Thursday, November 11, 2010

John Wesley Slack: The "W" Mystery Solved and a New Cousin Found!

Once in a while my enthusiasm for family history collides with a limited amount of research time.  That occasionally results in an unfortunate error or two.  So it goes with my great grandfather on my mother's side of the family--John W. Slack.  In a blog post a few months ago, I erroneously listed his middle given name as “William” thinking I had figured out what the “W” stood for.  A few weeks afterwards, I found his correct middle name.  How did I manage that?  As luck would have it, his death certificate was recently published on-line on a new website I happened to be searching one day.  While I have been a little slow to post this discovery (blame it on work), allow me to set the record straight.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Jose Luis Sanchez - Chicano Stories: From the Heart of El Paso and Juarez

I am fortunate to have a father-in-law who not only loves to tell stories, but is equally interested in writing them down. For many years now, Jose Luis Sanchez of El Paso, Texas has been putting pen to paper recording the stories of his youth, family, history, politics and generally musing about anything that grabs his attention. He has a very unique way of presenting the nuances of everyday life in short essays that make for light-hearted and downright fun reading.

His latest work, Chicano Stories: From the Heart of El Paso and Juarez, is a collection of his distinctive essays that are definitely worth checking out. Currently, the book is in digital download form on the self-publishing Web site, Lulu. The web address to the book is:

Friday, September 3, 2010

Rosa Emma (Morgan) Slack – A Rare Photograph!

For many months now, I have wondered if I would ever see a photo of my maternal Great Grandmother, Rosa Emma Slack. According to family members I have talked to, they didn’t know of any. A contributing factor to the lack of photos of the Slack family may be a fire that destroyed a portion of John William and Rosa’s home.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sharon Kay Slack - A Tribute to Mom!

Today is a special day that I remember fondly each and every year—it's my mother’s birthday!  Sharon Kay (Slack) Hair (b. Aug 31, 1939 d. Dec 13, 1999) would have been 71, but sadly she passed away nearly 11 years ago following a long struggle with cancer.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Manuel Almeida Martinez – “A Bottle of Tequila….”

The following is an article written for the Bustamante family reunion by my Father-in-Law, Jose Luis Sanchez of El Paso, Texas. It was originally published on May 27, 2000 for the reunion held in El Paso. This is a fascinating story of how Jose Luis’ grandfather, Manuel Almeida Martinez (photo above taken circa 1912), escaped almost certain death at the hands of the Mexican army during the time of Pancho Villa. Besides, with a title including “tequila”--it’s got to be an attention getter! Enjoy.

(Click on the article to enlarge)


Saturday, August 28, 2010

John William & Rosa Emma Slack – The Family Bible

I recently had the privilege of talking to another newly found cousin—Jim Slack of Keller, Texas.  While I was excited to meet a new cousin, I was also eager to discuss a package loaded with genealogical information that he mailed to my Grandfather Ellsworth W. Slack way back in 1995. I inherited the package when my mother passed away over ten years ago, but didn’t really pay much attention to it until I start researching my roots. Jim’s package contains many research gems that have helped me learn more about the Slack side of my family for the better part of two years now. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

John William & Rosa Emma (Morgan) Slack – A Portrait of the Children

I have been fortunate in the past week to connect with distance relatives of the “Slack” side of my family I have never met or talked to before. One telephone call was all it took to start a cascade of emails, address exchanges and phone numbers I am still happily sorting through and recording. No doubt more posts will result from it in the future.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Marion Keith & Ellen (Tuttle) Davis – Links to a Cousin!

I have worked in the technology business for many years and sometimes take for granted the incredible power of the Internet. Every once in a while I am jolted from my complacency and reminded of this fact. For example, I recently stumbled on to a cousin I never knew I had—Keith W. Davis of New Cambria, Kansas (near Salina). What a discovery! I found Keith through and learned he has been researching his family genealogy for many years. In the past few months Keith and I have shared information on our common ancestors—Marion Keith Davis (b. Jan 31, 1852 d. Jul 12, 1930) and Ellen Tuttle (b. Apr 24, 1862 d. Sep 17, 1935). 

Marion and Ellen are my 2nd Great Grandparents on my mother's side of the family. Keith descends from Marion and Ellen's son Paul, and I descend from their daughter Pearl Davis.  That would make Keith my second cousin once removed.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Donald and Nora Pauline (Barke) Hair – Down on the Farm

“Don and Nora”, as they were frequently and affectionately called, were my adopted paternal grandparents. As I mentioned in an earlier post, my direct family lines consist of the Pounds and Slack surnames, however my Mother remarried and took the “Hair” name when I was four years old. I was legally adopted at age ten and have been a Hair ever since.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ellsworth W. Slack and Louise (Fisher) Slack - Granddad and Nan

I couldn't write another post for this blog without introducing my maternal grandparents, Ellsworth Woodrow and Louise (Fisher) Slack. They were a very influential part of my life and the lives of my first cousins in particular. I fully intend to share many family stores about "E.W.", as his friends would call my grandfather, and "Nan" as many in the family would refer to my grandmother.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Harry E. Wright – Chasing Bandits on the Border!

