Category Archives: My Family Lines

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!

    Hello world!

    Ernest and Susan (Stanwood) Simpson

    My great grandparents, Ernest and Susan (Stanwood) Simpson

    Growing up, my grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Edwards, played a pivotal role in my life. Living next door to her, I spent much of my time at her home. Later, when she moved across town, Mom would drop me off at “Grammer’s” house before school, and the bus would take me there after school. Grammer was the kind of grandmother most kids would want – prepared with cookies and milk when I’d get off the school bus, and always ready to help with home work. At Christmas time she could never keep a secret from me. I don’t recall a year she didn’t tell me what gift she’d have for me under the tree (and sometimes she’d even let me see it!), but always warned me to “pretend to be really surprised!” As a grew up, I began paying closer attention to when she’d tell stories about how family. She always spoke with great pride when she’d talk about her mother being a Stanwood. She’d saved old letters and photographs that would later provide my first clues when I began researching our family history.

    Like most genealogists, my first efforts began at the National Archives. I’d spend hours scanning the censuses, and would come home and look for more clues, searching for something I’d missed. Eventually I was able to locate cousins who were also tracing our heritage, and through them obtained more hints to solve family puzzles. After my grandmother died, my mother took a keen interest in genealogy; one of my best memories of my mother was our 2004 research trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, where we visited home of many Maine Stanwoods, descendants of our ancestor Job Stanwood. My mom passed away just two years later, and I will forever be grateful for the hobby we shared together in her last years.

    With the passage of time genealogy has certainly evolved; so much information is now available online. Even without a subscription to genealogy databases, one can find clues by “Googling” their surname. While I’ve had many web sites through the years, this is my first effort at posting my family history online. Extending it through a blog to reach out to other cousins is also new – time to catch up with the 21st century!