Saturday, August 10, 2013

SNGF: Spin the Ancestor Roulette Wheel!

Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun challenge this week is:

Your mission this week, should you decide to accept it, is to:
1) What year was one of your great-grandmothers born?  Divide this number by 125 (use a calculator!) and round the number off to a whole number. This is your "roulette number."
2) Use your pedigree charts or your family tree genealogy software program to find the person with that number in your ancestral name list (some people call it an "ahnentafel" - 
your software will create this - use the "Ahnentafel List" option, or similar). Who is that person, and what are his/her vital information?

3) Tell us three to five facts about that person in your ancestral name list with the "roulette number."4) Write about it in a blog post on your own blog, in a Facebook status or a Google Stream post, or as a comment on this blog post.

My 4 great-grandmothers were born in 1871, 1873, 1873 and 1867. Divided by 125 and rounded to the nearest whole number yields the number of 15. What a surprise!

Number 15 in my Ahnentafel (based on me) is my mother's mother's mother, Nancy Jane COLLINS. I could write a book about her, since I've been absolutely fascinated by her my entire life.
1. My maternal great-grandmother was known as "Nannie" by friends and many relatives; she was "Mammo" to her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
2. Mammo was the only of my great-grandmothers that I ever met. She was born in 1873 and died in 1966, about two months before my high school graduation. After her last child (my grandmother) died earlier that year (late February), Mammo got her affairs in order and basically gave up on life. She announced that she "was ready to meet my maker" and went to sleep.
3. Mammo lived her entire life in Missouri, almost all of it in Hickory County. She did live a few years in Joplin, Jasper County, Missouri, where all three of her children were born, but the family returned to Weaubleau, Hickory County within 5 years. Later in life, her husband took a job as a guard at the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City and Mammo moved there for a few years, once again returning to Weaubleau after the Republicans took over.
4. Mammo had fiery red hair that turned snow white when she hit her 80s. She always wore it in a bun on the back of her head. When we moved to Pennsylvania she came and visited us and shared a room with me. I can still remember watching her brush her waist-length white hair and the light of the street lamp glinting off of it.
5. Mammo was feisty and strong-willed. Once in the early 1930s she took over writing the Weaubleau "locals" column for the weekly county newspaper and regaled the men in the area who drank alcohol and didn't attend church on Sunday. She was relieved of her correspondent duties in short order!
6. Mammo never once spelled my name correctly. She insisted that "Ginny" should be spelled with a "J"!
7. I have spent countless hours trying to evaluate the accuracy of the stories Mammo told and the family history "facts" Mammo wrote about in her letters. While there's been a grain of truth in all of them, none have proven to be very accurate.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Cemetery Tours are FUN!

Today we had another great Seattle Genealogical Society cemetery tour, led by Amber Case and Lisa Oberg. This time we visited the GAR Cemetery on Capital Hill, just North of the much larger Lakeview Cemetery.

The photo at left is of the obelisk "In Memory of Our Heroes" that was erected by the Women's Relief Corps. All of the stones in the cemetery are flat, or at least relatively so. The original upright stones were re-set at a low angle many years ago.

There are some fascinating stories in this cemetery. Amber and Lisa shared a few of them with us. Not surprisingly, none of the Civil War veterans or their wives we heard about were originally from Washington state. Several of them took long, circuitous routes to get here, living in as many as 8 states en route.

I could easily get sidetracked by these cemetery stories; there are just so many of them that are absolutely fascinating. I don't know how Lisa and Amber make any progress on their own family research, given the amount of research they do for these cemetery tours. Thanks to both of you for a very pleasant and informative afternoon.