Names I Love

My favorite names this week come from a family where the children’s first names are Darwin, Galileo, and Waco, all born between 1893 and 1898. I want to know those wacky, learned, non-conformist parents!

What are some surprising names in your family lines?

Bits and pieces

  1. Hurray! My county of research is not a “burned county!” A burned county is one of hundreds (?) across the country where we have lost records over the decades because of various courthouse fires. So, hurray! Gentry County, Missouri, is not a “burned county.” It is, however a “cyclone county.” Cyclone county?  New term. Yes, we lost records because of a windstorm in 1883.  (,_Missouri_Genealogy)


2. To clear up any confusion, Kansas, Oklahoma, is in Delaware County.


Mover? Or Sticker?

Looking at my ancestors I see two groups: the movers and the stickers. The movers are the ones who pull up stakes. They are either pioneers, moving to newly opened lands, or they move to communities already established. They nearly always move for economic reasons—better land, better jobs. Sometimes their moves were tied to military involvement. Sometimes they move because other family has moved to the new location first. The stickers are the ones who stay and become established. They have families and businesses and may become political leaders in an area. They live lives that are entwined with institutions for decades.

Sometimes the movers can become stickers. And vice versa.

Elijah Webb Fuller was a mover in early life. He was born in Virginia, migrated west (and North) to Illinois, and then to northwest Missouri. His life covered half a continent. He started his family with Almariah Chowning in Illinois with the birth of Minerva Jane Fuller. But the rest of their eleven children were born in Gentry County, Missouri, where all grew to adulthood. When Elijah and Allie settled in Gentry County, they settled. Some of the children turned out to be movers and some turned out to be stickers.

I don’t know—yet—why this Fuller family moved to Gentry County, Mo., from Coles County, Illinois. I do know that there were other Fuller families who also migrated. As yet, I do not know the exact connection. Talitha Cumi Fuller, who married John Keller, also made the same move, but she and Elijah do not appear to be siblings. Her father, Henry Fuller, also came from Russell County, Virginia. The connections remain murky at this time, generally for my own lack of investigation, though other researchers may know the ins and outs of these Fullers.

Elijah’s daughter Sarah Mariah Fuller (middle-named after her mother) married William Stam, whose family had also migrated southward but from Wisconsin. This Stam family and several others moved to the new Oklahoma Territory when it was opened, although they were not part of the original “Sooners.” My grandmother, their daughter Clara Ann Stam, was born in 1905. She always said she was “older than Oklahoma,” which attained statehood in 1907. She and her husband migrated along with oil-field jobs in the 1930s, but when my father grew to school age, they became stickers. She lived in their house in Haskell County, Kansas, for more than fifty years.

My father’s paternal grandfather was a mover most of his life. Born in Ohio, raised a family in Iowa, reportedly died but really married a young girl in another part of the state and started a new family, divorced in South Dakota, sold tamales on the streets of St. Joseph, Missouri, moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he branched into the popcorn wagon business, selling popcorn, gum, and peanuts on Main Street until the day he died.

What are you? A mover? Or a sticker? Or a combination?

A Suitcase Full of Pictures

I found a suitcase full of pictures at a consignment store.

“What is inside,” was my first question. It soon became “Who is inside?”

Images: Lost and Found  (Click to watch video.)

I couldn’t wait to meet them.  I couldn’t wait to figure them out and to find out why they were lost.

Four sisters.  Or four cousins?


There was so much. They reminded me of my own family. I had to find out. It was like a big-city high-rise with millions of stories, and I had this suitcase with three generations of stories.

Oh, little child!  Who were you, and who did you grow up to be?

To figure out family groups, I sorted the pictures, which put them in chronological order. Black and whites. Color. Polaroids. Double-prints. And so many more.

People with Names

A breakthrough! The oldest picture I found had names.  Who was Great-grandmother Woods? Was Bryan Woods the baby of the family? Did the suitcase belong to Susie?


So many babies … over so many decades. They go to school. They learn to drive. They honor their elders, and they love their families.

Four cousins. Or were they sisters?

It soon became apparent that the genealogical detective work would be easy but time-consuming. Nevertheless, I started looking at names on the backs of photos. LaVirga Shipman Woods’ name came up over and over again.

Everyone Loves Pictures

Everyone loves old family pictures. Everyone wants to be in “Grandma’s Brag Book.”


But there are so many more places to find our families:

  • Letters
  • Diaries
  • Bibles
  • Military papers
  • Greeting cards

We love … and yet we let go ..

Someone has said goodbye to this family before.

“It’s been so nice knowing you. I hate to see you go. But as you must, my best wishes for your happiness in your new home go with you.”

Where is your family history?

Is your family history in your home or in a suitcase in a consignment store?

Diaries from the 1880s, bought on eBay. Letters, photos, family narratives–someone abandoned them.  Old Bibles, vintage pictures, old manuscripts. The notebook was bought for a dollar.

I had to wonder about my family, and I’ll bet you wonder about yours.

Where are my pictures?

Where is my family history?  Will it be preserved?

I found a family in a suitcase at a store.


Video produced by Lisa Reed, under the academic direction of Shannon Carter, Ph.D.

(c) 2016, Lisa Reed




Family history is a picnic!

Life is a picnic and certainly was for the Proper and Martin families at the turn of the 19th Century in Nez Perce County, Idaho.  The roundish woman with a top-knot of hair, at the center of the photograph, is my great-grandmother May Emily Proper Reed Martin.

More in months to come …