52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 5

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

So for the past few weeks I’ve been working on Amy Johnson Crow’s genealogy challenge 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.  Though I’m behind – I have found it very rewarding to focus on a different family member each week.

Week 5: In the Census

My relative that puzzled me for a while when it came to the census was my great-great-grandmother Mazie Lorenia Warner Dunbar Randol.  She was born in Pennsylvania in 1877 and passed away in Akron, Ohio in 1945.  She was my first big mystery that I solved as my mother had told me that she was buried here in Akron and it took me a while to find which cemetery and once I did, I found myself to be incredibly sad.

Mazie was a puzzle because my mother told me that was her name, but when you see varied documents with other names, I began to wonder if that was just a nickname.  You see, I have an 1880 Census saying her name is Mazie (but I didn’t find that one right away); and a 1900 Census saying her name is Mazie, but a 1910 Census has her name as Daysa (and of course, I found this long before the 1880 and 1900 ones).  1920 has her listed as Magie and 1930 has her with her rightful name of Mazie once again. I have yet to come across the 1940 Census but I’m hoping that maybe I can find her still using her address that I acquired from the City Directory.

Another stumbling block was that she had re-married, so finding information on other documents had her sometimes as her maiden name of Warner, sometimes as her first marriage of Dunbar (her first husband, Arthur, my great-great grandfather, passed away in 1912), and lastly as Randol.

I have found on some of my relatives marriage license they have my great grandmother’s name listed as Mildred Randol instead of Mildred Dunbar.  Yes I get a smug sense of satisfaction when I see this, as here I am knowing more than they did two generations later.

My goal is to write a letter to my great uncle (my grandmother’s brother) who is still alive in Florida, hoping he can give me some background information on what type of person Mazie was (he would have been 9 when she passed away).  From looking through the City Directories and how many times two of her daughters lived with her over the years, she comes across as a kind soul, willing to do whatever for her kids.

I know I can relate.

If you are interested in participating in Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge simply click here to sign up.


52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Weeks 3 & 4

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

I’m still playing catch up on Amy Johnson Crow’s great challenge of examining 52 ancestors in 52 weeks and today I’ll be highlighting weeks 3 and 4.

Week 3: Longevity

I was lucky enough to actually meet who, to my knowledge at this point in time, is my relative who had the longest life span.  My Gammy as she was often called by her grandkchildren and great grandchildren, was my great grandmother who passed away in 1987 at the age of 96.

Sadly I had no idea that I was going to get so fascinated with my family tree in the next handful of years, otherwise I would have asked more questions or paid more attention to Gammy when we went back to Pennsylvania and would visit her for an hour or so.

Margaret Wise was born on February 11, 1891 to Anna Maria Leighty and Jonas Wise.  She lived in Pennsylvania her entire life.  She married Charles Morgart in 1910 and they had 4 children, 3 living to be adults – one of them being my Grandma (who was my focus in Week 2).  In 1917 Charles committed suicide when he was given a terminal diagnosis. She married two more times before she passed, where I hear she loved to play the “mouth organ” until the very end (a harmonica for those who don’t know the lingo).

My grandmother inherited her good genes as she lived to be 93. My dad and I have similar body shapes as my grandmother and I often wonder if we will eclipse 90 as well.

Below is a generational photo with my great grandmother holding me, my grandma and my dad.

Scan_20180207 (2)

Week #4: Invite to Dinner

Who would I want to invite to dinner.  This is a difficult question.  Instinctively I would choose my grandma once again, just because I miss her so much and would love to have more conversations with her.  But the more I contemplate this, if I had to choose 1 person, I think I would select my grandma’s grandma or my great great grandma mentioned above, Anna Leighty.

Why Anna Maria Leighty (who my own grandmother was named after, Anna Maria Morgart)?  There are certain mysteries I have discovered about her and a dinner with her I’m sure would clear lots of things up.

I have a distant relative, whose daughter was my Grandma’s cousin.  I remember when we would go across town and pick her up for family dinners before she became too old and was put in a nursing home.  Her name was Anna Mary Mullen, and when I read items online that her father, George Mullen, left behind, he claims that his mother was Anna Maria Leighty, yet he is never listed on a census with her.  He was listed on a census with her mother, Mary Ellen Adams., as a grandchild, but that’s the most I have found how he is a relative.

