My Valentines ❤️

My Valentines ❤️️ – Charles William Norman & Dalsie Mabel Mills, my parents. This picture was taken in 1956 at a state fair, before they married. They both were about 24 years old. My dad was killed in a vehicle crash in 1979 (I was 16). My mom never remarried & lived until 2009. She always said that my dad was the “only man she ever loved.” Their marriage was not perfect — far from it — but their love always prevailed. They taught their children to “do unto others as you would have done unto you”, love from the heart, reach for your dreams and God is great — they showed us how to live, love & laugh. 💕They will always be my Valentines. #family #parents #dad #mom #valentines #livelovelaugh #godisgreat #followyourdreams #genealogy #jennealogy #myjennealogy


One of my Favorite Veterans

Floyd Mayhue Mills & his wife Anne Elizabeth Cole Mills. This picture taken at Fort Smith Arkansas in 1944. Floyd was about 32 years old & Anne would have been about 30. Floyd & Anne are my maternal grandparents. Thank you for your service granddad & great American values that your family still upholds & appreciates. 💕 #jennealogy #wwiivet #veterans #veteransday2016 #grandparents #proud #american #myjennealogy

Happy Birthday Granddad!

Mills Ethel Mildred and Floyd LtoRHappy Birthday to my grandfather, Floyd Mayhue Mills.  We always called him “Granddad”.

Granddad was born in Maury County, Tennessee on February 20, 1913 to Milton Everett (1890-1967) and Lunie Mae (Gilliam) Mills (1890-1981), both of Maury County, Tennessee.  Floyd was the middle child of three and the only son.  His older sister Ethel Elizabeth (born June 11, 1911) was 2 years old when he arrived.  His younger sister Mildred Louise (born January 29, 1915) would arrive a couple of years later.

1920 United States Federal CensusFloyd first appears in the 1920 US Census in Maury County, Tennessee, District 3, and was reported as age 6.   He is living in the household with his parents and two sisters. His parents are both reported as age 29 and his sister Ethel is age 8  and Mildred, age 4.  Milton (dad) is listed as a farmer for a “general farm”.  They are all reported as being born in the state of Tennessee.  They are living next door to his grandparents, Marshall and Nan (recorded as Clara) Mills.

Floyd is listed in the 1930 US Census in Maury County, Tennessee,Mills Floyd Milton Mildres Lunie 1930 United States Federal Census District 3, and reported as age 17.  He is living with his parents and they are both reported as age 39.  Floyd’s sister Mildred (age 15) is living in the home; however, his sister Ethel is no longer living in her parent’s home.  The Census reports that the Mills’ own their home and farm.  Milton’s occupation is listed as a farmer and Floyd is reported as a farm-laborer.

In 1931, on July 13, Floyd married Anne Elizabeth Cole (daughter of Edward D. and Cordelia (Tucker) Cole) in Maury County, Tennessee.  Anne was born on March 9, 1914 and died March 24, 2010.  A little over a year after their marriage, his only daughter/child, Dalsie Mabel Mills was born (October 29, 1932).

Mills Floyd Anne and Dalsie 1940 United States Federal CensusThe three of them are found in the 1940 US Census living in the city limits of Columbia, Tennessee.This was the 9th District area of Maury County.  Floyd is reported as age 27. Anne (recorded as Mary) is 26 years old and Dalsie is 7.   The Census reports that they are renting and were living in the same place on April 1, 1935.   Floyd is reported to have achieved an 8th grade education.  His occupation is listed as a refinisher at a furniture store, working about 60 hours a week.

Mills Floyd and Anne Cole MillsOn April 8, 1944 Floyd enlisted in the Army for World War II.  He was stationed in Europe during the war.  Enlistment documents state that he enlisted in the state of Mississippi at Camp Shelby.  He is listed as a Private.  It states that his birth year is 1913 and says his state and county residence is Maury County, Tennessee at the time of enlistment. This picture to the left must have been taken around this time.  Floyd is on the left in his army uniform and beside him is Anne.

