Celebrating 2017 at Ancestors in Aprons

First Things First

THANK YOU! My mother and father thank you. My grandparents and great grandparents to the 14th X thank you.

I am so grateful to the ever-increasing number of readers who find Ancestors in Aprons.

Some of those readers turn out to be relatives. I won’t list them all here, but hardly a week goes by that I don’t get a contact from someone who is related. I love the sharing.

And I must thank the wonderful folks at the Facebook Group, Killbuck Gang. They answer questions about our old home town, share photographs, and frequently come and read posts here,

Another Facebook Group provides encouragement and sharing with other people doing the same thing–research and writing. That is the great group of people at Genealogy Bloggers.

Thanks to every library or organization that has digitized records, newspapers, and books.

Thanks to my great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and various cousins for being pack rats and story tellers.  You’ve given me a great treasure to work with (even though sometimes it may seem like a curse).

Most of all, though, thanks to the faithful readers.  Thanks for commenting, thanks for sharing links to posts, thanks for correcting my errors (whether typo or fact).  This blog is for you.

Taking Stock

What I Said Last Year in January

Last year, I warned that I would be concentrating on research and that would mean fewer posts. Indeed, the number of posts in 2017 came to just slightly more than one a week–60 in total. Compare that to 2016 with 86 posts. Also, food posts continue to beat out ancestor stories, but in 2017, I did fewer food posts, and still drew more readers.

If you doubt the value of older posts, consider that in June 2017, I posted nothing-zip-zilch. And yet June 7th was the best day ever for drawing readers! Because Ancestors now has four and a half years worth of posts, overall content continues to grow, and slowly, slowly, more people discover the stories and recipes.

I also started the “Slice of My Life” series in 2016, which has slipped in importance this year, as I shared so many family letters, heirlooms and new research.

Last year I mentioned playing with the Ancestry.com app, We’re Related.  I found I could use it to jump start research on a line, but all together it is not very accurate.  For the time being, my plate is full, so I am not looking at that app these days.

Your Favorites Last Year

Former food posts on food, particularly Perfect Pie Crust, Baked Beans with Molasses, Corn Pone, Corn Meal and Hominy,  American Fruit Desserts, Raisin Pie, and Apples in Nightgowns continue to make the top twenty.  But in 2017, the only food post that shows up was about my Grandma Vera Anderson’s lemon pie.

Other older posts that attracted your attention were the all-time favorite, my sister-in-law’s post on the Dalton Dariette, owned by my husband’s uncle and the story of Hepzibah Death.

The 2017 Top Ten

  1. Scandal Comes to Killbuck Bank (December) I pieced together the story of an ebezzelment from my Grandmother’s December 1943 letter to my mother and newspaper articles from the Coshocton (Ohio) Tribune. I suspect people were attracted to the word “scandal”, but I also shared it with a group on Facebook of people from the small town of Killbuck, Ohio.
  2. This Old House  (October) When I discovered a rare photo of the home of my great-great grandmother, I combined it with other family houses for a photo essay on where ancestors lived. Again, I believe the Facebook group of Killbuck people may have pushed this post to the top.
  3. Dreams Crushed when Mame Kaser Died This sad story revealed a part of my father’s history as a young man. (July)
  4. Who Is This Man?  I discovered a picture of my grandfather as a young man.   (October)
  5. Great Grandma Baked Cakes  A delightful slice-of-life letter from my Grandmother Hattie Morgan to her daughter, Maude gave me new insights into her life. (November)
  6. Which Lemon Pie? In a rare food post, I compared a recipe in my grandmother’s handwriting with another lemon pie and asked people to choose their favorite.(February)
  7. Bless the Census, Curse the Census Taker.  This post aims at fellow researchers as I give an example of unraveling the errors made by a census taker to get the true story.
  8. The Doctor’s Daughter and the Medicine Show  A very precious letter from my grandmother as a young girl to her grandmother, reveals traits that stayed with her all her life.  This may be my favorite heirloom letter. (October)
  9. Martha Bent, American Born  When I wrote about my seventh great-grandmother, Martha Bent, I learned that her family had many fascinating stories, so I spent several weeks researching and writing about her siblings and others. (March)
  10. John Bent, Sr., Father of the American Bents (April)  My 8th treat grandfather, and a founder of Sudbury. Much of the research on John Bent in Sudbury came  from the wonderful book, Puritan Village by Sumner Chilton Powell.

The Positivity

I’m also going to snitch a few of the prompts from Geniaus blog in the “Accentuate the Positive” list.

Elusive Ancestor I Found

Milton Kaser, my father’s brother who died at 16. When I found a letter from Milton, just months before he died, it revealed a lively, ornery teenager.

Other elusive ancestors–all on my father’s side–began to take shape when I spent days at the Family History Center at a nearby LDS church and poured over microfilms of church records from Pennsylvania in the 1700s.

Most Helpful Newspaper Article

I enjoy reading the personals in the Coshocton Tribune, because it tells me about the lives of my Holmes County, Ohio ancestors.  My big find this year turned out to be a date. I had a picture of a family gathering during World War II, and a cousin had identified a date, but the newspaper wrote about the party and solidified the actual date.

I also found in a stash of papers saved by my great-grandmother, a newspaper from the late 1877 that includes an ad for my great-grandfather W. C. Stout’s medical practice. Limited office hours because he spent most of his time making house calls.

Dr. William Stout ad

Holmes County Republican 1877 Doc Stout Ad front page croopped

I Found an Important Record

I am still scratching my head over this one.  While researching the Bents, I dsicovered a foonote in a town history that helped. But the most unexpected summary of a trial that involved family members turned up in a book of passenger lists!  Bless those footnotes.

Newly Found Family Members

If I take this to mean current family members, many, many people have contacted me through emails or Ancestry.com messages this year to share information or ask questions about mutual ancestors.

The Stone Cousins

Mary, Frank and Harriet /Hattie Stone, from collection of pearson 1295 on Ancestors.com

If I take this to mean ancestors, my most interesting find has to be the discovery of information about the Stone sisters from Guernsey County.  They had signed my Great Aunt’s autograph book, but I knew next to nothing about them.

I Got Surprises

We moved our home in August, and I am still finding heirlooms, letters and pictures that I had forgotten or never seen.  The most exciting discovery has to be a photograph of the Switzerland home of my husband’s great-grandparents. I knew it existed, but I had misplaced it and given up finding it.

Second most exciting –the many family letters that will keep me scanning, transcribing and posting on Ancestors in Aprons for the foreseeable future.  These include letters from World War II soldiers, my grandmother, my great-grandmother, my great-uncle.  Those last two are the ONLY things I have in their hand writing.

I quickly shut one box, because I would have been sifting through for weeks.  So I have many more surprises waiting.

One Terrific Find

Autograph books

Vera’s large and Maude’s smaller autograph books

Of all the heirlooms that I have dealt with during our downsizing, the most precious to me may be the autograph books of my Grandmother and her sister.


I promise to dig up and test out and share more family or vintage recipes next year.

I will continue to try to sort out my father’s ancestors, who continue to be elusive.

I will try to stick more closely to my pedigree list and save the “peripherals” for later. (Lots of luck with that one! I never can resist a good story.)

On my wish list –a trip to Columbus, Ohio to the Ohio History Center, and to Holmes County,Ohio to look for more records there.

But number one BIG DEAL in 2018 involves….nah, I am saving that for my first post in this year’s #52Ancestors series.  Stay tuned.  I will share that project in a couple of days.

Keep those comments coming!


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