Friday, April 10, 2020

It's National Siblings Day!

It's National Siblings Day! Here are some of the siblings in my family!

The above picture is of my great grandfather, William Joseph Rueff, Jr. and his brothers. From L-R: Charles William Rueff (sitting), Philip George Rueff (standing), Andrew Grover Cleveland "Andy" Rueff (sitting in center) and my great grandfather, William Joseph Rueff, Jr. They are the sons of William Joseph Rueff, Sr. and his wife Caroline Kuhn Rueff. ca. 1898

This is one of my favorite photos! From L-R: John Christopher "JC" Rueff, George Kenneth Rueff (my grandfather), William Edward "Bill" Rueff, Norman A. Rueff, Irvin Charles "Bud" Rueff, Frank William Rueff and my great grandfather, William Joseph Rueff, Jr. 

This is my grandfather, William Elmer Williams (left) and his older sister, Eloise Williams Rich. ca. 1913

My boys, Kenny on the left and David on the right. Brothers forever! ca.1982

My siblings and I in 1973.

This is one of my favorite pictures of me and my sisters. It was taken on 10 October 2015, Pensacola, Florida at our cousins wedding reception. 

My Dad with his big sister.

And the newest generation of siblings in my family! My grandsons. Never has little brother been so eagerly waited for and so loved by his big brother. 

©2020, Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz, genealogical researcher and writer of Dawning Genealogy. All rights reserved.

Monday, April 6, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) Journal Entry # 5

6 April 2020

How is everyone doing today? I am hanging in there! 

My Thoughts and Feelings:

How is your pandemic journal writing going? Mine is going well. Over the weekend I included two recipes in my journal for my grandsons. I know it seems silly but since I am talking to them for the most part, I figured why not include the recipes for the meals I am making during the pandemic! The first recipe was for beer bread (this recipe is from a family friend) but I had lost it in a move somewhere along the way. However, she had posted it on Facebook recently and I asked her for it again. The second recipe is new and for a crustless quiche. I have made this recipe twice now and absolutely love it! 

My youngest grandson, Keaton will turn 1 on Wednesday and I am so sad that we will not be able to be with him, his brother and his Mama and Daddy to celebrate this day! My daughter in love has decided to do a birthday happy hour through Zoom so that we can be there in some small way. Once this pandemic is under control and shelter in place orders have been rescinded, I am sure we will be celebrating several family birthdays at once. Today is my nephew William's birthday and in late March my nephew Walker celebrated his birthday. There are a few more birthdays coming up between now and end of the April too. 

What Have I Been Doing:

As I may have mentioned my husband and I moved to Myrtle Beach back on Valentine's Day. As I packed up our apartment in Columbia during the day to wind down at night I searched GenealogyBank,, FamilySearch and Ancestry for records on a new tree I started for just one line in my biological tree. I am trying to prove or disapprove a couple of theories. I noted source citations as I went but I did not start a research log so I have spent the last 3 weeks adding 425 source citations to a new research log. I wish I could say it won't happen again but I can't! Life gets busy but at least I document the records with partial citations so that I know where I found them (website), the date I found them, which tree they belong in, and the link to find them again. This does make it a little easier but it feels like it is so much more time consuming! As of now I have completed 208 out of 425. 

Here is a screen shot of the beginning with the column headings.

The above shot and the one below are from the middle and toward the end. I included them because I need to give a shout out to my fellow genealogist, Patti Hobbs, who helped me craft the citations for Florida Marriage and Death records when I asked for help in the Facebook group Genealogy - Cite Your Sources.

Covid-19 Update:

Here in my home county of Horry there are now 64 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with 5 confirmed deaths. As of 5:00 o'clock this evening many nonessential business are closing due to the pandemic. The closings include furniture, clothing, shoe and accessory stores, florists, department, jewelry, shoe, book stores, sporting goods stores, luggage stores, home furnishing stores, craft and music stores. That is a lot closings here in our area as there many outlet stores here. 

 There is also a meeting suppose to be a meeting of all city councils in the county this evening to determine what steps should be taken next to help prevent the spread of the virus. 

