Tag Archives: Ball

Those Places Thursday – Whaley Farm in Bowie Co., Texas

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When I went to New Jersey back in August and visited with Bonnie Marsh, we had a very interesting conversation about her childhood on the Whaley Farm, in Bowie Co., Texas. After hearing the story, she kindly told it to me again, so I could video tape and share it here with you.

Bonnie was cared for on this farm by a woman named Pree Carson.  Bonnie would very much like to hear from someone in the Carson family so she can share some of her wonderful memories of Pree and her husband Charlie, along with their daughter, Toots.

Here’s the story.

Here are a few of the photos that I shared in the video.

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Meeting Cousins and Jersey Shore

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My plane arrived last night in Baltimore and Leslie picked me up at the airport. We drove to somewhere in Maryland to have dinner with Leslie’s friend Dan. I wish I could remember where, but that has left me. Anywho, the food was good and so was the company.
We sat and chatted for a while and had a great meal then we drove to Arlington, Virginia to Leslie’s apartment. She lives on the 12th floor, which makes me woozy.20130803-000924.jpg
By this time, it was getting late and we went to bed. We got up this morning and drove to New Jersey to meet Bonnie Ball Harkness Marsh, my 2nd cousin 1x removed, and her son Jim Marsh, who is my 3rd cousin. We got there just in time to eat lunch together and visit for a while.

Then we drove to Jersey Shore, at Asbury Park Boardwalk. This was a really cool place. We had a great time walking the boardwalk with Bonnie and Jim.
This is Bonnie and Jim.
We did a little taking in of the sights.
Then we decided we would walk down the beach to the water and stick our feet in the water. Bonnie stayed on the Boardwalk and waited for us to get back.




When we got back to the boardwalk, Bonnie was still waiting on us.
After this we drove back to Bonnie’s house, and had a great afternoon and evening. We traded family stories and genealogies and then we went to dinner.

Now it’s time to crash and rest up for tomorrow!

Who Do You Think You Are – is back! Tonight!

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I’m so excited about “Who Do You Think You Are” coming on tonight.  You can catch it on TLC, and here is a clip of what can be expected this season.

I think it’s really cool that they take the celebrities and help them with their family tree. However, you know what I think would be cooler? Doing a non-celebrity person, such as myself, *cough *cough.

I mean, don’t get me wrong, I totally enjoy the show and seeing what unfolds for these people. But I want them to help out people that can’t afford to follow the trail of the brickwall.  Let’s face it.  They can totally afford that journey without a TV show helping them.  Us Non-Celeb folks can’t just pick up and go to the place that holds the next clue, with a team of genealogist sitting in the library waiting to tell us what they have found.

Anywho, I can quit dreaming of that.

I’ll just keep plugging away at little by little and maybe before I die I will find out what my 2nd great-grandfather Francis Hereford Williams’ real name is and who the father of my 2nd great-grandfather John D. Parks is.

Maybe I’ll find out how us Higginbotham’s really descend from the Barbados Higginbotham’s.

Maybe I’ll find out how my 3rd great-grandfather Rev. John J. Triggs came from England sailing his own ship at the age of 17 and became a Methodist Circuit Rider and delivered the word all through the Indian Territories, and who were his parents back in England?

Maybe I could follow the trail of my German ancestors, the Roleke’s, back to Germany and find out what their role was during WWII.  Ok, maybe I don’t want to know that, but wait, I think I have to know!

Maybe I could find out about my Ball ancestors, and was the one born on the boat on the way to America from Ireland, really my 4th great-grandfather and what was his first name?

I could go on, but I’ll stop.  I know you all have the same list like I do, just different names and locations.

I am blessed enough to be able to go to Washington, DC on Aug 1st.  It will be my first trip and guess what I’m going to do?  I’m going to the National Archives, of course!  I’m going to see if I can find a clue to any of the above on my wish list!

I do have to admit, it would be great to have a team of genealogists waiting to help me, because realistically, I’m a little nervous about my first trip to the Archives.  Any of you ever been?  Got any tips?  I’m so afraid I’m going to get there and spin my wheels and come home empty handed.  I can’t afford to waste this opportunity.  I have to come home with the goods on at least one of my ancestors!

