I’ve really fallen off the wagon now, haven’t I? I have a few good excuses.

First, I’ve been doing a lot of indexing for the 1940 census. So far, I’ve managed to find my great grandmother, Emma Briggs Foster. I also located my paternal grandparents, along with my dad and one of my aunts. I still haven’t been able to find my mom, though, mostly because she was only two years old in 1940 and has no recollection of where the family was living. She’s given me a possible part of town, but I haven’t had the patience to flip through all the pages. When I get a chance, I’ll head down to the library and see if I can find an address for the family in an old city directory. Even that might not help, though. I don’t think the family was there for very long.

The other thing preventing me from much research is the weather. It’s been gorgeous! So, we’ve been working on getting our yard in shape and our garden planted. It seems as though a family of robins has located nearby, as we have a repeat visitor to the yard. As I type this, he’s foraging for food, keeping a wary eye on me.

Lastly, I have had my mind on other things. Tomorrow, I officially am a one year survivor of breast cancer. My one year check-up was earlier this week and its approach had me more than a little anxious. I’m happy to report that there is no evidence of cancer, which makes all the chemo and radiation I went through last year totally worthwhile. I find myself breathing just a little easier the last few days. And I’m ready to tackle my research again.

I had to take a break from pursuing my MLIS while I was undergoing treatment, but now that I have the all clear, I’m registered for fall semester. To ease myself back into the learning environment (I attempted to go back to school in January and it was a disaster), I’ve signed up for a continuing education class through the ALA: Genealogy 101. In addition to hopefully learning some new techniques, I’m hoping to be inspired to really delve back into my research, while I still have some spare time to really get into it!

Watch this space! Maybe… 🙂


Mrs. Lovina Corsen


Late last month, I found my great great grandmother’s obituary listed in an index from the Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Library, so I promptly ordered it. It appeared in the Fremont News Messenger on 18 October 1946.

She’s listed in the obit as Mrs. Lovina Corsen, but those looking for descendants would most likely be looking for her as Lovina Branum. I’ve transcribed it below:


PORT CLINTON, Oct. 18–Mrs. Lovina Corsen, 88, died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Anna Stockwell, here last evening, and the body will be taken to Lancaster, O., where services will be held in Pleasant Hill church Saturday afternoon.

Survivors are a daughter, Mrs. Stockwell, and sons, Frank Branum, here; Edward Branum, LaCarne; Clarence Branum, Marion, and Simon Branum, Amanda, O. Gerner & Wolf, local funeral directors, were in charge of local arrangements.

I was aware that Lovina married William Corsen after my great great grandfather died, as I have her death certificate and I’ve found them in the 1930 census. I was a bit surprised when I saw that someone on Ancestry showed another husband in between, but I was able to confirm that yesterday through marriage records (a post for another day).

Now I’m on the hunt for additional records on her children, including Anna Stockwell. So far, I’ve documented (through marriage licenses) three other marriages besides the one to Mr. Stockwell, and one of those applications mentions yet another husband, with the surname Besis. I’m hoping to get lucky and find some Branum relatives somewhere who can help!




I know this may sound weird, but I guess since I pay for a subscription to Ancestry, I seem to always want to get my money’s worth and I end up forgetting about some of the other resources available.

That has been the case for Family Search. A lot of my research is in Pennsylvania. And until I can actually go to some of the locations I need to visit, I’m limited to what I can do online. Thus far, I haven’t found a lot of helpful information. My ancestors in PA were farmers, in an area that as best as I can tell, is still very rural and not a short drive from much of anywhere. The resources available in that area seem spotty, no matter where I look.

Mind you, I could be wrong. I’m still a relative newbie to all of this. It could very well be that I’m just looking in all the wrong places.

Anyway, in an effort to prove my great great grandmother’s identity through collateral relatives, I ventured back over to Family Search recently. To say I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. I was downright shocked when the very first set of records I viewed turned up exactly what I was looking for, the marriage record of one Ellie S. Ebberts. Yes, I audibly gasped.

Now, it’s possible that this record was there all the time. I’ve only known about Ellie’s existence for a little while now. I had no idea what her married name might be. I’m very lucky that her parents’ names were listed in the record, because they weren’t in her older sister’s earlier marriage record, and both died long before either of the girls were married. That made me certain I’d found the right individual.

