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Sentimental Sunday: Elizabeth Ann Murrell and John S. Roberts

1892- John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts, cropped from larger family photo with their descendants. Taken in Jasper County, Iowa. Owned by author.

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Once the Wiley Anderson Murrell-Mary Magdalene Honts family settled in Roseville/Warren County, Illinois, their daughter and our ancestor Elizabeth Ann Murrell met a young farmhand named John S. Roberts. He had moved from the family farm of his parents, John Roberts (1805-1875) and Jane Saylor/Salyers (1806-1880), in Indiana, looking for work in the productive grain fields of Illinois. The convergence was fate, as John and Elizabeth married on 8 March 1857 in Roseville, where they set up housekeeping. Elizabeth’s brother John Henry Murrell was living with them in 1860 and working as a farm laborer. Elizabeth had already borne two sons, William Edward Roberts, born in 1858, and Jason Lee Roberts, born in 1859, so it would have been a busy farm household. Their son George Anthony Roberts (the father of Edith Roberts McMurray Luck) was then born in 1861, and finally a daughter, May Jane Roberts, joined the family in 1863, and was also born in Illinois.

We know that the Roberts family had a friendship with a Daniel family in Warren County. Charles M. Daniel (1819-1875) and his wife Elizabeth Thomas (1817-1885) had both been born in Virginia. Elizabeth and then their son, Robert Woodson “R. W.” Daniel (1843-1922), were born specifically in Rockbridge County, Virginia, just north of Botetourt. This family may have known the Murrell or Honts families even as far back as the early 1800s in Virginia, as suggested by some research that still needs more work. The Daniel family, however, decided to migrate to Missouri about 1845 (R.W. was just 2 years old), and then on to Illinois around 1864-1865. Their second migration is understandable, too, by considering the Civil War, as we did for the Murrell family. Being a border state, Missouri was a very dangerous place to live during that conflict. A farmstead could be raided by the Rebs in the morning, and then have Union troops descend that evening, also looking for food, supplies, and “spoils of war.” And then there were the border gangs that took no heed of any allegiance and were themselves committed to violence… It was challenging for a family to survive in Missouri, no matter the side they championed or who was beating on their door.

“R. W.” Daniel  enlisted in the Missouri State Military Cavalry in 1862, and served until 1865. (More on R.W. in the future.) Some sources state that he was in Warren County, Illinois in 1865, but he did marry Margaret Ann Hemphill (1839-1915) on 18 January 1866 in Pike County, Missouri. (He likely knew her from when he lived there, and may have gone to Warren Co. to recuperate from the war after his discharge.) The couple moved about 150 miles north to Young America, Warren County, Illinois, where their first child, Ella Viola Daniel, was born on 29 October 1866.

The John and Elizabeth Roberts family went to visit and congratulate the Daniel family on the birth of their child. John and Elizabeth took their sons and daughters with them for the visit, per their granddaughter, Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck. It was the first time that little George A. Roberts, about to turn five years old, saw his future wife for the very first time.

And that is why this is a “Sentimental Sunday” post!

 

To be continued…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Vital records such as birth, marriage, and census that can be found on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, etc.
  2. Family stories written and told by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2017 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
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Friday’s Faces from the Past: Elizabeth Ann Murrell and John S. Roberts

 

John S. Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts, possibly in the 1870s or 1880s? Posted with kind permission of the Harlan Family Blog. (Click to enlarge.)

Roberts Family, Murrell Family (Click for Family Tree)

Elizabeth Ann Murrell was the first born child of Wiley Anderson Murrell (1806-1885) and Mary Magdalene Honts (1806-1887). Her birth was 1 February 1835 in Botetourt County, Virginia, where Mary’s family had lived for a while- we still don’t know where Wiley was living before the marriage in 1834.

[BTW, Botetourt is pronounced in a uniquely Virginian way: “BOT-a-tot.”]

