Heart of a Southern Woman

A snapshot of life one blog post at a time.

Map of the Homes of Kearse Families in Richmond, Virginia Through the Years.

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My second great- grandfather on my mother’s side was Robert E. Kearse, born in 1832 in Glanquin, County Clare Ireland. When he was only 18, he came to America with his brother Timothy who settled in Massachusetts and his brother John who made his way to Chicago then to California. Robert came to Richmond, Virginia where another brother, James, older by only two years, had settled with their mother Ann O’Keefe Kearse, their Dad was deceased.  Also present in Richmond were other cousins, who made for a great family gathering! Although Robert was only 18 when he arrived in 1850 on the ship Northumberland from Ireland, by 1855 he was married to Margaret Hannan and they had their first child Thomas born in 1855.  By April 1861, the Civil War had started and he and his brother James both joined the Confederate forces to defend their adopted city which was the Capital of the Confederacy! While he was fighting,  1861-1865, or standing guard of the city and of Union prisoners, he had three more children.  Robert Jr. in 1861, Mary in 1863, and John in 1864. He had already had James Henry in 1857, then had five more after the war, for a total of ten new Kearse family members in America!  We notice that besides having a Robert Jr., Robert also named three sons after other brothers, one of whom was named after his father as well.  Timothy–there must be a million Timothy, Thadeus, Thady or Tim Kearse persons in this family, the other million are named James!  We know that on the ship with Robert were his brothers John and Timothy, and in Richmond was James as well.  DNA testing has connected us to all of the families I believe.  In fact, one of the newest cousins I have met through our DNA match is Bob  of Ireland who now lives in England.  He is a very knowledgeable source for Kearse history.  He and I are currently trying to catalog all of the Timothys in our extended Kearse family! This ought to be fun!

By the way, Kearse is spelled in many different ways by many different families who are related to each other.  We have Kearse, Kierce, Kierse, Kerse, Kears, and Kersey at least!  They are all the same family!  DNA and history are what counts, so interesting!

As I’ve thought of the Kearse family so much this week, I began to think about the early immigrants to America, who came here in response to the famine in Ireland, which forced so many Irish to seek sustenance elsewhere. I began to think of the lives of those who came to Richmond and elsewhere, and wanted to know more, and share more, of what they did and experienced, where they lived.  That motivated me to create this article, blog post, on our Kearse family regarding where they had lived and what they had done with their lives.  I hope this map will help me share just a bit of that information. By the way, you might notice if you look in the list of posts for this blog, I believe I have already written like 18 posts about the Kearse family, so if you enjoy this one, you might enjoy reading about more of the personalities.  I am so appreciative of my sister and brothers’ help in locating these places on the map and sharing memories.  You should be able to click on the map below and make it larger for easier reading.

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2019-01-25 (15)Two people in blue=731 West Marshall Street, home of Timothy and Anne Donolan Kearse and their children. Mary Jane Kearse, 1858-1875; Isadore Joseph Kearse 1860; James J Kersey 1862; Annie C. Kearse 1867; Hannah J Kearse, 1870; Josephine August Kearse 1873-1917.  

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2019-01-25 (16)2019-01-25 (16)2019-01-25 (20) Two houses beside each other represent 368 and 369 Louisiana Street where brothers James (1830-1890) and Robert (1832-1895) Kearse lived side by side for many years.  They owned a grocery store and adjacent bakery which was located on the same street.   

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2019-01-25 (53) The purple balloon located near the houses above shows the location on Orleans Street of a grocery store also owned by my 2nd great grandfather, Robert Kears. (1832-1895). 

2019-01-25 (42)This lovely glass of wine marks “Kearse Hall” also on Orleans Street at 506 Orleans in the Rocket’s Landing area of Richmond, Va. This was owned and operated by Timothy Kearse, a cousin of Robert and James. It used to be that some people built “Halls” that other people could rent to hold special occasions like weddings and other celebrations.  I do not know but suspect that is what this building was used for. 

You might notice that the families stayed close together for home and work, but after the Civil War, they slowly moved westward both north and south of the James River. 

2019-01-25 (9)The red balloon marks the residence at 2205 East Main Street where Timothy Kearse lived.  It appears to be the same Timothy Kearse who married Anne Donolan because he started an… 

2019-01-25 (19)Irish Pub next door at 2207 East Main Street about 1890. His son Isadore Kearse, only 18, helped manage the bar.  

