Acknowledging’s Assembled Content and Delivery Systems

I am quite impressed with some major and recent improvements in’s products and services marketing.  Yes, that’s right, I said “the ugly word–marketing, ” as inferred by those who haven’t been involved in it or have been the victims of marketing done poorly.  Yet, I’m here to give credit to Ancestry where credit is due because they are effectively using tools and techniques to reach me with the kinds of information and articles that I’m interested in while not being intrusive about it. I see it as a “take it or leave it opportunity” for me to learn more about a topic in which I am interested.

For example, one of the probably lesser known features on Ancestry’s site, is its blog page that I have occasionally visited, enjoyed, and all too often have forgotten about in the midst of all life’s goings on. Yet, I happened upon an ad about this blog today under’s “Paid Content” when I opened their breaking news page. The image and headline that drew me in are on the left, here.

Now, I’m already a long time subscriber to’s suite of online genealogical tools and features, so it costs me nothing more to follow down their marketing path and enjoy the extra wares provided.  And, when I find something that I like, I immediately think about others like me who also might be interested.  Needless to say, I share my finds regularly either in my blogs or on Facebook, or the like, as I am today. While I am not trying to be necessarily an unpaid/unsolicited advertisement for, I believe in the power of word-of-mouth coming from peers who like me like what they see or read and are all into sharing.  Similarly, I appreciate others reaching out to me with items that they think I’ll like just because they know a bit about me and my likes.  Bottom line, if you are already an subscriber these blogs and their interactive information are free.  If not, multiple times within the article appear clickable online banner ads like the one on the left of this text which takes you to’s subscription page where you can see all your subscription options.  Now, let’s look more closely at the interactive and customized information that you can glean (if you choose) from today’s blog:

Do You Come From Royal Blood? Your Last Name May Tell You. – Ancestry Blog


Researchers at the University of California, Davis, and the London School of Economics conducted the study, which they published in the journal “Human Nature.” . . .

Using Surnames to Follow the Wealthy

The researchers based their study on families with unique last names. Those unique last names made it possible to trace the families through genealogical and other public records. In England, those aristocratic names included Atthill, Bunduck, Balfour, Bramston, Cheslyn, and Conyngham.

Enter your last name to learn its meaning and origin.

Enter your last name to learn its meaning and origin.

The social scientists looked for those and other unique, upper-class surnames among students who attended Oxford and Cambridge universities between 1170 and 2012, rich property owners between 1236 and 1299, as well as probate records since 1858 — which are available on

So I entered my maiden name “Bolling,” using the older European version of it with the double “ll’s” instead of a single “l,” as we spell it today.  Voila!  Here’s what I got:

I was amazed at all the readily available and thoroughly interactive information at my fingertips.  Above, in the upper left top section, you can navigate an interactive geographic timeline distribution of people with the surname “Bolling” who lived in England, Wales, and the United States from 1840 to 1920.  In the upper right of this section, you can browse all the census and voter lists for Bollings.  It gives you the option to filter results and views by record or collection by years and/or collections by Country, or individual records.

In the lower section of the page, below, you have access to five drop down windows with even more detailed information about origin, immigration, life expectancies, occupations, and Civil War Service Records–all from various collections available through your subscription.

And, more . . .

At the end of this very information-packed and fully interactive blog appeared the following series of images and headlines under the heading “More On Ancestry:” Similarly, they are packed with more fully interactive information from various collections.

While I have chosen to focus this blog on Ancestry.coms paid content that I happened upon when browsing’s site, I would suggest that all subscribers visit/revisit Ancestry’s page to view firsthand the wealth of information and resources that can help make your family history journey more interesting, enjoyable, and rewarding.  And, remember, to check out Ancestry’s products and services in the right-hand column of your home page.  For example, video tutorials and short courses at Ancestry Academy, or learn more about AncestryDNA, their newest data collections, etc.

And a Big “Also Note”.

In the upper right hand corner of the “More From Ancestry” image, above, you see “by Taboola.”  Are you wondering what this is or means?  Well, here lies the secret to how Ancestry and other businesses are improving their content distribution and driving targeted traffic from their sites to us.   Taboola is one of the world’s leading content distribution companies that drives information to sites that we visit because they thought we would like it based on our interests and/or visits to previous websites (remember all those warnings about ‘cookies’). The delivered content is paid for by the company whose ad we clicked on–in this instance, ​ So, all these years of people talking about those horrid cookie files that invade our computer experiences–finally, I got a cookie that I enjoyed!




20 Reasons Why You Should Write Your Family History

The following article was published February 9,2015, by the New York Public Library. I have re posted it here because it best describes my blogging’s purpose, reasons, and experiences. The information I’ve gathered, the places I’ve been and the very kind people that I have come into contact with through my research and writing adventures has been phenomenally rewarding! If you have ever entertained researching and writing about your family’s history, then this may be just the push you need to help you decide to simply jump in and do it!

