52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Weeks 30 and 31 Recap

“Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.” ~John Lennon

2015 has been a year of change, most of it surprising, much of it unwelcome. The older I get, the more I believe the old adage that the only thing constant in life is change. Since there is usually little we can do to stop changes, we are left with basically two choices:

  • Curse the darkness
  • Light a candle

I haven’t had the opportunity to research my own family lately, let alone write about them. I do feel bad about that, especially since I am impossibly behind in my own Challenge. But where changes have taken me away from this facet for awhile, it has given me other things. I have been doing a lot more journaling. I’ve had to focus more on my business, which means spending more time writing for my blog at AmyJohnsonCrow.com.

Some of you have asked how my mom is doing. She has recovered very well from her surgery; we are thankful for that. I don’t want to share too many details, but I will say that she still has quite a journey ahead of her. All of us are trying to adjust to the changes…  awaiting the changes yet to come… and praying…

[EDIT: It isn’t my intent to look for sympathy. Just sharing why things have been quiet over here. That being said, if you want to think some good thoughts for my mom, that would be appreciated :) ]

Who Have You Written About?

This recap covers the last two weeks: Week 30 (Challenging) and Week 31 (Easy). Who did you write about, either with or without the optional themes? Please leave a comment with a link to your post(s) below!

Upcoming Optional Themes

  • Week 32 (August 6-12) – 32
  • Week 33 (August 13-19) – Defective, Dependent, & Delinquent
  • Week 34 (August 20-26) – Non-Population
  • Week 35 (August 27 – September 2) – School Days

The August themes post has some suggestions on how you might approach the weekly themes. Remember — they are optional! The key is to write, not necessarily to follow the theme :)


54 thoughts on “52 Ancestors Challenge 2015: Weeks 30 and 31 Recap

  1. Cathy Meder-Dempsey

    Challenging: The SCHWARTZ-TRIERWEILER Family has been challenging-to-research and so rewarding. I added two generations to this branch of the family while preparing to write the post.

    52 Ancestors: #30 Challenging-To-Research But So Rewarding, The SCHWARTZ-TRIERWEILER Family

    Easy: Come on, what is easy about researching a family named SCHMITT, the German equivalent of SMITH?

    52 Ancestors: #31 SCHMITT-WOLLSCHEID Family Research Made Easy with Cousin Bait

    by Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      That’s awesome, Cathy! So cool to hear about people making progress on their research while putting their posts together!

  2. Schalene Dagutis

    Amy, sounds like you are having a rough time of it. Hope life improves for you and your family and that your business does well.

    #30: Challenging
    I am a member of DAR using my 4X great grandfather Benjamin Jennings. Last year, I learned another 4X great grandfather, Samuel Beard (1750-1814), also served in the Revolutionary War. George Washington even spoke, or should say chastised him! He is not a proven DAR patriot and I would like to honor him by proving my lineage to him and his military service. The linkage breaks down between Samuel and his son, James Harvey Beard.

    James Harvey BEARD (1780-1869)
    Proving James Harvey Beard’s Father

    #31 Easy
    Sometimes you get lucky. An ancestor with a name difficult to misspell, mis-index, or mis-transcribe who lived in the same county his entire life. Oh for more of them!

    William Raiford TUCKER (1898-1991)
    Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy

  3. Cheryl Biermann Hartley


    Thank you for filling us in on your situation.I have been worried about you. I wish you all the best in assimilating your changes and meeting the challenges. I am glad your mother is doing well. I have been trying to assist my mother-in-law with her own challenge – a diagnosis of advanced pancreatic cancer. That being said, pursuing my family research takes my mind off of other things. Here are my posts for weeks 30 and 31:

    If I hadn’t used some intuition, I would have never found the roots of this family in Germany. It was a long, protracted and CHALLENGING search.

    Anton Stephan – “Following Bunches of Hunches” http://wp.me/p4ioO6-fH

    It is EASIER to research someone when a parent has known them well and shared their stories.

    Henry Schatz – “Easy to Know You” http://wp.me/p4ioO6-g4

  4. Vera Marie Badertscher

    Take care, Amy. I guess I must be busy, too, as I would have sworn I had already shared my post #30. But nope–waiting for Fearless Leader.

    I took “challenging” and “easy” as it applied to the people’s lives rather than to my research. If it had been research, they’d be reversed. The one with the “challenging” life was easy to research and the one with the apparently easy life was–and is– a challenge.

    #30 Helen STUCKY (BAIR,KOHLER) faced such a challenge that I have a hard time even wrapping my mind around it.


    #31 Frederick STUCKY, her father, led an outwardly placid life–but this family must have given him sleepless nights. I’m still untangling them.


    Thanks to a sister in law and cousin of my husband (these are his family) I have lots of photos.

  5. Pam Carter

    Amy, Thanks for the update. Best wishes for your mom and prayers for continued improvement. I think your struggles just illustrate what we all go through trying to keep all the balls in the air. It makes me feel less guilty about my own lapses and periods of neglect on my blog. Thanks for all you do for this challenge. It’s really helped me be a better researcher and writer while allowing me to connect with other bloggers and their wonderful family stories.

    Challenging – Not particularly difficult to research, but each discovery seemed to lead to new questions. The challenge of every genealogist is the neverending quest for information.

    COTTON, Guy Morrison http://mymaineancestry.blogspot.com/2015/08/mystery-guy-52-ancestors-30.html

    Easy – This comes from a book about my ancestors that has been a great resource to get me started in my research.

