Genealogy and names

I work everyday on my genealogy. I belong to and have had my DNA tested with the results being I am mostly Great Britain and Ireland with some dribs and drabs of a few others mingled in.

I love my genealogy work.  You are the detective tracking down where your ancestors lived, worked, who they married, and how many children they had.  In between the lines you are wondering why they moved west, how successful were they, how did they feed and clothe SO MANY children (not uncommon to have 12 children back then).  I came across one of my ancestors who had 3 SETS of twins in their family, with additional children sprinkled among them.  Twins seem to be a common thread I see in certain of my family lines.

Names are also fascinating. A Mother’s maiden name is, in most cases, given to one of her children, either first name or middle name, so an elusive maiden name can often be found among the children. A beloved relative’s name will be given to a child.  Nicknames are sometimes puzzling and often cause confusion because the actual first name gets totally lost through the years and requires backtracking to find a birth certificate or marriage certificate, now usually found online. So,  Mary can be Molly or Mollie or Polly, for whatever reason it varies, I have no clue. Francis can be Fannie, Sarah is Sallie, Nancy is Nannie, Martha is Mattie, Elizabeth is Eliza, Dorothy is Dolly, and so on.  Staying on the right path is often challenging.  And, often, the census takers were not precise in their notes and first names and LAST names can often be misspelled, leading you off the path. I also came across a curious family who had fun with their last name Snow.   Some examples, and these are first, middle and last names: Frost And Snow, Ice And Snow, Frostin Snow. These names carried down through the families.

It is history, seeing what wars the men fought in. Many did not return, leaving the wives with a covey of children to take care of by themselves.  And so they often remarry very quickly. Also, it finally dawned on me why I was seeing young women marrying much older men at one point in time.  Because the Civil War had killed the young men, they had no one living near them to marry.  Their choices were limited before the war, living in sparsley populated rural areas, and so that was their lot after the war.

Discovering famous ancestors is always fun.  I have several links to famous people.  Daniel Boone, Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower are all related.  Lincoln and Boone are intertwined and my ancestors on both my mother’s and father’s side,  lived in their “neck of the woods” (Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana) and so those family members met and married. I have Daniel Boone brothers in BOTH my mother’s paternal side and my father’s maternal side.

You discover when they arrived in America and feel the excitement I am sure they felt.  After fleeing some particular hardships, several weeks sailing on a ship, to arrive in America and start a new life must have been overwhelming.  In my case, they arrived from England or Ireland.  Sometimes it was just a grown son or two from a family, leaving the others behind. Their challenge was finding a place to settle, claiming some land, building a small home by hand and starting to grow food to feed a growing family.

Trying to imagine their every day lives and how they interacted with others is a fascinating thought.  I know that neighbors were not close by, many did not get far in school probably because they had no schools nearby, that daily life was hardscrabble and rote, and that Mother Nature could be very mean.

It is also painful to see the disasters that befall them, usually in the way of deadly illness.  One entire family, I think it was mother and father and 5 children, were all dead within a couple years. It is not uncommon to see a majority of  family wiped out from illness, sometimes leaving only a mother or a father, who must persevere alone.  What were they thinking?  What emotional support did they have?   Tuberculosis was common to see, as well as illness from contaminated water (cholera), and milk fever (cow’s eat deadly plants that get in their system and the people consuming the milk are poisoned).  I see lots of heart disease, killing people at an early age (40-50).

The Native Indians could be helpful or harmful. We know of the Daniel Boone stories and his Indian battles.  In fact, his brother Edward “Neddie” Boone is my 7th great grandfather and was killed by Indians while hunting with Daniel, leaving a wife and six children. One of those children, Charity, is my direct line on my mother’s paternal side.

I also remember my paternal grandmother telling of when she was little, after her father claimed land in the Oklahoma Land Run and they were living in a sod house for a while, that Indians came to their door. They were expected to give food to the Indians as a sign of friendship.

I discover new ancestors every day and have a huge bank of living ancestors now that keeps growing as I find new family links.  We communicate with each other from across the country and try to work out the fine details of our families and our connections to each other.  I am building a great wealth of family history for my children.

