Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy 96th Birthday Grandma!!!

On 3 Sept 2014 my grandmother will turn 96 years old.

Helen Louise Wise King - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
My maternal Grandmother, Helen Louise Wise King.
My grandmother is one incredible woman.  I adore her to pieces.  Grandma is a gentle, kind, loving woman.  Yet, she can be a little spitfire at times!  I love my grandma!!

Charles Joseph and Mazie Rosina Mills Wise - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
My great grandparents: Charles Joseph and Mazie Rosina Mills Wise.

Grandma was born 3 Sept 1914 in Washington, DC., the third child of the seven born to Charles Joseph Wise and Mazie Rosina Mills.

Before I continue, let me explain that my grandmother is the original family historian.  She is the one who is responsible for giving me the "family history/genealogy bug".  I love her for that!!!  When it became too much for her to handle, I took over.  My grandmother wrote a little bit about her childhood, and her siblings which I would like to share with you.  She also wrote letters to her "Precious Gifts", her children.  These letters and memories show what a kind, gentle, loving sister, wife, mother and grandmother she is.  These are her words and hers alone.  

From my grandmother, Helen Louise Wise King:  Memories of my early childhood - (written for her children)
My mother was a wonderful woman, good housewife and friend.  She was always waiting for us when we got home from school.  When we were in school she visited her parents and took them something she had just baked.  My father was an "iceman" and he drove a team of horses and wagon to deliver his ice in.  He worked five days a week and he worked very hard.  He was a good provider for his family.  He also visited his parents on his way home from work.  I remember all of our family sitting down to have supper together.  My father would ask, "did you all have a nice day?" or "did you have any problems?" - if the answer was "yes" then they would be discussed.  After the table was cleared, dishes washed and kitchen cleaned all the children sat down and did their homework at the kitchen table.  Mom and Dad would go into the living room.  After we finished our homework, we could join our parents.  I can remember all of us sitting around and singing while my mother played her organ.  She never had any music lessons, but she could play anything you asked her. 

I remember a sad Valentine's Day in 1931; my youngest brother (Gilbert Hadley Wise) was sick for a couple of days.  A doctor was attending him but he died on this day from pneumonia.  All of us were very sad and upset.  Six months later our mother died on Oct. 3, 1931.  This to was a very sad time for us.  We missed our mother very much.  After my mother died, my father's mother (Margaret Catherine Knott Wise) came to live with us.  My grandmother had been a widow for a few years and was living alone.  Her best friend lived next door to us but she remarried.  They also were raising their two grandsons, Elmer (my grandfather) and Raymond King.  

I can remember hanging wet clothes out to dry on a very cold day.  It was not a pleasant chore but carrying them in with your nose buried in the fresh cold smell made the effort worth while after a long winter.  I remember the pleasures of playing outside after school in the spring weather on the first warm day.  In the house I could still smell the fresh grass crushed on my clothes and skin.  Spring finally arrived and we knew school would be out soon.  

Your dad (my grandfather - Elmer Joseph King) tried to choose me all the time for his partner and this made me mad.  One day I told him, "not to choose me anymore" because I didn't like him.  He looked at me with his big blue eyes and smiled.  Then he said "you are my girlfriend and you will like me someday", we continued skating.  Your dad (my grandfather) used to flirt with me.  We got to know each other better.  Your dad (my grandfather) was always a persistent guy who would scheme or bribe to make captain of our team.  He loved to be captain all the time.  He was unhappy when he wasn't.  

I remember the first time when my sister came out of school; there stood her boyfriend with your dad.  My sister's boyfriend was always there to carry her books home - now here was your dad carrying my books home too.  I remember one day your dad was really excited and happy - his science teacher told him if his father approved, he would pay your dad's way through college.  His teacher made four appointments with his dad.  He never showed up for any of them.  His teacher finally got in touch with him and your dad's father said "no".  He didn't need any college education and to forget it.  This made your dad mad, so he quit school and signed up for the navy for 18 months.  

We did not hear from your dad for a while.  Then his letters started coming.  One of his letters said he was coming home on leave in 2 weeks.  Everyone missed him.  Your dad looked so handsome in his dark blue navy uniform.  Everyone couldn't get over his change.  After his leave was up he went back to the navy telling me how much he missed and loved me.

Helen Louise Wise and Elmer Joseph King - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Helen Louise Wise and Elmer Joseph King.

The next time we saw your dad he was wearing his white uniform and still my father wouldn't let me go out with him alone.  We had to have a chaperon with us; even in my father's own theater. 

