thegenealogygirl


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Photograph Showcase: Finding Treasures With Help From A Friend & A New Site to Love

WOOD, Agnes Blair Boyd and Andrew Wilson newspaper article about wedding, crop

Stirling Observer – Tuesday 28 April 1942 Image © Trinity Mirror. Image created courtesy of THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD.

 

Last week I wrote about my cousin Mary Brown Wood and the many, many family deaths she experienced.  My friend Su Leslie who blogs here and here suggested that I look for a newspaper article to help learn the fate of Mary’s son, John Wood.  I shared with her that I haven’t become a savvy Scottish newspaper searcher yet.  She shared a few tips and her favorite newspaper website for Scottish newspapers – The British Newspaper Archive.

I gave it a try.  I was pleasantly surprised that they offer three free views to give you a taste of how their website works with your free registration.  I wasn’t going to use any of those credits on a guess, so I still haven’t found a record for John Wood, but I did find three records for my family using all of my three free views productively.  Among them was this marriage announcement for Mary’s granddaughter Agnes Blair Boyd Wood.  What a sweet treasure!  It felt wonderful to look into the beautiful, smiling face of Agnes and feel a bit of happy closure to the very sad tale of Mary.

I am definitely a fan of The British Newspaper Archive!

Once the busy-ness of RootsTech is over, I’m going to have to decide which subscription level is right for me.

Have you tried The British Newspaper Archive?  If so, do you have any search tips to share?

 

Important side note:  I LOVE newspapers and use them frequently.  But if you have been following along, then you know that my tree is very diverse and I research all over the world.  I hadn’t yet chased Scottish newspaper research because I have so many irons in the fire already, and the need wasn’t pressing.  But it’s something I have been wanting to learn more about.  I am so glad that Su shared a few tips and her favorite website.  She is all Scottish so I especially value her opinion on this one.  Thank you, dear Su! 

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: The Anniversary Pendant

 

DUVAL, Deane, wearing the aniversary pendant

Deane Alice Duval, wearing her mother’s anniversary pendant

When you are the daughter of photographers, you have your picture taken a lot.

Like, a lot, a lot.

So when you are the great-granddaughter of photographers, you have seen a lot of photos of your Grandma.

Like, a lot, a lot.

So sometimes, the photos kind of blur together in your memory.  And sometimes, bits of stories and treasures in those photos go unnoticed.

And then, every now and again, a detail pops out of a photo and smacks you in the face for the first time.  The detail was always there, but it went completely unnoticed until one day, it didn’t.

I scanned this photo.  A long time ago.  But I scanned it.  That means I looked at it at least three times.  Once before I put it on the glass, once on my computer screen, and then again when I pulled it off the glass.  But who knows how many other times I looked at it?  I don’t.

But just last night when I was flipping through images to choose a photo to share, a detail in this photo jumped right out at me for the first time.

 

DUVAL, Deane, wearing the aniversary pendant - crop

The pendant my Grandma is wearing didn’t belong to her.  I don’t know if it ever did.

There have been three owners that I know of.

First – my great-grandmother, Hope Estelle Maffit.  According to my mother, it was an anniversary gift given on the first anniversary of her marriage to my great-grandfather in 1931.

Second – my mother.  I remember her wearing it a lot when I was growing up.  Only ever on Sundays, but still, she wore it a lot.  I frequently wore my mother’s jewelry but I don’t remember ever wearing this.  I loved it, but I never wore it.  Maybe I wasn’t allowed.  I don’t remember.

Third – me.  A surprise.  Last year when I went for a visit, my mom gave it to me.  I didn’t know what to say.  I don’t think I ever told her how much I loved it.  But of all the pieces of jewelry she owned, it was the one item I would have chosen for myself after she is gone.

Treasure doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about it.

But finding it in this photograph last night – there just aren’t words to explain how this photograph struck me.

Four generation of women.

