The Real Reason for Memorial Day

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Memorial Day — or Decoration Day, as it was originally called — began shortly after the end of the Civil War. It was a way to pay respect to those who had lost their lives in that bloody conflict. Eventually, it grew as a way to honor those who died in any of our nation’s wars.

Like many of you probably do, I head out to local cemeteries on Memorial Day weekend. Ok, I go much more often than just that weekend, but the trip to cemeteries is a key event in my Memorial Day activities.

Gerald Ridenour was from my mom’s hometown. He enlisted in the Army and served in the Army Air Forces. He died in the line of duty in October 1943. His body was brought back to Perry County, Ohio for burial.

Mom was still in school at the time. She remembers that the entire school — and almost all of the town — went to his funeral. “I remember that he was wearing his uniform,” she told me on our visit to Highland Cemetery yesterday.

“At the end of the service at the cemetery, there was someone at the bottom of the hill playing Taps. None of us could see him. It’s something that I’ll never forget for as long as I live.”

Gerald V. Ridenour tombstone, Highland Cemetery, Glenford, Perry County, Ohio. Photo by Amy Johnson Crow, 23 May 2015.

Gerald V. Ridenour tombstone, Highland Cemetery, Glenford, Perry County, Ohio. Photo by Amy Johnson Crow, 23 May 2015.

Gerald Ridenour isn’t related to me, but his funeral is such a vivid memory for my mom, that he almost feels like it.

Sometime this weekend, please pause for a moment and consider the real reason we observe Memorial Day.

40 Genealogy Accounts You Should Follow on Twitter

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Recently, the folks over at Crestleaf put together a list of 40 genealogy accounts you should follow on Twitter. I am thrilled that they included me!

Check out these people on Crestleaf’s list — you’ll get good genealogy info! (And if you follow me @AmyCrow you’ll also get history, writing, and random doses of my rants about college football.)

See you on Twitter!

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52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 20 Recap

Posted in 52 Ancestors Challenge on by .

52ancestors-2015-20This is the weekly recap I’ve been looking forward to. With the theme being “black sheep,” I’m sure there are going to be some great stories!

I think I might be turning into the black sheep of the family. This is two weeks in a row that I haven’t blogged as part of the challenge. Sigh.

Among the many posts I enjoyed reading this week were:

Your Turn

Who did you write about last week? We’d love to hear about them! Leave a comment below with a link to your post. Be sure to include the person’s name and a bit about them. You never know when I cousin will come along and find you!

And during this holiday weekend, spend some time reading the posts from Week 19. There are some wonderful posts there!

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Upcoming Optional Themes:

  • Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military
  • Week 22 (May 28 – June 3) – Commencement
  • June themes

June 2015 Themes for 52 Ancestors

Posted in 52 Ancestors Challenge on by .

Summer will be here before you know it! While you’re planning your summer getaway, think about the ancestors you want to write about next month!

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Week 23 (June 4-10) – Wedding: June is time for weddings. Write about a June bride in your family or highlight a favorite wedding photo. Maybe there’s a serial marry-er in the family — that could be a fun post!

Week 24 (June 11-17) – Heirloom: What heirloom do you treasure? Who gave it to you? What heirloom do you wish you had?

Week 25 (June 18-24) – The Old Homestead: Have you visited an ancestral home? Do you have photos of an old family house? Do you have homesteading ancestors?

Week 26 (June 25-July 1) – Halfway: This week marks the halfway point in the year — and the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge! What ancestor do you have that you feel like you’ve only researched halfway? What ancestor do you feel like takes up half of your research efforts?

The weekly recaps will be posted on Thursdays. Looking forward to seeing all of your posts!

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 19 Recap

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52ancestors-2015-19The optional theme for Week 19 was “There’s a Way.” Ironically, I didn’t find a way to do my own 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks post.

But lots of you did — kudos to you! Among the many posts included:

Your Turn

Who did you write about during Week 19? Leave a comment below with a link to your post. Be sure to include your ancestor’s name — your cousins want to find you!

Also be sure to take a look at the posts from Week 18. Good reading and possible cousins — what could be better?!

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Upcoming Optional Themes:

  • Week 20 (May 14-20) – Black Sheep
  • Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military
  • Week 22 (May 28 – June 3) – Commencement

Due to the National Genealogical Society conference being held this week, the June themes will be announced on Monday, June 18.

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 18 Recap

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52ancestors-2015-18The optional theme for Week 18 was “Where There’s a Will.” Many people followed the theme. Others didn’t. And that’s perfectly alright :)

Among the wonderful posts that I’ve read this week were these gems:

My post this week was about Robert Darling, the brother of my ancestor Mary (Darling) Young. Robert was unmarried, but his will could prove key to researching that branch of my family tree.

Your Turn

Who did you write about this past week? Leave a comment below with the link to your post and a little bit about your ancestor. You never know what cousins are reading this! Also, be sure to take a look at the Week 17 recap. There could be a cousin waiting for you there!

By the way, I’m conducting a reader survey to see what types of posts you’d like to see more of here on No Story Too Small. I’d love to know what you think! (Click here for the 1-question survey.)

