New Friday Format!

I have begun a new format for my Friday postings that I think everyone will enjoy.  Each week I will be discussing someone related to the family.  It may be a direct ancestor, a many times removed cousin, or a distant aunt or uncle.  I am looking forward to this format because it will give me an opportunity to share the life and times of some of our very interesting kinfolks!  Please click on the Meet Your Kin” on the page bar above (it kind of gets lost in the artwork above).

The Life and Times of Gabriel Whelden

Today’s post is the story of an ancestor from long ago.  Gabriel Whelden was born about 1583!  It is not often that we get to look at the life of an ancestor who lived over 400 years ago.   Why the picture of a tree?  Of course there was no photography in the 1600s so this is an image of the general area where he lived before immigrating to Plymouth Colony.  This is a tree in Sherwood Forest thought to be 800 to 1000 years old.  Yes, Gabriel lived within the area encompassed by the forest made famous by the stories of Robin Hood.  I hope you enjoy what has taken me quite a few months to research and complete.  The document is a pptx file because the images look so much better in PowerPoint than as a PDF.  Please choose from the blogroll on the right “Whelden Family Part 1”

Note: Image source –By Nilfanion – Wikimedia UK, CC BY-SA 4.0,


F. E. Fortenberry & Sons, Inc

I have finally finished a story I have been wanting to preserve for future generations of our family – the history of an amazing company founded by a father and six sons.  This story is dedicated to the seven of them.  Cousins – I have found some surprising discoveries along the way I think you will enjoy.  Yes, I know that at 74 pages, this article is long; but I wanted to make it as complete as possible as it could not possibly be written by the next generation.  Please feel free to print it so that your family has a “hard copy.”  Choose “F.E. Fortenberry & Sons, Inc.” from the blogroll on the right.  It is a PowerPoint instead of a PDF as that allows for larger images on the screen.  Enjoy and let me know what you think!


Mae’s Special Quilt

Quilt overviewBeginning this article a couple of months ago, I thought would be pretty straight forward.  Boy, was I wrong!  It has been slow going!   I know that the volume of names and dates may make for tough reading but I felt compelled to “make the connections.”  This story has been written for a much larger audience than my immediate family and I wanted to make the connections clear so that other branches of other families could find their connection to the quilt too!  Please let me know if you find errors.  I was dealing with a lot of people and dates and some are likely to be wrong.  Contact me if you see an error.  These surnames are especially well represented in the quilt – FORTENBERRY, SIMMONS, ALFORD, ELLZEY, and SCHILLING.  Choose “Mae’s Special Quilt” from the blogroll on the right.  It is a PDF and can be viewed as a PowerPoint from full screen using the page up and page down keys.


An Adventure in Mississippi

Tree on Magee propertyWhile in Mississippi a few weeks ago, Reggie, Terry, Barbara, and I had an opportunity to meet lots of new cousins!  While there, we visited several cemeteries so that we would have some digital images of them.  One of our newly discovered cousins, Paulette Pigott Stogner helped us locate a very old cemetery referred to as the Magee Cemetery.  Our 3X and 4X great grandparents are buried there.  Please read about our adventure!  Choose “Adventure in the Magee Cemetery” from the blogroll and enjoy!  Because it is a PDF file, for best viewing after loading the document, please use the page up and page down keys located above/near the number pad.


Great Reunion!

screen up DSC00908What a wonderful time we had!  There were about 120 of us there – all because Ferman Esco Fortenberry and Nellie Mae Simmons decided to marry and then had six sons!  Please see the three photos under Friday Fun.  As many of you know, this will be my last posting until the beginning of October.  Have a fantastic September-catch you on the other side!

Reunion is just around the corner!

I hope everyone has been keeping up with the Friday Fun and Reunion information!  This reunion is going to be a once in a lifetime experience.   As most of you know, there has not been any new blog articles in a while due to all my planning for an upcoming visit to Poland.  I have been spending lots of hours getting all the Polish genealogy organized for the genealogist/guide who will be taking me and John around Poland for ten days.  Wish Mom could come with me!

Family Origins

Hello everyone,

Today’s post was written to include our extended family – really extended – as in back to the early 1500s!  Because this document will be read by many people outside our immediate family, I have saved it as a pdf file to have some measure of document protection.  This means that it will not open as a Power Point and hyperlinks cannot be directly accessed with a click.  Web addresses of places I would like you to visit will have to be copied and pasted.

If you are reading this and do not belong to my Mississippi Fortenberry family, please skip forward to the records of North and South Carolina.

From the blogroll on the right, please choose Family Origins.  Once the pdf has downloaded, you will probably need to choose the icon on the toolbar that is a square with arrows in 4 directions.  This will make the slide fit the screen.  Also, use the “page down” button on the keyboard so that you do not have to scroll.

Note added on  April 16:  I made a correction from the information at the end of the document.  At 12 generations, we have 4096 direct ancestors.  That’s a lot of grandmas and grandpas!

New weekly posting!

smileHappy Friday everyone!

Because I would like for everyone to visit my blog a little more often, I am going to do what most bloggers do – I am going to publish some kind of post every week.  In the past, it has taken me quite a few weeks to get a story ready, particularly one that required a lot of research.  This meant that there could be a lot of “dead” time between posts.  Not anymore!  Every Friday I will be adding something small.  I have many, many photographs and stories that will not be used for a particular story line – but I think you would like to see them.   If you have a story or photo you would like included, just let me know!

Teaser:  The next full post will be about our connection with the Van Valkenburg family of the Netherlands!

You will find the weekly posts on the blue bar above called “Friday Fun.”



Picture1Finally!!  After four months of research and writing, I have finished putting together what I hope is a coherent explanation of some of the information found in Raymond’s DNA.  You will probably be able to feel my “science teacher persona” coming through loud and clear.  Please choose “Our DNA” from the blog roll, get comfortable, sit back, and pretend you are in a very personal biology class!

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