Saturday, May 7, 2011

The idea for the first 2 posts came pretty easily, but I've been having a hard time deciding what or who to write about for the this one. I was going to write about my paternal great grandfather, but decided to write about a female in honor of Mother's Day. As I mentioned in my last post, Betsey HEALD married Noah SHEARER when she was 35 and he was 60. She had 4 children in 6 years, which means Noah was 66 when he fathered his last child, not 64 as I said in my last post. Either way, that's a rip old age to be getting someone pregnant.
I don't know a lot about Betsey, but she does make me think. When I'm researching my ancestors I'm not just thinking about when and where they lived, I'd like to know how they lived and what they thought about. For example, why did she wait until she was 35 to marry? Did she have a choice, in either marrying or waiting that long? Remember, we're talking about the early 1800's, most women were married in their early 20's, yet, Betsey was 35. Evidently having children at 35 wasn't a challenge for her. Oddly enough, her 3rd child had the same name as Noah's first wife. Was it a sign of respect for the first wife, did Noah suggest it or was it Betsey's idea? These are the things I'd love to find out. I may be a bit of a geek, but I actually think of questions I'd love to ask my dead ancestors if I could time travel. And of course, they would have to tell the truth!
Some of us in my family are "savers", not "hoarders", because you can move through our houses and we usually know where everything is. I'm glad I have ancestors that were savers, thanks to them we have something I've always called "Grandma's Trunk". It is an old, old trunk that contains lots of my family history. When talking about historical documents, original documents written at the time by people of the time are referred to as primary documents. Primary sources are the most important ones to use when writing or discovering history. The trunk holds many primary documents and I'm so lucky to have it in my family, even if it doesn't live with me. One of my aunts is taking good care of it. Some of my favorite things in the trunk are letters written to Betsey by her children. We don't have the letters Betsey wrote, but you can guess at some things she wrote based on the responses of her children. One of my favorites is a response she received after she must have written something about the time just prior to the Civil War. The person responding wrote that he didn't think the troubles would amount to much. I hope he wasn't a gambling man!
I think that is enough for now. In honor of Mother's Day, may all the women in my family have a great day. I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for you, all of you. Even if I didn't live with you like I did my mother and sisters, there is something in me that I got from all you, be it a lot or a little. Thank you all for being who you are.