Posts

Happy Thanksgiving!

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I'm making my mother's cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner. It is likely a recipe passed down from my Mam-ma. Of course, I'll be cutting this recipe in quarters, as I'll just bake it in a casserole. This is my favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner. Copyright © 2022 by Lisa S. Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family, All rights reserved.

Shadows: Great-Grandfather George Warren Lancaster

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I have a photo of my mother’s grandfather, George Warren Lancaster when he visited their home in Walnut Creek in California. This would have been in the late 1940s, before my mother’s parents, Tom J and Pansy Johnston, moved to Pleasant Hill in late 1949. How do I know? The background of the photo is the yard of their house in a rural part of Walnut Creek. I have other photos of my mother and my grandmother with the house in the background. This photo of Warren doesn’t show the house but it clearly shows a rural location. The Johnstons moved to a suburban tract home in 1949. I don’t know the exact location of the house. Personal records in my archives always listed their address as Route 1, Box 49 in Walnut Creek. My grandmother told me they rented the house from Mr. Ford and had wanted to buy it, but he was not interested in selling it. I did discover a 1947 directory covering Walnut Creek and Lafayette that listed Tom J. Johnston’s address as Route 1, Box 49, living on Castle Hil

Happy Halloween!

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Lela Nell Johnston, 1942, Sandpoint, Idaho Copyright © 2022 by Lisa S. Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family, All rights reserved.

It's Been Nine Years Now

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On this day in 2013, we lost our Mam-ma, just about a month shy of her 100th birthday. The last few weeks were tough but she lived a long and active life. She raised one daughter, Lela Nell, who pre-deceased her in 1992, and out-lasted her husband, Tom, who died in 1973. She also out-lasted her partner, Ernie, who died in 2007. We six grandkids watched out for her, taking turns to visit each week, where we took her shopping, to lunch, or to doctor's appointments. My two youngest sisters took on the largest portion of the tasks and she seemed to demand more of them than the rest of us. When I visited, we often talked about my genealogy research and she was always interested in what new discoveries I had made. I regret never writing up the history for her. I'm sure in my act of writing I would have discovered more questions to ask. You are still missed, Mam-ma, but your life and ancestors live on here in this blog. Copyright © 2022 by Lisa S. Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family

Road Trip: Taking Mam-ma to Stephenville, Texas

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My mother died in 1992 and as I began working on the genealogy of her family, I got to thinking about where she came from. My mom was born in Stephenville in Erath County, Texas in 1934. Her mother, my Mam-ma, was still alive at age 82 years old, and in 1995, I asked her if she’d like to take a trip to Texas to show me where she and Mom lived. She thought it a great idea. I purchased our plane tickets and she made arrangements with her niece, Sandra Hall, to pick us up from the airport and stay the night with her, and then drive us down to stay with her brother, RD Lancaster, in Stephenville.  Me with Hal and Sandra We only stayed four days. In hindsight, I wished I had had time to do some real research in the library in Stephenville and check out the historical society and the library at Tarleton University in town. Since doing newspaper research, I would also go to the genealogy library in Dublin. But I was still a rookie genealogist and didn’t think of these things. However, RD’s

Saturday Night Genealogy Fun - A Surprising Discovery

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It's  Saturday Night  - time for more  Genealogy Fun! Our mission from Randy Seaver of  Genea-Musings  is to: 1) What genealogical discovery surprised you? [Thank you to Linda Stufflebean for suggesting topics!] 2)  Write your own blog post, or add your response as a comment to this blog post, in a Facebook Status post or note. Here's mine: Surprisingly, I have not had a lot of surprises in my research. I have many brick walls, as we all do. There are always new parents to find for our outermost ancestors on the family tree. But I can speak about a small surprise. For many years, I could not find a trace of George W. Lancaster’s wife, Martha Polly, nor their younger children. The oldest son, William Carlton Lancaster, is the one I descend from through his oldest son, George W. Lancaster, who is my mother’s maternal grandfather. The thirty-two-year-old George W. Lancaster married Martha Polly, who was sixteen, on 25 October 1871 in Kaufman County, Texas. [1]  She was the daughte

Teams – Elda Wayne “Teensy” Lancaster Played Football

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My grandmother, Pansy Louise Lancaster, had two younger brothers, Rayburn Dinion “RD” and Elda Wayne “Teensy.” Both played sports in high school and college. I have found both newspaper articles and yearbook photos documenting their playing. Teensy played football and basketball and ran track, as well as being the sports editor of The Yellowjacket at Stephenville High School in Stephenville, Texas. [1] He graduated in 1945 and immediately joined the Navy. After serving in World War II, he returned to school and attended Tarleton University, Texas Christian University, and the University of Texas at Austin. Stephenville High School (1941-45) Yearbook photos help tell the story of his sports life at the high school. Here, he is shown twice: one as part of the football team and as an individual.  It’s funny that the owner of the yearbook wrote in his name as “Teensy” but the nickname listed on the individual photo is “Looch.” He was captain of the team at the beginning of the seaso