Friday Fun

One More Remembrance of Pearl Harbor

pearl-harbor-bookI just finished reading this book and I would like to suggest that my family members (an anyone interested in an amazing story) read this book.  It was published for the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  The author, Donald Stratton, was on the USS Arizona with our cousin Alvie Fortenberry.  It is very well written and will given you a better understanding of why Daddy did not talk about his experiences.  John checked it out of the Gwinnett Library system so you should be able to get a copy without having to spend any money.  A quote from page 13 – “I wanted to save from the fire something of my memories of the Arizona so that younger generations, and all of the children to come after them, can understand why Pearl Harbor matters.”  

Please find and copy and read it.  I promise you will be glad you did!

Contact with someone special

Since beginning the blog and writing about Daddy’s military experiences, I have tried for years to contact some of his shipmates.  Last week I had a message sent through the blog from the son of one of his Helena friends.  Gene Yellak, son of George Yellak, left a message on the blog!  We have been in contact (talked on the phone yesterday for almost an hour) and it appears that we may have some pictures to share.   Daddy and George were shipmates from 1939 until early 1942, so George Yellak appears off and on in Navy 2, 3, 4, and 5 in the blogroll articles.  What you must look at is Navy 4.  Momma and Gene’s mother, Sophie (another Polish girl from Brooklyn) traveled by bus in the summer of 1941 so that they could visit their men!  Soon after their arrival,  George and Sophie were married.  Momma and Daddy were their attendants!  Below is a picture of the group at the Army Navy Club having dinner after the wedding.  The other picture is one Gene sent me yesterday on his phone.  I will be getting a higher resolution so that I can work on it some.  I can’t wait to have new pictures to share with everyone!



Year 6 of Blogging!


I am proud to say the Fortenberry blog is going strong.  Though it began as a way to share our Fortenberry family stories, it has grown in the past few years.  Totals for 2016:  The blog was accessed 1,136 times.  While on the blog, there were 3520 views (3461 in USA) of the blogroll articles.  I am personally amazed!  Most recent news:  Daddy had a buddy on the USS Helena named George Yellak.  I have tried for years to find a way to locate his family.  Just recently, his son, Gene was going through some of his Dad’s stuff, found the name Adrian Fortenberry, googled it, and found the blog.  We plan to compare photos and stories.  Maybe I have some new Navy pictures to post.

Thank you for being interested in what we are writing and sharing!  Happy New Year, everyone!

A Love of Bonsai


For several years, Emily and Scott have been interested in bonsai plants.  Every time I see Emily’s, I think of my mom.  During the 1960s, Momma liked to visit the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers to see their bonsai plants and talk to their expert, Father Paul.  For a while, the back porch of the house had an open shelf structure that was Momma’s bonsai showplace.  Maybe Emily inherited a “bonsai gene” from her grandmother!  

The photo above is of Emily and Scott’s bonsai plants.  Notice the two that look a little different.  The two tall, deciduous plants are two bald cypress plants!  They removed these two trees from their backyard “swamp” next to the Northeast Cape Fear River in Burgaw, North Carolina when they moved to New York.  With the TLC that Scott gives them, they seem to be doing just fine up north!  I wonder if they will ever have knees???

Christmas is finally here!



Both pictures seem to have been taken the second half of the 1980s.  Both are looking at only a part of the room but shows the important part – some of the food!  I sure would like a piece of that pecan pie sitting on the corner of the table!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas!  If you get a few minutes and would like to add a little more Christmas cheer to the weekend, please reread the two blogs previously posted about Christmas.  From the blogroll, please view “A Fortenberry Christmas” and “Christmas Eve Polish Style.”

Six siblings – about 1956


 There are not very many pictures of all six of us at one time.  Because of Terry and Linda’s expressions, this is one of my favorites.  Because I am not good at guessing children’s ages, I am not sure if it is 1955 or 1956.  Barbara was born in June of 1954.  Is she 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 years old here?  The picture was taken in the living room before the big den was built.    I am often amazed at the tolerance Raymond must have developed in order to put up with 5 sisters.  Now as adults, we appreciate him much more than we did as kids!  In fact, the six of us are closer than we ever were growing up.  Our age differences have drop away and we treasure our shared past, present and future.  Without a doubt, I know our parents would be proud of who we are today!   


Christmas Past

Christmas about 1978

With Christmas just around the corner, I thought it would be nice to post some pictures from years ago.  This one of Momma and Daddy is one of my favorites.  To them, Christmas was about being with as many family members as possible.  Most years included their extended family of in-laws.  Their philosophy was “the more the merrier!”

Daddy’s Birthday and Pearl Harbor


This year marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.  It would also have been Daddy’s 98th birthday.  The above picture appeared in the local paper when he visited his parents after recovering from his injuries.  There are many films, books, YouTube videos, and other records about the events that occurred that day.  Because Daddy said very little to his children, it has only been through many other sources that we can begin to understand a little of what he must have carried in his heart all those years.  To know more: (1)  Read (or read again) the blog article to the right called Navy 5 – Pearl Harbor (2) Visit the Helena website to read other shipmates’ experiences ( )  Note the .org not .com.  This site concerns all ships named Helena.  Daddy’s ship was the USS Helena CL 50.  When the site opens, click on the second ship to be directed to the CL 50 records and experiences.  (3)  View this YouTube interview of a gunner’s mate on the ship with Daddy.  Because their jobs were connected (fire controman and gunner’s mate), he and Daddy would have been in the same company. (


Wedding Anniversary


This Saturday, November 19 , would have been Momma and Daddy’s 77th anniversary.    At least that is the date their children were given.  According to their stories, they married on Sunday, November 19, 1939.  Mom was 18 and Daddy would turn 21 in a little over 2 weeks.  Years later, Daddy told one of us that they married in New York; Mom told Terry they married in Norfolk, Virginia.   In 2009, paperwork for placing Mom in a nursing home required proof of their marriage so we began searching for a marriage license.  Nothing was ever found anywhere.  I even contacted Kings County, NY (Brooklyn) and Norfolk, Virginia.  What we do know is that Mom’s mother (Bachie) did not want her to marry Daddy and in fact had a Polish butcher picked out for her.  The only possible idea I have come up with is that they were probably married by the chaplain at the Navy Yard.  Sadly, no records exist to substantiate this.  It seems this mystery may never be solved.  But – Their six children –  ARE THE REST OF THE STORY.

A Gathering of Siblings


Next week we are having a sibling gathering to celebrate many things.  I guess the most important celebration is the fact that the six of us love and respect each other.  Each of us is aware of how fortunate we have been.  In our lives, we have had great parents, grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.  We now have wonderful children and grandchildren (Reggie – great grandchildren too).  Like all children growing up together, we had our differences.  Now, we celebrate those differences and realize just how alike, at heart, we really are.  

Eliza Jane in 1860


The above image is of the census record from 1860.  Burrell Taylor Fortenberry, Eliza Jane Ellzey Fortenberry, and all five sons are listed.  The census taker was at their house on July 27, 1860.  Burrell and his family were living in Pike County next door to his older brother, Gasua Chapman Fortenberry.  Of course, we descend from their second son, William Jackson Fortenberry. 

Another Obituary for Eliza Jane


Magnolia Gazette April 12, 1899

At 6 a.m. Tuesday, April 4, 1899, at the home of her son, Mr. W. J. Fortinberry, of Smithburg, Miss., Mrs. Eliza Jane Fortinberry gently closed her eyes in death, surrounded by those who loved her best.  She had been ill for some months and her pains were awful to bear.  I never saw anybody suffer as she did, but she bore it like a Christian, often calling upon her Savior the Lord Jesus, and said she was “going home to die no more.”  She passed away without a struggle.  She was 68 years and 7 months old, and had spent her long and useful life in Pike county.

When a young lady she was united in marriage to Mr. B. T. Fortinberry with whom she lived happily for 13 years when the Lord separated them by death, he husband having contracted a disease during the siege of Port Hudson that carried him away on September 14, 1863.  

Aunt Eliza leaves three sons, three brothers and three sisters, twenty-one grandchildren and one great-grandchild;  besides many warm friends to moan their loss, but we mourn not as those who have no hope for she died in the full triumph of a Christian faith.   So we feel that our loss is her eternal gain.  Aunt Eliza was a devout member of the Silver Springs Baptist church, and was a noble Christian woman.

Those who knew Aunt Eliza know that a beautiful life is finished in all its completeness.  The record of her long life is fair to look upon, with few spots to blur the snowy whiteness.  Her life here on earth is closed, but her influence can never die.  She was a true and noble woman in every respect, and her deathbed experience tells the sweet story that Jesus was satisfied.

The funeral took place at the old homestead Wednesday morning, and was conducted by Rev. Willis J. Fortinberry, assisted by Rev. W. H. Schilling and Rev. E. M. Schilling.  A large concourse of relatives and friends witnessed the last sad rites.

Happy, once happy, the people among whom she lived; but sad, very sad, the community from which she is gone.  Honored the church of God that claimed her as “Sister,” sad, sad the church that mourns her loss.  Honored those boys who called her mother; yet sad the youth now who has lost her instructions.  O! how desolate the home, sad the heart, disconsolate the church and community out of which she has been taken.

May we all meet her again “some sweet day, by and by;” and we shall all know and even love her better when the mists are rolled away.  LYNNIE.

Notes from Andie:  Though a very long “Friday Fun,” I really wanted to post this additional obituary for Eliza Jane.  This type of obituary no longer appears in newspapers.  W. J. Fortinberry was her son, William Jackson Fortinberry who was the father of Ferman Esco and grandfather of Adrian.  Rev. Willis J. Fortinberry, a preacher for 41 years, was the brother of her husband, Burrell.  The author of the article, Lynnie, was the daughter of Rev. E. M. (Esco Martin) Schilling.  Lynnie Schilling later became the clerk for Silver Springs Church and is buried there.  A special thanks to our cousin Jim Huffman of Picayune, Mississippi for having a marker made for Eliza Jane, placing it next to Burrell, and for his yearly care of the small cemetery where they are buried.  Thanks you Jim!


Eliza Jane Ellzey Fortinberry

Obituary from the The Magnolia Gazette (Magnolia, Mississippi) April 5, 1899


Tintype image most likely taken at the beginning of the Civil War.

Smithburg, Miss., April 5, ’99  Editor Gazette:  Mrs. Eliza Fortinberry died at the home of her son, W. J. Fortinberry, yesterday morning at 6 o’clock.  She had been a great sufferer for some time of lung trouble.  

Mrs. Fortinberry was over sixty eight years old.  She was buried at her old home by the side of her husband, who died about thirty eight years ago.

The funeral services were conducted by Rev. Willis Fortinberry, assisted by Revs. William Schilling and Esco Schilling.

Mrs. Fortinberry lived for many years a consistent Christian life.  She was a member of the Baptist church, which she had faithfully served for many years.  She has been a great sufferer, but in all her sufferings she bore them very patiently, and showed much Christian fortitude.

She leaves a large number of relatives, and a great circle of friends to mourn her departure.  May God give them his spirit to comfort them in their very sad bereavement.  She was highly esteemed by all who knew her, and a very large crowd followed her to the grave to pay their last sad respects.

We fee confident that she is now at rest, and many all her friends and relatives live so as to meet her in that home where parting will be no more and where all tears shall forever cease.

Notes from Andie:  Eliza Jane was married to Burrell Taylor Fortenberry, great grandfather of Adrian Fortenberry.  Burrell died in 1863 while serving in the Civil War (See blog article called Port Hudson and the Civil War).  At the time, Eliza Jane had five sons between the ages of 4 and 12.  Though she was only 33 when Burrell died, she never remarried.


Photo Trip

John and I just got back from visiting with the elk in the Smoky Mountain National Park.  They live on the very eastern side of the park in an area called Cataloochee which can only be accessed by way of a long, twisting road.  This is one of the stunning photos by John!   I will be using it in an article I am working on about our family’s time in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  At the time (1735-1745) elk were very common.  Who knows where we will go next?!  


Strange find in western NY

While on our way between Emily’s house in Corning, NY to Niagara Falls, John and I drove past a road sign that caught my eye.  Of course, we had to turn around and go back to see if I read it correctly.  Yep, Van Valkenburg Road!  Just had to get a picture.  I don’t know which our kin this road is named after, probably some very distant cousin of some sort.  In case you have forgotten, our name has changed quite a bit in the past 400 years! Going backwards that would be  – Fortenberry – Faulkenberry – Falkenburg – Van Valkenburg!


Keith and his Grandmother


I have no idea what year this photo was taken but it is wonderful!  Keith’s dimples are showing.  Mom has almost no gray hair.  Looking at her apron, it is Christmas.  Evidently, Keith had graduated from the kiddie table but was “hiding out” with Mom at the little table in their “dining room” while the rest of us were in the den.   Look over Mom’s shoulder at the white crocheted purse hanging on the knob to open her sewing cabinet.    I soooo want to walk into the house on Norman Road and see my parents!