Floyd is listed (with Anne) in the 1948 Columbia, Mills Floyd and Anne U.S. City Directories, 1821-1989Tennessee City Directory on page 306.   The directory reports that Floyd was a carpenter and they lived at 1007 Garden Street, Columbia. Their telephone number was 1920J.

I know that my Granddad worked as a dairy farmer for much of his life.  My mother, grandmother and older sisters talked about the Criddle Farm in Maury County where my grandparents milked cows twice a day.  Recently (last 5 years), my uncle has pointed out the “old Criddle farmhouse” that now is fairly close to a main road in Maury County.  I think that this Mills LtoR Dalsie with Jo Floyd and Milton with Jacq March 1953picture may have been taken on the Criddle Farm property around March 1953. Left to right is Dalsie (Floyd’s daughter) with Floyd’s oldest granddaughter, Floyd, and Milton (Floyd’s Dad) holding Floyd’s second oldest granddaughter (Jacquelyn “Jaci” Kaye Byrd).  What a great 4 generation photo of the Mills’ family.

Later my grandparents bought about 50 acres off of Bear Creek Pike on Cranford Hollow road in Maury County, Tennessee. My Granddad built the home and the barn that still stands today.  They had dairy cows and milked cows for some time there.  When I was a child they had cattle that they raised for selling.  The property had a large hill on the northeastern corner, where you could see all the way to the city of Columbia. There were a couple of fish ponds and a large garden in the summer-time for fresh vegetables.  As a child, I enjoyed riding on the tractor with my Granddad on the farm and helping with the chores.  I especially enjoyed picking tomatoes from the garden in summer and having a “fresh” tomato sandwiches for lunch. Tomatoes just don’t even taste the same anymore.

During the early 1970s, Granddad worked for the Maury County Highway Department.  I remember the yellow county truck that he drove.

As depicted in the photo above, Granddad was a larger man, standing about 6’1’’. He was strong, had a deep voice, blues eyes, and a great smile.  He worked hard everyday.  I remember that he was an early riser in the mornings – and when he was up – he expected that everyone in the house should be out of bed.  He listened to the “farm report” and news on the local AM radio station every morning.  He was quite opinionated so he usually had a comment or two to add about the “happenings going on.

Floyd loved family, history, genealogy and community.  His memory of people, places and events was impeccable.  I loved hearing the stories that he could tell of the old stagecoach or about the places that our family settled and lived in Maury County.  He spent time with Maury County historian Jill Garrett, taking her about the county and pointing out places of historical significance (small and large), with a story or two of course.  I met Ms. Garrett a couple of times with my Granddad.  I was mesmerized listening to all the things that they knew about the history and people of the county and Tennessee.

Mills Floyd and Anne Cole headstoneGranddad, after battling several years of great illness, predominantly diagnosed as Parkinson’s disease, died at the young age of 68.  Prior to his death on November 23, 1981, he was bedridden and could not speak.   So much was lost then, in so many ways.  He is buried at Jones Cemetery in Maury County, Tennessee.  His parents and now his beloved wife Anne are buried there as well.

Floyd’s influence in my life is still strong, as I believe he is the one that stirred my interest in genealogy and wanting to know more about my family at a young age.  Looking back, I only wish that he had written down all those great stories and the things that he remembered or that I had.  I hope that somehow, in some small way, I can generate that same love for history, family and community for and in others, as Granddad did for me.

I love you Granddad! Happy Birthday.

