F is for...
Family Tree. I'd like to introduce my great great grandmothers on my paternal grandpa's side, Eva (left) and Amelia (right). Eva (1860-1896) was born in Wisconsin to German parents; Amelia (1864-1958) was also born in Wisconsin, but to Swiss parents.
Alison gasped yesterday when I took Eva's picture down from the cabinet door on the computer desk where it's been affixed for years -- I put it right back when I was finished! I hoped and hoped, but never expected that a picture of Eva would be found -- she died at age 36, in childbirth I believe; her son, my great grandfather, was only 10. I was elated when this charcoal rendered portrait turned up in a relative's basement.
I had several pictures of Amelia in her later years -- she lived to be 93 and died only three months before I was born (her birthday was in November, same as mine). In her old age, she had snow white hair and one of my aunts told me that she always had a very regal manner. A cousin unearthed the studio "hiking" portrait (a tintype), as well as the wedding photo. I also uncovered court records having to do with my GG Grandfather William's will and something about a trust and I can only surmise that he was a bit of a control freak -- it's been a while since I looked at all that. Amelia lived for 27 years after William died and, according to all sources, bounced between whichever daughter's house had room. They all lived in the same city and four of the five married four brothers from another family. My grandma talked about Amelia coming over to help her with canning, housework, and the babies.
I haven't done any family history research in the last few years to speak of. In fact, I only just installed my six-year-old version of Family Tree Maker software on this "new" computer yesterday. I'm behind. There's a shot of my computer screen with my entire ancestor tree. I find it extremely enjoyable and very rewarding -- I get to be part detective and sleuth, part historian, part librarian and archivist, all things that greatly appeal to me -- but very time-consuming. I am not too keen on interviewing the relatives in my research, I'm much more comfortable at courthouses and libraries and traipsing through cemeteries (William's family has a small, private cemetery on a corner of the old farm about an hour's drive from my home -- there are still some unsolved mysteries there). No doubt I'll get into it again -- I kind of go in streaks because it takes so much focus and concentration, I get burned out or hit a brick wall and need to take a break to recharge or maybe find new inspiration. These ladies are pretty inspiring to me.
a wonderful post, and such great stories and photos, i too love being a history detective...
Posted by: Liz | 26 March 2006 at 01:42 PM
The photos are such keepsakes. Genealogy can be very rewarding. You'll have to come out to SLC and the big library here to do more work;-)
Posted by: margene | 26 March 2006 at 03:08 PM
The pictures are fantastic - thanks so much for sharing them. I loved reading about your family history. You're so lucky to have the pictures and the information, too.
Posted by: Carole | 26 March 2006 at 04:30 PM
Wonderful "F" post. My Dad is into geneology (we joke that he knows all of the cemetaries in this county). He also sits down with the death notices (in the local newspaper) & enters stuff into his computer. :-)
Posted by: Angelia | 26 March 2006 at 09:00 PM
Love those photos :o) I am a third generation geneaologist - when you have a chance I'd love to talk shop with you!
Posted by: JessaLu | 26 March 2006 at 10:14 PM
Beautiful pictures! I haven't done any work on my Geneaology in quite awhile myself, although I've been feeling an urge to work on it again.
Posted by: Christina | 27 March 2006 at 09:24 AM
Interviewing relatives about family history can be more than tricky. I have found conflicting stories and many gaps in memory that way. You are right to focus on the "hard copies" of records, if you can get them. Several of mine were lost in a flood at an old court house! Nice solid brick wall, that one. Good luck with yours.
Posted by: Elizabeth | 27 March 2006 at 12:20 PM
A delightful F - might even inspire me to go back to some work on my own family tree (except that it would take time away from knitting :)
Posted by: Birdsong | 29 March 2006 at 12:00 AM