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Upcoming Optional Themes:

  • Week 19 )May 7-13) – There’s a Way
  • Week 20 (May 14-20) – Black Sheep
  • Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military
  • Week 22 (May 28 – June 3) – Commencement

Robert Darling: Unmarried, But Key to My Family Tree

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52ancestors-2015-18Too often in our genealogy, we skip over our ancestors’ siblings. That’s especially true when it comes to the siblings who didn’t marry. When we do that (or, rather, don’t do that), we could be shutting ourselves off from valuable clues.

I don’t know a lot about my 4th-great-grandmother Mary Darling Young, but I do know her maiden name (Darling) and that she moved to Washington County, Ohio, where she died in 1855.

In the Washington County, Ohio wills is one for Robert Darling, written 12 November 1841 and probated 30 April 1853.1)Robert Darling will, Will Book 1, page 13, Washington County Probate Court, Marietta, Ohio. “Darling” isn’t a very common surname, so when I saw this in Washington County, I had to look at it. It’s a short will, just two paragraphs:

I Robert Darling of Fearing Township, Washington, Ohio, being in good health of body and sound and disposing mind and memory praised be God for the same and being desired to settle my worldly affairs whilst I have strength and capacity so to do, do make and publish this my last Will and testament, hereby revoking and making void all former wills by me at any time, heretofore made and first and principally I commit my Soul into the hands of my Creator who gave it and my Body to the Earth from whence it came and as to such worldly Estate wherewith it hath pleased God to intrust me I dispose of the the same as followeth, Viz:

To my Loving Brother Andrew Darling I give and bequeath One Dollar, and to my Loving Sister Mary Young I give and bequeath One Dollar, and to my Loving Brother Thomas Darling, I give and bequeath all the rest of my property, Either of Goods and Chattels, Lands and tenements and of all kinds of property of whatsoever name or nature and at his death the property to be given to his heirs and I appoint as my Executors William Affleck and Adam Darling, in witness here I have hereunto set my hand and seal this November the twelfth One thousand Eight hundred and forty one.

/s/ Robert Darling

As I work more on the Darling family, this will is going to be a key document. With it, I now know that Mary Darling Young had brothers named Robert (who also lived in Washington County), Andrew, and Thomas. Having the siblings will make it so much easier to identify the correct Mary Darling.

(Of course, this will begs the question of why Robert left $1 each to Andrew and Mary, while Thomas got all the property. One possibility is that Robert had already given Andrew and Mary some property and that the $1 was a token amount so they couldn’t claim they were left out of the will. It’s also possible that Robert liked his brother Thomas the best 😉 )

Always, always, always look around for the siblings.

Robert Darling will, Will Book 1, page 13, Washington County Probate Court, Marietta, Ohio.

Robert Darling will, Will Book 1, page 13, Washington County Probate Court, Marietta, Ohio. (Click to enlarge.)

References   [ + ]

1. Robert Darling will, Will Book 1, page 13, Washington County Probate Court, Marietta, Ohio.

What Would You Like to Read?

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I have a question for you. What type of posts would you like to read more of here on No Story Too Small?

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If you have an idea for a topic you’d like me to tackle, leave a comment or send me an email. I’d love to hear from you!

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My Non-Royal Birth Announcement

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Photo by Drow male. Used under CC license.

Photo by Drow male. Used under CC license.

Recently, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a daughter. (The baby is still unnamed as of this writing. My money is on Elphaba. Then again, I also picked War Story to win the Kentucky Derby…)

The baby’s birth was announced with all of the pomp and circumstance that one might expect with a royal birth.

Though I don’t quite understand the fascination that some people have with the royal family, I’d like it to be known that it isn’t just royals who make public birth announcements.

Here is a photo of my dad’s Texaco station, shortly after I was born:

texaco-birth-announcement

Personally, I think this is a lot cooler than a notice on an easel in front of a palace.

I scanned this from the original slide that my dad took. You know how we as genealogists are supposed to glean all the information we can from a source? Well, this proves that I am younger than color photography :-)

52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Week 17 Recap

Posted in 52 Ancestors Challenge on by .

52ancestors-2015-17It’s hard to believe that 2015 is 33% complete. (Which means that the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge is 33% complete!)

Some of the posts that stood out to me this week included:

My post this week was about my great-uncle (“grand-uncle,” if you prefer) Harold Young and his invisible wheelchair.

Your Turn

Who did you write about this past week? Leave a comment with a link to your post and a little bit about the ancestor. We’d love to read it!

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Upcoming Optional Themes:

  • Week 18 (Apr 30 – May 6) – Where There’s a Will
  • Week 19 )May 7-13) – There’s a Way
  • Week 20 (May 14-20) – Black Sheep
  • Week 21 (May 21-27) – Military
  • Week 22 (May 28 – June 3) – Commencement

The May themes post has some suggestions on how you might think about the themes. Remember, the optional weekly themes are just that — optional. Feel free to use them or not! The point of 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks isn’t to follow the themes. The point is to write more about our ancestors. What you write about is up to you!