Sunday, January 30, 2011

Ancestor Approved

 As is usual these days, I am running way behind, but I was pleased as punch when in December Shelley from A Sense of Family gave me the “Ancestor Approved Award.” The award was started by Leslie Ann of Ancestors Live Here in March 2010.  Thank you Shelley for your recognition of my fledgling blog!

Recipients are asked to make a list of ten things they have learned about their ancestors that have humbled, surprised, or enlightened them. Then they are to pass on the award to ten other bloggers who are doing their ancestors proud.

It's kind of hard to know where to start because it seems like everything I learn about my ancestors surprises me.  Just when you think you know what to expect they knock you for a loop!  And I think it goes without saying that the lives our ancestors led are very humbling to us all.

Where to start, what to say!  Well here goes:

1.  When I first started researching back around 1994 I expected to discover that my ancestors immigrated to the United States within the last one hundred years or so.  Imagine my surprise to find most of them had been here much longer than that, in fact, many coming here in the 1700's and some in the 1600's.  I only found one ancestor, who emigrated for certain in the 1800’s from Germany, my 2x great grandfather Sarillas Lofink Neibel.

2.  It was humbling to me to realize that my ancestors were flesh and blood people with real lives, problems, loves and hardships.   Somehow I had this cartoon picture in my head, perhaps from watching old movies where the people looked and acted silly.  This truly has been one of the most mind-boggling things to wrap my head around.  These people really existed and because of them, I am here.

3.  When I first started genealogy in 1994 I was more concerned with how many names I could put on my chart and how far back I could go.  Now I care more about what I can learn about the lives of the people I discover.  I am obsessed in learning who they were, how they lived, what they thought, what they experienced.  This sea change in my thinking has been truly humbling and enlightening.

4.  I know that some people start their genealogy research hoping to find some famous and rich ancestors.  Even though I have a couple of very "minor" celebrities, I find I am more proud of the everyday, working people in my family.  I come from a long line of farmers, coal miners, mechanics, plumbers and laborers.  These are the people whose hard work made America great and they truly humble me.

5.  I was amazed and awed to learn that I had ancestors on several lines that fought in the Civil War.  Some survived, some did not.  My 3X great-grandfather, Daniel W. Sewell came from a family of five brothers.  He and one brother fought for the South; their other three brothers fought for the North.  I can't imagine a more difficult situation than fighting a war knowing that you might end up facing your own brother on the battlefield!  Unfortunately, Grandpa Daniel died in battle at the age of 23 before ever seeing his first child.

6.  The wife of Daniel W. Sewell, Amanda J. Martin married two more times, had six more children and outlived all three husbands.  Somehow she managed to persevere and keep on going.  By all accounts she was a real "pistol" who really enjoyed life.  This is humbling.  I don’t know if I would have that much gumption.

7.  I was equally amazed and surprised to learn that I had several ancestors that fought in the Revolutionary War, one of those being my 5X great-grandfather Samuel Thompson Clemmons.  How wonderful to know that my family was part of the undertaking to secure our independence and create the wonderful country that I have been privileged to live in.

8.  I was shocked by the number of ancestors who were divorced.  Somehow I always assumed people "back then" didn't get divorced.  Well I'm here to tell you that yes they did!  Besides two sets of great-grandparents that I know of, it was always assumed that my great-great grandfather David J. Wilson's parents probably died sometime before 1850.  However, records now show they divorced and his mother remarried.  He went to live with his grandmother as a small boy and lived with her until adulthood.

9.  When I first began researching in the early 1990's I was very surprised to learn my great-grandfather Fred Ulysses Neibel first married Martha Ann Hunter in 1891 and they had one son Andrew Jackson in 1893.  Martha Ann died just one year later and Fred married Martha's sister, my great-grandmother in 1898.  They had twelve children, one of which was my grandmother, Alpha Laura Neibel Wilson.

10.  And finally, I am always surprised to find that I can still be surprised.  Just when you think you seen and heard it all, you haven’t!  There is always some new and exciting discovery that knocks your socks off!

Stay tuned for my list of ten deserving bloggers to pass the award on to. 

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on the Ancestor Approved Award, and I hope your ancestors keep knocking your socks off! Jo :-)


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