Sunday, February 25, 2018

Family Heirlooms
Those family heirlooms. Perhaps they are just a little old. They were your parents’ precious possessions. Maybe they are generations or centuries old. You may know little or nothing of the original owner, just that it was something passed down through those lines to you. The value may be great or have no monetary worth. But now they are yours or at least yours as a curator of those heirlooms. With that responsibility comes the difficult decisions to which descendants will receive these precious objects. Let’s face it, you received these heirlooms because your siblings aren’t interested, may sell them on-line or toss them in the damp cellar.
I’ve been a curator for most of my family’s heirlooms. A plate with a dog and dog house on it supposedly came with my second great grandparents from Germany. It appears to be a rustic plate made of stein material. My mother’s grandmother gave it to my father. She always called him “her big boy” even though that relationship was only through marriage. Cut glass pieces belonged to my mom, my dad’s sister, and his parents. Unfortunately, I don’t know who’s whose was whose. My grandfather’s shaving mug with his name in gold letters that would have been at his barber’s shop sits in my china closet. There is a musical photo album that was a wedding gift to my grandmother from her mother. Many more treasures are in my “museum”. People don’t use doilies any longer but there are quite a few in a drawer because they were something my mother, grandmother and great grandmother created. Photographs abound too. Those I am trying to digitize and give electronic copies in case disaster strikes and copies will still exist.
But why are all these things with me? My parents had siblings. Did they get family heirlooms? I know some did and still have them. Others received objects but didn’t keep them. Still others never had something passed to them. Their parents knew better than to trust them with an heirloom. Thank you, family, for your confidence in me to care for them but it is getting a little crowded at my house.

#52 Ancestors Heirlooms, #Heirlooms

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Be My Valentine
Valentine’s Day has such a myriad of memories. My childhood ones are of making cards in school. Construction paper, paper doilies and crayons. Other times it was the packages of funny cards bought at the store. Then on Valentine’s Day everyone in the class had a paper bag that we decorated and had our name. We put our cards in everyone’s bags, shared candy and looked the cards we received.
At home I remember the special Valentine my dad would give my mom. It would be a large decorated heart candy box. Often on the top was a fancy doll. I would get a candy box too.
My maternal grandmother, Hazel Wiedrich was born on Valentine’s Day. One year I made a red ceramic double heart candy dish for her. After she died it was given back to me. Two years after she passed I was pregnant with my son Travis and my due date was February 14th. He was going to be delivered by C-section and I was excited he would be born on my grandmother’s birthday. But it was not to be. Valentine’s Day fell on Saturday that year and the doctor wouldn’t operate on a Saturday. Now I celebrate the day with my grandchildren.

#52 Ancestors 2018, #Valentine's Day, #Hazel Wiedrich, #Moore family

Thursday, February 22, 2018

My Favorite Ancestor Name

The very first favorite name that comes to mind is Sarah Angeline Corset Wiedrich. I love Sarah Angeline. It’s such a sweet name and it doesn’t hurt that I knew and loved her. My great grandmother was born in 1868 and was probably named Sarah after her maternal grandmother, Sarah Norton. I don’t know where the Angeline came from. I don’t know her father Edward Corset’s ancestry, but his surname suggests French.
Another name that appeals is Andrew “AJ” Moore. I don’t think of initial nicknames for those who lived mid nineteenth century but there are those Civil War generals like US Grant. The other part of the appeal is his tragic death at the Battle of Little Big Horn.
Then there are the not so appealing names. My maternal grandmother was named Hazel. Such an unattractive name for such a lovely person. She disliked her name and said she’d return to haunt anyone who name their child Hazel. Even worse is Elephalet, my Connecticut ancestor. When I first heard it, I thought it a misspelling of Elephant.
We are all at the mercy of being named by our parents. My grandmother, Hazel named her daughters: Yvonne, Bonalyn, Millicent and Constance. Her desire was to give them beautiful names. I received my mother’s name reversed, Arlene Millicent. My brother, Terry was named for a baseball player when there was family dispute the night before he was born. They did agree to a middle name after his grandfather, Charles.
My son, Sean was named after John Wayne’s character in the movie The Quiet Man with another Irish name, Patrick for a middle name. We were sure the next child would be a girl, so our plan was to name her Mary Kate after Maureen O’Hara’s character in that movie. We got a surprise when instead of a girl a little boy arrived. Bill named him Travis after the commander of the Alamo. And for a middle name it was my dad’s, Earl.
And when you find yourself a grandparent you have to rein yourself in and lets the kids do their own naming. You’ve had your turn and no matter the name it’s soon the one that rolls easily off your lips to brag to one and all.