So, what about it?  If you showed up to the archives and the team from “Who Do You Think You Are” was there, and said “What do you want help with?  Where do we start?”  Which of your ancestors would you pick? Could you pick just one, or would you beg them to help with your whole wish list.

Military Monday – Normandy France

Guest post by Larry Croon.  Larry Croon’s father,  Lt. Refert Croon served with my Uncle Son, Sam H. Ball, III during WWII.  I have posted about Uncle Son before here and here.


As the son of Lt. Refert Croon, I wish to share my recent visit to France, and recommend to those who have not yet visited the Normandy Beaches — attempt to do so.

View From Dog White, Omaha Beach, Normandy France

View From Dog White, Omaha Beach, Normandy France

One can not fully perceive the scale and scope of the Allied Invasion, without personally viewing the enormity of the geography engaged. The journey had special meaning for me, given the context below:

As a young Lieutenant, my father was a member of the 146th Engineer Combat Battalion, and, as a member of Gap Assault Team #1, which landed at 0633 on D-Day in the DOG WHITE Sector of Omaha Beach.

View From Dog White, Omaha Beach, Normandy France

View From Dog White, Omaha Beach, Normandy France – NOW

They were successful in clearing obstacles and blowing a hole in the seawall, despite heavy casualties, allowing American Forces to move forward up the bluff and counter heavily defended German positions in the area surrounding Vierville-Sur-Mer.

For their actions, the 146 ECB received the Presidential Unit Citation as well as the Distinguished Service Order of the British Empire.

Receiving Presidential Unit Citation

Receiving Presidential Unit Citation

Remarkably, my father went on to win Five Battle Stars from Normandy to Pilsen, Czechoslovakia, but said very little about what he had seen. He passed some time ago, before I could encourage him to return. Yet, I felt my father’s presence walking in his footsteps. The visit to Normandy afforded a lifetime memory for my wife and I.

Engineers Memorial Normandy France


Engineers Memorial Normandy France

I fear the the legacy of the “Greatest Generation” may be forgotten unless our younger citizens are reminded of the sacrifices of these Americans. I was surprised to discover the French have not forgotten, to include their young.

Military Cemetery Normandy France

Military Cemetery Normandy France

D-Day was no exception to the fact that military operations rarely unfold according to plans. Mistakes compounded and it was only the courage, physical stamina and creativity of American soldiers that enabled the ultimate success on Omaha Beach.

On the practical side, believe it best to station your Normandy visit in Bayeux, given its proximity to the critical D-Day locations and the American Military cemetery at Coleville-Sur-Mer. While there, take time to view both the Bayeux Tapestry and Cathedral. The locals will appreciate your attempt to speak some of the basic french phrases, but given the numbers of American visitors, it’s easy to conduct business in English with merchants and at restaurants.

Your journey will no doubt begin at Paris-Charles DeGaulle. Take a few days to acclimate and enjoy some of the major sights in one of the world’s most scenic cities. Prioritize the major tourist attractions you may wish to visit. Same for the Louvre, select the “biggies” you wish to see; otherwise, you could wander aimlessly for two weeks. The French drive on the right, with modern road systems outside Paris, yet maneuvering in Paris could be too much of a challenge with little parking and thousands of motorcycles, along with different rules of the road. A good option is to take the train to Normandy, a comfortable 2 hour ride. While in Normandy, I strongly recommend hiring a Professional French Tour Guide to tailor your visit in an efficient manner which will include transportation.

Oh yea, always carry rain gear.

Larry Dirks Croon
Clifton, Virginia

Funeral Card Friday – K.W. Ball

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Funeral Card for KW Ball

My niece Leslie Golden recently went to the DAR headquarters and was able to secure quite a few documents for me.  This funeral card was one of them.  It is for my 2nd Great Grandfather, Kenaday Wade Ball who died 25 Sep 1900.  It was in the patriot file of John Smith, Ancestor # A105953.

Thanks Leslie!

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