My family history research has uncovered many ancestors who served in the military from the Revolutionary War on, however there is one veteran I am particularly interested in--Harry E. Wright, born in October of 1895 in Springfield, Missouri to Henry E. Wright and Pearl Davis. I recall my maternal grandmother, Louise (Fisher) Slack (Pearl’s daughter) speaking fondly of her half-brother throughout the years, but I unfortunately didn't ask many questions while I could.  From what I have learned, Harry led a fascinating life, but one that’s still a bit of a mystery to me. So here's what I do know about Harry.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thomas B. Hillhouse - A Memorial Day Remembrance

I always admired and enjoyed the company of my cousin Bruce (Thomas B. Hillhouse, b. 4 January, 1957, d. 4 March 2007). He was a kind and gentle person, a bit shy but self-assured in his own way. He was fun to be around, and was more like the big brother I never had. I remember many wonderful fishing trips with him and my other cousins along the Beaver Creek Arm of Bull Shoals Lake near our grandfather’s “cabin” in Taney County, Missouri. I also recall many memorable visits to Webster Groves, Missouri where he grew up. When he enlisted in the Air Force out of Saint Louis in the mid-seventies, I was captivated by his every move. I would call him often and write on occasion, but was always eager to tell my friends of my cousin in the Air Force! When I think back, there were a few people who positively influenced my decision to join the military, and I am proud to say that my cousin Bruce was among them.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Albert H. Pounds - Searching for Al! (Part 4)

A review of Al's records show that he attended basic training at Great Lakes Naval Training Center north of Chicago in the summer of 1955, graduating on 16 September 1955 as a Seaman Recruit. He also completed the Fire Fighters' Training Course as well. From there, he was assigned to the U.S.S. Shields DD598 (destroyer shown above courtesy U.S.S. Shields website), San Diego, California in the fall of 1955 as a Fireman Apprentice. He served on the Shields from 4 October 1955 until the summer of 1957. On 7 June 1957, Al was assigned to the Naval Hospital at Treasure Island, San Francisco, California pending a medical retirement. He was honorably discharged with a 40% disability, due to his diabetes, on 1 August 1957 with a pension of $50.70 per month. His home of record following discharge is listed as 2412 Lincoln Street, Springfield, Missouri. I suspect, but have not been able to confirm that he went to live with his sister Catherine in Springfield.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Albert H. Pounds - Searching for Al! (Part 3)

Finding Carol Loehr was a huge bonus in my search for Albert Pounds. The information she was able to provide put a lot of things into perspective and greatly expanded my thoughts and feelings about my father. I can't begin to thank Carol enough for helping fill in the gaps after all these years and for providing me with the personal information to understand the man that was Albert Pounds.

Carol told me much about the years she and her siblings had spent with Al. I learned about his struggle with diabetes, his transformative and fulfilling life with her mother Marie, as well as the different jobs he held in the building maintenance field. One of those job even included working for United Van Lines as a building maintenance manager. What really fascinated me was Carol and her siblings all knew about me, at least from the pictures and stories Al would tell. They wondered if I was real and would actually appear one day. I suppose my making contact was as much a surprise to them as it was me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Albert H. Pounds - Searching for Al! (Part 2)

I finally decided it was time to research and locate information on my long lost father. That was a good first step, but finding the resources to tackle the job was another matter. Had I started this search ten or more years ago, then this would have been a formidable task at best. To my good fortune, the Internet has revolutionized genealogical and family history research in the past decade and made a search like mine possible and affordable too.

It was clear that I needed a way to organize my research and to catalog the family members I was aware of, and for those I would undoubtedly discover along the way. I heard of Family Tree Maker by and decided to give it a try. In retrospect, I wish I had taken more time to consider other tools. FTM has worked very well, especially in conjunction with the subscription service that produces those little "shaking" leaves, but I did learn one valuable lesson.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Albert H. Pounds--Searching for Al!

I took a much needed vacation in April 2009 to visit the folks back in Springfield, Missouri where I was raised. While talking to my dad one night, he hauled out a large Rubbermaid container full of old photos. In the container was a crumpled black and white picture I hadn’t seen for many years—a family portrait taken in 1962 of myself, my mother, and my father, Al Pounds. Al was the father who had been out of my life since I was 4 years old.

My mother told me that Al was from Toledo, Ohio. Outside of that lone fact, she didn’t mention any other vital statistics. I found out over the years that Al was in the U.S. Navy for a short period until he was diagnosed with diabetes and discharged. Mom also said that Al was court-martialed for abandoning his ship, because he felt extremely sick and one day decided that he needed to see a doctor. Apparently, as the story goes, his commanding officer wouldn’t let him leave the vessel. As my mother loved to tell it, he managed to jump ship only to pass out on the steps of the hospital, near death.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Welcome to Memory Hook!

Thank you for stopping by. There’s a saying in family history circles that we all die twice— the first time physically and the second time when we’re forgotten. Surprisingly, it takes as little as two generations to be completely forgotten and lost to time. It’s really a shame when that happens, because I believe we all have a unique and interesting story to tell. No exceptions.

I hope this blog, in some small way, provides a useful means to connect with the past in order to explore the many branches of my family tree. I’m fascinated with genealogy and family history and am searching for anyone with information on my ancestors. I welcome anybody with an interest and desire to contribute. Who knows, we might even connect a cousin or two in the process. Wouldn’t that be cool!