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2019-01-25 (47)The checkmark marks the address 2223 East Main Street where my grandfather Thomas Philip Kearse, 1883-1939, lived with his father James Henry Kearse,1857-1921, and his mother Mary Catherine Botto when he was young through his teenage years. His mother Mary Botto Kearse and only surviving sister, Marie lived there with them, as they did when they moved to …

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2019-01-25 (13)their long-lived-in home at 2612 E. Grace Street. My own mother was born in 1918 at this home on E. Grace Street, as were 5 of her 6 siblings.  They cared for their aging, widowed grandfather James Henry Kearse until he died in 1921. James actually left the house to his son, but Tom’s wife Kate would not hear of it. She felt it would be easier for them to move on than for Marie with her music school.  Strong-willed, Kate at 8 months pregnant, moved with six children already!  Amazing!  Thank you, cousin Tyler Buck, for giving me the true story. 

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2019-01-25 (14)You might notice that the home on E. Grace Street is very close to St. Patrick’s Catholic Church on 25th Street, marked by the lovely cross. That was my Mother’s family’s home church for years and she went to the affiliated school as well as did her siblings. 

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2019-01-25 (11)1923:  When my Grandfather Thomas, his wife Kate Steptoe Houchins (whose mother was of the prominent Langhorne family) and their six, soon seven children left E. Grace Street, they moved for a few years into a house they built themselves planning to rent it out one day.  They built it as a duplex, yet lived in the whole structure, and it was lovely inside and out. The smiley face marks the address at 3431 Floyd Avenue. Kate was a nurse, and Thomas was a police officer, after starting out as a driver for the Richmond Police Department where his father James was a popular Sergeant.  

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2019-01-25 (43)By 1930 Tom and Kate and their six daughters were living at 4024 Forest Hill Avenue, south of the James River for the first time. Moving to the south side of Richmond, made that area home turf for me and my siblings as we were born nearby. Early on it seemed that my grandparents were living the idyllic life.  The house was a large, three-story white frame house with a huge veranda out front.  It faced a beautiful city park where we played on many a day! They employed a cook, housekeepers, and other household helpers.  They owned a yacht and spent many sunny days on the James River or beyond having many adventures. We assume the money for their lifestyle came from the Langhorne family legacy.  Then tragedy struck not once, but twice.  Their only son and brother, Thomas Philip Kearse Jr. called “Bucky” drowned in the James River while sailing a dingy away from the yacht. In 1930, eight years after he drowned, their mother Kate was shot in the head and severely brain damaged, but not killed. She was shot by a patient in a coma who she was caring for, in their private home.  The patient wakened suddenly, thought Kate was an enemy from the war, and grabbed a rifle hanging on his wall that no one knew was loaded and shot my grandmother–then he collapsed and died!  Grandmother Kate lived but was never able to care for her family like she had been able to before.   She had six daughters–ages 7 to 17.  So much confusion and turmoil followed, it colored all of the girls’ perceptions and as a unit, they all left the Catholic church as teens. All of the sisters were intelligent and talented, however, and four of the six went on to college, surprising in the late 1930s, especially in the South.  All the girls pursued professions as well, teachers, real estate brokers, social workers, writers, and so forth.  All were involved in their protestant churches of choice, and all married- four have children. Two of the sisters eventually moved to California– one to North Carolina and one to Gloucester Point in Eastern Virginia. Julia and my mother Margaret, stayed in Richmond, as did Catherine for a few years.  In the picture below, l to r, are Katherine, Julia, Evie, Janey Bell, Nancy, and Margaret.  Unfortunately, we do not have a picture of their house as it was replaced by apartments. But I can give you a look at their beautiful view of Forest Hill Park, just across the street from their house.   We loved to hike down to the lake as shown, but one of our favorite things to do, was to go sledding down the lovely hills of the park—which put us directly in front of the elegant old house where my Mom and her sisters had lived.  

kerse sisters 4

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2019-01-25 (10)Margaret my mother married Cecil H. Youngblood and after the war, WWII, they moved into a lovely stone house at 7524 Rockfalls Drive which was located about twenty minutes from our mother’s home on Forest Hill Avenue, but was not part of the city until it was annexed about 1968, I believe. It was very rural when I was a child, and very close to the James River.  The seven of us, Mom, Dad, his mother our grandmother, and Anne, Cecil, Fulton and I lived and went to school and church on the south side of the river.  But mother worked every day north of the river.  Our Aunt Julia who we called Jucky lived in the West End of Richmond, also “across” the river with her husband and three children, Claudia, Johnnie, and Edward Lee.  For a while, Mom’s sister Katherine also lived in the west end on Arlie Street with her husband Roger, and children Roger IV and Tyler.  Driving across bridges was part of our busy lives in the city of Richmond, Virginia. 

rockfalls drive, 7524, originally 606 club drive, youngblood house where helen and sibs grew up in richmond,virginia

About a mile down the street from our stone house, my sister Anne and her husband Joe made their home at 7009 Riverside Drive. Even though it is hard to see, they had a lovely, gorgeous porch that ran across the front of their villa- like house. 