Just for Fun:

I have reposted the names I am researching in my Dawning Genealogy blog which is my adoptive family and my children's paternal lines. Today I am posting the names from their Kitts families I am researching. If you are researching any of these families let me know and perhaps we can collaborate!

©2020, Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz, genealogical researcher and writer of Dawning Genealogy. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 27, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) Journal Entry # 4

27 March 2020

How are you doing today? 

My Thoughts and Feelings:

Today is my 22nd Wedding Anniversary! My husband Tommy is the best! He loves our family and the source of my strength! I love you with all my heart and then some. Since we can't really go out to celebrate I am going to make a crustless quiche for dinner tonight!

September 2019

We also had a good visit with our dear friend, Bill. We certainly enjoyed his company and look forward to his next visit, hopefully sooner rather than later! 

Last night we had a beautiful sunset! Here is one of the pictures I took.

COVID-19 Update:

As of yesterday, the city of Myrtle Beach has closed down hotels, motels, condo hotels, rental properties including Airbnb's, VRBO properties and all campgrounds. Anyone who is currently at any of these types of properties must be leave by noon on Sunday, 29 March 2020. Any reservations beginning on Saturday, 28 March 2020 must be cancelled or rescheduled for after 30 April 2020. The only exception are those who have been occupying units since 1 March 2020 however, they are restricted from having visitors stay with them until further notice. For more information on this you can read about it at here.

Just for fun: 

Here are the names I am researching for my maternal line. My Mom's family is from Louisville, Kentucky. Her oldest ancestor arrived in Louisville sometime between 1820-1850. I put 1850 as the latest date because that is the first census I find my 4th and 5th grandfather's Charles Karl Rueff and William Rueff, respectively. They are immigrants but unfortunately I have not been able to find their arrival into the US, yet!

©2020, Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz, genealogical researcher and writer of Dawning Genealogy. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

COVID-19 (coronavirus) Journal Entry # 3

24 March 2020

How are you doing today? Are your kids driving you crazy? Bored? What are you doing to get through self-isolation and/or sheltering in place? 

My Thoughts and Feelings:

I am worried about my husband, my Mom, my siblings and their families, my son, my daughter in love, my grandsons, my aunts and uncle who are all high risk, my cousins and their families. I am also worried about my friends who are still in the travel industry. I am worried about friends who like me are in high risk categories. I am also worried about friends who are not in high risk categories. 

Right now, I am grateful that my children are adults and that I don't have to home school them because they would definitely flunk math for the year! I am keeping teachers and students everywhere in my prayers because this is a big adjustment for all of them!

How I am Spending My Time:

I have set aside an hour every day to work on writing exercises from Laura Hedgecock's, Memories of Me. During this time once I have done the exercise I then write in the journal in which I am telling the story of me, my adoption, my adoptive and biological families for my grandsons.

I will admit that I am not very good at keeping a research a log but I am determined to become more disciplined! I am currently working on a newspaper research log for one particular surname. I started my newspaper research in January but I didn't open a research log but as I added each new obituary to this particular research tree I placed a source citation in the description field. Now it is just a matter of pulling up each obituary (about 400) and transferring the information into my research log. I am sure that genea-friends who are much more disciplined than I are cringing!  

I have read the first 3 chapters in Diana Elder's, Research Like A Pro and I am working on the tasks set out in these chapters. I am currently working on the task in Chapter 1, you are asked to analyze your pedigree and to come up with a research question/plan. Well that is easier said then done when you have some brick walls that you have been working on for decades. So I decided to look at each line with a brick wall on my pedigree and formulate a plan for each. I will share those in another post this week. 

COVID-19 Updates:

Well, there are now 16 positive cases here in Horry County. A total of 298 positive cases in the state of South Carolina. These numbers were last updated on 23 March 2020 at 5:18 PM. This information is from SCDHEC website.

Just For Fun:

Several years ago I posts about the surnames I am researching. I made graphics to go with each post. So I thought I would re-post just the graphics to let you know which names I am still researching! This is my paternal line of Williams.


Elder, Diana and Nicole Dyer, Research Like A Pro: A Genealogist's Guide. Highland, Utah. Family Locket Books. 2018.

Hedgecock, Laura, Memories of Me. Springville, Utah. Plain Sight Publishing. 2014.

