Friday, January 1, 2016

This Day in my Family History: Blog Challenge

Growing up with a daily newspaper in our house, I always gravitated towards the This Day in History section. I loved feeling a connection with the past by reading what was happening on that day at different points in history, all around the world. But I’ve been thinking, how cool would it be to create a This Day in Family History record. It would be a huge undertaking, scouring records and lists for hours to find all that happened on that very day throughout your entire family tree. But how about for a start creating a blog challenge dedicated to it? Pick one event on certain days throughout the year and blog about it, then share it with your readers, and especially your family! It could be about anything—but I’ll probably stick to birth, marriage, and death dates. So, what about you? Is this sparking any ideas in your head? What should we call this? Fernando Hidalgo (@Genealogistapro) on Twitter suggested “A Day in the Life” like the Beatles song (I heard the news today, oh no). More ideas? Are you on board? Amy Johnson Crow, you inspired me to do this with your #52Ancestors challenge, which I fell off of too soon, but I kept up reading your blogs. I hope to inspire others to write about their ancestors the way you did! So, y’all, are you with me? Comment with a link to your blog and let me know!


So, I looked through my family tree to find an event in my family history on January 1, and ended up landed in the year 1868. I thought this was very fitting, since I’m a little fascinated with this branch, the Potter family, but the funny things is—it’s not my ancestry, it’s my husband’s! I figure it counts since it’s my kids’ tree too. So, on January 1, 1868, Lewis Edward Potter was born in Brown County, Indiana to William and Mary Rogers Potter, their second son. William and Mary were married in 1864, and just five months later William joined the 145th Indiana Volunteer Infantry in the Union Army, and spent time in Georgia. Lewis was born a few short years after the Civil War ended. Even in 1868, Lewis was a third generation Hoosier. The Potters reportedly came to Brown County because they heard it was pretty! Lewis, or Lew, grew up in the area, and married in 1890 to Ella Story Bracken, who was also a native Hoosier, having been born just over a month later in neighboring Monroe County—likely in a little log cabin, which her father John Bracken wrote about in his letters home while he was in Ohio finding work. The conditions surrounding Lewis’ birth is not certain, but apparently he and his brothers with their father William built a home on Tunnel Road near Unionville, including a solid walnut stairway.

Lewis and Ella were married in Martinsville, which their grandson William speculates may have been the romantic thing to do at the time. They lived north of Bloomington when their first child, Ethel, was born in 1891. Their grandson William tells of houses they lived in being on Boultinghouse Road and Shuffle Creek, two roads which I have tracked down and daydreamed my way through the drive. (These place names in genealogy can be magical when you have a little imagination.) They suffered a house fire and were living in Bloomington by 1896, lived in the country once more, when their son William was born, my husband’s great-grandfather, and then they built a house in Bloomington in 1906, where they stayed and continued to remodel. Lewis took positions as a janitor at the high school and a church. Lewis and Ella had a total of eight children between 1891 and 1911. Lewis passed away in 1950, Ella in 1954, and they are buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Bloomington.
A big thanks goes to my husband's great-uncle William Potter, who researched and compiled the Potter family history. I'm very grateful for his hard work!

Leave a comment with your ideas, your thoughts, your links, and let’s get to writing!

P.S. I'm still working on #StorybookAncestor with my daughter. I'd love to have some company in that, too. See a few posts below for that one!


  1. This is a great idea! I've just created a family history blog and I'm casting about for more topics. Just started genealogy research last year, so I don't have a ton of dates - yet ��. Thanks for the suggestion.


    1. Those odd double question marks were supposed to be a :-)

      Foiled by technology again!

  2. Liz, love your blog! Glad you're on board! (Also, if you haven't already, check out Geneabloggers for blog prompts!) :)