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2019-01-25 (49)The green pin marks the church we attended pretty much every Sunday all of my life from birth until I left Richmond for North Carolina at the age of 30. Westover Hills United Methodist Chruch was our home church where Max and I were married, where Dad ushered, and where Mom taught Sunday School to other women for such a long time, that when she died in 1980, they installed a stained- glass window in her Sunday School class in her honor!  My siblings and I led choirs, lead youth groups even as youths themselves. We all loved that church and the people there had a huge impact on our lives.  

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2019-01-25 (7)Max and I were married in 1971, and we soon lived in an old Victorian house where our first child was born in 1974. The house was located as this red pin indicates in the Woodland Heights neighborhood, very close to where my mother had lived on Forest Hill Avenue!  Even though there were many homes involved, you can see from the map that the extended Kearse family generally stayed fairly close together.  

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2019-01-25 (51)Even in death, many of the original Kearse family members are buried at Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Richmond, Virginia. It is a beautiful, restful place of peace.

mt calvalry cemetery, richmond, virginia

 

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Scottish Ancestors and Living Cousins

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Having my DNA done on Ancestry several years ago, led to a chapter of my life’s journey I could never have imagined. While researching my family’s genealogy, I began meeting other researchers, some of whom also happened to be related to me biologically –proven through DNA.  We had to figure out just exactly how we were related, however!  That was the adventure.  Soon it became obvious that we needed a place where we could talk to each other easily, share discoveries, ideas, and get to know each other. That’s where social media, especially Facebook, came to be so valuable. On Facebook, we could form a group, in this case, people interested in Hogg/Hogue/Hogge research especially, and most of us were related to each other., and soon became friends.  On Facebook, it didn’t matter if we were from Europe or America, we could talk, share, and compare discoveries easily. Across America also, from New York to Virginia to California, and Wisconsin to Florida!  What a wonderful experience.  

Lately, I have been studying the Hogg DNA Project which has been going on for about ten years I think.  The study was directed and articles authored by Henry Dwight Hogge, Ph.D.  Enough people have joined the study, that some conclusions have been made and published.  You can access the data that I draw from for this post at these links: “Hogg DNA Project – Project Results”   Another well-organized site by Henry Dwight Hogge, Ph.D., and one full of great family information and links, is:  “Hogg DNA Project A List of Hogg Lines”

wanted to see if I could organize our family group on Facebook, according to the latest developments in the Hogg DNA Project.  I understand that Dwight has identified at least twenty different DNA groups of Hogg descendants in the United States! Wow! Hogg was a popular name in Scotland!  Dwight says that the name Hogg originally described a yearling sheep, so when surnames began and were generally based on vocation or location, many sheepherders took the name Hogg. They just adopted the name, and now, some 500 years later, we are trying to figure out who is related to whom! What a great adventure!  

One of our group members, a cousin from Wisconsin, Ron Hogue, shared another definition that I like and have found true for the family. 

Our Hogue Family Facebook group currently has 62 members. We are always open for new cousins. Some in the group are not related to us, but “friends” of the family, like Douglas Moncrieff, a professional genealogist from Scotland who has helped guide our research tremendously.  

Most of the members of our group belong to the Hogg DNA Project 
Group I1, cluster 1.  This group connects nine family groups whose DNA show that they share a common ancestor. A few folks in our Facebook group are related to each other, but by DNA not actually related to the I1 groups. By the way, that is not 11 (eleven), that is the letter I, like in Ireland, and the number one,”1″. Hard to tell if you are not familiar with the rankings. This is how I believe our group is organized.  

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 I. These nine different family lines have matching DNA and all belong to the Hogg DNA Project I1 cluster 1 – according to Henry Dwight Hogge, Ph.D., Sept. 2017: 

   1. MD1765a descendants of Alexander Ogg of Maryland, b.ca.1745 

—-Line including Iris Elizabeth Ogg first wife of George Combs
      who married as his     2nd wife Helen Marie Youngblood who descends from linePA1755a and is this author’s paternal Aunt. 

