Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Beauty & Joy of Ancestry.com

As a young girl, I sat & listened to the stories my grandmother would
tell of her childhood, always fascinated by them. She was born in
1918 at a time when divorce was uncommon, but before she was
2 her parents split up & she was raised by her father's, father.

Her dad worked on the railroad & was rarely in town & her
mother, working full time to make money to help support her,
only saw her on occasional weekends. Growing up, her world
was her grandpa's house in rural Illinois, her Uncle Tony & his
family & her beloved Aunt Flossie. She told me how Flossie
would sit on a stool, take down her long chestnut hair & brush
it 100 strokes every night. She told me why Aunt Flossie had
become a spinster, the tragic tale of her ruined engagement,
public humiliation & her withdrawal into her father's home.

I can picture her grandpa, pulling her in a sled to church every
Sunday during winter, placing a heated brick wrapped in
newspaper by her feet to keep her warm. Loving memories
of family, I can only see in my minds eye. I have been blessed
with a handful of old photographs, 2 of my great~grandfather
William, a few of my grandmother when she was small, but
none of the loving family that raised her all those years ago,
that is until now.

Let me introduce you to my Great~Great Auntie Flossie...
courtesy of an angel named Barbara & the Beauty & Joy
of Ancestry.comIsn't she a BEAUTY!!! :)))

{Flossie, Lura, Mabel & Nellie}

I've been researching our genealogy for the past few years
& LOVE all the information I have been able to gather from 
Ancestry.com. The community there is generous & supportive &
you can contact someone if you have a question or have added
documents or data that may help in their research , this is the way
Barbara found me. While going through some of her husband's,
grandmother's photographs, she came across many that had the
name Flossie Brewer on them. She too loves Ancestry & found
Flossie under my family tree & saw that I had no pictures of her. 

{Nellie & Flossie}

She contacted me & asked if I would be interested in having
the pictures she had, to which I gave a HUGE, YES PLEASE!
It seems his grandmother Nellie & my Aunt Flossie had been
lifelong friends since childhood. I was so excited to be able to
finally get a chance to put a real photograph to the stories my
grandmother use to tell. When the package arrived I was
amazed at what JOY was in that small bundle, for not only
did she have photographs of my Aunt...

she also had photographs of my Uncle Tony

& my dear Grandmother, Twilla Mae Fern as a little girl.
For someone like me, this is the stuff dreams are made of.
This is like going into an abandoned house, up into the attic
& finding a treasure trove of antiques, but even better...
this is the story of me, the story of us.

This photograph has writing on the back by Flossie...
"Here's Twilla in the yard & that's me on the porch swing!"
I've never seen a picture of my great~great grandfather,
but now I can look at his house, the house that
raised at least 2 generations of my family.

The back of this one says...
Mrs. Brewer, Flossie & Twilla
I can see their lace curtains through the window & I know this
must be Uncle Tony's wife Lena, they lived across the street.

And here is grandma with her cousin Margaret, who she always
talked about & kept a correspondence up with until the day she died.

My sweet, little, red haired grandmother with her baby...
how cute is this?

Soooo, my Sweet Friends...
This is the Beauty & Joy of Ancestry.com for me. An unlikely
acquaintance of two women that live on opposite sides of the US.
Two women, unrelated, but soul sisters in their quest for the past
& their love for family mementos. An angel, who would go out of
her way to connect a long lost Aunt & Uncle, with the niece they
never knew, who will treasure these photographs forever.
I can never thank you enough sweet Barbara, for
the gift you have given me!

And yes, I had to make a little fabric book to hold my treasures
safe & sound. I wish my grandmother could have seen these
pictures, she would LOVE them so! I bet she's
smiling, right now.


Friday, January 11, 2013

A Civil War Vintage Fabric & Lace Book

Happy TGIF Sweet Friends...
The sun is shining, the sky is bright blue & the ground is
blanketed in white. Out the window, I can see smoke
coming from the chimney of the house next door.
It is MOST charming!!

I have been having a love affair...
a love affair with vintage lace, fabric, buttons & bows.
This Christmas, I made each one of the girls in my family
a fabric book filled with all the things I love. Each one had
a different theme...Baby's, Angels, Sisters, Photographs by
Julia Margaret Cameron & the one I made for myself...
Children of the Civil War.

I adore old tintypes, they always catch my eye, but it's the
images of children that I can't resist. Dressed in their
finest, little girls wearing beads around their necks,
there is often a hint of sadness in their eyes.