#52 Ancestors 2018, #Favorite Names, #Moore genealogy, #Baker genealogy, #Wiedrich genealogy

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Your Invited – RSVP To Your Great Granddaughter
One of the prompts for the 52 Ancestors (2018) was “Which one of your ancestors would you like to invite to dinner?” Who would it be? Perhaps an ancestor I was privileged to know but failed to ask all the questions that I now want answers for. Perhaps it would be an ancestor that’s a brick wall. Maybe the dinner should be a reunion with them all. But a reunion could not be long enough get all the answers. Maybe just a small dinner party with just the brick wall ancestors but that would just push the wall back a few generations.
Charles McMechen would have to come clean about the tall tales he told about his brick wall parents. And what about changing your name several times. Did you leave a wife in Baltimore before coming to Philadelphia and marrying there? Why did you separate from that wife? And in what political riot did your dad die. 
Mary Hayes Mackin (McMechen) why did you sometimes us the name Bridget? Where in Ireland were your parents born?
John Moore, where were you born? Tell me about your parents and when did your ancestors come to America.
Ann Moore, was your maiden name Shoemaker and if not, where did it come from? You lost so many children who died before you. How did you cope?
Andrew Moore, you saw so much of the country before most people traveled very far from there home. You met Gen. Phil Sheridan and Buffalo Bill Cody. You served under George Custer. What were they like? What were you feeling during those two days in June 1876 at Little Big Horn? I want to thank you for serving your country and the sacrifice of your life.
Fanny Elizabeth (Reed) Moore, you died too young. I’m sorry you lost Charles after just a few years of marriage. To have to put your children in a home and later your oldest son in the home of your second husband’s parents because you couldn’t care for them had to be so hard. Then to lose your baby daughter. Is the unidentified picture of a young woman with a baby in her arms you? I think it is.
Edward Corsett, I want to know about your family. Did you meet Matilda in Michigan? How did your families get to Michigan?
For my ancestors that I actually knew, forgive me for not asking more questions about you. What was it like the first time you voted, rode in a car, what did you like to do, and so many more questions? I want to know all about you but then there may be some things that I may be sorry I found out.

I exist because of you. I stand on your shoulders. Thank you
#52 Ancestors Invitation to Dinner, #52 Ancestors 2018