 2. NH1703a descendants of William W. Church b.1855 Montpelier VT 

—-Line including our members Leona and Joann  

 3. GA1770a descendants of James Hogg Sr. of Savannah GA b.1740 

—-Line includes our members: Betty , Jerry Carla  

 4. PA1754a descendants of Robert Hogg b.1721, Southern Scotland 

—-Line including our member Carol. 

5. PA1755a descendants of Robert Hogg b.1725, Scotland d.1747, PA 

—–includes most members of our family group including:  

Ali Holshouser Orcutt, sister of Annie Holshouser, both daughters of Helen Youngblood Holshouser. 

Alice Youngblood, wife of Cecil Hogue Youngblood. Brother of Fulton Youngblood, and Helen Youngblood Holshouser 

Allison, Donna’s daughter 

Barry, Bev, Beverly 

Bonnie – adult children Billy, Kristin, and Jennifer. Tammy  

Charles, Cheryl, Cyndi 

Dee, Donna 

Ellie  

James, brother of Wynn; Jennifer, Ron S’s daughter; Jessica, Joanne 

Lois  

Mae, Marcia, Maria, Michelle 

Rebecca, Robert, Ron H., Ron S. 

Sherry, Stephanie, Sue B., Sue N., Suzy N. 

Vickie, and her 3 adult children Tracy, Tabitha, and Travis, and four adult grandchildren– Courtney, Casey, Scottie, and Kimberley  are members.  

6. PA1825a descendants of James Hogue b.1825, Pennsylvania-no members in our group yet.  
7. RI1690a descendants of John Hogg b.1690 RI-no members. 
8. NI1777a descendants of James Hogg of Northern Ireland b.ca.1777–no members. 
9. IL1825a descendants of John Hogg, d.1825, Vermilion Co. IL—no members. 

It is interesting to note, that in the book, The Genealogy of the Jackson Family, by Hugh Parks Jackson, Hugh Hogue Thompson, and James R. Jackson, 1890, it is stated that the first immigrant in DNA line PA1755, Robert Hogg, b. 1725 in Ayrshire, Scotland, died 1747 in Pennsylvania, was one of nine brothers!  Is it a coincidence that nine different but related families form this one DNA group, I1 cluster1? This is one area needing more research.  

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II. A close match to this group is a DNA group called   I1 cluster 2.  As I understand it, cluster1 and 2 probably share a common ancestor, but maybe 1000 or 2000 years ago! It includes the lines:

    1.  IR1755, Descendants of Samuel Hogg, b. 1755, d. bef. 1802, Ireland.  Includes our Facebook Group Member Dory 

    2.  IR1764, Descendants of the Widow Elizabeth Hogg, b.ca. 1764 County Donegal, Ireland, died in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania.  

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III. One of the most well-known Hogg lines is SL1580. 

    1. SL1580 and NJ1682 include “descendants of John Hoge b.ca.1580, Musselburgh, Berwickshire, Scotland — John Hoge was the ancestor of William Hoge, b.1660, Musselburgh, Berwickshire, Scotland, who migrated to America in 1682 on the ship Caledonia, arriving in Perth Amboy NJ, marrying Barbara Hume, d.1745, in Frederick Co. VA. We refer to the descendants of William and Barbara by the code NJ1682.” Henry Dwight Hogge, PhD. 

In our Facebook group, we have several members whose DNA matches this group of Hoggs:  Amanda, JoAnn, and Lee Hogg Williams.  

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IV.   Perhaps the most famous Hogg line of all Hogg lines is SL1640.  

    1.  line SL1640 includes ”  descendants of Walter Hogg of Prestonpans, East Lothian, Scotland, b.ca.1640 — Walter Hogg was the ancestor of many Selkirkshire and Roxburghshire Hoggs, including James Hogg, The Ettrick Shepherd, (a famous poet). The lines previously identified as SL1698 and SL1753 have been combined into this line.” –Henry Dwight Hogge, PhD  

   In our Facebook group, we have two members from this famous DNA group, Helen B. and Nancy. 

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 V.   Some of the earliest Hogg family members came to Colonial Virginia, and have records recorded in the Virginia Colony as early as 1657. In the Hogg DNA Project, this group is identified as:  

   1.  line VA1657:  “descendants of John Hogg of New Kent Co. VA — John Hogg came to Virginia in 1657 as headright to Capt. Leonard Chamberlain (C&P Vol. 1, p. 346, 451). He settled in New Kent Co. As a result of the DNA study, we have learned that line NC1720, descendants of Gideon Hogg of Caswell Co. NC, and line VA1790, descendants of Sampson Hogg of Virginia and Indiana, are part of this line. Consequently, we have merged those trees into this tree.” –Henry Dwight Hogge, PhD 

In our Facebook group, our own Gary H. is a descendant of this group. 