A Culture of Models — Life of an Architect

Architectural models … there’s not a person walking the planet who doesn’t love them. My office isn’t particularly large, either in terms of employees (7) or square footage (1,677 sf), but we currently have 17 physical models of projects lying around. Despite their protests, I am not considering any of my employees as “architectural models”. At […]

via A Culture of Models — Life of an Architect

Manic Mondays: 5 Minute Fixes

For anyone needing a simple update to ugly OUTLETS, from the “smoker brown” or ivory, to crisp white, here is a great product for any DIY’er.

The Bachelorette Pad Flip

You’re busy. I’m busy. We are all busy!

In the spirit of that, I thought a new series would help us keep up with “joys” of home ownership. We tend to let certain things slide and put off because “I’ll get to it one day.” As a Realtor, I see regularly these little things add up to numerous to-do items! So each Monday, I’ll be highlighting several 5 minute fixes that even on a manic Monday (or Thursday…), we can all check off an item on the to do list!

For this week’s 5 minute fix, you may have seen it around the blog before. Because honestly it’s worth sharing and resharing. Most people I know don’t even know it exists!

To state what I’ve stated 391 times before, I don’t touch electrical in my flips. For safety and liability reasons, I always hire an electrician. And every single…

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Old House Love

My late husband was a residential architect, and we both loved all things “houses”. We designed and built two of our own.  We would have loved to own a fixer upper older house, but we didn’t have a lot of time or money to invest in that process so we never did, but value the heritage of older homes.

We did find a beautiful historic home for sale before we built this last house that I was absolutely in love with.  These are the photos in the listing. Hard to get a true feel for it, but it definitely was not “tiny”.  Click on the photo to start the slideshow. Slide 13-18 is showing upstairs area. Slide 19 is the 3rd floor attic gameroom.

A grand two story (actually three, with remodeled attic gameroom), with a porte cochere, old detached carriage house that was turned into an apartment (needed lots of reno), pool, deck.  But once again, it would have required more time than we could invest so we chose not to buy.  Although we were wanting something with acreage, this corner lot was nice and large, but not country.   Amazingly, it had a smallish kitchen, which nowadays is hard to consider. There was really no way to expand it without some major wall moving, and usually historic homes require all kinds of permissions to do anything to them, even inside. In Dallas a new historic homeowner wanted to add a couple closets to bedrooms and they were denied because it would alter the interior footprint.

The previous owners had kept this house updated, and the upstairs bedrooms were large and spacious off of a central hall and the baths were not “needy” in terms of updating.  It was not a Craftsman style that we are partial to, but it had lots going for it that outweighed that fact. But, it was also HUGE and much more than we needed.

There is a website called and they are a fun to look through and see what’s out there for sale.  Some are a real steal.  They also have a newsletter that sends out weekly picks of houses on the market.

The closest we have gotten to any old house reno, is rescuing items from houses being reno’d. We’ve gotten clawfoot tubs, high backed porcelain sink, old doorknob sets, bookcases with leaded glass doors, and a light fixture or two.  We used some in our new house, like the tub in the master bathroom, and sink in the laundry/mudroom, here. By the way, I am in love with the Blue Pearl granite I chose for the laundry room.

I also belong to a couple of “flippers” blogs and boy do they have their work cut out for them.  Those will hit you with a huge dose of reality if you are thinking of renovating, anything.  They are also under a timeline and numbers crunch which makes it doubly stressful.  It is fun to see the befores and afters.  This is one flipper blog I really like.

Some old houses are worth rescuing, others just can’t, and that’s ok. Even rescuing something from an old house is better than nothing.

(I will also add, after having someone sick in the house who can’t do stairs, it makes you rethink having stairs at all in any house, ever)


London’s Big Ben Is About to Shut Down for Years — TIME

London’s iconic Big Ben, the bell inside a clock tower by the Houses of Parliament, will fall silent next Monday for the next four years, due to conservation work. The Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Great Clock and Big Ben (also known as the Great Bell), is currently undergoing renovation work. As this work takes…

via London’s Big Ben Is About to Shut Down for Years — TIME