Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Pauline Turner is my great aunt, sister to my grandfather Robert L Smith.This family is as mysterious to me as my ROBERTSON line. Since I started my research, I wanted to know why Pauline and Robert had different last names and why they were found living with their grandmother? Have some answers, but not all. 

Although Pauline's last name is Turner, I found out through research that my great grandmother Marinda married Pauline's father John Isiah Turner November 26, 1902. Pauline was born 2 years later.

Unfortunately, her father John was killed in a work related accident on June 15, 1904. At the time of his death he was employed by a saw-mill company. Marinda had recieved from his accidental death insurance policy an amount of $312.00. I know during the 1900s that this was probably a lot of money, but to me not enough.

I can only assume that after Mr. Turner passed away, Marinda married a Smith and had my grandfather two years later in 1906. Now who this Smith is lead me to another blog post. I am sad that Mr. Turner had his accident, but if not, then my grandfather would not have been born, met my grandmother, and had my mom.

Although NaNa Odessa kept in contact with Pauline down in MS, once she passed away my mom never did. I have no way of knowing if she married, had any children, or if and when she passed away. She looks like a really nice lady. I don't know, but its ok because I have this picture. She looks happy and thats enough for me. Maybe in future research, I will find the answers to my questions.

Monday, September 28, 2009


I never knew my grandfather and since I have been on my genealogy journey, I am trying to get to know him and put his life back together after my mom last seen him in 1969.

Of course I sent away for his military records since he was in World War II and of course they were destroyed in the fire at the archives. They sent me his final pay record and it was so coded up that my brother who is a Drill Sgt in the Army Reserve did not understand it. Of course the record was from 1946 but GEEZ all I wanted to know is, What did he do in the Army and in World War II?

I also sent a request to IL State Archives thinking maybe my grandfather registered his military record with the state after he was discharged from the service. To no avail they sent my check back for $10.00 and stated that they no longer provide death record look-ups since it has become so demanding. When did my military request turn into a death record look up? They had nerve to send me a social security look up for a Robert Smith that died in January 1975 in Peoria, IL. This could be him, but thats not what I asked for. Will try again since they sent me a listing of state agencies and what records they hold. My bad, sent letter to wrong agency.

I also sent a letter to IL State Veteran's Adminstration and the National Veteran's Cementary Adminstration. I have not heard back from them yet, but I have my fingers cross.

Come on grandfather I know you want me to know about your life.  I feel your spririt with me because I know I am on the right track. From the stories that I have heard, you were crazy about your daughter(my mom) and would have wanted her to know what happended to you!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


March 25, 1907-Feb 1982

Lily mathis my paternal grandmother known to us grandkids as grandmuh. Lily was born in Pine Bluff, Ark and her family is a mystery to me just like my maternal side.

One thing I can say about my mother, although her and my dad's marriage did not work out, she made sure we maintained a relationship with my dad and his side of the family. So I spent so many summers on the Westside of Chicago with my dad and all my cousins.

Although my grandmuh didn't have much money and probably couldn't really afford to have me and my brother over, she always made sure us kids had a good breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I've learned a lot from her. She is the one who taught me what survival was all about. I miss those meals of chicken and dumplings, chicken and noodles, and chicken and rice. I know, a lot chicken. See back then chicken in our household went a long way and grandmuh showed us how to make that happen.

I miss my grandmuh!! If I would have known then what I know now, I would have spent a lot more time asking so many questions about her and about her family. I knew she was a twin, but learned that she had other sisters and a brother. If only I would have asked.  Now I am left to put her life back together by myself. Its ok, cause I believe thats what her spirit wants me to do!!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


The day after 9/11 was a somber day for America. By now we knew who was responsible and why. America was there for each other and we rallied around our President(wether we liked him or not). It was a good day to show those who attacked us just what we were made of!

I had ex-military friends tell me that they were ready to sign up again and fight. My brother who had been retired from the US Army, rejoined the Army Reserves. Even I was upset and ready to go after those that chose HATRED over human life.

What is so upsetting, is that with so many upset and so many ready to fight, why haven't we captured those responsible?

Like someone said last night "Hands up to those that gave up their lives so we can live ours".

Friday, September 11, 2009


I remember this day as if it was yesterday! September 11, 2001. My day had just began, processing claims and answering calls from members and providers. One of my co-workers shouted "A plane just crashed into the twin towers in NY. At first like everyone else I thought this was just a bad accident, but when the second plane hit, I know it was much more.

