Posts Tagged ‘genealogy’

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!



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!

Death Certificate of Charles William Kittle (click to enlarge)

Today marks 60 years since the death of my great great grandfather, Charles William Kittle. Admittedly, I haven’t done a lot of research on the Kittle line just yet. Most of this is because there is already a significant amount of information out there on the Kittles and there aren’t any apparent mysteries drawing my attention away from other lines.

But they are no less deserving of recognition. I have actually been a little angry with myself because earlier in my research, I had come across the text of an obituary for Charles, which listed my great grandmother, Cora Ellen Kittle Branum. It also listed a few of the other Kittle children. Unfortunately, it was one of the pieces of information I hadn’t yet backed up when my laptop was stolen a couple of years ago. I already knew I’d have to track down the source, since it wasn’t provided, but it would be nice to have that text again. So far, I’ve been unsuccessful at relocating it online.

Anyway… back to Charles. He was born on 25-Oct-1865 in Lewis county, West Virginia, to parents John Clark Kittle and Elizabeth Wamsley. He married Martha Melvina Queen on 14-Jul-1881. They had, to the best of my knowledge, nine children, including my great grandmother. Charles, from everything I’ve learned so far, spent his entire life in Lewis County, surviving 30 years after losing his wife.

I’ve often wondered what kind of man he was, given that the man my great grandmother ultimately married was apparently a womanizing cad (I never met him; I can only go on what I’ve heard). My great grandmother ended up divorced from her husband, while Charles and Melvina stayed together until she died, and it doesn’t appear he ever remarried. All of Charles’ children are now gone, but I hope someday to meet a cousin who can shed additional light on who he was.


Self-portrait of Howard Eben Foster

Fifty years ago today, a man I never knew left this world too soon. Howard Eben Foster was only fifty years old and his first and only grandchild was just nine months old when he died.

Howard’s parents were Emma Adelia Briggs and Samuel Blocksom Foster. All in all, there were four children: Hattie Corrine, Carl Blocksom, Lulu Grace (or Grace Lulu–she wrote it both ways) and Howard.

I’m told that Howard had no middle name when he was born. He took on Eben as his middle name because it was the name of the doctor who saved his life after he was stricken with scarlet fever. The impact of this becomes even more obvious when one learns that his older sister, Hattie Corrine, died of scarlet fever before Howard was born.

Visiting the cemetery where his parents and oldest sister are buried, it is easy to believe that they never recovered from losing their first born child. It’s also easy to believe that perhaps Howard’s parents tried not to get too close. I’m making a lot of assumptions, of course. But the stories I’ve heard indicate that life wasn’t easy for him.

Those stories of Howard range from shockingly painful to laugh out loud hilarious. One hopes that old wounds might have healed if he’d had the time on this earth to repair them. It saddens me that he never had the chance. But I am also so grateful that those family members manage to view things with a wider lens, so that those hilariously funny stories are willingly shared.

Howard is one of the two biggest reasons that my interest in genealogy has taken hold. It seems only fitting that I should begin this blogging attempt by remembering him today. After all, without him, I wouldn’t be here to write this blog post.

Rest in peace, Grandpa Foster.