It Was Right Under My Nose!!

Family history, genealogy, family tree, Marshall, Williams

Gladys Marshall Lowery’s Autograph Book

You know how sometimes you’re hesitant to tell a story about yourself because you know it makes you look like a goof? Well I thought twice about telling this story but what the heck. Here goes . . .

Recently I’ve seen a couple posts about autograph books. Very cool books indeed and I remembered have my maternal grandmother’s autograph book. My mom gave it to me years and years ago. It’s been safely put away for sometime now. My recent blog readings made me hunt it up.

It took only a few moments to pull out my grandmother’s autograph book. I knew exactly where it was. The cover and pages are in really nice shape, it’s just that the binding is broken. So gently and ever so carefully I turn every page.

My grandmother, Gladys B. Marshall Lowery was born in 1892 in Allen County, Ohio. The earliest message in her book is January 5, 1903. Maybe this album was a Christmas gift. She’d have been 10 years old then and I imagine this was a prized possession.

As I look through the pages some notes are signed “your cousin” with vaguely familiar names.

Nov 29. 1909.
Cousin Gladys,
Love your playmates
Love your toys;
But never never love
the boys.
Your cousin,
Ida Kidd

Later my grandmother wrote Battles after Ida’s last name. Thanks grandma for her married name!!

So I need to check these collateral family members out.

There are a couple verses from teachers. Favorite teachers would be my guess. Gladys even had her sister Freda sign her book and in 1928 her youngest daughter, my mom signed the autograph book.

But the shocker (at least to me) was toward the back. Three fourths of the way through my grandmother’s autograph book is this:

Family history, genealogy, family tree, Marshall, Williams

Mary Ellen (Mollie) Williams Marshall

West Cairo, O
Dec. 14 1903

May your pathway through life
be strewed with flowers of the most
brilliant colors and that your days
may be many and joyous are the
best wishes of you Mamma.

Mollie Marshall

I have to tell you my hands flew to my face. Here right before my eyes was the actual handwriting of my great grandmother Mary Ellen Williams Marshall, aka Mollie Marshall. Here in my grandmother’s autograph book that I’ve casually leafed through from time to time was my own great grandmother’s words of love to her daughter.

I’ve seen and read Mary Ellen writing before (see this previous blog post) but in my wildest dreams I didn’t realize I possessed a page lovingly written by Mary Ellen to her daughter. My eyes get a little teary writing about it now.

The moral to this story? Other than I’m a goofus for not looking closer at my grandmother’s autograph book? Take a closer look through your own genealogy research and resources. Whether they are handwritten letters or well documented facts. You may have missed something so obvious it’ll startle you.

Look what happened to me!


  1. Betsy Potts says:


  2. You’re not a goof 😉 This is a wonderful story that reinforces the idea that everyone needs to review their research and treasures every so often to see what might have been missed previously. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I am so happy for you, Cindy! I would dearly love to possess anything like a diary or journal from my ancestors. I do have letters, which can be similar, but private writing is really the most complete picture of anyone’s personality. When you’re writing to yourself, you can say anything!

    The closest I have is a copy of “The Arabian Nights,” autographed by my grandmother to my mother . . . just a word or two.

    I’m looking forward to what else this autograph book says.

  4. What a great story and no; your not a goof. We all have done a goofy thing now and again. That’s what makes us interesting.


  1. […] have written about her previously here and here and here if you care to read those posts but for this week’s 52 Ancestors I’ll share her with […]

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