Veterans’ Day – Dedicated to the Cause of World Peace

Norman Charles WAccording to, Veterans Day (November 11th) was originally set as a U.S. legal holiday to honor Armistice Day – the end of World War I, which officially took place on November 11, 1918. Established by Congress in 1938, November 11 was “dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be hereafter celebrated and known as ‘Armistice Day.’ The declared holiday honored the veterans of World War I. Then in 1954, following both World War II and the Korean War, the Act of 1938 was amended by striking out the word “Armistice” and inserting the word “Veterans.” November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars. Today I think of all the those within my family that sacrificed so much to serve America in wars that have been critical for world peace.  They were dedicated to the preservation of freedoms and liberties of our Nation and throughout the world.  For over 235 years, members of my family have defended and fought for the sacred values held within their hearts, many of the same are written within the Bible and the documents of our Nation’s foundation.  They have  served and fought for freedom not only because they felt it was their duty, but because they knew it was a call of honor.  Today I enjoy many liberties and freedom in America because of those who served and sacrificed for all.   Thank you to many family members, particularly the following:

  • Thanks to my husband for serving in the Persian Gulf War, including service in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
  • Thanks to my dad, Charles W. Norman (1932-1979), for serving in the Korean War, as a member of the U.S. Army.   He entered into active service on February 20, 1953 in Nashville, Tennessee as a Private – 2nd Class.  He was promoted to Corporal (T) June 29, 1954.  He was transferred to the US Army Reserves on December 18, 1954 through Fort Knox, Kentucky.  He remained in the US Army Reserves, in standby mode, until he was fully released and honorably discharged on February 24, 1961. He received several metals for his service, including National Defense Service Metal (NDSM), United Nations Service Metal (UNSM), Korean Service Metal (KSM) and Good Conduct Metal (GCM).
  • Thanks to my great uncle William “Bill” Cole (1923-2002), a pilot serving in World War II.   He enlisted in the Army  on the 29th December of 1942, serving until October 17, 1945 as a Private.
  • Thanks to my granddad, Floyd M. Mills (1913-1981), for serving during World War II.  My grandfather served in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army.   He was enlisted on April 8, 1944 in Camp Shelby, Mississippi as a Private.  I know from stories by my mom and grandmother that at some point my grandfather was stationed in Texas and later served in Germany.
  • Thanks to my great-grandfather George W. Gibson (1844-1923) for serving during the Civil War.  He was wounded at Ramond, Mississippi in 1863 with a mini ball in his left shoulder. A small  Bible in his pocket deflected the bullet away from his heart. He was a prisoner in Yankee Camps at Fort Donelson in Nashville, Tn in 1864.
  • Thanks to my great-grandfather John M. Tucker (1840-1888), for serving during the Civil War.  He was captured, imprisoned and traded several times during his service.  He was hit by a riffle ball in the hip, and although he was crippled from the shot, he continued to serve.   Continuing problems with this crippling wound lead to his early death.
  • Thanks to my great-great-great-great-grandfather, James Gilliam (1733-1794), who served in military operations of the American Revolutionary War with the Colonial soldiers of Lunenburg County, Virginia, including rangers and militia.
  • Thanks to my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Joseph Lafayette Norman (1750-1809), who is believed to have served during the American Revolutionary War, possibly within the North Carolina militia.

Thank you to all of the men and women who have served and do serve in defending America, the values of life, liberty and freedom, and the hope of world peace.

Lunie Mae Gilliam Mills

Gilliam Lunie

Lunie Mae Gilliam was born on August 23, 1890 in Maury County, Tennessee.  She was the third child born to John Francis (1863-1936) and Mildred Gertrude (Neatherly) (1867-1901) Gilliam.  She was my great-grandmother.  We called her Mammy Mills.

Lunie was welcomed by her older sister, Eunice Ada (born October 8, 1884) and brother Willis G (born June 24, 1887). Their younger brother, William Leslie (born February 18, 1894) would come later.

Lunie Gilliam married Milton Everett Mills, son of Marshall R. Mills (1857-1939) and Nancy Lorra Comelia Clark (1863-1935) Mills, on September 18, 1910 in Maury County, Tennessee.   They had three (3) children:  Ethel Elizabeth Mills Harmon (1911-1990), Floyd Mayhue Mills (1913-1981) , and Mildred Louise Mills (1915-2002).

