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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Little Girl in a Bracelet

When Amanda brought Curlymop to visit last weekend, she planned to search through our albums and copy some photos from her younger days. During her exploration, she became infatuated by the many old pictures that have passed down through several generations.

“How am I related to this person?”

“You mean you don’t know who these people are?”

“I love this picture, mom! I want a copy to hang on my wall.”

“I should probably write down the connection, although I doubt anyone will ask me.”

“Oh! This is an adorable little girl in a bracelet.”

She was experiencing the first symptoms of genealogy fever. It starts with a few photos or an interesting story about your grandmother. Then you find out something about Great Uncle George. Before long, you find yourself searching through old family bibles. Eventually, after a free trial, you fork out the membership fees to join an internet ancestry search.

If you don’t have a natural immunity to it, you can develop a full blown case of historical hysteria and never recover.

Her excitement nudged me, and I found myself checking out the old networks for new information.

I wasn’t disappointed. Tonight I found an ancestor named John Damon who was born in Kent, England on November 11, 1621. He and his wife Martha had children with the names Experience, Silence, Ebenezer, and Ichabod. (Amanda, you are the 13th generation from John and Martha.)

I was also reminded that one of the reasons I started to blog was to publish some of the family history. The stories will be lost if our generation doesn’t pass them down.

And photographs will be questions for future generations if we don’t take the time to identify them.


I’m sorry that I probably will never find out who is the beautiful “Little Girl in a Bracelet.”



36 comments:

Desert Songbird said...

Family genealogy can be frustrating for some (like me). My parents' families are fractured by multiple marriages and several wars. I'm not even sure of my grandparents' names. My husband's paternal grandfather managed to trace back their ancestry all the way back to who got off the boat to come to the USA; they just don't know where he got on! My husband's great(x4)-grandfather was the first white child born west of the Allegheny Mountains in the West Virginia/Pennsylvania area.

DesLily said...

I can't find a thing out. My mother was adopted. I do know the names of both of her parents. I do know her adopted family but can't find one thing about the birth family. Same with my father. I gave up long ago. The only thing I know about my father is he was a musician, married a number of times and lived and died in TExas. I believe i may have a number of half brothers and sisters out there somewhere...

laurie said...

i was haunted by old photos like that when i was a child, too. i looked into their faces and tried to see someone i knew.

Tillybud said...

It's facinating. The bbc is showing a programme at the moment called 'Who do you think you are?' I'm hooked!

jill said...

adorable picture. just adorable

Gattina said...

I found out that my great great grandma was the illegal daughter of a Duke ! Now that I know that I have blue blood in my veines I don't look any further !

Kaytabug said...

"historical hysteria" that is PERFECT! I LOVE looking at OLD photos and learning about who was who, getting the whole genealogy. I'm sad all my grandparents are gone.

Heather said...

I love those names - Experience, Silence! I wonder what they were hoping for their kids? And that photo is lovely! I don't have much of an inclination to search my family tree, but I do love old photos. (My husband, on the other hand, has a massive book that lists his genealogy back to the 1500s.)

Jenni said...

What a beautiful photo! It's such a shame that so many great family photos have lost the stories and names attached to them. Danny's grandma has a box of old photos--many of them the best in her collection--which have no names or dates and even she does not know the slightest thing about them, including whose side of the family these people were from. I just love reading your family stories here, Pamela, and I'm glad you are preserving those stories for your children and grandchildren.

Karmyn R said...

On Friday evening, Maxine sat down with me and an old photo album. She was pointing people out (her dad, uncles, etc..) and I said, "you need to write these names in here". She responded that Evie and Gary knew who they were, but I told her - when they are gone, no one else will. (she felt it was a rather daunting task, but if not done, the knowledge will be lost)

Kaycie said...

That is a beautiful little girl. I wonder who she grew up to be.

One of my father's, or maybe grandfather's, distant cousins wrote a book about my Dad's family all the way back to the last full blood Lenni Lenape (Delaware) in our family. It's fascinating and full of old photos, all but one or two of them identified. I am grateful she took the time to write the book.

coffeypot said...

I have some pictures of people from my parents past and I don't know who they are. I was especially drawn to pictures of combat troops in the Pacific during WWII, but no names with them. Just rugged, dirty and tired shirtless men looking into the camera. Since my dad served (at 15) during WWI, he was too old for WWII so where did these pictures come from? I wish I knew. Your kids may not ask you now, but after you are gone and they are going through you stuff, there will be questions. So start jotting down notes of those you know.

The thing to remember is the part ‘after you are gone and they are going though your stuff..’ what do you want them to see. So if you have any dirty stuff that would embarrass you, send them to me, quick. You never know. I’ll be discrete. I won’t post them. Honest! You have my word.

heather said...

My great aunt had done years and years of research. She had collected names, dates, stories. Then in some fit of anger because of her Alzheimer's, she burned everything. That breaks my heart.

Vicki said...

I love old pictures like this. I like it even more when there are names on the back of them. It's important to do it. SO IMPORTANT!

