Throwback Thursday | Herman Amos

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When it comes to family history research, one of the most thrilling things for me is uncovering never before seen photos or details of someone's life. Case in point - my mom's grandfather Herman Amos Roush. He died before she was born (my grandma was only three) so his legacy doesn't come with many stories. I may have heard his name once or twice growing up, so when I started work on that branch of my family tree, I was really excited with what I uncovered.

A couple of weeks ago I was visiting my parents and went through a big box of old loose photos and albums. There were two prints of the handsome gent you see above, but the photo studio listed was in Mississippi. I had never heard anything about any ancestors from that far south, so I peeled back the plastic cover and gently pulled back the portrait. Bingo! Herman Roush was written on the back. 

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I kept digging, going back through the same boxes over and over. Maybe there were more details written on the back of photos? I lucked out again when I found two more photos of Herman - looking like a total stud alongside his dog and another with my great grandma and Harry (who's Harry? I have no idea! I hope that mystery can be solved one day too!) My grandmother had written the names of all those pictured on the back of each snapshot. Thank you grandma! I also found her aunt Ruby (Herman's sister) so I was able to put a face to the name for my chart. 

I also uncovered some military documents which listed Herman as a Corporal in the Indiana Reserve forces during World War I. Online I found his draft card, an application for a military head stone and that all had his regiment information. So then a little Googling and another jackpot - The Story of the 139th Field Artillery which documented the activities of the soldiers, their deployment to France, what camp was like and so on. I'm not really into military history (although now that I've found connections to almost every American war, I'm kind of interested!) but this account really brought life to what it was like for my great grandfather during that time. As for the MS portrait? That's where they were stationed for training and the style of sitting along with the uniform echoes what I found in the recap of the 139th! Luckily the war was over just weeks after they got to France and once home he married Eva (remember her?)I found their original marriage license in those boxes as well!) Sadly, however, he died as a young man and left behind three young children (Including my great Uncle J. Edward Roush who served in Congress and brought forth the legislation for 911!) I'm so grateful to be able to see what he looked like and verify his time as a solider through these various documents. In the coming months I hope I can also confirm our shared Roush ancestors who fought in the Revolutionary War!

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Want to read more about my genealogy research or learn how I do it? Read here

Notes from the Field | 010

These weeks fly by quickly, especially when having so much fun. Writing from a breakfast spot in Chicago, where I’ve been with Adam this week. He’s got mornings of business stuff so I’ve been exploring solo. It is the first time I’ve been away from Beatrix overnight and I hope I don’t lose mom cred when I say it’s been so reinvigorating to take a break. We also successfully weaned and I’m pretty thrilled with that too. We nursed on deman for 17 months and the timing to phase it out worked out perfectly. I loved feeding my daughter but having my body to myself again feels really great. I’ve been pregnant or nursing for four and a half years!  

But back to Chicago. Damn. I love this place so much. I’ve never really done so much exploring on my own and it reminds me of my single days back in Brooklyn in my 20s. I will recap the spots I’ve enjoyed when I’m back to my laptop next week. So many great meals and treats!  Also: HAMILTON! Just you waaaaait!! It was incredible!! Thanks for all of the Windy City recommendations!  

Next week I’m excited to wrap up some house projects and photograph them as well as doing some progress reports on my genealogy research. Each night I tell Adam about my significant discoveries and it feels like a real life mystery! I’ll pick a couple to share soon! 

Have a wonderful weekend!  


Notes from the Field | 008


We’ve been summering hard here and it hasn’t left me much time to get online and write. Right now I’m on my front porch swing drinking some ice tea while my kids play, so it seems like a good time to catch up.  

With Adam traveling to NYC for work, the kids and I drove up to stay with my folks for a few days this week. It was nice to have an extra set of hands to help with the kids and I got a little free time for myself (to thrift shop, of course!) The visit also gave me a chance to go through some boxes of family photos and JACKPOT!! It was like finding treasure! I will devote a few different posts my discoveries! Until a few weeks ago I didn’t know what my great grandparents on my moms side looked like and now I’ve uncovered maybe half a dozen shots. The other major treasure was an envelope of photo negatives from my mom’s side. There are so many pictures of my mom as a baby and my grandma as a young mom and wife and finding them felt like a little gift sent from the past from my grandma. Now that I have them I can get some good quality enlargements and I’ve even found some images that didn’t make the album (or that someone had borrowed) or that I’ve never seen.

On my dad’s side, he loaned me a book his late cousin Larry had put together about nine years ago right before he passed. It traces my great great father’s involvement in the Civil War based on his regiment’s records and then put side by side with other historical accounts. And there’s a pre-1900 photo of him too!! It brought me a lot of joy to uncover all of these goodies!

On the flip side of all of this, anyone who has invested time into charting her family tree knows for all of the ah ha moments, there are less exciting steps backwards. It’s such a bummer to uncover incorrect information or photos of people no one recognizes. But hey! I’ve found a lot and I’m going to keep working on it for as long as it’s fun. And another underlying thought I’ve been holding onto is this - I have ancestors. They don’t need photos or names for me to know that I am descended from the beginning of humanity! We all are! It’s awesome to put a name to a great grandmother x25, but even if you can’t, it doesn’t mean she’s not back there.

Oh! This also reminds me (and please share more info if you have it). I read online the other day that there’s a whole “medieval” team at Family Search of actual researchers and historians to fact check the thousand plus year old records. How cool!

Foraging Oyster Mushrooms


One of the things I absolutely cherish about our country life is finding edible delights in the yard. Whether they are for medicinal or culinary use, it’s a thrill for me to find and harvest something and then enjoy it. I’ve documented some of the other things I’ve picked on the blog (like mulberries, violets and plantain) and will continue - even if it’s just a catalogue for myself.   The more I can eat from my own land - the better!!!

Today I’m talking ‘bout ‘shrooms and I’ve gotta say - please do not mistake this post as encouragement to eat wild mushrooms if you have ANY hesitation or questions on their safety. I had a friend who works for the DNR and a local chef confirm these are oysters in addition to doing my own research. After failing to find a single morel this year, I felt like I struck gold when I found these dudes growing on the stump of a felled poplar tree. 

And you better believe we ate 'em! First as a stir fry and then in a pho style soup. Delicious!!  

I’m also hoping to do something with red clover and we are at the start of mulberry season so you’ll be seeing loads of jam and pie (here’s my recipe!) It won’t be long for the veg garden to come alive either!! Ahhh I love spring and summer!!