Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A is for Ancestor



An old woman staring sternly from within a black frame, holding tightly to black and white.  Oh, she is your great-great grandmother.  My grandmother told me about her, how she had long black thick hair, hanging straight down her back.  She was from the Seneca or Oneida tribe, you know...eleven children born in a log cabin in an Indian Reservation....

I did not know that.  Grandma, with her abundance of hair, told me of this ancestor, bits and pieces.

Grandma died at an old age and it was if I were the keeper of the knowledge. 

The photo on the wall, now sepia, was put away, lost in the dark, until boxes and trunks were opened.  My mother stared at the stern ancestor, told me a little more.

When Mom died, there was not any family member who knew the other bits and pieces of this ancestor.


I was the Keeper.

When I am gone, so shall she.

Where my great grandfather (one of eleven) was born, left side, "Mrs. Nichols"

60 comments:

  1. She looks like a formidable woman! Nice start to you A to Z :)

    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
    FB3X
    Wittegen Press

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    1. From what my g-ma told me, she was formidable indeed.

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  2. Thanks to Ancestor.com, many of these people are being rediscovered.

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    1. Ancestor.com has been a real boon. My grandmother's trunk and my aunt gave me the info I have.

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  3. I agree. I wish I had asked more questions when they were all still alive. It will be the same when I go. My kids don't know me at all and lately I tell them little stories I know they haven't heard before but alas, most of it seems to fall on deaf ears. I like the way you call it the "keeper."

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    1. I have started telling my kids stories about my past and my mother's. FINALLY they find them interesting.

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    2. Manzi and Susan; write them down, all the stories so future generations can read about your life and how things were.

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  4. I was composing an answer much like Manzanita's. The "keepers" will be lost some day. I wonder if the children will care.

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    1. They will be in their 50's or so when they realize how little they know

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  5. Very, very true, Susan. My children don't realise my keeper role. Will do when it's too late.

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  6. It was the needing to sit still that made everyone look so stern, I wonder what she looked like when she smiled. My husband's mum is trying to piece together her ancestry. She has lots of glass plates with no information on who is in the pictures.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  7. She looks ready for a fight. I know very little about anyone past my great grandmother/grandfather

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    1. From what my own g-ma told me, she was tenacious and strong.

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  8. What a cool picture and that you are the keeper of it and the history of your great great grandmother. When my husband's parents died a few years back we had boxes of photos we had no idea who the pictures were of. We ended up shredding a lot because we just didn't know. Made me mark all my pictures so my kids, if they are interested, will know and maybe be the keepers.

    betty

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    1. It makes my chest hurt to think how my old photos will find their end.

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  9. Which means you need to write it down and pass it on to your kids.

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    1. That is pretty much why I started a second blog site--to chronicle the stories I remember, post the photos I have.

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  10. How fascinating -I love ancestry searches-beautiful lady!!

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    1. Remembering the past is vital to preparing for the future.

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  11. My great grandmother was Cherokee. She lived to 92 and had lived a very hard life, including seeing her husband murdered in front of her and her 11 year old son (my grandfather). I was blond, but you can see where I got my looks. As Lynn said above, genealogy work is stupendous, and learning their stories is wonderful.

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    1. The past generations had amazing experiences.

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  12. Much of my family history is lost. Lost through immigration (forced and otherwise). Lost to lies. Lost to cover ups.
    How I wish we had a keeper.

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    1. Your history was a rough one, leaving you a blank photo of the past, sadly.

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  13. Sounds like you are changing that! Good piece. Thank you.

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  14. Write it down. Then it'll still be there even after you're gone. (My brother has started interviewing older relatives on video for just this eventuality. I think. At least, he intended to.)

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    1. I did some audio recording and then VCR recording; unfortunately those options weren't available.

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  15. Definitely make a record of it - well you kind of are here aren't you. I regret not having asked more questions of my grandparents and even parents.

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    1. I think our generation is recognizing the loss of those stories.

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  16. Replies
    1. so very glad, and your family will someday thank you.

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  17. ...Never gone....someday someone will hold up that photo to a descendant and say "You look just like her."

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  18. stopping by on A to Z. Very interesting post. Glad you are the keeper of info - hope you can pass it on in the family.

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    1. I hope one of our families will take up the mantle.

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  19. I love old pictures like that. I wish I knew more about my ancestors. I just have the old photos and that's it.

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    1. ...and no one to ask. Scan and keep them digitally. Some day, maybe someone will recognize them, send you answers.

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  21. I am with Jo. I regret not asking more questions of my parents, was not that interested in my selfish 20's and now it is hard as my sister and I try and put their stories together.

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    1. All young people (ones I have known) do scoff at the ancestor thing. Someday...

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  22. Those pictures and your story is so neat! Thank you for sharing this piece of your history with me :)

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  23. Not anymore, she is immortalized on your blog. :)

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    1. That is true...and I hope bloggers will look at her face, and wonder about her life in a log cabin with eleven kids on a Reservation in the 1850s.

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  24. I love doing anything ancestry!! My mom and I are big fans. Kudos!!

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    1. I need to expand my research. I did a lot and burned out. Now it is time to pick it up.

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  25. How sad that no one knows enough about this ancestor to pass on to you. A history lost forevermore.
    Eleven children in one small cabin!
    Are none of those children or their children surviving to be able to tell more of your great grandmother's story?

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    1. From what I know, there are others my age and who may want to know more. I don't know. I have Grandma's siblings names, their children. But that is when all married and moved.

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  26. Have you taken the photo from its frame to see if there is any information written behind it? Names, dates, other family members? Words on the occasion of the photo?

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    1. This was a very old photo, and at that time people did not think to info the back. My sister has the original photo which was carefully protected by a beautiful box.

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  27. Oh what a great old picture and I love family history and ancestry. This should be a fun read

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    1. Thanks for your comment! Please come back...something new every day!

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  28. We are the keepers, too.

    Mother had long black hair to her waist. She had the skin, eyes and the cheekbones of her father. He was Cherokee.

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    1. I have a photo of Dad, Uncle Bill, Aunt Helen, and Grandma, all as adults in our farm house. It was striking to see the high cheek bones, black hair, and brown skin, exept for Aunt Helen who was fair.

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  29. Very moving but sad as well. Why will the knowledge die with you? Maybe you can discover some more tidbits through public records, then pass them on by posting them on some forum like FamilySearch.org. I'm sure she must have other descendants somewhere with all those children...

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    1. This project gets worked on in starts and stops. It's time to pick up the papers again. Thanks for commenting on my site.

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  30. Hello there.
    Your relatives may be asleep in death now (Ecclesiastes 9:5), but God has promised there is going to be a resurrection of the dead (Acts 24:15). At that time, you'll be able to ask them whatever questions you might have about your ancestry when you see them. Keep courage, the resurrection is a guarantee. God cannot lie. (Titus 1:2)
    Thanks for sharing.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

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    1. God's promises never fade or disappear.

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!