors were together in Jamestown in the Virginia Colony, 400 years ago!

Castlerock Street view from google earth
We live on a cul-de-sac with 12 houses; I can now draw kinship or connections to at least five of my neighbors from 300-400 years ago! Five out of twelve is 41.6% , almost 42% of those twelve, and I haven’t investigated the rest! In my next post, I’ll disclose a discovered kinship to a neighbor in our same subdivision, but on a different street, with whom I can prove a relationship from the 1300’s–over 600 years ago! To me this is a miracle, awesome, and such an amazing adventure in research, dna, and genealogy!

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Interesting Phenomena in Our Family Trees–Traveling Through Time Together? Coincidence? Six Degrees of Separation? Part 3—The Burgesses and Pryors

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In this series of blog posts, I’ve been discussing connections to my neighbors found in my family tree. Having moved into a cul-de-sac about ten years ago, it has amazed me that I have discovered either relationships, or connections by marriage with several of my neighbors! All of us were new to this neighborhood, and new to each other. I had never done any genealogy so we became acquainted through shared interests and proximity, then I discovered the genealogical connections.

My next door neighbors were a delightful couple, named John and Dora Burgess Pryor. John was an accomplished genealogist at age 92! He’d been researching for years the old-fashioned way– no internet! He and his wife had traveled the towns and states, and spent many hours in libraries and courthouses, poring over tax records, marriage and death records and the like. They’d walked cemeteries and taken copious notes!  I was impressed with what John had accomplished and he inspired me to think about creating my own family tree.

Many of my readers know I have severe heart disease and can’t walk far or stand long. I had always loved to garden, but unable to bend over or stand for any length of time, I thought my gardening days were finished. John was  in his nineties as mentioned. He could not stoop or bend over either, so he sat on the ground and scooted or crawled to where he wanted to go, gardening up a storm!  I watched him work and again was inspired! If this 92-year-old man could sit on the ground and garden, I could too! What a pair we made. Other neighbors got used to seeing us crawling around our gardens! I loved it, and hadn’t had as much fun in years–playing in the dirt! We both had beautiful flowers to show for it as well. Not that we could take all the credit! John’s wife Dora was quite a bit younger than John, and she could and did work rings around both of us!  She was the true gardner! Her yard was spotless and beautiful! I didn’t even try to keep up, just tried to enjoy what I could do. My own husband didn’t consider himself a gardener, but he was the labor end of our efforts! Dora and I became great friends! Unfortunately, John passed away a few years ago, and even though he has left a hole, we love Dora with a passion! John passed away shortly after I started my own genealogical work, so we had only a couple of opportunities to compare notes! What a loss.

Just like with the Voorhees and McLaughlins, it wasn’t long until I was seeing Pryors and Burgesses in my tree! What’s up with this?! My neighbors thought I was crazy as they heard me saying again, “Dora, I think we are kin to each other…and I might be kin to John as well! LOL Like before, I asked Dora to let me work on her tree a bit so that I could check out these things I was finding! The “coincidences” are amazing in my book, and unfortunately, I can’t even remember them all! I wasn’t thinking I’d ever write about them, so I noted them, talked about it with Dora, then went on with my research.

But look at this. As you know, my paternal grandmother’s line is Hogue on one side. Hogue is Scottish, and Pryor is generally English in origin. However, I found the name Pryor all over my Hogue family tree! My neighbor John was named John Hamilton Pryor. Right there in my tree was a John Pryor Hogue, a Pryor Hogue, and a John Hamilton Hogue! My neighbor John was born and reared in West Virginia, and I could trace my Hamilton Hogues right to West Virginia! I could never quite prove the kinship however.  After John passed, I took a dna test to aid with my genealogy research. As I learned more about the Hogue dna, I discovered that the Pryor and Hamilton Hogues were not  in my Hogue haplogroup! Hard to believe, but definitive. Nevertheless, what are the chances we’d have these name connections moving in next door to each other from different states and backgrounds?

Dora and I not only shared the love of gardening, we became red hatters together and played like there was no tomorrow!  She and Linda and I shared our strong faith as well, we were great “pray-ers”!  Dora and Linda were avid volunteers in the community, at their church and in other endeavors. I couldn’t believe the blessing of moving next door to such a dynamic, loving woman.

