52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Weeks 3 & 4

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

I’m still playing catch up on Amy Johnson Crow’s great challenge of examining 52 ancestors in 52 weeks and today I’ll be highlighting weeks 3 and 4.

Week 3: Longevity

I was lucky enough to actually meet who, to my knowledge at this point in time, is my relative who had the longest life span.  My Gammy as she was often called by her grandkchildren and great grandchildren, was my great grandmother who passed away in 1987 at the age of 96.

Sadly I had no idea that I was going to get so fascinated with my family tree in the next handful of years, otherwise I would have asked more questions or paid more attention to Gammy when we went back to Pennsylvania and would visit her for an hour or so.

Margaret Wise was born on February 11, 1891 to Anna Maria Leighty and Jonas Wise.  She lived in Pennsylvania her entire life.  She married Charles Morgart in 1910 and they had 4 children, 3 living to be adults – one of them being my Grandma (who was my focus in Week 2).  In 1917 Charles committed suicide when he was given a terminal diagnosis. She married two more times before she passed, where I hear she loved to play the “mouth organ” until the very end (a harmonica for those who don’t know the lingo).

My grandmother inherited her good genes as she lived to be 93. My dad and I have similar body shapes as my grandmother and I often wonder if we will eclipse 90 as well.

Below is a generational photo with my great grandmother holding me, my grandma and my dad.

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Week #4: Invite to Dinner

Who would I want to invite to dinner.  This is a difficult question.  Instinctively I would choose my grandma once again, just because I miss her so much and would love to have more conversations with her.  But the more I contemplate this, if I had to choose 1 person, I think I would select my grandma’s grandma or my great great grandma mentioned above, Anna Leighty.

Why Anna Maria Leighty (who my own grandmother was named after, Anna Maria Morgart)?  There are certain mysteries I have discovered about her and a dinner with her I’m sure would clear lots of things up.

I have a distant relative, whose daughter was my Grandma’s cousin.  I remember when we would go across town and pick her up for family dinners before she became too old and was put in a nursing home.  Her name was Anna Mary Mullen, and when I read items online that her father, George Mullen, left behind, he claims that his mother was Anna Maria Leighty, yet he is never listed on a census with her.  He was listed on a census with her mother, Mary Ellen Adams., as a grandchild, but that’s the most I have found how he is a relative.

I just find it strange that if he was Anna’s child, why wasn’t he living with her and her children? Was she married once before and my great great grandfather didn’t want anything to do with a child from her first marriage?  Was she taken advantage of and so her mother was raising that child?  So many questions that could be answered and I hope one day to finally find the answers to this mystery.

If you would like to participate in 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks join Amy Johnson Crow’s challenge by clicking here.

 

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Weeks 1 & 2

This year I signed up through Amy Johnson Crow’s website to do a year-long challenge of exploring my ancestors. Though the first month has passed and I have yet to delve into the project, I thought it would be a great way for me to flesh out my heritage besides just placing names on an ever-expanding diagram.

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

So here goes my stab at #52ancestors

Week #1: Start

My first dabble into genealogy began when I was in sixth grade and it was an assignment for my Social Studies class. The goal of the project was to either go back to another state or to another country. For me, like many, it was an easy task: my paternal grandparents were born and raised in Pennsylvania and my maternal great grandparents came from England.  I researched family crests, wrote down a family tree to my great grandparents on all sides of the family and I was done. Easy peasy.

Until I got my second computer in college, a Packard Bell and it could do this wondrous thing: connect to the internet.

I began researching my family tree once again, contacting relatives through the mail this time, my curiosity strong but college preoccupied my time, along with my part time job and the search was set aside.

I now wish I hadn’t. At this time I still had 2 thriving grandmothers who could have answered many of the questions I have now.

As a history buff (it’s probably why it’s one of the my degrees) finding information about my ancestors has been thrilling. I’ve learned all kinds of thing in the 18 months I’ve been doing my search, and though I work full time and have kids, I have days where I am able to focus and make some new discoveries.

I have also learned a very important lesson: just because I find information fascinating does not mean everyone does. My mother really is not into my learning about her heritage. I’ve learned to not say anything and am trying to focus more on my dad’s side of the family instead.

Week #2: Favorite Photo

AnnaMMorgart-VadaBlair

I’ll confess, I haven’t addressed photos yet having focused more on finding out if I have any Revolutionary War ancestors (I won’t give details now, it could be another prompt later in the year). My mom did share one with me when I began this journey and it still amazes me to this day.

Above is a picture of my Grandma, she is the one on the left holding the dog.  Why is this photo so amazing?  Because my Grandma is dressed like a girl!  I’m sure this sounds odd but once my Grandma discovered polyester pants and button down tops, she never looked back.  We have one picture of her in a dress, and I forget why she was dressed that way (perhaps her mom’s funeral, which happened in the summer of 1987).

It’s also just interesting to see my Grandma when she was young.  About a year ago I met up with my dad’s cousin (my second cousin) and when I sat down to speak with her I was blown away when she spoke of my Grandma, stating she was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.  Even now it makes me smile.

The woman to the right is my Great Aunt Vada. It’s her daughter who has helped to guide me quite a bit in my family history research.  Vada was actually my Grandmother’s sister-in-law (my grandfather’s sister), but they were best friends, more like sisters I hear from various sources.

