Snow Days


Granddaughter Amelia June with her sister’s cat ‘Fearless.’

After thirty-six hours, the snow finally stopped. The blowing and drifting continued for a few more hours, but all seems to be settled this morning.  Now if we can just find our cars.

My daughter and her family who live southwest of us in Virginia near Skyline Drive sent photos of their blizzard experience via Facebook.  They had all their cats and dogs in the house to keep them warm.  The livestock sheltered in their sheds.

Joy who is a senior at Virginia tech, in the mountains, had to milk the college cows, so the university put her up in a hotel near the campus as they are still on winter break.

We prepared for the storm buying insulated bell caps for the outdoor faucets, recharging our emergency battery, stocking up on bottled water.  David and I both pushed snow to clear paths for the dogs to do their thing, and to keep snow off the heat pump. So far, knock on wood, the electricity held.  This morning one of the neighbor men came by to shovel snow from the porch and driveway.


The downtime gave Connie a chance to work on her father’s father’s family tree.  She discovered parents, grandparents, great-grands and so forth by searching through newspaper obituaries.  She told me one of the Johnston clan had been wounded fighting at Chancelorsville VA, for the Confederacy. Given several of my ancestors on my Dad’s side fought in VA for the Union, and one sharpshooter was at Chancelorsville, I wonder.  Wouldn’t it be a strange twist of fate…..

The facts are, Connie’s dad was descended from folks who settled in Jamestown and fought for the Confederacy.

Simultaneously, my Dad’s ancestors migrated to what became New England and their grandchildren fought in the American Revolution. The grandchildren of these patriots fought in the Civil War.

Thus Connie and my sons have family from both ends of the Civil War spectrum. Oh, the things you think about when you are snowed in.

Two nights ago, I thought about these brave souls a great deal as I went to bed fearing the worst.  My ancestors from long ago crossed the Atlantic in tiny ships. No luxury love boats for them.  They arrived in New England at a not-so-good time of year. They were devout evangelical Protestants who left Yorkshire and East Anglia for the Netherlands for religious reasons. Later they left for the New World. (Even later arrivals in my family came from northern Europe.)

Connie’s ancestors who migrated to Virginia were a mixed lot, most likely some of them were Scots indentured to wealthy others. Some of these men are believed to have intermarried with indigenous women and moved into western VA and NC.  Connie already knows her paternal grandmother was part Lumbee Indian. (The Lumbees are a mixed lot, the descendents of endentured whites, runaway slaves and the remnents of Eastern bands of indigenous peoples.  (The Lumbee tribe is recognized by the Census Bureau.)

A friend Sue, who works at the National Archives, put me onto old land records.  She says the reason the less-well-off men of the South fought so hard for the South during the “War of Northern Aggression” was because they hated central government.  They were afraid the government would seize the land their grandparents had received in payment for their service during the American Revolution.

I don’t know this to be the case because several of my ancestors received land in payment for their service during the Revolution and their grandchildren fought for the Union. I also know it is difficult to understand other people’s motives.  Read the book Cold Mountain for one Southerner’s understanding of his family story.

Connie says she’s onto the “Indian rolls”next in the search for her roots.



27 thoughts on “Snow Days

  1. Yes, my family a member of all those groups. My uncle a president of one for a while.
    I was just glad to read you had heat and light for the duration. Nice neighbors too. Hugs.


  2. Hope you’ll be able to get outside one of these days soon. What you describe sounds like the snow my dtr experienced in VA. She sent me pictures early into the storm, then hours later her deck was really deep in that white stuff. Reminded me of Midwest winters I experienced some years — drifts higher than my school girl head along the half-mile road I walked to catch the school bus.

    Interesting to learn about ancestors. I haven’t researched — so time consuming — but have received some info. Some family came from Europe, but at the time of the Revolution brothers split with one another — some fighting with the Patriots and others the King. The latter went to Canada after the Republic established. As for the Civil War, I don’t know for certain, but I suspect they all fought for the Union, but one never knows. I never heard stories about that war, other than family in an Underground Railroad area that they later selectively talked about.


    • My Dads ancestors appear to have been Scots, English from Northumberland, Anglia and perhaps the Channel Islands. They were Pilgrims Puritans and Nonconformists. He also had German (Bavarian Catholic, Prussian Catholic) and Swiss Catholic ancestors who fled Protestant oppression.

      Moms ancestors were Dutch and very Protestant. They fled poverty following the Napoleonic wars.

      I’ve been able to trace back to my Sixth great-grandfather on Moms moms side. Only got to the fourth great-grandfather on Dads moms side.

      I’m coming to the conclusion it probably doesn’t matter. I am such a mixed bag I must be an American! 🤔. My kids and their kids and now my great-grandson are even more mixed with lots of Scot, Spanish, Indian, and German thrown in.

      Aussies are also a pretty much a mixed bag from what I’ve read.


  3. We have relatives in Lancaster PA — they got 2 1/2 feet. B got 1 foot at home, north of NYC. But 30 miles farther north of her, they only got 2 inches! I’m in Florida, so I only got a little sunburn and wind burn.

