Monthly Archives: October 2010

Memory Monday: Intrepid Explorers

Mom always had an adventurous spirit and she incorporated it into my childhood.  We would often go on adventures together and as we did, our catch phrase would be “We are the intrepid explorers!”.

I remember moving to Seattle when I was 7.  Mom and I loaded up our 1990 Toyota Corolla with everything we could fit and we left.  We drove the entire way but made lots of stops to see the sights.  I don’t really remember much about the trip, but I do remember reaching Mount Shasta – it was HUGE and beautiful as it was covered in snow.  It was truly magnificent.  The entire time, mom and I were screaming “WOW!  It’s HUGE!  And WHITE!  LOOK AT THE SNOW!”.  She decided to pull over so we could have an impromptu snow fight (even though there wasn’t much snow on the ground and we didn’t have gloves on).

I also remember all of our camping trips.  Mom loved to go camping so whenever we had a free weekend and a few extra dollars, we would load up the car and pull out the map.  I was responsible for reading the map and telling her where to go.  We would have a lot of fun walking along the beach (I was never allowed to go into the ocean while in Washington because the rip currents were too strong).  We collected drift wood and sand dollars that would decorate our back porch for years.

Mom’s adventurous spirit never fully mixed with my very cautious spirit.  I am the type of person who is very cautious, over thinking, planner of every detail, and I prepare for everything.  Mom was always down for an adventure (even if it meant little to no planning).  While I am not nearly as adventurous as she was, I certainly have loosened up a bit.  I don’t mind an adventure every once in a while.  She pushed me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things – and thanks to her, I am much more willing to do so (even though I still have the urge to carefully and strategically plan out the entire trip).

Mom gave me the confidence to be an “intrepid explorer”.  I truly believe that one of the reasons I was able to get through her death was because I kept reminding myself that I was still an intrepid explorer.  Now I was just doing the journey alone.


Press Release From NEGHS: New Book

Here is a press release from NEGHS about a new book on the Brigham family:

Media Contact

Tom Champoux, Marketing Director




New information details the family of Thomas Brigham

BOSTON, MA—October 19, 2010 – The New England Historic Genealogical Society is pleased to announce its new publication, The History of the Brigham Family: Descendants of Thomas Brigham, the first comprehensive treatment of this significant American family in nearly one hundred years.

This new volume, compiled by Rhonda M. McClure of the NEHGS staff, reviews and updates (and, in some cases, amends) the accounts of Thomas Brigham, the family’s founder in America, that appeared in the earlier versions.

McClure said, “I am excited for people to have a better understanding of this unique family, one that holds such a special place in the history of our country.”

Four years in the making, this new Brigham volume extends the history of this notable American family to the fourteenth generation. McClure has brought forward as many lines as possible, incorporating information from questionnaires supplied by descendants of Brigham sons and daughters.

“We are very proud of this publication and are thrilled to share it with the world. Rhonda is one of our prized experts and this work is nothing less than a scholarly masterpiece,” says NEHGS President and CEO, D. Brenton Simons.

Among the notable Brigham descendants covered in the volume are Brigham’s Ice Cream founder Edwin Leon Brigham, SAT developer Carl Campbell Brigham, inventor Eli Whitney and former Presidents George Herbert Walker Bush and George Walker Bush.

The original volume of The History of the Brigham Family was published in 1907 and a second appeared in 1927.

For more information, contact the NEHGS Sales Department at 617-226-1212 or visit the NEHGS website at



Founded in 1845, New England Historic Genealogical Society is the country’s leading resource for family history research. We help family historians expand their knowledge, skill, and understanding of their family and its place in history. The NEHGS research center, located at 99-101 Newbury Street, Boston, houses millions of books, journals, manuscripts, photographs, microfilms, documents, records, and other artifacts that date back more than four centuries. NEHGS staff includes some of the leading expert genealogists in the country, specializing in early American, Irish, English, Italian, Scottish, Atlantic and French Canadian, African American, Native American, and Jewish genealogy.


SNGF: Who is to Blame for my Love of Genealogy?

