Sunday, October 26, 2014

Don't let anyone take your place.

Two and a half years ago my husband passed away. During that time we have been carefully sharing his possessions with others. We started with the family and dispensed items the way we knew Grandpa would have wanted. That was easy. 

Then we got to the "little bit more complicated stuff" and we did pretty good with that. That is the stuff you give to 2-6 year olds and try to explain that they cannot play with it. Good luck with that. 

Then we got to the other stuff. The stuff in the Man Cave. All that stuff that I had no idea what it was. You have no idea how much I have wished over the last few months that Sears still had a catalog! But it turned out that I didn't need that old catalog because neighbors and people I did not know visited my garage sale and told me what everything was and what it was worth.

I know what you are going to say. They told me what it was worth and then bought it for that price. No they didn't. They explained to me what I had and gave me an estimated price for each item. Some of it sold; some of it didn't. 

There is very little left now. The garage he built is almost empty. The material things are gone and now his "dash" has taken its place in our family tree.

With every life event I always think back to our ancestors, especially those who lived a couple of hundred years ago in log houses in Kentucky and Ohio. What happened when they passed away? I doubt they had a garage sale, but I am sure there were several things that disappeared out the back door and I am sure there were items that were carefully shared.

But the one thing that remains constant is that person's place in the family. No one else can ever take that person's place. That is why proof and documentation are so important. 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

The Forgotten Little War

Do you have an ancestor that was born after the Revolutionary War? Did he move west with his family into the Ohio/Kentucky frontier? Is he just a speed bump on your 5-generation pedigree chart? He was born, married, died and that is just about it. 

Well, just maybe he has more of a story to tell you than you originally thought. Maybe he fought in the War of 1812. I have talked to a lot of women lately who have basically dismissed their male ancestors from that time period. After all they are hard to find in the census. Graves are hard to locate. And they seem to have a tendency to hide in the woods.

I knew I had an ancestor who supposedly fought in the War of 1812, but his ancestors and descendents had a much more glamorous life than he did. The only purpose he served was that he proved a link between two generations. That sounds cruel and I regret looking at him that way but his time to be recognized has arrived. I guess we all have our 15 minutes of fame -- even if it takes over 200 years for it to happen.

I don't completely understand why this war and the men who sacrificed all or a part of their lives for this cause have been ignored. My interest in this forgotten war was sparked a few months ago when I attended the OGS Conference at Kalahari in Sandusky, Ohio. Before this conference the only 1812 lineage societies I saw were for men only. Finally at Kalahari, in the right place, at the right time I found the U S Daughters of 1812

It is amazing how just one contact will fan out to so many women -- all of us with the same mind set -- this ancestor in our family tree didn't have that much to offer. It has been an amazing discovery for all of us. Most of us are just beginning to know these ancestors from this forgotten war and I am sure we have an exciting journey ahead of us. 

As for my ancestor. He was William Perkins who was born in Virginia in 1788. He married Malinda Rice in Bracken County, Kentucky in 1811. He and his wife died in 1815 leaving two young sons who were raised by their grandfather Philip Rice and his wife, Martha Vaughn. It is easy to see how someone with such a short life could be overlooked in a family tree.

I suggest you take another look at your pedigree chart and see if maybe you have an ancestor who was a part of the "forgotten little war".