Category Archives: My Family Lines

Grandparents make the world a better place – a tribute to my Grandmother, Goldie Simpson Edwards

My grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards

My grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards, about 1974

In the era when families are spread through the U.S., I suppose my family was quite an anomaly. So much so that in later years my grandmother would often remark, “I must have done something wrong – I just can’t rid of you kids!” Of course, all of us “kids,” now well into adulthood with families of our own, knew she was fiercely proud of her loyal brood of children and grandchildren. Her life had been spent raising her three daughters, and then, spending her mid-life and senior years doting on her six grandkids.

Reflecting back, I now realize I took my childhood for granted, and assumed that all kids had wonderful grandparents and extended families. Continue reading

Why Genealogy? And the pictures that started it all!

Last night I went to the Family History Center just long enough to order the microfilms I needed for Somerset County, PA – taxes, naturalization records, church records, etc. Yup, just a brief stop and then I’d head home and start my after-work chores. Well, lucky for me, two of the eight films I’d planned to request were there! I didn’t get any new info, but I was able to confirm info I’d found online at (Needless to say, it is always exhilarating to see the original document, even though it wasn’t “new” information!) While wrapping up for the night, I was chatting with the volunteer who was manning the library. “So what go you interested in genealogy?” he asked.

Who is this handsome man?

Page 22 of Lavina Bursley Stanwood

The thrill of solving these puzzles is what has me hooked and keeps me feverishly seeking answers to my family mysteries. Continue reading

The Gene Bug that keeps biting!

It’s hard to believe that last year this time I was just putting together a sketch of my Uphouse family in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Using the censuses, I came up with some hypotheses on relationships – and most have proved correct! When Henry Uphouse died, his kids seemed to be spread abroad throughout Somerset and Westmoreland counties, and while I was reasonably certain these kids were my aunts and uncles, I had no initial proof. One invaluable web site to assist in my endeavor is Last night I found a newly-posted, extracted obituary for William H. Uphouse on there. Actually, they had two of them. A quick email and by mid-morning today I had scanned copies of both! Continue reading

Pennsylvania research – oh the value of research trips!

My husband and I just returned from a five-day research trip in Pennsylvania.  It was a whirlwind trip, and as I had limited time, I had to focus my priorities and not allow myself to get distracted.  What wonderful results!  I could easily have spent the entire time at the wonderful Somerset County Historical Society!  What an awesome place!

What made this trip especially thrilling was being able to verify theories, positively identifying my third-great grandfather’s gravestone, clarifying misinformation found online, and getting to actually touch and handle 170 year old documents listing my family in 1840.  What exhilaration!  What joy!  For all these reasons, whenever possible, an on-site research trip is really the best way to work on a family history.

Gravestone for Henry Uphouse, Barron Cemetery, Middlecreek, Somerset, PA

Worn and degraded headstone of Henry Uphouse

One of my first objectives was to solve the mystery of Henry Uphouse, my third great grandfather, whom I believed to be buried at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church Cemetery, also known as Barron Cemetery, in Middlecreek, PA.  Having done extensive research in Somerset county, Pennsylvania, I knew he was the only Henry Uphouse listed in the 1840 and 1850 censuses in the entire county.  I had viewed his probate records, scanned decades worth of microfilmed tax records for the county, and was confident my assumption was correct – Henry Uphouse died in sometime in April, 1857.  My dilemma?  Pennsylvania’s tombstone project listed his date of death as April 14, 1852.  Recognizing the possibility of a transcription error, I was anxious to visit the cemetery myself to visualize the gravestone.  My husband and I searched the entire site, and could not locate the headstone.  A second search through and I began scrutinizing dates, looking for one that stated 1852 or 1857, and finally found the stone shown the right.  Since the stone was so worn, the name was simply unreadable.  However, the year was clearly 1857, not 1852.  I took several photos of it, sat that evening, wishing the name to somehow magically appear.  Then I remembered an old trick I’d read about to obtain information from worn headstones, and knew I couldn’t rest until I’d tried everything to positively identify this as Henry’s headstone.

The next morning we set off to Walmart for the requisite supplies – charcoal, large paper, and at my husband’s suggestion, tissue paper.  Continue reading

In Memory of My Daddy, James Ennis

Daddy, Christmas Day 2009

Webster’s dictionary defines “father” as “a man that has begotten a child.”  I disagree.

A father is a man who has loved, raised and cared for a child.   A man who has cared for and raised a child he has not “begotten” is even more to be cherished, and is even more of a father.  That certainly describes my own father, my Daddy.

My Dad married my mom when I was only 2 ½ (almost three) years old.   One of my earliest memories was before their marriage.  Daddy and I were on our front porch when he presented me with a Jane West doll.  She was green and plastic, and if I recall correctly, had painted yellow hair.  Even though I hadn’t yet developed into the country girl I would eventually become, I loved the Jane West doll and had her for many, many years.  That was the first of many early memories of my Dad during my childhood.