©2020, Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz, genealogical researcher and writer of Dawning Genealogy. All rights reserved.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Journal Entry # 2

19 March 2020

How is everyone doing so far? Are you going crazy yet? What are you doing to get through?

My Thoughts & Feelings:

If you follow me on Facebook, you probably saw my post on March 5th where Tommy and I drove all the way to Augusta, Georgia for my endoscopic ultrasound and the doctor canceled it because I attended RootsTech and I had flown, so there was no telling whether I had been exposed to COVID-19. The staff went kind of crazy too! They put me in a mask, the nurses and doctors went and put on protective gowns, gloves and masks. The nurse told us they were moving me into a negative pressure room and the whole nine yards. I was to say the least flabbergasted! This was 6 days before the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a global pandemic. I was told I would have to make my appointment for 3 weeks from the date of my return flight, the incubation period I was told. I rescheduled the endoscopic ultrasound on April 2nd in Augusta. 

As of today, that is still scheduled but it could change at any moment. I decided on Monday to self isolate until then to protect myself. I really don't want to postpone this test any further if possible because I have 18 cm tear in my esophagus and my allergy season has started a little earlier than I am use to. Between my sneezing, the itchiness in my eyes and ears and my asthma which causes me to cough, I can't help but wonder if I am making that tear worse! So yes, I am worried about the possible cancellation but I am also worried about making this tear worse and what that means.

How I am spending my time:

Tommy and I moved from Columbia, SC to Myrtle Beach, SC on Valentine's Day. I unpacked what I could before heading to my first RootsTech conference. While I was gone he put all the boxes in the rooms they belonged. I have slowly been going through them. I spent yesterday unpacking boxes and moving my clothes from one closet to another. Then last night I had my husband move the dresser from the guest bedroom to our room because I needed more drawer space! 

Today, I am going to finish with the boxes in our bedroom and get the rest of my belongings in the dresser. After that I am going to watch a couple of videos about DNA with Legacy Family Tree Webinars while doing laundry. After that I am hoping to get a couple more chapters read in Blaine Bettinger's The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy, 2nd Edition. 

Personal copy of D.M. Kogutkiewicz, photo by D. M. Kogutkiewicz

Tomorrow I want to start the first couple of chapters of Research Like A Pro by Diana Elder, AG. I am really excited to read this book as I have been following Diana's blog for sometime now. 

Personal copy of D.M. Kogutkiewicz, photo by D. M. Kogutkiewicz

Finally I want to work on some writing exercises from the book Memories of Me by Laura Hedgecock. I am using Laura's book to guide me through my journal entries for my grandsons about the story of my adoption, my adoptive and birth families. 

Personal copy of D.M. Kogutkiewicz, photo by D. M. Kogutkiewicz


Here in my home county of Horry there are now 5 positive cases of COVID-19 as of yesterday. I have not heard or seen any updates for today.

My Reading List:

I am always reading! I never go anywhere without my i-Pad Pro Air which has both the Kindle and Nook apps or a book. I have books in my nightstand, I keep books in my car (never know if I will remember my charge cord for my i-Pad!). I  also have a very eclectic library too.

I have just finished Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate which goes between Memphis, Tennessee in the 1940's and present day in Aiken, South Carolina. The story is about a family torn apart by Georgia Tann and the Tennessee Children's Home Society. Last night I found her series, The Shores of Moses Lake Collection: Four Novels in One in Kindle Unlimited for free so I am looking forward to reading these books too. 

I have also recently read The Milkman's Son by Randy Lindsay. This is the story of how the author discovered that man who raised him was not biologically his father and his quest to discover the truth. 

Personal copy of D.M. Kogutkiewicz, photo by D. M. Kogutkiewicz


Bettinger, Blaine T., The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy. Second edition. Cincinnati, Ohio. Family Tree Books. 2019.

Elder, Diana and Nicole Dyer, Research Like A Pro: A Genealogist's Guide. Highland, Utah. Family Locket Books. 2018.

Hedgecock, Laura, Memories of Me. Springville, Utah. Plain Sight Publishing. 2014.