New York Public Library Logo

Author:  Carmen Nigro

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
Milstein Division of United States History
Local History and Genealogy

February 9, 2015

Family History

Hungarian Family at Ellis Island, all of whom were deported. 1905. Image ID: 417071

If you have done any family history research, such as looking for records on and or conducting interviews with older family members, you may have pondered writing about your genealogy research. Here are 20 reasons why you should cease pondering and start writing:

You’ll feel wiser.

From, Global Study of Users, 2014,  one-third of online adults used the Internet to learn more about their family history:

  • 67% said that knowing their family history has made them feel wiser as a person.
  • 72% said it helped them be closer to older relatives.
  • 52% said they discovered ancestors they had not known about.

First person narratives and family histories are important historical documents. 

From The Story of You: A Guide for Writing Your Personal Stories and Family History, John Bond, 2014:

  • “You are doing a service by leaving a legacy, no matter how small or large.”
  • “The interesting stories in your life have become familiar to you… The novelty of these stories is most apparent to someone hearing them for the first time.”

You are an important person. You have things to pass on, to your children, to your local history society, to unknown future generations.

“The entire story of mankind has come to us from individual voices from the past.”  Family Focused: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Your Autobiography and Family History, Janice T. Dixon, 1997

You and your family are important to somebody, probably many somebodies.

“Just watch… ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ to see how many ways one life touches so many others. The few families on the Mayflower probably produced more than 20 million descendants.”
The Story of You: A Guide for Writing Your Personal Stories and Family History, John Bond, 2014

Family trees are abstract. Stories add depth.

“It makes names into real, live people. Family stories help you and your family become more than a birth and a death date.”
The Story of You: A Guide for Writing Your Personal Stories and Family History, John Bond, 2014

Jeter Family
The Jeter Family in 1901. Image ID: 1235217

Memories over time become fragmented and distorted. People may not remember the things you told them but did not write down.

“I am not famous or rich, but I still want to be remembered.”
Family Focused: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Your Autobiography and Family History, Janice T. Dixon, 1997

Writing your family history gives you the chance to depict your ancestors how you see fit.

“You cannot write our story. You have no right.”
In 2004, Native Americans react to depictions of their ancestors in documents about Lewis & Clark.
History News, Summer 2014

There is a need for diverse family histories about those who have not been represented well in history texts.

“For members of marginalized groups, speaking personally and truthfully about our lives plays a small part in erasing years of invisibility and interpretation by others.”
Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art, Judith Barrington, 1997

There is a need for more family histories documenting female lines.

“The traditional descendants-of genealogy usually begins with the immigrant and follows descendants for some number of generations. Often they have a paternalistic bent and follow only male descendants who bore the surname….In the future we hope to see less short-changing of maternal lines and collateral lines in published material.”
Producing a Quality Family History, Patricia Law Hatcher, 1996

There is a need for more family histories about families who are not affluent.

“Genealogical publishing [in the past] was accessible primarily to the affluent…. Modern genealogists are researching ancestors who are relatively recent immigrants, landless, illiterate, living on the frontier or migrating. There seems to be a trend away from idealizing our ancestors.”
Producing a Quality Family History, Patricia Law Hatcher, 1996

Paiute Family in Yosemite, circa 1900. Image ID: 1690994

Family histories humanize the people you know or knew and remember for those who did not know them.

“The generations slipped away as I shared her grief for a moment. In reading her words I felt closer to my grandmother than I ever have.”
Family Focused: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Your Autobiography and Family History, Janice T. Dixon, 1997

Information raises questions. Genealogy research has brought new facts into your life.

“They research and write down when and where mom and dad were married. I don’t want to say accurate facts aren’t important, but I do question priorities here. The facts, or at least the important facts, of mom and dad’s marriage were not where and when it took place but what they made of it.”
For All Time: A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History, Charley Kempthorne, 1996

It may help you understand your current family dynamics.

“I spent a year writing my story which is also my mother’s story and the story of our family. It was a most enlightening time for me, one I treasure, because it forced me to look at my life, re-shape it in many ways, and to laugh at things that I had taken so seriously before. I matured in many ways and became more tolerant and caring. It also freed me from some of my doubts and fears.”
Family Focused: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Your Autobiography and Family History, Janice T. Dixon, 1997

It will help you build or solidify a sense of family.

“I suggest that family history is more important than any other history simply because family is the fundamental, rock-bottom unit of society.”
For All Time: A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History, Charley Kempthorne, 1996

Writing is reflective. Writing is investing in yourself.

“In writing your personal history, you put perspective and purpose in your life. You begin to understand yourself better than you ever have.”
Family Focused: A Step-By-Step Guide to Writing Your Autobiography and Family History, Janice T. Dixon, 1997

Cowboy writing
Cowboy writing in a notebook, 1909. Image ID: 5027900

It can be therapeutic.