Randy Seaver of GeneaMusings has posted this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun.  The prompt for this week is as follows:

1)  Read Brenda Joyce Jerome’s post Who or What Do You Blame? on the Western Kentucky Genealogy blog.  She asks these questions:

* Can you identify person or event that started you on this search for family information?

*  Did you pick up researching where a relative had left off?

*  Did your interest stem from your child’s school project on genealogy?

*  If you have been researching many years, it may be hard to pinpoint one reason for this journey.

2)  Write your responses on your own blog, in a comment to this blog post, or in a note or comment on Facebook.

When I first read this prompt, I immediately thought about my Grandpa Dugger.  Visiting him in Tennessee for the first time since I was 4 had a huge impact on me.  He was sick and I think he realized his time was limited.  So he invited my aunt, my cousin Jen, and I to travel to Tennessee to see him (and paid for the entire trip).  He lived in a very rural area of eastern Tennessee – in the area where that side of my family had been for generations.  Those two weeks were filled with getting to know a whole branch of my family that I didn’t know existed,  visiting old family sites like cemeteries and churches, meeting with a rather different old lady who knew my great-grandparents, going to neighborhood grocery stores, experiencing a drive in movie theater, and being handed money to spend my by Grandpa.  I acted so 12 – and I didn’t even really appreciate the trip.  Or at least not as much as I do now.

A few months after I left, my Grandpa Dugger passed away.

I think about the lack of questions that I asked him.  I enjoyed going to all of these historical places and feeling the history of the place.  There were so many generations before me who had walked on the land that I was walking on.  It felt so different from Los Angeles.  It was unlike I had ever experienced.  But I know that I didn’t fully appreciate the experience or ask more questions.

But then again, I was only 12.  Do we ever really appreciate what we should when we are 12?

There is no doubt that was the trip that started the spark.

But the spark remained lit because of my mom.  She was supportive of my hobby and would bring home file folders from work so I had something to put all of the papers I would print out.  She asked me questions and was always there to connect the historical context to my ancestors.  As we would sit around on Saturday mornings, watching the History Channel, she would listen to me as I commented about how I had an ancestor that was involved in that event.

My spark became a fire when I was introduced to the incredibly large and diverse genealogy community.  Facebook quickly introduced me to the world of genealogy.  My hobby turned into an obsession and soon, genealogy was all I talked about.  She encouraged me and helped me in any way that she could.  Sometimes she would tease me by saying “I’m so lucky that I don’t have to worry about you like other parents have to worry about their teenagers: I know you’ll never come home with any weird piercings or tattoos or addicted to drugs.  Just promise me you’ll never tattoo your family tree on your back or get addicted to caffeine as you try to do all night research”.  “Mama, you’re hilarious – You know my tree would never fit on my back!”  I’d reply with a smile.  Then we’d laugh.

What sparked your love for genealogy?


Surname Saturday: Vines (Tennessee)

Today’s Surname Saturday is for my 2nd great-grandmother, Edna J. Vines (b: 1860).

I know so little information about this line.  Here is my ancestral line through my earliest known Vine ancestor:

1. Elyse Doerflinger

2. Thomas Dugger

3. Sharon Doerflinger (1959-2010)

4. Herbert H. Dugger (1928 – 2003)

5. Nancy J. Rogers (1924-2002)

8. Monroe Dugger (1885-1951)

9. Matilda Clawson (1886-1936)

18. James L. Clawson Jr. (1858-)

19. Edna Jane Vines (1860 – )

Children of James L. Clawson Jr. and Edna Jane Vines include: Sarah M. Clawson (1879), Lillie Clawson (1882), Canada W. Clawson (1884), Matilda Clawson (1886), Rachelle Clawson (1888), Granville Clawson (1893), George W. Clawson (1893), Ray E. Clawson (1901), Jada Clawson (1903), and Thomas Clawson (1905).

38. William Vines (1835 – )

39. Melvina Dugger (1836 – )

The children of William Vines and Melvina Dugger include: Elias Vines (1855), Margaret L. Vines (1855), Thomas Vines (1859), Edna Jane Vines (1860).

If you related to any of these families, please contact me so that we can talk and share information.  We’re probably cousins!