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 VI. A second but unrelated Hogg family in early Virginia was:  

1. line VA1658: descendants of William Hogg (Hoges) of York Co. VA — William Hoges is first mentioned in the records in York County in 1658. (By DNA this line is NOT related to line VA1657-“descendants of John Hogg of New Kent Co. VA — John Hogg came to Virginia in 1657 as headright to Capt. Leonard Chamberlain (C&P Vol. 1, p. 346, 451). He settled in New Kent Co. As a result of the DNA study, we have learned that line NC1720, descendants of Gideon Hogg of Caswell Co. NC, and line VA1790, descendants of Sampson Hogg of Virginia and Indiana, are part of this line.” –Henry Dwight Hogge, PhD. 

This line, VA 1658, includes my own cousins, children of my mother’s sister. My main Hogue line is through my father.  My mother’s sister married a man named W. R. Buck, and his mother’s line shares this DNA line as well.  Of course, I am only related to my first cousins, not their father’s line of ancestors. Still, it is an interesting connection. 

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VI.   Hogg DNA Line VA1745  

      1.  descendants of James Hogg of Edinburgh Scotland — “The traditional story is that James Hogg of Scotland, b.1680, was the father of James Hogg, Thomas Hogg, and Capt. Peter Hogg who came to Virginia in 1745. Capt. Peter Hogg served with Washington in the French and Indian War. The records show that Capt. Peter Hogg considered Thomas Hogg Sr. to be his brother, but DNA from descendants of Capt. Peter Hogg does not match DNA from descendants of Thomas Hogg Sr. We presume that Thomas Hogg Sr. was a half-brother (with different fathers) of Capt. Peter Hogg and James Hogg.”– Henry Dwight Hogge, PhD 

This line includes our treasured group member, Dee Horn.  

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Isn’t it amazing!  Due to the popularity of DNA testing in genealogy; the hard work of scientists like Henry Dwight Hogg, PhD, in organizing and completing DNA studies; and the ease of meeting people as never before by internet programs like Facebook, Ancestry, and many more sites, we are able to meet cousins all over the world, and trace our ancestry back many centuries.  The Scottish people must be amazing, because the people in our Facebook group, all descendants of Scots, are amazing—what a joy and a gift to know them!  

Until we meet again, Helen Youngblood Holshouser

“Sharing Love with Family, Hoggs, and Kisses” 

by artist and family member Lee Hogg Williams

– available as a puzzle or a dry erase board along with other fun items 

at:    https://www.zazzle.com/hoggs_kisses_dry_erase_board-256007096373918872

This blog post was first published on the Blog Worldwide Genealogy, A Genealogical Collaboration, on September 29, 2017, by Helen Y. Holshouser

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Surviving the Mississippi River Flood of 2008

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June 21, 2018 

 Today I am publishing a treat for us, as we have a guest author.  My second cousin, Susan Walker Youngblood Kerr is joining me to share an amazing family story. Let me introduce her to you first.  Susan married Robert Kerr, called Bob, and together they have three young adult children, Lauren, Robert, and Ryan Kerr. Ryan is married to Katy. Born in Virginia, Susan was raised around the world as she traveled with her career military family with Dad a Colonel at retirement. After marriage, Susan and Robert settled in Iowa, very close to the Mississippi River where it intersects with the Des Moines River.  Susan has recently retired from a career in teaching, and Robert has farmed successfully for many years.  

Youngblood, Susan Kerr, map of area lived in in 2008

Susan tells this account of trial, tribulation, survival, patience, and as she describes: “God’s provision.”

 “We had a saltbox wood- framed farmhouse, part of it built in the 1800’s. We had remodeled the house and added a downstairs master bedroom and bath with a full basement underneath the addition.  We had also added a computer room. The house was 2600 square feet on less than an acre. The Great Flood hit us ten years ago this month, June 15, 2008, but the story needs to begin in January 2008.  At that time, I was teaching, Bob was farming and the children were 14,16, and 18 years old.

 In January 2008, I received an email at work that a family had a house fire and among items they needed were beds for their children. I had just bought full beds for my sons so I called my husband and he brought the twin beds over to the KEOKUK armory to give to a Sgt. Steffens. Sgt. Steffen was about a 6’ft 8 ‘’ guy that started crying when he received the beds the morning after the fire. He conversed with my husband and asked where we lived and farmed. My husband told him we lived and farmed on the Mississippi bottomland. Sgt. Steffen told Bob, my husband, that National guard had already been called out for a major flood on the Mississippi the following summer. We were in disbelief because we were at the end of a three-year drought! Barges were getting stuck and the river was less than five feet. An all-time low. Flood stage is 15 feet.