    I just started watching the Open Yale Course: the Civil War and Reconstruction, by David Blight. You familiar with it?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Snow north of us in Baltimore and Philly was heavy. The New Jersey Coast suffered badly as did the their low lying coastal areas. George Washington chose well we he picked the site for the “Shining City on a Hill.” We had lots of snow but escaped the worst winds and the flooding.

      No, I haven’t heard of the guy you mention. I liked Ken Burns version of the Civil War but historians I know criticized it for its Sympathy for the South. Quite frankly, I concentrated on the period after the Civil War in my studies.

      Most of my fellow students (Americanists) were convinced the North would never have gone to war if SC hadn’t provoked it. Slavery only became THE main issue about 1863. Lincoln was a Southerner, from Kentucky and his wife had several relatives fighting for the Confederacy…..which most people forget.


  4. I’m glad to know you are safe and that the dogs were able to get outside; it is nice of your neighbor to shovel — I can’t imagine how we would ever do that kind of work.

    Connie must have been glad to have time to work on the ‘tree’. Geneology tracing seems like a great hobby for a snow day! It’s wonderful how much you can find nowadays from your own computer in your own home — it didn’t used to be that easy. My mother was a proud member of the DAR and I can remember all the work she did tracing her lineage back to that illustrious time. She paid my membership after I was grown until I convinced her that while I was proud of my lineage I did not care for the DAR’s politics (nor for their lady-like tea and crumpet acitivities) — I was such a disappointment to my poor mother!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, for a long time the DAR was a bit retro. My DAR friend Sue the archivist informs me that today many of their members are African American and some of the chapter presidents or chairs or whatever they call them are are AA. My goodness even thomas Jefferson’s family has acknowledged their AA relatives. Times change, unfortunately the images we have often don’t.

      BTW I like tea and crumpets especially in england, but have never had the urge to join anything like an exclusive club. My mother’s people were very poor and pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and I am much closer to them in my heart. They were working class and democrats but not like many contemporary “Democrats” who seem to forget their patriotic roots.


  5. Love the ducks in your header!

    Glad you have stayed warm and safe during the snowpocalypse. Down here, a few flakes shuts the whole town down while everyone stares and takes photos of it. That was certainly nice of your neighbor to shovel your porch and driveway!

    Learning about our ancestors and what they went through can be very humbling. I don’t know that I could have gone through all they did.

    Hope you find your car!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Gregg has been delving into my genealogy and discovered that I had relatives who came over to America as far back as the first settlers and fought in the Colonial War against the British. Also one fought in the Civil War. I also had relatives who came to Pennsylvania, and there are even those who lived in Arlington. You could have knocked me down with a feather to say the least. Glad all is well with you and David. How kind of your neighbor to come and shovel.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Geneology is fun and informative. Its also tricky because so many would-be sleuths are copying each other and confusing each other using the records on (why Connie and I have been searching through original documents).

      Apparently, you had English ancestors who crossed the Atlantic and went back home to England as you were born there. Were they Tories? Some of their relatives stayed in the United States. I suggest the relatives Gregg found are third or fourth cousin several times removed. I have English and Dutch cousins like that too. Obama and Cheyney are distant cousins in the same way.

      The best way to search is up through your parents lines. Otherwise, if you search laterally, you get confused by the uncles, cousins, aunts, etc.

      By the way, what the British call the War of Rebellion in the English Colonies, we call the American Revolution.

      I know some people (Williamsburg docents?) like to call it the colonial war against the British, but the “experts” who instructed the docents are probably southern sympathizers who never liked the federal government However, the Virginian James Madison who wrote the Constitution and the Federalist papers, thought otherwise. (many Virginians also said New Enganders were hotheads.)


      • That is fascinating Diane, I am going to tell him to read this comment as he will appreciate any help he can get. Thank you also for ID’ing my little bird photo. Must be lovely to have one as a pet.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sweetpea is adorable.

        Would be happy to help Gregg anyway I can.

        Some advice…..1. use others Ancestry trees as information only, but don’t copy them because many are dead wrong. Always find an original record like a birth, death, marriage, or immigration record to verify a bit of info.

        2. Names change over time. For example, David had an ancestor of German descent who changed his name from Gunter to Godwin. He wanted to sound like an Anglo.

        3. Very few aristocrats migrated to the colonies, and most left at the first sign of “rebellion.” The likelihood that any of us are descended from an aristocrat is almost none.

        Hope this helps.


  7. You comment about the relationship of the Union sharpshooter vs. Confederacy dead is quite interesting. I’ll bet if we could go back in time (time travel) we would find an amazing number of coincidences in our family roots. We see it so often today even with the high population number. Imagine how much more frequent it must be as we go back to fewer people.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Six degrees of separation they say. As some of David’s ancestors were from VA and also fought for the Confederacy perhaps they knew or were related to Connie’s dad’s people. And yes, I think time travel would be fun….all the way back to the Pleistocene.


  8. Hubby wondered about you in Virginia. Glad that your electricity is still working.
    As for the possibility of relatives shooting at each other during the war, well, think of my relatives in North and South Korea.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, Korea is closer and many can recall those sad days. Civil wars are very destructive. Bad memories linger for generations. Virginia took a blow, but local reporting suggests the snowfall in Baltimore broke records.


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