New Look Here at Elyse’s Genealogy Blog

Update: I did some more editing and changed the theme since the other one had too many little problems.  I got this theme from VintageKin.  Please still let me know what you think!

Tonight I did some layout and theme changes.  While the new look isn’t perfect, it definitely looks great to me.

Some Things That Need To Be Fixed:

  • The title of the blog, “Elyse’s Genealogy Blog” gets lost among the background.  I want to have each word of the title on a separate line, but I’m not sure how to do it (If you know and are willing to help – please contact me).
  • I need to add a navigation bar across the top but once again, I’m not quite sure how.  Until I figure it out, I have placed links to each of the navigation pages on the top right side bar

Your Feedback…

Now it is time to hear from you!  What do you like?  What do you not like?  What would you like to see added?   Can you read it?  What would you change?  Please share your thoughts!  I look forward to hearing your comments!


Visiting Holy Cross Cemetery

A few weekends back I took a 20 minute drive north to visit Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California.  This is the cemetery where my mom’s brother, Eugene, and my Grandma Doerflinger are buried.

For years I’ve known that my Grandma and Uncle Gene were buried in a cemetery near our house.  I knew it was somewhere in the Los Angeles area but I wasn’t sure where.

Then while scanning some old family documents, I came across the bill from the mortuary from when my Uncle Gene passed away in 1962.  That bill gave me the exact plot that he, and later my Grandma Doerflinger, are buried.

I knew that going to the cemetery would be an emotional experience for me – and it was.  When I got to the cemetery, I was a little anxious because I already didn’t know where I was going (had never been here before) and I didn’t exactly know where the grave was.  

As I wandered around the cemetery, it took me a while before I found the stone with Eugene Doerflinger’s name on it.

When I finally found the spot, I was a bit overwhelmed with emotion.  My Uncle Gene died when my mom was only 2 years old and I wondered what life would have been like for her if he had survived the fatal car crash.  I wondered if my grandparents would have been different people (from what I’ve heard from family members and friends, my grandparents were never the same after Gene’s death – but then again, how could they not be different after burying their first-born son?).  Would he have gotten married?  Would he have had kids?  Would my mom have been a different person if she had her oldest brother around?

Then I remember that I will never have the answers to any of these questions.

One thing that brought me comfort was knowing that my Grandma Doerflinger is buried there in the same plot with Gene.  I think it makes my Grandma happy knowing that she is with her son again.

I also liked how beautiful the cemetery was.  It was so peaceful and calm with the trees all around.

I sat there next to Uncle Gene’s grave for about a half hour.  As I sat there, I started thinking about my mom.  I cried a bit thinking about all of the questions that I should have asked or about how I can’t remember some of the questions that I did ask.  I wish that I would have memorized everything that she said.  I wish that I had asked more questions.  I wish that we had talked more.  Talked about what it was like growing up for her.  Her favorite things.  Her favorite memories.  What it was like to be a single mom.  Why she chose to be so adventurous with me.  Where she got that adventurous spirit.  And then I cried some more because I realized that I would never be able to ask her those questions.  I would never know the answers.

But in a weird way, sitting there and crying my eyes out was therapeutic.  It even felt good to take a moment and cry for the loss of my mom.  Sometimes I feel like I don’t take enough time to just sit in the silence, cry for her, cry for me.  I think it is because I am just so busy now.  My mom’s illness and eventual death in February has catapulted me into “growing up”.  I now know how to manage a household 100% on my own (not that I didn’t had help but I only had myself to depend on), and how to push through the pain even when you want nothing more to do than bury yourself in the blankets of your bed and never come out.  There are moments when I wish with all my might that I was that 5 year old kid again, sitting in my mom’s lap, with her reassuring me that everything was going to be alright while she rubs her finger nails up and down my back.  She always had the ability to calm me down and bring me back to center by simply rubbing her fingernails up and down my back.

But it isn’t that I don’t feel like being blasted into adulthood has been a bad thing.  In many ways, it is exactly what I needed.   needed to grow up, gain confidence in myself, and trust that I can survive any hell that life puts me through.