Another one from Keith


Just the location of this photo will bring back a lot of memories to 15 cousins who spent time in this backyard!  Keith Fortenberry, the oldest of the three is on the right.  Jay Wood is in the middle; and Dave (i.e. Rusty) is on the left.  I estimate that the photo was taken about 1980.  

News from Mississippi!


In the 1970s, Daddy was shown where his great grandfather, Burrell Taylor Fortenberry (1820-1863) was buried.  The only marker was the rock you see in the picture above. In 1977, Daddy ordered a marker for him from the Veteran’s Administration and it was later placed on his grave.  Based on her obituary, his wife, Eliza Jane Ellzey Fortenberry (1830-1899) was buried next to him though no marker was there.  Our wonderful cousin, Jim Huffman, has been keeping the cemetery clean for many years.  He was able to order two small markers to put with Burrell’s.  Due to the custom of the times, Jim put Eliza’s marker on Burrell’s left hand side.  The other marker is for their son, Henry F. Fortenberry, who died young.   Since no marker was ever known to exist for him, Jim has placed one for Henry beside those of his parents.  We would not want him fogotten!  Most of the graves in the small cemetery are Jim’s close relatives.  He is descended from Burrell’s older brother, Gasua Chapman Fortenberry.  Gasua’s daughter, Narcissa Fortenberry married Warren Huffman.  Many, many THANKS go out to Jim for doing this for our family.

And another

Cindy and cousins

I love Keith’s expression in this photo!  Keith is kneeling in the back.  Left to right:  Rusty (aka Dave), Cindy holding unknown child (someone please id), and Emily.  This must have been taken about 1976 at one of our many family gatherings.  Does anyone else have a photo the rest of us haven’t seen?  

And another from Keith

Daddy, Keith and Rusty

What a special picture!  This is probably one of the last photos taken of Daddy.  It looks like he is in a wheelchair.  There are some strange shadows in the picture I could not get out but I knew everyone would want to see this photo anyway.  In case you need help, Keith is on the left and Dave is on the right.  I had tears in my eyes as I processed this picture.  You never get over loosing those you love.

Another photo from Keith

shirtless adrian

This picture of Adrian and Wanda is from the early to mid 1960s and is one I don’t think many of us have seen.  Since there are so few from this time period, I wanted to share it with everyone.  Yes, I know the image is awful!  You should see the original!  Even with PhotoShop, this is the best I could do.  I am sure everyone will recognize the location – in front of the sliding glass door.  Thanks again, Keith.

Keith’s newly located pics

I absolutely love it when previously unknown pictures are discovered!  Recently Keith Fortenberry came across several he thought I might want to see.  I will be using PhotoShop to restore the color and then sharing them over the next few weeks.   The one here was taken about 1970 and shows our continuing line of men named Fortenberry.  Adrian Woodrow Fortenberry – Raymond Clyde Fortenberry, and Raymond Keith Fortenberry.  This direct line continues with Keith’s two sons, Will and Jack.  Thanks bunches Keith!  Everyone else – keep looking for things to share!

1970 Daddy, Keith, Ray 96  

Bachie 1898 – 1973

bachie and friend 2138

To her grandchildren, she was Bachie, a child’s mangling of the Polish word for grandmother, Babcia.  Her full name was Pelagia Bregeta Jaroszewska Wierzbicka.  Quite a mouthful!   In the picture above, taken about 1915, she is on the right.    She was born on March 10, 1898 in the very small village of Kowalewo, Łęg, Poland.   In 1913, at the age of 15, she left Poland to join her mother in the not so small Brooklyn, NY.  What a shock that must have been.  She died 43 years ago on August 1, 1973.   Mom and Dad buried her beside her husband, Raymond Wierzbicki (Werbicki) at the Long Island National Cemetery, Suffolk County, New York.  Sure do wish I knew more of her stories!


Taken too soon

don and iris done 451

Sometimes life hands us lemons and there is no way to make lemonade.  This photo, taken not long after the end of World War II, is of Don and Iris Fortenberry.   They were wonderful, good, and kind people taken from this world on December 30, 1982 when a large truck crossed into their lane and hit their car.   I have lots of memories of Aunt Iris’s love of baseball, taking piano lessons as an adult, learning to water ski with the kids, helping me and mom with my wedding, and many many more.  Like most Fortenberry men, Uncle Don was a quiet man.  He had an amazing tattoo on his forearm he must have gotten while in the Navy.  Like my dad, Uncle Don loved to fish.  I remember many a childhood Saturday when the fishing boat would cruise into the dock at our lake house and they would unload lots of fish that later became our evening meal.    Aren’t good memories wonderful to revisit?  Take a minute and remember one of yours.

We are still looking!

SCAN0314 done

Terry and Barbara mining for rubies – about 1963

Our parents were interested in rocks and minerals; consequently, as we were growing up, we were taken on expeditions to North Carolina to mine for rubies and sapphires and Dahlonega looking for gold.   It was great family fun!  Even today, the six of us would rather be outside!  Have you ever watched the children’s program called Dinosaur Train?  The show always ends with a quote from Dr. Scott (Sampson) the paleontologist.  “Get outside.  Get into nature and make your own discoveries!”  Great words to live by!

Are you staying cool in the summer heat?

Maybe it is just me, but the heat and humidity this month seems more oppressive than usual.   Maybe it’s just me?!  The photo below was taken 65 years ago.  I find that really hard to believe.  The photo was taken before we lived on Norman Road and before the construction of Milam Park.  Not a swimming pool to be found anywhere nearby and Lake Lanier had not yet been built.  Wow – In this photo, Reggie and I have our own individual swimming pools!  I can tell Mom shot the picture because she often got her thumb too!

cool in the tubs293

Maybe I was lucky!

with goldwing done081

Sometimes the choices we make do not work out for us.  Forty-seven years ago I made the right choice with the man I married.  Today, July 8, is his birthday.  He was born six hours before me.  On July 12, 1969 we started a journey together that has been wonderful.  As you might expect, our two greatest accomplishments on this journey have been our two daughters.   John – Happy Birthday and Happy Anniversary! 


William Jasper Fortenberry

wm hdstone best

William Jasper Fortenberry was our direct ancestor who traveled from South Carolina to the newly formed state of Mississippi.   He is buried at the Fortenberry-Pittman Cemetery in Walthall County, Mississippi.  It is sad to say but this headstone is no longer in the cemetery.   The cemetery has been covered over with concrete and only a recently added marker is still there.  The one above was placed on his grave in 1902, probably to replace the original.  It reads: William Fortinbery  Born in South Carolina 1776  Died Feb 7 1842  Let me die the death of the righteous.  He has many, many descendants today.

130 Years Ago

Ferman done073

One hundred and thirty years ago this week (June 18th), my grandfather Fortenberry was born.   His full name was Ferman Esco Fortenberry.  He was the son of William Jackson Fortenberry (1853-1928) and his wife, Canolia Ann Elizabeth Simmons 1857-1925).    Ferman and his wife, Nellie Mae Simmons had 6 sons and no daughters.  These six sons gave them 25 grandchildren.  Since he died when he was 66, most of us (his grandchildren) do not have any memories of Ferman.  From what I have been told, he was a quiet man who loved his family.  He served in the US Navy from 1909 until 1913, and while serving was touched by many historic events.  You can read more about this in the blogroll article called Ferman – Navy Years.  Sure wish I could ask him to tell me some stories!

Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there.  Some of us are so blessed with the fathers we had.  My siblings and I had one of the best.   He was one of the kindest people I have ever known. When Raymond was born in March of 1945, Daddy began his “fatherhood” journey.  The picture shown here was taken about May of 1945.   Daddy looks kind of apprehensive about the whole thing and is probably thinking “I hope I don’t drop him!”  He and Mom were hoping to have nine children.  I am sure Barbara is glad they had six!  Raymond and daddy may 1945010

Where does the time go?

Fifty years ago this week, I graduated from Clarkston High School.  I am amazed at how life flies by.  As children, a year seems endless.  Just waiting from one Christmas to the next took forever!  Time seems to speed up the older we get!  On June 6, 1966 ( yes 6-6-66) I had to take my first major step from the known to the unknown.  It was time for me to move into a bigger circle.  Here I am, 50 years later wondering where the time has gone!

granny, grandpa, pat and sonny1943 done 108

You might be wondering how this picture relates to what I just said!  The photo was taken in 1943.  Mae and Ferman are seen standing in their yard which was next door to the Old Clarkston High School.  All I have to do is look at the school building in the background and I can conjure up so many memories.  I am sure my siblings and cousins could too.  Ferman is holding his grandson, Ferman Elmo, Jr. and his sister Pat is the cute little girl.

Jack and Carolyn Fortenberry

Jack and Carolyn navy836 done

Since Memorial Day was this week, it seemed appropriate to honor one of our war veterans.  Today we remember Uncle Jack (William Jackson Fortenberry, Sr.).  His son was my cousin Bill who recently passed away (see post below).  This picture shows Jack in his WWII uniform standing with his wife Carolyn Rebecca Whitaker.  Jack served with the 43rd United States Naval Construction Battalion (Sea Bees) during the war.  For a time, he was stationed in Kodiak, Alaska building runways and bases to protect the territory of Alaska.  At the end of the war, his battalion was actually sent to Nagasaki, Japan after it was bombed to help build command and relief centers.

In Memory of

William Jackson Fortenberry, Jr.

April 16, 1948 – May 20, 2016

My father, Adrian Fortenberry, was one of six brothers.  These six Fortenberry men gave their parents 25 grandchildren – all with the last name of Fortenberry!   Our cousin Bill, who passed away last Friday, is the first to leave us.  He had been struggling quite a while with many health issues but it was still unexpected.   

Since I could not find a recent picture, I located one of my favorite childhood pictures of Bill and me.  Bill was born only 3 months before me so we often played together at family gatherings.  Please pardon our lack of clothing!  This photo was taken about 1952, obviously in the summer! 

bill and andie 1951707

Linda Outside

“Her comfort zone?”

Linda crossing footbridge

While in Virginia, we found a bouncy footbridge over the North Fork of the Shenandoah River.  It was very close to the Inn at Narrow Passage located where Narrow Passage Creek flows into the Shenandoah.  It was pretty high above the river and loads of fun to cross.  Of course, it was not there when the Falkenburgs settled in the area 281 years ago!

The Inn at Narrow Passage

Inn at Narrow Passage

Last week, Linda and Chuck met John and me in Virginia to explore the area in the Shenandoah Valley where our 5X great grandfather, Jacob Falkenburg lived for a while.  His father had rights to about 3000 acres on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River east of the town of Woodstock.  In the 1740s, it was called the Narrow Passage Tract and encompassed an area from the north side of Narrow Passage Creek to Elk Run (today Spring Hollow) and covered a linear distance of about two miles.  On the opposite side of Narrow Passage Creek from their property, a tavern/inn was built during the 1740s.  The Inn at Narrow Passage has at its core this old tavern.  The night we stayed, we were the only visitors and had the place to ourselves.  The innkeeper has restored and maintained the original parts of the inn and had many stories to tell us.  He took the picture above after we had eaten a wonderful breakfast he had prepared!  The Shenandoah Valley is an amazing place and if you ever go, please let me know and I will give you directions on how to locate Jacob’s property!  I have been working on an article about their time in Virginia and will let you know when I post it.

Springtime Flowers

Daddy and azeleas 1965 done 348

At this time of the year my mind always goes back to the amazing flowers we had in the yard as we were growing up.  I have always loved this picture of Daddy sitting in his personal Garden of Eden, hand crafted by our two parents who loved flowers!

Adrian’s Maternal Grandparents

Elizabeth and Wm Eli Simmons721 done

This week I would like for you to meet William Eli (Willie) Simmons and Elizabeth (Lizzie) Covington.  These two fine looking people were the parents of Nellie Mae Simmons, wife of Ferman Esco Fortenberry; and therefore Adrian’s maternal grandparents.  William Eli was born in 1858 and died in 1945.  He was the son of George Washington Simmons  (1820 – 1872) and Mary Caroline Magee (1829 – 1918).  They lived in the Simmonsville area of Pike County, Mississippi.  Lizzie was born in 1862 and died in 1939.   She was the daughter of John Martin Covington (1818 – 1864) and Mary Jane Washburn (1826 – 1901).  Willie and Lizzie had 12 children – 6 boys and 6 girls.  Yes, it is the same family structure as William Jackson and Canola Simmons Fortenberry you met last week and shown below.  And yes, you did read this right, both of Adrian’s parents had Simmons ancestry.  Since they both had the same great grandfather, Willis Simmons, they were second cousins.  The lady pictured below, Canola Simmons, and the gentleman pictured above, William Eli Simmons, were first cousins.   Canola’s father (James Jackson Simmons) was the brother of William Eli’s father (George Washington Simmons).  Yes, I know.  It can get confusing.  I am cheating and looking on a chart to make sure I have it right!

