July 7, 2015

The Many Variables Of Kelly Clarkson’s WDYTYA Research


I really enjoyed watching the episode of Who Do You Think You Are on the Learning Channel that followed the family of Isaiah Rose, the 3rd GGrandfather of Kelly Clarkson. With just an hour to show the process, it wasn’t possible to address all of the different avenues Kelly and her researchers might have been able to follow. Or, maybe they did follow them, but only added the ones that seemed the most interesting to her and the public.

For instance, the fact that Isaiah Rose was in two different Civil War regiments because he reenlisted and was put in a new unit after his first enrollment expired. I would assume the researchers looked further, but it could also have been possible that his unit began as one number and then as troops were lost due to death, disease, or desertion, sometimes they were consolidated into another one.

My own ancestor John Breedlove began his military service in the 31st Regiment of the Missouri Infantry in 1862; two years later the regiment consolidated with the 32nd Regiment. Source: Family Search 31st Regiment history. 

It was so fun to see Kelly’s face as she first saw the photo copy of her ancestor Isaiah Rose! I know that feeling because I felt the same way when I was generously given a photo copy of my own 3rd great grandfather Eleazer (Ale) Smith by a cousin in Tennessee.

Eleazer Smith, Great Great Great Grandfather to Carol Yates Wilkerson

I never expected to see a photo of him because he was born in 1803, and I didn’t (and still don’t) have a picture of Eleazer’s son John Smith. I do have a picture of Eleazer’s grandson, and my G-Grf Harvey Lawson Smith though.

At the end of the episode of WDYTYA I was cheering on Kelly and very happy to see she was so enthused about pursuing her family tree further. I mean, there is her whole 3rd G-Grandmother Melissa Crawford’s side of the family for she and her mother to research too. Will Kelly end up being related to Cindy Crawford??



Rare Helen Keller – Anne Sullivan Photo Found

Newly discovered Helen Keller - Anne Sullivan photo

You may have seen it in the news or online, but if not, there has been found a previously undiscovered Helen Keller – Anne Sullivan photo found in a collection donated to the NEHGS.

An NEHGS staff member discovered the photograph while combing through a large photography collection recently donated by Thaxter P. Spencer, 87, of Waltham, MA. (Full story can be read here.)

The signifcance of the photo is that there are very few images of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan when Helen was a child. This is a truly intriguing photo and I hope you have the time to read the full story by clicking on the link I have included above.

On a more personal note, just this week I had the heart-warming experience of sharing a photo of my ancestor Eleazer Smith with a new-found cousin. It was early evening and the phone rang, and Katie introduced herself and how we connect with the Smith family.

Eleazer Smith, Great Great Great Grandfather to Carol Yates Wilkerson

She had found online where I had said that I have a photo copy of Eleazer (Ale) Smith and she wondered if I still had it in my possession. The photo was generously copied by another cousin named Christine Brady who lives in Tennessee and given to me for my records.

When I was given this photo it was as if a pot of gold had been dropped in my lap. I never thought I would see a photo of this GGG-Grandfather. And now, I have shared it with Katie and I know she feels the same way. Ale was born in 1803, and since he looks to be a young man in this photo, it was most likely taken in the 1820’s or so.

Many of my family photos can be found on Webshots.  I have posted them there as public albums so that any of my cousins and kin can see them and download them if they like. I don’t see myself as the ‘owner’ of the photos and documents I have, but ratehr the ‘caretaker’ and as such, it is my goal to keep them safe but also share them with as many people as possible. That way, history is not lost. Do you feel the same way?