Vern Thompson World War I Draft Registration Card

On June 5, 1917, Vern Thompson completed his World War I Draft Registration Card.  He is described as of medium height and build with dark eyes and dark brown hair.  He is married with 2 children and lives at Wharton Arkansas.  He is a farmer and claims a disability for his dependent family and a physical disability.

The wife and children would be Quail (Roberts) Thompson and their children:  Archie Lee and Estelle Pearl.



Vern and Venna (Stansell) Thompson Family


Vern and Venna (Stansell) Thompson are my great grandparents.  I knew Great Grandma Thompson pretty well as she lived until my senior year in high school.  For a while she lived about 2 blocks away from  us and we would visit often.


Week 52: Advice

Originally Published:  December 24, 2011

My advice to future generations, including my niece and nephews, is to live each day as if it were your last!  Not to be afraid to take chances but instead to embrace the challenges that life throws our way.

Life is a series of choices.  Try to make each choice considering what you think will make you happy with the knowledge you have at the time and not spend time looking back rethinking each choice later.  You can only do the best you can do and go on with your life.  Don’t waste our precious time on earth with regrets and worry.  I know this will come as shock to those who know me because they will know that I tend to worry about everything but I am trying to stop that and to follow my own advice!   That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reconsider things but don’t waste time on the regrets and rethinking.  Make a choice to change things with the knowledge you have now and move on again!

I try to live my life with this prayer in mind each day:

Lord, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference!  That last part is often the hardest part – determining what can and cannot be changed but I ask each day for God’s guidance!

I also remember often my favorite quote:

And I, I took the road less traveled by … and that has made all the difference.  Robert Frost

My life may not have taken the path I thought it would when I was a little girl but it has taken my life path.   I try each day to thank the Lord for the blessings of my life and not waste time on the what ifs..  Because if I had chosen one of the what ifs then I wouldn’t have the blessings I now have!  I may not know the reasons for my life’s path but I know who chose the path for me and that there is a reason for that path.  Someday I will know the answers when I meet the one who designs the paths.

And just a thought or two for any interested in genealogy research, as far as I know now, we aren’t closely related to any kings, queens, royalty, or other public or wealthy people.  We apparently come from a long line of farmers, ministers, and ordinary people who live their lives in very ordinary ways:  occasionally serving their country in the military, serving God in the church, and providing love, food, and shelter to their families.

Week #52 – Advice

Week 52. Advice. Do you have any advice for future generations who may be researching your family? For example, was there a name change or a significant relocation in your past? This is intended to be a very flexible question. Answer it any way you wish.

This challenge runs from Saturday, December 24, 2011 through Friday, December 30, 2011.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

Week 50: Holiday Gifts

Originally Published:  December 17, 2011

The most memorable Christmas gift that I received was a Christmas morning when I was in grade school about 4th grade or so.  My parents bought my sister and I little rocking chairs.  When we went into the living room, there sat the rocking chairs with big stuffed monkeys sitting on them!  I loved that little chair.

I also remember that another Christmas a couple of years later, my brother, sister, and I got an Atari 2600 for Christmas.  I became the family pacman champion on that Atari.

One of the gifts I remember most though is a gift that we helped my dad give to Mom.  He got her a bunch of earrings and we put them in a really big box and taped the earrings down so that they wouldn’t make any noise when she shook the box!  We kept that gift a secret until Christmas Morning.

Week #50 – Holiday Gifts

Week 50. Holiday Gifts. Describe any memorable Christmas or Hanukkah gifts you received as a child.

This challenge runs from Saturday, December 10, 2011 through Friday, December 16, 2011.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

Those Places Thursday: Grandpa’s Chair by the Window

Originally Published December 9, 2010.

Grandpa and Grandma Thompson moved into their house on Old Wire Road when I was a very small child, around 3 or so.  I don’t remember them living anywhere else.

From my earliest memories, Grandpa had a chair and a table or desk setting by the big Windows in their living room.  That was his chair.  It was ok for you to sit in the chair if Grandpa wasn’t home or was outside or something.  But, you knew that as soon as Grandpa came back in, you would have to get up so Grandpa could sit in his chair.

He spent many happy hours sitting in his chair and watching the neighborhood happenings from his window.

The truck you can see through the window is the truck that he drove for probably 15 years from my earliest memories until I was in high school.

Do you often think back to places where you lived and worked at one time? What about those places where your ancestors spent time? Post about “those places” with photos and stories on Those Places Thursday.