Elizabeth was just five years old when the 1840 US Federal Census was taken. Her father was enumerated in District 8, Botetourt County, Virginia, and she likely was there too. (The 1840 census only lists the head of household.) She was specifically listed with the family in the 1850 US Federal Census, however, again in District 8 of Botetourt; she was 15. As her father was a farmer, she most likely lived the hard-working life of a farm family- she would have helped her mother with milking the cows, caring for and slaughtering the chickens, slopping the pigs, bringing water to the house for cooking, drinking, and bathing, and she would have stayed busy working in the family garden. And that was just the outside work! Inside, she would have watched over her siblings, made the beds and done housework, mended and possibly made family clothing and bedding including quilts, and cooked meals for the family and anyone who was visiting or helping to work the fields. Hopefully she was able to attend school, and maybe have fun at dances and neighborhood get-togethers.

Just a few years later, when Elizabeth was 18, she migrated with her family to Warren County, Illinois. Her father continued to farm, so Elizabeth would have continued her own hard work as a farmer’s daughter.

The Murrells and many of their neighbors were probably too poor to have had any slaves while in Virginia (none are noted in the census), but they would have been surrounded by an economic and social environment that depended on slavery, as did the rest of the south. They may have been isolated enough by the mountains- the Blue Ridge Mountains are on the eastern borders of the county, and the Appalachians on the west- that they did not see the horrors of human bondage on a daily basis, but it was still pervasive.  There was an incident in August of 1835 (Elizabeth was just 6 months old) concerning the lynching of an Englishman in Lynchburg, Virginia. (The irony of the place name is not lost.) It was said the man was an abolitionist who was circulating pamphlets that were anti-slavery, thus a mob hunted him down and “inhumanly [sic] executed” him. This was picked up by many papers, but thankfully turned out to be “fake news.” (History repeats itself.) The case was entirely plausible, however, and believed by many initially, adding to the tension in our country due to the vigorously opposing sides in the slavery question.

Elizabeth and her siblings would have grown up in this divisive climate. It is a question to ponder as to how the family felt about slavery. Some descendants feel that their move to northern Illinois, plus the fact that two of three sons enlisted in the Union Army, suggests that they too believed in abolition, and wanted to leave the South before a war exploded. They were probably smart enough to see that if there was to be a civil war, Virginia’s lands would be one of the places it would be fought. Residents of a place are generally caught between armies, and lose their food, animals, family treasures, and sometimes their lives, so a migration before the tipping point was a good choice,  though surely daunting. Of course, we will never know for sure about the family’s political beliefs, unless a diary or letters are found from the family. (Do you have any in a shoebox in the back of a closet??) But the family did all survive the Civil War, and that would have been much more challenging to do had they stayed in Virginia.

 

 

The story of Elizabeth Ann Murrell and John S. Roberts continues…

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. “How to Talk Virginian” at cohp.org/va/notes/placenames_pronunciation.html
  2. “Virginia Mob,” New-York Spectator, 20 August 1835: http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Virginia_Mob_New-York_Spectator_August_20_1835
  3. Vital records such as birth, marriage, and census that can be found on Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, etc.
  4. Family stories written and told by Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Madness Monday: Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount and Family, 1900

The family of Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount, 1900. Standing, from left, Mary Jane (Mollie J) (Roberts) Blount, baby Bernice Blount, Samuel Harvey Blount with hat and tie, and his father Samuel H. Blount, and Harry R. Blount. Seated on ground from left: Florence Blount, Helen J. Blount, Harold M. Blount. Cropped from a larger family photo.
The family of Mary Jane (Roberts) Blount, 1900. Standing, from left, Mary Jane (Mollie J) (Roberts) Blount, baby Bernice Blount, Samuel Harvey Blount with hat and tie, his father Samuel H. Blount, and Harry R. Blount. Seated on ground from left: Florence Blount, Helen J. Blount, Harold M. Blount. Cropped from a larger family photo.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

Back in the mid- to late-1960s, kids did not generally have much of an understanding about divorce. D-I-V-O-R-C-E (remember that country song?) was something whispered about, and only amongst grown-ups. So it seemed madness trying to document this family back then as a young teen. Just WHAT was Mary Jane’s last name?? It was Blount, right? Her husband had that surname, and so did her kids. But what was this about her name being French (whisper, whisper)? And didn’t her brother Jason Lee Roberts marry  Julia French- was she related or was I just mixed up? It did not make sense to a young teen.