Adrian’s Paternal Grandparents

Canolia simmons and WJ Fortenberry488 copy 96dpi

I would like for you to meet William Jackson Fortenberry and Canola Ann Elizabeth Simmons.   What a beautiful couple!   Grandpa Jack was born in 1853 and died in 1928.  Nola was born in 1857 and died in 1925.  Jack was the son of Burrell Taylor Fortenberry and Eliza Jane Ellzey.  Canola was the daughter of James Jackson Simmons and Sarah Brewer.  They lived in Pike County, Mississippi in the Simmonsville area.  They had 12 children – 6 boys and 6 girls!  Their fifth child was Ferman Esco Fortenberry, Adrian’s father.


1860 Pike County, Mississippi


The above is an 1860 census record for Burrel Taylor Fortenberry, my 2X great grandfather.  It was recorded at his home on July 27, 1860, one year before the outbreak of the Civil War.  As shown here, he had 5 sons.  It was a good thing he could not see into the future because his was grim.   In three short years he would end leaving a wife and sons to manage without him.   While his Confederate unit was at the Siege of Port Hudson (the longest siege on American soil), they nearly starved and resorted to eating just about anything.  After they surrendered in July of 1863, he went home and two months later died of “exposure in war.”  What actually caused his death has been lost in time, but it must have been awful for the family watching him slowly die over two months.

He was married to Eliza Jane Ellzey, daughter of John Shaffer Ellzey and his wife, Elizabeth Coney.  They had the following children:  John Noral (1851 – 1920), William Jackson (1853 – 1928) and grandfather of Adrian Fortenberry, Henry F. (1854 – died before the next census in 1870), Benjamin C. (1856 – 1895), and Luke T. (1859 – 1931).

For more information about the life and times of B. T. Fortenberry, please read the blogroll article called “Port Hudson and the Civil War.”

Spring Break

Sorry about being a little slow since it is now Friday night.  We had a great time in Charleston with the Jenkins family.  Not only did we get to spend several days with our grandsons, but we saw lots of other family too.  We also spent one night at Linda and Chuck’s amazing new home.  Just so you know, they have lots of room for visitors – you would not believe the “guest suite” they have set up!  In the picture taken in their front yard, I was behaving and looking at the camera but obviously Linda and Chuck are not!  John was taking the picture.

At Linda's

Really tough one!

Quilt overview

After 10 weeks of work, I have finally finished a blog article about a quilt that belonged to Mae and Ferman Fortenberry.  Mom always called it the “P” quilt – for obvious reasons!  Each square has a person’s signature embroidered on it.  When I began, I did not anticipate how hard it would be to figure out who the quilters were and all their family connections!   It proved to be a serious MENTAL challenge.  I am really proud to say – it may be finished.   Why is that a maybe?  I hope to get some corrections about my information from “cousins” in Mississippi.  The article should be available through the blogroll on Saturday.  Enjoy!

Easter 1982

easter 1982 298

We had most of the gang in this Easter Picture from April 11, 1982.  Who would be willing to miss the spectacular food?  Only the three oldest of the cousins are not in the picture – Kris, Cindy, and Keith.   Front row L/R  Emily, Deborah, Grandpa holding Andrew and Leigh, Eric, Wanda.  Back row L/R  Rusty with Heather on his shoulders, Susie, Betsy, Jay and Jenny.  Family fun at it finest!

Blog stats 2015

I meant to do this weeks ago but other stories kept coming to mind!  My blog has been growing as the years go by.  I really appreciate everyone who follows it!  The stats show a total of 2995 views for last year.  Considering the narrow audience I write for, I am really surprised!

2015 countries

2015 total

I am sure a lot of these random countries are accidental hit!  You never can tell!  I wonder how fast they change sites.  I just wanted to say thanks to all my family (and extended family) for taking the time to read what we are writing.  I truly believe we come from very interesting people!  Sorry, no pirates or outlaws located yet!

Happy Birthdays

Since today (March 10) was Raymond’s birthday and tomorrow is Linda’s, I thought a couple of old pictures would be just the thing for this week’s Friday Fun.  When the six of us are together, we sometimes discuss the fact that growing up we often felt like we were two separate groups of children i.e. RaymondReggieAndie, TerryLindaBarbara.  Yes I meant to type it that way!  Here are two pictures that follow that line of thinking.  

Three stooges

Terry, linda, barabara with kris

Don’t you think RaymondReggieAndie look pitiful!  Reggie looks like her puppy died! TerryLindaBarbara are playing with their niece, Kris!  In case you don’t recognize her, Linda is “standing” in for the horse!

Stories and Pictures


Last Saturday I once again gave a talk to a genealogy group about blogging.  This time it was at a seminar conducted by the Georgia Genealogical Society.  The most important thing I try to get across to audiences is contained in the first slide of my talk shown above.  This has been the guiding theme to my blogging over the past five years.  Thank you to my brother, Raymond, for sending me down this path.    If you would like to share a story or picture, please contact me!!

My (Andie’s) DNA

Other than the expected ~50% Eastern European (i.e. Polish), the three of us vary a good bit.  

andie dna


I was surprised to see that I have much less British Isles than Terry and Raymond.  Comparison of the three of us:  




Eastern Europe 56% 49% 51%
British Isles


38% 16%
Southern Europe 0 12% 19%
Finland/Siberia 0 1% 0
Scandinavia 0 0 14%

I seriously thought we would all have two “globs” – Eastern Europe and the British Isles.  We certainly each inherited a unique mix of DNA, especially from our Dad.  My 14% Scandinavia was a big shock.   I would love for other kin to send in DNA to be tested – especially Barbara.  I would predict that her’s would be closer to mine that Raymond’s or Terry’s.  Who knows!   I look forward to the future advances in genetic genealogy.  I wonder if Mom’s would test 100% Eastern Europe.  I know Mom and Dad would be fascinated by all this!

Terry’s DNA

Because everyone gets a different mix of DNA from their parents, siblings may or may not look anything alike.  For instance, as children, Terry and I looked less alike than Barbara and I.  Terry has dark hair and brown eyes; Barbara and I had (notice the past tense) light brown hair and have green eyes.  Geneticists have learned a lot about inheritance and as I mentioned last week, they know where to look for cultural and ethnic mutation markers.  Raymond’s DNA testing actually came out exactly as one might expect.  Genetically, he is 56% Eastern European and 44% British Isles.   Since 50% of his genetic material came from our Polish mother, it would seem that a small percentage of Daddy’s ancestors must have come from Eastern Europe too.  Everything made sense!  Terry had her DNA tested and we were given a WOW – WHAT moment.   Here are her results!TerryDNAThe only expected result was the Polish part.  She did test 49% Polish.  Needless to say, we were surprised at the 12% Southern European and 1% Finland/Siberia.  I don’t know of any Portuguese, Spanish, or Italian names showing up in our research.  Who knows??!!  The 1% Finland/Siberia would make a little more sense since we know we have a Finnish ancestor named Sinnick Broer who came to the Delaware River area about 1660.  Things are definitely getting strange!  


Over the next three weeks, we will take a look at some DNA results for Raymond, Terry, and me.  I will start with Raymond today.  The type of test we will be looking at is called autosomal DNA.  This is a mix of DNA they we inherit from both parents (not Y-DNA that only men have).  Autosomal testing looks at up to 700,000 specific places on your chromosomes.   Scientists have been able to identify specific mutations within populations around the world.   For instance, scientists know specific places in the chromosomes where mutations have accumulated and are common specifically to Native American, African, Jewish, and all sorts of regions and cultures.  Below is the map showing the DNA “origins” for Raymond.  Since we inherit 50% of our DNA from each parent, the fact that Raymond has 56% Eastern European would indicate that part of Daddy’s heritage can also be traced back to Eastern Europe.  (Continue scrolling down.)


Since Terry and I have also had the test done, guess what we found out?  We are siblings – wow, thank goodness!


If you look at the column called “Shared cM,” it is interesting to note that Terry has a higher number than I do.  Don’t worry about what a cM is (short for centiMorgan).  This larger number means that Terry has a little more DNA in common with Raymond than I do.    Next week, we will look at Terry’s results.

Discoveries in NC

Goslin before

Old Hope cemetery

One of the places we visited last week was a cemetery called the Old Hope Moravian “God’s Acre” Cemetery outside of Winston Salem, NC.   The Moravian Church is an early Protestant church that established a 100,000 acre settlement in North Carolina called the Wachovia Tract.  Yes, this is where the bank got its name!   As you can see from the photo above, all the markers are flat on the ground which makes it hard if you want to find anyone.  According to the church records, about 200 people are buried here.  Previously, we had learned that a 5 great grandmother was buried here but no one had ever located her grave.  The photo on the right is a “before” image of what our ancestor’s plot looked like.  We spent a good bit of time kicking leaves and snow aside trying to locate her.  Persistence and a LOT of luck and we were successful! (Depending on your screen, you may need to scroll down for the rest of the story.)

Eliz Goslin headstone

This image is of the maker after we removed the soil on top and cleaned it up.  It reads Elisab Goslin  Born Masters  Died March  1802  Aged 85 Years    This is the marker for Elizabeth Masters Goslin, born in 1717.   The church had a record that a daughter was buried here also named Elizabeth Goslin who died in 1790.  Just as we were about to give up and leave, we found her too!  Reggie, Terry, and I had a wonderful time!  Yes, we are getting weird in our old age!  (Note:  We reburied the marker like we found it to keep it protected from weathering.)

No Kin Left UnturnedIMG_20160128_151718

Reggie, Terry, and I are in North Carolina looking for more kin. Big surprise!  In this picture we had just discovered someone named Ezekiel Goslin.  Don’t you remember him?  He is our uncle who died in 1774.  Stay tuned for more craziness!

Wanda Maria Werbicki Fortenberry

Wanda unknown location and date 5

Since Momma’s birthday is this Sunday (January 24), this Friday Fun is dedicated to her.  She would have been 95 years old.  I consider her one of the smartest people I have ever known.  Her interests ranged across so many topics that she was a true Renaissance woman.  

She loved to paint and liked to study the works and lives of famous artists.  Locally, she became friends with a German artist named Steffen Thomas who lived on Ponce de Leon.  Today, there is a Steffen Thomas Art Museum in Buckhead.  One day I would like to visit.

As most of you know, mom also had a lifelong love of botany.   She enjoyed raising all kinds of plants, the more challenging the better!  Being raised Polish Catholic, she eventually discovered the greenhouses at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit where she became the friend of a monk named Father Paul Bourne.  He was a renowned bonsai master and today the greenhouses are named in his honor.  When we visited, we entered a serene, quiet, and beautiful place.  I loved visiting the monastery with her.   I think I liked her bonsai trees even more than the orchids she grew!  Wish I had a few pictures of them to share!

Happy Birthday Wanda!


Ah, True Love

Reggie and David001done

I didn’t know much about this picture but had decided to use it for Friday Fun.  Don’t you just love the expression on David’s face!  It seems to me that David is thinking – “She may be asleep but she is MINE!”  I decided to ask Reggie a few questions.  The photo was taken at a Christmas dance held at Shorter College on December 11, 1964.   They had just danced for two hours.  

What’s the real story?  Reggie meet David not long after she entered Shorter College as a freshman music major in September of 1964.  She and David soon began dating and things quickly escalated.  Not long before this dance, the two lovebirds had decided they wanted to get married.  They planned to go to Ringgold, Georgia the next morning to have a quick civil ceremony without telling either family!  They met at 6 am with all of Reggie’s bags packed because David was going to drive her to Clarkston for Christmas break.   (Reggie did not know how to drive at this point.)   After arriving at the courthouse, they both decided they were a little nervous about their decision.  What did they do?  Flipped a coin of course!  To know the rest of the story – you will have to ask one of them!

The Happy Researcher

the busy researcher

What a day!  Today, John and I followed a lead from a document I located a couple of years ago.  We spent the day at the Filson Historical Society in Louisville, Kentucky going through original documents about a land dispute in the Shenandoah Valley that lasted from 1735 until 1790!  This picture shows me holding a folder with records dated from the mid to late 1700s!  It was amazing to be reading documents relating to events involving my (our) 5X great grandfather and his two brothers.   The name at this time was Faulkenburg.   What I am planning to do this with information?  Write a blog article of course!  

Happy New Year!

