Posted in Family History, Genealogy, Life, Names, tagged advice, ancestors, Ancestry.com, Arthur, Asenath, Carol Chidlow, Catholic, cemeteries, census, England, Family, family history, family records, family research, family tree, Genealogy, genealogy research, Grandparent, history, Mother, pennsylvania, research, stories, Wales on September 9, 2012|
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You know I love a good mystery but some mysteries will eventually drive me batty. When I started my family history research it was because I wanted to find out about my mother‘s family. I naively thought that once I found out that I’d stop my research. Silly girl. For the first several years I couldn’t find anything beyond my grandfather‘s name and vitals. I knew he was born in England but his death certificate said he was born in Delaware County, PA. The information was given by Aunt Gert, someone I vaguely remember my mother mentioning a couple of times.
Frances Claire Craven Volz
I put his name in the search engine at Ancestry.com again and again and got nothing. One day I just went straight to the 1930 census, put his name in and there he was, Arthur Craven, bold as you please. After that I found out more. His mother’s name was Asenath (widowed), he had two brothers and he lived in Delaware County, PA and they all lived together.
The family store goes that he was disowned when he married my grandmother. When my grandmother died, my mother was only thirteen years old and had to quit school to take care of her father and older brother. She always said that her father’s family never offered any help and she resented that all her life. So when my grandfather died, my mother decided to make sure his family could never find his grave and try to move him to rest with their family.
Now my mother was a very nice and gentle person. She gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and never met a stranger. She was helpful to anyone who needed it and made sure that my brother and I grew up surrounded by her love.
So her resentment of my grandfather’s family was baffling to me. It was so out of character. Of course I never asked her about it when she was alive and my brother didn’t know and there was no one else to ask. Typically genealogy blunder.
Trying to piece together the facts I did have, I knew that my grandfather lived with his mother and two brothers. The three boys (men really) worked in one of the mills. Did Mama resent losing the income from Arthur when he married and moved away?
Another fact that I had is that my grandmother was Catholic. Arthur, being from the working class of England was probably a member of the Church of England. Did his family disown him because he married a Catholic?
The last fact I got was from the census of my grandmother’s family. Her mother’s birth is listed as Wales in one Census but Ireland in two others. Did the English/Irish multi century conflict figure into his being disowned?
Recently I did find out how my mother hid my grandfather’s grave from his family. Last year when I was in Philadelphia, my brother and I visited the cemetery where he is buried and found that my mother had all the stones removed. My grandmother’s, uncle’s and another sibling’s stones were all removed when my grandfather died. So there’s just an expanse of grass, no markings of any kind.
It drives me nuts that I will probably never find the answers I seek, and some days, that’s a short trip. I’m always open to suggestions of other avenues of research. Any hints, anyone?
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Posted in Genealogy, Life, tagged advice, ancestors, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, Carol Chidlow, descendants, Digital Recorders, Family, family records, family research, family tree, Genealogy, Google, life, money, names, Parent, research, stories on July 30, 2012|
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Have you ever felt sorry for your genealogical self because Aunt Pinch Your Cheek never left a diary for you? How about Grandpa Drum His Fingers On The Table? Did he have the nerve to die and never tell you where the family papers were if there were any? I always fell extreme regret that when I finally decided to research my family history, everyone who knew anything about it was already gone. No, they didn’t move to Florida. They were permanently gone. Like, forever. Sometimes I just want to sit down and cry over my own lack of foresight. You too? All you ever got was a sentence here, a tidbit there? Why oh why didn’t they ever write that stuff down?
Well Pumpkin, how about you? You know those sentences and tidbits. Have you ever written them down? Remember how scared you were riding your bike through the cemetery at sunset? You remember that family get together when your aunt ate almost the whole chicken by herself, don’t you? Did you write it down for your descendants? Well of course not! Why not?
Time, Sweetcheeks, time. No one ever has enough of it they aren’t making more of it and it races by like a horse who smells the barn. No, we can’t make more time, but yes, we can use it better.
Let’s get tecky, huh? Digital recorders are so small, portable and easy to use. Even old folks like me can follow the instructions. Check out one of the great chocki emporiums or online sites to find the right one for you. I checked several places and prices run from $25.00 to $125.00 and every price point in between. A simple Google will get you tons of hits. Maybe a flea market trip would scare one up also.
If you get one, learn to use it. Carry it with you everywhere. I come up with some of the most creative blog post ideas when I’m zooming along in the car. Never remember them when I get home in front of the computer screen though. With a digital recorder you can just click it on, babble for awhile and click it off. Even if you never transcribe it, you’ll have those words for future generations. They can listen to them. And pass them on to the next generation.
My brother is six years older then me and he seems to remember more then I do about our childhood in Philadelphia. I’ve been nagging him to write the stuff down but he never has the time either. Maybe I should get him a digital recorder too and between the two of us we can piece together some family stories to leave to our children. Not that our children care about them. Not yet anyway. But one day they will and they too will regret that they never asked us who, what, where, when and most importantly, why?
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