Burgess and McKay (pronounced McCoy) were her main two genealogical lines. Her McKays were from Scotland like my Hogues, and I saw them everywhere, along with Burgess!

After I got my dna done, I began to zero in on my exact relationship to her Burgesses! We shared a third cousin! However, we were kin to that same person  by opposite sides of the family, so we were still only kin by marriage. But, hey, it seemed amazing to me!

Thomas Burgess (1814 – 1871)
is your 3rd cousin 4x removed
father of Thomas Burgess
father of Thomas Burgess
father of William Burgess
father of John Burgess
son of Edward Burgess
son of William BURGESS
son of William Burgess
son of John Burgess
son of Ezar Asa Burgess
son of William Henry Burgess
son of John Edward Burgess
You are the daughter of Alton Cleveland Burgess –
********************************************
Thomas Burgess (1814 – 1871)
is your 3rd cousin 6x removed
mother of Thomas Burgess
mother of Wynna Caudle Key
father of Agnes WITT
father of William (Guillaume) Witt
son of John Witt
daughter of John Witt
son of Sarah Witt
son of Abner Harbour
daughter of Moses Harbour
daughter of Joyce Harbour
son of Nancy J Houchins
daughter of Walter Houchins
daughter of Katherine Steptoe Houchins
You are the daughter of Margaret Steptoe Kerse
****************************************************
Thomas Burgess was born in 1814, He was one of fourteen children –so we share 14 third cousins!  LOL  Just think, 200 years ago, Dora’s family and mine were the same, our families , or our kin folks lived together in West Virginia!
If that isn’t enough, our families were together again in Jamestown, Virginia! Dora’s eighth great- grandfather, John Chew, 1587-1668, has an illustrious history in  the colony of Jamestown, Virginia, and qualifies her to join the Jamestown Society.  We can verify in The Genealogy of the Chew Family  by Robert L. Chew,published by the Gloucester County Historical Society, Woodbury, N. J. that John Chew was a Burgess in Jamestown for almost twenty years starting in 1624. He also served as a Justice for York County. Quoted from this same source: “John Chew of Jamestown, VA (1587-1668) was born in Whalley Parish, Lancashire, England. A wealthy merchant, he may have been with John Smith as early as 1607, when the first permanent English settlement in the new World was founded at Jamestown. It was certain that John Chew received land granted from the Virginia Company in 1618. He married Sarah Gale in England, and returned to Virginia in 1622 on the ship Charity, which was owned by his wife’s family. He operated a tobacco plantation on Hogg Island, across the James River from Jamestown. His wife, indentured servants and oldest children immigrated from Chewton, Somersetshire, England on the ship Seaflower to join him in 1623. John built a house, warehouse and store in Jamestown, where he dealt in wine, corn and tobacco. He was a member and secretary of the Virginia House of Burgesses. By 1642, he also owned 1200 acres in York County. When the Virginia Governor oppressed
Puritans in support of the Church of England, the family migrated to Anne Arundel County, Maryland. John used Virginia tobacco to buy 500 acres near Annapolis. When his wife died in Maryland, John returned to Virginia. He was the oldest son of John Chewe of Bewdley, Worcestershire, England.”
When you look at the history for my own 9th great-grandfather, Nicholas Martiau (blog post here), the similarities are striking and the shared experiences so strong, they surely must have been acquainted!  From John Baer Stoudt’s book entitled Nicolas Martiau –Adventurous Huguenot, we learn that Nicholas “left England and sailed for Virginia arriving in June, 1620. His construction of a fence or palisade around the Jamestown Fort helped the settlers survive an Indian uprising in 1622. He …was elected to the House of Burgesses from the colony. Later he served as a Burgess from Elizabeth City, Yorktown, and Isle of Kent. Nicholas also served as a Justice for the early court system of Virginia–with court sometimes being held in his home.”  It seems they must have known each other, I cannot imagine how they would not have.
How can we explain Dora and I moving next door to each other and becoming close friends, 400 years after our grandparents worked and played together as well?!  It certainly seems as if our families are connected. Add to that my connections to the Voorhees and McLaughlins across the street…well, what do you think?  Is it serendipity, reincarnation-traveling with our tribes, or coincidence–the definition given us saying “coincidence — a miracle where God’s presence is invisible?” Kind of feels like that to me–like a miracle of friendship!
John Chew (1587 – 1668)
is your 8th great grandfather
son of John Chew
daughter of Col Samuel Chew
son of Sarah Chew
son of William BURGESS
son of William Burgess
son of John Burgess
son of Ezar Asa Burgess
son of William Henry Burgess
son of John Edward Burgess
You are the daughter of Alton Cleveland Burgess