Smithgall group 2015 screen

Happy New Year everyone!  This picture was taken during our last “sibling retreat.”  In October of 2015, we spent a week at Smithgall Woods enjoying the fact that we all are still alive, in pretty good shape, and really do love each other.    I am NOT going to list names because if you are looking at this post and care about the people in the picture, you already know the names!  As I have mentioned before, it is a wonderful thing to be kin to so many amazing people.   This is also true of all our children, grandchildren, and cousins, no matter how distant!  May 2016 bring us all continued health and happiness!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Momma and Daddy Christmas

Merry Christmas to all our family!  May the love that has been passed down through the generations always be in your heart.

What a Great Evening!

Ray, andie, Reg done

Reggie, David, Raymond, Sheila, John, and I got together yesterday at Reggie’s house for a little Christmas cheer.  We really missed having the rest of the gang with us and were sorry you couldn’t make it.  (Linda, I didn’t say anything because I knew y’all were busy getting settled into the new house.)  We talked NON STOP for seven hours – from 4:30 until 11:30.  I think that is a record for us, and almost none of it was “reminiscing!”  Though the picture above obviously has nothing to do with Christmas, I wanted to share a picture of the three of us together.  Since I look about a year old, it was probably taken in 1949.  I wish everyone in the world had siblings that cared for each other as much as we do.  There would be a lot more “Peace on Earth” if there were!

Once a Teacher – always a Teacher



On Monday, December 7th, I was invited to share my love of rocks and minerals with Thomas’s 3rd grade class!  Twenty nine of us sat on the floor, chatted about rocks and minerals, and then looked at a bunch of my really cool things. I even took a uv light and showed them a huge chunk of fluorescent fluorite.  They especially liked looking at each other’s fluorescent shoes and shoelaces!   Many of them immediately decided to ask Santa for some mineral crystals.  Hope you were listening, Santa!  

Happy Birthday Daddy!


This coming Monday would have been Daddy’s 97th birthday.  This picture was recently located in some of Reggie’s old photos and I thought everyone would enjoy it.  It was probably taken in the mid 1980s.  Many of his grandchildren will remember him from this time.    Don’t you wish you could just hug him!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Scroll down for the second picture

Thanksgiving Momma cooking turkey

I don’t know when this picture of Momma was taken, but my guess would be in the late 1970s.  The only way I know it is Thanksgiving instead of Christmas is because she is NOT wearing a Christmas apron.  Sure wish I could read the notes on the chalkboard.

Thanksgiving 1978 redone072

This photo was taken in 1978.    It looks like Daddy and Emily are the last to finish eating.    Daddy is probably thinking he will eat the last of his lunch in “relative” quiet.  Notice that there are no ancestor pictures on the wall.  In 1978, we had just begun our family history journey, which continues today.  Personally, I know they would be amazed at the new discoveries made with the help of technology and perseverance!    Momma would especially be pleased that I have expanded our knowledge of our Polish ancestry from 8 direct ancestors to over 200 grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins!


Cousin Jim Huffman

me and jim at burrells

While in Mississippi, Reggie, Terry, Barbara, and I met many wonderful relatives.  The purpose of our trip was to return a trunk and its contents to a direct descendant of the original owner, Gasua Chapman Fortenberry (1805-1884).  Mom and Dad were given “custody” of the trunk in the late 1970s and we used many of the documents inside while writing our family history.  It was time to find a new custodian.  A few years ago, through the wonders of the internet, I began an occasional correspondence with a cousin named Jim Huffman.  Jim’s 2 great grandfather, Warren Huffman, married Narcissa Izela Fortenberry.  She was the daughter of the original owner of the trunk!  Her father, Gasua, was was my 2 great grandfather’s brother.  I know – confusing.

 Not only is Jim a direct descendant of Gasua, but for over twenty years he and his father have been maintaining the small cemetery where his relatives and ours are buried.  It is a small cemetery called the Fortenberry Cemetery located near the Louisiana-Mississippi state line on property originally owned by Gasua.  What better person should take custody of the artifacts than a person with enough love of his heritage to give up many, many hours cutting trees, repairing graves, and adding markers for unmarked graves!  Were it not for Jim’s efforts, the cemetery would have become so overgrown it would have become impossible to locate!  Jim – our family thanks you for your years of dedication!

My great great grandfather, Burrel Taylor Fortenberry, buried at this cemetery, was Gasua’s brother.  Above is a picture of Jim touching the marker on Burrel’s grave placed there by Daddy in the late 1970s.  I am touching the original rock marker for Burrel placed there by his family when he died.  According to his grandson, Ferman Fortenberry (my grandfather), Burrel died of “exposure in war.”  Burrel was paroled from the surrender of Port Hudson on July 9, 1863 and died two months later on September 14th.

Fun in Mississippi


We are having a great time in Mississippi!  Yesterday (Wednesday) after arriving, we went to the Pittman Cemetery where our pioneer ancestor, William Jasper Fortenberry, is buried.  The cemetery is on private property belonging to the nice lady shown here with Reggie.  She is a descendant of the Rev. Willis Fortenberry, brother of our Burrell.  Her name is Nell McBeth.  Her family has maintained the cemetery and guarantees access to anyone wishing to visit the graves.  It was cool meeting a new cousin!

Raymond’s Funny Hat

raymond and daddy 1945

This is without a doubt the funniest hat I have ever seen on Raymond.  Did Daddy bring it back from someplace while traveling around on ships?   This photo was taken late summer or early fall of 1945.  Victory in Europe was celebrated by the Allies on May 8, 1945 and Japan officially surrendered on September 12, 1945.  Daddy’s discharge from the Navy was on August 24, 1945.  I guess since he had been in the service for 8 years, they let him go before Japan surrendered.  During the war, Momma lived with her parents in Brooklyn, New York.  Not long after the war ended, they moved to Clarkston, Georgia to be with the Fortenberrys.  

Since I will be in Mississippi next Friday with 3 of my sisters, I probably will not be posted a Friday Fun.  Catch it the following week!

Family time last week


I tried to post this picture last Friday but the internet was really having problems at the cabin!  Sorry I don’t have everyone in the picture!

Last week the “children” of Wanda and Adrian Fortenberry, along with their spouses, enjoyed our family retreat at Smithgall Woods near Helen.   

It was a little chilly for Linda, so she was snuggled tight in her blanket.  Barbara was reading about places to go for short trips during the day, and Chuck was WAY beyond relaxed.  The fall colors were just reaching peak just as we were leaving.  We even told “ghost stories” about the outdoor fire pit!   Take it from me – it is a wonderful thing to belong to such an amazing family!

Update on Polish Kin


Death of Remiszewski

I have located approximately 120 kin in the Polish records!

 This week, while reading Polish microfilm, I came across this beautiful calligraphy.  Wish all the Polish “stuff” was that easy to read.  The gist of the top image says “record of deaths for the parish of Kolno, state of Lomza, for the years 1809.”  The bottom record is a death record of a man named Lucas Remiszewski, husband of Helena Dabkowska.  He was 70 years old.  This record is from 1813 which means he was born about 1743.

I know you are wondering who this man is – generation by generation here goes….

Wanda Wierzbicki Fortenberry (1921-2009)

Raymond Kasper Wierzbicki (1892-1968)

Jan Wierzbicki (1862-?)

Ignacy Wierzbicki (~1838-?)

Tomasz Wierzbicki (~1814-1861)

Antoni Wierzbicki (~1785-1845) was married to Brygida Remiszewska (~1785-1840)  The record above is for her father, Lucas Remiszewski.  That makes him my great, great, great, great, great grandfather.  Feel free to figure out how many “greats” he was for you!



Adrian – 1937

1937 Adrian head986

 In 1937, Adrian graduated from high school.  No one in the family has ever seen a photograph from that event.  Recently, while going through Daddy’s albums of negatives, Terry and I discovered some previously unknown photos.  Please go to the main page and read the blog entry about new stuff.  It will lead you to quite a few new images.

Our Family Chicken

done Family dinner 1966

I think this picture was taken in December of 1965.  Beginning with Daddy on the left and going clockwise – Andie, Reggie, Beth, Raymond, Kris in the highchair, Linda.  The three missing people would be Momma who always sat at the end across from Daddy, Barbara on one side of Momma and Terry on the other.  I have no idea who took the picture!

You are probably asking yourself “Why is this called ‘The Family Chicken?'”  When looking at this picture of us eating dinner, I remembered an unusual custom we had.  While we were growing up, Momma would buy one large chicken at the grocery store and cut it up herself.  (Cut up chickens cost more.)  One chicken would feed all eight of us.  Over time, we developed “assigned” parts.  Reggie always ate the wings, I ate the Pulley bone (sometimes called with Wishbone), and Momma ate the back and neck.  I don’t remember what everyone else ate – maybe they will post a comment and tell us!  All I know is that Momma sure didn’t get much meat eating the back and neck!  The chicken was fried, baked in the oven with mushroom soup, or if she really wanted to stretch the number fed, we would get chicken and dumplings.  Wow, could she make dumplings!

Clarkston Water Tower

clarkston water tower

This water tower was removed quite a few years ago, but everyone probably remembers it!  The city of Clarkston actually had an artesian well located near the old Clarkston High School which supplied the whole city with water.  The city of Clarkston managed the chemicals used in the water to purify it.  The man that put the chemicals in the water lived across the street from Mom and Dad and we could always tell when he put in too much chlorine.   BJ, thanks for the picture! 

Scary Stuff!

emily with scary clown083

Keith Fortenberry made a comment on Facebook wondering where Mom’s “Burning Giraffe” picture was.  He mentioned that it “creeped” him out as a child.  While looking through photos for this week’s Friday Fun, I came across this one of Emily when she was about 4 years old.  This clown doll Mom made for Emily always gave me the creeps but she loved it.  I have no idea why we took this scary clown to have a photo made!  As you can see, it was not a clown that would make you smile!  It never seemed to bother Emily but Jenny, to this day, has problems with clowns!  Guess this one gave her nightmares!



Fish from the Past

crappie mold

Anyone who walked into Mom and Dad’s den should remember this guy!  Thanks, Keith for sharing the picture! When Daddy would catch a really big crappie, Mom would make a mold of the fish.  Yes, she used the real fish.  She would press the fish into plaster using plastic wrap to keep it clean.   And yes, we later ate the fish.  After making the mold she would make a cast (so it would stick out like a real fish) and then paint the details.  I need help remembering – was this the only one?  I know there were “taxidermied” bass, but were there more plaster fish?

Picture from the 1983 Fortenberry Reunion

1983 reunion968done

This photo was taken in June of 1983.  Our family was in the process of putting the finishing touches on the Fortenberry genealogy.  The gathering included not just the Ferman Fortenberry family but everyone Daddy could find that would come to Clarkston.  Reggie and Raymond look about the same but I don’t know where the skinny Andie and Barabara went!  

Of course, this reunion, like the one last year, was held at Milam Park.  This picture comes from an album originally owned by Jack Fortenberry.  Thanks cousin Babs for sharing.  

Andie 15 years ago

me and t rex962 done

me and t rex again done963In 2000 and 2001, I spend a week during the summer at the Fort Peck Interpretive Center having fun “playing” paleontologist.  It was part of a program sponsored by Keith Rigby of Notre Dame University to help inspire teachers.  We spent time roaming the fossil rich areas around Fort Peck, Montana and then learning how things are done in a paleontology lab.  The sites we scanned for fossils were near the area Dr. Rigby discovered the largest known T-Rex fossils three years before.   One of my many memorable trips related to teaching earth science!

Yes, I know it is hard to recognize me!  The day before the flight, in desperate need of a haircut before leaving town, I stopped someplace I had never been.  When I asked for a little trim, I ended up nearly bald!  I don’t think my hair has been that short since I was a baby!

In both these pictures I am working on different T-Rex bones with a Dremel  tool.  As is obvious, it is pretty tedious separating the matrix from the fossil.  Sure was fun!!!!!!

Changes in the Fortenberry Cemetery

WM Huffman

Gasua militia

Many of you do not know this, but our cousin, Jim Huffman has been maintaining a small but important cemetery for many years.  This cemetery is called the Fortenberry Cemetery and is located east of Progress, Mississippi on property originally owned by Gasua Chapman Fortenberry, brother of our Burrell Taylor Fortenberry.    Without his work, this cemetery would have been lost to vegetation and neglect.  Jim – Thank you from all the Georgia Fortenberrys!

With the help of his local Sons of Confederate Veterans, he has been able to get five tombstones he is placing in the cemetery.  The two shown here will honor military service.

The one with Jim in the picture is for Jim’s ancestor, W. M. Huffman.  You are probably wondering how he is related!  W. M. Huffman married Gasua’s second child, Narcissa Izela Fortenberry.  That makes Jim and me fourth cousins.  Our common grandparent is the Mississippi pioneer, William Jasper Fortenberry.

