Monday, November 7, 2016

Genealogy Photo a Day: Week in Review

Genealogy Photo a Day is a month-long challenge coordinated by Genealogy Girl Talks.

Good grief. My plan was to post each day’s Instagram photo here on my blog during the November Photo A Day Challenge. I am sure you don’t want to hear how this thing and that got in the way, so I’ll just do a “Week in Review” and hope that things go better next week.

Day 2 – Ancestor
Susan Jordan Shiflett and family
Older woman seated is Susan Jordan Shiflett, my 3x great-grandmother.
The tall girl standing is possibly Segourney Shiflett Eppard,
my 2x great-grandmother
photo courtesy of Mary Garrett
I was over the moon when I got a Facebook message from Jan Hensley and an email from Mary Garrett asking me to help identify people in this photo. Mary is a descendant of the seated woman on the left, Jenetta Dovel Shiplett. In their early married life, Jenetta and husband Philip Pendleton Shiplett lived with his mother Susan Jordan Shiflett. Mary and Jan feel confident the older woman, seated on the right, was Susan, my 3X great-grandmother. They also think that the other girls in the photo are a combination of Susan’s children and grandchildren. The taller girl standing is most likely Susan’s daughter Segourney, my 2X great-grandmother. I hope they are right. Isn’t she just beautiful?

Day 3 – Headstone
Daisey Clift tombstone

dau of
Geo T and Sallie
died Apr 8, 1897

Aged 3 yrs 6 mos and 8 days
Suffer the little children to come 
unto me and forbid them not 
for to such is the kingdom of heaven.

One of the saddest little headstones in my collection of photos is this one. Little Daisey Clift and her brother Vernon, children of my great-grandmother’s sister Sallie Jollett Clift, died from injuries suffered in a house fire in 1897. I would like to locate a newspaper article. Surely the loss of two little ones under age 5 had to have been big news in Page County, but none of the newspaper databases include those from Page County or the closest big city of Harrisonburg.

Day 4 – Weathered
Wilmer Mathias

My husband’s uncle Wilmer posed proudly for this photo outside his parents’ home in Mathias, West Virginia some time during World War II. Whenever Barry and his brothers and sisters get together, they always recall their favorite times at their grandparents’ home. I visited this home only once. Those weathered boards were painted white when I was there, but the house itself looked much the same – very simple and rustic, devoid of any ornamentation or signs of having been remodeled EVER. But inside, the house was warm. The sun poured in through those big windows. It felt very cozy, and I could imagine all the cakes and pies and cookies that the Mathias kids enjoyed thanks to their grandmother Essie’s good cooking.

Day 5 – Recipe
Fruit cake recipe

And speaking of cooking, here is one of 5 recipes for fruit cake that I found in a notebook passed down to me from my great-grandmother Mary Frances Jollett Davis. I don’t know who needs 1 recipe for fruit cake let alone 5. There were other recipes too, mostly lots of desserts.

Day 6 – Tool
Scale from the Davis Store

This scale came from the Davis Store built by my great-grandfather Walter Davis and run by my grandparents Orvin and Lucille Rucker Davis until they moved to Portsmouth in the 1940s. It is not a very large scale, so I doubt it was weighing out huge bags of flour and brown sugar. Actually, I cannot imagine what they might have weighed.

Look for me on Instagram (@Wendymath27) and Twitter (@Wendymath).

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. Life happens. 😊 I enjoy reviewing your photos again. At least you are posting on Instagram everyday. I am hit and miss,,, when I can think of (and access) a photo that matches the theme quickly, I am participating.

    Melissa Finlay

  2. I did look at taking part in this challenge, but decided I had more than enough to keep me busy with Sepia Saturday this month, plus my local heritage group blog. But I do like your idea of doing a week in review.

  3. Wendy, I would have been over the moon to receive your Day 2 photo as well - what a treasure! and it comes with 'cousins' too.

  4. I would be ecstatic to receive a picture of a group of ancestors like that too! I love the picture of your husband's Uncle Wilmer, but I love your description of the inside of that house even more. It makes me want to visit. And I absolutely LOVE that scale. I love old things anyway, but that scale is a real treasure.

  5. How cute with the fruitcake recipe. Almost makes you want to try it (or not :)


  6. You've just solved a mystery to me as to why I haven't seen too many of these photos a day - I'm not on instagram or twitter. But I do like your week in review. I took my mother's "famous" tamale pie recipe card (in her handwriting) and had it etched onto a bamboo cutting board and gave one to my siblings for Christmas. I remember that recipe fondly but as of yet haven't gotten around to making it. At least my kids will have the recipe handy when I'm gone. ;-)

  7. All great photos, but I just love that scale. That is a very cool family artifact.