This particular record doesn’t really do anything to help me prove my great great grandmother’s identity, other than it’s another small piece of a the puzzle where the Ebberts are concerned. But it definitely serves as a reminder that it’s best to revisit all of the resources at my disposal. Who knows what I might find?


Aunt Grace and friend

I never met my grandfather’s older sister, even though she lived to be 101 years old. Every time we drove down to Marion, we’d go past her house, but she was never home.

Aunt Grace’s daughter, NJ, has welcomed me with open arms to go through boxes and bins of photos and papers. During my first trip down to visit her, she let me take home several large envelopes, containing various documents so that I could go through them and copy what I wanted. So, I’m definitely thankful for NJ, too!

But Aunt Grace… well, let’s put it this way: were it not for what I found in those envelopes, in Aunt Grace’s own handwriting, I would probably still be trying to figure out what happened to my great grandmother’s siblings. All I had were first names of her two sisters and the names and locations of her two brothers, both of which turned out to be no help in breaking through the brick wall surrounding the identity of their mother. I was at a loss and not sure where to turn, especially because the infamous 1890 census would have likely been the last one either appeared in while still living at home.

So, when I went through the papers in the very last envelope and found detailed information about all of Emma Briggs’ siblings, including names of spouses and children and locations, it’s not surprising that I shed a few tears of gratitude. Aunt Grace started the work on this family history. It’s up to me to carry on where she left off.

So, I’ve been meeting once a week with a colleague/mentor who has been helping me figure out the choppy waters around this whole grad school/future career thing I’ve got going. Earlier this week, I dropped both of the classes I was taking this semester. It was too soon for me to go back after the health issues I dealt with last year.

Instead, I’m going to concentrate on those things that I hold near and dear to my heart, including genealogy. And one of the things I’m going to try to do more often is blog about it. Specifically, I’m shooting for 15 minutes worth of writing every day on the blog, and 15 minutes worth of writing in documenting the “adventures” I’ve had trying to figure out who my great great grandmother is.

Fortunately, I have a wealth of blogging prompts to draw from, thanks to GeneaBloggers. We’ll see how it goes. This post definitely didn’t take me 15 minutes to write, but nobody told me I had to start that part of it today. 😉

Stay tuned…

So, I’m a little late to the party here. RootsMagic is giving away a free iPad and I entered the contest today, which involved visiting a bunch of different blogs for clues. Along the way, I added several new blogs to my feed reader. One of them, Ruth’s Genealogy, had a post referencing 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, a series of blogging prompts. Since one of my resolutions was to try to blog here once a week (and I’ve been failing miserably), I figured better late than never. Though I’m not new to blogging, this particular blog is still very much in its infancy and I haven’t quite fleshed out what I want it to be. Perhaps this will help.

This weeks challenge:

Week 5 – Life Experiences: Sometimes the challenges in life provide the best learning experiences. Can you find an example of this in your own family tree? Which brick wall ancestor are you most thankful for, and how did that person shape your family history experience?

Well, when you put it that way, I realize just how much of a newbie I am at this hobby. I haven’t gotten far enough into my genealogy to have multiple brick walls yet. However, I do have one and that is establishing the identity of my great great grandmother. And yes, I would say this has been an excellent learning experience.

My great grandmother was Emma Adelia Briggs Foster. Her mother, the elusive g-g-grandmother, died when Emma was a young girl. Without getting into the nitty gritty details, my quest to find her identity has given me a taste of several different research methods. Every answer I’ve found has raised more questions. While I still do not have a positive ID, I’m closer to finding the truth than I think anyone else is at this point. It’s been hard for me to set this particular line aside to work on others, but I know when I do, the experience I’ve gained through searching for Emma’s mother will prove invaluable when researching other lines.

I feel a connection to these women, and by that, I mean both my g-g-grandmother and Emma. I’m not sure which one of them is behind the driving force of this connection, but I do know that I can’t visit Marion without stopping at the cemetery where Emma is buried to say hello. And I have choked up more than once.

Whichever one it is, I’m thankful that she continues to inspire me not to give up. Given my recent health crisis and my internal debate over finishing grad school, finding that kind of motivation is priceless.


I failed in my resolution to blog every week before I even got started.

Research is non-existent at the moment. I’m trying to get my office reorganized in between readings for both of my classes. However, I’d logged in here to share a handy tip and in typical fashion for me, it led to something else, which led to something else and so on… much like genealogy itself.

