The Ladies with the Flowers

My rhododendron about to pop!

I’d been anxiously watching my rhododendron bush for a few weeks waiting for its bright pink buds to open and this week did not disappoint! My patience was rewarded with a towering hot pink display this week… when I say towering, I mean it. It’s reaching my second floor windows!  In conjunction with Mothers Day last week, it made me start thinking about the ladies in my life who’ve always seemed to have particular flowers growing in their gardens.

I have unfortunately NOT inherited my ladies’ gardening gene… my father has it too and grows orchids which are notoriously hard to keep but he loves them and they flourish under his care. Even my husband can get plants to grow! He’s like the Jesus of plants, able to revive them from the dead. I have a pothos that I’ve nearly killed off twice, having just ONE brown leaf left and he’d somehow, someway, bring it back to life like Lazarus from the grave. We’ve had that pothos for about 9 years now! His name is Simon and he resides in my dining room next to Robert, another variegated pothos.  Robert Plant. Get it? LOL The only thing I’ve successfully kept alive for any amount of time has been my mini bonsai tree that I’ve had for two years now.  I don’t dare touch anything else. I’m like the Grim Reaper of the floral world.

Lemaster & Cordle Family Resemblances

I have been quite unfortunate to have not found many genealogy references to the Lemaster or Cordle families from Lawrence and Boyd counties in Kentucky during the course of my research. They’ve been notoriously hard to document as many were born or died at home and no probate record of their births or deaths exists.  This is the case with my great-grandmother Tabitha Caudial (Cordle) and her husband Jacob Lemaster who I’ve written about before. Though I have their dates of death and an obituary for each, Kentucky has no death certificate on file for either.  The quickness in which they were buried suggests to me that they might not have been embalmed and hastily buried in the family plot, likely not even seeing a coroner or doctor for a death certificate to be officially filed. Such has been my luck with documenting my Lemasters and Cordles in that area, so when I do find something interesting, I’m happy to talk about them.

A Long Awaited Record Arrives

Image of 1881 Marriage Certificate for Jacob "Jake" Lemaster and Tabitha "Bitha" Caudil.

1881 Marriage Certificate for Jacob “Jake” Lemaster and Tabitha “Bitha” Caudil.

That moment when you finally, finally find a record you’ve been searching for after months of endless research and dead ends…. JUST HAD IT!

I opened my mailbox today and found an envelope from the KY Historical Society and held my breath.  A few months ago, I’d sent away for two death certificates from Kentucky that came back returned with no records found.  So opening this one, I was prepared to be disappointed but there it was, check marked as “Information Enclosed.”  I anxiously flipped through the pages and there it was – the marriage certificate for my second great grandparents, Jacob Lemaster & Tabitha Cordle of Johnson County, KY on Valentine’s Day in 1881.¹  I think I must have stared at it for over fifteen minutes straight with this silly grin on my face.  It validated so many things about them while simultaneously opening a few new puzzles to ponder as well.

This perfectly illustrates the point I made on my FAQ page that while there are so many free records online, there are still mountains of documents that haven’t been uploaded or transcribed yet. You can’t give up when you can’t find it online. You have to do the leg work, look up addresses to different organizations/libraries/repositories, fill out research request forms, make calls, send emails and in some cases, really think outside of the box of where you might possibly find some hidden family gems.  This is where a genealogist’s experience can benefit those struggling to build or expand upon their family tree or even break through those frustrating brick walls.


¹ “Jacob Lemaster and Bitha Caudial,” 14 February 1881, Johnson County, Kentucky; Kentucky Historical Society, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Tuesday Time Travel

The Cordle Kids - 1926

The Cordle Kids – 1926

I wanted to share this absolutely *adorable* picture of my paternal grandma Gladys “Earline” Cordle (sometimes spelled Caudill) with her brothers Charles & Homer from 1926.  Her face is so cute all scrunched up and pouty looking.

The whole Cordle/Caudill family was centralized primarily in Lawrence County, Kentucky and many married into the Salyers, Wheelers, Lemasters and Sergeants.  Many branches of this tree still reside there to this very day!