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.



lala said...

Unbelievable!!!! This is such an incredible, wonderful and absolutely heartwarming story. I am so glad you finally have a bit of your history, and can put faces to the names. What a wonderful gift for the new year!

Unknown said...

What an fantastically touching and love filled story!!! I The pictures are stunning, furthermore they are your memories and priceless! :)


robin dudley-howes said...

Wow Susan! How awesome. Great photos especially since they are your family!

The Painted Garden said...

Thank you for sharing and taking time to tell us about the love story of Aunt Flossie - she sounds like an amazing and kind and loving lady and how lucky the little girl was to have her in her life. I remember having my hair brushed 100 strokes at night when we stayed with our Grandmother.

The photos are priceless and how special that you have them.
Have a lovely day.

A Bit of Colour said...

What an encouragement for me. I have been thinking about Ancestry.com & searching my roots. Such wonderful priceless treasures that were sent to you. Thank you for sharing your family story. Enjoyed the pics also.

Blessings ~ kim

Alice said...

Well you know how much I love to delve into the past. Your photos are so wonderful, and you are so lucky to have received such a treasure.

Unfortunately I have not had the same success as you with Ancestry.com on either side of my family, but I keep trying.

Burlap Luxe said...

O, Susie I have visited you before but it's been way to long in between visits, I have to get by more often. I am drooling over your art and your style is right up my ally.
Love the family history, it's so heart warming to read your post and best is to create around that than some gathered and collected pictures of people we don't even know. It's just so soulful using family photos rather then the adopted ones we find at fleas or tag sales.

Thank you for dropping by and commenting on my post, I was just featured in Romantic Country magazine on the stands now its the spring issue 2013 pages 18-25

Do you ever come down off that mountain to Hesperia we have a shop here called the garden shed who use to be in Crestline she was also at Antique Station and now back in Hesperia. Barbra took over the shop in Crestline and is also back in Hesperia. Let me know if you come down we could even meet up, it could be a fun meeting and bring some of your creative goodies to show off :)

Talk to you real soon.

Lily's Lace said...

Hey pretty girl! WOW i am amazed how many photos that you have of your family! How long did it take you to look all of this up? It's a sad sign that most people really don't care where they came from, But I do! You did a wonderful post, I need to get better about blog serfing!! Have a wonderful California day!xoxox

Cindy said...

Susie, what an incredible story. My goodness, this is just amazing! I had tears in my eyes as I read about how you actually made contact with a real angel - someone who knew your family members way back when..... it really is a miracle that this happened. And you received pictures that you had never seen before! What an experience. I happen to collect Victorian photo albums, and I have been thinking about going through and collecting what names are written on any pictures inside (unfortunately most are not labeled) and the states. Not sure what I'll do with this information, but I would like to catalogue it. I'm going to eventually do a blog post with pictures of the albums (the covers anyway, I have many), and I can list any names then. I would love to find family members and connect them with these precious photos that are now in my care. Susie, I am SO happy for you that this happened. I enjoyed seeing each and every picture of your dear family.

Kit said...

Wow! How incredible. Love the special book you made. :) Kit

Jaja said...

love this , had to share! Thank you for sharing your story!