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Interesting Phenomena in our family trees–coincidence? Part 2, the Voorhees Family

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Voorhees family, Linda and siblings!

The Voorhees Family of Maryland, with Linda Voorhees in the center (in dark blue) of her siblings. Thanks to Linda for permission to use this photograph.

 

Time Travel? Six Degrees of Separation? Reincarnation and traveling through life with your tribe? God’s miracle? In this mini-series of blog posts, I am exploring connections I found, especially with my neighbors, as I researched my family tree. Can you imagine what my neighbors thought as I began to say to more and more of them, “I think we might be kin to each other!” LOL Once maybe, but five times!? There are many other connections that coincide with these. It raises questions, makes me think of things I’ve only read about before!
The VanVoorhees family was originally from the Netherlands. They came to this country of America by at least 1660– when Steven Coerte VanVoorhees, born in Hees, Drenthe, Holland in 1600, came to New Amsterdam, New York. The name was shortened to Voorhees in America, with some families changing it to Voorus, Vorhis, and other spellings.
My introduction to the Voorhees family came in 2004, when I moved into a new neighborhood in North Carolina, USA, and Linda Voorhees and her husband Jerry McLaughlin lived across the street from me. They had retired and moved from the Washington DC area, Maryland to be specific. The day we first saw our perspective new house, we met Jerry McLaughlin. He was in his yard working, and we asked him a few questions about the neighborhood. His warm welcome, best wishes and most of all, his incredibly charming laugh…stayed with me and made me feel like we had found the place we were supposed to be. Little did I know how much at “home” this neighborhood would become.
Linda and I became good friends, she is one of the smartest, most giving, kind, and friendly people you could ever meet! Besides that, her past was so very interesting in that she had worked with congressmen, for the World Bank, and had an office in the White House when Bill and Hillary Clinton were there! We became good gardening friends as well and she was President of our local gardening club. We became Red Hatters together also, and had so much shared fun! I was struck by the fact that she had six sisters and one brother! My mother had been one of six sisters and one brother as well, it intrigued me how close to each other both families were.
It wasn’t until 2011 that I began to explore the world of genealogy and develop my family tree. I was truly a newbie, and knew very little about my ancestors when I started. First, I began to see the name McLaughlin crisscrossing my family tree! I even asked Jerry to let me develop a family tree for him so that I could tell if we connected! He already had a lot of family information, but said “sure”. That exploration connected with my Hogue family of Scottish descent, although Jerry was Irish. A lot of Scots of course, settled in Ireland for a period of time before coming to America.
I was exploring and cataloging my Hogue family who came to Pennsylvania in 1747 with some moving to Ohio shortly after 1800. I came across the most wonderful book titled The Story of the Dining Fork, by Joseph T. Harrison, copyright, 1927. The Dining Fork was a valley near a branch of the Tuscarawas River in the southern part of Carroll County and northern part of Harrison County, Ohio. Harrison writes this story in such a way that it covers many historical events of the nineteenth century, at the same time, he writes so personally of the citizens and neighbors that you feel you get to know them a bit! I was intrigued and read most of the book, available from the card catalog on ancestry.com. Imagine my shock and surprise when I discovered that he wrote about neighbors there, Hogues and Voorhees! Wow! Not only were they neighbors, but they were teachers and more at the brand new Scio College built in the town, later to become a Methodist college. Linda and I are both Methodists. It took some work to link these Voorhees to Linda’s family and those particular Hogues to mine! Thanks to Linda’s helping me develop a tree of her family, and many Hogue relatives helping me with my research,  we were able to determine, that the Jacob Voorhees who moved to Ohio from New Jersey, was Linda’s third cousin! Robert S. Hogue who also taught at Scio College, was not my 4th great uncle as I had first thought , but my own cousin as well! They lived and worked together in the late 1860’s, at least 155 years ago! Now Linda and I are friends in 2015. But that was just the first time I found our families in close proximity!
Continuing to work closely with a group of family researchers, I met a woman named Dorothy Hogg Moore from Pennsylvania. In studying her family tree, and how our Hoggs/Hogues were related, I made a startling discovery–several in fact. She was a Voorhees descendant! Another connection! Her family had changed the spelling to Voorus, but her line tracked right back to Garret Voorhees, born 10 April, 1761 in Monmouth, New Jersey, USA, Linda’s fourth great grandfather! That made Linda and Dorothy fifth cousins!

