Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ancestral Paths

The weather was fantastic yesterday...not too warm and not really cold.  The sun was shining so brightly in the morning that one needed sunglasses to get around.  Of course, by afternoon old Sol was well hidden behind a mass of clouds, but he had already worked his magic.  It is amazing how much more energy I have on sunny days...and how quickly it can disappear when the sun goes away.  It's been a long winter, but it is almost over now.

Wow, I was amazed at all I need to get my pension.  So much for calling up and making arrangements.  Good thing I am getting started on it now.  I need, first of all, a letter from my former employer stating the date I was hired to my last day worked.  Then, I need to send to Social Security for a printout of my salary during each of those years.  I need my birth certificate, and because I kept my married name, my marriage certificate and my husband's death certificate...why, I don't know.  He was actually deceased before I even began working there. 

Let us make future generations remember us as proud ancestors just as, today, we remember our forefathers.

Roh Moo-hyun

The following was the Scintilla question for Sunday, March 24th. I realize there is no way I am going to be able to follow through with every question...and in exact I am choosing those questions that speak to me. I know this is not the way it is supposed to be, so, should the person who developed this project grab a peek, you will have to forgive me. The question I have chosen for today is...

Those that went before us have walked paths we might never fully understand. Talk about a time when you learned something important about your family history.

While working on my genealogy I discovered how important my ancestors felt about one's name being carried on...almost to the point of, what I would consider, an obsession. For example, the parents of my 6th great grandfather, John Leighton, were John Leighton and Martha Cheney. So important was it that the name Martha be carried on that my 6th great grandparents, John and Sarah had four daughters named Martha. The first three barely lived a year. I realize that they did have feelings and must have mourned the loss of their children, but it behooves me to understand how easy it was for my 6th great grandmother to conceive and lose one child after another in an effort to bear a namesake. Were our ancestors less sensitive to death?

It sounds harsh, but I think that our ancestors expected that at least some of their children would die young, so they were very resigned about it. Today when a child does it is a tragedy. It almost seems like back then it wasn't a surprise. I don't believe that they grieved any less than we do; they just didn't have the luxury of allowing their grief to run its natural course. Life was hard and very time consuming, the family needed to be fed, household chores had to be done, and young children still needed to be tended to. .

In the same way widows and widowers remarried quickly, often because they had young children that needed taking care of. My 2nd great grandfather, Richard Hazel, died at the tender age of 21. Heartbreaking, indeed, but there was definitely a lot more death at younger ages than we are accustomed to now. Within months of his death, my 2nd great grandmother who had been left to raise two children--her illegitimate child and my great grandmother, Constance Mary--and within months, she had remarried and was headed to American with her new husband. 

There was definitely a lot more death at younger ages than we are accustomed to now.  I once read that a wise genealogist said, "People were different in the past.  We must not judge them, nor should we always try to understand them."

None of us can boast about the morality of our ancestors. The record does not show that Adam and Eve were ever married. 

E. W. Howe


  1. Oh how our government loves the paperwork! Not sure why, but be sure you will be asked for the same papers more than once, so make copies. It was so cold here yesterday and cold this morning. Looking forward to Spring arriving for good.

    Wishing you a sunshine day!


  2. The government runs on paperwork, that's for sure. Endless, endless paperwork.

  3. Nothing comes easy, so it seems.

    Every time something or someone reminds me of our forefathers, I thank my lucky stars that I was born in the era that I was.
    Amen to that!
    Awesome post Mary. (((hugs)))

  4. Good morning Mary,

    The repitition of naming children after someone in the family is tradition for I see that in my family as well.

    My father's mother had 16 children altogether.
    I believe there were 3 who passed away after
    only a couple of months of life. We would probably call it crib death these days.

    That still left quite a few children to deal with. My paternal grand father went off to war for several years and there was a lull of births and my grandmother somehow was able to raise enough money to place a down payment on a house. Some of the older children had jobs after school and contributed and she did housekeeping on the side.

    Upon his return the births started once again
    and my grandmother and my mother were both pregnant at the same time.

    The result is that I have an uncle who is six months younger than me.

    Many of those children passed away young. I think women had so many children because of lack of birth control and also because children could help as field hands or with part time jobs and such.

    The family worked together to provide enough income to feed and house all.

    Blessings of spring sunshine Mary
    love and hugs Sharon

  5. I agree, that death was an expected companion, in long ago times. And not so long ago times, too.

    So, they simply dealt with it, as their ancestors had.

    Gentle hugs,