Monday, March 15, 2010
In the past month or so, I have been totally involved in researching my family tree and in helping my parents get ready for their big move. This is a serendipitous collision of events because while we are packing things we have a chance to talk about the history of some of the items and I sometimes make connections to something I have recently learned about the family from my research.
The very best discovery of all came about just last night. My mom showed me a leatherbound copy of Byron's poetry that belonged to her grandmother Louise. I knew the book existed, but I hadn't seen it since I was a teenager. The book was given to Louise sometime in the late 1800's, and she used it as a scrapbook of sorts, writing little notes in the margin, and adding a few mementos in between the pages. There was a lock of hair, a few letters and calling cards, and a little card she had received for "good conduct" from a favorite teacher that was dated 1877.
One particular letter of interest was from a gentleman who mentioned something about returning a ring, and about how a certain "Miss Fraser" had seen the ring on his keychain but he pretended not to notice. Unfortunately, he didn't sign his name! Wouldn't we love to know the details behind that!
Another letter that we found was from Louise's father who was back in Canada, telling her that her brother had died. At the bottom of the letter was a shaky "X" and the notation that her brother had written it with his dying hand. How sad! It must have been an awful piece of news to recieve. Louise had another brother, Peter, who had died just the year before. I can't imagine.
My mother has kept the book in her nightstand for about 30 years, right next to her family Bible. Inside the Bible, my mom keeps copies of any family obituaries that have occurred over the years. In reading through them, I was able to discover the maiden name of my great, great grandmother. That was quite an unexpected treat! I had hit a brick wall while researching that part of the family because I didn't know her maiden name.
I left my parents house last night armed with some new facts to pursue, and some fresh memories to keep.