The Mothers Before Me

  1. Suebob says:

    Beautiful, Lindsay. I love seeing the old photos. Have you seen the documentary “Harlan County, USA”? It may not be your family’s story, unless they were miners, but it tells an amazing story of the hardships people there encountered right up into the present day.

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      We just watched Harlan County USA a few months ago. I’m not related to anyone in it directly (although I think everyone who lives there is related distantly!), but it was really interesting to watch.

  2. Mary ( says:

    Love this!! I’ve got some pretty awesome women in my line too– such a gift.

    Mary, momma to 10

  3. NancyB says:

    OMG – That brought tears to my eyes! You have such a wonderful, long and rich history to keep adding to and sharing with your children.

    I’m the family history fool in my family and I too can spend HOURS, pouring over my notes, and copies of birth certificates, obits, ship manifests and entering info on

    Last week through divine intervention, I had a reading with a medium. My mother was front and center waiting for him to get settled and start talking. He was amazed that she has been gone 26 years as her presence was that of someone only recently passed. She said she is with my sisters and I every day. A mother’s love will never die.

    You can go to my facebook page (we’re friends) and watch the video that was part of a local tv show last week.

  4. Stephanie says:

    That’s amazing! You have inspired me to trace my family history in more depth.

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      Definitely get a membership to It makes tracing everything really, really easy. (And they did not sponsor this post! LOL)

  5. Dawnan says:

    Awesome. I have been doing genealogy research on my birth mother’s side. I know my birth sister, so I was able to get help with the beginning information. It has been two years of really compelling, interesting research. I, too, am almost 100% American by way of England. I have plenty of information for my daughters and I to join Daughters of the American Revolution (and several other organizations), but I cannot. I would have to list my birth mother as a point of contact to verify everything,

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      Wow. That’s rough. I think it’s just as good to KNOW you qualify for the DAR, though. 🙂 And? Maybe we’re related!

  6. Kathy M. Newman says:

    Fantastic post Lindsay. Fascinating!

  7. Kimberly says:

    Awesome! I want to do this someday. How wonderful to be able to hand down the stories and photos to your children.

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      There’s no time like the present! 😉

      I’m now planning to “study” our relatives with the kids at the same time as they’re studying that period in history- I’ve gathered so many personal stories from all the major periods in American history, from coming to the US as an indentured servant to settling in Indian territory to fighting in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars (I had lots of relatives on both sides of the Civil War)… I think it’ll all be much more interesting to them if they can visualize it from a great great great great great grandfather’s perspective. 🙂

  8. Bonnie says:

    The young picture of Sharon = Punky, Punky, Punky lol

  9. Karen says:

    Lindsay, I’m related to Oliver Cromwell, too! My sister is on all the time trying to find out all she can about our family. She hasn’t found nearly as much information as you…what’s your secret?

    • suburbanturmoil says:

      Sorry, I’m just now seeing this comment! I got lucky- Kentucky has excellent historical records online dating back to the 1700s– and since many of my ancestors on my mom’s side of the family fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, lots of history buffs have traced their (and consequently, my) genealogy back to them. On my dad’s side, it’s much harder- but from what I’ve been able to trace on his side, it all starts in the colonies and goes back to England eventually. I had no idea I was quite so… American!

  10. Anna W says:

    I love this kind of personal history and I find the pictures and stories about your great grandmothers so interesting – thanks so much for sharing with us! I need to get back into it. I used to help my aunt (pre-marriage and kids!) with our family history on my dad’s side. She has records of that side of the family going back into at least the 1500s in Norway.

  11. I was born in Harlan and recently went back to visit. We have no family there but it is really interesting to see the name in such an unexpected place. My Dad worked in the mines but we were only in the area for 5 years. It really is beautiful country!

  12. Rose says:

    I am from Harlan County. As a tip, do not believe everything on Take it with a grain of salt. Reason being is that most records that were not destroyed in the 1977 flood was transferred to Frankfort and placed in the National Archives. After so many years, the records are made public. Minimum for death records is 50 years after date of death. If you are trying to get records, you have to be next of kin. Example, I can not get a copy of my grandmother’s death cert because she has children living. They can order one, but I can not even though I am a grandchild. files are made of mostly what people submit to them. Some are altered, some are census records, and so forth. As for census records, people in Harlan back in the day would record what they wanted. No one actually told the truth. Names have been altered as well as relationships. I have hit this roadblock many of times with my own research on the Creech Family.

  13. Rose says:

    I also have the book you mentioned above in the first photo. It is very rare. Only 20 or so copies are left in existence and there is no way to get the files to have a copy made. The publisher went out of business and destroyed the files for every book they ever handled. This book was published in 1962.

  14. Rose says:

    Do note that Hensley Settlement is not in Harlan County. It is just across the border on Brush Mountain, Bell County, KY at the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park. There is a place at the park where you can have your foot in 3 states at once.
    From one Harlan Countain to another, keep those memories alive!

    • Jessica Hensley says:

      I am also a Hensley and a direct descendant from the Hensley settlement. I have been researching our family back and have got stuck on some name and can’t go back no farther. Maybe you can help me? I’d appreciate it. My grandfather was harem Hensley

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