Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Of Journals and Genealogy and History

I was never much into genealogy as a kid.  Genealogy was quite prevalent in Mormon culture when I was growing up, and perhaps it still is.  I was interested in the history, but the collecting of names and dates never really struck my fancy. 

I had relatives who were quite active in genealogical pursuits, including one if my aunts on my mom's side, my mom's aunt, and my dad's cousin.  I figured they could do the work since it was something that didn't really interest me.

As I've been reading Mom's journals and going through old pictures, I realize there is so much I don't know about my ancestors and sadly, much I will probably never know because the parties involved are deceased.  I have a great aunt and uncle who are still alive and quite sharp, and I hope to interview them before they die to get more information about my dad's side of the family. 

I have come to realize I know very little about my mom's dad's side of the family; virtually nothing about her stepfather's family, and very little about my dad's mom's parents.

Dad's dad's family is quite well researched, and I do know a bit about Mom's mom's family.

Some things I have learned which I never knew before:

Mom's dad's mother died a week after he was born, and his father remarried, and that was the grandmother my mom knew.

One of Mom's aunts from the second marriage is still alive and in assisted living.  She's in her 90s, I believe.

Dad's mom worked in a ribbon shop and also worked for a photographer before she got married.

There is a slight chance that Dad's mom got married because she was pregnant, although she insisted this was not the case.  However, she and my grandpa lived separately with each of their parents for the first few months of their marriage.

My great-grandmother on my dad's side said she wouldn't marry my great-grandfather unless they had their own home, so he built her one.

My mom's stepfather, the only grandpa I ever knew, didn't want anyone informed of his death until after he was cremated.

My mom's stepsister died of an aneurysm about 13 years ago.

Mom' uncle's boss accidentally backed over over Mom's uncle's toddler son with an automobile and killed him.

It's also interesting reading Mom's journals and getting new perspectives on things that perhaps I didn't recognize as a child.  For example:

I didn't know that Mom's relationship with her mother-in-law was sometimes strained.  It is well known in my family that Grandma showed blatant favoritism towards her youngest daughter, and you can sense that Mom was jealous of that and bothered by Grandma's unwillingness to live life after the death of her husband.

I did not realize Moms' frustrations with her church service.  In what I've read thus far, it is clear that she finds serving as a Primary teacher frustrating and she really didn't want to serve as a Relief Society nursery leader.

I never recognized how much Mom and Dad really sacrificed for us.  When I read about Mom shuttling us kids around everywhere, and how domestic she was when I was younger (cleaning, cooking, housework), taking classes on speech therapy so she could better understand my sister's speech problems growing up, Mom's church callings, family trips, sewing outfits for my sisters even though it wasn't her strongest talent, working at night, etc. I am exhausted by how much she had to do and fully recognize that her motives were based on how much she loved her kids and wanted them to succeed.

Anyway, a desire to trace my family's history has been kindled in me.

Here are some of the coolest photos I'v come across so far:

These are my great-great grandparents on my dad's side.  The little girl standing between her father's legs is my dad's dad's mother.
This is that same little girl as a young woman with my great-grandfather (Dad's dad's parents)
My great-grandfather is at far right on the front row.  The man in the middle with the mustache is my great-great grandfather.
This is my dad's dad (left) and his two brothers.  The one in the middle is still alive and actually looks the same (only much, much older - lol)
This is my great-grandfather with his daughter (my dad's mom).
This is my great-grandfather with his daughter (Mom's mom).
Grandma (Mom's mom) as a teenager is some production.  She's in the second row, fifth from the left.
My dad is the boy in the middle.  His mom (my grandma) is between the two boys (the younger boy is my uncle).  Her mother (my great-grandmother) is in the middle.  The other ladies are aunts.

Mom's dad as a young man.
Really cute picture of my dad and his brother at Forest Lawn Cemetery in 1947.  I had never seen this before.

 Dad with his brother, parents, grandparents, and uncles.
 Mom's mom's mom.
 Mom on a pony in San Francisco.
Mom and her mom in San Francisco.
 This kind of blows me away.  This photo was taken in 1947 at a Stake Center in San Francisco while my dad and his family were on vacation, I think.  They lived in Provo, Utah at the time, I believe.  Pictured are my dad and his brother.  Dad's mom has her arms on his shoulders.  To the right of her are her parents.  I believe the lady behind her is her mother-in-law, and I presume my dad's dad took the photo.
This picture was probably taken 10 years later.  Mom is far right, front row.  Note it's the same steps of the same Stake Center.  This was a stake center Mom would have frequented as a youth in San Francisco.  I don't really believe in coincidences.  It's kind of fun to think Mom and Dad were in such even close proximity years before they met.


Dean Scott said...

Fun facts and a nice collection of photos - I wish my family had more photos from the past. My aunt and mom did a lot of genealogical research. The same aunt and I were the unofficial family historians. A few of my cousins have contacted me for information since mom and my aunt passed away. It is a strange feeling - makes me feel older than I am.

Gay LDS Actor said...

My sister and I are probably our family's unofficial historians.