So Big It Needed It’s Own Page!

I have reposted information about the Sigler Holeman family of the Tradewater River Basin in Kentucky here:

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Uncles-Great Grandma and Uncle Thom, notes, part 2

I found a note written by me-a little paragraph told to me by my dad John William Crabtree, in June 1993, so this would be about six months before he died. It says Little Grandma (Rosa Crabtree) was a widow with seven children. With no doctor around she knew that just down the road on the other side of the Merrimack River was the 
“Root Diggers Nation” a group of Indians who ‘dug roots’ and used them for medicine, and apparently sold them to others too. If the Pennocks (a family who live near the Root Diggers) came by her house in their wagon she would ask them to get her some herbs for her and bring them next time they came by.

Speaking of Rosa, my cousin and I have shared stories about intuition and ghosts and such, and she is the one that told me that Rosa did see ghosts and would occasionally hear her front gate opening and would casually tell people that that was a ghost coming to visit. She once saw a ghost man and his ghost horse riding down the road, and remark to her daughter that she had seen him before and he was looking for his cows.

Regarding Uncle Thom, my father and he were very close, because although they were uncle and nephew they were only 10 years apart in age. My dad says he remembers being out at the cistern with Tom brushing their teeth with Colgate toothpaste and he was wetting his brush and a glass of water. Tom taught my dad how to brush his teeth properly.

Uncles-A letter from Uncle Thom

Uncle Thom (Thomas) was my Grandfather John Willis Crabtree’s baby brother.Thom Crabtree

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Letter to Dorothy Braunsdorf and her mother, Alice (Alice’s mother is Lily, Tom’s half sister)
dated December 1, 1992, Tacoma, Washington

Dear Dottie and Alice,
I see I have several letters waiting to be answered and felt yours is the most important we always enjoy hearing from you.

(Here he goes on about what they had for Thanksgiving dinner.)
Anyway we had a delicious dinner including turkey and dressing….

Thanks for the interesting or maybe I should say “cute letters” from our(1) great great grandma Goddard. I never knew her but I know our(2) grandpa Goddard was a character. I remember when he died. I was a kid 10 years old and he died a very painful death from gangrene of his foot I remember asking him how his foot felt and he said “it burns like fire”.
Alice Rosaline Goddard CrabtreeI recall a number of family members who return to our little house there and Bourbon so my little mom could nurse them through their final illness. There must’ve been six or eight of them through the years, uncles aunts and cousins. She was a woman whose heart was so big she just couldn’t say no to anybody who needed her care.

And I doubt she ever received a five dollar bill from anybody she helped. I feel sure you are aware that for several years she acted as the community midwife of Bourbon and I’m sure that during that time she rarely ever was paid for her services. And I will always remember getting up as a kid and asking about mom only to be told “Oh, Mrs. _____ needed her and they came and got her about 4 o’clock” (in the morning). Come to think about it if she was still living today (December 1) it would be her 128th birthday.
But enough of this.

 

Ernest Sylvester "Pooge" Crabtree I have one mother(3) that I wonder if you know about. Do you have any info about the life of my brother Ernest-commonly called “Pooge”? (4) During World War I while in the service he was assigned to a battery of engineers and shipped to Babylon, Long Island, New York. I have no idea how long he was stationed there possibly a year or more. During this time he met a nice local girl, fell in love and they produced a daughter.
For some time he kept this quiet and often he was shipped back from there he never wrote the girl. He had very little formal schooling (my guess would be around the third grade level) but somehow she got our address there in Bourbon and wrote to our mom. She immediately made Pooge fess up and tell her the whole story. I never heard anymore but I’m sure the mother never came to Bourbon and Pooge never went back to New York. And I never heard anything more about the girl so he so have no idea where she is or what became of her.
So much for any contribution to family history.
Considering the state of my health I am well aware I might kick off any time but we hope you and your mom will have the happiest Christmas ever and we hope the new year will be the best you can remember.
Take care and keep in touch.
Love always Tom and Dodie

