Category Archives: West Virginia

Was Your Family Counted Twice

Over the weekend, I was searching page by page, ED by ED through the 1940 Census. Specifically, Raleigh County, WV. That is where my maternal family is from and I still need to find my grandparents. Since, I was not having any luck locating either grandparent with their families. I decided I should look for my grandfather’s grandparents, or my great-great grandparents. My logic was that my grandfathers family should be someplace close by. My great-great grandfather had a large parcel of land tha the split amongst his children. So I knew that there would be many Richmond families in the same vicinity.

What I found, made me question what I knew about the family and it made me call me mother to see what she knew as well. According to what I found, my Richmond family, John and Nettie lived with all their children, even the married ones. Yet, there is no mention of spouses of grandchildren. At first glance, I only notice my great-grandfather was there without his family. So, I placed a call to my mom and asked her if she ever heard her father talk about living someplace without his father. Mom was pretty sure he had never told her that. While she was telling me this. I started really looking at this record and saw many of the Hunter’s (my great-grandfather) siblings were marked as married and living at home. Very odd.

Roy Richmond Family and John E Richmond Family, 1940 US Federal Census, Town, Raleigh Co, West Virginia.

John Richmond Family (balance), 1940 US Federal Census, Town, Raleigh Co, West Virginia.

I understand that times were hard, so it is not inconceivable that some children might have had to move home in order to be able to afford to live. Heck, how many young adults have done that in our economic conditions.

But, what really made me start looking at what this record was telling me, is when I noticed that Roy was living there as well. I went to my database to verify who his spouse was, (this is a large family and I had never really spent a lot of time researching or even face to face with relatives on this line). Roy’s wife was Lily (last name currently unknown). Interesting, just above John E and Nettie Richmond are Roy and Lily Richmond and they are the same age. With this coincidence, I decided I needed to check one more family. Hunter and Roy had a sister, Mae, she married French Meadows and I know that I had already downloaded their page of the 1940 Census. I pulled it up and then went back to the page with John and Nettie to see if Mae was listed in their home as well. Guess what, she was. It seems that Nettie, supplied the enumerator with information on all her children.

French Meadows Family, 1940 US Federal Census, Town, Raleigh Co., West Virginia.

With this information, I know that I still need to search for Hunter Richmond with his wife Edith and their family. It also gives me a list of children for John and Nettie, now I can double-check and see if I am missing anyone from my research.


Royal, West Virginia

As I was going through my records today for each of my great-great grandparent, I was pulling out all the pertinent data. Basically, I am making sure I have all the who, what, when and where from each record. Interesting enough, on my Richmond line, I found mention of a town in Raleigh County, WV that I had never heard of, Royal. I put a question mark on it and went on with my day.

A few hours later and I was looking at the records again and I started thinking, where is Royal and how come this is not a town that I have heard of. I found the name of the town on the marriage record of John Eldridge Richmond and Nettie Ann Warden. So, I decided it was time to give my good friend google a whirl and see what it would tell me.

The first hit on the list was from you tube. I am not a big fan of you tube, I mean I watch some of the video clips that are funny, “Charlie bit my finger” and things like that. But, I do not really use it in my genealogy research. I know there are things out there on you tube pertaining to genealogy, but I just never really look there. Well, today I decided I should click on this you tube link and see what they have to say about Royal, WV and I am glad I did. It was a video of a Forest Ranger giving information about Royal and for any genealogist with family that was in this area it is extremely helpful, not to mention they go into a cemetery and show a few headstone.

Please take a few minutes to watch this video (7.59 minutes to be exact)

Tombstone Tuesday: Hurt

Stuart L. Hurt
His Wife
Annie Warden

Tombstone Tuesday – Robert Warden

Robert Warden

Nov 1820

Mar 1893

Gone But Not Forgotten

Robert Warden is my Third Great Grandfather. He was married to Nancy Warden, a cousin. Nancy died in 1886. Robert and Nancy had 7 children. I descend through their son David J’s daughter Nettie Ann. Nettie married William Hunter Richmond Sr.

Robert is buried in the Robert Warden family cemetery west of Stanaford Rd. in Beckley, WV area. The cemetery was on the side of a mountain and thick with brush. It was hard to walk through the cemetery and find anyone specifically. Thankfully, I had a distant cousin, Bob, give me a guided tour. He also descends through the Warden line. Bob knew exactly where each stone was and found each one for me. This trip was in Oct 2009.