I just find it strange that if he was Anna’s child, why wasn’t he living with her and her children? Was she married once before and my great great grandfather didn’t want anything to do with a child from her first marriage?  Was she taken advantage of and so her mother was raising that child?  So many questions that could be answered and I hope one day to finally find the answers to this mystery.

If you would like to participate in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks join Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge by clicking here.


That Moment When You Know It’s Time

So it happened a few weeks ago, I was walking up the big staircase at work (my work area is on the 2nd floor and there is no elevator) and it happened.  It was that motivation I needed to begin working out and losing weight.  I can honestly say I had that almost 7 years ago when I was able to lose 35 pounds but even trying to repeat that moment wasn’t enough to encourage me to lose weight.

I was walking up the steps and I could feel the bulge of my stomach down between my thighs on this particular day and that was it, I was done, I knew my journey of health was finally going to happen once again.

That was a little over 2 weeks ago.  I haven’t lost tons of pounds. I’ve lost 3.  But it’s better than gaining and I’ve been plagued with a ton of migraines so jumping around in the evening and provoking more headaches hasn’t exactly been on my list of things I want to do. But I have exercised and I’ve done well in staying within my calorie range.  I’m sure I can do better, but sometimes it’s easier to start off slow and work your way up to bigger milestones.

It’s all about believing in myself.  I’ve not stopped eating anything in particular, just tracking my food and trying to exercise when I am able.  I’ve done the 20 minute Zumba basic exercise and some Leslie Sansone “Walk It Off in 30 Days”.


Photo above from www.startdominating.com

I truly believe that weight loss is 99% mental and 1% physical.  It’s all about re-training yourself to eat better so you can feel better.  It doesn’t happen overnight and there are moments when you truly have to talk yourself into not indulging on your vices.

If you want to follow me on my weight loss journey I’m BeckyS222 on Sparkpeople, I would love to connect!

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Weeks 1 & 2

This year I signed up through Amy Johnson Crow’s website to do a year-long challenge of exploring my ancestors. Though the first month has passed and I have yet to delve into the project, I thought it would be a great way for me to flesh out my heritage besides just placing names on an ever-expanding diagram.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

So here goes my stab at #52ancestors

Week #1: Start

My first dabble into genealogy began when I was in sixth grade and it was an assignment for my Social Studies class. The goal of the project was to either go back to another state or to another country. For me, like many, it was an easy task: my paternal grandparents were born and raised in Pennsylvania and my maternal great grandparents came from England.  I researched family crests, wrote down a family tree to my great grandparents on all sides of the family and I was done. Easy peasy.

Until I got my second computer in college, a Packard Bell and it could do this wondrous thing: connect to the internet.

I began researching my family tree once again, contacting relatives through the mail this time, my curiosity strong but college preoccupied my time, along with my part time job and the search was set aside.

I now wish I hadn’t. At this time I still had 2 thriving grandmothers who could have answered many of the questions I have now.

As a history buff (it’s probably why it’s one of the my degrees) finding information about my ancestors has been thrilling. I’ve learned all kinds of thing in the 18 months I’ve been doing my search, and though I work full time and have kids, I have days where I am able to focus and make some new discoveries.

I have also learned a very important lesson: just because I find information fascinating does not mean everyone does. My mother really is not into my learning about her heritage. I’ve learned to not say anything and am trying to focus more on my dad’s side of the family instead.

Week #2: Favorite Photo


I’ll confess, I haven’t addressed photos yet having focused more on finding out if I have any Revolutionary War ancestors (I won’t give details now, it could be another prompt later in the year). My mom did share one with me when I began this journey and it still amazes me to this day.

Above is a picture of my Grandma, she is the one on the left holding the dog.  Why is this photo so amazing?  Because my Grandma is dressed like a girl!  I’m sure this sounds odd but once my Grandma discovered polyester pants and button down tops, she never looked back.  We have one picture of her in a dress, and I forget why she was dressed that way (perhaps her mom’s funeral, which happened in the summer of 1987).

