Just Me

Just Me
Look,I'm just sayin'

Friday, June 3, 2016


 I work on my Ancestry family tree from time to time. I have filled in many of the blanks as far as ancestors go. The numbers are staggering. Those little " leafs " you see advertised in their television ads do pop up quite often. There are far more hints than I have the time or inclination to chase. It is true that I do feel like I am getting to know some of them. Naturally it is the closest ones that this feeling is strongest with. It does begin with my grandparents. You see, I only knew, personally, my maternal grandmother and paternal great grandfather. All the others were passed before my time. They were seldom spoken of in my household. That was pretty much the way of my parents generation. There were no " celebrations " when someone passed and you didn't speak of them much. They were gone. The saying was " don't speak ill of the dead. " I never gave it any thought but no one ever said, speak of the dead.
 Now my paternal grandparents is a sad story. Grandmother Clara died the day after giving birth to my father. She was 19 years old. Grandfather Elwood died when my dad was eight. I knew little of them beyond their names. There were a few old photographs and scraps of paper but nothing more. My father was raised from that point on by great grandfather and great grandmother Lucy. Grandma Lucy passed when I was two years old. It was only great grandfather Floyd that I knew. Ancestors beyond that on my fathers side were a total unknown to me. My mother could provide no information besides a few names. Ancestry has answered some of those questions. I know the names now and some of the story. It is the story that brings these folks to life. It truly is as I always say, " as long as their name is spoken, they are not gone. " I have been bringing them back, back from the dead ! Grandfather Elwood's' fathers' name was Christian, and his father before him, and his father was Johann, the immigrant to America. (1855 ) Great Grandmother was Catherine, a lady from a prominent family. Was it a love that was contentious ? After Catherine passed great grandfather Christian had little contact with her family and spent his final years in the alms house where he died of stomach cancer. Her family owned much property and had a goodly amount of wealth for the day. Perhaps the family did not approve of this " immigrant " marrying their daughter, who knows ? Making deductions from written records is not necessarily an accurate method. You cannot know the mind of the people involved.
 All of that is just a tip of the iceberg. Just a small sampling of what can be uncovered. Uncovered is a bit of a pun in this case and wasn't intended. It is a rather poor choice of a word I guess. Still that is what I am attempting to do, uncover a mystery. Speaking of a mystery my sister just stumbled upon one. There is a photograph, unidentified, of a beautiful bride. This picture was discovered underneath a picture of my father. Is this bride his mother ? Remember Clara, his Mom, dies the day after giving birth to him. ( 1924 ) The picture of him is from about 1943 or so, as he is in uniform. Did Great Grandmother Lucy, mother to Clara, great grandmother to my Dad, put those pictures together intentionally ? Her great grandson off to war, close to his mother who is in heaven, for protection ?  A romantic notion for sure. I have yet to decide with any degree of certainty if that is the case. Well the mystery to me is if that is indeed Grandmother Clara. So few pictures of her exist to compare with and she was so young. That great grandmother Lucy was a woman of strong faith is without question. I have two of her Bibles, the pages worn and marked up from study.
 It is this stuff that Ancestry is trying to sell in their advertisements. You don't really understand that until you get into it. I went in head first and have dove deep. Yes, I can name ancestors dating back into the 1500's. I know names and places. I do wonder what I will do with all that information. I'm thinking trying to discover the stories is where my focus will be from this point on. The discoveries will be less, that is without doubt. Reconstructing the past. The difficulty lies in recording the facts, not rewriting the story. I don't want to breathe new " life " into an old story. I want to know the old story. I do think that as long as the facts are historically accurate I can present my interpretation of those facts. After all, there is no one else can than definitively dispute that. It's a responsibility though. A responsibility shouldn't be an amusement. Creative history ? Happens a lot these days I think, especially in politics, but I will not start in on that.

Grandmother Clara ?