“Studies show that writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood disorders, help reduce symptoms among cancer patients, improve a person’s health after a heart attack, reduce doctor visits and even boost memory…. Writing — and then rewriting — your personal story can lead to behavioral changes and improve happiness.”
New York Times, “Writing Your Way To Happiness,” Tara Parker-Pope, January 19, 2015

Don’t take for granted that the lives of your ancestors are lost. Evidence of the people they have been exists somewhere and is discoverable.

“Virtually all my finds have been made from old manuscripts in public repositories and have been of the family moving, not in the company of celebrities…, but among people as little known to fame as themselves.”
How to Write a Family History: The Lives and Times of Our Ancestors, Terrick FitzHugh, 1988

“It will have a wider impact than you might imagine.”

After publishing some of her family histories and donating to libraries and archives, author Penny Stratton heard from other researchers that they had found leads and data in her writings.
American Ancestors, Spring 2014

Family members and even distant cousins may become more forward in contributing documents, photos, and stories for your genealogical research.

“It’s cousin-bait.”
Genea-Musings, “Why Do You Write About Your Personal Research?” Randy Seaver, January 2015

You will be encouraged to archive and preserve the documents on which your family history research is based: certificates, letters, diaries, etc.

“These documents function within the family in the same way that important documents of our common history function within the nation.”
For All Time: A Complete Guide to Writing Your Family History, Charley Kempthorne, 1996

Writing Your Family History is a class offered by the Milstein Division of United States History, Local History and Genealogy. Please check our website for upcoming dates. If you have a family history that you would like to donate to libraries, consider the New York Public Library (details on our FAQ) and the Library of Congress.

2014 in Review stats team prepared a 2014 annual report about my blog:

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog’s audience viewed Our Heritage… about 16,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at the Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Thank you to everyone who took precious time from their day(s) to read posts from Our Heritage.

And thank you for compiling these meaningful stats and reporting them to me.

Drawn to the Dogs: Part 3–Dogs are Family, Too!

Contributing Author–My Son, Jeff

Adventurers at Heart

Our children, Bobby, 14; Jeff, 12; and Jennifer 7, were always adventurers at heart. I like to think they got this trait from me, and I got it from my maternal grandmother, Loretta Lathrop Ford. I wish so very much that they had had a chance to know her, but, unfortunately, she passed when Bobby was an infant.

In 1980, our local neighborhoods were less congested and calmer, and the streets were much safer. And, after depleting all known in home childcare providers, this was the summer when our family agreed that our eldest son, Bobby, would step up and be responsible for himself and his siblings.

The kids would usually sleep in until 9 or after, watch some cartoons, and get themselves dressed and fed. I worked just 4 miles away and I would come home at lunchtime and return again around 5. And, often, I would receive phone calls from home whenever there were questions to be answered or permissions granted. This wasn’t always an ideal situation, but we all fortunately survived with many stories to tell and laugh about later.

PeeJay–a Siberian Husky Mix

PeeJay4One day, near the end of summer, one of our kid’s many adventures led Jeff to encounter Pee Jay–a Siberian husky mix pup. It all started when he decided to cut through some woods as a shortcut to a place behind Silver Hill Road, in Suitland, which was about two miles away. The kids referred to this place as “the pits.”   Through my research today, I learned that the property had been owned by Buffalo Sand and Gravel, Co., Inc., and it had been a gravel quarry–hence, “gravel pits” or “pits” as the kids called it.  One section of the pits had a large mound of earth known as “Boot Hill,” where kids would play–what else–but “King of the Hill.”  And, for whatever other reasons, this is the place where the kids gathered.  And, it was there, just inside the woods adjacent to the pits that Jeff found Pee Jay.  She looked to be about 6 to 8 weeks old.

The Gift

Now, Jeff was an avid outdoorsman and animal lover who was always bringing home animals that he had found, had saved, had captured, or just plainly encouraged them to follow him home. Jeff knew if he asked to bring home another animal that we would say no. On the other hand, if he showed the pup to mom first, then she would fall instantly in love with her and would help him win over his dad.

So together, Jeff and mom decided they would wrap up this little ball of salt and pepper fluff in a cardboard box and give her to dad as an early birthday present so it would be even harder for him to say no this time. But, too, we all knew that dad was a softy at heart and once he saw the adorable little ball of fluff pup inside the nicely decorated box that he would be unable to resist her, even if he did lay down some hefty rules about care and responsibilities. And, true to form, dad didn’t disappoint. We now had another family member–one, we would quickly learn was a great companion for the kids and also had an adventurous spirit!  What better a fit could we have asked for?