I remember Mammy to be smaller in stature, maybe under 5 feet tall.

She died on December 13, 1981 in Maury County, Tennessee.  She is buried at Jones Cemetery, Maury County, Tennessee beside her husband, Milton Mills.

Happy Birthday Mom!

October 29, 1932 marked the birth of my beautiful mother, Dalsie M. Mills.  She was born at home in Maury County, Tennessee.  She was the only child of Floyd Mayhue and Anne Elizabeth (Cole) Mills.

She was a gorgeous little girl with blonde spiral curls and long eyelashes.  She lived a simple life with her parents and extended family.  She especially spoke fondly of her great-grandpa, “Pa John” (John Francis Gilliam).  She had grand memories of spending time with her grandparents (Edward Dunnagan & Cordelia (Tucker) Cole and Milton Everett & Lunie Mae (Gilliam) Mills), aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, particularly in the summertime.

On July 19, 1947, at a very young age, Dalsie married William Marcus Byrd.  They had two (2) daughters.  They later divorced.

On December 8, 1956, Dalsie married Charles William Norman in Corineth, Mississippi; although they both resided in Maury County, Tennessee.  This was the man that she declared, “I loved him – to the depth of my very soul.”   In 1958 they moved to Gibsonton, Florida.  They had two (2) daughters.   Charles’ life ended abruptly with a vehicular accident on November 21, 1979.  Dalsie described her life after the loss of Charles like this — “Tragedy is one of the trials of life that must make us stronger or we perish.  I have always tried to be a survivor, and with family who rallied ’round … I kept the faith.”

Charles and Dalsie — & then just Dalsie — always lived life as a celebration.  Every holiday or sometimes just on a weekend — friends and family members gathered to share food, laughter and love.  Friends without family or “a place” to be for the holidays were always invited to their home.  They were strongly committed to family — they could not have loved their children any deeper.

Dalsie was an intelligent woman, with a heart of gold that never met a stranger.  She was very strong in her values, convictions and personal character.  She loved unconditionally and always sacrificed herself for the sake of others and their well-being.  Her faith and love of God/Jesus Christ was always enough for her — material possessions were essentially non-important.  She was a loving, giving woman that lived life to lend help to those in need and always had a smile to share.  Her family was her world.

Dalsie passed away on August 11, 2009 at age 76 in Brooksville, Florida, following  a battle of several years of illness.  She was surrounded by family.  In her final moments her family joined hands in a circle around/with her and thanked God for this wonderful woman and asked that He wrap His arms around her.

Funeral Services were held at Hodges Family Funeral Home in Dade City, Florida on August 15, 2009.  Her body was laid to rest next to the man she loved, Charles, in Floral Memory Gardens Cemetery, Dade City, Pasco County, Florida.

The words of Dalsie M. Mills Norman, written on the 25th day of August in 1994:  “Four grandparents, a father, a husband, a daughter and three in-laws now gone. All I really cared for.  None of them have I truly grieved for, but I am sure that too will come.  I’ve steeled myself against death, believing it is in God’s hands, and knowing I must be strong for the sake of others who need to grieve.  My time comes someday.  Remember the fun times.  Turn your back on the bad or sorrowful times.  Look ahead! Life is for the living.  We can’t go back and right any wrongs.  We can only go forward and make each day count to the fullest.”

“Lord, help me each day to do the very best I can at whatever I have to do.  Help me to touch a hurting heart and make it sing.  Help me to say a kind word that will cause someone to be happy — to be alive.  Help me to find my eternal place here so it can be with you when it comes time to leave my family and the love they’ve shared with me.  Amen”

Happy birthday Mom — each day I strive to be more like you — seeking your inter-strength, your faith and your ability to love unconditionally.

