52 Ancestors: Cemetery


Every Memorial Day weekend I would make a trip with my paternal Grandma to the cemetery where my grandpa and her parents were buried. We would leave flowers (always pansies for my great-grandma Myrtle). I have been there so many times I know exactly where the cemetery is, and where they are buried. I could probably find the cemetery where my maternal grandparents are buried in Washington, and I know they are in the mausoleum.

Cemetery visits were always common for our family when on vacation, so when my mom and I went to San Diego three years ago we spent a few hours with my mom’s cousin visiting cemetery’s. We had visited a couple of the sites when I was a kid, but the pictures I had were dark and I had a hard time reading the information on the gravestones.

A better shot of my great-great-grandparents headstone in Mount Hope Cemetery, my main cemetery goal when visiting San Diego. (And I do have one sans flowers, since they block Herman’s month of death.)

On our trip we did some genealogy, so I had a notepad and a file to make notes and keep everything together. There was only one cemetery where I had to look up a location, because my mom’s cousin was able to lead us to the rest.

I am a visual person, so not only did I take direct shots of the headstones, but I also took photos of identifying information, like a tree or building nearby, so I would have a reference point.

A larger monument in the background of my great-grandparents gravesite.
The headstone of my great-grandparents, buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego.

Sometimes the gravesites didn’t have a notable landmark nearby, but I took distance shots. One such instance was at the grave of my great-grandma’s sister, at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego. The cemetery was split, so only one side overlooked the ocean, so I got that in the background.

The gravesite of Pauline Borchert Coombs, which overlooks the Pacific.

Visiting cemeteries may not be fun for everyone, but they can be a wealth of information!

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,



52 Ancestors: Storms


Many of the ancestors on my tree led remarkable lives, but only one had a tragic death. He managed to cross the country in a wagon train, mine for gold, and settle in a small town, only to die a sudden death in a landslide.

My 4x great-grandfather John Thrush was born in 1819 in Dauphin, Pennsylvania.

John Thrush 1820-1890
John Thrush

On 11 May 1840, he married Elizabeth Trimble in Clark, Missouri. They would live in Iowa for a while, where my 3x great grandmother Sarah was born in 1844.

thrush trimble marriage
John Thrush and Elizabeth Trimble’s marriage record.

According to information found on Find A Grave, the family traveled by to California in 1854, in search for gold. Their daughter Elizabeth was born in California in 1855.

The Early Oregonian Index states the family arrived in Oregon in 1856, three years before statehood. On the 1860, the family lived in Canyonville, south of Roseburg.

thrush 1860 canyonville
1860 United States Federal Census in Douglas County, Oregon.

They settled in Randolph by 1870, a town along the southern Oregon coast, located about seven miles north of modern-day Bandon.

thrush 1870 census
1870 United States Federal Census in the county of Coos, Oregon, showing the movement of the Thrush family via places of birth.

On  1 February 1890, a landslide occurred in the town of Randolph. The book Pioneer History of Coos and Curry Counties, Or: Heroic Deeds and Thrilling Adventures of the Early Settlers, by Orvil Dodge (published in 1898) recounted the event. According to this history, at three o’clock in the afternoon a landslide occurred, crushing the Thrush house and carrying it into the town. John Thrush and his granddaughter Mary Russell were killed. He is buried in the Hultin Thrush Cemetery on the former Thrush property.

John Thrush

Randolph now considered a ghost town, with no remaining structures. The post office closed in 1893. According to my research, the cemetery still remains, but takes some effort to get to and the graves are unmarked, an unremarkable resting spot for a remarkable man.

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,





52 Ancestors: Taxes


Quite a bit of my mom’s family tree has been very taxing for me. She knew the names of her grandparents, but after that the information was pretty limited. She is only a second-generation American, and it can be difficult finding information in other countries.

For the longest time (I am talking years), I was stuck on Nathan Dayton Stoughton, my 3x great-grandfather. I had found him on some Canadian censuses, but never U.S. ones.

He was born around 1800 in Herkimer, New York, but at some point before 1834 moved to Canada. He had seven children, including my great-great-grandma Margaret.

A few weeks ago I was poking around on Ancestry and checking out some DNA matches, when I saw a Stoughton name. This person has a Stoughton ancestor who was born around the same time and in the same place as mine, and upon a little research, I discovered they were siblings! This unlocked a whole new branch of my tree, and I finally had a name for Nathan’s father: William.