A New Home, Companionship, Love, and Adventure

We would soon learn just how good a fit PeeJay was as a family member and adventurer. The kids enjoyed taking her everywhere in the neighborhood that they went. PeeJay loved it, too.  She loved everybody and everybody loved her.  If the boys went to the creek to catch frogs, PeeJay went along, too, and even would go in the water for a swim.  The problem with her swimming in the creek was she always came back smelling of sewer gases and we would have to bathe her and put odor repellent on her to get rid of most of the smell, but it would take about a week for all of the stink to go away.

PeeJay sensed when the family was going to leave home and not take her.  She didn’t like being alone and it seems as if she always had a plan should she be left home alone.

In those days, we didn’t have air conditioning and in the spring, summer, and fall months, we would raise our windows so the air could circulate through the screens and inside the house.  Jennifer often had visits from PeeJay who had adeptly torn through the screens at home to go meet and greet her at school at recess time and sometimes to walk her and the boys home in the afternoons.  All the school and church staff and children knew PeeJay.  But, I did get a few calls asking me to leave work to come get PeeJay because she was distracting the kids from their studies.  I have this somewhat of a “Little House on the Prairie” picture in my mind where PeeJay is gazing inside a classroom window at Jennifer and Jennifer is embarrassed but waving her arm furiously out the window at PeeJay trying to shoo her away.

The boys always took PeeJay down the street to the “circle” where many of their friends lived in the cul de sac.  If the boys played tag, PeeJay played tag.  If the boys played ball PeeJay played ball, and if the boys wrestled, PeeJay was in the thick of it.  She truly was just like having a fourth child, and most times well behaved.

PeeJay3However, on this one day after the parents had gone to work and the children to school, I’m thinking PeeJay had an Elmer Fudd moment and thought; “shhhhhh….. be vewy vewy quiet, I’m wabbit hunting.”  And, sure enough, the kids’ best friend Tommy, had a pet rabbit in his backyard. This was the day that PeeJay made enemies by eating “wabbit for wunch.”  I think Tommy’s mom disliked dogs anyway, but this was totally unacceptable behavior for any man or creature in her book. I think until this day, that she has not forgiven PeeJay or us for allowing her to roam and be free with the kids (even if it was against our will or wishes, or best efforts to keep her in–short of caging her).

We also made the initial mistake of having PeeJay ride along with us to visit my parents who lived about two miles away, but across a major highway.  One Sunday evening after returning home from our visit with family, dad called at 11 o’clock to say; “We have a visitor at our front door.  Do you know where all of your children are?”  Low and behold, when we let PeeJay outside before we turned in for the night she had decided she wanted more time with my parents and their dogs–who all got along famously.  After the shock, surprise, and a few laughs, we got dressed and went back to mom and dad’s to retrieve PeeJay.  The first time, we thought; “Oh, how clever a dog you are, PeeJay!” But when she started making it a nightly ritual, praises were the last words in our minds or out of our mouths.  So this one night after retrieving PeeJay several times before and receiving yet another call from dad, we asked him to turn out his lights and go to bed and ignore her.  As hesitant as we all were, PeeJay within half an hour meandered her way back to her own front door and we let her in.  There also were a few times where we would head to mom and dad’s and stop by the Giant Food Store to take a few things to contribute to a family meal.  And, when we got to our parents we found that PeeJay had arrived ahead of us!

???????????????As the kids grew older, they still involved PeeJay in everything they did.  I won’t ever forget the feelings I felt when I saw Jeff riding a motorcycle down the street and sitting just as casual and as proud as she could be in the seat in front of him was PeeJay. She had his kerchief wrapped around her neck and sun glasses covering her eyes.  I swear if dogs could smile, that she was wearing one, too!

Doggone that Adventurous Spirit

PeeJay6-1984Over the years, it got increasingly difficult for us to get PeeJay back in the house before we left for work, or school, or elsewhere.  Jennifer now was in eighth grade.  It was sprinkling rain outside, we were running late, and PeeJay knew she was going to be closed in the house with the windows shut.  Jenny and I chased her several times.  PeeJay thought this was a game and every time she’d let us get close, she would dash away again.  Fed up and running late one day in 1987, I asked Jennifer to get in the car and assured her that PeeJay would return home shortly or be home when we returned.  Well, much to our dismay, PeeJay never returned to us.  We don’t know if someone stole her as friendly as she was, or someone or something harmed or killed her.  Despite all my denials, the kids thought for years that I had gotten fed up with PeeJay’s antics and had taken her to the animal shelter. PeeJay added so much fun and joy to our family.   PeeJay was a part of our family for about eight years.  We will always miss and remember our family’s days with PeeJay–Doggone it!

Hello Again, World – My 145th Post

My First Post – Eight Months Ago

salem-witches 1692-1693

salem-witches 1692-1693

Eight months ago on November 15, 2012, I published “Hello World“–my 341-word first blogpost ever, under the category of Witches and Witchcraft.  I wondered then if some of my family from among the 40 generations I have traced back could have been among those accused of witchcraft in Connecticut or Winston-Salem, Massachusetts.  I noted that most women and men who were accused in the 15th-19th centuries were feared for their nonconformist ways more than anything else.  And, I wondered if I inherited my self initiative and personal drive from anyone of those accused. By the way, the jury remains out on those issues.