I found a birthday card to my Grandpa who died last month at the age of 95. It was for his 16th birthday from his aunt and uncle. Save the important things only and document them.

That could be a bumper sticker lOL

Tammy said...

Oh, I love this...I, too, have been fascinated by family history since I was a little girls and would look at the box of very old pictures my mom had...
You are so right...precious stories will lost forever if we don't work towards preserving what we do know to pass down!
(And what a beautiful photograph that is!)

Dr.John said...

I have started a family tree and putting captions on pictures so future generations will at least know who is in these pictures.

Betty said...

Oh, that is such a beautiful little girl in the picture.

I keep saying I'm going back through my pictures and write the names on the back, but somehow I never seem to get around to doing it.

Pat@Back Porch Musings said...

Wonderful post, Pam! I get curious now and then and dig around a little.

A long lost "cousin" contacted me a couple of years ago. Haven't heard from him since. He was on the hunt for our "Mayflower" ancestor.
Apparently he was an indentured servant at the age of 6 when he arrived here. He grew up to be quite a rounder...hmmmm....sounds like my father!!;-)

Swampy said...

What a beautiful child. I have a box full of old photos and not a clue who the people are staring back at me.

P.S. Be sure to go to the Cowboy Poetry Gathering...

sirdar said...

What a pretty picture. I'm not that big on genealogy, in fact, I have to ask what relation someone is to me all the time. I was going through my aunts old photo album and there were pictures of some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. It was interesting to see them from so long ago. Most of the pictures were near the time I was born. I was born in 1961 and the dates were within a few years on either side. It was kind of interesting to see them the way I've never seen them.

Amanda said...

Yup. Hooked. And I've not been shy to share my new found interest with my friends. Lucky for me, they find it quite fascinating, too!!

I wonder about the girl in the bracelet. It saddens me that she's lost ------- ......

And by the way, I somehow got home without a picture of Elizabeth ..

foam said...

yeah, in the early days of my blogging career i wrote down many of my mother's stories who is 85 ..
i have some old photos ..
i know who folks are, but my sons don't. i need to identify them so they will know.
what a love photo ..

lisaschaos said...

My mom and aunt started doing our geneology years ago but I still don't know most of it. They need to share. :)

She is a doll!

Kila said...

I have relatives on both sides who have traced our lines back hundreds of years. Once you start, you can't stop! Fascinating stuff.

MarmiteToasty said...

I would love to find out about my family tree, but alas I dont even know me grandparents names LOL......

When I find old photo albums in antique shops I always have the urge to buy them and take all those people in the old black and white photos home with me, so they at least have someone that wonders about who they are.....

x

jettied said...

OOHh what a darling photo this is!! have you ever gone to ancestery.com? funny how i just wrote this in another comment today!! I found lots of stuff on there including documents of marriages and cencus stuff!!

dawn said...

That is a great photo and I would be full of wonderment at it if it were in my family album. Okay, I am full of wonderment anyway. I haven't investigated much of my family. My grandmother in the Ukraine didn't even know what year she was born because the hospital burnt down and the official records destroyed. My sisters found the boat them came over on with our uncle. We have more info from my mom's side and her family had a big reunion years ago which was really cool. I do think the old photos really spur the curiosity.

LadyStyx said...

What a beautiful little girl.

Far Side of Fifty said...

A lovely photo! She is so pretty! I am in the process of writing on the back of all my photos, with an appropiate photo pencil. Also I have been going thru lots of old photos and marking them with dates if known and full names of the people in the photo..a daunting task, but worth it for some one some day that has a need to know:)

Jennifer said...

If I ever get pregnant with fraternal twins (highly unlikely since I am NEVER going to get pregnant again!!) I am going to name them Ebeneezer and Experience.

Junebug said...

You know, Ichabod, is not a very good name for a child. I certainly wouldn't want to be named Ichabod. Some kind of curse? Ooh.

robinellablog said...

Someone on my Dad's side did their genealogy and it is fascinating. Thankfully, they put all the information and documentation on a file and shared with all the clan.

I do wish I had great old photos like that one. Last year for Christmas, I took all of my Mom's old photos and painstakingly used dental floss to remove them from the old albums and made archival quality scrapbooks for her. Then I gave her the pen to write names and connections and notes about the photos. I'll make a photocopy of the book when she is done to save on disk.

Alison said...

geneology has always fascinated me also. that little girl is adorable.

Erica said...

Gah! That reminds me I need to get started on our ancestry stuff again. I hate paying those fees for ancestry.com. They're so darn $$$$, but I've been searching for info for my paternal grandfather's father for years. I love old photos, they really do start that fever again. ;-)

BlondeBlogger said...

Awww! Your post reminds me of my grandma's photo albums. She doesn't rememeber so many of the people in the photos, which has made me realize how important it is to label each photo with names, even when it's obvious to you.

wendy said...

You MUST ask my sister, Narice at L4, to tell you the genealogy story about the mystery my Mom couldn't solve that my sister solved years later. I can't remember it either, or I'd tell you.

There's still hope to know who the girl in the bracelet is.

Good advice to label pictures and share history.