Sasha's Roots
Our Family Tree

How To

Photo Album
Voluntary Simplicity
Health & Fitness
Gossamer Threads/Sewing
Scrapbooking & Paper Crafts
Other Crafts

Getting to Know Me!

Our Family Tree


To start, find your relative in the pictures above and click or click on Surnames and find the surname of your nearest deceased ancestor. From there you can find yourself by following the links down to your grandparents and parents. Living relatives are listed as (Private, Female or Male), Last Name.


This picture viewer shown above was created by MemoryMiner. The image above is an interactive photo display of our family history. (You have to have at fast internet connection, a current web browser and the most recent version of the Flash player installed in order to see the images).

September 2006 Genealogy Update- This year I took advantage of a feature in my genealogy software that lists each of the genealogy records I have updated since my last big site re-write, so I won't leave any important new discoveries out. Many family members have shared photos in the last year, and I have tried to update as many relatives pages as possible with photos, even though I continue to omit the names of living relatives out of privacy concerns. All of my ancestors with Wills, Obituaries, and Notes worthy of sharing now have "Person Sheets" (located by clicking on the Link in the person's name) that include those, and in addition every person for whom I have quality photographs will have a media page listing those photos. Media pages are located by clicking on the small camera icon next to the person's name (for individual photos) or next to the marriage date (for family photos).

Although it has been a good year of research on Ancestry, unfortunately, in the middle of August I had to let my subscription to lapse, as the $155 annual fee for membership and searching privileges is just too dear. (And when I do get some money, I REALLY need to replace my broken digital camera!) If you would consider a contribution to go towards a new Ancestry Subscription and/or the maintenance of this website, please click here:

In the process of re-writing this site, and in the course of life, I often find myself recommending books or other items to friends and familly. I am now using Amazon Associates links so that if you wind up wanting to buy something I've recommended through clicking on Amazon Links from my site, I will get a percentage of sales. I hope these small amounts when taken together will allow me to make some income from my efforts. This is part of many options I've been considering to earn more income from my creative work at home. Here are some links to books and DVD's I recommend:

  • Expanded Abernathy ancestry. Several months ago my cousin Tracy Abernathy emailed me about a book review of "A Murder in Virginia: Southern Justice on Trial" by Suzanne Lebsock, which discussed in detail the case of a former slave, Mary Abernathy, who was brought to trial for murder in Lunenberg County, Virginia, which is the home place of Tracy's Abernathy family. Naturally, I checked Ancestry to see if I would find Mary Abernathy (who was exonerated) was a relative of our Abernathy's. It remains possible, though I didn't find the link but in the process I was able to locate many census records about the Abernathy Family.
  • Ryan & Reynolds Families: For Christmas this year I published my first Ancestry Press book as a gift for my Aunt Bernadette and Uncle Andy. I focused specifically on their ancestry, and included many photos from our Thanksgiving and Christmas gatheings over the years. Bernadette's maternal grandmother had recorded a precious family history in her own writing, which I used to make her Tally family tree, and another cousin had already gathered a lot of information on the Reynolds side. I input all of these names into my Ancestry Family Tree and linked the families to census records and other records where I could. This is an amazing service, and I highly recommend it.
  • Several months ago I was contacted by a woman in Washington, DC who is part of St Augustine Church in Washington DC, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary this spring. She is looking for relatives of Father Norman DuKette, as they are planning to honor him at their event. I began writing an in-depth article about him, but have had a hard time locating materials that I can have sent to my library through inter-library loan.
  • Reinhardt & Trowborst Families: Another Christmas gift this year was a family tree book for my sister-in-law, Jennifer. I contacted her family and put their family tree together which I wrote in a store-bought book which I filled with photos from her family. Her mom is very interested in putting together a more detailed family history for the Trowborst line.
  • Payne Family: One of my 17 year old Payne cousins found my website while looking for his ancestors, but then contacted me on Myspace. I thought it was odd, but it just goes to show you, Myspace is the place of choice for many of the younger folks. I had just completed a second round of research for my cousin Juanita, focusing on this line, and was finally able to locate several relatives she had vague recollections of, but had been missing names. It was especially nice to be able to share that with my "new" cousin.
  • Last year I was contacted by four distant Sayles relatives - One was helping her son with a school project on his ancestry, and found my site with his ancestors! I am especially excited to introduce younger people to family history research. I was honored to share my work with him, and found myself struggling to answer his many questions about his obvious mixed heritage in our black family, as a result of many years of racial mixing during slavery days. In response to his question, I actually attempted to lay out his ancestors in order to work out a percentage of Black & White for him. There were too many unanswered questions for me to name a number for him. He was clearly wanting to put a name or nationality to his white ancestors, and at the same time, wanting a "flag" to include for his African American ancestry. I told him about two different versions of flags all African Americans may claim: The Pan African Flag and the African American Flag, and the story of their creation and meaning. I hope that programs like African American Lives can introduce a new generation to family history research, and encourage sharing of this marvelous history in more families. Even ugly stories can be transformed into stories of triumph. Each one of us here is testament to the success of a family.
  • Stewart Families: My grandmother Elizabeth's paternal lineage. My earliest known ancestors on this line are Robert & Martha Ann Stewart. I found their names on the death certificate for my Great Great Grandfather, Reginald William Stewart. Then I was able to find them in 1900 on the Census for Ft. Apache, Arizona Territory, along with their children: Della, Jennie E. & her husband Samuel Wylie with their children Shannon & Jason. I have been hearing about a cousin Shannon Fein for many years, and I believe somehow this is the same person, although I'm not quite sure where the name Fein comes from. Following up on this line helped me to detail the other descendants of my Stewart line, to now include the Potters - descendants of Julie A. Stewart Potter and her husband Harvey. I was also able to locate my grandmother's nephew, son of her brother Sam, who has now met his half brother for the first time, and gotten back in touch with the family after a long absence.
  • Our Mitchell and affiliated Free, Wilcox & Ives families have all had early patriarchs born in this country as early as 1805 and as late as 1815, and maybe earlier than that. Throughout the year, I have been locating census records for each direct family line, so that starting in 1790, and continuing every decade, my ideal is to show a census listing for each of our family members. Of course there are many I can't find, but my subscription to Ancestry has brought the archives into my dining room. Although I can't hope to duplicate the research results I can obtain spending a day at the NJ State Archives while researching from my home, I also know that only a small portion of my ancestors' records are actually in this state, and you can't beat the convenience.
  • When I was in the archives this April, I pulled lots of wills for my Torrance & Sandford ancestors. Although a lot of the wills are formulaic in a way, it is also a rare glimpse at a person - the words they are leaving for posterity detailing the distribution of their most precious or valuable possessions to their loved ones. I have added several of these wills to the website, although I can't automate that task, so getting around to adding the notes for each person takes a while.
  • When Grandma and I went down to Virginia with the boys, I transcribed dozens of funeral programs from my Johnson family relatives, Aunt Leon & Aunt Ossie. Funeral programs are full of information, usually parents names, birth info, children's names (including married daughters' new last names!) and more about the person's life and passing. I'm lucky that people keep these mementos, because they have been a great resource for me.
  • Atkinson: Daughter of Trafalgar! I am very close to definitively being able to name my connection to William Atkinson, a veteran of the battle of trafalgar, whose first person account of that battle is part of the history kept at the Royal Maritime Museum in London. Thanks to the access I have through to United Kingdom Census Records, I have found several new details about this line. I believe that the lineage goes from William Atkinson to a daughter, Ann Atkinson who married Hugh Torrance, to their son William Atkinson Torrance who married Mary Jane Moores to our family's Robert E. Torrance. I am still unable to prove Ann's parent's names. There is a relatively newly formed group called the Sons & Daughters of Trafalgar, to which all of the Torrance descendants may claim membership. There is a great deal of scholarship continuing to be collected about the men who were involved with this part of history, and I'm keeping in touch with them to help me make this connection.
  • African American Lives 2 In February of 2008, PBS aired a follow-up to their wonderful family history program. Of course, these days we have tools at our disposal that were unheard of so many years ago, from the widespread access to the internet and digitized online records to genetic analysis. This excellent program featured several known personalities in literature, music, entertainment and education and used old fashioned and high tech research methods to follow them back in time one generation at a time, but intermingling their stories to highlight the broad forces at work on many different people at different parts of history. It was very well done and inspiring and well worth keeping in your DVD collection.

Help Make History!I hope most of the family has had a chance to look at the family tree on the internet, or perhaps has seen one of many reports I have made detailing parts of our extended family history. A lot of this information is old news, and things that were only found after many hours of research. Some of it was passed down in family bibles and other similar records. But, history is being made nearly every day, and passing on that information is something every family member can do. For a moment, think about some of the precious keepsakes you may have of your ancestors, and even living parents and grandparents. Now consider what YOU will leave behind for your descendants. I'm not talking about writing a will, I'm talking about a historical legacy! With a little thought and care right now, you can make history! There is no minimum age requirement for this project!

Think about all of the small events that have shaped your life, and how they are recorded and preserved for future descendants. Maybe you have a small shoe box with a lock of baby hair, your birth certificate, and your wedding photos, or maybe you have a home full of antiques and family heirlooms & ; but take a moment to imagine what you will leave behind to be remembered by. Our memories are already dulling with the haze of forgetfulness, just the way that all of the precious events that mark our lives fade in time. But we can leave a permanent legacy!