During his enlistment of 18 months, the navy found out he lied about his age but they let him finish his 18 months out.  I can still remember the day he came home after he finished his enlistment.  My brother bought his car, a 1934 Ford with a rambler seat in the back.  All of us kids was waiting for our turn to ride in his car.  As soon as were getting into his car who do you think came home?  My father told your dad he could ride up front.  People were waving and tipping their hats - you were now seeing more vehicles then before.  Now your dad was driving a laundry truck.  We began to see each other again.  I never knew how much I missed him.  Now I was falling in love with him.  Your dad was 18 and I was 16.  When he asked me to marry him 16 was a legal age to marry without parental consent.  So we waited a little while.  One month before my 17th birthday (3 Aug 1935) and your dad was still 18 we eloped and got married without telling our parents.  

Helen Louise Wise King - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Helen Louise Wise King

I can remember our 1 room bedroom apartment.  Your dad was making $15 a week - $5 went for rent, then we had to pay for food.  We even had enough money to go and see movies.  Every Saturday night was night out.  We went somewhere special on our nights.  After being married 18 months and 21 days God sent us our first of seven wonderful gifts from heaven.  We were very proud of each one and we thanked the Lord for giving us parenthood.  These were our happiest moments of our life that never dimmed throughout all the years with tears and happiness.  

Richard, Elmer, Shirley, Helen Louise, Linda, Margaret and Penny King - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
The King Family
Back row L to R:  Richard, Elmer (my grandfather), Shirley (my Mom)
Front row L to R:  Helen Louise (my grandmother) Linda, Margaret, Penny

Now WWII has started and the Army has drafted your dad.  So he is off for basic training.  Then overseas he went.  After the war was over he decided to stay in the service.  Now that the Army/Air Force has decided to go to their own units, your dad went into the Air Force.  He said it would be a good experience and good opportunities for his family.  We traveled with him to Germany, New York, Washington DC, Japan, Texas, Ohio, Hawaii, Montana, and Arizona where he retired.  After his retirement we just enjoyed life together.  After a while he began to get sick more and more - we stayed in the house.  

Your dad was a wonderful guy.  He enjoyed working with his hands - always making something.  He could never sit still.  I always told him he had "ants in his pants".  (Granddad had emphysema and passed away 29 Mar 1991) God has called my friend, pal, companion, my life, my lover and beloved husband home.  No more pain or suffering for him now.  He is were his roses will never fade.  Here we have a bond that held 2 hearts in love.  A love that is secure, received it's strength and comes from God is a great love.  Our love did endure in our lifetime.  A successful marriage is more than finding the right person - it's being the right person.  Success in marriage comes from working together in our relationship to our mates.  It's strength reaches down beyond the couples mutual love for each other and relies in daily living.  I miss our good night hug and kisses, telling each other how much we love one another.  Telling each other how we felt or what happened that day.  My dear you are gone but we will never forget you.  I also miss my mother, father, sister, and 2 brothers.  Thank God for our wonderful children, their spouses, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.  They are all the sunshine in our life.

Helen Louise King
July 11, 1994

What heart warming memories.  This letter really opened my eyes in regards to my grandmother.  She was a child, a sister, a woman, a wife, a mother and a grandmother.  Reading her words and her feelings touched me in so many ways.  It has allowed me to see what her life was like growing up and into her adult life.  

Helen Louise Wise King 5 May 2014 - My Family History Journey - Debbie Lowrance
Helen Louise Wise King
5 May 2014

Like I said, Grandma is an amazing woman!  She has a saying "Life is beautiful!"  So are you Grandma, so are you!  I love you Grandma!!


Sunday, August 10, 2014


Today is all about updating some of my post, while updating my progress.  This gives me the knowledge that I am keeping on track, while staying in my direct line, and actually getting my family tree complete.  (Is there any such thing as a complete family tree??)  I believe everyone should take some time now and then to just step back and see what progress has made.

The Progress or not blog posted on 17 June 2014 update.

                     June 2014                                                                August 2014

   Generation   Possible    What I have                        Generation   Possible    What I have

        1               1               1                                              1               1               1
        2               2               2                                              2               2               2                 3               4               4                                              3               4               4
        4               8               8                                              4               8               8   
        5              16              8                                              5              16             12 (+4)
        6              32             14                                             6              32             14
        7              64              7                                              7              64              7
        8             128            10                                             8              128            10
        9             256            10                                             9              256            12 (+2)
       10            512             2                                             10             512             2

                    1023             66                                                           1023           72 (+6)

I have added 4 new 2x great grandparents and 2 new 6x great grandparent, for a total of 6 new ancestors added to my family tree.  That is not too bad.  I can at least see that I am making progress.  Though percentage wise I am only at 7%.  Better than 2 months ago.      

