Healing Through Stories

I have ancestors on both sides of my family tree who fought against each other in the American Civil War. My Dad’s family was from the South, my mom’s family was from the North. My ancestors fought against each other in this gruesome, brutal war. Stories about wars often paint one side as heroes and…

When Your Family History Connects with History

First flight, 120 feet in 12 seconds, 10:35 a.m.; Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. Source: Library of Congress On this day in 1903, the Wright brothers successfully flew an airplane for the first time in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The following year, after repairing their airplane, they conducted flight tests in Huffman Prairie, just outside their…

Caroline Gile’s Scrapbook

This is my great-great grandmother, Caroline Jane Webber Gile, as a new mother with her first child, as an old widow with her grandson, and a scrapbook with poems and jokes she collected from newspapers, no doubt to help her smile and carry on in her widowhood and old age. She experienced much tragedy in…

Happy Mothers’ Day

The mother in this picture is my grandmother, Margaret (DeWitt) Gile. The tiny baby is my mother. Being a mother now myself I realize how difficult it really is. I only have one kid right now and she is so demanding I can’t even imagine how hard it is raising five like my grandmother did,…

Michigan Research: Detroit Existed in 1784

Featured image: The City of Detroit (from Canada Shore), 1872, by A. C. Warren. Wikimedia Commons. I have been trying to do more┬áresearch in the Midwestern United States, to build up hours of experience so I can take the ICAPGen accreditation test. One of the Midwestern states I have had very little experience with is…

Little Jonnie Lathrop, or, Life and Death on the Prairie

This is my great-great-grandmother, Caroline Jane (Webber) Gile. I love this picture. Usually in pictures this old the people don’t really smile, and old photos of babies usually have them by themselves or in mother’s lap, and half the time baby is blurred out because she is moving too much for the camera to focus.…

The Handwritten Past

My Grandpa lives in a little brick house in north-central Kansas in a small town with a population of about 300. Just outside of town is the land where his grandfather built a homestead when he first moved to Kansas from Ohio. Grandpa has driven us grandkids around on those dirt roads in Kansas and…