  • Is it a box of unlabeled PHOTOS - people that no one knows but you? - LABEL THEM!
  • Do you have your BIRTH CERTIFICATE and MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE? Your parents'? Your children's'? - PRESERVE THEM
  • Do you have your grandma's cradle or some other heirloom FURNITURE? PHOTOGRAPH IT and record whose it was, how old it is, and what it means to you and your family.
  • Do you have a little collection of BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENTS, christening programs, WEDDING INVITATIONS, or FUNERAL PROGRAMS from family events? - PRESERVE THEM
  • Can you write down some of the important events in your life, or even try writing your life story? Maybe you can interview your parents or grandparents on audio or video.
  • For everything you choose to mark the milestones of your life; past and present - MAKE A PHOTOCOPY and SEND IT TO ME! (but first see note below)

Now, if at this point I am a very distant relative of yours, or just a friend, it's more important that you send it to your closest FAMILY HISTORIAN; or at least leave it to your children. But, for family, please do share names and dates of birth's marriages and deaths with me, so that I can preserve it. I hope to someday perhaps write a book or create a CD Rom of Family history. You can be a contributing editor! Maybe your contribution will make it into a newsletter or book for everyone to see. Maybe you will just have the peace of mind that all of your sentimental treasures have a second home if anything should happen to yours. Maybe you want to be a role model and share some of your accomplishments with a younger generation. Just pick a reason to share your story somehow and DO IT NOW! Because if you don't do this now your story will be lost to future generations. Don't lose your chance to write history!
Research Thoughts

Our family is very diverse, and for many of you, the only thing you may have in common is the fact that you are somehow related to Elliot and Alex, my sons. I am very pleased to introduce you to my family. Their love has helped make me the person I am today. Their assistance has enabled me to share our story with you. I am most grateful to my husband, for supporting me and my work.

In order to protect the privacy of our family, I have removed the information I have gathered about living family members, but you can find yourself with a little hunting. (See Directions) Let me know if you would like more information included about yourself or would like a link to your own family website. I am happy to share information with family members who want to be sure to preserve their history and present it to their own families. If you want me to prepare charts or reports including source documentation for my research, just ask. I may need photocopying costs reimbursed. Many of you have asked how you might chip in. Some ways you can help are: Send in wedding announcements, or invitations, birth, marriage and death certificates, funeral programs (great resources!) or just call and request a family group sheet from me and you can fill it in. In the course of my research, I travel, photocopy books, buy software, request records, and subscribe to online databases. If you want to help with a contribution of money towards those costs, please click on this button

Every little bit helps. Thanks to all of you've helped me get this far.

I have been interested in my family history ever since my fourth grade class did a project about it. I began researching seriously while I was in college. I was intrigued to learn that my grandfather, James Gwyn, didn't know his father's name. Grandpa told me his father had died young. Also, he told me that in his youth, children didn't address their parents as anything but Mother and Father. But I still couldn't imagine not knowing your own father's name! I went to the Federal Archives in Bayonne and returned triumphantly with the names of Grandpa's mother and father and well as his aunts and uncles.

I have continued my search off and on for the past ten years. My research grew more intensive after I got a computer and a genealogy software program. The Internet has made it so much more exciting! I hope to share my research with the entire family - eventually publish it on CD rom, with photos, documents and a rich (personalized!) history lesson.

My family heritage includes English, Irish, Canadians, Germans, Dutch, Native Americans, African American former slaves, most likely former slave owners (though I haven't documented that yet...). My husband's family includes Irish, Germans, Scottish, Swiss and Pennsylvania Dutch - and a long history of homesteading all across the US. I hope you find this family history enriching and inspiring!



  • Cool Photo Galleries & More! See my family tree up on my stairwell wall! Photos: Mitchell Family, Leatherman & Tuttle Family, Stewart Family, Torrance Family & Ryan Family. New Wilcox information on the Mitchell side. New Donovan history on the Ryan side. Wills posted for: Reverend Elias Baker 1796, Family Bible Pages posted for Andrew G & Mary E. Lynch family, Obituary posted for William Joseph Ryan, Jr., Poems by Ruth Torrance Ryan, Sandford Family History related to Captain William Sandford, will of his grandson Peregrine Sandford, will of Peregrine Sandford's son Enoch Sandford, Obituary of Samuel Sylvester Stewart
  • Mitchell The Scotland connection! All along my father-in-law Lou has said the Mitchell's were of Scottish descent, but I couldn't find the proof, until now! I found James Mitchell's parents - they were John & Sophia Mitchell - and while he is listed as born in Maryland, she was born in Scotland. I even found a census record for her in Scotland.
  • Connecticut Connections! We now have the names of William Harden's parents: Martin Harden and ______ Marquette, Lucinda Fournier's parents: Ira Fournier and Lucinda Hutchinson, and William A. Ryan's parents: William and Mary Ryan. I have located several records for William Ryan's mother Elizabeth Donovan's family. I found the notice of her wedding to William Ryan and a report of her father's death by drowning in the Naugatuck Daily Newspapers from that time. Read it on his page!


Sasha's Roots | Our Family Tree | Photo Album | Elliot | Alexander | Nathan | Voluntary Simplicity | Health & Fitness
Pregnancy/Parenting | Gossamer Threads/Sewing | Scrapbooking & Paper Crafts | Other Crafts | Getting to Know Me! | Our House | Guestbook

Date Last Modified: September 3, 2006
This Family Tree webpage was created by Reunion, from Leister Productions, Inc.