Week 46: Politics

Originally Published:  December 16, 2011

I have been a political junkie since I was in high school.  Politics was a frequent topic of conversation in our house even when I was a kid.  In our house our opinions were considered even when we were very young children.  Each of us would discuss the latest political events and we usually watched any presidential addresses or debates on TV.  We would usually watch the news on TV and would discuss what was going on in the world that day.

The first president that I remember was Jimmy Carter.  I remember that times seemed tough and that the news was full of the gas shortages and the hostages in Iran.  I don’t remember thinking of him as a good president.

The first presidential election that I remember was the election of Ronald Reagan.  I have vague memories of watching the debates and the lead up to the presidential election.  I was in favor of Ronald Reagan because I thought he would do something about the hostages and would make things better in the economy.  I don’t remember until the election coverage being aware of Ronald Reagan as an actor before he became a presidential candidate but I have since watched some of his movies and he was a pretty good actor, too.

I don’t remember much about the election of the elder George Bush.  I was finishing high school and starting college so I don’t think I was really focused on politics in that election although I am sure that it was a frequent topic of conversation.  I do remember the end of his presidency and thinking that he was out of touch with most Americans.

I remember watching the debates at the end of Bush’s presidency with Clinton.  He seemed completely out of touch and, in my opinion he lost the election during the town-hall debate when he answered the question from the audience about the price of a loaf of bread and a gallon of milk.  He answered that he had never done the shopping for his family and that the housekeeper usually did the shopping.  Bill Clinton answered that while he hadn’t been in a store in the location of the debate, that “back home in Arkansas a loaf of bread was about a dollar and a gallon of milk was about $2”.  I loved that answer and I think he won the election at that moment!

I actually attended a political rally for Bill Clinton on the U of A campus.  It was my one and only political rally attendance to date.  Bill Clinton is one of the most political men in this country and it is my belief that we would have had a completely different list of presidents if Al Gore and Hillary Clinton had followed his advice in their campaigns!

Bill Clinton’s presidency was a difficult time for me.  There were many difficult things going on in my life and his presidency was a very emotional time for me.  I think for many people my age he was the president of hope and dreams.  He was inspirational to me and actually gave me hope for the future.  During his presidency, there were many things about his personal life that became public that I thought were wrong for him to have done.  I was very disappointed in him and his actions.  However, as a president, he did many things that benefited me and my family.  The changes in student loans and scholarships in particular helped me and my brother and sister be able to attend college.  At the end of his presidency the budget was in surplus and financially the country seemed better off to me.

The election of the second George Bush as a disappointment to me.  I thought Al Gore should have won but I also think that the long, drawn-out election procedures would not have been necessary had Al Gore followed Clinton’s advice instead of running as far away from him as possible.  However, I thought at the time of 9/11 that he did what was needed to bring the country together and unite us against a common enemy.  I particularly thought his speech at ground zero was inspiring and comforting to the nation.  I do not think that the war was necessary but I don’t know whether he lied to the country about the evidence of weapons of mass destruction or whether the intelligence was really that bad!  Either one is a scary thought to me!

I was very interested in the last presidential election in 2008.  I was a supporter of Hillary Clinton and I think she would have been president had she listened to the advice of Bill Clinton or even my advice.  I actually took the time to email her during the election and advise her to fire any of her staff advising her to conduct herself in the debates with Barrack Obama as she was!  I somehow don’t think that her staff showed her my email since it likely advised her to fire whoever was giving her the email!  I was very disappointed when she lost!  One of the moments of that campaign that made me the most happy was the night that Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama had a meeting!  The press was all waiting outside her home for her to leave for the meeting when she returned home from the meeting that had already taken place!  To my knowledge the content of the discussion at that meeting has still not been leaked to the press!  Although, in my personal opinion, the discussion probably included some discussion of her current position as Secretary of State if she would support Barrack Obama’s presidential campaign.

The last congressional election was also very interesting to me!  I particularly enjoyed watching the coverage of several of the candidates.  First there was the candidate who actually released a commercial denying that she was a witch!  What I still want to know is who was the advertising salesman who got her to make this commercial.  This is a salesman that someone should be trying to hire because he can sell anything to anyone!  Then, there was the candidate who made some sort of remark (I can’t really remember what was said), but the result of the remark was that people dressed in chicken suits to show up to polling locations and to several of her events.  You can’t beat the entertainment value of people in chicken suits!  Finally there was the senate candidate in Arizona who was running against Harry Reid.  She kept threatening that her supporters would likely kill Harry Reid if she lost the election!  I believe her language was something similar to they “would exercise their 2nd Amendment remedies” if she lost!  I personally think that a case could be made that she was threatening a sitting US Senator, which I got to believe is some kind of crime!