Let us remember! Be thankful and Uphold Liberty

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”   John F. Kennedy

Don’t forget to thank a soldier for his/her sacrifices that have been made for your freedom and remember the generations before us that understood the price of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

This is my dad, Charles William Norman, son of William Henry Norman and Mary Caroline Gibson Norman on Maury County, Tennessee.  My dad served in the Korean War as a member of the U.S. Army.   He entered into active service on February 20, 1953 in Nashville, Tennessee as a Private – 2 Class.  He was promoted to Corporal (T) June 29, 1954.  He was transferred to the US Army Reserves on December 18, 1954 through Fort Knox, Kentucky.  He remained in the US Army Reserves, in standby mode, until he was fully released and honorably discharged on February 24, 1961. He received several metals for his service, including National Defense Service Metal (NDSM), United Nations Service Metal (UNSM), Korean Service Metal (KSM) and Good Conduct Metal (GCM).
This is my grandfather, Floyd Mahue Mills, son of Milton Everett and Lunie Mae Gilliam of Maury County, Tennessee.  My grandfather served in World War II as a member of the U.S. Army.   He was enlisted on April 8, 1944 in Camp Shelby, Mississippi as a Private.  I know from stories by my mom and grandmother that at some point my grandfather was stationed in Texas and later served in Germany.  Details of his service record are on my research list to locate.
Thank you one and all who have served and those that continue to serve in the United States military.  God bless America.

Scanning Family Photos


LtoR Mildred, Floyd and Ethel Mills


This year at the onset of a new year, I sat down and established my new goals.  The goals were divided among several areas of my life that I consider important.  One particular goal that I established in the area of genealogy was to begin using that wonderful scanner that my husband bought me a couple of years ago.  Then life sets in and as with many New Year’s goals, the busy-ness of life can lead one to believe that there is no extra time to get things done; and especially no time for jobs that take a considerable amount of time like photo scanning (I think that photo scanning is related to filing).

But, I was determine to get the scanner manual out, get the scanner hooked up and connected to my computer and at least get things started. I kept reading about the SCANFESTs created by Thomas MacEntee at the Geneabloggers and knew that I must make time to scan my old family photos (at least a good part of them) this year.

Dalsie Mills Norman


SO — GUESS WHAT? I did it!  I finally started this part of the mission.  Over the weekend, a friend asked me to assist them with scanning a small handful of their old family photos.  It seemed to be the motivation I needed to break out the scanner and the manual and just get it done.  After scanning my friends few photos, I scanned for another 3 or 4 hours.
I have included a couple of the new scanned photos in this article. I have also added some of the photos to the “slideshow” feature on this blog page.  I plan to scan a little more, provide an update, plus feature some of the family members in the photos each month.  Wish me well.
Now — here’s a challenge for you  — get busy and scan some of your own family photos to assure that they are preserved and not lost.  Share them with other family members or on-line with other genealogists. 
Just thinking . . . . if a picture is worth a thousand words . . . . .


Anne Cole Mills – Happy Birthday!

On March 9, 1914 in Maury County, Tennessee Anne Elizabeth Cole was welcomed into the world by her proud parents Edward Dunnagan and Cordelia Tucker Cole.  There to greet her were her older brothers and sisters: Whitt Hight (born Aug 2, 1900), Berta Mae (born Oct 1, 1902), Nora Myrtle (born Aug 13, 1904), Ruby Irene (born Aug 17, 1906), John Arelous (born Apr 22, 1909), and Edward Lee (born Sept 13, 1911).

Anne was born the seventh child of twelve.  Following her birth were five (5) younger brothers and sisters:  Margaret Euginia (born Feb 19, 1916), Rose Itaska (born Apr 16, 1918), Mahlon Eldin (born May 16, 1920), William Lawrence (born Mar 14, 1922), and the baby of the family who is still living.

Anne was my grandmother.  We called her Mama Anne.