P.S. thanks for all the info about family history. I do appreciate your efforts.
T. C.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Notes:
1-I am pretty sure that when Tom is talking about “OUR” great great grandma, he means Dorothy’s, because this is literally one generation talking to the two below him-his niece and great niece. He is referring to his MOTHER, Alice Rosaline Goddard Crabtree. The story I was told was when she needed to treat an illness she would go across the river (Merrimac) and buy herbs for medicine from the “Root Diggers” (native people in S.E. Missouri.
In another Note from Thom he says: “For quite a long time she (his mother) was the community’s number one midwife and must’ve delivered 25 babies during that time. She was also the number one practical nurse during the time, and would never deny her help to anyone who needed her. Despite the fact she rarely ever was paid any cash. Mostly chickens or eggs or some kind of fruit or canned goods. In view of the life she lived in all the kindnesses she did for just about anybody who needed her, someone, maybe you, should write a book about her…”

2-When he talks about “OUR” grandfather, he is talking about HIS Grandfather, John Willis Goddard. So Thom would have been 12 when he died.

3-He doesn’t mean his literal mother-he means a mother in his files.

4-Ernest never married. He had a severe drinking problem and had difficulty holding a job for any length of time.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Note re. John Willis Goddard:
According to Tom, his grandpa Goddard was a very outspoken Republican, who served in the Missouri militia for a matter of some weeks, with ____ at Rolla, and at one time fired a Frisco locomotive between Stanton and Rolla.

Notes about Thom himself:
Tom was born in 1907, and somehow was able to travel from border to border and coast-to-coast by train, during the depression years in the 1930s. He said he enjoyed every mile of it. He said he rode in coaches (chair cars if he was lucky) and had meals in the diner car, which was quite a thrill for poor country boy. 
He and his wife Dorothy had no children, but he was very fond of all his nieces, nephews and great nieces and nephews.
Frank CrabtreeWhen I lived in Bangor, Washington, 1983-1986, my first husband, Brad, and I would go visit them for Thanksgiving Dinner. Uncle Frank, from Douglas, AZ was present at one of these dinners, and they gave me a copy of John Willis Goddard’s diary. I was reading through it, looking at dates when I discovered there were only about four months between the time when he married Hannah Parilee Gibson, and their daughter Alice Rosaline (Thom and Frank’s mother) was born. I said “Hey, wait a minute! My mom told me stuff like that didn’t happen back then!” and they ROARED with laughter.

Side Note:
Thom and Frank always had fun with the fact that Frank was born in 1897, Thom (his half brother) in 1907, and their older brother John’s boy John (my dad) born in 1917. That’s how they could always tell their ages, by how old the other one was plus or minus ten years.

Cool Videos

Sorry I haven’t been writing more-we are down to one computer and I so dislike trying to think and type on an iPad. Plus we’re trying to finish bathroom reno, painting a bedroom and Spring is definitely calling us in 17 different directions, so computer time is limited.

Not only am I a genealogy geek, but I LOVE languages too-and accents…And I thought this was really fun, considering how much of my ancestry I now know is from the British Isles. By the way, I refuse to call it the UK. To me it will always be Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales (and a few other wee bits) and to me, conglomerating it all together is a culture killer, just like the EU.

So here’s the video. Enjoy!

 

And here’s one more.
When we go to do genealogy research we have to remember things weren’t then like they are now. Heck, even in my lifetime, the map that used to show the U.S.S.R. doesn’t even exist anymore. Now we have all these smaller countries, and they have their identities back! (Add USSR to the yucky list with UK and EU.)

So here’s a video to show you just how much the place where your ancestors came from has changed.

Crazy-Making

Recently, I uploaded my DNA info into another ancestry/genealogy site, one that gives pretty simple raw data, connections and names/email addresses.
So I contacted the person who was highest on my list. We SHOULD BE third cousins, which means that our great-grandparents were siblings-in other words, we SHARE a great-great grandparent.

