Tag Archives: genealogy

Saluting the Real Nurturer of the National Mother’s Day

This post is doing double duty as an observance of Mother’s Day (this Sunday) and the current (Week 19) #52Ancestors theme of “Nurture!”

Skip’s 2nd cousin once removed, Mary Towles Sasseen, is considered by many to be the actual founder of Mother’s Day in the United States. Netta Mullin, President of the Henderson County, Kentucky Historical Society, wrote that Mary “Mamie” Sasseen , a former schoolteacher, sought to have April 20, her own mother’s birthday, declared a national holiday for individuals to celebrate their mothers. Ms. Sasseen published and circulated a pamphlet in 1893 explaining her efforts to create a holiday that would be celebrated in the public schools. During her lifetime, her efforts led to the establishment of Mother’s Day in the Springfield, Ohio school system, and in many other cities celebrations were organized.

Mary Towles Sasseen married Judge William Marshall Wilson in 1904, and sadly, died while delivering her first and only child, in 1906.

Anna Jarvis is credited with bringing about the existence of the National Mother’s Day, which was declared by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914, to be observed every second Sunday in May.  She wrote letters and rallied votes for the cause, true, but we recognize the lifetime achievement of Mary Towles Sasseen in laying the groundwork. She was a patient and dedicated nurturer of the national holiday, although it came into full bloom after her death.

Mary Towles Sasseen jennyskip
Mary Towles Sasseen, photo originally shared on ancestry by georgepbeaumaster

An Out-of-Place Ancestor

This week’s topic for Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors series, is “Out of Place.” Too bad, I see this often enough, since I’ve been clicking on hints and attaching them, when I have no business doing it. But it seems so much easier to do on the ancestry app, than on the full-blown website. At least, that’s my current excuse, when I find an ancestor on the pedigree that really doesn’t belong there.

For instance, Richard Hunt’s (c. 1650) wife, Agnes. For some unrecalled reason, I had paired Richard Hunt up with an Agnes who was 10 or so years older than he was, and was from a totally different place in England. With no attached sources. Oh, how I hate it when that happens.

The ease with which we can peruse historical records and decide whether they fit our family’s story, is phenomenal. And sometimes we can make a leap of faith, based on some very minuscule clues that lie in wait among the details, waiting to sprout like seeds into a massive limb on the family tree. But is that limb grafted or real?

DNA “evidence” can seem like the truth serum that makes suppositions like this real: my ancestor’s wife was Agnes. There was an Agnes who lived in the next town, whose birthdate was in the range of her husband’s. One of their children’s names was the same as her father’s. Several of their descendants are DNA matches to me. Can this be proof enough?

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Irish Obligations

Once when I was getting divorced, I was presented with the question of whether I wanted to keep my married name, or go with some other legal name. I thought it might be great to adopt my grandmother’s maiden name, Daugherty. I could definitely get a brand new start, no one would recognize the baggage I had with a former name, and everyone would know right away, I had Irish ancestry.

“No, you can’t just take on a new name you’ve never had before,” sneered my lawyer, who was of Italian ancestry by way of New York, and was obviously no fun at all. “If you want to change your name to something new, that’s a different case and comes with a separate fee.”

OK, so that was the end of that idea.

But with St. Patrick’s Day coming up, and with the recent wave of genealogy workshops having washed over us, I can see that I haven’t gotten very far in researching my Irish roots. The Daughertys, the Hopkins,’ the Gordons, the McAlisters and McBees, Baxters, Loves, and Phares all came over to the Colonial U.S. but I don’t know very much about where they came from and why they wanted to leave Ireland. It’s time to get to work on them.

Cricut shamrock Iron-on

At the recent conference we attended, we found quite a few classes with Irish, Scottish, and British research suggestions, to call out just a few. We also went to a very good German research workshop, and I can’t wait to try out some of the sources from that, too.

Conference swag bag

The keynote speaker, and presenter for several of the classes, was Donna Moughty, a genealogist who specializes in Irish research. I’m happy that it seems to be the right time, the right area, and the right whiz-bang of attention delivered, to help me focus on this area of family history. Meanwhile, there’s a holiday coming up…

St Patrick’s Day iron-ons: shamrock unicorn and truck

We all love Green (Olive Greene)

Following along with Amy Johnson Crowe’s prompt for this week of #52ancestors, which is “unusual name,” I present a little summary of what I know of my 2nd great grandmother, Olive Greene.

Her full name was Olive Jane Greene, and she went by the nickname “Jenny.”

She was born about 100 years before I was, and lived her whole life in Cumberland County, Maine. Her father was a farmer. She was born when her father was 47 and her mother 44. Her oldest brother was 20 years older than she was. She was able to marry while her parents were still alive, so they could see their youngest child, and only daughter as far as I can see, happily situated in life.

In the first census taking after her marriage, they are listed as living with her parents. Jenny’s husband was described as a tinsmith by trade. In the next three census records, he is listed as manager of a local canning factory.

The couple were parents of two daughters who died relatively young, in their twenties (my 2nd great aunt) and thirties (my great grandmother). My grandmother (#52Ancestors 2019 pick number 1) did get to meet and know her husband’s Grandma Jenny and Grandpa Charles Herbert.

First Grandmother I Met

Crafting in the 21st Century is an eclectic sort of venture: we’ve documented mostly arts and crafts and practical projects, but writing is also a craft. We end up giving many of our posts a “family history” tag anyway, because they build up stories about who we are and what we like to do, and maybe why. One of the founding purposes of creating the blog is to record the stories of our life and times. For us, “creating 19th century crafts using 21st century technology” was supposed to be one of our tag lines, although we’ve strayed a lot!

With that intro, I want to opt into Amy Johnson Crow’s #52 ancestor challenge for 2019, and plan to steal a little bit of space from this craft blog to write about our gene pool.

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If you’d like to sign up for the challenge, you’ll be sent a prompt once a week over the coming year, to jump start your work at this venture. Who knows what dimension will be added to your life, as you draw on the memories of your ancestors? They don’t want to be forgotten. The first prompt for this year is…”first.” So this is my grandmother, the first grandmother I ever met. She was born at the beginning of the 20th century, in the first week of January, in a log cabin in Germany Valley, Pendleton County, West Virginia.

The family moved to Oklahoma with her Uncle Baxter, who had bought a farm, when my grandmother was four years old. All the kids had to work hard. Her mother succumbed in the flu epidemic around 1918. Her dad became depressed, sold the farm equipment, and moved the family back to West Virginia where they stayed at the hotel in town, owned by other family members.

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She wrote in her memoir: “Then our Dad became very unhappy with our situation and took us back to Oklahoma…again in June 1921…We were there one day when Dad killed himself by shooting himself in the head with a shot gun. I remember seeing him at the funeral and his head was so swollen it was twice the size it should have been. Grandpa sent a telegram to the aunts in W. Va….So they started dividing us up among the relatives—Martha went to Aunt Lola, Anne stayed with Grandma, Alice and Pete got married in St. Louis, Mo. on June 17, 1921 on our way back. Hattie went to Aunt Sallie, Bill to the hotel and Aunt Meade, and I went with Aunt Lillie and Uncle Baxter and Harry was already there. So we were scattered all over creation and another phase of our lives starts from there.”

First Gran took the train to Washington, DC, when she got a little older and became a nurse. She liked to sew, quilt, do all sorts of needlework, paint (by number mostly), garden, cook, and keep the house spotless.