 However, we watched the weather patterns closely. Flood insurance is very costly in the Midwest. About March there were huge storms up north. We started watching houses plunge into lakes in Wisconsin. We decided that it was time to get flood insurance. It took 2 months going through red tape to acquire flood insurance but we were finally insured on Bobs birthday, May 12th. This is important because you have to have flood insurance in place 30 days before the time the water enters your home.  

 We had to cancel our 20th wedding anniversary plans on June 11, 2008. There was a wall of water headed our way from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The Des Moines River had flooded the entire bottom area of Cedar Rapids.  Our farm is several miles from where the Des Moines and the Mississippi River intersect.

 The water was predicted to crest at 30 feet and our levee is built to hold up to 26 feet flood stage.  On June 15th, the water was actually 32 feet! The water came up under the Canton Dam and flooded the Hunt Drainage District which is 32,000 acres of farmland. What a shock and nightmare as we lost almost everything!

We were thankful, however, because we had gotten flood insurance. However, we were only insured 50 percent of the square footage. That is how flood insurance works. It doesn’t matter how old or new the structure is but how much based on $100.00 a square foot, it would cost to build a new house. We also had $20,000 coverage on contents but got some things out, so the assessors gave us $6,000 on contents. So, we had a check for $136,000 that we banked immediately.   

Youngblood, Susan Kerr, flooded house of 2008, June 15

 

Youngblood, Susan Kerr, flooded home of 2008, interior

Believe it or not, we had been through the “once in a lifetime, 500- year flood” of 1993!  We had just closed on the farm in May, then get flooded in July. Bob was a contractor so put the home back together. But I had no interest in doing this a 3rd time. It all has to do with mismanagement of our river system. The Mississippi is silted in.  

We moved into a house that was less than a mile away, up on the bluff road. It was basically a 1400 square foot FHA house with an added 4 car garage. The house had a black mold problem and they were asking $176,000 for it. No thank you. But the garage was great for moving our household items out. My eldest son started getting severe nosebleeds. His doctor told us to get the “ hell “ out of that house because it was killing him.

Under doctor’s orders, we moved again, to a house on the river above the dam, in Hamilton, Illinois. It was a log house but had been steel sided. The outside of the house was ugly but the inside was beautiful log with 20-foot ceilings, a stone fireplace, and a wood burning stove. The house was fairly close to my job (10 minutes) but was 30 minutes from the farm. We learned then that in order to be an effective farmer you have to live near the farm. We lived in this home for two Christmases. It was a great place to clear our heads and heal our hearts. The girl’s bathroom had this huge jacuzzi tub where you could sit in it and not see over the rim, it was so deep.  We loved this home and would have built one just like it, minus the siding, but location, location, location…. it was wrong.

We had a plot map and asked everyone in our area if they would sell us some land on the bluff. Nothing, absolutely nothing would open up. (All of our land is in the floodplain) we looked for 18 months!

One day we heard that a house on the bluff was in sheriff foreclosure. My husband had mowed the lawn there as a teenager. The house was padlocked but my husband knew the secret passage into the house and went in and looked around. We didn’t know who was handling the foreclosure so we called our county treasurer. She gave us the name of the realtor, Bert Berthound. We googled that odd name but nothing came up. I told my husband to try Gertrude. He did and the name of a realtor came up. We lost her trail in Hannibal, MO. My husband got the thought to trace who was paying the electric and water. He was told it was Century 21 out of Quincy, IL. He looked in the phone book and found five Century 21’s. On the 4th Century 21, he asked if there was a Gertrude Berthound. They said they had a Bertie Kunz. When he spoke to her she said Berthound was her name two marriages ago. The house was not on the market yet but she agreed to drive the 30 minutes to meet him.  A half-hour later, this little lady drives up in her pickup truck with Harley emblems emblazoned on it, a tough but nice person to work with. Bob took her down to see our flooded house. When they came back he wrote out an earnest check and made an offer on the house she was handling. Bert said, Bob. I believe you need to up your offer $50,000 to buy this house. Bob said he would like to stay with his offer and see what happened.

Bert called us a few days later to tell us that if we wanted the house, we needed to counter offer. Bob asked her what he should counter offer. She said “Bob, this has never happened in all of my years in foreclosure realty but the bank has a predetermined price. You need to redo your bid to $23,500 LESS than you originally offered!  Are you still interested? We about ran everybody off of the road to get to the bank and fax our new offer!