Sadly, today divorce makes too much sense to our kids, as so many have experienced it firsthand and it has become commonplace. But can you imagine the scandal in small town Iowa in the 1880s when a divorce took place?

Let’s start at the beginning, though…

Mary Jane Roberts was born 7 November 1863 in Warren County, Illinois, to John Roberts (1832-1922) and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts (1835-1917). Another kind of madness was going on around the family- the nation was in the midst of the Civil War. In fact, President Abraham Lincoln would dedicate a cemetery just 12 days after her birth- that speech is now known as “The Gettysburg Address.” Thankfully the family was in a northern state, but times were hard for most during the war.

Mary Jane was only about 5 when she rode and walked alongside the family’s covered wagon as they migrated from Warren County, Illinois, to Jasper County, Iowa in 1868.

Mary’s life on her father’s farm would have been similar in Iowa to what it had been in Illinois. She would have helped her mother with the cooking, cleaning, laundry, and probably the “women’s work” on the farm which usually included a vegetable garden, some fruit trees, raising chickens for eggs and meat, and milking the family’s cows and producing butter, which was often sold in town.

Life changed for Mary on 4 July 1878- she married Reuben H. French (1856-1937) on that date, per family records. Yes, it would be four more months before she turned 15 years old, for you numbers people. Two years later, “Mollie J.” French was listed as the wife of Reuben French, a farmer like her father, in the 1880 US Federal Census for Mound Prairie Township in Jasper County, Iowa. Mollie’s brother William E. Roberts was living with them, and listed as a farmer, too. Reuben was 23, and Mollie 16. It was also noted that the couple was married during the census year, so the date from family records may be inaccurate, and Mary/Mollie may have been about 16 when she married. (A marriage record has not been found.)

It does turn out that Reuben actually was the brother of Julia French (1863-1917), who married Mollie’s brother Jason Lee Roberts (1859-1940) in 1881.

We don’t know details about the years in between for Mollie, but the family story includes D-I-V-O-R-C-E. The next document we have is from 18 April 1889- a marriage record for  a “M. J. French” whose maiden name was M.J. Roberts, and her parents were listed so we know the record is for the right M.J. The details of the record also state that the groom’s name was “Daniel Blount”- more madness, since all the other records we have state Mollie’s second husband was Samuel Henshaw Blount (1864-1935).

Sam and Mollie were next found in the 1900 US Federal Census in Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. Sam was working as a coal operator, a skill he likely learned in England since he was a “colliery clerk” in Derbyshire when he was 17. (A colliery is a coal mine, and Iowa had a number of coal mines throughout the state.) They already had four children who were listed on the census: Harry R. Blount (1890-), Samuel H. Blount (1893-1966), Harold M. Blount (1896-), and Helen I. Blount (1898- ; married Joseph L. Cannon). By the 1910 census, two more children were born: Florence M. Blount (1900-1959) and Bernice M. Blount (1903-1994). In 1920, a Warren Blount was listed as a son of Samuel E. Blount, and 15 years old; he has not been found on any other census with this family.

Sam was moving up in his profession- by 1910, when he was 47, he was listed as a partner in the coal mine. Son Harry was working as a miner that year.

The state of Iowa took a census in 1915, and recorded that Mollie had 8 years of grammar school plus 1 year of high school. Her church affiliation was Christian and the family was  living at 2101 Clark St., in Des Moines, Iowa.

In 1920, a Warren Blount was listed as a son of Samuel E. Blount, and 15 years old; he has not been found on any other census with this family. Daughters Helen and Bernice were also living in the household.

Mary J. and Sam continued to live in Des Moines as they got older. Sam died on 29 June 1935, and Mary Jane on 20 December 1947. They are both buried in the Masonic Cemetery in Des Moines.