Update on Cecelia May McGee King post of 30 July 2014.  I have finally found her!  Whew  Now I know why it was so difficult in finding Cecelia.  The 1900 census list her name as Celia McGee.  Lesson Learned -  if you cannot find our ancestor with the name you have - try various spellings of the name.  In my post on Cecelia May McGee King, I tried 40 different variations of her name.  Looks like I missed one.  LoL

The 7 June 1900 census from shows:  

Celia McGee in the household of Thos McGee
Head of household: Thos McGee age 31 born May 1869 in Washington DC
Wife: Annie McGee age 18 born Sept 1881 in Washington DC
Daughter: Celia McGee age 0/12 born May 1900 in Washington DC
Thos and Annie married for 1 year.  Annie being the mother of 1 child and 1 child living.  

I now have Cecelia's and her parents name, birth month and year, and birth place.  I will hopefully be able to validate the information and continue with her branch of the family tree.  Only time will tell!  Looks like a small hole in that "brick wall".  

I am feeling more confident these days of my research and my blog.  I am making progress.  I am seeing results.  I am expanding my family tree.  I am feeling good!  If you find yourself wondering about starting a blog, I say go for it!  Just being able to put into words what goes through my mind, and the questions I ask myself has helped me tremendously.  I now ask myself "Why didn't I do this sooner?"

Happy Researching!!!



My DAR Journey - Henry Ware Sr.

I am embarking on another journey along with my Family History Journey.  My journey to become a member of DAR ¹ (Daughters of the American Revolution).  Be sure to watch for my next chapter in this new journey.  It will include more information about the amazing organization Daughters of the American Revolution.  This new journey will be a long hard fought one I am sure, however; I believe will be well worth it!  I have always been proud to be an American, and to find ancestors that fought for the freedoms that we take for granted everyday, means so much to me.  Patriotism runs in my family you see and I am proud of that!  I come from a long line of military men and women, and will always be proud of that fact.  I am after all an "Air Force Brat"!  LoL

Preserving and honoring this country's heritage is so imperative.  The patriots who fought for the freedom of this country must not have died in vain.  Think about that.  What would this country be like without them?  Would there even be an America?

The process of becoming a member of DAR ² is a tough one for sure.  One that I will be sharing here.  From the first step till the last, becoming a full fledged member.  I hope you will follow me on this new adventure as well as my regular Family History Journey.

The first step, is finding an ancestor that fought in the American Revolution.  The American Revolutionary War years were 1775-1783.  If you should have someone in your family tree born between 1726-1767, they may have fought in the American Revolution.  You can always go to the DAR ³ website and search for that ancestor's name.  That is how I found my American Revolutionary Patriot Henry Ware Sr. my 6x great grandfather.  So, if I follow my family line it would look like this: (I am only including my direct line.)

1.) Henry Ware Sr. b.) 1730 Caroline Co., VA d.) 1 Nov 1801 Lincoln Co., GA  m.) Martha Garrett  b.) 1735 in VA d.) Lincoln Co., GA.

2.) John Ware b.) 1756 in VA d.) 10 Aug 1795 in Franklin, GA

3.) Thomas Ware b.) 1770 in Caswell, NC d.) 19 Jan 1859 in Colorado Co., TX m.) Sarah Jemison b.) 17 Jan 1776 in Lincoln Co., GA d.) 1817 in Green Co., GA.

4.) Sarah Jemison Ware b.) 21 Nov 1807 in Green Co., GA d.) 16 Dec 1883 in Atlanta, Fulton, GA m.) John Williams Medlock b.) 4 Apr 1803 in Greenville, SC d.) 5 Nov 1882 in Atlanta, Fulton, GA

5.) Eli Wren Medlock b.) 25 Aug 1839 in Norcross, Gwinnett, GA d.) 31 Aug 1904 in Austell, Cobb, GA m.) Martha P Edmonson b.) 29 May 1842 in GA d.) 5 Jan 1886 in Austell, Cobb, GA

6.) Charles Woodson Medlock b. 5 Apr 1873 in Norcross, Gwinnett, GA d.) 22 Feb 1940 in Fulton Co., GA m.) Willie McGee

7.) Leotra Medlock b.) 20 Jan 1903 in Russellville, Franklin, AL d.) 28 Feb 1985 in Odenville, St. Clair, AL m.) Emmett Sanders b.) 10 Dec 1900 in Barnesville, Lamar, GA d.) 13 Sept 1967 in Atlanta, Fulton, Ga

8.) Frederick Sanders b. 13 Mar 1935 in Birmingham, Jefferson, AL d. 16 Feb 2001 in Sherman, Grayson, TX m.) Shirley King b.) 24 Feb 1937 in Washington, DC

9.) Debbie Lowrance

As you can tell, there are holes in my research which will need to be gathered along with the proper documentation before I will be able to proceed with the next step.  For each person in my direct line I will need: date of birth, place of birth, date of death, place of death, date of marriage, place of marriage, spouse date of birth, and spouse place of death.

Wish me luck!  I better get researching!!


You can click on either the references for the DAR website pages I mentioned above or click on them below.

¹ DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Home Page -

² DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Become A Member Page -

³ DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Descendants Search Page -