Merrill’s Barn Dance

Merrill’s Barn Dance

When I asked my grandfather how his parents met, he told me it was at a barn dance--but he couldn't remember where or when or how or why. I've always kept that barn dance in the back of my mind; I know my parents met at my dad's twenty-first birthday party, my dad's parents were [...]

Laona Cemetery

Laona Cemetery

This week's 52 Ancestors prompt is "At the Cemetery," and I've been at a loss for ideas. I considered writing about the most interesting tombstone in my family tree--my great-great-grandparents have a life-sized statue of the Virgin Mary and hidden photos of themselves--but I've shared that story here before. All of my local cemeteries have [...]

Another Brick Wall Bites the Dust

Another Brick Wall Bites the Dust

I've been searching for clues into my great-great-grandfather's past since I began researching my genealogy seven years ago. According to my grandfather, John Peterson was born in Sweden, and he married an American woman, Celestia Merrill, around the turn-of-the-century. Gramps and his parents lived with John and Celestia when they were first starting out as [...]

Of Unusual & Heavenly Names

Of Unusual & Heavenly Names

Celestia is of Latin origin, meaning "heavenly," and evokes all things ethereal and otherworldly. It's a diminutive form of Celeste and, more notably, "celestial," the latter of which means "positioned in or relating to the sky or outer space," "belonging or relating to heaven" and "supremely good." My great-great-grandmother was a Celestia; she was born [...]

Finding Lodie & Don

Finding Lodie & Don

I am always inspired by the lost-and-found-photo stories in the genealogy community, when a simple upload to Family Search or Facebook connects a photo found in an antique store or yard sale to the subject's present-day descendants. I love thinking about how many times the photo may have changed hands over the years before coming [...]