About My Days

Whiteley Creek, Greene County, Pennsylvania

My mother and father were children of the Depression, growing up on family farms in Greene County, Pennsylvania and Mecklenburg County, Virginia.  Both sets of grandparents started married life in town, supporting growing families with jobs that were consumed by the economic crisis, and both families retreated to a “home farm.” How did they come to have this choice?  Who first owned those fields and how was it that my grandparents came to hold them?  This site seeks to answer these questions, and succeeds in mostly generating new, more complicated ones.

Nonetheless I fill my days with the research and wondering that comes with following these ancestors:

  • DODSON family of Mecklenburg County, Virginia
  • SAYLES family of Allegany County, New York/Mecklenburg County, Virginia
  • STRICKLAND family of Wake/Nash Counties, North Carolina
  • MINOR family of Greene County, Pennsylvania
  • BRADFORD family of Coshocton/Muskingum County, Ohio

The investigations don’t stop at genealogical connect-the-dots reports.  Family relationships, occupations and land transactions are interpreted in their larger context; in particular I am interested in the choices and decisions of my mid-nineteenth century folks.

  • How did the escalating conflict over slavery affect family dynamics?
  • What roles were women allowed to create during and after the Civil War?  Were these opportunities different for women in different regions?
  • How were the families touched by the conscription/enlistment of their men?
  • What positions did my ancestors hold regarding racial equality and how did they perceive reconstruction?
  • How did the families respond to the changing role of the federal government?

If you have family history to share or questions to ponder, I’d love to hear from you!  Please feel free to contact me at dkaysdays (at symbol) gmail (dot symbol) com. ;)

Recent Posts

The Final Pages

The final pages of the Minor Family Album hold photographs of children, none are identified, one looks familiar.  Together they present a plate of youthful Victorian fashion from the closing decades of the 19th century.  Separately they tell stories, even as the personalities remain cloaked in anonymity.  I hope you will return to this space as I reveal the hidden meaning of a photographer’s imprint and point out clothing clues that help family historians “age” the subject.  Play a game of “I Spy” as you examine the portrait for the photographer’s equipment or count the ribbons on a toddler’s velvet dress.

I look forward to hearing your reactions in the coming weeks.

  1. Photograph as Fashion Plate: The Case of ANOTHER Unknown Woman 2 Replies
  2. Trio Incognito: The Minor Family Album 1 Reply
  3. In Defense of Family History: Must Read of the Week Leave a reply
  4. Unknown Woman In Day Cap: The Minor Family Album 4 Replies