Author Archives: Diana

Bill Russell

Til the Butcher Cut Him Down

This 1971 film by Philip Spalding was narrated by my great uncle Bill Russell. The film includes him talking about the musicians and himself, shows Preservation Hall, New Orleans, second lines, Ben Jaffee, and even Bill Russell's apartment with his massive collection. A superb study of the history and men who played New Orleans Jazz through the eyes of one of its greatest trumpet players: Punch Miller (died 1971). Kid Punch was renowned in New…
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Site SEARCH function

My family site has over 100 articles and posts about multiple branches of my family, research tips, and links. I organize them with categories and menus, but with so much content, it's often difficult to know what's on the site. Did you know you can SEARCH for names, places, and other keywords. For example, if you are related to the Wagners, you can search for your surname and it will return any posts with that…
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Are we related?

We’re All Connected

It turns out that my half siblings and a close friend and his mother and my mother are all distant cousins, at least by marriage. It wasn’t some deep dark secret the family had kept hidden. I only just stumbled on it. Sometimes I think that instead of a tree, my family works better as a spirograph or vines that twist and tangle onto themselves as they grow in all directions. READ:
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FEATURED

Dear Nellie

I recently discovered a letter written in 1884 by George Redeforth in Warsaw, Illinois, to his fiancé Nellie Stenson. Although they aren’t related to me, my ancestor John Wagner lived there at the same time. In my quest to learn about George and Nellie, I discovered an article about my own ancestors and uncovered George's story on the river. Read:
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Newsletter

The Climb from Salt Lick by Nancy L. Abrams

The Climb from Salt Lick: A Memoir of Appalachia In the mid-1970s, Nancy L. Abrams, a young photojournalist from the Midwest, plunges into life as a small-town journalist in West Virginia. She befriends the hippies on the commune one mountaintop over, rents a cabin in beautiful Salt Lick Valley, and falls in love with a local boy, wrestling to balance the demands of a job and a personal life. She learns how to survive in…
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Audio Recordings

1943 Wagner Family Recordings

Ben Wagner recently found some 78-RPM 8-inch records in his late father Arnold’s collection. On them are the voices of our ancestors - my great grandparents William C. Wagner and wife Lilly Giegerich, along with their son William F and Lilly's aunt Tillie Eckert Henry. The recordings were made on Saturday, June 5, 1943, during a trip home by William and Arnold to visit their parents in Canton, Missouri. Other recordings are of the brothers…
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Interesting Tidbits

Earthquake in SW Virginia

Earthquakes are actually common in Virginia. Here's one that would affected my Thornton ancestors in Pulaski County: May 3, 1897. Centered at Radford, where a few chimneys were wrecked and plaster fell from walls, and chimneys were damaged at nearby Pulaski and Roanoke.  Felt in most of southwest Virginia and as far south as Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Estimated magnitude   This was a prelude to The Big One. ((Division of Geology and Mineral Resources -…
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Are we related?

Are we related to Barack Obama?

The short answer is: sort of. President Barack Obama's maternal  GGGG grandfather Thomas L. Clark settled in Canton, Missouri around 1835. All of Thomas' 11 children were born there and they lived there at the same time our family (Surnames: Wagner, Eckert, Hetzler, Giegerich, Vesper). Obama's ggg grandfather Christopher Columbus Clark is buried in the same cemetery (Forest Grove) in Canton as our ancestors. By searching through the Canton newspaper, I found multiple connections that…
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