Amazingly, we closed and moved into the home in 30 days! Oh, we bought the house, with closing costs, for $136,000. Our flood insurance check was $136,000! We moved into a 3000 square foot brick house with an 800 ft., two-story sunroom, on 18 acres, on the bluff, overlooking our farmland! Included were custom drapes, lilacs, and an 80-foot blue spruce tree. We feel very blessed! All along, my husband spoke the one-word “patience” to me.  It has been 10 years since the levee broke June 15th, 2008. Don’t feel sorry for us or our house though. We came out pretty well even though it took two years of faith, patience, and perseverance!

I was a school teacher just a few weeks retired now. Ten years ago, I took my class to see the house after the waters receded. It took 2 years of patience but we have a testimony of Gods goodness through this. We had a 2300 wood frame farm house, on an acre of land (but surrounded by our farmland). We closed on a 3,000 ft. brick home with an 800 square foot two-story sunroom, on 18 acres.  We bought the home for the exact amount of our flood insurance check. This had to be a gift from God and is a testimony that can never be taken away from me. 

Susan Walker Youngblood Kerr, June 2018

 

Helen‘s note:  What an amazing story that resulted in a true blessing for a wonderful family! I cannot tell you how much I admire Susan and her family for their courage and faith!  They are an excellent example and light to many of us in our often-challenging world.  Thank you so much, Susan, for sharing all of this with us, the extended family and for generations to come.  Hopefully, it will stand as a great example to trust in God, to persevere, work hard, and have patience. 

Until we meet again, I wish you all well, 

Helen Youngblood Holshouser  Southern woman whose heart is family!

 

 

 

 

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Genealogy Research Identifies Easter Traditions from Relatives and Ancestors Worldwide

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In my genealogical research, I have learned that my family is a typical American melting pot of ethnic origins! Our ancestors hail from Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Sweden, and Switzerland—at least. As we are preparing for our own Easter celebration, I was wondering how similar or how different some of my ancestor’s traditions might have been.  

Our own traditions include attending church as we were raised Protestant and believe that Easter represents the death and the rising of Jesus Christ, Son of God, to save us all from our sins and to give us eternal life.  It is basically, the basis of our Faith, and, is such an important time in the life of Christians.  We celebrate Easter with a long season of Lent.  However, Holy Week is marked with Maundy Thursday Communion in church on the Thursday before Easter Sunday.  This communion celebrates the Lord’s last supper with his disciples. On Good Friday, we gather at church to mourn the death of Christ upon the cross. Our own church holds a “Tenebrae service of Shadows”.  One of our daughters will sing special music with the choir, “One Sacrifice”.   The service itself begins with 14 lighted candles in the sanctuary, and as Christ walks his final passion, each candle is extinguished to signify his abandonment.  Easter Sunday, we gather to celebrate the joy of Christ’s resurrection and His salvation for each of us individually throughout the whole world. This is an astounding day for many of us faith wise!

Part of the joy of Easter at our house is gathering with family and friends for dinner.  Many in the United States serve ham for this dinner with other spring vegetables especially like asparagus and carrots for the Easter bunny. Surely you see turkey and beef as well. My own sister, however, serves a Crown Roast of Lamb every Easter without fail!  Bunny rabbit salads made of half pears are a treat for our family.

Since our family includes young grandchildren, an Easter egg hunt is in order for the day!  Of course, we give the children Easter baskets full of trinkets, chocolate, and other candy.  We hard boil and decorate Easter eggs as well.  In our own family, we often hide the baskets and the children have to follow clues to find them!

Easter 2015, hunting eggs with Katy and Evie

This is one way to hunt eggs! -grandchildren of author, personal library, HY Holshouser. 

Evie, Katy, and Liam with Easter Bunny, 2016

Grandchildren visiting the Easter Bunny—from the personal library of this author, H Y Holshouser.

What about our Hogue ancestors from Scotland?  I understand that they especially were sheepherders and that their and most Scottish Easter dinners include roasted lamb!  As with us in America, chocolate is the taste of the day!  Dessert might be chocolate cake and coffee! Chocolate eggs and bunnies are ever present for both! Easter egg hunts, horse displays, and battle reenactments make for fun and festive occasions. Of course, churches throughout Scotland hold special Easter services like ours, to celebrate Christ’s rising from death and giving us the grace of salvation. We had many ministers, mainly Presbyterian, in our Hogue family.  In fact, we are told that our first immigrant from Scotland was a Covenanter.  A covenanter was one of the many Scottish people who fought against the Catholics for the right to have their own personal covenant with God. In fact, his persecution by the Catholics apparently led to his flight to America.