Mama Anne always talked about her childhood very fondly.  There were times that she talked about how the entire family farmed their small piece of land; each having their own chores or contributions to the efforts.  She told stories about her and her siblings playing music with their father.  Mama Anne played the spoons.  Her father was quite an accomplished fiddle player and well-known in the area for his talent, playing at many local barn dances.  Hight, Eddie and Eldin were also talented musicians and accompanied their dad as a band. 

She and her siblings remained close all of her life.  Today one might think, twelve children, how could they all remain close? Surely with that many siblings, there would be a “falling out”.  Well – if there ever was, I never heard of it and Mama Anne generally spoke her mind.  Her love for her family and their love for each other was real and truly amazing.  As a child, I enjoyed just being in a room (usually my grandmother’s dining room or kitchen) and just watching and listening to the sisters when they were together.  I admired them all. 

Mama Anne, like all of her sisters and brothers, had a very gentle nature.  She was loving and soft spoken.  She was a bit of a prankster, always funny and had a contagious laugh. 

If you talked to friends, neighbors, people from her church or other family members, I am sure that some — if not all — would have to tell you that Mama Anne was a great cook.   She canned jams, jellies, pickles, ketchup, pickled okra, tomatoes and more.  These were all favorites for anyone lucky enough to get a taste.  She baked cakes, breads and “angel” biscuits.  

I loved the way that Mama Anne would put a meal on the table.  She would have a small bowl of this and a small bowl of that.  Upon first glance, I would think – I am not sure there will be enough for everyone, but there were was and sometimes even leftovers.  She would place the small bowls on the dining room table and announce – “well, I not sure if it will be fit to eat, but ….”  

I believe that Mama Anne enjoyed cooking and she knew that she was a very good cook, but mostly, I believe that she cooked to bring delight and joy to others.  She loved helping others and showing love through baking a special cake or sharing a simple meal.  It was her gift and she most enjoyed the smiles on others’ faces or being able to contribute “a little something” at a time of need or crisis. 

Cooking was one of Mama Anne’s many talents that she shared with others.  She also wrote poetry.  From time to time would mail a poem to my mother or one of us “girls” (the way she referred to the granddaughters).  In future blogs, I will publish some of her poems.

I long to hear her laugh, see her smile and hear her talk about the “old times” and the things that she had seen in her life.  She was my inspiration.  She and my grandfather, Floyd Mills, are the reason that I love genealogy.  I long for the stories and my source of much family information that Mama Anne could perfectly recall up until about the last six months of her life.  I wish that she and I could take another drive over to find some of the old cemeteries for the Cole’s and Harris’ ancestors in Marshall County.  I miss her dearly.

A Family Valentine of Joy & Love

Joy and Love
The sweetest joys in life to me
Are the ones more felt than seen
The joy that is within my soul
With nothing in between.
The Lord has given me this day
This precious love to share
And with this love He’s given me
Friends who really care.
Each tender moment of my life
Is giving and forgiving
And with each tiny bit of love
I learn the joys of living.
Anne Cole Mills
To my valentines
This poem was written by Anne Cole Mills on April 12, 1988.   It was written on the back of a card that she mailed to me in 1989.  Unknowingly, I had lost the card.  In 2004, it was unexpectedly returned in the mail by a friend a couple of weeks before Valentine’s Day.  The return of the card touched my heart.   It was like the return of a long lost friend.   I created and mailed a Valentine’s card with the poem to many friends and family members in 2004, hoping to spread the love.
Anne Cole Mills is the mother of Dalsie Mills Norman.   Anne & Dalsie are the two women that I admire most in my life.   They continue to touch my heart and bless my very soul, although I long for their company, their words of wisdom, their voices and their laughter.  Everyday I miss their overwhelming gifts of joy and love shared only in the simple things of this life and through moments that change your very being and who you are.
Anne is my grandmother; Dalsie my mother.

 I wish you …. Joy & Love

Happy Valentines Day!