Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Year in Review

As I do each December, I like to look back on my blogging year to see if I accomplished anything at all and to organize my thoughts for where I might concentrate my research and writing efforts in the coming year. Frankly, I am surprised at all the new information I managed to include this year. Getting that box of letters, receipts, and college papers from my grandparents’ attic certainly provided lots to write about. It more than made up for the inability to visit court houses that closed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. I managed to complete the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, but just like last year I still was off and on with my Sepia Saturday participation. I want to correct that! 

In the meantime, let’s look back using my 5 Top 5 categories: 

TOP 5 POSTS (most visited in descending order) 

TOP 5 DISCOVERIES (in no particular order) 
  • While researching the descendants of Melinda Jollett Marsh, I learned that her granddaughter Sarah Oldaker had been murdered by her grandson Bob McCoy
  • I have long known about the scandalous divorce case of Nathaniel Davis, my great-grandfather’s brother. In delving further into his life, I learned about his land deals, the life of his girlfriend, and life after the divorce.  
  • The STUFF found in my grandparents’ attic back in March provided a wealth of material to study. The best finds: 
  • Several pieces of paper outlined my grandfather’s work history.  
  • An envelope full of pamphlets showed me where my dad lived while in electrical school in Chicago.  
  • A letter from my father to my mother illuminated his life in ROTC and college. 
  • Ancestry 
  • Fold3 
  • NewspaperArchive 
  • Genealogybank 
  • DAR dues 
  • Performing research for women applying for membership in DAR continues to be important to me. I assist with establishing their lineage to a patriot of the Revolutionary War. Our chapter is happy to welcome 7 new members this year. 
  • I volunteer for the Patriots Records Project for DAR indexing names found in unpublished documents. Unfortunately, I did not put in as much time as I would have liked. Maybe over the holiday when things slow down, I can help a little more. 
  • I am a Volunteer Genealogist for DAR assisting another chapter which needs help with its applications. 
  • My DAR chapter hopes to place a plaque naming 13 Revolutionary War patriots buried at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Portsmouth, VA. Part of the application process requires that we PROVE that these 13 were truly patriots and that they are buried there. As chairman of the project, I have been conducting the research to verify dates and service. 
  • I participated in Amy Johnson Crow’s Generations CafĂ© Circle and attended Lisa Lisson’s Are You My Cousin webinars. 
Usually I hear from a new-to-me cousin with a question or information that leads to a break-through. This year – not so much. However, 
  • an inquiry from a Marsh/Mash descendant prompted me to look again at the lineage. The result was the removal of one child. 
  • a Foland descendant sent additional information on a line that I have done little research on. 
  • an Eppard descendant has raised a question about sources to prove Catherine Beasley (wife of Johann George Eppard) was daughter of William Beasley and Mary Melone. I still don’t have an answer but have it on my to-do list for 2021. 
  • I received just a polite “hello” – no questions – nothing to add – from a descendant of Darby Quinn, one of the most obscure people in my family tree. 
  • a descendant in the Jollett/Forrester/Deboard family is looking for the same thing I am looking for: parents of that very early Mary Jollett. 

2021 – bring it on! 

© 2020, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. 2021--bring it on! You got a lot done in 2020 and I bet that box of stuff from your grandparents still has some surprises in store as you continue your research. Stay safe and have a good new year.

  2. Happy New Year! Wishing you many new discoveries in 2021.