The current campaign season has been very interesting!  I will withhold my comments on this election until a later date.  But things are changing every day!

Week #46 – Politics

Week 46. Politics. What are your childhood memories of politics? Were your parents active in politics? What political events and elections do you remember from your youth?

This challenge runs from Saturday, November 12, 2011 through Friday, November 18, 2011.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

Week 30: Employment

Originally Published:  October 24, 2011

My first job was babysitting!  I was in high school and I would get $10 or $15  for watching some neighbor kids for the evening.

The next jobs I remember having were fast-food jobs when I was in college.  I worked for Arby’s for one summer and part of the next year.  I was working at the Springdale Arby’s during the time that the store burned!  I wasn’t at work for the couple of days before that because my mother was in the hospital but I remember the stress I felt when I found out it had burned!  I then worked at the Fayetteville store for a few months after that.  I didn’t like working at the Fayetteville store and quit within a couple of months.

I also worked another summer and part of the school year at Harp’s Grocery store.  I made the donuts during the summer at the Springdale and then I worked in the bakery as a clerk for a few more months at the Harp’s store on Garland street in Fayetteville.

The first “real job” that I had was as a graduate assistant at the University of Arkansas.  I was a research assistant for a couple of years and for two semesters I was a graduate teaching assistant who taught the labs that accompanied the class the professor taught.

Week #30 – Employment

Week 30: Employment. Describe your first job. What did you do? Were you saving for something in particular, or just trying to make a living? Did that first job provide skills and make an impact on your life today?

This challenge runs from Saturday, July 23, 2011 through Friday, July 29, 2011.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

Week 49: Historical Events

Originally Published:  December 17, 2011

There were many historical events that have occurred in my lifetime.

I was born in 1969.  I don’t really remember and of the events of 1969 through the early 70s but they have played an important part in my life.  I have seen many of these events replayed many times through television coverage.  TV has made these events seem as if I was there even though they actually occurred before my birth or while I was a very small child.


  • John F Kennedy Assassination
  • Robert Kennedy Assassination
  • Martin Luther King Assassination
  • The Manson Family Murders
  • The First Man Landed on the Moon
  • Senator Edward Kennedy’s Chappaquiddick Car Accident and following Scandal


  • Computer Floppy Disks Introduced
  • Kent State Shootings
  • VCRs Introduced
  • MASH Premiers on TV
  • Watergate Scandal
  • US President Nixon Resigns
  • Microsoft Founded
  • Elvis Dies
  • Roots Miniseries appears on TV
  • Jonestown Massacre
  • Iran takes American Hostages

I remember Elvis dying.  I have a distinct memory of watching his last concert on TV and then seeing the announcement by his father of his death.  I don’t think that I really believed he was dead for a long time.  It didn’t seem real that someone that famous should just die.

I remember the Roots miniseries on TV.  I found it fascinating the Alfred Hailey could find out the identities of his ancestors.  This might have been the first hints of my interest in genealogy.  It seemed that he had put together the pieces of a puzzle to identify his ancestors and I have always enjoyed puzzles.

I remember the Jonestown Massacre as well.  This event was scary to me.  This was the first time that I realized that people could be convinced to go against their own beliefs to do something so totally insane.  It was the first time that I realized that people’s minds could be deceived and manipulated to that extent.  I remember thinking that if all those people could be convinced to do those things then how did I know that I wasn’t being manipulated like that!

I remember the hostages being held in Iran and the yellow ribbons appearing everywhere in support of them.  I remember thinking that President Jimmy Carter wasn’t doing enough to get them back home!


  • John Lennon Assassinated
  • Pac Man Released
  • Ted Turner Establishes CNN
  • Royal Wedding:  Charles and Diana
  • Reagan Assassination Attempt
  • Aids Identified
  • Personal Computers Introduced
  • Challenger Space Shuttle Explodes
  • DNA first used to convict killers
  • Berlin Wall Falls

The 1980s was the first decade that I can really remember completely.  I remember the coverage of John Lennon’s assassination.  I wasn’t a Beatles fan really but I knew who John Lennon was.

PacMan was my favorite video game as a kid and I was the family PacMan champion on our Atari Game system.

I don’t really remember clearly the day that CNN was established but I do remember that during this time news started being available all the time!  The news from around the world and across the country was now available 24 hours a day.   Now when there was a major event, you could turn to CNN and watch live coverage of the event!

I remember distinctly the Royal Wedding of Charles and Diana.  I got up in the middle of the night and watched the wedding coverage.  I have always been a romantic and bought into the whole Fairy Tale Wedding of the Century.

