Family Almanac

I’ve decided to jump in late to Amy Crow Johnson’s 52 Ancestors in 52 weeks challenge. So, hopefully, I’ll be featuring 52 ancestors—blogging research problems, stories, photos, or whatever else I can think of for 52 ancestors. And ideally, I will do this in addition to my “Not Quite Wordless Wednesday” posts… Wish me luck! The real goal is to seriously look at my research and write this year.

I’ve mentioned my Second Great Grandfather Sam Trotter here a number of times but it’s always been just mentions because he’s one of those elusive characters in my family tree. What I know is sketchy. His son, Harrison, claimed Sam and Josephine Johnson were his parents in his Social Security Application. And I was able to find a marriage record for Sam and Josephine, not in Bradley County, Arkansas where I expected to find them, but in neighboring Ashley County on 30 Dec 1880. Family stories, obituaries, and later census records make it look like my Harrison was the last of 6 children born to the couple in 1890—all conveniently between censuses. I have also found Sam listed as a witness in notices regarding Levi Hampton’s Homestead Application in 1890 and 1891

Then things get interesting. I haven’t found anything related to Josephine’s death but Sam is credited with two more children with Maggie Goudlock, Sarah in 1896 and Richard in 1898. And Sam married Etta Stanfield Thompson in September of 1898 and according to family stories they had one child, Cora, in Oct 1901. However, Etta, is listed as a widow in the 1900 Census with four Trotter stepchildren (Henry, Susan, Pearl, and Belle) and two children with the last name Thompson including a Cora born in 1899. I have no idea what happened to Sam but Etta married Ezekiel Hemphill in 1902, making me think that Sam probably did die prior to 1900.

Going backwards Sam is probably the son of Eliza Jane who later married James Newton. Their 1880 household included a 16 year old Sam listed as James’ stepson along with a brother Matt. But he is not listed in 1870–only Matt and his older siblings Rial, Jane are enumerated

Trotter CoggleAll of this is a roundabout (and long-winded) way of saying Sam is the first of my 52 Ancestors because he’s at the top of my research list this year.  I want to know more about the Trotter line and I’m going to follow up every lead I can think of to track down more information on them.

So far the top two items on my to do list are 1. Wheedling my dad into a Y-DNA test… (Check! Now awaiting results.) and 2. Trying to figure out of if there are other records I’m missing. For the latter, I’ve been brainstorming possibilities through a technique suggested by Thomas MacEntee using and it has helped me get an idea visually of what I have checked and what I haven’t. Next up tracking down records.

I’ll update you all as I find out more. Thinking positive!

Happy hunting,


Trotter SistersI have two aunts who are fabulous and have been great in helping me in my genealogy research. This is a photo of both of them from their childhood in Detroit. And one of them (the young lady on the left) celebrated a birthday this week!

Happy Birthday, Dear Aunt! I still fully intend on coming to talk to you about pictures sometime soon!


Rebecca Huntingon PorterToday is the 177th Anniversary of my 4th Great Grandmother’s birth. Rebecca Huntington was born in Vermont and orphaned at a young age. She was brought to Michigan as a child. She married Seth Porter, Jr. on October 4th in 1852. The couple had at least seven children including my 3rd Great Grandfather, George Erwin Porter.

Grandpa Harold Bailey, 1982

Just a quick remembrance…

Grandpa Bailey (my Step Great-Grandfather, Harold Bailey) would have turned 107 this week.

The photo is from my father’s collection taken at one of the Bailey/Johnson Christmas gatherings—probably in 1982.

Happy Hunting!


A housekeeping note: I don’t manage to get in a post for everyone’s birthday and not everyone wants me too. But I do try… life just happens to interfere… often. That said… 

Johnson BrothersOne of these two is celebrating a birthday this month. This is not a good picture, but it makes me laugh—Grandpa in his sombrero on the phone and Uncle paying no attention. This was taken at Uncle’s house—decades before my Gran redecorated it—in Rockford, Michigan.

Happy hunting,


First Library JobI’m running a little behind in my planned posts but this Family Almanac post was inspired by the comments of WMGS’s featured speaker Thomas McEntee this past weekend. He rightly pointed out that family history researchers often forget to preserve their own story in the hunt to find the out about their ancestors.

So, this week’s post marks a milestone for me… This week marks the 11th anniversary of starting my first job as a public librarian.  I started my career at the Krause Memorial Library in Rockford, Michigan which was the perfect place for me at the time both for my genealogy research and my development as a librarian.

The photo is probably from that Halloween when I decided to dress up as a hockey fan for the holiday.

Happy hunting!


Robert Shea at the MichiganState Sanatorium for Tuberculosis, Howell, Michigan c.1919It’s the 95th Anniversary of the day my Great Grandfather Robert James Shea entered the Michigan State Sanatorium for Tuberculosis upon the completion of quarters by the War Preparedness Board of Michigan for rejected or discharged tuberculosis soldiers. In the picture he is the second from the left with a smile.

For people seeking more information about the Michigan State Sanatorium —the Archives of Michigan and Howell Carnegie Library are two fabulous resources. Additionally, many of the Biennial Reports of the Board of Trustees of the Michigan State Sanatorium are available full text in Google Books.

Happy hunting!


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