One pendant.  A gift to symbolize love.  A love that is one-eighth of my story.

 

A treasure, to be sure.

 


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Photograph Showcase: The Marriage That Stuck

wedding

I was 8 1/2 years old when my Grandma married my Grandpa.

The funny thing about that is until just now, I thought I was 10 when they were married.  In fact, I have said that very phrase, “I was 10 when my Grandma married my Grandpa”, over and over again.  Except that I wasn’t 10.  I was 8 1/2.

I was there when they got married on the reservation in Wellpinit, Washington.  I have a few memories of that day.  But now, I wonder how accurate those memories are.

I remember something about my Grandma needing to be adopted by a bird-clan mother so she could marry Grandpa on the res.  But is that even a thing?  A bird-clan mother?  I don’t know.

I remember my Mom making a joke that Grandma had just married her brother since they had the same bird-clan mother.  Grandma didn’t find that joke particularly amusing.  But did my Mom really make that joke to her own mother?

I remember the drums, and the jingling of bells on my Grandma’s clothing.  But as I look at the photo I don’t see any of the small metal bells I am picturing when I hear the sound in my memory.  Bells that aren’t shiny at all.  Small, handmade bells that dangle at the end of a strand of beads.  But were there really bells?

I remember playing outside under some very large pine trees.  There were pine needles and cones everywhere.  But there are pine trees everywhere in Spokane.  Did I really play under them on that day on the res?

I remember my Mom making some comment that this marriage might be the one that finally sticks.  I remember my Grandma saying something about how if you get married on the res you can’t ever divorce.  I didn’t understand why that mattered so much to my Mom that day.  I do now.

This wasn’t Grandma’s first or second marriage.  The number was higher.  But it was the first marriage during my lifetime.  It was the first time I had a Grandpa on my Mom’s side of the family.

Of course, my Mom has a father.  A father she shares with all three of her siblings.  A father who is still alive.  A father I met once when I was 16.  A father I have spoken with twice on the phone.  And while you would be accurate if you called him my grandfather, he was never my Grandpa.

But this man, the man my Grandma married on the Reservation when I was 8 1/2, he became my Grandpa.  And that, in the end, is the only memory from that day that really matters.

This was the marriage that stuck.

And I am so very glad.

 

 

ps – This photo is not the one I remember seeing of this day.  The photo my Mom has of this day is not as happy.  It’s more formal and posed.  This photo only exists on the wall of Grandma & Grandpa’s home.  During my final visit to my Grandma in the days before her death, I used the Google photoscan app to preserve a copy of this happy photo for myself.  And once again, I am so very glad.

 

 


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Photograph Showcase: Grandma and Her Fancy Dress

ELLIS, Mary Margaret, wearing black sequined dress in snow - smaller

This photo of my Grandma, Mary Margaret Ellis, comes from a bundle of negatives found in her collection.   She has an engagement ring on, so I am guessing this was taken sometime while my Grandpa was on his LDS mission in New Zealand.  I need to do a little digging to nail down those dates.

I love the details of her dress.  She made most of her own dresses.  I wonder if she made this one too?  It’s a little bit fancy, I wonder what it was for?  They got married in June so I don’t think it was for any wedding festivities.

 


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Major Milestone Right Here!

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IMG_7881

Last week I filed and filed and filed letters.  Do you know what a treat it is to open letter after letter and see your grandparents handwriting?  To touch the pages they touched?  To hear their sweet and enduring love for each other?  It was completely joyful for me.

I am soooooo happy to say that I filed every single letter for the 5 1/2 years they wrote to each other!  Ten Hollinger boxes filled with letters.

(Of course, I still have the letters from the 1960s when my Grandpa was in graduate school.  But we won’t even think about those yet.)

As soon as I finish scanning Aunt Vera’s scrapbook – these letters are next on deck for scanning.  I think they deserve their own blog.  Maybe this fall.  😉

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These four boxes were mostly full on Wednesday when I started.  They look so beautiful empty, I might just leave them on my table for a day to enjoy their tender place in my heart.