It’s also just interesting to see my Grandma when she was young.  About a year ago I met up with my dad’s cousin (my second cousin) and when I sat down to speak with her I was blown away when she spoke of my Grandma, stating she was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.  Even now it makes me smile.

The woman to the right is my Great Aunt Vada. It’s her daughter who has helped to guide me quite a bit in my family history research.  Vada was actually my Grandmother’s sister-in-law (my grandfather’s sister), but they were best friends, more like sisters I hear from various sources.

Looking at the date on this picture of August 1937 – my Grandma was still a newlywed, having married my Grandfather in April of that year. I guess I need to do some more researching and discover who the other 2 individuals are in the photo. I’m going to assume that this was taken in Indiana as well, because I know that is where my grandparents got married, and that’s where Aunt Vada was living at the time, too. (As a side note, my father was born in Indiana in 1943).

What a fun challenge this is going to be, it’s most likely not too late to start!  Click here to sign up!





Book Review: Best Day Ever


Above image taken from www.kairarouda.com

So I’m one of those people who wishes I could afford every book I see, but I can’t, so I am smart and I use my local library, even for books on my Nook.  A book I got in line for was entitled “Best Day Ever” by Kaira Rouda and actually took me a couple of months to get as I was the 26th person to place a hold.

Two weeks ago I finally got the email stating the book was on loan to me.  When I began reading it, I’ll admit that the book wasn’t exactly what I thought it was going to be, and it’s main character, Paul Strom, is definitely a person I would never want to meet in real life.  I do not want to give away the ending so I won’t go into detail as I hate it when I’m reading a review and it gives away the ending of the book.

This was a complex story about a husband and wife heading up to their Lake Erie home to have what the husband described as their “best day ever”. It is told from Paul’s point of view, learning about how he met his wife Mia, landed his job, and how he feels about a lot of things.

As a person who lives in the state of Ohio, I found it quite fascinating as I knew the area they drove too as my own family just went camping a few years back where Lakeside, Ohio is located. Not to mention my sister attended church camp there throughout high school (I gave up on church camp at a young age after the one I went to in second and third grade lied to me 2 years straight, I never went back again).

I can say that I love how Kaira Rouda described Paul.  He was extremely well written and his quirks went on throughout the entire book, consistently giving you a specific vibe for him and his personality.

“Best Day Ever” is definitely a more serious read and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it as a book you would take to the beach.  It’s more of a “read it in the middle of the day, in the middle of the winter” kind of book.

Any books you think I should read?  Comment below as I love a good book!

If At First You Don’t Succeed…

So for over three weeks I’ve wanted to write this blog post.  I attempted to turn on the laptop and there were so many series of updates it needed to go through that by the time it was ready – I was done.

Then there was that Saturday a few weeks ago which had my daughter leaving the laptop on and simply shutting the cover when she was done using it the day before while playing her Sims.  When I tried to turn it on it just completely froze.  So I turned it off (very slowly) and restarted the machine.  It took a while (there was a very scary period of black screen time) but eventually the computer began working. But then I got lazy and binge watched the final 3 episodes of a show I started watching over the summer (Friends From College) and then my daughter asked to use my computer and then she never seemed to get off.  Granted, I’m the adult and could have said “I’d like to use my computer now” but binge watching was so much fun.

During the week I’ve not gotten a whole lot done – but I plug away with cooking and attempting to clean – but I’ll admit the drive I had the first few weeks of the year seem to have dwindled exponentially. Throw in a band concert for my son and high school orientation for my daughter and it has 2018 flying.

I have worked on the dreaded shelves in the back of my dining room and my hubby and I finally selected fabric to re-upholster our dining chairs. This is a big win as we have been debating over fabric for at least 3-4 years.

So here are some before shots of my dining room:

As I’ve confessed before, I am a honest to goodness pack rat and some times there just aren’t enough spots to hide everything.

And here is after:

It may not seem like it – but it really is a lot better.  The trick now is not using these shelves as catch all for anything we don’t know where to put it (for example – mail, ads, children’s homework that we aren’t sure if we can dispose of yet).