So, despite only six people reading my first post, I went on to write 144 others on a variety of categories over the next eight months; making today’s post number 145!  And today, I took to data mining my blog’s statistics to see just how readership and visits stand at my 100th post.

Understanding my blog’s readership demographics

On April 25, 2013, Our Heritage:  12th Century and Beyond, captured its largest number of readers in one day–totalling 74:  as you can see, many people that day were drawn to my Home page/Archives (24), and the Plymouth Pilgrims, Puritans, The Great Migration…post (10).

April 25-2013Stats

On June 19th, one of my most popular posts was about a  “dragon boat racing event” to end hunger in Calvert County.  It received 39 views, but a total of 66 views were made of the blog site that day.  This post had nothing to do with my family genealogy but did hit a home run on topic and history of a little known sport for a good cause.  And, today I have 88 blog followers and the following keeps growing, too.

The United States’ State Department recognizes 195 independent countries from around the world.  The U.S.Census Bureau posts today’s world population at 7,097,725,000 and counting.   My blog’s readership in comparison is small, but steadily growing.  To date, 3,350 people from 64 countries–one third of the world’s countries, have read at least one of my posts.  Below are the top five countries based on overall readership, with the remaining 190 countries making up 6.1 percent of the world’s remaining readers to visit my site.  The Census Bureau’s total estimated population for today (and counting) is 316 million. That means a little over one percent of the U.S. population has read a post from my blog during the past eight months.

Blog Readership

Googling for other genealogy-based blogs

I then googled “genealogy blogs,” to see just how many I might find out there.  There actually is a site Genealogy Blog Finder that tracks 1,782 blogs worldwide.  It lets you filter by:  recently updated, what’s new, and who’s blogging where in the world:Genealogy Blog FinderSo, it made sense to me when I learned that nearly 86 percent of my readership is in the United States.’s study of blog readership states that there are actually over 157 million blogs on Tumblr and WordPress, alone.  Comparing the 157 million blogs number to the 1,782 genealogy blogs, I see that just 1.14 percent of all of those blogs are genealogy-based posts.  

And finally, according to; “No wonder many bloggers have a hard time getting noticed.  There are more than 144 million blogs in the world, publishing 1 million posts per day. So there is some competition.”

When I reflected on these staggering facts, I can only feel very appreciative for all readers who have taken their time to find and read my posts.  Happy blogging and reading.  Hope you will visit with me again!


Bowlingtown, Kentucky–A Lost Communiy, but not Forgtten


This post tells the story of the Bowling’s/Boling’s and Bowlingtown– a story as viewed by ancestors and living relatives; it includes a famous colonizer; a single woman’s efforts to keep Bowlingtown and its families on the map and in our memories; and, a local newspaper’s documentary about them all.

A Brief History

Image:  Bowlingtown Main St. 1910

Bowlingtown Main St. 1910

Daniel Boone, the Great American Pioneer, used his daring, wood-craft, and “wilderness scout” skills and experiences to open up the landscape and colonize Kentucky for his family and other settlers that founded Bowlingtown like the Bowling, Boling,  Barger, Begley, Combs, Duff, Hacker, Rice, and West families.

Image: Buckhorn Lake

Buckhorn Lake

Bowlingtown was a thriving community of hundreds that once prospered where Buckhorn Lake state park now stands. After several years efforts (1995-1999), by Jewell Gordon, one of the last residents’ of Bowlingtown, a plaque now appears at the front of the Buckhorn Lodge that reads:

Bowlingtown 1800 -1960:

Long before Buckhorn Lake was created and the state park established in 1964, a small community flourished for many generations here, along the middle fork of the Kentucky River.

Early records refer to this area as the Bowling District, founded by Reverend Jesse Boling (from whom my paternal grandfather got his name), his wife Mary Pennington, Reverend Duff and 50 other families. Daniel Boone guided them to this remote area. Bowlingtown was a thriving community of hundreds by the late 1800’s . There was a post office, school, churches, grocery, saw mill, blacksmith and the Frontier Nursing Service. Local officials included a sheriff, magistrate, justice of the peace, and tax commissioner. The citizens were primarily farmers and coal miners. The people of Bowlingtown were known as patriotic, honest, kind, and well-educated.

In 1960, the construction of Buckhorn Lake began which forced Bowlingtown families to abandon their homes and relocate. Family graves (873) were re-interred to Buckhorn Cemetery. All were sad to leave their homeland of seven generations. This exhibit is dedicated in their memory.

