Monthly Archives: May 2010

How to Interest Kids in Family History


Tonight my boyfriend and I are babysitting so his cousin can have a night out.  We are watching two kids – “G” who is 20 months old and “A” who is 5 years old.  Both kids absolutely love looking at pictures and learning the stories behind the pictures.

I was showing G pictures of my family that I have posted on Facebook.  He wanted to know everyone’s names.  I noticed he especially liked pictures of babies and toddlers with an adult.  The more I showed him, the more he could identify the basics about the each family.  “Baby” he would say as he pointed to each picture of a baby.  He would point at the adult woman in the picture and ask if she was a “Mama” or a “Grandma”.  We pointed at the pictures of the pets and talked about the sounds the different animals make.

While “A” is also interested in the pictures she wants to know the full story.  “Who is that?” she’d ask.  She then wanted to know how they met and what their wedding was like and who their kids were.  She wanted all of the good details and had lots of questions to ask.

Pictures got both kids interested and while it was only understanding the basics of their family, it plants a seed that will last a lifetime.

Plus it keeps them quiet, distracted and from destroying the house.


Reflections and Goals

Over the last few months, I have experienced so many changes in my personal life.  Due to these changes, I’ve decided to reevaluate my genealogical goals.

Do I want to be a professional genealogist?  Do I go for accreditation?  How will I balance being a professional genealogist with my dream of being a teacher?  Do I want to write?  Blog?  Lecture?  Research?  A bit of everything?

With a lot of careful consideration and personal reflection, I have decided that I will focus on three things:

  1. Expand my genealogical knowledge as much as possible
  2. Share my genealogical knowledge with others
  3. Have as much fun as possible

As part of expanding my genealogical knowledge – I will continue reading as many genealogy blogs and genealogy related books as I can get my hands on.  I have signed up for the waiting list for the ProGen study group.  You can expect me at every conference I can afford to get to.

Speaking of conferences, one of the ways I want to share my genealogical knowledge is by speaking/lecturing on genealogy topics.  I already spoke last Sunday at the Immigrant Genealogy Society in Burbank, CA and on Saturday I will be speaking at the Escondido Library for the Escondido Genealogy Society.

But just because I will be speaking, doesn’t mean that I will stop writing this blog.  Have no fear – this blog is going to be here for a long time.  I love this blog like it is my baby and view it as a way to watch my progress as I grow as a genealogist.

But my writing will not stop at my blog – I will be sending articles to genealogy magazines in hopes of them being published.  However, I doubt that I will be writing for academic-style genealogy journals because it is simply not my style (nothing against academic journals – I just don’t want to write like that).

These are my genealogy goals and while they may not all come true, you will definitely see me trying as hard as I can to make these dreams a reality.

What are your genealogy dreams/goals?


I’ve Been Picked! MyHeritage Top 100 Websites

I am so pleased to announce that I have been awarded the MyHeritage Web Award!

Top genealogy site awards

I really want to thank MyHeritage for this award.  This blog is my pride and joy.

I also want to congratulate all of the other winners!


Saturday Night Genealogy Fun: Matrilineal Line

Tonight is Saturday – so that means it is time for Saturday Night Genealogy Fun!  For tonight’s post, Randy Seaver of Geneamusings has chosen the topic of matrilineal lines and mitochondrial DNA.

Here is my matrilineal line, beginning with myself:

a.) Elyse Doerflinger

b.) Sharon Doerflinger (1959 – 2010) married 1st to Steve Hilton and later divorced.  She then had a common law marriage with my dad, Thomas Dugger.

c.) (Biologically) Elizabeth Ruth Harney (1918 – 2009) married 1st to unknown Risdon and 2nd to Christopher Pieren.

(Adopted) Margaret Janice Harney (1916 – 1988) married to Maxamillian Adolf Doerflinger.

d.) Ethel Janice Weston ( 1894 – ?) married William Frederick Harney.

e.) Elizabeth Frances Coombe (1859 – ?) married Daniel Weston.

The reason I have two people under “c” is because I listed both my mom’s biological mother and her adopted mother.  My mom was conceived out-of-wedlock by Elizabeth Harney and was then adopted by Elizabeth’s sister, Margaret.

Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to do a mitochondrial DNA test but it is a goal of mine to do a DNA test “one of these days”.  I just haven’t had the money  to afford it.  As far as I know, no one else in my family has received a DNA test.


Are Genealogists Meant To Lack Answers?

I love meeting fellow genealogists.  But when I meet fellow genealogists and they discover how young I am, something like “You are so lucky to have started genealogy so young while you have your grandparents and the older generation to ask questions”.  I rarely tell respond by telling people that actually, my grandparents were for the most part unavailable to me.  My maternal grandparents died before I was born or shortly afterwards, my paternal grandmother had dementia for as long as I can remember, and I only had a short few weeks to really get to know my paternal grandfather because he lived across the country.  So in reality – I wasn’t able to ask many questions.