We exchanged surnames back to the GG stage (which is 16 names). I am lacking no names but am sketchy on details on a few people. This other person is missing a last name for one person, and, well,
We CAN’T FIND a MATCH!

I thought it would be so easy since this would be my closest kin so far, but….nothing.
Yes, our families have been in the same states…but…

How can it be that we can’t recognize a common name in 16 people…
And then I got to thinking about some of my ancestors. Yes, I have one line of lovely royal blood, my great-grandmother with the strong royal-looking face who probably didn’t even know she’s from princess blood… but a lot of my family is…”skitchy”.

We have two who are on the rolls for being tried and convicted of adultery. (No sentence). One murdered for running liquor, Several who could not read or write, many tradesman, many who were always on the move, and I’m guessing we have more than a few cases of “who’s your daddy?” happening in my tree.

So now I’m making myself crazy, going over and over the information that I got from the other person, trying out their ancestor’s name with my names on Google, checking through my 16 great-grands to see where I might be missing something, where someone could be lying about parentage, where someone could have been adopted or ravished by a stranger in the night….

And I’m making myself nuts!

I am curious what other genealogy researchers do in this case…Again I wonder, does this change who I am? What if I found that someone in my recent ancestry is not my ancestor?…Am I NOT a descendent of Kings? Not descended from the Cherokee’s?

I’ve connected with people in my Keeney, and Whitecotton lines, so I know at least those two…but…one small lie, or mis-representation one hundred years ago, could be a HUGE deal…

Crazy making….

The Myth of the Cherokee Princess, or Family History Revised

I’m going to throw this out there, because while I’m sure a million of you have heard this story, I am sure some have not, and if I can save someone the embarrassment of telling this story in public and having someone else cry “BS”, then it’s worth it.

The stories always go something like this:
You have an ancestor (vague connection) who was Cherokee, and not just any Cherokee, she was a Chief’s daughter, a Princess! She died on the Trail of Tears, and there’s a memorial to her….somewhere.
The family tales tend to be always women, and always women of some notable, story-worth tale. And yes, I have had unknowing people tell me stories like this at least twice. In my family she wasn’t a princess but here father lived off the Nation and her mother on it so at a young age, she would ride a horse to visit between her parents. One day a wolf chased on her horse, and she found an abandoned houses to shelter her and her horse until of the wolf ran away. It was inferred that she was riding between Oklahoma and Southeastern Missouri!
Most likely the truth of the story is that her mother was not living on a reservation (she remarried twice and all three men were white) and if this young girl did visit others it was likely it was no more than one county distant. As for the wolf, I don’t know. But after listening and learning,it’s very common that these family stories are like fish stories-they get bigger with age.
It is likely that many, many of the stories of Cherokee princesses were really Choctaw, Seminole, or even, as in the case of the “Melungeon” people, of African ancestry.
Stories in many cases changed because to be “Indian” was dangerous, but to be “Portuguese” was exotic and acceptable. It is also common that’s while great great grandpa may have played down his native blood, consecutive generations play it up. Not out of meanness and not out of trying to get enrolled, but honestly, at least in my family, out of a sense of pride. But the stories really do get bigger with time.

Recently I had a friend mention that he just found out that a deceased grandparent was Cherokee. I cut straight to the point and said, don’t listen to the family stories, go straight to her closest relative and ask if she was enrolled on the Dawes Rolls, and if not, chalk it up to family tales. And in fact, this friend did just that, and found his grandmother was indeed enrolled, and so now he has an established fact to build his thoughts and perceptions, and family tales on. The documentation gives credibility to the stories. Without documentation, family stories cannot be verified, and should always be taken with a large grain of salt.