 

Happy Monday, I hope you conquer a special genealogy project sometime this year – it is an incredible feeling!

 

 


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Memorial Day Tribute

Ronald Peterson & Margaret Ellis

Ronald Peterson & Margaret Ellis

In the Spring of 1944, my grandfather was 18 and graduating from high school.  He knew he would be drafted so he chose to enlist in the Marine Corps.  During his basic training someone was giving him a hard time about something which led to a comment that changed the course of my grandfather’s military service.  The comment was something along the lines of, “You would never pass the test for Officer’s training.”

Well.

That did it.

My Grandpa applied and was accepted.  He spent the duration of his time in the service at Colorado College completing his Officer’s training and playing football for the school team.  Before he finished his training the war ended so my Grandpa never saw combat.

I am proud to descend from someone who took the bull by the horns.  He didn’t wait around for something to happen to him, he dove in.  He chose the Marine Corps because so many boys were dying in the Army.  And he didn’t let people tell him what he was or was not capable of, he went ahead and worked for what he wanted.  I think he was very brave.  Despite his bravery and acceptance of the inevitable, I am also grateful that he was spared combat.

This photo was taken during his years serving in the Marine Corps.  It is such a treasure to me.  My Grandpa was given a very short, 48 hour leave.  He hitchhiked and rode a bus to get back home unannounced.  He was home for an hour or two – just long enough to see his family and his girl – before he had to turn around and head back to Colorado.  It would be five years before my grandparents married.  After his discharge from the military he served a 2 1/2 year LDS mission to New Zealand.  It was upon his return that they were finally wed.

This Memorial Day I am thinking of my Grandpa.  I am thinking of my Grandpa and all of the other young men who were in his shoes.  They knew they were going to be called up and so many of them chose to enlist.  They were sent all over the world to fight in a terrible war.  A war that claimed far too many.  A war that saved so many.  Today, I honor their sacrifice and willingness to serve.  Today, I remember that my freedom was paid for time and again by others.  Today, I am grateful.

Happy Memorial Day.


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Treasures: The Original Locks of Love

Ronald & Margaret - darkerRonald & Margaret
 

During my college years I lived 2 1/2 hours from my grandparents.  This was the closest I had ever lived to them.  I visited them often.  I loved all of that time with just them.  Many of my most treasured memories come from these visits.

During one visit, my grandpa invited me into his office to show me something.  He sat down and reached for a frame that was sitting front and center on his desk.  His eyes became misty as he explained his new treasure.

When he was a young man he enlisted in the Marine Corps during WWII.  While he was away he and my grandmother wrote to each other.  In one of her letters she included a few of her curls tied together with a patriotic ribbon.  He carried those curls in his breast pocket throughout his time in the service.  Over the years the curls had been forgotten in a drawer.

Fast forward to the mid nineties – my grandma came across the envelope of curls and had an idea for a special gift.  She cleaned, combed and re-curled her locks.  She found a suitable shadowbox frame.  She gathered a scrap of the wallpaper she and my grandpa had carefully chosen for his office.  The wallpaper served as the backdrop for her newly freshened curls.  After putting the frame together she presented this special gift of their past and present to my grandfather.

Listening to him explain the significance of this gift was a special experience for me.  I felt like he had invited me into the circle of their love.  It was about a year later that my grandpa died.  My grandma lived almost seven more years.  After her death our family very carefully worked together to make sure everyone was able to take some of my grandparents treasures into their lives.  Among the few items I chose was this special gift.

These curls are one of my greatest earthly treasures.  They remind me of the special times I spent with my grandparents, of their sweet love story, & of the joy that comes from giving a meaningful gift.

I am so grateful that I am blessed to be the current steward of these curls – true locks of love.

Grandma's Curls

Do you have any earthly treasures that help you feel connected to your ancestors?