Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Alexander & Martha (or Martan) Upton great-grandparents

Did you know that I have Brown blood coursing through my veins?

There is no way of denying that this red-blooded, Boone County born,

Missouri raised, now a Hoosier grandma-is a Brown!

And just last summer, I found another branch.

Alex & Martha with 5 of their children...

Joseph Leslie being my grandfather-right end, second row

& Maudie (Brown) Toliver being cousin Karen's grandmother-right end, first row

Late last summer, we made a trip to central Missouri & had a weekend of visiting with cousins on both sides of my family. In spite of it being a time of sadness after a cousin's death, we enjoyed getting re-acquainted with Brown & Fulkerson cousins. And with blog material galore, I did a post about our visit. Not long after posting, I received an email from a lady who was full of all kinds of Brown information I would never have found--a not so distant cousin that I had never met!

Cousin Karen

For some reason, my grandparents moved away from the Warsaw, Missouri community where the Brown's had finally settled. My grandparents were poor people & I don't ever remember them owning a car. And perhaps for that reason, they seldom returned to Warsaw & somehow the families lost contact.

Both Karen & I were searching for seemingly unobtainable family information.

I gave up quickly...thinking, who would ever be able to trace someone with the very common name of "Brown".

I struck a gold mine of genealogy information that Karen very generously shared.

She had even written a book about her Grandma & Grandpa & it was full of family history, included tales she remembered Grandma Maudie telling. I too shared my "Leslie" side of the story, information she had no idea where to search for. Together, I think we have this branch of the family tree almost complete!

Just last week, Karen, daughter Kanetra, & granddaughter Heather, made a trip to Ohio & Indiana to tie up some loose ends of their family tree. They came to spend most of the day with me last Friday & it was as if we were already family & old friends. Maybe it's a Brown thing...but neither of us lacked for anything to say!

Karen came bringing a gift

one that I love & treasure...

a collage of my Brown family!

Lunch time at Zaharakos--downtown Columbus

Kanetra, Heather, Karen & me

Who would ever have dreamed only a few years ago how small our world would become! The Internet has made the impossible happen. If used in the right way, it can be a wonderful thing. Without it, I would never have met my Missouri Brown cousins, from Aunt Maudie's branch. And I wouldn't have wanted to miss meeting these sweet ladies. Their visit just wasn't long enough. Maybe another time we can get better acquainted & share more family memories.

Cousins...Karen from Missouri & me

I have learned a hard lesson in the past few years while working on both sides of my family genealogy. Ask questions while you can. Some of the family stories will mean a lot when passed on to younger generations. Many of those stories are locked in the memories of our grandparents, parents, aunts & uncles. And once those loved ones are gone, those stories are forever lost. So rev up those computers, buy some sort of family tree program, join a website such as, & find your genealogy gems before it is too late! You never know where a branch might sprout.


kjk304 said...

Hi Sheila,
What a wonderful blog you have! Heather and I really enjoyed our day in Columbus with you. We may not be as zealous about the ancestry hunt as my mom, but when I saw a picture of "MY" great-grandma (Maude Brown Toliver) in "your" photo album it really drove home the fact that family ties do run deep and it is really a small world after all. I am lucky enough to remember my great grandma Ta-ta, as we all called her, and I loved learning more about her family through the photos in your album. Thanks for sharing all of this with me and my daughter and I know Mom had a wonderful time sharing all the stories, too! Look us up on your next visit to Missouri! Kanetra and Heather

Sherry said...

I love your collage. What a wonderful treasure to have. you have beautiful grandchildren. Have a great 4th! Thanks for stopping by.

Sheila said...

Kanetra-I was so glad that you came! I thought your Mom was just bringing Heather, so you were a pleasant surprise. And Heather was a very good sport to spend her vacation exploring cemeteries! I wish I could have know your Ta-ta! From Karen's book, she sounds like she was full of herself. I may surprise you & see you in Missouri one of these days....& you come back to Indiana! Love,Sheila