Estes Model Rockets

We are related to the Estes of Estes Model Rockets

Nearly every week, a mystery is solved or some interesting twig (or nut) appears somewhere on the family tree. Here is a little news of recent findings.

Growing up, I was only vaguely aware of Estes Model Rockets. But, I married into a family of boys who had quite a collection. My only contribution to discussions of model rockets was something like, “My mom’s maiden name was Estes.” I’m sure no one was impressed.

Maybe they would have been more impressed if I was able to tell them how … Continue reading

Setting Liquor Rates

The Court set the rate for liquors, diets, and lodging

When searching for some Virginia ancestors this week, I came across a tidbit that fits perfectly with my “Spirits and Spirits” theme. I found it on page 6 of the publication, “Franklin County Virginia Historical and Industrial Past – Present – Future,” compiled and edited by J.G. Claiborne of Lynchburg, Virginia and published in 1926.

I made several observations. First, I thought it was interesting that the county, versus the business owner, set the prices that were allowed to be charged. Next, I thought it was interesting that liquor seemed … Continue reading

Joy cometh later in the afternoon

Joy cometh later in the afternoon – helping an adoptee connect

Nearly every week, a mystery is solved or some interesting twig (or nut) appears somewhere on the family tree. Here is a little news of recent findings.

“You are a PEACH!”

“I cannot say thank you enough”

“You are a genuine search angel!”


“We’re over the moon about this–has to be better than drugs!”

“You are a pearl beyond measure for sharing all the information.”

“I cannot even begin to thank you, but thank you thank you thank you.”

“I wanted to take a moment to thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help.”

It’s not every day that a few minutes of time can result in multiple emails thanking me profusely for my help. Joy cometh later in the afternoon was the title of one of the emails. Joy was a great word to describe how a trio of searchers felt when I shared information about one of my relatives. It is a good feeling from my end to know that I was able to send someone the first photo they had ever seen of their grandmother and an obituary that answered a couple big questions. My time investment was small, but their thankfulness was big.

I won’t go into the details or use real names since this involves people who are still alive, but the gist of the story (with made up names and places) is as follows:

Michael was adopted at birth. He did DNA testing to find his birth family. His father-in-law, William, was very involved and interested in the search as well.

Mary Jones, who just happens to be a genealogist who has taken some DNA classes, DNA-matched Michael as a distant cousin. She contacted Michael because on GEDMatch, he matched her and all of her Jones relatives who had done DNA testing.

She stared at all the people who matched both she and Michael and came to a conclusion that he must have been a Doe from Iowa.

Michael may have been a little skeptical since he lived on the west coast, a long way from Iowa. Plus, he didn’t know Mary yet, so didn’t know that she actually might know what she was talking about when it came to DNA. It’s perhaps human nature to be skeptical.

Mary had a couple Jones relatives who had married into the Doe family. Both marriages produced lots of children, so the Doe surname exists in large numbers in one particular area of Iowa. So, Mary became more and more convinced that Michael was born a Doe.

Michael then found his birth mother and was able to talk to her on the phone. She didn’t have much to share about his birth father except that his name was Sam Doe, Sam’s mothers name was Christina, and that when she knew him, he “was living with his grandparents, whose name sounded like rabies and he lived in Smallville, Iowa.”  Yes, Doe. Yes, Iowa. He decided that Mary might actually be on to something.

But, Mary didn’t know how Sam Doe, who they sadly found was deceased, fit into the larger family tree.

For years, the trio, tried to find a Mr. and Mrs. Rabies who had a grandson with the last name Doe.

On a whim, Mary decided to call a distant Doe relative of hers to see if he might remember something about a baby given up for adoption. The lady who answered the phone informed her that Mr. Doe had Alzheimers and was in a memory care facility. She emphatically denied knowing anything about anything, but then proceeded to say that Malina Rabies’ son had had a child with someone and given him up for adoption.

Malina, not Christina!


Mary started searching and found me. I was the only one to have anything close to a Malina Rabies in a tree on Ancestry. Malina Rebes, not Christina Rabies. With a quick google search, she saw that I did genealogy professionally. She sent me a message through Ancestry and as I was writing a reply, she called me.

In just minutes, I was able to pull things from my files and send her back an email with information on Malina Rebes and her family. Malina Rebe had only been married to Mr. Doe for a short while, had went on to marry Mr. Smith, and had died very young. The second marriage and early death made her hard to find.

Michael and I are 3rd cousins 1x removed through one of my maternal lines, so I was able to point the group to one of my books in case they get to the point where they want to explore that particular line in more detail.

So, after nearly two years of searching, Mary, Michael, and William had answers. I got a lot of praise, but really, I didn’t do much. Well, I didn’t do much that day anyway. Because I had chased ancestors and their descendants in this family, even the descendants who are a bit removed, I had these people in my database. Because I have an insatiable interest in knowing as much as possible about all of these relatives, I had Malina Rebes Doe Smith’s obituary in my files. Being able to share what I know with these folks, makes all the time I spent seem worth it.

It’s nice to be able to help. And, it is especially nice when someone says, “Thank You!”

A Quick Trip to Iowa

State Historical Society of Iowa

Nearly every week, a mystery is solved or some interesting twig (or nut) appears somewhere on the family tree. Here is a little news of recent findings.

Making the Trip

On Thursday, I got to spend the day in one of my favorite places – a genealogy research center! As I recommended awhile back when I visited the Minnesota History Center Gale Family Library, I did some preparation before I went. I don’t know that I ever really felt totally ready, but I was armed with a list of things that I wanted to … Continue reading

Boat Rides for Thomas Leland Estes

To the War and Back

Nearly every week, a mystery is solved or some interesting twig (or nut) appears somewhere on the family tree. Here is a little news of recent findings.

We knew that Thomas Leland Estes served in World War I and we knew that he arrived in France just in time for the end of the war. But that is about all we knew. On 12 Jul 1973, there was a fire at the National Personnel Records Center and about 16-18 million Official Military Personnel Files were lost. So, information on the service of an … Continue reading

Farris Will Not Swing for A While

There was a man named John Farris…

Nearly every week, a mystery is solved or some interesting twig (or nut) appears somewhere on the family tree. Here is a little news of recent findings.

At first glance, one might think that John Farris was just another guy in our extended family tree

John J. Farris was born on 11 Feb 1854 in Isabel, Fulton, Illinois as the second child of John Knight Farris and Mary Frances Pollitt. He had six siblings, namely: Deborah, William Knight, Edwin Thomas, Mary Emma, Amanda J., and Eliza.

When he was 20, he married Debbie … Continue reading

Down home with the Estes family…and bottles, bombers and growlers

I really don’t want to be older than I already am, but I sometimes wish that I’d been born a little sooner so that I could have enjoyed the company of my maternal Estes family a little more. Home movies filmed by my Grandpa Tom and Uncle Jim have given me a glimpse into just how much fun the family had. As I watched the following early 1960s clip thinking that there was a heck of a lot of smooching going on, I also started wondering how many ounces were in the bottles of beer they were drinking.

Maybe I’m … Continue reading