Voorus sisters of Pennsylvania with Dorothy on left, namesake of Dorothy Hogg Moore

The Voorus sisters of Pennsylvania. Dorothy Voorus, fourth from left, is the one who imarried Calvin Hogg, and is the namesake for Dorothy Hogg Moore. thanks to Dorothy H. Moore for permission to use this photograph.

In Dorothy’s tree also, I discovered another amazing thing.  Now, the Hogues who are on my father’s side of the family, were the connection between the Voorhees and me, but here were the Spanglers from my mother’s family—German descent Spanglers, in the family with these Hoggs and Voorus/Voorhees families! Her Spanglers definitely traced back to my Spangler ancestors! We were kin through the Hogues and the Spanglers, and she and Linda through the Voorhees. The Spanglers joined the Voorus’s in the mid 1800’s, and the Voorus’s joined the Hoggs/Hogues around the turn of the century to 1900, so we’re talking interactions again about 100 to 150 years ago! All in one family tree with a neighbor.
But I wasn’t finished yet. My maiden name was Helen Spear Youngblood. I was tracking all my major lines back as far as I could, so the Spears of course were one of those lines. In the Spear/Spier line, I have surnames Banta, Vreeland, and VanSwol among others. It wasn’t long before I ran into the surname Voorhees again! This time it showed that my 8th great-grandfather, Henrich Jansen Spier, 1619-1679, and Linda’s 9th great-grandfather, Steven Coerte VanVoorhees, b,1600 in Hees, Drenthe, Holland, Death 16 Feb 1684 in Flatlands, Kings, New York, United States, were both in New Amsterdam together. In the mid 1600’s, it’s likely they knew each other!
As I explored this time era with this family further, I found more connections with Linda’s family! Look what I wrote her via email late one night as I was researching –this connection takes us back 250 years!
Hi Linda darlin,  As you may have seen, I just wrote a blog post yesterday on an ancestor from the Netherlands, Magdelina Van Swol who married one of my Spiers, my maiden name was Helen Spear Youngblood, same line of Spears/Spiers. Anyway, the Spiers, VanSwols, and Bantas are all contemporaries (in the mid 1600’s!) in my line, so imagine my surprise when I saw Magdalena VanVoorhees married to one of my Banta cousins! Wow! They both lived in Bergen, NJ, and went to the Dutch Reformed Church there. Magdalena (1739 – 1810)) is your 2nd cousin, 8x removed (8 generations removed). Her husband Albert Hendrickse Banta, 1728-1810, is my 2nd cousin, 7x removed! that makes their children our mutual 3rd cousins, removed 7x for you, and 6x for me! LOL We keep crossing paths in this life, we were meant to be friends and neighbors I think!
Awesome! Linda and I became neighbors in 2004, we had never met before. I had never heard the name Voorhees as far as I know. Then in 2011, I started doing genealogy and wow, Linda’s ancestors and mine certainly seem to have traveled through time together! How can we explain this?  How interesting that Linda was not my only neighbor with whom this happened! In the next couple posts, I’ll outline how I found that at least four more of my neighbors’ ancestors and my ancestors knew each other! I’m thinking of Linda’s sending me this definition of coincidence–“a miracle where God’s presence is invisible.” That idea speaks to me! We might also consider, Six Degrees of Separation, Reincarnation, and Serendipity!

LOL I love my neighbors, and my family, and isn’t genealogical research fun!

 

 

 

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