The second picture shows Jim’s addition to Gasua’s grave indicating his service in Quin’s Militia.  You will notice he served in 1825 and 1827.  His brother, Burrell, joined Quin’s State Troops at the beginning of the Civil War.  Burrell is also buried in this cemetery.  For over 100 years, his tombstone was marked with a large rock.  When researching for the Fortenberry book, Daddy ordered a plaque from the Veteran’s Administration and had it placed on his grave. 

To see more about this cemetery, please visit  Look up the Fortenberry Cemetery in Pike County Mississippi.

Jim, Thanks again for all you do!


Raymond Werbicki and his great

granddaughter Kris

kris and g grandpa

This picture would have been taken the summer of 1967.  From the story told about this photo, Grandpa and Kris were looking at a spider.  Grandpa would have been 75 years old.  

And Now the Rest of the Story

You may not have noticed, but there was a black car behind Daddy and Grandpa is last week’s picture.  It was a late 1940s black Chevrolet  with a straight drive transmission.  In talking to Raymond this week, he remembered this car as being the one Mom ran up and “parked” on a guy wire at the corner of Indian Creek Drive and DeBelle Street.  According to Raymond and Reggie’s “collective” memories, Mom was turning from Indian Creek on to DeBelle on our way home.  Raymond and I were in the back seat.  Reggie was minding Terry in the front seat.  (No Linda and Barbara yet.)  Reggie says that Terry (most likely 12-18 months old) was trying to move off the seat beside her to stand up.  As Mom was shifting gears to turn the corner, she saw Terry moving, was not sure what was going on, and reached out to grab her.  In the mean time, the car went right up the guy wire and got stuck with the front wheels off the ground!   Since we lived in the first house on the left after the turn, we walked home, leaving the car.  I remember crying since I bumped my head.  Daddy immediately bought a new car with an automatic transmission!    In retrospect, it becomes clear why Mom may have had problems with a straight transmission!   Since she grew up in Brooklyn, all her travels were by subway or foot.  When moving to Georgia after WWII, she had to learn to drive.  I doubt she drove much the first few years after moving since she had so many small children to take care of.   Reggie and I estimate the accident happened about 1952.  Below is a picture taken December, 1954.  This black car was the one Adrian purchased after the accident.  It is an early 1950s Dodge with an automatic transmission!  Reggie is standing at the top of the steps.  

first view of Norman done311

A Smiling Grandpa!

1949 Daddy & Grandpa Werbicki

This picture, taken in 1949, is of Daddy (Adrian Fortenberry) and Grandpa (Raymond Werbicki).  It is about the only picture ever taken of Grandpa where he is actually smiling.  Adrian would have been 31 and Grandpa was 57.  Notice that the photo was taken at Stone Mountain.   The carving was begun in 1923 and left incomplete in 1928 due to all sorts of problems (mostly fraud).  When this picture was taken in 1949, the carving had been left unfinished for over 20 years and the mountain was privately owned.  Carving began again in 1962 and was completed in 1972.  Who knows was the future holds for the world’s largest bas-relief carving!


More summer fun

pine lake 1957 l and b black and white195

This picture of Linda and Barbara always makes me smile.  I have seen this exact response to a camera while watching Thomas and Will.  Someone says “look this way” and one child is oblivious to everything.  Evidently Barbara needed some help with listening and following directions.  Linda felt is was necessary to help by pointing her face to the camera.    Barbara is thinking “Do what?”  Either that or someone caught Linda trying to have one less sister –  Ha ha!  This photo was taken in 1957 at Pine Lake.  Pine Lake is a small community surrounding a lake near Clarkston, Georgia.  Years ago it had a small beach and open to the public.  Once the Fortenberry brothers purchased property on Jackson Lake and later Lake Lanier we no longer went to Pine Lake.


Andie and the Watermelon

andie and watermellonSCAN0532

Since I have been doing “birthday” pictures, I might as well include one of myself!  Though I don’t personally remember the moment captured above, it is one I was told about.  Since we had very few ways to cool off in the summer, we would get in any water around.  Evidently, I really didn’t want to be stuck in a pan cooling off with a watermelon!  Maybe that is the origin of my lifelong dislike of the fruit!  Not really – like Mom, I have an allergy to the stuff!   Year: 1950.

Emily’s Enchanted Forest

Black shrooms 1

We just got back from visiting Emily and Scott in their new home west of Corning, New York.  Their home is in a 21 acre hemlock and hardwood forest.  As you go down their long driveway through a huge stand of hemlocks and reach the opening where the house is, you pass a lily pond and Japanese garden.  It is an amazing place!  It is so fun to walk around the yard because you are surrounded by wildflowers, mushrooms, mossy areas, and all the cool things you can see in a natural forest.  The above picture was taken a couple of mornings after a rainy day.   The black things are black chanterelle mushrooms.  They are all around her yard along with so many other species I lost count.  As Terry can tell you, they are considered a choice mushroom to eat.   Yesterday for an appetizer before dinner, they picked some, sauteed them,and found them delicious.  Like many of us, it appears that Emily inherited that Polish mushroom gene from her great grandmother, Pauline Werbicki too!

Another fishing picture

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I cannot remember who loaned me this picture to scan but it is one I don’t think many of us have seen.  It was taken in 1958.  I know that Mom took the picture because she almost always took them slanted and often cut off heads.  Sorry Raymond – I didn’t decapitate you!  With Raymond is Linda holding the fish and Barbara.  Hey BJ – you are fully clothed!  At the time, Daddy had a Ford Ranchero.  It is interesting that even though Daddy was always on construction sites where he was building houses, apartments, and shopping centers, he never drove a truck.   During the 1950s and 1960s, only farmers drove trucks.  After leaving the farm in Mississippi to join the Navy in 1937, I don’t think he ever drove a truck again.


Teresa – Mom’s “Pixie”


Since Terry’s birthday is next week, I just had to share one of my favorite pictures of her!  As the title says, Mom did call her a pixie.  Evidently she did not know she had this nickname until recently.  One of the things I like about this picture is the fact that she had recently been cutting her own hair!  With five daughters, Mom cut our hair herself and kept it short so she would spend less time having to deal with it.  In this picture, Terry had obviously been trying to improve on the cut Mom had given her.  No way did Mom cut bangs to look like that!   That smile says – “And I like my bangs this way!”

Barbara – the baby of the family!

Barbara in grass at lake small

In honor of Barbara’s recent birthday, I just had to post this picture from a previous blog.  It was taken by Adrian’s first cousin, Bob Simmons.  Bob was the son Jewell Simmons, Adrian’s mother’s brother.  The photo was taken on the shore near our boat dock at our “weekend” home on Lake Lanier.   Hope you had a wonderful birthday!


A Poem from the Heart

This week Terry has written a poem for us – it is hot off the press!  


Take a moment to wonderLove Clarkston 1943 close-up 2

A moment to see

How heart’s many meanings

Flow moment to place.

It gathers speed, gathers seed

Rooting down, moving round

Spreading warm, growing soul

Starting young but never old.


Heart is home full of lovepoppos bd 1982 done864

Heart is dinner shared by all

Heart is valued to its core

Heart is given free with joy.


It takes one

It takes two

It takes all

Till it’s filledbook picture 2

Heart is that clay that binds us

And sets us free all at once.


This heart begins with you

Your Heart comes back to me

A dream from long ago

A measure of things to come.

Family love, family joyshooting the breeze cropped302

Binding spirits, molding lives

From whispers as a child

Remembered long ever after

            Heart is home.


Hearts full of love

goup 2

What a grandfather!  He made sure every one of his fifteen grandchildren knew he loved them!  After retiring, a day was not complete unless he saw one or more.  I cannot tell you how many times he said to me “Are you sure you want only two children?  You should have more!”  It is only after reaching grandparent status myself that I understand his feelings.  Around him left to right:  Emily, Jenny, Susie barely visible being squeezed, Jay, Betsy, Wanda.  Backs to camera:  left – Heather, right – Leigh.

Opportunities Lost in Time

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Sometimes as I am going through pictures, I spot one that makes me sad.  This picture was taken in the summer of 1958.  Standing in back – Reggie, Raymond, Andie.  In front – Terry with arm around grandpa, grandpa (Raymond Werbicki) holding Barbara, Bachie (Pauline Werbicki) holding Linda.  Could the three in the back look more disgruntled or surly?  We must have been pulled from doing something really important (ha-ha) to get together for the photo.  It was probably being taken so our grandparents could take a copy back to New York.

Why the title “Opportunities Lost in Time?”  I now wish I could talk to my immigrant grandparents to discover their stories about life in Poland and what it was like coming to America.  I know many of us, when we get older, look back and wish we could have “one more chance” to talk to our parents and grandparents.   Having been working on our Polish roots for several years now, I have accumulated quite a few questions that can now never be answered.  Moral of the story –  If you have questions to ask your relatives alive today – ask them! 

 Our Mortality

A and W on wall

 “The things we do outlast our mortality…. They’re like the pyramids that the Egyptians built to honor the pharaohs.  Only instead of being made of stone, they’re made out of the memories people have of you.”   author – R. J. Palacio

To most of the people reading this blog, the two people in this photo gave each of us an incredible number of wonderful memories.  Please take a moment to think of a few!

Victory in Europe Day

May 8, 1945

VE Day getting decorated

146 N 4th St VE Day

Victory in Europe Day was a public holiday celebrated on May 8, 1945 (70 years ago today).  On that day, the Allied countries accepted the unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany.  This event ended the war in Europe.   It is hard for us today to imagine the joy the country must have felt to know that Hitler was no longer alive and the complete end of the war was in sight.

These two pictures were in Momma and Daddy’s old photos.  Momma (Wanda) noted on the back of the first one that the house was located at 146 North 4th Street in Brooklyn.  They were decorating for a block party to celebrate VE Day. Top photo: On the ladder is Raymond Werbicki, Jr.; close to him on the step is Momma with her back to the camera; to her right on the sidewalk is her sister, Reggie.  The little girl is listed as “girl who lived next door.”  The second picture shows the completed decorations.  On the sidewalk are Raymond Werbicki, Jr. and brother Felix.  Daddy (Adrian) can be seen sitting next to the front door.  At the time, Daddy had recently finished some fire control schooling at Ford Instrument Company and was stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Raymond Fortenberry would have been a two month old baby somewhere inside the house.

Aunt Reggie and Azaleas

Aunt Reggie 1973

Aunt Reggie and Bachie moved to Georgia after Grandpa died in December of 1968.  In this photo, taken in May of 1973, Aunt Reggie is showing off the azaleas in her back yard!  It must have been a wonderful change to find herself living in a place where she could plant all the flowers she wanted instead of in a Brooklyn, New York row house.  The back of Aunt Claudia and Uncle Elmo’s house can be seen in the upper corner.


azeleas 1965

With all the azaleas about finished blooming for the year, I thought everyone might want to take a quick trip down memory lane and look at the front yard on Norman Road.  


Easter Card 2015

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When John and I got back from Florida last week, we had an Easter card from Poland.  The only way I know it is as Easter card is by the artwork – certainly not because I can read it!  Krystyna and her daughter Stanislawa (my fourth cousin) had sent it to us.  I think Mom would love that I am now communicating with relatives in Poland!

Easter about 1960

Linda and BJSince Linda and Barbara were too young to be in the previous Easter picture, today’s Friday Fun has the two of them in their 1960 Easter dresses.  Actually the year is a guess on my part since the picture did not have a date.  You will notice a similarity in hair cuts during this time.  With five girls, I am sure Mom kept our hair short to make it easier for her to manage keeping all of us neat and clean!  What pretty blue dresses!

Easter – April 18, 1954

easter about 1954 (2)

Easter, 1954 would be the last Easter at the house on DeBelle Street in Clarkston.  In December of 1954, we would be moving from our two bedroom house (with seven in the family) to the four bedroom house on Norman Road.  Sorry that Linda and Barbara are not in the picture but Linda would have just turned a year old and Barbara was still two months away from being born.    I wanted to use this picture because of how impressed I am with what our mother could accomplish.  Look at the dresses Reggie, Terry, and I are wearing!  We never had store bought clothes because Mom made everything we wore.  These are really elaborate dresses and must have taken hours to make.  She most likely made them without a pattern too.  I am sure she even made the headbands to match the dresses .  Reggie and I are even wearing gloves!  Of course Raymond is looking pretty spiffy too – I guess his clothes came from the store but don’t know that for sure.  Just wish the photo was in color!  

Linda Fortenberry Wood

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This week’s Friday Fun is dedicated to our sister Linda.  During the first week of March, Linda had bypass surgery to correct a blocked blood vessel.  She is currently at home recuperating with the help of her wonderful family.  Chuck has even given her a pedicure – though from what Linda says, it will not be a new career path for him!  She has a long, hard road ahead but has the will power and support to come through better than ever.   Please send good thoughts and wishes her way!