This is the Face of Genealogy

Mary Jane (Hilton) Lachney with daughters, West Virginia

Reflections of Camp Hope

The past week our news has been filled with stories of the Chilean miners who had been stuck 2,000 miles underground from 5 Aug 2010 until 13 Oct 2010. For most, 13 is an unlucky number, for these miners I am sure it will forever be a lucky number. I find it unreal that if you add up the digits of the date (10+13+10), you get 33, the number of miners that had been trapped in the mine. I sat and watched hours of the BBC coverage of this on Tuesday Oct 12, waiting for them to pull the first miner to safety and watch as he reunited back into the arms of his family members. At about 12:05am (roughly) on Wednesday the 13th, I was happy to have witnessed this event. I knew to bring all of the miners up it was going to take hours, maybe even another day or so. Knowing that, I headed to bed for the evening.

When I woke the next morning, I made sure that the news was on. So that as my day progressed I could still keep an eye on what was going on at Camp Hope. My heart was breaking for all these families. I could not imagine what it would be like for a family not to see their son, husband, father or brother for over 2 months. It is different if your family has moved away, it is expected that you will not see them for a while. But, to have a loved one go off to work and expect that you will see them later in the day, and then that day a tragedy hits. You do not know if your loved one is alive, then after 17 agonizing days you get words that all 33 men are alive, and together! What wonderful news.

That great news is followed by words that any family member would dread to hear, it could be Christmas before we get them out.

To everyone that has helped with the rescue of miners, you are all heroes! Be proud of what you have done, the families of these men are forever grateful for all you have done to reunite their families.

I am sure some of you are wondering why I would write about this here. The answer is simple, I come from a family of coal miners. I am lucky enough that my family moved away from the coal mines in the late 1950’s and settled in Chicago, IL. If that had not happened, I would not be here to reflect on all of this.

My maternal grandfather, William H Richmond was a coal miner in West Virginia, as well as his dad, his grandfather and his father-in-law. Since I do not know much about their times as miners, I can only write about things I have been told by my grandma and mom.

Simply put, coal mining is a very dangerous job. The reason my family moved from WV to IL is because the mine superintendent told Bill (my grandfather) that he needed to look for a different job. Bill was accident prone and they were afraid the mines would kill him. This is something I learned as an adult, so I never got to talk with my grandfather about this.

My grandmother told me that he had many severe accidents in the mine, one of them broke his pelvis and he was not supposed to walk again. I have not found any newspaper articles to support this story so far, but I have not put much effort into looking either.

As for my grandma’s dad, Joe Lachney, he was a miner in IN and then WV. Joe was in a mine explosion and was badly burned from it. He had lost part of his ear and had bad scars under his arms. The scarring was so bad that it appeared he became webbed under his arms. One cousin made the comment that “he was the original bat man,” no cape needed. Joe died when I was about four, so I really do not remember any of this. What I share is stories I have from others.

So, I as I reflect on all that has happened for these 33 families I am thankful my immediate family has moved away from this hard life. I do have distant relatives still in WV and I am sure there are still family members in the mines. I pray that they are all safe as they work. I could not imagine the thought of this happening in my family.

Spending Sentimental Sundays With Family Recipes

Though I grew up in the big city of Chicago, my maternal relatives are from West Virginia and that means eating good! My maternal Grandma was always in the kitchen cooking, and the food was spectacular! Grandma had a few recipes that I would never taste, no matter if she made them, or if her Mom did. When I think back about it, I get a god chuckle because the recipes for things that everyone in their family loved. Two of the recipes that I refused to taste as a child are  Johnny Bowl Pudding and Milk Pie.

I tried Johnny Bowl Pudding about 5 years ago when I was in Ohio. I was pretty much forced to try it. I am a very picky eater and definitely was not happy. But, I tried it to make everyone happy. In the end, I loved it! Johnny Bowl Pudding is a bread pudding and I will never pass up a bread pudding again.

Finally lets talk about the Milk Pie! You can hardly get me to drink a glass of milk, let alone eat at as a pie. The only milk I like is drenched with chocolate sauce as well. Well, let me tell you how silly I have been! Milk Pie is super sweet, you only need one piece and your sweet tooth will be more than satisfied! I finally tasted this on New Years Eve of 2009. Grandma had passed away early that evening and as a family we decided to make a Milk Pie. I was not wanting to taste it, but I was urged by my family to at least try it, because I would not be disappointed. They were right and my kids loved it as well.

So, in honor of my Grandma, I am going to share her recipe for Milk Pie!



1 frozen pie crust

1 cup sugar

3 TBSP flour

pinch of salt

1.5 cans of evaporated milk

Cinnamon to taste

4 pats of butter


Heat oven to 350º. Place pie crust on a cookie sheet (just in case of spills, this pie is liquid and spills will happen). In pie crust, mix by hand all dry ingredients, making sure there are no lumps left. Once complete, pour in the evaporated milk. Place pats of butter on top of pie, then sprinkle with cinnamon (I prefer to cover the top of the pie with cinnamon). Place in oven and bake for 35 minutes. Pie is complete when you insert a knife in center and get a custard like substance.

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