Tag Archives: Ball

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.

NORMANDY FRANCE

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!

Treasure Chest Thursday – Meeting Ross Perot

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Remember a while back when I told you I had some great things coming up in April?  Well, I did and I just now have time to tell you all about it.

Back when Ross Perot ran for president, I was laying on the floor in my grandmother’s (Mary Ball Parks) room and we were watching coverage on the elections.  My grandmother pointed to him on the television and said “That is my cousin.”  Well, lets just say I didn’t believe her at first.  She had never mentioned him before. At any rate, it turned out to be true.

Sort of.

Let me explain.

When my grandmother died and I got interested in all this genealogy, I always had this information in the back of my mind but I never really acted on it.  Then one day, Nedra told me about this news article that ran in the Texarkana Gazette about a barn that burnt down in Texarkana out on hwy 82, and this article mentioned Ross Perot.

Newsarticle about old Parks Barn

Just so happens this barn was built by my-great grandfather, Granddad Parks (John Triggs Parks).  This barn was magnificent .  Here is a picture of it back in the day, when Granddad Parks would show his trotting horses.

JT Parks Barn at his Farm on Hwy 82 Texarkana

Here is Granddad Parks, showing one of his horses.

JT Parks

When Granddad Parks sold the farm, he sold it AC Smith, a very good friend of his and now AC’s son, Lynn Smith owns the farm.  Anyway, the Perot’s came here to this farm and rode horses, and I’m not sure if it was the connection to my grandmother that brought them there, or if it was just the place to be.  My grandmother, Mary Ball Parks was married to J.T. Parks’ son, William Parks.

Anyway, this got me to thinking about my connection with Ross Perot, so Nedra got me the contact information for his secretary.  Rather than call, I printed up quite a selection of charts and genealogy and wrote a nice letter and sent it off to the attention of his secretary.

Three days later, (yes, only three days) my phone rings as I’m walking through Wal-mart of all places and I didn’t recognize the number but decided to answer anyway, and I hear, “Is this Susie Reynolds?” to which I reply, “Yes, it is.” and then I hear “Ross Perot, here.”

What, What???

You could have knocked me over with a feather, and I was very glad to have the cart to lean on.

I’m not sure what I really expected, but it wasn’t for him to call me up directly.  I figured that package of paper would go straight to the trash bin or junk pile, or I would get some kind of a form letter back.  That was not the case.  He called me personally three times that day and we finally figured out that our connection was through his grandmother, Maggie Anderson Perot Ball, aka Mama Ball.  Here she is.

Maggie Anderson Perot Ball aka Mama Ball

Turns out Maggie was married to Gabriel Elias Perot, with whom she had Ross Perot’s father, Gabriel Ross Perot, Sr.  After her husband died, she remarried my great-great uncle Wade Ball.  I do not have a picture of him.  Maggie and Wade did not have any children together, but my grandmother grew up playing with Ross’ father as cousins, even though there was no blood relation.

At any rate, Ross Perot had a wonderful lady in his office, Libby Craft call me.  She had been working on Ross’ genealogy for quite some time and she and I have traded information and she sent me the photo of Maggie above.  She graciously extended me an invitation to meet Ross Perot and I jumped at the offer.

So, Nedra Harris Turney and I, along with my cousins, Sam Ball III, and Karen Ball Cowan headed to Dallas and we met Mr. Perot, and Libby on April 15th.

Sam Ball III, Susie Reynolds, Ross Perot and  Karen Ball Cowan

Sam Ball III, Susie Reynolds, Ross Perot and Karen Ball Cowan

I don’t know why I didn’t get a good picture of Nedra with us, that was really goofy of me.  I guess I was just caught up in the moment but I did snap this picture of Nedra chatting with him while they were giving us a grand tour of his offices.

Nedra Harris Turney with Ross Perot

Here I am with Libby Craft.  I’m so glad that I got to meet her!