Note:  I love this school picture of Linda with mischievousness shining through her eyes! 






Pendant 2

While growing up and roaming the shores of Lake Lanier for arrowheads, rocks, and minerals, Mom and Dad got interested in lapidary (the art of cutting and polishing stones for decorative purposes).  By the mid 1960’s, a lapidary shop was set up in the basement and became a source of great pleasure.  They made jewerly for just about everyone!  Quite a few of their pieces are still around.  To the left you see a broach made for one of our grandmothers – I think Bachie since she really liked purple/lavender.  It is made of amethyst agate with circular inclusions and is now owned by Linda.  Linda, do you know who it belonged to?  I don’t know if Mom or Dad made it but it is a beauty!  

Some Fortenberry + Polish humor


This may not be understood by everyone that reads this, but to my brother, sisters, daughters, nieces, and nephews it will make sense.  When Wanda and Adrian’s children were little, like most children we mispronounced a lot of words.  We changed the word meaning grandmother from Babcia to Bachie.  We also changed the word Dupa!  If you don’t know, ask someone in the family to explain it to you.  

Our fishing expert!

After all this years of helping others, Raymond is still willing to lend his expertise!  This great picture was taken at Saint George Island, Florida about 4 or 5 years ago.  He is helping Shelia, his wonderful wife, with her fishing pole.  Terry went down to the shore with them and was able to get this amazing sunrise picture.

About 60 years ago!

T, A and Ray jackson lake maybe 54 croppedBefore purchasing the property on Lake Lanier, our family owned land on Jackson Lake.  This picture is from 1954 or 1955.   Wow, long time ago!  I am standing with Raymond so it might look like I had something to do with the fish on the stringer.  Think again.  Fish and I have never really gotten along because they always seem to stick their fins in me.  If you have never experienced this – it hurts – especially if they are catfish.  This bounty, that would later hit the dinner table, was most likely caught by Raymond and Daddy.  – Andie

Raymond and Fishing

Over the next few Fridays, our topic will be about Raymond and fishing!

mom fishing lanier 1958

1958 – The first Lake Lanier property the Fortenberry family owned was located at Flowery Branch.  Mom seems to have snagged a “fish bush” and needed Raymond’s help to retrieve her catch.  Notice the mystery person in the water.  You may not recognize him from this view, but it is Raymond!  – Regina Fortenberry Cross.



No new picture today

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John and I are in North Carolina this weekend so Friday Fun will be a little different.  Because I am working from my Kindle, I don’t have access to my pictures.  This one of daddy has been posted before.  It was taken in Recife, Brazil.

Please take a look at the link given here.  It will take you to the newest newsletter from the National Association of the Van Valkenburg Family.   As you may know, when our direct Fortenberry ancestors came to the colonies, they used our “original” name – Van Valkenburg.  I submitted an article and you should see it on page 3.

Click to access Winter2015.pdf

What great siblings!


Last weekend we had a great time at Smithgall Woods!  In fact, we have planned another trip for October.  We are proof of the saying “the family that plays together stays together.” It is amazing how fast the years have gone by.   Take a look at the pictures below to see just how many years have gone by!  We are in the same order in both pictures.  Everyone should have such a great family!  The world would be a better place for sure!

F6 individuals


Happy Birthday

Wanda Maria Werbicki Fortenberry

wanda on driveway 1958 143

Wanda was born January 24, 1921.  Things have been so hectic recently that it completely slipped my mind last week!  Sorry about that.  I have a funny story about Mom’s birthday!  I have a mild form of dyslexia that causes me to reverse or rearrange numbers and letters.  Sometimes they get stuck “wrong” forever!  One of my reoccurring issues has always been reversing the year and date of Mom’s birthday.  I have always celebrated her birthday on January 21st and she was always okay with that.  One year (about 1972) when John and I were living in south Florida, I picked up the phone to call to wish her a happy birthday.  When she answered the phone and heard my voice, she started laughing so hard she could barely breathe.  I am on the other end listening and thinking “What is so funny?”  Her first words were – “you did it again.”  As soon as she said those words I knew I was three days early again.  

A photo to make you smile!

group 5 done

I love the expressions on the faces in this picture.  In case you need help – left to right – Jenny, Emily, Keith, Wanda and Susie.  I am not exactly sure what is on Keith’s shirt.  Maybe he will remember and tell us!  Photo taken about 1980.

More summer fun with fish!

Three plus An Re about 51

This picture goes back another 10 years from the one posted last week.  The older half of the family is included in this “look at what we caught” picture from about 1951.  Left to right, Reggie, Andie, and Raymond holding our future evening meal.  The adult in the picture is Aunt Reggie (Momma’s sister, Regina Werbicki). And yes, Reggie was named after her.  Looks like Raymond is struggling to hold them off the ground and I am trying to stay far enough away as possible from the slime and smell!

Looking for summer!

1960 Grandpa, kids and fish

Since last Friday, I am no longer looking for spring – I’m looking for SUMMER!  It was 11 degrees on our deck this morning.  Too cold for me!  So today’s picture had to be a summer one.  My three sisters look so happy to be standing with their grandfather!  Grandpa (aka Rajmund Kasper Wierzbicki) is hold a stringer of carp and I am sure they were later cooked the Polish way with tomatoes.  Other than Grandpa and Bachie, we all would have been walking around the house holding our noses – what a smell.  I estimate this picture was taken about 1960. 

Looking for springtime!

Daddy and azeleas in 1965 348

January is not one of my favorite months!  Some of the redeeming past events that come to mind were the birth of Jenny (17th), Momma (24th) and Andrew (31th).  Otherwise, I would prefer to skip the month.  Like Momma, who was actually diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder (acronym appropriately is SAD), my mental state is easily affected by the lack of sunlight.  I need lots of sunshine!  This picture of Daddy, taken in the spring of 1965, shows him sitting in the front yard enjoying the spring sunshine and beauty of their years of yard work.  Hope you get a little ray of sunshine in your heart just looking at it!

A Voice from Christmas Past

In 1983, Adrian and Wanda’s six children went together to buy a trolling motor for Daddy’s boat.  Because it was a group gift, we added a group card.  The inside of that card is below.  

Card from all 6 done 916

Momma wrote a message at the top that only now comes to light and resonates across 31 years.  It reads “Without the kind of children we have, our family Christmas story never would be possible.  This 1983 one has been the best so far.  Where have the years gone?-“



After Momma died in 2009, Reggie saved this card from among a stack of cards Momma had kept.  Reggie’s message she wrote to share with this card follows:  “I’m in the process of downsizing and was going through some cards I had saved over the years and came across this special card.  When I read it, I cried.  It’s rare that children can read many years later how their parents felt about them and how deep their love flowed.  Momma and Daddy’s love for us was spoken on rare occasions, but we felt their love was deep for each of us.  I just wanted to share their words with our family.”  Regina Fortenberry Cross

Christmas 1957

christmas 1957 done

By Christmas of 1957, our gang had reached the ripe old ages of: Raymond 12, Reggie 11, Terry 6, Andie 9, Barbara 3, and Linda 4.  Also with us is cousin Chip (Victor Everett, Jr) age 13.  Growing up, we were a happy group of munchkins and only had the disputes common to children with very different personalities.    As we have grown older, we have grown very close.  With age, we learn to accept ourselves and our siblings as we are.   Each of us has obviously learned some valuable lessons about life from our wonderful parents.   Our lives are richer today because of this legacy from Momma and Daddy.

Adrian as most of us remember him!

great pic by door done080

Daddy’s birthday is this Sunday, so a picture and story about him HAD to be the Friday Fun for the week.  The picture shown here is how most of the family remember him – with grey hair and a big smile!  He was one of the kindest people you would ever meet.    One of his favorite songs was Greensleeves and while I was still living at home, he would often ask me to play it for him on the piano.  I recently found a wonderful arrangement of the song and have been playing it often the past few days and thinking of him.  Happy Birthday Daddy!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Thanksgiving Momma cooking turkey DONE

This photo was taken some time in the late 1980s.  When I chose this picture, I thought I could smell turkey cooking!  This time of the year I really miss our big family gatherings.  Momma and Daddy were never happier than when all they children and grandchildren were in the house.  We are in North Carolina spending some time with Emily and we all wish you a Happy, Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. You might want to read/reread the two articles called Our Pilgrim Connection!

I Could not believe my eyes!


Index of 1862 births for the parish of Poryte, Poland


1862 Jan WBirth record of Jan Wierzbicki, grandfather of Wanda Wierzbicki Fortenberry

For many years,  I have tried to find information about my mom’s grandfather.  Because the church records no longer existed for the church parish where her dad, Raymond, was baptized, I had come to the conclusion that no records further back would ever be found.  Last week I gladly learned I was wrong!   The Russian conscription record for Raymond indicated that his mother (Barbara Dombrowska Wierzbicka) may have come from a small village (Korzeniste) a couple of church parishes south.  We did not have time to pursue this possible lead while in Poland.   Once home I discovered that their church records had not been lost, so I immediately ordered the records on microfilm.  While reading birth records last week, I came across the above name in an index for 1862.  Yes, it says Wierzbicki.  Polish handwriting that is 150 years old is usually very hard to read.  His name was beautifully written!  I know it looks like Wien instead of Wierz but their script letter z never went below the line like ours do.   Needless to say – I was ecstatic!    You will probably find the full birth record a bit more difficult!   I challenge you – click on the birth record to enlarge it.  Can you find the names of his mother and father?  His godparents?

Adrian and Wanda’s 75th Anniversary


card from mon done911

card from daddy done 9121939

Though we have no clue as to where Momma and Daddy got married, we are relatively certain it occurred on November 19, 1939.  At least that is when they celebrated the marriage.   The two of them had very strange nicknames for each other.  Make what you will of them!  Daddy didn’t know much Polish but his nickname for Momma was Stara Baba.  That is Polish for old witch or crone.  I never knew that growing up!  And as you can see from the card on the right, Daddy signed as “Bum.”  I rarely heard Momma refer to him as Adrian!   Many, many cards were signed to and from Bum and Stara Baba.   They were both very particular about what cards said and took great care in choosing the right one.  As seen on the left, Momma often did not sign her name.  Thank you Reggie for saving and sharing these cards!






Third Cousin once removed


KrystynaIMG_4097Krystyna 903










On our recent trip to Poland, John and I visited with an 83 year old woman our guide thought might belong to my mom’s Cybulski family.  We arrived at the house and after sitting down, I pulled out a notebook with pictures my mom had saved.  When our hostess saw this picture, she got very excited and by way of a translation by our guide, I learned that the picture was of her!  Notice the smile and hair – exactly the same after about 70 years!  On the left is a picture of Krystyna Kwidzyniski taken right after World War II, and the other was taken in September of this year.  What a treat to meet someone who knew the same stories my mom had passed down us about sending clothing and money to Polish relatives after the devastation of Poland during the war.  Her family was on the receiving end!  She said she wondered about her family in America and thanked me profusely for visiting her in Poland. 

Ferman’s fingerprints

In 1909, Ferman Esco Fortenberry joined the US Navy.  What you see here are his fingerprints taken at enlistment.  Check your fingers! Do you have any of these characteristics!  Just kidding.  Enjoy the data.  For a complete description of his service, please view the blogroll on the right called Ferman Fortenberry – Navy Years.

fingerprints625 done

1940 US Census of Clarkston

As everyone knows, every 10 years the Federal government collects census information.  Each time one is done, the information collected is a little different.  Below is the first census for Ferman Fortenberry after leaving Mississippi in 1939.   The page has been divided into two parts to make it easier to read; therefore, each person has data continuing on the second half.  This information was collected on April 19, 1940 and Mae Simmons Fortenberry has the symbol next to her name indicating she answered the questions asked by the census taker.  At the time of the census, Everett was still living in Mississippi, Elmo had a household next door to Ferman,  and Adrian was on the USS Helena CL 50 (light cruiser) stationed at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.  Enjoy reading the information!  If you would like a bigger view or an explanation of what each column is asking, please  choose Clarkston Census 1940 from the blogroll.

1940 clarkston

1940 clarkston 2


1920 Wedding of Pelagia and Rajmund

Polish spelling of their names

Wedding 1920 grandparents

Since John and I recently returned from a trip to Poland to learn more about these two people, they have both been on my mind for a while.   Old pictures are always interesting to study.  I love all the huge bouquets of flowers and Bachie’s unusual veil.  I would imagine her Uncle Stanislaw Cybulski (her mother’s brother)  “gave her away” since her father had, years before, disappeared someplace in America.   Bachie and Grandpa did not know each other in Poland because their villages were about 125 miles apart.  They evidently met because Bachie’s sister, Eva, married Stanislaw Piekarski and Grandpa was a friend of the Piekarski brothers.  Like Grandpa, the Piekarskis came from the Kolno area of Poland.  I will have a blog article ready in a few weeks with interesting information and pictures.  Our grandfather’s full name was RAJMUND KASPER WIERZBICKI.   No one, including his daughters, knew he had a middle name.