Looking at the date on this picture of August 1937 – my Grandma was still a newlywed, having married my Grandfather in April of that year. I guess I need to do some more researching and discover who the other 2 individuals are in the photo. I’m going to assume that this was taken in Indiana as well, because I know that is where my grandparents got married, and that’s where Aunt Vada was living at the time, too. (As a side note, my father was born in Indiana in 1943).

What a fun challenge this is going to be, it’s most likely not too late to start!  Click here to sign up!

 

 

 

 

Family Tree Puzzle: Where Did That Relative Come From???

So as I have mentioned previously, I am working on my family tree, using the free online website of Family Search to track all my ancestors.  I have thoroughly enjoyed myself as I have learned so much about family members that I never knew existed, both near and far in my lineage.

The bad part of using a public forum for this is because you sometimes find people suddenly on your family tree that don’t belong there.  And I find it really aggravating.

FamilyTreeWhereDidTheyComeFrom

Case in point, I have 3 ancestors with the same name… Andrew Jackson Blair. And with the Andrew Jackson Blair who is my great grandfather – someone has added another Andrew into the mix – an Andrew Sloan Blair – which I know is incorrect.  Why?  I doubt my great great grandfather (also an Andrew Jackson Blair) and great great grandmother would name 2 sons within 4 years of each other, Andrew.  Secondly, Andrew Sloan Blair was born within 4 months of another relative. I don’t see that being possible, do you?

What’s worse is that I even took the time to figure out who Andrew Sloan Blair’s ancestors were and messaged the person who has attached their person to my relatives.  I received a reply a week or so later telling me that they appreciated my work and that they would clean up their tree.

But Andrew Sloan is still there.

I honestly don’t think there is a way for me to remove him from my family tree, so for the time being live with him I must.

However, that hasn’t stopped me from looking into software so I can do my own family tree and slowly build it with what I have found.

I’ll still use Family Search and Ancestry to research, but I prefer to double and triple check to make sure an ancestor is truly mine.  I latched onto an ancestor that was already listed in Family Search the other day and was really excited because somehow when clicking back to see what country my family members began in – it had me related to Charlemagne (he is my great x 39 grandfather).  I’ll admit, I was blown away – until when I began looking through the various people who were between me and Charlemagne, ended up having mothers that gave birth at age 4. So close to royalty.

So if you work on your family history – is there a software that you recommend?  Share with me as I begin my research!  Thank you in advance!

Day 2 – 30 Days of Gratitude

attitudeofgratitude

For Day 2 of my 30 Days of Gratitude I’m thankful for all my ancestors before me.  As a person who has begun seriously working on my Family Tree in August while I was on vacation, I have found it interesting finding the interesting tidbits of information I didn’t know.  Like having relatives right where I live that I never knew existed (I really need to contact them too).

But in learning about people – such as how my Great Grandmother was married 3 times in 6 years (just so you know, she was married to her third husband until he passed in the 1970’s), but while searching for the information on where my Great Grandmother lived while married and single, I saw that she lived with her own mother most of the time.  While doing this I am assigning demeanors to my ancestors, finding that my Great Great Grandmother Mazie must have been compassionate, because she took in her daughter and her daughter (my grandmother) despite the failed marriages, and my Great Grandmother and her final husband lived with Mazie and her 2nd Husband, Samuel, the first year of their marriage.

On the flip side, I hear stories of my Grandfather, from snippets I remember my Grandmother told me, and now stories that my dad has told me, and I realize how what some have described as “stubborn” now has me realizing that I just don’t think he was a very nice man.  I hear that he loved me to pieces and whenever he came over it wasn’t long before he found a way to sneak into my room and wake me up as he couldn’t wait to see me, but there’s a line between being stubborn and being kind – and I just think he wasn’t kind.  Getting into a snit with your sister and never even seeing her before she passed away from cancer in my world is a horrible thing.

So I’m grateful for my ancestors – and if I’m right, I want to be a little more like Mazie and a little less Leroy (sadly, my own temperament has been compared to his in the past – where this once made me proud, now I’m not so sure).

I’m also grateful to the libraries and the many ways available to allow a girl from Northeast Ohio to be able to dig into her Family Tree as years ago information I find in a matter of minutes could have taken me weeks to obtain back in the day.  How others did it I have no idea – as I know I’m not always the most patient of people.

So today I’m happy for the past – as I wouldn’t be here otherwise – what are you grateful for?

 

 

Time Flies…

So last week school started for both my kids.  It’s a new school for my son who is a fifth grader – one year in a new school.  He seems to be happier (except for the lack of air conditioning in the school – it’s funny how I’d forgotten that detail over the last 30+ years since I went to the same elementary school).  When asked in a questionnaire what he would do with a million dollars – he politely said he’d donate it to the school for air conditioning.  When asked what he feared most – he claimed an entire school year without air conditioning.  Lucky for him Ohio is a 4-weather year, predominately cold and snowy (or so it feels)

Towards the end of my vacation from work I began working on my family tree.  Not sure how factual it is but when I added my grandmother, she was already in the system, and there is apparently a line of hers that is traced back to Switzerland 1132.  I’ll be double checking things as I go along – but it’s awfully fascinating seeing all of it.

Hubby found a job and began it last week.  Life will hopefully return to normal.

Trying to focus on fun things in life again and getting the house all organized and decluttered (don’t I know how to have a good time?).

Heading to the ballpark to see our local minor league team play tomorrow – it’s followed up with One Direction fireworks – hoping they play some Girl Almighty to go along with the beautiful display!

I’ll keep you posted!