Lindsay, Randy, The Milkman's Son: A Memoir of Family History, A DNA Mystery, and Paternal Love. Salt Lake City, Utah. Shadow Mountain. 2020.

Wingate, Lisa, Before We Were Yours: A Novel. New York. Ebook Edition. Penguin Random House LLC. 2017.

Wingate, Lisa, The Shores of Moses Lake Collection: Four Novels in One. Ebook Edition. 2015.

©2020, Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz, genealogical researcher and writer of Dawning Genealogy. All rights reserved.

Monday, March 16, 2020

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Journal Entry # 1

16 March 2020

Are you journaling about your experiences, thoughts and worries about COVID-19 or Coronavirus? I have decided to use my blog as my COVID-19 journal for the most part. These will be short posts and I am also keeping a small journal that I will pass down to my grandsons. Here's what I plan to do by journaling on my blog.
  • Write about recent COVID-19 updates
  • Write about my thoughts and experiences
  • Try to keep politics out of it if possible
  • Share my day whether it is genealogy related or not
I will start with updates first however keep in mind that I am only listing local COVID-19 updates and information I have found that I think is helpful or interesting. It is my goal to keep this upbeat not depressing!

Today, I found this link on Facebook stating that Australia MAY have a cure but further testing is needed. See Coronavirus treatment: Australian researchers ‘within reach’ of cure. I am also following The Washington Post Coronavirus Updates which is FREE! I am also checking The CDC website  and Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The Johns Hopkins site right now is my favorite. Johns Hopkins has a pdf on Coronaviruses Fact Sheet that I found very informative.  

The local news here in Myrtle Beach has reported that there are now 3 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Horry County. All of them are currently isolated at home.

What I am doing today:

My day started with phone calls to my Medicare Advantage plan and Social Security for change of address since moving in February. Two more things checked off my list! 

I decided last week to start a journal for my grandsons telling them the story of my adoption. I am also telling them what I know of my biological family as well information about our family. My plan is for them to read it once they are old enough to understand. Below is the beginning of my journal entry for today, explaining that E may or may not remember this and that K would learn about it in school.

I am also working on DNA matches and specific lines in my birth family hoping to break down a brick wall in my birth family for my paternal great grandmother, Eugenia (Judy) Bessinger. It is her great grandfather that is my brick wall. Wish me luck!

Stay healthy and safe my friends!

©2020, Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz, genealogical researcher and writer of Dawning Genealogy. All rights reserved.

Saturday, February 8, 2020

2 Decades

Tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of my son, Kenny's death. I have been struggling with my emotions all week. I have this hole in my heart that gets patched up but when the anniversary of his death comes around, it feels like it has been ripped out and torn in two all over again.

Two decades without his voice, his dark chocolate brown eyes, his laugh, his smile and his arms to hug us. I cannot help but wonder of the things he might have accomplished in the last two decades. What kind of job would he have? Would he be married? Who would have captured his heart? How many children would he have? Where would he be living?

I think of all that he has missed in the last two decades too. The wedding of his brother, the birth of his nephews, the births of all the cousins who came after his death, the family weddings, funerals and so many other family moments too numerous to mention. Making memories that should have been rather than memories for only 19 years, 3 months and 30 days. It just wasn't enough time!

I don't know if any parent ever gets over the loss of their child. I do know that I have learned to live with the aftermath of my son's death and I have accepted the fact that he is gone no matter how much I might wish that he wasn't. I have learned to move on with my life but it's divided now into before and after his death. 

The most precious gift is that my oldest grandson, Doodlebug is a wonderful combination of both my boys and at times his uncle shines through. When I see those moments I say a special thank you to God for giving me glimpses of a little boy whole stole my heart from the moment I learned I was pregnant.

I have written about Kenny and his death before and it's been awhile since I have re-posted those links. You can would read my original posts about Kenny here, The Death of Our Son Part 1The Death of Our Son, Part 2The Death of Our Son, Part 3 and The Death of Our Son, Part 4.

This is one of my favorite photos of Kenny. He was named for my maternal grandfather, George Kenneth Rueff, a man I respected and loved greatly. 

©2020, Dawn M. Kogutkiewicz, genealogical researcher and writer of Dawning Genealogy. All rights reserved.