Family Reunion Fun!

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We had a wonderful family reunion!  All  but four of our 25 first cousins were in attendance – lots of second and third cousins meeting for the first time.  The above pictures were the only 3 family group pictures taken (sure wish I had gotten my group together for a photo).  It was great being back in Clarkston with everyone – what a great group of people to call family!


64th Birthday

poppos bd 1982 done864

This is not one of the best pictures in the world but with the upcoming family reunion, I thought it would be fun for everyone to try to identify the faces!  This photo was taken in 1982.  I think Rusty (i.e. Dave) is leaning against the wall and sleeping!

Double Trouble

Broken arms done862

Before discussing this week’s picture, I wanted to let you know that I did get more information about the picture of Reggie.  Read below for the corrected version.

This week’s picture was taken in the summer of 1980.  Jenny Criminger and Keith Fortenberry both broke their right arms.  Jenny was 3 1/2 years old and Keith was 13.   I believe Keith was hurt while involved with sports whereas Jenny rolled off our couch and put an extra bend between her elbow and wrist.  I think I was more traumatized than she was!  Those of you who know her son, Will – yes, it looks like Will with long hair!

Reggie – As promised

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As promised a couple of weeks ago, here is a picture of Reggie being crowned Miss CHS (Clarkston High School).  This event occurred during Reggie’s junior year in high school in the spring of 1963.  Linda entered her competition as a vocalist, Reggie played the organ.  Daddy had the organ moved to the high school the day of the pageant. Reggie played the song “Autumn Leaves.”  In 1964 she was a finalist in the Jr. Miss Atlanta Contest, once again playing the organ.   Yours truly would have NEVER entered anything that put me in front of people.  Even today, I do not play the piano or keyboard when others can hear me!  I, like many of my siblings and cousins, have a bad case of the Fortenberry shyness gene!

Summertime Fun

gang at lake done 863

This is probably one of the last pictures of Momma and Daddy enjoying Lake Lanier.   This picture was taken about 1984/85 at our, then new, lake house.  In the boat are Momma, Daddy, David driving the boat, and Eric standing.  Emily is on the orange float.  Jenny and Deborah are on the pontoon boat waving at John taking the picture.    Strangely enough, our lake house was just across the cove from the location of the Fortenberry lake apartments the F6 group shared during the 1960s.

Great Picture!

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Because I was already married by the time Linda and Barbara were in high school, I was not always aware of events occurring in their lives.  It was only after I began scanning all sorts of family pictures that I became aware of this one.   I love this image of Linda and I am sure Chuck does too!   I guess it is the sparkle in her eyes!

What a handful this crew must have been!

Mae and sons at 96 dpi 318

This photo of Mae and her six sons was taken 1930 or 1931.  In the back from left to right – Mae, Everett, Elmo.  In front – Adrian with hands on Clyde’s shoulders, Jack, and Don.   Imagine the work of keeping six boys fed and clothed during the Great Depression!  They certainly look healthy in this picture!

December 7, 1988

Dec 7, 1988 done 301

As you can tell from the heading, this photo was taken on December 7, 1988.  It was taken in the driveway of Adrian and Wanda’s house.  At this point, these three men (Everett, Adrian, and Jack) were the surviving sons of Ferman and Mae Fortenberry.  Everett was turning 73 in two months.  Both born on December 7, Adrian was celebrating his 70th birthday and Jack his 68th.  Heather, Terry’s youngest daughter, was the inspiration for this Friday Fun – she loves this picture of her grandfather!  This is probably the way all his grandchildren remember him best.  Thanks for the idea Heather!

July 4, 1970

I don’t usually want to put personal pictures on here but I couldn’t resist sharing this one.  Two weeks ago Reggie surprised me with this Polaroid picture she found in some of her stuff.  Our 45th anniversary is this Saturday and this picture was taken 8 days before our first anniversary. It blew me away because John and I have almost no  pictures of us early in our marriage.    Ah, young love- what a wonderful thing.  We must be doing something right – still going strong!

July 4 1970 835





Wanda’s Patriotic Dress – circa 1941

wanda's patriotic dress done387

Wanda unknown location and date 2 DONE



Among the pictures Wanda sent to Adrian during his time in the Navy are the two shown here.  Having grown up with immigrant parents in a Polish neighborhood, she probably, at times, felt “less American.”  It is definitely true that the people living in the ethnic neighborhoods of New York were often considered second class citizens.  On the back of the picture where she is standing, Wanda wrote “The dress is white with blue stars, the jacket is red, my hat is white, the shoes and bag are blue.  Boy was I an American!  I made the dress  how do you like it?”  Happy Fourth of July everyone!




Summertime fun!

ruby mines 1961 done 342

Sometimes our summer fun was a little strange.  We spent quite a few hot days at the ruby mines in Franklin, North Carolina trying to find gemstones.  Many times we actually did.  Pictured above are Terry, Mom, and Aunt Iris.  Believe it or not, we really did find some gems – good enough to be faceted and put into jewelry!  This photo was taken in the summer of 1961.  Terry would have turned 10 that summer, Mom was 40, and Aunt Iris would have been 33.


DNA too strong to deny on these two!




Every generation receives a new mix of DNA and every sibling in a family gets a different combination.  But sometimes our ancestry comes through loud and clear!  Of all the descendants of Burrel Fortenberry (born 1820) I have ever met or seen, my brother Raymond looks more like him than anyone!  


Six Siblings

All six

Picture taken about 1959-1960

Personally, I would never have chosen to have six children, much less the nine our parents originally wanted.   And though as children we often wished there were fewer of us, I am now thankful every day for the wonderful people that are my sisters and brother!  

Having lots of siblings is like having built-in best friends. – Kim Kardashian



Strange Coincidence

This is one of those stories that seem too strange to be true.  On December 6, 1941, Adrian Fortenberry was stationed on the USS Helena and docked at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.  He went to visit his 3rd cousin Alvie Fortenberry who was stationed on the USS Arizona.  They probably had an enjoyable visit discussing all their kin back in Pike County, Mississippi.  Adrian returned to the Helena and Alvie remained on the Arizona.  As I am sure you know, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor before 8:00 the next morning.  Alvie, along with 85% of the men on board the Arizona, went down with the ship.  The Arizona’s Captain, also a causality of the bombing, was a well respected officer named Franklin Van Valkenburgh.  Strangely enough, not only were Alvie and Adrian cousins, but both were cousins of the captain and never suspected it!  As mentioned in a previous article about Raymond’s DNA, our Fortenberrys are directly descended from Lambert Van Valkenberg who came to the colonies in the early 1640s from the Netherlands.  According to the National Association of the Van Valkenburg Family, Captain Van Valkenburgh was also a direct descendant of Lambert Van Valkenberg.  In fact, if the Y segment of DNA from all three men had been tested, all three would have been identical.   Need more info:  Read the blog on “Pearl Harbor” or “Our DNA.”


Are these two pics the same person?


Adrian but NOT834

Adrian 1938





So are both these pictures of Adrian Fortenberry?  Took me a while to figure it out!

Mississippi Catfish!

Uncle Andrew and Joe noodling internet ready 099 Today’s photo is one of my favorite candid shots from Mississippi and belongs to Jo Fortenberry Driscoll.  Thanks Jo!  The only two identified people are on the far left and are Andrew Jackson Fortenberry (Ferman Esco’s brother) and his son, Joe.  What have they been doing?   Because they are completely wet and holding a big catfish, they have probably been participating in the old southern tradition of noodling.  This is done by getting in the water and catching catfish using only your hands.  If you have ever tried to hold a slippery catfish or had a painful stab from a fin, you know this cannot be easy!  Though it might be hard to believe while looking at this picture, Uncle Andrew was a well known physician in Mississippi and Louisiana.  Joe, standing in front of his dad, would have been the F6 boys’ first cousin.  In notes that Adrian left for us, he discussed the “Fortenberry ear” and mentioned that Joe sported these special ears (looks like Uncle Andrew had them too).  Look at the photo again and you will see them!  

The clothing and hats in this photo remind me of the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”   The movie was set in the south in the 1930s and I estimate the photo above to have been taken in the early 1920s (Joe was born in 1916).  In case you were not aware:  There is a scene in the movie when George Clooney’s character is visiting a store to buy his special pomade.  The storekeeper is played by our “cousin” Milford Roy Fortenberry (born 1946 – see page 68 in the Fortenberry book).  He is descended from our several times great Uncle Calvin Kennington Fortenberry, brother of our Civil War ancestor, Burrell Taylor Fortenberry.  This works out to make him my fourth cousin, once removed.  

I love candid photographs!

F6 Birthday 1976

F6 bday 1976l 96 dpi Each December, the employees of F. E. Fortenberry and Sons would have a group birthday party for the six brothers.  When you look at the dates of birth you will see why!  This photo shows all six Fortenberry men in order of birth.  Back row left to right:  Victor Everett (Feb. 11, 1915), Ferman Elmo (Dec. 5, 1916), Adrian Woodrow (Dec. 7. 1918), William Jackson (Dec. 7, 1920).  Front row left to right:  Donald Curtis (Dec. 7, 1924), Homer Clyde (Dec. 16, 1926).   Because Clyde died in 1978, I think this may be one of the last group photos taken of all six men together.

Fortenberry Real Estate Office

real estate office485 This is the Fortenberry real estate office that was built in the early 1960s.   There will eventually be a big post on F.E. Fortenberry and Sons but I wanted to post this on Friday Fun.  Why?  While going through pictures, I had a flashback so here is a little known story about this location!  During the summer of 1966, like many of us, I had a summer job for the company.  I was working on typing and organizing newspaper listings for homes the company had for sale.  While sitting where I could see the door, in walked Joe Cox (high school friend and related by marriage) and with him was a guy I had never seen before.  He and Joe Cox were working on a construction crew for Daddy.  This new guy had a shirt wrapped around his wrist and was bleeding all over the place.  Joe wanted to know what should be done since the accident had occurred on the job.  The guy had tried to nail his wrist to a board!  Sorry, but I never even looked at the injury since I couldn’t take my eyes off the guy.  His image was burned in my brain.  Imagine my surprise when two months later John Criminger walked into my first quarter math class at DeKalb College.  Before we started dating, he had to break up with his Chattanooga girl friend that had a last name of SIMMONS!   As they say, the rest is history.


The Jeptha Alford House – Progress, Mississippi

jeptha alford house done788 This short article was written quite a few years ago.  Notice the inflation in the cost of building a home in the past 130 years!

“An Old Home”

The Jeptha “Dock” Alford home built in 1879, located ½ mile east of Progress, Mississippi on State Highway 575, when Dock and his wife Lamenda moved to this land which they had purchased from Mr. Willis Simmons and which still stands and is still occupied by the Alford family.  The house was built by a local house builder, Mr. Jack Fortenberry and his crew for a contract price of $175.00 for the labor.  All materials were purchased and paid for my Mr. Alford at a cost of $325.00.  The house consists of 10 rooms, 2 of which are upstairs, 3 fireplaces and a 9 foot front porch extending across the front of the house,.  It has been modernized by all conveniences being added such as hot and cold running water, bathroom, hardwood floors and carpeting, cedar behind closets, attic fans, room air conditioners, electricity, phone.  Dock and Lamenda reared their family of 10 here and the youngest son Claude still occupies the house where he and his wife Inez raised their four children, 2 boys and 2 girls.  It has now passed into the hands of the youngest son. The house was constructed of longleaf heart yellow pine lumber and the windows were all of heart cypress.  The wood blocks have all been replaced with brick and concrete blocks.  The roof was originally of pine boards but has been replaced with sheet metal roofing. What is the significance of the picture?  1.  The Jack Fortenberry (William Jackson Fortenberry) who built this house had descendants that followed him in the home building business!  His son was Ferman Esco Fortenberry and his six grandsons were the men that founded F. E. Fortenberry and Sons. 2.  The Willis Simmons who originally owned the land was Ferman Fortenberry’s great grandfather. 3.  Dock Alford’s wife, Lamenda, was the daughter of Hollis H. Fortenberry and the builder’s (Jack) first cousin.

A little more serious?

book picture 2 After last week’s somewhat strange faces, I thought I would follow that with a more serious image.  Since I was there, I know we were trying for a more “adult” pose!   If you look closely you will see that our men DO look serious but we women look like we are barely contained and about to break ranks.  Don’t you just love that twinkle in Momma’s eyes.  (1984 – photo made to go in the Fortenberry book.)

