Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Five: Who do you think you are?

Sophia has given the revgals a fascinating Friday Five:

I moved across country for a college teaching job last September, and my mother came to visit for the first time last week. We had a fantastic genealogical adventure tracing the family roots of her father's grandfather, who moved away from this state sometime between 1887 and 1891.

We drove a few hours to their county armed with some names and cemeteries, and wondered if we could locate anyone. It turned out there is an awesome local history room in the public library, with a very skilled librarian library, and with her map and a pile of copied records we struck gold! We found, cleared, deciphered and took pictures of old weathered stones marking members of several family branches in four tiny country cemeteries--the one above is my fourth great grandma. Of particular RevGal interest, we spoke with a friendly and helpful pastor at the United Methodist Church (window above) on the site of the Presbyterian church my fifth great-grandpa helped found in 1814!

1. Do you have any interest in genealogy?

Oh, yes! I love doing genealogy. When we get moved I plan to join and do more work on our family tree. I have already be able to get back 9 generations.

2. Which countries did your ancestors come from?

My mother, as a child, was told to identify herself as “Scots-Irish, Republican and a Campbellite.” She ended up as a Methodist but she was still Scots-Irish and a Republican at the age of 97 when she died. My name is Welsh and my paternal grandfather came from the UK in the late 19th century, so I guess I can claim my heritage as thoroughly Celt. There may be a German great-great grandmother back on my mother’s side somewhere but I am predominantly Celtic

3. Who is the farthest back ancestor whose name you know?

In this country it is 9 generations: Alexander and Elizabeth McKinney who are buried in Vernon, CT, a Revolutionary War vet. In Scotland I found records going back to the 17th generation of a Susan Beatt(ie) in Perthshire.

4. Any favorite saints or sinners in the group?

I am especially fond of the stories of my great-grandmother who came from Scotland at the age of 16 to be the nanny for a wealthy family in Chicago. During the Great Fire in that city she was charged with getting the children safely to the family’s summer home in WI. Later in life when she had lost her husband she ran a boarding house for railroaders in Cedar Rapids, IA where my grandparents met.

The picture above is of my Great-Uncle George, brother of my grandfather. George was 20 years older than my grandfather but it was to George that my grandfather was sent when both of his parents died in the great flu epidemic in Ottawa in 1872. George was an officer in the Raj and spent some significant time in Calcutta. This is a picture of him driving his carriage in Calcutta sometime in the 1890's.

5. What would you want your descendants to remember about you?

I believe I am the first clergy person in the family and I was of the early group of women clergy in my denomination.

Bonus: a song, prayer, or poem that speaks of family--blood or chosen--to you.

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