Jewell Gordon published the following message on the Hazard Kentucky special web page dedicated to Bowlingtown:

I was probably one of the last to be born in Bowlingtown. I started seven years ago to get the Buckhorn lodge or park renamed Bowlingtown. I did this in memory of my grandfather and also to prevent my birthplace from disappearing. When the Corp of Engineers decided to build the dam everyone was forced to leave. This place had been a homeland for seven generations of family and friends (mostly Bowlings/Bollings).

His family and friends from Bowlingtown were scattered to the four winds. That was the first time I saw him cry.

My grandfather was a strong man who farmed and mined most his life to build up a heritage to leave his children (16+ acres in Perry Co and 64+ acres in Leslie). The government gave him enough money to buy 1/2 acre “unfarmable, not even a garden” lot in Richmond, KY. His family and friends from Bowlingtown were scattered to the four winds. That was the first time I saw him cry. He refused to visit Buckhorn Lodge or the lake because he and many others were adamant that it should have been named Bowlingtown. Maybe now he can rest in peace and I’m sure he will smile once again for Bowlingtown.

The lodge sits on the hill where the original log cabin school house was built in early 1800’s, which a white frame schoolhouse replaced in early 1900’s. The beach and swimming area is where children and adults alike played baseball. The picnic area was where they dug up hundreds of graves, which my grandfather watched to insure all relatives were properly re-interred at the top of the hill across from the lodge. It was horrific and caused him nightmares.

So you see it has been very important to get a 2′ x 3′ sign installed in front of the lodge with Bowlingtown’s history. The sign illustrates the river and where the various families lived (designated by numbers) with a list of family members associated with each house. The sign was designed by my Father, Floyd Hacker, who is 78 years old. He also provided all the family names/members and where each house was located. There is a sign inside the lodge with a history of the Bowlings/Bollings that goes back to 1066 in Bradford, England (Bolling Castle still stands today in memory of the Bollings).

It is important to note the source of the funds for this project: $2000 from Bowlingtown family and friends and $1000 grant from the KY Heritage Society; And without the KY State Parks co-operation this project still would be on the drawing board.

Jewell Gordon, Bowlingtown Project Mgr.

The sign and exhibit honoring Bowlington was dedicated Saturday, October 2nd, 1:00 p.m. in the lodge at Buckhorn Lake State Park in Perry County. Hazard radio station WSGS-FM covered the event and Governor Paul Patton was scheduled to attend.

For more information contact:

Jewell Gordon
telephone 303-361-6748
fax 303-344-5787

The Communities of Perry County: Bowlingtown

By Bailey Richards, Staff Reporter
Hazard Herald Newspaper
January 29, 2012

<p>A replica of the homes on Bowlingtown is on display at the Buckhorn Lodge.</p>

A replica of the homes on Bowlingtown is on display at the Buckhorn Lodge.

Editor’s note: Perry County has numerous individual communities, all with their own stories and folklore. They have interesting names, formation stories, and histories, all of which make up the history of Perry County. The Hazard Herald is celebrating this with a recurring feature profiling the communities of our county.

Bowlingtown is no longer a place that can be visited, but it is still on the map thanks to the work of Jewell Gordon and the Bowlingtown Project.

Bowlingtown only exists in the collective memory of the people that lived there before it was flooded to create Buckhorn Lake in the early 1960s. For years after the dam was constructed and the valleys flooded, Bowlingtown had no sign or indication of having existed at all.

That was until Jewell Gordon worked from 1995 to 1999 to have some sort of marker placed to indicate where the town had been. Since then, signs and historical societies have been formed to memorialize the town.

Gordon has even managed to put Bowlingtown back on the map where it can be seen, marked in the lake on sites like Map Quest and in some atlases.

“When they built the dam, Bowlingtown just went off the map. It just no longer existed,” said Gordon, who was born in Bowlingtown and raised there until she was around eight years old.

Bowlingtown was settled by the Boling family from England as one of the earliest settlements in Perry County. It was named for Jesse Boling, or Bowling, and his family. Boling had served in the Revolutionary War and his descendant, Pat Barger, still has Boling’s pension form from the U.S. government when he applied for his pension at the age of 74 in 1832.

According to Jewell Gordon, the families that founded Bowlingtown had followed Daniel Boone into the forests of Kentucky.

“Daniel Boone brought those people into Bowlingtown, and he had bought some of the land there and then sold it to the Bowlings and four other families that lived there,” said Gordon.

The Bowling family was by far the most predominant family in Bowlingtown. One former resident, George Barger, who was around 10 when the town was flooded, said they probably outnumbered the other families 3 to 1.

The Bowling family has a long history that can be traced all the way back to Anne Boleyn, who was the Queen of England from 1533-1536, before she was beheaded by her husband, King Henry VIII. Boleyn was the mother of Queen Elizabeth I.