Easter 30 Years Ago!

eight of us Easter in the 80s

I have posted this picture on the Wednesday before Easter because I am leaving tomorrow to visit Emily.

This is not the best picture of the eight of us, but in memory of a lot of Easter Sunday’s spent in the back yard on Norman Road, I just had to post this one!  I don’t know the exact date, but it was some time in the mid 1980s.  What a wonderful family I have!

 I hope everyone took a look at the “Family Origins” post.  As of last month, I have been blogging for three years!  Amazing!  Over the next couple of months, I will not be working on a huge research topic; but, you will be seeing the weekly “Friday Fun.”  My paper and computer files are in desperate need of reorganization!     

Three Funny Sisters

new terry, bj, linda grant park 1962188

This photo was taken about 1962 and I think it is hilarious!  Terry (on the cannon), Linda (behind Terry), and Barbara (on the wheel) were taken to Grant Park by Bob Simmons’s wife, Arleda.  Bob Simmons was the son of Granny’s youngest brother and therefore was Adrian’s first cousin.  Notice that the coats the three sisters are wearing are alike except for size.  That’s because our mom made our winter coats too!   What wonderful expressions are on everyone’s faces!   I guess Barbara should be glad her face didn’t freeze that way!

Wanda’s Wonderful Quilts

someones quilt290 done Wanda was an amazing seamstress.  She could do anything with a needle, sewing machine, thread, cloth, and/or yarn –  make winter coats, wedding dresses, dolls and doll clothes, quilts, knit sweaters, crochet spreads, just to name a few.  One of her projects (which she accomplished) was to make a quilt for each of her grandchildren.  This picture shows her holding one up for the camera but I am sorry to say, I don’t know who it was made for.  Please let me know if you know the answer.  There will eventually be a long, photograph packed power point with lots of things she made for us.  I will let everyone know when I need photos!

Adrian Fortenberry 1984

Mason pin0626 1984 olan mills Daddy done 084           This picture was taken in 1984 when Adrian was 65 years old.  What is really interesting about this picture is the pin he has on his lapel.  The second photo is a close up of the pin.  As you can see, it is a 25 year membership pin for the Freemasons.  Adrian must have joined the Clarkston Masonic Lodge # 492 in the 1950s.  The F&AM means Free and Accepted Masons.  Freemasonry traces its origins to 14th century stonecutters and has often been controversial because the Catholic Church has always spoken out against them.  It has never been a political group; in fact, their rules require that they refrain from political or religious discussions.  The organization has always attracted men of intelligence and vision.  A few former members include Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Paul Revere, Henry Ford, James Bowie, Roy Rogers, Andrew Jackson, and Sam Houston.  This is a great picture of Adrian.  Please take a minute to remember a special time you shared with this very special person.

Ferman Fortenberry Home place in Mississippi

done house built by Ferman785

back of house built by Ferman done787

Photos taken 1966    Top picture:  Front of house, left to right – Linda, Barbara, Andie, Adrian.  Bottom picture:  Back of house, Linda and Adrian.  This house, located in Pike County, Mississippi, was the last place the Ferman Fortenberry family lived before moving to Georgia.  Ferman built this house himself after his father’s house burned in 1924.  Ferman’s father, William Jackson Fortenberry, was called Grandpa Jack by his grandsons.  After building this house in 1925/26, Grandpa Jack moved in with Ferman’s family.   Adrian told his children several things about this house: 1.  Grandpa Jack died in the front right room of this house in March, 1928.  2.  While playing with a nickel (a lot of money for a child during the depression), Adrian accidentally pushed it through a crack between the boards of the house and lost it!  The incident was still fresh in Adrian’s mind in 1966! 3.  Like many places in the south, Mississippi cotton was devastated by the boll weevils in the late 1920s and 30s.  Adrian remembered waking up during the night seeing Ferman in the fields putting insecticide on the plants by hand because it was supposed to be more effective if done at night.

Our Clarkston Celebrity

Mr Thompson the clown at Ckstn womens club done728 Growing up in Clarkston in the 1950s, we had our own local hero.  He was Fred Bailey Thompson.  What was his claim to fame?  He was a clown for several circuses including Barnum and Bailey. This picture, taken at the Clarkston Women’s Club, shows him sharing his life with some of the children of Clarkston.  If you look closely, a poster from the circus is hanging on the wall behind him.  He also wrote a children’s book called Animals Have Tales that Reggie still owns.  The Fortenberrys in this picture:  1. Liza, 2. Bobby, 3. Jo, 4. Terry, 5. Andie, 6. Reggie      Thank you Jo for sharing this picture which was taken about 1955! Scroll down to an article (Circuses Sold…) in the Atlanta Journal about his life from this link: Circus life

Wanda’s mink coat

1945 maybe momma don, reggie done442


The photograph on the left was most likely taken in late 1944 or early 1945.  During this time, Adrian was in New York in school learning about the newest developments in fire control for ships’ guns.  Don Fortenberry had recently joined the Navy and must have been visiting New York.  Best guess of location is McCarren Park since it was near the Werbicki’s house and not far from the New York Navy Yard.  Of course, the other woman is Regina Werbicki, Wanda’s sister.   Many years ago, Adrian had the coat relined and gave it to Barbara to keep.  She sent the picture on the right and says that it is in amazingly good shape to be 70 years old!  Interested to see others like it – google “vintage mink coat!”

Adrian and his girls

1974, Dec 7 daddy and girls done781This picture was taken December 7, 1974 on Adrian’s 56th birthday.  Standing left to right:  Beth, Barbara, Linda, Aunt Reggie, Reggie.  Seated left to right:  Kris, Andie, Adrian holding Emily and Wanda, Wanda, Terry, Cindy.  I am sorry to say a corresponding picture of Adrian and his boys has not been located.  In 1974, along with Raymond and his sons-in-law, it would have included Keith, Rusty, and Eric.  

pic for Tucker Fed Article 1963 done 324F-6  The six Fortenberry brothers and their mother!

Back row – Ferman Elmo Fortenberry, William Jackson Fortenbery, Adrian Woodrow Fortenberry, Victor Everett Fortenberry Front row – Donald Curtis Fortenberry, Nellie Mae Simmons Fortenberry, Homer Clyde Fortenberry This photo was taken in late 1962 to be used in an article written and published by Tucker Federal Savings and Loan about their company,  F.E. Fortenberry and Sons, Inc.  The full article will be on a future blog posting. It comes as a shock that I remember my relatives exactly as they looked in this picture taken over 50 years ago!   Time passes whether we want it to or not.  Look for love and joy each and every day. Lost time is never found again. – Benjamin Franklin

Elizabeth and Wm Eli Simmons done747

Don’t we wish we had this car today!!

From what I can determine, this photo was probably taken in the mid 1920s.   It appears to be a model T Touring car.  They had wooden wheels!  Original picture belongs to Jo Fortenberry Driscoll.  Thanks Jo! The two “old” people are William Eli Simmons (1858-1945) and his wife, Elizabeth Covington (1862-1939).  I don’t know who the three children are, probably their first three grandchildren.  As you can see on the side of the picture are the words Mama and Papa.  This note was written by Nellie Mae Simmons, wife of Ferman Esco Fortenberry.  How does that make you related to them?  They would be my (Andie’s) great grand parents. Cookie Jar

The Cookie Jar

When we were growing up, Momma’s favorite type of cookie she would bake for us was oatmeal with lots of raisins.  That woman loved raisins!  We had them in our carrot and apple salad, in our rice pudding, and any other place she could find to hide them.  Our cookies always went into this spotted cookie jar.  We did not grow up eating store bought cookies because they were so expensive, but this jar was often full.  After walking in the door from school, this was the first place we looked for a snack. Strangely enough, my plates I use every day are covered in spots.  I must have some mental connection between polka dots and good food!  Some things we never forget!

The Many Grandchildren

Granny and Ferman with Gkids numbered

This photo was taken in late summer, 1951 and shows all of Ferman and Mae’s grandchildren at that point.  By number: 1.  Eleanor, daughter of Everett and Jane 2.  Pat, daughter of Elmo and Claudia 3.  Terry, daughter of Adrian and Wanda 4.  Eliza, daughter of Everett and Jane 5.  Reggie, daughter of Adrian and Wanda 6.  Bill, son of Jack and Carolyn 7.  Andie, daughter of Adrian and Wanda 8.  Sonny, son of Elmo and Claudia 9.  Jo, daughter of Elmo and Claudia 10.  Becky, daughter of Jack and Carolyn 11.  Gloria, daughter of Don and Iris 12.  Bobby, son of Clyde and Joyce 13.  Chip, son of Everett and Jane 14.  Raymond, son of Adrian and Wanda   Yet to be born: 1952 – Chuck, son of Everett and Jane; Ben, son of Jack and Carolyn; Donna, daughter of Don and Iris 1953 – Barry, son of Jack and Carolyn; Linda, daughter of Adrian and Wanda 1954 – Dale, daughter of Clyde and Joyce; Babs, daughter of Jack and Carolyn; Barbara, daughter of Adrian and Wanda 1956 – Gary, son of Don and Iris 1957 – Marie, daughter of Clyde and Joyce, Glynn, son of Everett and Jane   Grand total:  25 grandchildren (10 boys, 15 girls) all with the last name of Fortenberry.  What a legacy!

11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Terry
    Jan 25, 2014 @ 09:32:39

    AWESOME, Andie!! I have ALWAYS loved this picture!


    • tina
      May 01, 2014 @ 17:46:07

      Are you a Fortinberry, do u know a Sonny Fortinberry, that lives in Atlanta??


      • Samuel C Poole II
        Dec 28, 2016 @ 00:04:20

        Hi, Miss Tina, my name is Samuel Poole II, I was Born in Picayune Mississippi but Adopted thru a private adoption company out of Hattiesburg at Forest Medical Hospital. I have no clue who my birth Family is I have a Photo of myself I can send to you to see if that would help.The Both Certificate that I have says that I was Born in 1976 on July 21st if you need more information I will give you my cell phone number thank you.

      • Deborah Fortinberry Edwards
        Jan 21, 2017 @ 11:09:10

        Are you kidding me?!?!?!?. . . I had a few hours to kill before leaving for Aunt Barbara Fortinberry Shultz’s funeral today (Albert W. Fortinberry’s wife who lived on Cleavemark beside Clyde) , when I took a turn down Memory Lane Googling Eleanor Fortinberry Miller and Eliza Jane. . . Well, Eliza Jane Fortenberry from the 1800’s popped up and caught my eye, so I started reading. I didn’t think anything about it until I came across a pic of a sailor with his Mom kissing him. She was Mrs. F. E. Fortenberry and I stopped. . . Aunt Mae??? Whoa there Beowulf! This is family! Then I saw “Notes by Andie”, and I knew. . . My granddaddy was Sheldon Burrel Fortinberry, my Daddy was Sheldon Burrel Fortinberry, Jr., and my brother is Sheldon Burrel Fortinberry, III. I still think “in” is the original spelling! Good job, very interesting!
        -Deborah Fortinberry Edwards

      • criminger
        Jan 21, 2017 @ 15:10:05

        Hi Deborah! Thanks for letting me know. I have passed the information on to others in the family. I remember Barbara as being a very vivacious and classy lady.
        As you can tell, I still love family history and try to keep the stories alive through my blog. I am so glad you found it.

        Andie Fortenberry Criminger

  2. tina
    May 01, 2014 @ 17:44:23

    I’m looking for some Fortinberry that live in Atlanta, Ga. My mother is Marie snedker and her mother is Betty Fortinberry before she got married. My phone number is 770-653-7415. If u can help please!


    • Deborah Fortinberry Edwards
      Jan 21, 2017 @ 11:17:23

      Marie has Sheldon’s (Sonny) phone #. “He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother”, to quote a song. He will be in Atlanta today at Arlington Cemetery for the funeral of Barbara Fortinberry Shultz’s funeral.


  3. ginnyandchucksfamily
    May 03, 2014 @ 19:52:04

    Love the house information. GGF Jack would have been 26 when he built the house. Wonder who taught him how to build? (Of course Burrel was already dead at that time.) ???


  4. heather
    Jan 24, 2015 @ 23:05:01

    Wowie. I read all the way to the bottom of the page. Don’t tell mom. Great job, Auntie!


  5. ginnyandchucksfamily
    Mar 20, 2015 @ 14:30:23

    Daddy made it for Bachie . Mom had it for a while after Bachie died but one day when I was admiring it Mom said I should have it since I was named for Bachie (Pauline). Now that I am “Bachie” I love it even more.


  6. criminger
    Apr 03, 2015 @ 11:44:27

    I thought that was the case. It looked more like a “Bachie” piece that one for Granny.


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