Monday, January 22, 2018

Sarah Angeline Corsett

Sarah Angeline Corsett was born on 20 June 1868 (although the 1900 census lists her birth year as 1867) to Edmond or Edward and Matilda or Mathilda (Norton) Corsett in Pembroke, NY. According to the 1880 census she was attending school. She worked as a hired girl for Samuel and Harriet Walworth. When Harriet died it wasn’t considered proper for an unmarried woman to live in the same house with a man to whom she wasn’t married. One month after Samuel’s wife died on 23 June 1892, Sarah married Samuel who was 77 at that time. It was always said that it was a marriage in name only but Sarah would be the only one who knew that. Samuel died on 11 February 1895. He left Sarah 188 acres in Indian Falls, NY. Sarah eventually deeded a piece of that land to the Tonawanda Creek Indian Reservation, home of the Tonawanda Seneca Indians. Part of their burial ground was on that piece of land. The family was friendly with that tribe and wanted to give them the land to preserve that sacred land for them. She married John Wiedrich on 8 March 1896 in Alabama, NY. She was 27 and John was 38. It was said in the family that he was a bit of a drinker and proceeded to drink away her inheritance from Samuel Walworth. By 1910 she was living in Pembroke, Genesee County, NY. Her children were Edward (McKinley?) b.27 Sep 1896, Lydia Ursula b. 07 Aug 1898, Helen Matilda b. 18 Aug 1900, Chester John b. 17 Jul 1902, Bertha May b. 11 Sep 1905, James Alfred b. 23 Feb 1908, John Henry b. 26 Apr 1913. By 1918 she was living at 1 Pearl St., Batavia, NY. Her husband, John died on 23 Jun 1942 in their home on Pearl St. By this time, she was 74 years-old. Her house eventually was up for sheriff’s sale for being behind on taxes. Her daughter Lydia’s husband, Neal Smock bought the house. Sarah continued to live there but now had as her bedroom a small room off of the entryway and under the stairs. All of her worldly possessions had to fit in that room. Neal took everything else that didn’t fit to the dump including paintings of her family in gilt frames. Years later he regretted this saying he could have got money for those frames (no regrets about the paintings). After Sarah died Lydia’s daughter, Dorothy trashed letters from Sarah’s mother, Matilda (Mathilda). She didn’t know who her great grandmother was and didn’t care. Everyone said Sarah had a great sense of humor and enjoyed life. She liked being with her son, Edward and daughter-in-law, Hazel and would visit them even after
they moved to NJ and then to Tampa, Fla. Edward’s birth had never been registered so when he applied for Social Security around 1965, Sarah went with him to swear to his birth and to register for Social Security herself. She also loved to visit with her son, Chuck (Chester) and his wife Ernestine. She was a little woman and was referred to as Little Grandma. She always had a large garden in the back yard on Pearl St. with lots of vegetables and flowers. Later she would garden with Lydia and Neal in that same yard. She was an avid reader, especially the newspaper which she read from cover to cover. She also was up on current events and ideas. She was not embarrassed to talk about abortion in her 90s. Amazing for someone born just after the Civil War. I remember her sitting in her chair out of the way in the entry way turned living room on Pearl St. It was behind the front door, next to the window and hemmed in by the couch. In her 90s she was still drying the dishes and ironing flat items like tea towels. She had cataracts taken off at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia in her 80s. She had never been more than 30 miles from home until her 70s. She also never saw Niagara Falls (about 50 miles from her home) until her 80s when she went there with us (Midge, Earl and Arlene). When she went to Florida in her 80s she wore a 2 piece bathing suit (again amazing for a woman born just after the Civil War). I remember her talking about her little pony and cart. She said that every time she passed a certain spot the pony would get skiterich and be
difficult to handle. She also told me about the fact she didn’t wear a bra or as she would say a brassiere thing. Not surprising since she would have been in her 50s when they were invented. She wore an undershirt. She called my dad, Earl (her grandson-in-law) my big boy. She gave him her plate that had a dog on it. She said it came from Germany with her husband’s family. We visited her for a week every summer.

            Sarah died on 24 July 1968 at 8am in her home at 1 Pearl St., Batavia, NY. She was buried two days later in Maple Lawn Cemetery in Elba, NY. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

#52 Ancestors Challenge Week 2 Favorite Photo

Picking a favorite photo was a difficult choice to make. There are so many photos that I like. This photo was my mom’s favorite so since she has passed away feel a connection. That’s me on the left, my mom, Millicent (Wiedrich) Moore with the shovel and my grandmother, Hazel (Bristol) Wiedrich with the crutches. They spent all day burying car batteries upside down to make a walkway to their home. Environmentalists are gasping today but this was about 1953 in DeSoto Park Trailer Park in Tampa, Florida. Hazel lost her leg as a teenager, but she never thought of herself as handicapped and could do just about everything.

This picture is my favorite. It’s my mom and me on the front steps of our house in Gloucester City, NJ.  The picture below is my grandfather, Edward Wiedrich, my mom and her sisters about 1931 in Genesee County, NY. They were so poor it reminds me to be thankful for the many blessing I have.  

Monday, January 1, 2018

Thanks Mr. McQuillan

Thanks Mr. Bob McQuillan
The first time I thought about starting my family tree was in 8th grade history. My teacher, Bob McQuillan gave us the assignment to chart our family tree. My parents had always talked about family and ancestors, but nothing was written down. So, with my mom we worked on the assignment. It’s not that we knew a lot, just a few generations. Better than names were family stories. Both my parents knew their grandparents and some great-grandparents, where they lived and if they were born in the US. So, the chart was done.
Years later mom and I started to be more serious and do some research on her line instead of relying on word of mouth. Not that we discovered a lot of new things but now we had some documentation. My dad’s side was a different story. My dad was orphaned at 6 and his dad at about the same age. Although they still had family connections all the stories didn’t passed down. My dad would have been delighted with the information I discovered about his paternal line after he died. But his maternal line was a mess. Both of his maternal grandparents passed down fictionalized accounts of their ancestors.
So, Mr. McQuillan, thank you for starting me on the path to genealogy. My family tree differs a great deal from that assignment you gave in 8th grade. Since that time, I’ve been able to spend many hours with ancestors I’ve never met but have come to cherish. And I’ve come to feel that the most important history is my own personal family history

#52Ancestors,  #52Ancestors 2018, #Bob Mcquillan, #52Ancestors 2018 Start