I learned yesterday that if you highlight text in the browser Firefox, you can then drag that text into a form or document that you’re working on. No right clicking or Ctrl-C /Ctrl-V required. Just highlight, drag and let go. So, I thought “What a great idea for moving some of the information I have in Ancestry into my RootsMagic database! ”

Well, it didn’t work. I tried it on my g-g-grandmother, Lovina Seifert, because I have *some* info on her in Ancestry, but I have none for her in RootsMagic. I highlighted the text for her date of birth and tried to drag it in, to no avail. Of course.

So, I figured I’d at least copy some of the info I had on her while I was there. Baby steps, right? In the process, I discovered I was missing some census records, so I went searching. Lo and behold, I found an index for her obituary! That link led me to the Hayes Center site, which I admittedly have not explored as much as I should. And there, I found a link to order a copy of my g-g-grandmother’s obituary!

I think I’ve said before (or at least I meant to): distraction can be a good thing sometimes.



This Christmas, I traveled with my local son to Philadelphia, where my other son has lived for the past few years. It was my first visit to the City of Brotherly Love. We had a list of things we wanted to see and we had one day to do it. We tore through the Old City District like there was no tomorrow, seeing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall and taking a few photos along the way. It wasn’t enough time for me or my history loving son, but it did make me realize one thing: I need to find a way to make more time for my still relatively new genealogy research.

I started this blog a year ago with the intention of having it help me organize my thoughts, as well as provide a place to share what information I have discovered with anyone who might be interested.

Last April, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and spent the next several months going through surgery, chemo and radiation. Everything else in my life took a back seat to treatment. On the advice of my oncologist, I took a semester long break from working on my MLIS. After chemo, I attempted to use some of that time for research, but I found it difficult to focus for any length of time (it’s called “chemo brain”), so progress was minimal.

I feel as though my trip has cleared my brain somewhat. I have returned home, determined to make time for people and things that are important to me, including my family history research. I will be picking up grad school where I left off, starting on January 9th. However, I am resolving to post on this blog at least once per week, even if it’s just rambling ideas on which direction I should go next. Anything that will help keep this fresh in my mind will be beneficial, right?


Happy New Year!



Gladys Evelyn Branum FosterOne of my biggest genealogy regrets is not taking the time to sit down with this lady and learn more about her past. My grandmother would have been 98 years old today. She was born 16 July 1913, in Lancaster, Ohio, the third of four children born to Cora Ellen KITTLE and Samuel Clarence BRANUM.

I don’t think her life was easy. Her parents were divorced when she was still in school. She didn’t have a good relationship with her father at all, and from what I’ve been told, she pretty much wrote him off.

She lived in Florida for a time and I have vague recollections of going to visit her there. One time, we went to visit her as Hurricane Gladys was hitting the area. What are the odds?

This was back in the days when kids didn’t need to ride in car seats, and although it was probably a different trip (one with my mom, cousins and uncle), I remember sleeping in the package shelf of the car on the trip down. Craziness!

She was married twice. Her first marriage, to Roger MINYOUNG, ended in divorce. She had a son, Charles, whom I don’t recall ever meeting. (Part of the reason I’m so interested in this side of my family is because of the lack of connections between various relatives.)

She remarried in 1935, to my grandfather, Howard FOSTER. He died before I was before I was born, as mentioned in a previous post. The had three more children together, including my mom.

Grandma was in and out of our lives throughout the years, taking care of us while my mom worked just prior to my own parents’ divorce. She and her sister Twila were in Florida a lot, I think. And she’d be in Marion as well. I think one of the things I need to do is get her kids to help me pinpoint a timeline of where she was and when. There is a lot I don’t know about my grandma, and I would really like to fix that.

Her last few years, she lived with my mom. I regret that I didn’t try to get to know her better. She wasn’t very mobile then, but her sense of humor was still intact and she could get a gleam in her eye… I can only hope I’ve inherited her sharp mind.

Happy Birthday, Grandma! I really miss you.

No sooner did spring semester wrap up for me when I came face to face with a personal health crisis. As a result, research has been slow.

I have, however, managed to make a couple of trips to Marion, first to visit a cousin with a lot of old family photos and more recently, a car trip to find the Four Acres (known as such only to family members), the place where my mom and her brothers spent some time growing up.

Since I am still in the midst of dealing with the aforementioned crisis, traveling for research will probably be kept to a minimum. However, I do have a few posts in the works–and definitely some new photos to share.

So, stay tuned!