Friday, December 4, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words

I am always saying how important my family is to me. It is the truth. But recently I have gotten in touch with my grandmother's cousin,(let me see if I get this right) my first cousin twice removed. I found her on a website where she was contributing to some historical facts of the area where my great grandparents grew up. I noticed her name and instantly knew who she was. Although I don't ever remember if she and I met, I have heard her name mentioned several times by both my mom and my grandma. But also posted with her name was her email.....JACKPOT! I have always wanted to talk to her since she is the historian of our family ancestry. I LOVE tracing my roots. It actually makes me excited to find even the tiniest piece of new information. And my heart literally quickens when I get a photo of one of my ancestors them or equally exciting is a story that's been handed down through the generations. To me, there is very few things that are more exciting. So you can imagine my excitement when I emailed Mary Ellen and got a response back the same night! She and I emailed back and forth several times each day and I got to ask all sorts of questions. She even emailed me some wonderful photos. When I got one of them in particular, it made me cry! It is of my Great Grandma Greer. She lived until I was 2 months shy of 21 years old. I remember Great Grandma telling me a story about how she always hated the dresses she was made to wear as a young girl. She said they were knee-length, dropped-waist dresses and while they were all the fashion for a girl her age, she thought the sash that went around the dropped-waist looked like the big leather collars the work horses wore around their necks! I told Mary Ellen that story and she responded with a childhood photo of my great grandma wearing just such a dress!

I really did cry! Mary Ellen went on to tell me that my great grandma was known as the family rebel. Her mother was a quaker and therefore never cut her hair. Much to the chigrin of her mom, my great grandma cut her hair into a bob! Such rebellion! I wish I had a time machine to go back and meet all my ancesters, to sit around a fire and exchange stories, to laugh with them, to tell them how much they mean to me. But I am so grateful to have the opportunity to gather memories, stories, and photos from the generations still alive who have preserved them. It makes me feel connected to something bigger than myself, like a belonging. It makes me feel proud.


  1. I love hearing stories about my relatives. I love how so many of them are things I've done, which makes me feel bonded to them even though I never knew them.

    Sorry I haven't emailed you back yet - I've been sick and busy with final school stuff. But I think it's awesome we have a relative buried in the SF National Cemetery. I'll have to go find him. And did you know a relative of ours worked on building the GG Bridge?

  2. yes I knew we had a relative who worked on the GG bridge. I dont know who it was or how we are related, but I intend to find out! I have already traced our family back to France in the 1300's! And that's a generation to generation tracing. So, (have to imagine a thick french accent for this next part--NOT SANTA!)) "ho ho ho! sah-ker-ah-bleau!" I have no idea what the heck that means or how to spell it-OBVIOUSLY! But I thought it had a nice effect :)