    YATES, Gilbert William http://mymaineancestry.blogspot.com/2015/08/live-long-and-prosper-52-ancestors-31.html

  6. Elizabeth Handler

    Glad to hear everything is as okay as it can be for you and your family. Yes, I like the philosophy of “light a candle.”

    Challenging – I wrote about my longtime brick wall ancestor (whom I’ve written about before): Susan ROOD Chapin (1799-18??) at http://frommainetokentucky.blogspot.com/2015/07/susan-rood-chapin-challenging.html – where was she born and who were her parents? And where did she die?

    Easy (relatively easy anyway, for a third great-grandfather) – Thomas Jefferson GORIN (1808-1883) at http://frommainetokentucky.blogspot.com/2015/08/thomas-j-gorin-52-Ancestors-31.html of Kentucky.

    1. Amy Johnson Crow Post author

      “Relatively” easy? Isn’t everything in genealogy “relative”? Sorry — I couldn’t resist 😉

  7. Celia Lewis

    CHALLENGING – No. 30 – Charlotte BORTLE, NY, 1797-1879 This is the fourth time I’ve written about this ancestor, who married one of my 3-in-a-row Grover BUEL(L) ancestors!

    EASY – No. 31 – Henry Luther RICE, IL to CA, 1857-1934 with a new-to-me photo as well. He’s in my ex-husband’s line, his grandfather. Keeping the kids and cousins happy with this one.

  8. Beth Gatlin

    Thanks for filling us in on what’s been going on, Amy. I was concerned about you. I hope things get better for you and your family.

    #30 – BUISE – “Challenging”: Elizabeth Buise
    Elizabeth was the wife of my 3rd-great-grandfather John Bennet Winters,

    #31 – BORG – “Easy”: Marie Louise Borg
    Marie was my 2nd-great-grandmother.

  9. Claudia Boorman

    I am still unable to find any birth or baptism records for one of my 3-times-great grandfather Henry Proctor RICHARDSON the first. But in spite of this, I am betting that his parents were Henry Richardson and Martha Proctor – seems quite likely, wouldn’t you agree?


    I decided to focus on collaborations and kind deeds as part of this story about another 3-times-great grandfather, James HARRIS, whose daughter Elizabeth married Henry Proctor Richardson II (son of the above). In the process of researching my Harris line a met a new third cousin once removed who graciously shared some of his sources with me, and did some more digging in local record office to learn even more. We were both winners!


    Amy, thanks so much for the update; we understand your need to change your priorities for a time – life does not sound “easy” for you at present. From the sounds of it, your new priorities also involve your family and other aspects of genealogy at least. When the time is right you’ll be able to return to your own research and stories. I am grateful for this 52 ancestor “challenge” that you created – it has SO beneficial and rewarding for me this year. Thank you. We’ll all keep your home fires burning here with our stores:) Take care.

  10. Lori

    Lifting you and yours up. It’s all about family – the blogs can remain idle :)

    I’m adding three posts to this – one for each of the challenges,mans one that came as a direct result of the challenge! So, thanks for that.

    Challenging: http://thebuttermakerandthemidwife.blogspot.com/2015/07/figuring-out-early-life-of-wilhelmine.html

    Result of that post was this discovery:

    And, finally, Easy, a tribute to those who journeyed thru genealogy before me and with me:

  11. robertajestes

    Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family Amy. Sometimes our blogs and things we “have” to do are our saving grace for our sanity:) And if not, and you need a break, we will all understand.

    McNIEL – William McNiel (c1760-1817), Battle of Brandywine Survivor, 52 Ancestors #83


    HARROLD, HARRELL, HERRELL – John Harrold (c1750-1825), Forger?, 52 Ancestors #82


    Both of these are Wilkes County, NC ancestors. These lines then migrated to Claiborne County, TN.

  12. melissawiseheart

    When it comes to the most challenging, a few ancestors fit the bill. I chose to write about an ancestor who only ever showed up in one census and seemed to disappear as mysteriously as he appeared.

    GILLILAND, Leason

    As for easy… This ancestor isn’t the easiest, rather he became easier once I realized the reason for my family’s obsession with always using his middle initial.

    WISEHEART, William H.

  13. Helen Connor

    Thanks to you Amy for all your wonderful posts and insights – this year has been tough for me as well – my mother passing in March and extended hospitalisation in June/July. Thankfully I am back ‘on deck’ whatever that means and hope to be getting back to the 52 ancestors challenge – I do love the challenge – it makes me think about my family – hope that 2015 continues to improve for you – I love the John Lennon quote by the way

  14. C*M*FCindi

    52 Ancestors No. 29: MOYNAHAN: Mary (Moynahan) Moynahan of Corktown, Detroit

    Sometimes genealogical research has you going in circles and sometimes on the second or third time around in the same circle you discover something new.

    Such is the case with my first cousin (4x removed) Mary Moynahan of Essex county who married Mathew J. Moynahan of Ireland.

    When I was researching the beautiful zinc Moynahan headstones at Mt Elliott cemetry, I had no idea I would eventually return to Timothy Moynahan (1813-1902) of Maidstone, Essex county. I also had no idea that this research would take me into Corktown, Detroit and connecting with researcher Paul Szewczyk and learning about 19th century Corktown’s tradition of female home ownership.


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