 

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image cropped from original large descendant photo. See “Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900” at  http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/13/treasure-chest-thursday-the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1900/
  2. See also “Mystery Monday: The Children of Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount”

    Mystery Monday: The Children of Mary Jane (Roberts) [French] Blount

  3. Family interviews and records, circa 1960s-1970s.

 

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Sibling Saturday: The Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900

Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900. Standing, in white dress is Orphan B. Roberts, her brother Guy L. Roberts, Jason Lee Roberts, his wife Juia (French) Roberts holding baby Ralph Roberts. Seated children, from left: Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts.
Jason Lee Roberts Family, 1900. Standing, in white dress is Orpha B. Roberts, her brother Guy L. Roberts, Jason Lee Roberts, his wife Julia (French) Roberts holding baby Ralph Roberts. Seated children, from left: Wiley Roberts, Willard Roberts, and Charley Roberts. (Jason’s brother George A. Roberts is the man standing on the left, with his son George Jr.)

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

The Roberts family have a legacy of feeding their own families as well as the nation by their work with the soil and food crops, as well as with livestock. Jason Lee Roberts followed in the footsteps of his father, John S. Roberts, and other ancestors, as he farmed the land for all of his working life. In fact, J.L. is listed along with his two brothers, George A. Roberts and W. E. Roberts, in the “Directory of Leading Farmers in Jasper County, Iowa” in 1901.

Jason Lee or “J.L.” was the second child of five children (one died in infancy) of John Roberts and his wife Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts. J. L. was born in Warren County, Illinois, as were 3 of his siblings; his birth was on 8 December 1859. (He was possibly born in Roseville- records vary.) J.L. would have worked on the farm as a young boy, learning the same skills his father had learned from his own father. In 1868, when J.L. was about 9 or 10, the family migrated via covered wagon to Jasper County, Iowa.  The family settled on a farm there, where J.L. and his siblings grew to adulthood.

Jason acquired his own farm “after reaching manhood,” as his obituary stated. The homestead was near Prairie City, and his son Charles farmed it after he retired.

Jason married Julia French on 22 December 1881 in Mound Prairie Township, Jasper County, Iowa. Julia had also been born in Illinois, but on 5 December 1863, to John Candor French and Susan F. Peckenpaugh. Julia’s parents had lived in Indiana, as had Jason’s, and then moved to Illinois- it was a common migration pattern. The known residences of the families were about 70 miles apart in Indiana, but only 45 miles apart in Illinois- perhaps the families knew one another? Both families were enumerated in Jasper County in 1870, so there is the possibility that they migrated together in 1868, as it was a good-sized group. We have been unable to find the French family in the 1860 US Federal Census, so finding where they were that year might give us more clues about whether or not the two families knew each other prior to removing to Iowa.

The two families were close, even if it was only once they took up residence in Iowa: Julia’s brother, Reuben H. French, married Jason’s sister, Mary Jane Roberts. (More of that story in another post.)

J.L. and Julia had seven children together: Orpha B. Roberts (1883-1948), who married Samuel Blount; Oca S. Roberts (1888-1973), who married Walter Wilkinson; Guy L. Roberts (1890-1962); Wiley A. Roberts (1895-1967); Willard Francis Roberts (1897-1943); Charles Wilder Roberts (1900-1989); and Ralph H. Roberts (1903-1977).

Little Wiley Roberts, seen in the above picture, was most likely named after his maternal grandfather, Wiley Anderson Murrell. The younger Wiley later became the Mayor of Prairie City in the 1950s. See the Facebook page Prairie City Historical Society for a photo of him as an adult.

The family can be found in Mound Prairie Township, Jasper County, from 1870 to 1910, per US Federal Censuses, and they were included in the 1905 Iowa State Census.

Julia passed away on 28 November 1917 in Prairie City at the young age of 53, and was buried in Westview Cemetery in that city. Their youngest son, Ralph, was just 14 when his mother died.

Jason married May Riley (1872-1961) on 25 October 1919. May, of Newton, Iowa, was the daughter of John and Kate (Gray) Riley.

In 1940 Jason (and presumably his wife May) were spending the winter in Long Beach, California- many farmers, even those retired, spend their winters in warmer climes than frigid Iowa, even now. In April Jason had a heart attack, and after being stabilized, he returned to Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa. Sadly he spent six weeks in the hospital there, but succumbed on 26 May 1940, at age 80. He was buried in Westview Cemetery with his first wife Julia.

