Tuesday, September 17, 2019

52 Ancetors - COUSINS: The Cousin Who Baited Me

Findagrave Memorial 84595194

I owe a great deal of gratitude to Cathy Hecker, my half 4th cousin. She was the 3X great granddaughter of Fielding Jollett and his first wife Ann Stoutemire. I descend through his second wife Mary Ann Armentrout. Cathy compiled a great deal of Jollett research the old-fashioned way before computers, before email, before a phone call and credit card could get you a quick answer. She was in Ohio, but the Jolletts were in Virginia. She drove to court houses. She wrote letters and mailed checks. By the time we found each other, she had all but given up hope that there was anyone out there who cared about the Jolletts. 

How she found me, I do not even remember. It was well before I started my Jollett website on Geocities. Methinks she found my cousin Barbara Davis Shiflett who appreciates family history but is not a researcher. She must have given Cathy my name and number. Cathy mailed copies of her research to me.
A page from Cathy's research
Typed on a typewriter or early computer
The bulk of Cathy’s work was on the Fielding-Ann line, as it should be. But she had found deeds, wills, and obituaries for many on the Fielding-Mary Ann side as well. Her work gave me a strong foundation on which to build my own research and with which to start a website in those days before blogs were a “thing.”

Cathy and I talked a couple times a year. Her last phone call to me in 2002 was filled with expressions of thanks for my interest in the Jolletts and excitement over all the new information generated due to my little website. She was only sorry she had never had a chance to meet me in person, and had she mentioned that her cancer had come back. Then it hit me – this was a good-bye. 

I searched Ancestry for a photo of Cathy, but they are not available on public trees. Her Findagrave memorial provides a picture of her tombstone along with a transcription of her obituary. I was pleased to find she had been a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, as am I. Cathy was the last Regent of the Piqua Chapter before it merged with the Lewis Boyer Chapter.

Cathy Hecker is always close to my thoughts when I’m writing about the Jolletts.

Amy Johnson Crow continues to challenge genealogy bloggers and non-bloggers alike to think about our ancestors and share a story or photo about them. The challenge is “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks.

© 2019, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. That was great you were able to make the connection with her and that she had a lot of valuable information to share with you. She lived a long I'm thinking good life.


  2. Not that it matters, but Cathy's work was on a computer. I was just looking at a print out of some of my early work, and I never separated the pages. They are still attached to each other accordian style. I was out in west Texas about twenty years ago looking for some family graves when I turned and saw the grave of an elderly researcher who helped me get started with family information when I was a young beginner...back when we were going things by mail because phoning was too expensive. It was an odd feeling to be standing at her grave. I'm glad you and Cathy found each other.

  3. What an incredible gift for the two of you to have connected. As you might remember, I also found a cousin (or she found me) and after forging a relationship with her, she was also taken by cancer. I had no idea she was sick until the day I saw her mother post on Facebook that she was gone. I, too, feel fortunate to have had at least a short time with her.

  4. I hope you're able to find a photo of her someday. Nice post!