For the bottom shelves we are going to create curtains to cover the appliances that once had a home on top of the cupboards in my kitchen.  Trouble was, every time I went to grab them to use them, they were greasy and gross, so now they are in the dining room.  We have actually added contact paper to the bottom of the shelves so that way in case the quesadilla and sandwich maker get oily in the back from the hinges, it doesn’t mess up the wood.

Have you done any decluttering to get your 2018 started on the right path?  Let me know, share your photos below!

Happy 2018!


Looking forward to having a great 2018!  I hope you enjoy going on my journey to declutter my home, become healthier through smarter food choices and exercise, and being a more frugal me.

I hope all my peeps are successful with their resolutions if you choose to make them.

To a wonderful new year!


It’s the end of the year and with 2018 just a few days away I’m already itching to begin some of my New Year’s Resolutions. I always have a handful of goals to conquer and if I don’t achieve them all I don’t hold it against myself. As long as I complete at least one and attempt the others I’m satisfied.

This year the goals are simple:

  • Declutter
  • Become healthier
  • Stick to a budget

I’ve already begun on the declutter aspect of my resolution.  Below are the “before” and “after” photos of what I call my pantry (it’s a little cupboard that I picked up a while ago at Target).

I think my favorite part of my “before” photo is how the Monk cookie jar is turned toward the corner, like he is ashamed of the environment he is forced to stay in. He seems much happier in the second photo, all cleaned up.

I know it will take a while to get to every area in my home but I’ll keep everyone updated as I move about from one area to another.

I am an admitted pack rat so overcoming my sentimentality towards everything is my biggest obstacle. Oh, and a husband who brings home car parts that aren’t for any vehicle we own that he just knows he can sell online. <Sigh>

What are your resolutions for the New Year?

It’s December!

This year seems to have flown by along with being just plain crazy.  For a while I’ve had the itch to begin blogging again but then the night zips by in the blink of an eye and I’ll be laying in bed with my eyes just barely open, fighting to stay awake.  So I turn off the lights, set down my Nook and I give in to my exhaustion.

My children are both in middle school now. This has me starting to feel old.  Somehow I am bearing with it. The hardest part is convincing them to do their homework and then once done, actually turning it in.

So this has been my life for the past few months.  I will try to be better, dear readers, of blogging. Hopefully I’ll even accomplish amusing you!

Take it easy as we encounter the upcoming holiday season! I hope to share recipes and the like to make your world a little sweeter!

Until next time…



It’s Really Time for a Change

When you look up the definition of the word “health”, Google claims it is the state of being free from illness or injury, a person’s mental or physical condition.

It’s funny how when one thinks of weight loss, we often state we are getting healthy. I suppose, in reality, we have given being overweight a stigma of being unwell.  Which is sad as there are many people who are most likely both healthy and obese (you really can be both).

Sadly, I don’t think I am one of those people.  At least not at the moment.

For the past several weeks my foot has ailed me.  Now let me start out saying I have the world’s worse feet (I use to think ugliest too, but then I googled what a particular foot problem looked like, and realized my feet really aren’t that bad – or at least they could be a lot worse).  Anyhow, I digress, I have what I think might be plantar’s fasciitis.  I’m down to just heel pain again (for a bit I had my arch hurting, my ankles hurting – you see I sprained both ankles about 10 years ago and it takes very little for them to flare up at times – and one of the reasons that I think this could have happened is because of my weight.

I’m over 200 pounds and I need to lose weight.  Sadly, having ailing feet doesn’t help me at all with the whole “I need to lose weight” part of my life.  Not that I have actually been overwhelmingly motivated to do anything.

Tomorrow I am going to begin working on being a healthier me.  I have to do something because I’m tired of feeling like utter crap all the time.  I can’t help but think I know if I ate better and exercised more and lose some of this excess weight that I would truly feel better.

It’s all about finding the will power.

How do you find the strength to make it through the day?

Here is my before picture – not exactly a full blown here is me in all my glory picture – but it’s better than nothing – especially when I’m already ready for bed.  I’ll do a full-length picture tomorrow when I give my first update.


#babysteps  #icandothis  #willpower