I’ve been researching the Stonoff/Perkins/Thomas line for thirty-three years, and I don’t call it “stony ground” for nothing. Virtually very detail—every birthdate or marriage record— is the result of hours of searching. Hours spent reading faded, dusty papers covered with crabbed old-fashioned writing to uncover one precious new name or date.

So when I find something that adds another generation to my pedigree chart all at once? Well, it’s like Christmas, high school graduation, and a generous tooth fairy rolled into one. Yeah, I feel a happy dance rising.

Specifically what I found was the last will and testament of Luke McKinney, my great great great great grandfather.

This is the way a will should be written, from a family history point of view, with the names of his wife and each child (including married surnames of daughters).

Luke was born in 1782 and died in 1870 in Preston County, Virginia/West Virginia.

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Cora Thomas is my great grandmother. She married and had children with Watt Anderson Perkins (my great grandfather), Franklin Bailey, and Sam George.

Both of these photos were in the folder Dad labeled “Mom Baisden’s Old Photos,” but neither are labeled, so I do not know who they are. Dad believes they are from the generation of Watt Anderson Perkins and Cora Thomas.

Stonoff Boys

June 3, 2021

Staton and Robert Stonoff
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Baisden Children

June 3, 2021

Cleta Mae, Paul Arnold, and Jonnie Baisden
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Note to self: please label your pictures while you can still remember who is in them.

No caption. No idea. (Edited to add: this might be grandma Baisden’s best friend Della Hall and her family.)
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…and a reminder: please label your pictures while you can still remember who is in them.

These pictures were in a folder with other pictures my grandmother gave my father years ago, but they are unlabeled, so I don’t know who they are.

No caption. This might be my great-aunt Viola Perkins Haney. (The black corners are on the original; they are not from my scanner.)
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No caption on photo. Nola Baisden with Melvin?, March 1965

My grandmother, Nola Perkins, was born in 1911 and died in 1972. She married my grandfather Pete Sto(y)noff in 1927. Later, she married Jim Baisden. This is the way I remember her. My father took the picture on a visit back to West Virginia.

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Shut Up, and Keep Digging

October 13, 2009

Anybody else old enough to remember “Mommy, Mommy!” jokes? Backhoe

Q: Mommy, Mommy! I don’t want to go to China!

A: Shut up, and keep digging.

That’s how I feel researching my family history sometimes. I keep digging and digging, and the hole gets bigger and bigger, but I never seem to arrive.

Case in point: my great-great grandfather, William Thomas. I’ve been searching for his death certificate for twenty years. It doesn’t help that both of his names are very common, but even so … twenty years? It’s in the 20th century, for heaven’s sake!

But I am a bulldog, and once I get a hold of a bone, I keep digging at it.

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More Pictures of Vernard

October 9, 2009

Just wanted to post a couple more photos of Vernard Bailey, especially for members of the family who may not have them. I wrote about Vernard, and how he disappeared after World War II (click on the photo to see it larger).


This was probably taken when he enlisted. He still has a boyish enthusiasm that is gone by the time the photo I posted last time was taken. According to family legend, Vernard was captured during WWII on an island, and got malaria. When he came home, he was not the same and was put on disability. This is a photo Vernard’s daughter sent me.

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