Susie Reynolds and Libby Craft

One of the things that struck me so about Mr. Perot is his obvious love for family which is why I’m so sure he was so gracious to us.  When I asked him about his father he smiled really big and he said, “He was my best friend!”

His father bought and sold cotton, and a long time ago he gave Ross a list of his thoughts on what it takes to be successful.  Ross had these printed up and gives each of his employees a copy of this.  Yes, he gave me one too!  Maybe now I can make something of myself! Ha!

All kidding aside, Mr. Perot has so many accomplishments that I couldn’t even begin to list them all here which is why Wikipedia is out there if you really want to know.  Also, he’s written some books, one of which he gave to me with his autograph, and it’s a great story of his life! Check amazon for that.

I have to say though, I have never met a more gracious, generous, or kind man.  As I walked the hallways of his office and looked at all the milestones and achievements of his life on the walls I was so amazed.  I’m a big supporter of our Veteran’s, but Mr. Perot is a man of action!  He gives freely his time, his money and his service to our Veteran’s and is instrumental in helping so many of them receive the care they need.

I’m so proud to have met him and that is why he is my Treasure Chest Thursday.

Here are a few pictures from around his office.  There were many hallways and we were there for two hours and only managed to see a few of them.

Hallway of Perot's Office

DSC_0781

DSC_0739

Oh, yeah!  He has his own Starbucks!

DSC_0745

Maybe on another post I’ll share with you some of the military things that were hanging about, but for today these pertain to family.

His love of his wife Margo is obvious every where you go and this is just one of the many spots he has portraits of them hanging.

DSC_0722

Here are some pictures about his sister Bette.

DSC_0788

One of several family portraits he has hanging about of his family.

DSC_0756

And my favorite wall pertaining to family:

DSC_0732

Mr. Perot is a huge supporter of Texarkana College.  My cousin Karen Ball Cowan works there and years ago my father was a student there on a basketball scholarship.   Thanks to Mr. Perot and his generous heart, the college is still open.

I could go on and on about Mr. Perot and perhaps I will do another post in a day or two, but I thank Mr. Perot and Libby for so graciously welcoming us and sharing with us all things Perot.  It was such a great day and I am so glad to have been given the opportunity to meet a “sort of” cousin!

Susie

Treasure Chest Thursday – Notes from the Past

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Since I started this journey in 2007, I have wished and wished that I would have asked my grandmother Mary Ball Parks about her family.

Many times, I have said to myself or whoever is listening to the fool things I say, “Just send me a clue, a sign, anything!”

But, haven’t we all??  It is the biggest regret of almost every family historian and genealogist I know.  Everyone wishes they could ask just one more question. We all know that its impossible to ask anymore questions so I ask for signs or clues.

Well, I got a sign! Well, not a sign, but a note and that’s even better!

Jealous?

Ok, not yet, but you will be.

I went to visit my cousin Karen Ball Cowan and she was kind enough to drag out all of the family memorabilia that her mother and father had saved and let me bring it home to scan. Well among all the stuff, was todays Treasure Chest Thursday topic.

Karen had a note that my 2nd great-grandmother, Venetia Smith Ball had written.  Full of her family history! She mentions the Balls, the Hooks, the Roberts and talks about her husband. So many people she mentions!

Woot! Woot!

So, check this out and be jealous!

Venetia Smith Ball's Notes Side 1

Venetia Smith Ball’s Notes Side 1. Digital Image 2013, by Susie Reynolds. Original held by Karen Ball Cowan of Texarkana, Texas.

Venetia Smith Ball's Notes Side 2

Venetia Smith Ball’s notes Side 2. Digital Image, 2013 by Susie Reynolds. Original Image held by Karen Ball Cowan of Texarkana, Texas.

I kid, I kid (as Knucklehead would say), don’t be jealous.  Just search out your cousins and see what they have.  If they aren’t interested in genealogy, they may not even know what they have and you might just find a treasure like I did!

Who wouldn’t like to get a note from the past?  Now I got clues for more digging!

Happy treasure hunting!

Susie

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