I remember the assassination attempt on President Reagan.  I saw it over and over on TV.  I was very concerned that President Reagan was going to die and I was relieved when he recovered.  It seemed strange that a mentally ill man could almost end the life of a President.  It became a reality to me that nobody is completely safe in this world!

I don’t really remember the personal computer being specifically released!  But the release of the personal computer has completely changed my life!  I spend most of every day using a computer.  My cell phone now has more computing power than the “Mainframe” computers that were in the University when I was high school!

I remember seeing the space shuttle disaster on TV.  I was in high school at the time of the disaster.  I think that I must have seen it on the news after the actual event.  I always felt that it was horrible that so many of the family members were there to see the launch and instead witnessed the untimely death of their family member.  With the teacher on the shuttle, millions of small school children were watching the launch and saw the explosion.  That must have been completely terrifying to them!

I remember watching the fall of the Berlin Wall on TV.  I think that I saw it live!  It was a joyous day.


  • Waco Texas Raid
  • Internet comes of age
  • 1993 Bombing of World Trade Center
  • OJ Simpson Trial
  • Oklahoma Center Bombing
  • Two Royal Divorces
  • Unabomber Arrested
  • Princess Diana Dies
  • President Clinton Impeached
  • Fear of the Y2K bug
  • John F Kennedy Jr Killed in Plane Crash
  • Killing Spree at Columbine High School

The Waco Texas Raid played out on the 24 hour cable news channels for days and ended with children dying in that horrible fire!

The internet has changed my life in many ways.  First, as a genealogist I can now access copies of records in seconds that would have take weeks (and a significant amount of money) to get before the internet.  Also, now news is available in seconds instead of days!

I vaguely remember the 1993 World Trade Center bombing but I don’t remember it really affecting my daily life.  It was a sad event that played out on TV but I didn’t know anybody really involved in the tragedy and so life just went on.

The OJ Simpson trial was a major event for me.  I loved to watch Court TV with the live coverage of Trials.  I was in college when the OJ Simpson trial occurred and I would come home every day from classes and watch the trial coverage.  The trial lasted for almost 9 months!  Johnny Cochran was a sight to see in that courtroom.  Whatever you believe about the verdict in the trial, if you watched the trial you would have to acknowledge that he was a great lawyer who ran that courtroom!

I vividly remember the Oklahoma Bombing.  I saw the immediate aftermath of the explosion on the TV.  I was shocked that someone could bomb a building like that in the middle of our country.  I remember thinking that it must a terrorist attack like the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.  Then, it was discovered that it was a US Citizen who had killed all those people.  This was the first time that it really felt like anyone could be killed just going about their daily lives.

I remember being saddened by the divorces in the Royal Family.  Not because they were royalty but because they were people who were so obviously unhappy!

The Unabomber being arrested was a strange time for me.  He was bombing technology related people and places.  I had seen the story of the Unabomber on Unsolved Mysteries and I remember looking at packages suspiciously after watching that show.  It was a relief when he was arrested.  I watched much of the trial coverage and feeling sorry for the brother who had made the awful decision to turn in his brother.   That would have been a horrible decision to make!

The death of Princess Diana was a horribly sad time for me.  The end of an era. The end of a fairy tale.  As long as she was alive the story might have ended much differently.  I am a romantic and I always thought that maybe Charles and Diana would get back together but that wasn’t to be.  The funeral was sad.

Then, President Clinton was impeached.  This was also a sad time for me.  I was disappointed in someone whom I respected.   His behavior was inexcusable and I felt incredibly sorry for Hillary Clinton at her public humiliation at the hands of her husband.

I vividly remember the fear of the Y2K bug.  It was feared that since early computers were programmed with only two digit years and that many of the calculations for activities were calculated as if 00 was 1900 instead of 2000 that many computers would not work correctly!  There were fears of massive power outages, plane crashes, and massive business failures and problems.  Not discussed as much but a present fear was the fear of terrorist attacks on the New Year’s celebrations that year.

The John F Kennedy Jr death in a plane crash was sad.  He was a young man with so much potential and then he was dead!  It also ended the dreams of Camelot and another Kennedy Presidency!  We will never know if he would have become a president but the potential was there.

The Columbine Killing Spree was the beginning of the mass shootings in public places.  This was the first one that made the news across the country and the beginning of the school shootings.  Now, even children weren’t safe just being in school.  This event more than any other removed our feeling of security as we go about our daily lives.  We now know that anyone can die at any time.


