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…

The Cliffords, Part 2: Family Scandal

This is a continuation of my account on the Clifford family. For more information, see Part 1. In 1878, Sophia Clifford sold the land that she and Lewis had bought in Iowa. Apparently her sons (Fred was 20 and Charles was 15) wanted to seek more opportunities out west rather than stay and work the…

Can Census Records be Wrong?

Featured Image: Taking the Census. Illustration in Harper’s Weekly, 1870. Found in Library of Congress Digital Collection. A few decades ago, it was very difficult to find one’s ancestor in a census record. You had to go to an archive or library and really know what you were looking for to find the record. Today,…

Why You Should Share Your Family History Online

Martha Bryan was the one ancestor my grandmother could never find. Her great-grandmother on her direct maternal line, and she only knew her married name. After my grandmother passed away and I caught the family history bug at around twelve years old, I was determined to break down the brick walls she had left behind.…

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…