My next thought was of my cousin NaTasha, she worked and lived in NY at that time, but I didn't know where. Tried to contact my mom, but as her being a school teacher that was impossible and plus all the phone lines were jammed.  By this time the third plane had hit the Pentagon. WOW! Now its close to home.

By now I am really scared. See I live not to far from Washington, DC and although the Pentagon is in VA it seemed at that time like it was right around the corner. Most of my friends worked in downtown DC and I felt such emptiness in my stomach with such worry. I could not get anyone on the phone and no calls were coming through, so the President of my company decided to let everyone go home, I hugged my co-workers that have family and friends that lived in NY.

On my ride home I thought how could this happen? How many would survive such a tragedy and how many would parish? Traffic was terrible that day. I remember it took me almost 2 hours to get home. In the mist of all that was going on around me I started to pray. Pray for those lives lost, Pray for those that survived, and I prayed for those rescue workers that tried to save others.

I never knew that America was so HATED that someone would take innocent lives. See thats when I start really paying attention to what was going on around me. I never been that person to judge, but you really have to ask yourself, "What did we do"? As I sit here and write this blog, I still can't believe something like that happened in my lifetime and after 8 years never being able catch the ones that were responsible for such a tragedy.

My heart goes out to those families and freinds that lost mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. All 2,970 Americans that lost their lives for something so senseless and doing what we take for granted everyday, "LIVING OUR LIVES"!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


This is my Grandfather Robert Lee Smith. Still trying to get to know him. My mom has some good memories. I just so wish I could have my own. Mom says all the time he was crazy about you and Greg, but how do I know that. I was just 2 when he disappeared. So for me, my quest is putting his life together after 1969. I have made some progress, recieved his last pay worksheet from army(records burned). So many codes I have to find out what they mean. Its funny because one thing I understood was that he did serve in WWII. I know given the chance I would have loved him and NaNa Odessa with all my heart, but both left before I really had a chance. I believe their spirit is with me, especially on this journey of genealogy and I am destined to do THEM PROUD!!

Monday, September 7, 2009


Now I know madness mondays are for those ancestors that drive you mad. Although Aunt Carol did not drive me mad, but she did a number on my mom and the family.

Although my NaNa  Odessa only had one girl(which is my mom), her and NaNa Dora were real good friends so mom and Aunt Carol grew up together. Once my NaNa Odessa passed away NaNa Dora stepped in a mother figure for my mom and our families grew from there. Aunt Carol was like a sister to my mom and thats the way she treated her just like a sister
 All sisters and brothers argue but Aunt Carol was a totally different breed. She gave mom and Aunt Che Che(Angela) HELL!! She would cuss you out with a smile on her face. I used to laugh so hard because mom and Aunt Che Che would talk about her in a whisper, but Aunt Carol would say whatever she had to say about them in front of their faces. She would always tell me don't let them take advantage of you. See while at family gatherings everyone would be full so I would be left to put things away. Although Aunt Carol would be full too, she would always say make them help, but didn't offer any help herself. It was ok though i alwasy knew what she was trying to say. See once we moved to MD, she would call my mom everyday and leave these hour long messages on the anwsering machine and when you called her back, she would just say "where is your mama that piece of sh..". God I miss her.

On one visit home Aunt Che Che entertained us with a story about how my Aunt Carol lost NaNa Dora's medication and blamed it on everyone she could. She had Aunt Che Che so frustrated, she put Aunt Carol out of her house and Aunt CeChe was her ride home. Che Che said "she had me thinking that I lost the medicine".

See those are the things Aunt Carol did. She passed away suddenly from complications of COPD. She would not stop drinking or smoking. You would think that someone with the diease would change their bad
habits, but not Aunt Carol. She was her  own person and everyone knew that. I miss her so much that I have not returned to Chicago since her funeral which was 3 years ago. See whenever we flew home, that was where we stayed. One year she picked us up in a car that had flowers for an antienna. I laughed about it until she pulled over and told me to find my way. Although I have other family and freinds back home, that was always our first stop and where I stayed. She always made room for me and my boys and even when my mom traveled with the boys(without me) she would make my mom leave them with her so they didn.t have to get caught up in my mom's madness of trying to visit everyone.

I miss you Aunt Carol. I think she would be so proud of what I have done with the family genealolgy and her memory probably would have been much better than moms. I know it. RIP Aunt Carol!