  • 9/11 Attacks
  • Iraq War Columbia
  • Space Shuttle Disaster
  • IPod, IPhone, and IPad are released
  • Hurricane Katrina
  • Facebook and Twitter are launched
  • US Recession
  • Royal Wedding:  William and Kate

The 2000’s have seen amazing changes!  There was the beginning of the decade with the 9/11 attacks.  I woke up that morning and my mother and sister were watching the news.  The first plane had crashed into the tower.  A few minutes later we saw the second plane go into the second tower!  It wasn’t just a tragedy but almost certainly an attack on our country!  I felt uncertain about our future!  The planes were grounded and the president was in the air in Air Force One!  I spent the day watching the news and wondering about the future of our country and our safety.  The following days made our country more united!  We decided that we wouldn’t allow the terrorist to make us change our way of life!  We went back to our lives and didn’t allow our fears to change our lives.

There was the Iraq war beginning with such a feeling of patriotism and that it was necessary.  Now there are questions about the validity of the reasons we went to war.  Was it really necessary?  Whatever the answer to that question, our troops deserve our thanks for our freedom and our respect for their service to our country.

The Columbia space shuttle explodes on reentry!  Another tragedy for our country.

The horrible images of those people trapped after Hurricane Katrina are burned into my mind.  The response to that disaster was inexcusable!

The killing of Osama Bin Laden was a victory for our country.  He was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and responsible for many deaths in our country.

Facebook and Twitter have made many changes to our lives.  I have both a Facebook and a twitter account and I update to them periodically.  Mostly I use them to stay in touch with my extended family and to share my genealogy findings.

The recession has made a major difference in all our lives.  Gas went from about a $1 in the early 2000s to almost $4 a gallon and all of the other costs have increased while many people are unemployed or at the very least haven’t had their incomes increase at the same pace as the prices have increased.

The Royal Wedding of William and Kate was an event that brought back the fairy tale feeling of his mother’s marriage in the 1980s.   But with this wedding you don’t get the feeling that she is going into the wedding without being aware of the problems she will face.  Maybe this will be wedding that lasts.

Week #49 – Historical Events

Week 49. Historical Events. Describe a memorable national historical event from your childhood. How old were you and how did you process this event? How did it affect your family?

This challenge runs from Saturday, December 3, 2011 through Friday, December 9, 2011.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

Week 41: Teachers

Originally Published:  October 25, 2011

I don’t remember my early teachers very well.  But I do remember that my Kindergarten teacher had this little reading circle where we would all gather on this carpet and she would read us stories.  I remember liking that!  I have always loved to read and I could read before I went to Kindergarten but I liked to be read to as well.

In  junior high, I had a teacher for English who made us all give speeches to the class.  I hated it at the time and I really resented that part of my grade was based on this speech.  However, when I graduated from College I wrote her a thank you note.  That speech was the beginning of me overcoming my paralyzing shyness!  That speech was the beginning of the changes to my life that allowed me several years later to stand in front of a classroom and be a graduate assistant teaching a lab (without passing out from anxiety)!!

I had many professors in college who I respected and who made impacts on my life.  One of them I still see occasionally and is a man I respect to this day for many reasons!  The other was a man who made a great impact on my life by offering me a graduate assistant position and who helped me learn to reach for what I want.  He taught several of my college classes and I remember every one of them as being incredibly difficult!  However, I learned a lot from him!  Unfortunately, he died several years ago, but his memory lives on in every student he challenged as well as in the hearts of his family.

Week #41 – Teachers

Week 41. Teachers. Did you have a favorite teacher when you were growing up? What class(es) did this person teach and why did he/she make an impact on your life?

This challenge runs from Saturday, October 8, 2011 through Friday, October 14, 2011.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.

Week 51: Holiday Events

Originally Published:  December 17, 2011

When I was a kid, we would go to one grandparents house for Christmas lunch and to the other for Christmas dinner.  Then for many years it was just the five of us at Christmas dinner.

A little over ten years ago things began to change.  My sister got married and had her first child.  My brother met his wife and future daughter.  Suddenly, Christmas changed for us.  We now had little kids in the family again and the holiday joy of the little kids became a feature of our holidays once again.  Now, I am an aunt to my niece and four nephews.  From the preschooler to the teenager, our home is once again going to be full of children this Christmas.

There will be candy and toys and the love of our family to share the joyous Christmas season again!

Off to the Christmas Shopping!

Week #51 – Holiday Events

Week 51. Holiday Events. Where did your family gather for the Christmas or Hanukkah as a child? Which family members and friends attended the event?

This challenge runs from Saturday, December 17, 2011 through Friday, December 23, 2011.

52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History by Amy Coffin is a series of weekly blogging prompts (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants. You do not have to be a blogger to participate. If you do not have a genealogy blog, write down your memories on your computer, or simply record them on paper and keep them with your files.