The Ancestor Approved Award was started by Leslie Ann (Ancestors Live Here) to show appreciation of bloggers sharing interesting - helpful - fun content. Jennifer (The Erudite Geneagloist) has passed on the Ancestor Approved Award to me! Thank you so much for the recognition. When given the nod you are asked to share 10 things you have learned about your ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened you. I thought it would be easy to make the list, but I was surprised how competitive I made it for my ancestor's stories! Here are a few of my moments.
1. I was enlightened when a relative sent me my great grandparent's marriage certificate. The Priest who married my great grand parents was canonized Saint Alexis Toth of Wilkes-barre in 1994! Fedor Koval and Anna Hritzuniak were Eastern European immigrants, very new to the United States. Saint Alexis created a community for them to seek refuge and he lead over 20,000 Carpatho-Russian and Galician immigrants to connect with their Orthodoxy.
2. I was humbled and saddened piecing together the short and difficult life of my gg grandmother Fredericka Grimm. She was married when only 16 years old to a man 12 years older than her, had 7 daughters by the age of 25, and died at age 32. I can’t even imagine the struggles she must have faced.
3. I was enlightened researching my gggg grandfather Josiah James Franks' lifelong pursuit of the Oneida Community. He tried to join the community for over 20 years, finally gaining acceptance at the age of 79. Unfortunately he died a year later. Thanks to the resources of the Oneida Community's Special Collection at Syracuse University Library, I now have a copy of his signature! I have also inherited a table that once belonged to him.
4. I was surprised to find out my gg grandmother went against her father’s wishes when she married my gg grandfather. A fellow researcher sent me an article from the New York Times detailing the family drama. Apparently her father was against the engagement of his daughter because the fiance, Thomas Middleton, was divorced. This was news to me! After 2 years the couple grew tired of waiting and had a shotgun wedding on the Jersey Shore. Her brother gave her away.
5. I am humbled by the difficult life of my gg grandfather John Wright. A life marked with the death of many young children, nieces, nephews, and siblings. He lived 30 years longer than his wife; never remarrying. I found his burial site in the Knights of Pythias Greenwood Cemetery in Philadelphia. He is buried with his wife, sister, and 3 of his children. None of them have a grave marker. This has inspired me to plan a “family reunion” of sorts for this spring/summer, adding a stone to their grave to remember this family and their struggles.
6. I was surprised to learn a set of my gg grandparents could not read or write.
7. I was enlightened after transcribing a stash of letters from my great grandfather Wentworth Middleton to my great grandmother Edith. Reading the nicknames he had for his wife and daughter, the ornate style of his writing, the interesting stories he shared... it's like a time machine.
8. I am surprised that I have not found any ancestors who served in the Civil War.
9. I was enlightened to find the villages in Ireland my gg grandparents Samuel and Ann Shaw came from. (Annsborough and Castlewellan, County Down)
10. I am surprised I haven’t found any implications of second marriages after the death of a spouse in my family tree. Many of my ancestors had a spouse die young and from my research no one remarried! (both male and female ancestors)
Like I said, it was really hard to narrow it down to 10! Thanks for reading!