Tuesday, July 22, 2008


You may remember the last time I went home, my Dad and I spent a lot of time talking about his family. Well, since then, my Dad has gone on a genealogy binge. He’s tracking our family tree not only on his side, but on my mother’s as well -- which is interesting because they’ve been divorced for more than 30 years.

During my visit last week, Dad shared with me his latest efforts, and everything he’s found is pretty consistent with research done years ago by my maternal grandfather and others. There are still a few mysteries, particularly when we get back to the 1600s, when records were scarce, and I’m hoping Dad and the Internet can help clear those up.

It was fascinating for me to comb back through my mom's records, which include letters from long-dead relatives and pages from family bibles, as I tried to confirm what Dad has found.

The biggest boost came when I found a seven-page essay written by my grandfather about his family and his childhood. When I was a kid, I remember sitting on the couch with him as he told me a story about a turkey roosting in a tree, as strange as that sounds. I was young -- my grandfather died when I was 9 -- and I could never quite remember that story. It always bothered me, because I knew it was family lore he meant to hand down to me.

Well, on page five of his essay, there it was:
“Father’s parents raised turkeys. One old Tom roosted in a tall white pine back of the house. His position in the tree became a weather indicator. At one time his father remarked about a position the old Tom took and predicted a severe storm. What followed was the blizzard of 1886, which has not been equaled in these parts to this day.”

It may sound inconsequential, but I was so glad to find that paragraph!

(Photos: My mother's parents in their younger years.)


  1. This is fantastic! LOVE the pics!! And I love the weather predicting rooster. Wow! Most of us Americans have no idea where we came from - or who we came from. This is great.

    Bravo and congrats. Excellent. Love it. Welcome home.

  2. I know how you feel! These photos are priceless, aren't they? Look how beautiful they are, and they look kind and sensitive too.

    I found a poem an ancestor wrote about going to Station Island, Lough Dearg (an ancient sacred place) the place meant a lot to him, and a copy was kept in a church he helped build, and a copies in family bibles.

    We're lucky at our house, that we can trace back to the 14th cent. thanks to the church records and many ancestors being teachers who loved to write everything down. Oddly,teaching is the #1 vocation in our family still! --we have more in common with our ancestors then we know?

  3. Words from across the decades, what could be better?

  4. adopted people must feel great frustration if they can't find info.

  5. At one point in my life I was as addicted to genealogy as I currently am to Blogging. One of my relatives was a world-renowned expert in Norwegian genealogy. With his help I traced my 4 paternal great-grandparents way back, some to 1100 in Norway. The current queen of Norway is my (deceased) father's 5th cousin.

    I did a lot of work on my mother's side, but reached some dead ends trying to go back across the Atlantic.

    It's the stories and family lore that make constructing a family tree so much fun!

  6. I mean this with all dignity and respect, but g'mom is a total knockout in that pic. Being a completely shameless Louise Brooks fan and all...

  7. They were both really good-looking people. I'm not sure where those looks went in successive generations! :)

  8. i look a bit like your grandad!