This little one is down right MAD,
with her off the shoulders, fine damask dress. 

Loving history the way I do & loving genealogy, it has been a
revelation to me to find that on nearly all sides of my family tree,
I have grandfathers & uncles that fought in the Civil War. 

They are equally divided by the North & South. In my family,
it is completely regional. The ones who lived in Illinois &
Ohio fought for in the Union Army, while those that
lived in Virginia, fought for the Confederacy.

In question was the equality of human beings,
the rights of man & the basic principal that this nation
was founded on...that ALL MEN are created EQUAL.

A nation divided...

a family divided.

I added a little envelope to each one of my books,
filled with tiny treasures.

In my book I have my business card, an antique handkerchief
& a picture of an old tintype of a little girl & her doll.

And I have copies of 2 letters sent to my Aunt Catharine
informing her of the death of her husband, my
Great~Great~Great Uncle James Knight,
from disease contracted while fighting
for the Union Army in 1862.

James & his brothers, Joseph & Thomas, joined
Company 'F' 123rd Illinois Infantry on September 6th 1862.
Both Joseph & Thomas returned from the war in 1865,
while James died in November of 1862, only
2 months after his enlistment. 

"Woodsonville, KY Jan 14 1862
Mrs Night
I sit down to in form you of the death of James Night
he died her this morning about 6 oclock. I will send
his knapsack to you. I have nothing to tile about him
for he was a stranger to me he will be buried her to
day nothing more
J J Goudnay"

"January 17th, 1862
Mrs Knight,
I thout this evning that I woud write you a few lines 
witch I thout of doing good while a go.
you have had to her the sad nues of the departire
of you husbman. I know will inform you that I was
at the same Hosptel but was in another room. he
hadent ben well for som time. I went to the hosptel
about the same time. I did as soon as I got abel I
went to see him and talk with him. he was very 
 joley but at his write mind. I ask him if he thout he
would git well and he sed he didn't know. he was
witing to die he had a good bed and evy thing he
wonted to eat. he was cered for and as well taken
cer of as cood be but you must recolebt that we
must all die sooner or later. I suspect that James
is at peas he sed that he was wiling to go. he
didnt say eny thing about wonting to be sent home.
we had a nise plane cofen made and he was berade
very desend. I think if I was in you place that I wodent
go to the trobel of moving him for he is at rest.
To Cathing Knight
From Samuel C Blankenbecker"

In the 1860 census, Samuel Blakenbecker was 17 & lived
with his parents on a farm neighboring my Aunt & Uncle.
James was 32 when he died & Catharine was left with
7 children to raise on her own. 

With this sweet little fabric book, I honor my own American Story.
There is an American Story in each of us, I can't wait
to find out more about mine!!


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Empress Alexandra...A New Paperdoll For A New Year!

It's 2013,
A Brand New Year,
A Brand New Start & Anything is Possible!
Don't you just LOVE the idea of that?

I thought I wanted to start over with a brand new blog home for
the New Year, but I guess I started wondering WHY?

I've made such wonderful friends here, my most intimate thoughts
have been posted here, this is my home. So I went in & deleted
some of my frivolous posts, took out unneeded pictures
& here I shall stay, with a fresh look for a fresh
New Year!!!

So, what will be my new pursuits in the New Year,
what are some of my New Possibilities?

to create a balance between my mind & body,
to LISTEN to what my body is telling me.

'Spoonin' Love...
I am going to really invest myself in my craft,
get a website up, work on my catalog & head into the
New Year with a clear business plan, Grow My Business.

Paperdoll Love...
I adore creating & making paperdolls. I know,
it's crazy but true! I was so excited when right
before New Year's Eve, I sold two of them on etsy
to some one in Australia. My paperdolls have now
officially seen more of the world then I have! lol
This is me...Following My Bliss.

Oh, by the way, this is my NEW Paperdoll for the New Year...
Empress Alexandra Feodorovna Romanov,
grand~daughter to Queen Victoria & the Last Tsarina of Russia.
You can find out more about her tragic fairytale by clicking
HERE & here she is on my etsy!!!
She's my new favorite & I think her little Grand Duchesses
& the next Tsarevich may be next, we'll see. If you have any
requests or idea's of a fun paperdoll you may be interested
in, let me know. I'm always up for a new idea!!! :)))

Looking FORWARD to the exciting year ahead...
I hope you are too!!!