Tuesday, May 18, 2021

52 Ancestors - COUSIN BAIT: Uncle Joe

Like a fisherman who selects the right bait to attract the right fish, family history bloggers try to attract the attention of those who are searching our families too by blogging, maintaining an online family tree, posting memorials on Findagrave, and even sharing old photos on Instagram and Pinterest.

While my blog is small with a small readership, I have connected OR RE-connected with cousins who willingly share information and photos. Just last week, my sister sent a photo I had posted on my “Photo Friday” series to our second cousin Joel to see if it was of his mother. He returned the favor with a baby picture of his grandfather, my grandmother’s baby brother.

Joseph Calhoun Rucker Jr
3 Apr 1911 - 21 Mar 1975

I had never seen this photo before. I knew Uncle Joe Rucker only as a grown man whose cheek was always full of chewing tobacco. 

Joe had a reputation for being rather wild and crazy, maybe gruff. As a kid, I thought he was funny, but maybe he wasn’t. His wife Janice was the total opposite – quiet, sweet, welcoming, just the nicest person. Our family always wondered how she put up with him.

Joe Rucker and Janice Rucker, my grandparents Lucille Rucker Davis and Orvin Davis,
Del Palmer (family friend) and my sister Mary Jollette in front
1962 Virginia Beach, Virginia

But I must say, Joe certainly was a pretty baby.

I thank Cousin Joel for sharing the sweet side of his grandfather, my granduncle.

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.


© 2021, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.


  1. Wendy, it is great to get the family involved in your posts!

  2. Agree, blogs are fantastic cousin bait and in this case, it's wonderful that your sister took the initiative to share a photo you had shared--and then received a photo in return!

  3. I didn't see your sister in the photo until you called her out in the caption. I thought your grandmother was wearing slacks which would have been odd for that time period. I don't think I ever saw either of my grandmothers in slacks.

  4. My favorite result from reeling in a cousin? Receiving old family photos I have never seen. Well done. Thanks for sharing.

  5. There is a second cousin that I was put in touch with (our grandfathers were brothers) and one morning last year I received a stream of photos that I had never seen before and I was in one of them! They were from the time of my grandparents' golden wedding anniversary so had relatives who had visited for the celebrations. Some of them included my father's cousins too.

  6. Blogs can be great for connecting with relatives! Hooray for you and your sister for reaching out. That baby photo -- that frame -- my mom was born in 1913 and I have a photo of her in a nearly identical frame. It's at least 24" high. They went all out in those days. Was Joe the first-born child in the family?