But I often wonder what would have been if my grandparents had survived (and had a sound mind) during my childhood.  My childhood experiences would undoubtedly be different.  But would I have asked all the questions that I have now?  Even if my grandparents had decided to tell me stories of their lives, would I have paid attention?  Would I remember the stories with accuracy?  Would they even be willing to tell me anything?

I truly believe that I would still have most of the questions that I have today.  Why?  Because even at 13 when I gained interest in genealogy I was not thinking about asking such questions.  I did ask the basics of the who, what, when, and where – but I didn’t get the details that give life to these basic facts.  I did not gain any knowledge about who my ancestors were as people.

Maybe all genealogists are meant to share the common regret of “I should have asked more questions”.   Perhaps genealogists are meant to always have more questions.  The “chase” of hunting down the answers to questions is what makes genealogy so much fun.  So maybe the absence of answers is a positive thing.

What do you think?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment to this post, comment on Facebook or Twitter, or in your own blog post (be sure to leave a link to the post in the comments section of this blog!)


Surname Saturday: Dugger

For my Surname Saturday posts, I will be going in the order of my ahnetafel number system.  The person with the number two is my dad, Thomas Dugger.

2. Thomas Dugger

4. Herbert Hoover Dugger (1928 – 2003)

5. Nancy Jean Rogers (1924 – 2002)

8. Monroe Dugger (1885 – 1951)

9. Matilda E. Clawson (1886 – 1936)

16. Benjamin Smith Dugger (1835 -1885)

17. Charlotte Asher (1843 – ?)

Benjamin Smith Dugger is where things begin to get complicated.  So let me explain:

Benjamin Dugger and Charlotte Asher were married in the early 1860s in Johnson County, Tennessee.

Benjamin is then listed as joining the Confederate Army in 1861 in Company K, 1st Infantry Regiment, Tennessee.  Journals and diaries written by others in the county during this time period suggest that many men in the area were “forced” into the Confederate Army.  The diaries describe as a group of men from western Tennessee come into the county to enlist men into the Confederate Army.  Since Johnson County and many surrounding counties in this area were Union leaning, many did not want to join.  So group of men from western Tennessee began to threaten the people of Johnson County and even burned one house to the ground.

According to the Civil War service records on, I know that Benjamin Smith Dugger was serving for the Confederates in January and February of 1864.  On February 18, 1864, Benjamin Smith Dugger enlisted into the Confederate Army for the duration of the war.  However, he is listed as being sick and in the hospital.  Benjamin is also listed on the muster rolls for April 30th – August 31st, 1864 and is still listed as being sick and in the hospital.  He appears on the muster rolls for September and October of 1864 but is once again listed as sick and in the hospital.  Finally, Benjamin Smith Dugger appears on the muster rolls for November and December of 1864 – still sick and in the hospital.  This muster roll also lists Benjamin as having never been paid.

Meanwhile, in Johnson County, Tennessee, Charlotte gives birth to a daughter, Sarah Dugger.  Sarah is born in 1864 – which leads to another question: is Benjamin Smith Dugger the father of Sarah?  Since Benjamin had never been paid, it is easy to assume that Charlotte was probably struggling financially.

But the plot only thickens…

By 1870, Benjamin is found in the 1870 census as living in Union Township, Pendleton County, West Virginia – and he has a new family.  Benjamin now has a new wife, Rachel Lantz (she also went by Rachel Graham).  He also has a son, Benjamin Smith Dugger, Jr.

In 1880, Benjamin is found on the 1880 census as living in Mill Run, Pendleton County, West Virginia.  He is still married to Rachel and has added to his family: Bert Dugger (b: about 1870), John Dugger (b: about 1870), Scott Dugger (b: 10 Jun 1872), Ashby Dugger (b: about 1877),  and William Dugger ( b: about 1879).

But what happens to poor Charlotte?  Well, Charlotte is found in the 1870 census living with her mother, Louisa, in Johnson County, Tennessee.  She has a total of two children: Sarah Dugger (b: about 1864) and William L. Dugger (b: about 1868).  Living next door to Charlotte is Elijah Bunton – a man who is rumored to have been the father of some of her children.  My source for this is an elderly lady that I met in Johnson County, Tennessee while I was visiting my Grandpa when I was 13.  I wish I had taken more descriptive and detailed notes of our conversation, but I did not know better at the time.

Charlotte is also found in the 1880 census in Carter County, Tennessee.  She now has three more children: Mary Dugger (b: about 1874), John M. Dugger (b: about 1876), and Nathaniel Dugger (b: May 1880).  John and Nathaniel are listed as having father’s born in North Carolina.

Is it possible that Benjamin Smith Dugger is the father of all (or part) or Charlotte’s children?  It is incredibly unlikely and the only way to know the answer to this question is a series of DNA tests from descendants of both Benjamin Smith Dugger (from his second marriage) and Charlotte – and then compare the results.