May was a schoolteacher, and later that year she moved to Rolla, Phelps County, Missouri, to live with her sister and brother-in-law, Rey and Alfred Mulkey. She taught 8th grade that year. May survived her husband by 21 years, and passed away on 2 November 1961. She was buried next to her sister Elizabeth (Riley) Harlan in Lone Tree Cemetery, Sioux Rapids, Buena Vista County, Iowa. She was 89 at her death.

We know there are other Roberts descendants out there, and would love to share information. Please also let us know about anything that you think is incorrect in this series of family posts, and if you have some stories to add.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. Image cropped from original large descendant photo. See “Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann Murrell Roberts Family in 1900” at  http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/13/treasure-chest-thursday-the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1900/
  2. Family interviews with Edith (Roberts) [McMurray] Luck, her sister and brother, and some of her cousins during the 1960s.
  3. “Directory of Leading Farmers in Jasper County, Iowa,”  in the Standard Historical Atlas of Jasper County, Iowa. The Huebenger Survey and Map Publishing Co.,Davenport, Iowa, 1901.
  4. Iowa Marriage Records, 1880-1937 on Ancestry.com
  5. Census records on Ancestry.com.
  6. Jason Lee Roberts obituary: The Jasper County Mirror, Thursday, May 30, 1940 – Page 2, Col. 5. http://iagenweb.org/boards/jasper/obituaries/index.cgi?review=252697
  7. See Find A Grave Memorials for images of headstones for Jason and Julia.
  8. Jason Lee Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #76815012 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=76815012
  9. Julia (French) Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #76815050 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=76815050
  10. May (Riley) Roberts- Find A Grave Memorial #169716084 at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=169716084&ref=acom
  11. Some sources state picture was taken in 1900, some state 1904. I tend to agree with the 1900 date, as Edith Roberts was born 10 October 1899, so would have been 1-1/2 or 2 when this image was taken. That seems more consistent with her size, as if the photo was from 1904, she would have been 5 years old.

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.

Wordless Wednesday: William Edward Roberts and Family, 1892

William Edward "W.E." or "Ed" Roberts Family, from left: Mary Margaret (Main) Roberts; Clara and Maude Roberts- not sure which child is which; W. E. Roberts, 1892, Jasper County, Iowa.
William Edward “W.E.” or “Ed” Roberts Family, from left: Mary Margaret (Main) Roberts; Clara and Maude Roberts- not sure which child is which but think Maude is on left; W. E. Roberts with son Orville John Roberts, 1892, Jasper County, Iowa.

Roberts Family (Click for Family Tree)

This image was cropped from a larger family photo.

 

Notes, Sources, and References: 

  1. For large family portrait with all the descendants of John and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts, see “Treasure Chest Thursday: The John Roberts and Elizabeth Ann (Murrell) Roberts Family in 1892” at http://heritageramblings.net/2014/02/06/the-john-roberts-and-elizabeth-ann-murrell-roberts-family-in-1892/
  2. Please let us know if you can positively identify the two girls.
  3. Photo from family treasure chest.

 

 

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We would love to read your thoughts and comments about this post (see form below), and thank you for your time! All comments are moderated, however, due to the high intelligence and persistence of spammers/hackers who really should be putting their smarts to use for the public good instead of spamming our little blog.
 

Original content copyright 2013-2016 by Heritage Ramblings Blog and pmm.

Family history is meant to be shared, but the original content of this site may NOT be used for any commercial purposes unless explicit written permission is received from both the blog owner and author. Blogs or websites with ads and/or any income-generating components are included under “commercial purposes,” as are the large genealogy database websites. Sites that republish original HeritageRamblings.net content as their own are in violation of copyright as well, and use of full content is not permitted. 
Descendants and researchers MAY download images and posts to share with their families, and use the information on their family trees or in family history books with a small number of reprints. Please make sure to credit and cite the information properly.
 Please contact us if you have any questions about copyright or use of our blog material.