Our Kearse family from Ireland and the same ancient family, the Des Cearsais of France, how did they celebrate Easter?  The French word for Easter is Pâques. To say Happy Easter, you can say “Joyeuses Pâques or “Bonnes Pâques.”  According to my general research, Easter is an important holiday in France also. It is a religious one, and a lively, fun time with Easter egg hunts to honor the coming of Spring. Like Ireland, roast lamb is the choice for a large family meal. In Ireland, it is also an important religious holiday as well, with many traditions. Confession on Good Friday, silence on the Saturday before Easter lends to a meditative state. Eggs take center stage on Easter as they are given up for the forty days of lent by many.  Chocolate eggs, decorated eggs—all symbolizing Spring, new beginnings, renewal and joy!

What about the Langhornes and others from England? Among many lovely and fun Easter traditions, Easter parades are one of the greatest. Children and adults don new clothes for good luck, and often children make elaborate paper hats to wear as they march in their local town parades!  Fun! Egg rolling, hot cross buns, Simnel cake, Morris dancing, and so much more contradicts the vision of the staid Englishmen and women! 

Abingdon Traditional Morris Dancing Princess Royal

 

Our marvelous Italian ancestors and relatives add so much spirit to our family. The BottosRaffosRivaros, Costas, DeSantos,  and more, mostly originate in the coastal area of northwestern Italy, near Genoa. Italy of course, is home to the Vatican, and the place for the pilgrimage of so many Catholics on Easter.  My mother’s Italian ancestors were Catholic as well.  Mass on Good Friday in St. Peter’s Basilica is followed by the Pope leading a candlelight procession on a walk symbolizing Christ’s walk to the cross.  Our own church reenacts this walk to the cross, and we are protestants.  

St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, Andreas Tille – Own work, Permission details Quote of http://fam-tille.de/italien/rom/2004_030.html – Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this images under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published

 

As I understand it from relatives, northern Italian Easter feasts often feature ham, like us!  Interesting. Of course, salami is a big choice as well.  Colomba, a dove shaped cake, made of almonds, egg whites, and sugar, is probably the most famous cake and available worldwide these days.

Italian bread with almonds and sugar,Colomba-Pasquale

Colomba Pasquale, An Italian Sweet bread J.P.Lon~commonswiki

What about our German JungblutsYoungbloods? And my husband’s Haulzhausen—Holshouser family?  According to a wonderful article from DW –Deutsche Welle —  http://www.dw.com/en/german-easter-traditions/a-1520904 — the Germans of course, also celebrate a religious holiday like most Christians.

Although mainly a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, Easter also marks the beginning of spring. The Germans, of course, have a whole range of customs and traditions to celebrate the change of seasons in proper fashion.

A time for eggs and bunnies

Eggs and bunnies are two of the oldest symbols of Easter in Germany and every spring shops boom with eggs and bunnies made of chocolate, cardboard or flowers in different sizes and wrappings.

The tradition for using eggs and bunnies for Easter originates from pagan worshipping where they were symbols of fertility and new birth and traditionally used for celebrations of the coming of the spring.

The Germans have a number of egg games which the children play over the holidays. One tradition is to blow eggs and paint them in multiple colours and patterns on Good Friday. The eggs are then put in a basket for the Easter bunny — Osterhase— to hide around the house on the night leading up to Easter Sunday. On the morning of Easter Sunday, the children go hunting for the eggs and often find that the Easter bunny has also left chocolate eggs and Easter presents for them to find.

It is also a custom that friends exchange the painted eggs as gifts or that young people in love paint eggs for their sweetheart.” Now that is a different tradition, which I find so special and romantic!  

For the Netherlands and our Van Vreeland, Van Swol, Voorhees, and Banta families, what was Easter like for them? According to many articles, they celebrate much the way we do…. or we celebrate much the way they do!  One of our favorite meals is a festive brunch and apparently, it is theirs as well:  eggs, cheese, ham, rolls…and did I say eggs?  The Dutch also take great pride in providing the thousands of tulips to decorate St. Peter’s in Rome for the Pope’s Easter service.  Wow!  Back home, they are also known for their beautiful painted eggs.  However, they do not have the Easter bunny, but the “Paashaas, the Easter hare!  

Our ancestors represent many more countries and traditions from around the world, but as you and I can readily see, we are more alike than different.  This Easter, as I pray, and as I play, I will have a keener sense of connectedness due to my genealogical research, and our worldwide collaboration.

Until we meet again, Helen Youngblood Holshouser

 

 

 

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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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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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