In my family history, that young lady that supposedly fled the wolves was my great great grandfather’s sister. My father was lucky enough to inherit two large photo portraits of my great great grandfather, John Willis Goddard, and his 2nd wife, Hannah Parilee Gibson, my great great grandmother.
These portraits hung on the wall of my parents bedroom growing up, and sometimes I would just stare at the old man (he’s under 40 in the portrait!) and wonder about him. He has very piercing eyes, and he does look “native”. He has very dark hair, high cheekbones, darkish skin, and the assumption was that he was Cherokee. But was he?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
When I was about 12, I was still in “Camp Fire Girls” and we made a simple buckskin looking dress for ourselves out of poplin. Just for fun one Saturday, I put darker makeup on my face and braided my long brown hair. I had a choker and two beaded hair ornaments that I had made, so I put all of this on, and ran into my dad coming out of the bathroom. He looked stunned. I can’t remember what he said, but he wanted to take my photograph, and I remember him being proud. Of his ancestry, maybe, of his look-alike daughter, maybe, but I know it was a special moment to him. It became a special moment to me too, and because those “Cherokee” stories were some of the rare few anyone in my family ever told, those stories became special to me. Part of my perceived identity. But that does not make them true?
Even a few years ago, there was no real or common way for anyone to refute the stories a family would tell. Even now, you can say you are anything you want, and really know one will know, no one will force you to tell the truth, but now, with the common DNA test getting less expensive, there is a whole new world, not only of genealogy but ancestry in general. Now instead of going to a library to do research, you go on line, or learn about autosomal and mitochondrial DNA, and you can match numbers and DNA strands with total strangers. And DNA doesn’t lie.
Or does it? I don’t even know for sure what the DNA tests are really covering. In one place I read that it’s only a certain generation back-like eight generations. So how do they know whom my fourth cousins are? I realized today that I need a “DNA for Dummies” class or something because all of the genetics information is really over my head.
But I’m hooked, and I think this “sure science” is what really sucks us in. If we can just find that one ancestor, that one bloodline, we will know who we are! I would love to find out anything about my maternal grandmother’s family because I know literally nothing about who they are, what their traditions were or where they came from. To me it feels like I am missing part of my maternal spiritual inheritance. And what of someone who feels good about who they are only to open up their email one morning to find that they have a new match, and this person is sure to be their father-when they thought they knew their biological father.
Even small amounts of new information, like being .1% Cherokee instead of 12%, or being “Middle Eastern” (which is a very large and vague can of worms), what does that switch do to your identity? What do you do if in one night you go from attending pow-wows to feeling like you should check out a synagogue or a mosque?
It seems like in this computer-data age we are playing-no juggling with emotionally double-edged swords. Yes, genetics can tell you the biological truth and widen your horizons, but what about a woman who’s sibling isn’t really related, or a father who died never knowing his son…?
I think that there should be more of a warning on ancestral DNA-type tests. People don’t really realize how subtly or how drastically it can change your entire sense of who you are. But it doesn’t have to.
Ultimately, the people who raised you, those that loved you, and the culture you grew up in ARE who you really are, and they are never a lie, no matter what a DNA test says. This is very much like finding out you are adopted. Does the mom that raised you suddenly stop being your mom? No, but having a second mom or second family can broaden your idea of who you are.
It can be a really painful process, even to learn something small that you did not know.
Ultimately we each have to find that place in ourselves where no piece of information or lack thereof can change who we really are. When we know that part of ourselves, we can have fun with the journey, but for those who are seeking to be validated or shaped by others, even dead ancestors, it may be a painful journey.

Basic Family Chart

I’ve made a basit “Fan Chart” here, with myself in the middle, and showing my mother and father, grandparents and great grandparents.
This is the chart I will use to reference all biographies of specific people in my ancestry.
For instance, if I want to do a “spotlight” on Nancy Raines, from whom all the Welsh and European royalty come, I will reference this fan chart by saying, “Nancy Raines, ancestor of Christina Whitecotton.” So I will always refer to one of the people on this chart, so that everyone can get some idea of which “branch” of the tree we’re talking about.

