February Ancestral Anniversaries: Week Four

Michael’s direct line Ancestors:

Tracey’s direct line Ancestors: No Aniversaries this week


  • 22 Feb 1903 Lloyd Earl Culp (Half Uncle – died in 1919 Pandemic Flu, Age: 15)



February Ancestral Anniversaries: Week Three

Michael’s direct line Ancestors:

Tracey’s direct line Ancestors:




No direct line ancestors died this week

February Ancestral Anniversaries: Week Two

Michael’s direct line Ancestors:

Tracey’s direct line Ancestors:




RootsTech 2015: Heading Home

Wow what a trip. In both senses of the word.

From the moment I got on the plane from Denver to now, sitting at the Salt Lake City Airpirt.   It has been virtually nostop Wikitree.   Awake at 6am, breakfast at the B&B, Wikitree, Wikitree, Wikitree, dinner with Wikitree, lights out at 10:30pm, Awake, Rinse repeat.

One nice change in the routine was meeting an old friend from my Explorer Scout days.  Jeff Heyman, now living in Salt Lake, contacted me for Dinner.  We had a great time at a place very much like the Texas Roadhouse in Colorado. So a great steak dinner and great converstation, then to bed and another day of Wikitree.

Jeff had a greeting card that I gave him when we graduated High School and he left to join the Air Force, we passed it back and forth between for a few years and then time and life separated us.  Facebook and mutual friends helped keep tabs but Jeff’s mom kept the card and after 20 years, we have it back in circulation.

It was with much Melancholly that I had to depart.  After the intital check in, I met many of the Wikitree leaders I have been communicating with at Wikitree, we came from all over the US and even one of the Wiktree Greeters join us.

It was easy to pick up the conversation and geek out on Genealogy, one of the reason I love Wikitree is that their are many members there that have a strong passion for well sourced, and well documented profiles and we all love to share what we can to help others.  You will not find a better group of Genealogy enthuiasts on the web.

RootsTech 2015: Peter, Mags, Michael at the Wiktree Booth.
Peter, Mags, Michael at the Wiktree Booth.

RootsTech 2015: Check in

So I had a nice flight in from Denver with no problems.   But from the moment I sat down on the plane I quickly learned that the couple behind me and the woman next to me were going to Rootstech 2015.  I spent the whole flight talking about Wikitree and Genealogy.  The couple behind me had an ancestor at the Battle of Kings Mountain.  My John Kelly is often conflated with another John Kelley who fought at King’s Mountain.   So we had a lot to share.

I grabed a cab and 15 minutes and $30 later I arrived at the Ellerbeck Manson Bed & Breakfast where I met a very nice host named Debbie.  The accomodations are very homey and I do not feel like I am at a hotel.

Salt Palace Convention Center

I am only a mile from the Salt Palace where the Convention is being held.  Upon my arrival, only a 20 minute walk from the B&B, the first person I ran into was AJ Jacobs and his “Handler”.  AJ is responsible for the Global Family Reunion (GFR) and it was fun to meet him as he has a big presence on Wikitree.  In fact, Wikitree’s own Eowyn  Langholf is also responsible for promoting the GFR.

A.J. Jacobs

So it is only fitting that I next met up with Eowyn and Tami Ozmer, both work for Wikitree and together are known as the WikiChicks.

Shortly after meeting them, Michelle Hartly joined us and I was oriented to the booth and the plan ahead.

It is so much nicer to meet people in 3D.  I had seen all three ladies pictures online and have emailed and spoken via Facebook and the G2G forum (Genealogist to Genealogist) on Wikitree.  But meeting and seeing and hearing them is so much better.

WikiTree Genealogy HoodieEowyn outfitted me in a XXL hoodie as they did not have any Wikitree shirts in my size.  It is a very nice hoodie and a few will be raffled off during the convention.  The arey expecting over 96,000 participants with 20,000 on Saturday.  So, it looks like we will have a lot of explaining, many times over on how wonderful it is to be on Wikitree.  And it is and if you are doing Genealogy, you need to join us there.

I stoped by the Family History Library, watched their 4 minute video, and was taken to a volunteer Elder who was to help me get started.  These volunteers are great for people getting started, but I quickly tested his abilty to help me and after speaking with another Elder on the floor, they took me upstairs to speak with Linda, on of their consultants.   She was very knowlegeable but I tested her with trying to find any new info on Smith Alexander Stills and Alonzo M. Culp.

I only had about an hour because I needed to eat, walk home and get some good sleep for tomorrow.  Linda will be useful on Saturday when I hope to find a little more time at the Library.  But I now know what I need to do in planning a full length trip to the Libary in the future so I was glad I stopped in and got the preliminaries out of the way.  Everyone has been advising me to have a plan but I now better understand how to plan and use their consultants.

Good Night, tomorrow I get to speak “Wikitree” and I am looking very much forward to sharing.

RootsTech 2015 with Wikitree

I am sitting at Denver International Airport waiting for my 1:10 Departure.  Getting in and to the gate was very smooth for a change. We had about 5 inches of snow last night but the next three days in Salt Lake City are looking good.


