Friday, August 15, 2014

Finding joy by digging into the past

As I get older, I find myself yearning to know more about where I came from, the history of the two families that I am a part of, their stories and the genes that I inherited from them.   
My grandfather George, selling Watkins products from the back of his truck
This week found me journeying into the past, digging into old records, seeking out relatives unseen in ages to discover my mother’s family history.  I learned to sit back and simply listen as my elders reminisced, going back and telling stories of times when my mom was growing up.   
My Mother's 3 brothers: Glen, Allen and Dale
My search was mostly for old photographs of my mom, her 3 brothers, parents and grandparents.  I found myself often discouraged to find that as people passed away, photographs were scattered and sometimes just thrown away. I discovered that most photos rarely had names or dates written on them  
Great Grandmother, born 1829
We visited two old cemeteries, searching for family buried so long ago.  My aunt came with us, showing us where members were laid to rest.  
Her family was so large they had their own school house
When I sought out the library records and the genealogical society, I found county records going back to 1902.  There was copy of a huge old book filled with county maps showing the boundaries and location of all the farms.  The woman volunteers were able to help me find my mother’s family farm and to my amazement my dad pointed out his.  I boldly asked if it was possible to get a copy and they volunteered to make one for me!  I plan to get it framed and hang it.
My mom with her brother Dale
 I returned home with more names of relatives to seek out who may have some of the missing photographs I want.  I have plans for a return trip in the early autumn.  With relatives aging I fear the stories and photos will disappear with them. 

Sharing my small joys and finds with Kim Klassen’s Friday Finds.


  1. Isn't it great to find these treasures !! I am very fortunate to have many photographs of our families ! Sometimes you suddenly see someone looking so much like yourself or you see some features coming back again and again !! Love your find

  2. These are truly treasures. It doesn't get any better than old family photos.

  3. What amazing treasures! You are so lucky to have relative still alive to tell the tales!

  4. And THAT my dear, is why we're that all those names and dates and places don't get lost with future generations. I just turned 50 last year and have been thinking a lot about my history, but there's no one left to ask about it. I do have tons of old photos of distant family I got years ago when my mom passed. I need to just sit down at some point and try to figure out who's who! So glad to hear you're finding some answers!

    Amy E.

  5. So important to document what you are able. I have that with so many of the old pictures I have as well, no names, no dates and nobody to tell the stories anymore.

  6. I so understand what you are saying here! I have lots of heritage photos and some of them I just stare, and stare at, and wonder ... wishing I knew more ...

  7. Such a great post! I love researching family history too. Wonderful photos!

  8. What a great and interesting post, Diane !
    You've found some real treasures ...
    Have a nice weekend,

  9. What an amazing treasure trove of family history you've unearthed. The photos are amazing - especially Great Grandma knitting her socks outdoors on her favourite chair. If they could only talk and tell us the full story it would make a very interesting narrative. Good luck with all the other research that you're planning. I"m really looking forward to the next instalment. All the best, Bonny

  10. Great post! I love looking at old family photos. I'm like you, though, I wish they had names on them. I've been working on journaling some of our family stories, so they won't be lost forever.

  11. Great blessings come from appreciating our heritage. There is something very grounding about knowing where and from whom we come. Your pictures are such treasures, and your journey to document your family history is already bring joy. . . not just to you, but to all those who long to be remembered and acknowledged. A beautiful post. Thank you.

  12. What wonderful family photos! I wish all of ours had names on them too. Your family will appreciate all of your hard work to find their family tree and history too.

  13. I have several walls in my home covered with old family photos - I love looking at them and so do our guests.

  14. Love those old photos! What stories they could tell (or you could make them up and have a whole new history!)... either way nice to have them and be able to reproduce them. Perhaps they will find their way into your art as well?

  15. Such wonderful family photos!


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