The Bowling name has changed spelling several times since Anne Boleyn. According to Jewell Gordon, her grandfather was a Bowling, however, his grandfather was a “Boling,” both of whom lived in Bowlingtown.

At the time the town was flooded, there was a thriving community living in Bowlingtown. Several hundred people lived in the incorporated town that had its own commission and sheriff. George Barger’s father was in his early 60’s when the town was flooded. He was the local postmaster as well as a farmer and entrepreneur.

Five generations of Bowlings and other families had lived in Bowlingtown until 1956 when the Commonwealth of Kentucky decided to dam the Kentucky River to help reduce flooding. Bowlingtown and several other areas lay in a flood plain, and following several large floods the Army Corps of Engineers decided to build a dam, flood the area, and evacuate the town.

“My grandfather, he just loved Bowlingtown, and it just destroyed him when they had to move,” said Gordon.

According to Barger, his father was one of the first people to be told about the town being evacuated since he owned much of the land. He and his family stayed in the town until 1959, whereas others began moving in 1957 in anticipation of the ultimatum to move.

The residents were paid for only their land, not their buildings, and only paid for the land that would be covered by water. Gordon said that her grandfather, Arlie Bowling, was only given enough money from the government to afford a small home on very little land.

“All total, he had probably 125 acres down there in Bowlingtown,” said Gordon. “The money that he was given was enough that he could buy a quarter of an acre in Richmond, and it was swamp land.”

Many of the residents of Bowlingtown were also angered by the name chosen for the new lake.

“For my grandfather and the people that loved Bowlingtown, they hated the fact that they named it Buckhorn,” said Gordon. “I mean it wasn’t Buckhorn, it was Bowlingtown.”

In 1999, after spending five years working to get Bowlingtown recognized, Gordon and around 150 former residents of Bowlingtown gathered for the dedication of a sign at Buckhorn Lodge telling about the town and the families.

“When people saw that sign, people put their hands on it like they were going back in time and remembering their relatives,” said Gordon.

A second sign was placed indoors that told the history of the Bowling family.

As a surprise to the group, the Army Corp of Engineers that had flooded their home had changed the welcome sign going in to the park to read, “Bowlingtown home of Buckhorn Lake.” Gordon said that for the residents, in a way this brought Bowlingtown back.

Today, Bowlingtown has been reconstructed in an exhibit at Buckhorn Lodge in a room lined with replicas of the homes of the community. A map of the town with the names of the families in each home also sits in this room. The homes have the names of the inhabitants along with replicas of stores and schools.


And, you might ask me; “But, what’s your connection to the Boling’s and Bowlingtown’s story?”

Well, in fact, I share the same lineage from Pocahontas and Colonel Robert Bolling from the  15-1600′s and have a link to the Reverend Jesse B. Bolling, born in 1758, who died in Kentucky 1841.  It appears that my grandfather, Jesse B. Bolling, (1902-1978) was a namesake to Jesse B. Bolling, “The Elder”, 150 years later. And, in the video, you might also notice the presence of music and musicians–we Boling’s all seem to share the talents and love of music across the miles and through the generations.


The Video via YouTube:

It’s a Small World…


A Follow-On to I’ve Got the Music in Me–and Oh, How it Moves Me! – Part 3

On February 25, 2013, I published a blog I’ve Got the Music in Me–and Oh, How it Moves Me! – Part 3.  It included a song with lyrics sung by C. Daniel Boling, who shares the surname,talents and heritage of the Boling family.

Daniel, as it turns out, is an award-winning folksinger/songwriter/guitarist who “has a storyteller’s eye for detail,” as published in his bio on the web.  In his songs the interesting characters that live on through his music and lyrics are drawn from his life, family and friends. Here’s another example of Daniel Boling’s clever lyrics and entertaining stories.

Beginning in February, 2008, Daniel started performing and touring full-time. Daniel prefers venues where original, lyric-driven music is valued and folks love to listen to his creative stories.

Although Daniel and I didn’t know each other when my blog story went live, shortly thereafter he commented on it and we exchanged a few messages.  And, low and behold we learned that we do, in fact, share the same lineage from Pocahontas and Colonel Robert Bolling from the  15-1600’s.  We next discovered a link to the Reverend Jesse B. Bolling, born in 1758, who died in Kentucky 1841.  This Rev. Jesse B. Bolling, “The Elder,” is a great grandfather in Daniel’s line.

It appears that my grandfather, Jesse B. Bolling, (1902-1978) was a namesake to Daniel’s Jesse B. Bolling, 150 years later.  And just this week, I learned from my father that not only was my grandfather, Jesse, a cabinetmaker, but he also made a cigar box ukulele, indicating his interest in music, too.