I will be meeting up with Jeff Heyman on Friday for Dinner so an added surprise to the trip.

Wikitree folks are already at the RootsTech 2015 conference setting up and with any luck, I will be able to join them later today.

As Fate always has a surprise for me, the Jefferson County Historical Society website that I volunteer to maintain is down.  Last night they moved it to a new server to take advantage of the latest PHP and something broke.  I have absolutely no access and am relying on them to get us up an running.

deet..deet…deet… this just in.  JCHSColorado.org is up an running.  Apparently one little bracket { }shut us down, somehow a line was duplicated during the transfer.  Once removed, we are good to go!

Thank you Hurricane Electric!

Next Stop, Salt Lake City and the Ellerbeck Bed and Breakfast.


February Ancestral Anniversaries: Week One

Wikitree just launched their new Family Anniversaries tool.

Michael’s direct line Ancestral Anniversaries:

Tracey’s direct line Ancestral Annivesaries:




New Blogger and Fouth Cousin Once Removed

I recently connect with Hollie Ann Henke, a 4th Cousin Once Removed (4C1R).  She is related through Cornelius Joachim Wicoff and Leah Critser.  We have a DNA match on Ancestry.com and have been bumping into each other on other Genealogy related website.

Check out her new blog where she takes up the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks Challenge.  This is definately a real challenge and huge undertaking so wish her luck and follow along.  Appropriately, her first Blog post includes a photo of a Wyckoff ancestor.

Her Blog is appropriately titled Relativitity

Congratulations Hollie and good luck!

Tennessee Traveling: DAY NINE

Last Night in Tennessee

Stills Grocery

I woke up early and finished packing before I headed out early to meet Hayley for a final goodbye and to deliver all the leftover food we had while staying at the hotel.  We avoided eating out as much as possible and kept some food in the hotel room.  I met Hayley at the Bean Barn for coffee and a hot chocolate.

Before our trip, before coming to Greeneville.  I got on Facebook to check out what the locals thought I should see.  Someone said I should visit the Stills Grocery Store.  Now, where I grew up, I was the only Stills, I never saw my surname anywhere outside my family, I was constantly asked if I was related to Stephen Stills. So I started research his family tree.  Unfortunately, I have yet to find a Stills connection.  So seeing the name Stills elsewhere was interesting to me.  But, each time I drove through Greeneville and the surrounding area, I kept my eye out for the Stills Grocery. Unfortunately, I was never able to find it.

Old TN License Plate
Crooked TN License plate. Uncle Ross tells a story that the Crooked Tennessee License Plate is a result of the Tennessee landscape. With all the mountains in East Tennessee, when they went to make the plates, the machine rested on a hill side and as a result, all the plates came out crooked. Here is the proof.

As Hayley and I were leaving the Bean Barn, she introduced me to the waitress behind the counter who was another Stills, through her mother.  The owner over heard us talking and asked if I was a Stills. Upon replying yes, he said, “This place used to be owned by a Harold Clifford Stills (he is a descendent of William Henry Stills); this place used to be called Stills Grocery.”  Well, we spent another 20 minutes talking about that story.

Cracker Barrel

Next,  I headed back to have breakfast with my Uncle Ross and Aunt Maggie for the last time and another final farewell.  It was wonderful spending time with them and getting to know them so much better.  I will be visiting them in Florida sooner than later, I am sure and I hope to make it back to Tennessee again as well. (Uncle Ross just called, they are safely home in Florida after a 9 hour drive.)

On the drive back to Nashville, we must have passed 10 Cracker Barrels in 4 hours, some as little as three miles apart. Wow, I just went to their site and discovered that not only can you find the locations, as you might expect, you can enter your route and see where they are along the way.  And I was correct!  There are exactly 10.

Dinner with a Friend

I used to be a law enforcement Explorer Scout with the LAPD.  One of my good friends, Vince Lowder was an Explorer as well.  His brother Brett lives in Nashville and he invited me to get together.  We met him and his wife at Sals the same restaurant we ate in on Halloween night when we first arrived in Nashville.  We spent three hours together telling stories.  It is good to hear how well all the Lowders are doing as well as Rick Branam and his wife.  Rick was another Explorer as well.

Mike Stills and Brett Lowder at Sals
Mike Stills and Brett Lowder at Sals

It was a great trip.  I still have lots of research left to do in Greeneville, TN and someday I will have to return.  But I reconnected with close family, met a whole lot of cousins distant and near, obtained new photos and new stories and have a whole new appreciation for my roots and the good folks I met in Greeneville, TN.

Tired Tennessee Traveler

With the trip over, I will not be posting as often, but as I review the materials I gathered while there, I will post the info for all the new Stills and friends reading so we can share and learn more about our common family history.

Remember: There are more Stills in Greeneville than anywhere else in the United States.

Megan is now safely home as well.

And I am going home tomorrow.

Good Night!



A blog by Michael