… Just not all the one’s I expected to.

On Dad’s side, I found Great Aunt Rachel pretty much where I expected her to be, She was just outside of Warren in Bradley County Arkansas, teaching school. And better yet, it’s the first time Uncle Fred is officially listed as doing barbering work. I’d kind of hoped that my grandmother and aunts would be listed with her, but no such luck. And on further research I’ve only found the eldest of those aunts with another family member.

1950 US census, Bradley County, AR, Bradley Quarters, ED. 6-14 Sheet 43, line 3, Fred Elliott family; US National Archives.

And for Mom’s family I found the residents of 223 Maple St. My step-great grandfather, great grandmother, great uncles and great aunt. Grandpa Bill was in the service at this point. He’ll be much harder to find without complete indexing.

1950 US census, Kent County, MI, Rockford, ED. 41-77 Sheet 73, line 16, Harold Bailey family; US National Archives.

And I found my Grandma Ethel living with her mother and siblings in Grand Rapids. That’s the best example of my factory worker family that I’ve ever seen.

1950 US census, Kent County, MI, Grand Rapids, ED.87-159 Sheet 77, line 16, Cora H. Shea family; US National Archives.

Have you been searching the 1950 Census?

Happy hunting,


This is just a quick thank you to the Grands in my life! I love you all, think of you often, and I am so happy to be able to talk to one of you still.

Older Black Couple sitting on a couch with 3 grandchildren--toddler, grade school age, and baby around 1979-1980.
Me, Grandma Elnora, my cousin, Grandpa Levie, and my brother.
Older olive-complected woman and two darker skinned children, all dressed for summer.
Grandma Ethel, Me, and my brother.
Older Caucasian man sitting watching darker skinned toddler playing on the ground and baby lying down on front. All in front of a Christmas tree.
Grandpa Bill, me, and my Brother
Older gentleman seated in a dark paneled room and in front of a window.
Grandpa Bailey, who Mom sat me down next to when I started working on our genealogy for a Girl Scout Badge.

Happy Grandparents Day!


Johnson Twins, c. 1957My uncle and aunt are celebrating a big birthday this year! Happy day and many more birthdays to you both!

They’re the bookends in this photo with their father and their older sister in the middle.




Perspective…. One of this lot turned 40 last week. Time sure flies! My three oldest cousins, my brother and I at a Lake Michigan beach (maybe Hoffmaster?) in 1984. I have no idea why we’re pointing.










Happy, hunting!


robertejohnson1Today marks the 30th anniversary of my Great Grandfather Robert Eugene Johnson’s death. I don’t remember him at all, though I had to have been seven when he died. I get them impression that there is still a lot of anger and hurt surrounding his and my great-grandmother’s seven year marriage but I also know that if not for that union, I would not be here.

One note on the picture:  I have no idea who the woman with him is. She’s possibly a second wife before my Step-Great-Grandmother Rita?

Happy hunting!


Here’s one of those family finds that brings a painful truth of history to life…  Not everyone made it across the pond.

Rosetta Suffling was the younger sister of my 4th Great Grandmother and the second known child of William and Elizabeth (Pegg) Suffling. She was born 8 Apr 1805 in Lessingham, Norfolk, England. She married Samuel Gibbs at St. Mary the Virgin Church, Hemsby Parish, Norfolk, England on 25 December 1829. The couple appears to have settled in Hemsby where Samuel worked as farm labor. They had nine children: Samuel Jr, William Suffling, Isaac, Elizabeth, Edmund, Mary Ann, Alfred, James, and Matthew.

GibbsPassengerList1849On 1 May 1849 the family started their journey to the United States boarding the Bark Gov. Hinckley or George Hinckley under the command of Captain William Loring at London. Unfortunately around the middle of May (165 years ago this month) there was an outbreak of cholera aboard ship and by the time the ship arrived in New York on the 12 Jun 1849 10 individuals had died including Rosetta and daughter Mary Ann (both died 21 May), and her sons Edmund and Matthew (both died 23 May).


Samuel Gibbs and their remaining children made it to New York and Samuel married Lovina Huff to help raise them. Samuel and Lovina ended up in Barry County, Michigan in the vicinity of their Johnson cousins, my 3rd Great Uncles Matthew (who married his cousin, Elizabeth Gibbs) and John.

Happy hunting,


For more information on the 19th century sailing lines between America and the world see: Cutler Carl C. Queens of the Western Ocean: The Story of America’s Mail and Passenger Sailing Lines. Annapolis: United States Naval Institute, 1961.

Johnson Family12 years and going strong! Hope you have a wonderful Anniversary!


20 years! Happy Anniversary!

Johnson Family


William Amos JohnsonI’ve mentioned bits and pieces of William Amos Johnson’s life as it pertained to his parents and his wife Lena but never totally focused on him. And it’s seems a natural progression to move from Eugene Baker to his son-in-law (and my 2nd Great Grandfather)—especially since today is the 112th anniversary of William and Lena’s wedding.

William Amos Johnson was born 15 December 1877 the youngest child of William Suffling and Mary E. (Gordon) Johnson. William grew up in Cannon Township where the family had settled in 1873. By 1900 the Johnsons owned a successful farm noted for its large orchards and William remained at home to help with its management. He married Lena Baker 22 April 1902 at the home of her parents and the couple removed to a home on Moffitt Hill. Their first child Robert Eugene was born in March of 1905.

At the time of the 1910 Census the couple and Robert were enumerated with Eugene Baker’s household in Cannon Township where William was listed as attending college—something I’d like to know more about. In 1918 the only other child, Betty Lou Johnson was born.

As early as 1918 through 1922 the family lived in Traverse City, Michigan where William worked first as a pipefitter for Traverse City Gas Co, a tinner (would those be the same?) and then as a plumber for Arms & Cole. Around 1923 the family returned to Rockford, Michigan where William continued to work as a plumber. In September of 1928 Lena Johnson died after a six month illness. Betty Lou was sent to live with her Aunt Clara Harnack in Ypsilanti, Michigan for the school years and would come home for the summers. But three years later she died after a long illness at the age of 12.

In 1930 William was still living and working as a plumber in Rockford. I have yet to find him in the 1940 Census but at the time of the 1942 draft he reported his residence as Rockford, Michigan.

William died in August 1958 well remembered by his grandchildren and my Grandmother who remembers him going to play euchre with the boys back when the Corner Bar was Stag.

Happy hunting,


Johnson WeddingIt’s the start of wedding (and wedding anniversary) season. Here’s a teaser for an upcoming anniversary. This is probably the last time we all sat for a  photo together. These are my maternal cousins, my brother and I at my Uncle and Aunt’s wedding in April of 1994.

Happy hunting,