Besides being creative writers, lovers of music, and apparently both quick witted, Daniel and I are sharing similar life experiences with our octogenarian elders.  It just goes to show you, that  the longer you live, the smaller the world becomes;and, around any corner may be another clue to who you are, from where you came, and who among you, might be a member of your family that you just haven’t met yet.  Just as in Adam and Eve’s days in the garden and in Disney’s Magic Kingdom, when it comes to family, it can be a small world–“It’s a world of laughter. A world of tears. It’s a world of hopes. And a world of fears. There’s so much that we share. That it’s time we’re aware. It’s a small world …”


“Darwin’s Pride & Joy” by: C. Daniel Boling Music, Lyrics, Songs, and Videos

Walt Disney’s: It’s a Small World After All Music published on YouTube by: OliviaYVids.

Joanne_Dickinson_Family_Tree-2 on

Committed Hearts and Minds…

Committed Hearts and Minds =  Best  Blogs, Bloggers

Delving into resources, making new discoveries about your subject matter, documenting and then blogging about it can be a truly cathartic experience.  Have you ever been an onlooker at history?  Did you ever truly connect with history studies in school? Do you primarily read biographies because you choose not to waste time on fiction?  This was me before getting reconnected with genealogy and my family’s history through research and blogging.

Image:  Blogger ComicHave you ever thought about what’s involved to blog as a real vocation or avocation? That is, working through the search, learning, understanding, and writing processes?   Think about how these steps might truly reveal your feelings and perceptions about, in my case, my ancestors’ lives and their circumstances.  Use the blogging experience to help purge and purify any deep feelings or emotions that unconsciously might have effected you on the topic.

Think about it.  Each time you reveal and share information through creative thinking and story telling through your blog, you might become like the energized bunny who keeps on running and won’t or can’t slow down. Somewhere within those deep thinking and creativity processes cobwebs that may have once covered long ago memories, thoughts, or interests could be removed.

And still, I get other surges of energy and emotions when colleagues, friends, family or new readers reconnect or connect with me to say; “I never knew that,” or, “I had forgotten all about that,” or, “My God, how could that have been?”

Image:  Blog Cloud

Key Word Cloud

Deep down, maybe you always knew that you loved to write.  Perhaps it started with your poems and short stories as a young child.  Did you ever say to yourself; “I’d like to write a book, but on what, I don’t know?”  Did you ever want to be involved in something that would matter to you and others in your family, your workplace, your community, or on a much larger scale?  Could blogging really be on your spectrum of meaningful?

Well, I for one can tell you that the research, discovery, learning, writing, sharing, connecting, reconnecting, associated travel and heartfelt emotions are really right up there with how I need to feel about what I do. But understand, behind all of these  pluses, you must remember that like any other activity, you must dedicate adequate time to it, create a regular schedule, and commit to writing several times a week.

My role of family historian and often adventurer only add to the already very pleasurable blogging experience.  And, if someday, you decide to publish a book of any of your writings that could be yet another big plus. But for me for now, I totally enjoy the sharing, follow up comments, and responses to what I write.  I would love to hear back from you whether blogging is pertinent for you as a blogger or a reader of blogs–why or why not.

Hello world!

salem-witches 1692-1693

salem-witches 1692-1693

This is my very first post.    I’m looking forward to sharing with you many interesting facts and stories about the nearly 40 generations of people in my family and their times from around the world.  Many of the stories were unearthed through my 20+ years of  genealogical research.  As in most families, ours has the good , the bad, the beautiful, the not so beautiful, the oppressed, founding fathers–leaders, dignitaries, kings, princes, princesses; scholars, ministers, musicians, and even one alleged witch in Winston-Salem, Massachusetts.  (Note that most women, and men, who were accused of witchcraft in the 15th-19th Centuries were feared for their nonconformist ways more than anything else.   But it still is fun to claim a witch in our family)  (Hmmm…I wonder if I get my self determination from her?) Excerpt from:  Hunting for Witches in the Family Tree By Kimberly Powell, Guide…

Witchcraft in Europe & Colonial America

Talk of witches often brings the famous Salem Witch Trials to mind, but punishment for practicing witchcraft was not unique to colonial Massachusetts. A strong fear of witchcraft was prevalent in 15th century Europe where strict laws against witchcraft were put into effect. It is estimated that around 1,000 people were hanged as witches in England over a 200-year period. The last documented case of an individual found guilty of the crime of witchcraft was Jane Wenham, Woman of Walkern, in 1712. She was reprieved. The largest group of convicted witches in England were nine Lancashire witches sent to the gallows in 1612, and nineteen witches hanged at Chelmsford in 1645. Between 1610 and 1840, it is estimated that over 26,000 accused witches were burned at the stake in Germany. Between three and five thousand witches were executed in 16th and 17th century Scotland. The anti-witchcraft sentiment that had been growing in England and Europe undoubtedly had an impact on the Puritans in America, ultimately leading to the witch craze and subsequent Salem Witch Trials I hope you will enjoy reading my blogs and provide feedback on topics and discussions. Happy Blogging and Reading!