One of the ways I checked to see if William Stoughton was in the area and of the right age was to check both the census and tax records. For the 1800 and 1810 censuses, only the head of household was listed, and there is a William Stoughton in Herkimer, New York. The census lists one white male under the age of 10, which presumably would have been Nathan.

1800 census
1800 United States Federal Census.

The New York Tax Assessment Rolls from 1799 and 1800 also list William Stoughton living in Herkimer. He is listed as owning a home and lot.

tax 1800
1800 New York Tax Assessment Rolls of Real Estate and Personal Taxes.

He is also listed on the same tax roll in 1804.

On the 1810 census, William Stoughton is still listed in the area, now with one white male aged 10 to 16, and two under the age of 10. I assume that since 10 years had passed, Nathan would now be 10 or 11.

1810 census
1810 United States Federal Census.

Uncovering this line has been important to me. Having the name Stoughton led to my relatives (incorrectly) assuming direct lineage from William Stoughton, judge for the Salem Witch Trials. This had been repeated over and over, but since he had no children, a direct line is impossible.

Judge William Stoughton. Not my direct ancestor.

My Stoughton ancestors moved to Canada. William died in 1845 in Picton, Ontario, and Nathan died in 1886 in Arnprior, Ontario. It would be Nathan’s grandson William McCallum who would immigrate to the United States.

That’s all I have for this week’s prompt!

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,


52 Ancestors: The Old Homestead


The closest thing to an Old Homestead is my maternal grandparent’s house. My grandpa died when I was 4, and my grandma when I was 9, but yet I remember many things about their house. My strongest memories involve the kitchen and the large yard.

William and Pauline McCallum lived in the country, about 30 minutes from our house, in the house my mom grew up in.

The McCallum house in the snow.

I remember their house being green with white trim. Although they had a front door, we always entered through the shop alongside the garage. We spent a lot of time outside in the summer.

Green with a white trim and a gravel driveway.

They had a sprawling yard with a large garden and a barn.

The barn.

I would pick dandelions in the yard and present them to my grandma, who would always place them in a vase in the kitchen window.

My grandma by her kitchen sink. The window above it looked out to the front yard.

They had a large garden as well, growing all sorts of things.

My grandpa and me. I wish the cabbages in my yard looking like that!
My grandparents in their garden, 1976.
Myself, Mom, sister, and Grandma (holding my brother), 1985.

As she got older, my grandma became a hoarder. She had stacks and stacks of newspapers in her living room, so that room was always off limits. After she died, we spent weekends there for months, and as stuff was removed, I was able to see the details I missed. I especially remember the wooden beams across the living room (and watching “Captain Planet” on the old tv in the room on Saturday mornings.)

My mom practicing piano under the wood beams.

The house and property was sold as part of the estate, and now it is a part of a housing development. In the last couple years I went by for the first time since it was sold, and was shocked to see the small yard that was left.

Thank you for reading! This post has inspired me to better categorize my photos and scan them! I know there are so many more photos I would love to preserve.

If you are interested, you can find the rest of my 52 Ancestors posts my clicking the tag at the top of the post.

Until next time,


52 Ancestors: Maiden Aunt


This was another tough one for me. I debated telling one family story, but instead decided to take this prompt in a different way. Let me tell you a little about my maternal grandpa’s aunt, Minnie Moore.

When I say little, I mean it. We know very little about her. However, she was always a presence in our home. A portrait of her hung in the stairwell of our home, so every time you went down the stairs she greeted you. Obviously she was important to my great-grandma; she had this portrait of her and passed it down.

Portrait of Minnie Moore.

Minnie was born 15 November 1876 in Perth, Ontario, Canada, the second daughter of Alexander and Catherine Moore. She was two years younger than my great-grandma Etta. In 1882, their brother Lawrence joined the family, and in 1884 their brother James was born, but died shortly after. The next month, Catherine died.

Alexander remarried two years later, and they had eight more children.

Minnie’s trail, however, has gone cold. Last week I found her on Find A Grave, buried in the same town she was born. She died in 1914.

The glass on the frame broke, and the portrait has sustained a little damage, but is still in good condition.

I wish I knew more about her. I do not know if she was maiden or married, or anything about her life. But I know of her face, thanks to the portrait. I will continue to search for more records on her, in order to tell her story.

You can find all my 52 Ancestors post through the tag above.

As always, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also email me: familyhistoryfood [at] gmail.com.

I also have a vintage site: familyhistoryfood.etsy.com.

Until next time,