Dad was a big kid at heart.  Continue reading

Genealogy – Old Fashioned Style

Flora Stanwood Simpson with husband Fred Simpson

Flora Stanwood with her husband Fred Simpson and his grandson, Orval Swanson

In my last post I discussed how the use of the internet has expedited some of my research.  However, I’ve also learned that sometimes we can become too reliant on databases, web searches and other online tools.  Sometimes we just need to go back to basics.

Such is the case in my search for a photo of Flora (Stanwood) Simpson.  Aunt Flora was one of those people that stayed put.  Since she was found year after year, census after census, in the same place, I got to “know” Aunt Flora better than many of the other Aunts and Uncles in my family tree.  Flora was married three times.  She was widowed at the age of 25  when her first husband, Morton Howe, died, leaving her with four small children.   Next she married John Miller.  This marriage was brief, as in 1900 she married her third and final husband, Oliver Fred Simpson.

My grandmother, Goldie Simpson, recalled seeing Aunt Flora when she herself was very young.  She remember this “very old woman with wrinkled socks.”  Since my grandmother was only 3 years old at the time, she couldn’t offer many other details.  :-)  However, she did remember many of Flora’s step chlidren, who were my grandmother’s first-cousins.  The relationship is a bit complicated, but the short story is that there were two Stanwood women who married two Simpson brothers. Continue reading

Where is Grandma Caroline?

I’ve been researching the Stanwood family close to twenty years now. (Well, actually, maybe a bit longer than that, but I’ve been serious about it for about that time.) The “finds” are fewer and far between now, and I still have a few mysteries plaguing me. Most of those involve missing deaths/burials of my Stanwood ancestors. Thanks to the internet, information is a bit easier to access, and Google has netted enormous results in my searches. Take, for example, my search for Grandma Betsy Wasgatt Stanwood (my 4th Great Grandmother, wife of Benjamin Stanwood, and his first cousin). The Stanwood clan had moved from Eden (now Bar Harbor), Maine to Woodville, Maine (they are reported to have named the town!), and then headed west in the late 1860s to Minnesota. I’d spent years browsing Minnesota microfilms, searching for clues to Betsy’s death place, always unsuccessful. Then about five years ago I hit the lotto with Google – a simple search brought up a listing of deaths announced in the Ellsworth Herald. There was Betsy who had apparently traveled back to her beautiful home town in Eden, Maine, where she died in January 1874.

I’m hopeful that one day I will also locate the death place of Caroline White Stanwood, wife of Betsy’s son David W. Stanwood. Since the internet solved Betsy’s mystery, hopefully it too can help me find Grandma Caroline!   Perhaps YOU have the answer to my mystery?


  • Caroline White was b. 4 Dec 1830 to John and Mary (Scott) White in Chester, Penobscot Co, Maine
  • She married David W. Stanwood 18 July 1847 and resided in what is now known as Woodville, Penobscot Co, ME. She is found there on the 1850 and 1860 censuses.
  • The family relocated to Minnesota, where is listed on the 1870 and 1875 censuses in Monticello, Wright County, MN.
  • In 1880 and 1885 censuses, Caroline is listed with her family in Northfield, Rice Co, Minnesota.
  • In 1888, Caroline and her husband David (and daughter and son-in-law Chauncey and Mary E. (Stanwood) McMaster) sold a plot of land located in Northfield, Rice Co, MN.
  • Caroline’s husband David W. Stanwood dies in 1890. He is buried in an unmarked grave in Northfield City Cemetery. The record of his death lists him as “married.”
  • Caroline’s mother, Mary Scott White, dies in 1893. Caroline is not listed as a survivor in her mother’s obituary.
  • The following repositories/indexes have been searched to locate her place/date of death:

  • Sherburne County Historical Society (MN) grave index searched April 1991
  • Rice County Historical Society (MN), grave index searched August 1991
  • Wright County Historical Society (MN), grave index searched June 1992
  • Anoka County Historical Society (MN), grave index searched June 1995
  • Stearns County Historical Society (MN), grave index searched February 1996
  • Benton County Historical Society (MN), search request February 1996
  • Rice County Wills 1862-1977, FHC film #1379339, search completed February 1996.
  • Rice County, MN Death & Birth Register, FHC film #1379368
  • Minneapolis, Hennepin Co, MN 1894/1895 & 1898 City Directories, FHC #s 1377073/7
  • 1900 Federal Census soundex (S353), National Archives film T1053, roll 149
  • Wadena Co, MN Historical Society, grave index searched June 2004
  • Wadena Co, MN online death index at searched June 2004
  • Dalby Database online search May 2010
  • Hopefully in years to come new online resources will be available to answer the question – Where is Grandma Caroline White Stanwood? Until then, the mystery continues…unless YOU have the answer to my question!


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