One of the reasons for only going this far on the chart is that my maternal grandmother’s families are a mystery, beyond what is here. In genealogy they call this “a brick wall” because we can’t see or find information behind it.
On the other hand, I call Christina Whitecotton, descendent of Nancy Raines a “Jackpot” or “Mother Lode” because when I tapped into Nancy Raines’ parents, I tapped into genealogies going back to in some cases 700 AD!

Note to nieces and nephews (not greats) the center dot (me) represents HALF of your genealogy. If I live long enough I might get to your other halves…but for now, that’s on you.

If anyone reading this recognizes someone that they’d like my information, please contact me here. I am new to gedcom files, etc. and have just loaded my info onto GEDMATCH.Com, I also have a profile on 23andme.com so I should be able to share what I have, and in turn, if you see something you think I might not have, or have not posted about yet, please let me know!

Click on the chart below for a larger version:

Family Genealogy Fan Chart

 

Fun with Welsh

Soon, I will get around to mapping out my genealogy, but for now, let’s just suffice to say, I have some Welsh. Good bit actually, and some royal Welsh lines, going back to something like 1100 AD!

I love languages, and for several years after starting research on the Cherokee ancestors I studied the Cherokee language. I love the different “Letters” and the Syllabary, and it was fun, but I really didn’t have anyone to converse with, so it’s hard to go very far.

Now I’m enamored of Welsh. It looks fun and has lots of strange sounds we don’t make in English, so I’m poking around a bit, learning some sounds, and practicing the dreaded “LL”.

Apparently the most fun you can have with a word in Welsh is a little town called “Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch”.

It means  “The Church of St. Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the rapid whirlpool and the church of  St. Tysilio’s by the red cave” and can be found on Anglsey, in Northern Wales, near Bangor.

If you break it down, it’s  “Llan-fair   pwllgwyngyll   gogerych   wyrndrobwll  llan-tysilio  gogogoch”

Need some help with that? Here’s a fun video that will have you singing along in no time!

Enjoy!!

Why “Finding Grandmothers”?

I thought of this name a few years ago. It was the title of a piece of writing that I never published anywhere. Some pertinent information has changed, so I need a major re-write on it, but the gist of the story is this.

Alice2In 2002 I had a horrible year. Everything that was lose-able, I lost. Let’s just leave it at that. So by 2003 I was licking my wounds, rebuilding a life, and I strongly felt a grandmotherly presence. I do that. Feel things. My cousin says in inherited that from my Great Grandma. They called her “Little Grandma”. Her name was Alice Rosaline Goddard (see photo) and she married Alexander and then Sylvester Crabtree. Her father had the Cherokee blood, and everyone said that Little Grandma could see and hear spirits. I think some of that has been passed down.

In 2003 I just always felt comforted, watched over, and that feeling and events that encouraged that idea lasted til about 2006. So really the “Finding Grandmothers” started when I realized that presence was a grandmother. Alice perhaps. I started to do genealogy work on Alice’s father John Goddard, determined to find that Cherokee line. That started in May 2007 when something in my back went “spoing” and I laid flat on my back for 10 days. Couldn’t do much else but surf the internet. Since then my search has finally moved outward, to other branches of the family tree. I never could find much solid evidence of the Cherokees.

As I’ve researched, over the last seven years, I’ve aged. This seems to have been that peak time where I’ve gone from young to older. Topped the hill and started down the backside, so to speak. In finding my grandmothers-or rather greats and great-greats (all the way back to the 700’s now, I think in some cases) I’ve been finding myself. I never had a child, so there won’t be grandchildren-I won’t actually BE a grandmother, but I will be old. I will be aging, with grace perhaps. Another 20 to 40 years to really LOVE my life and live it for the right reasons-rather than all of the impetuous and silly reasons of youth. Deliberate living! Being a “Wise Crone”.

So for me, as I am finding my grandmothers, I am finding pieces of myself. Not just my ancestry but snapshots of older women that I resemble now, in lines around my mouth, the never-graying hair or the hearing of spirits.
Finding grandmothers. Finding me.

Welcome to the ‘Finding Grandmothers’ Blog

I intend to make this blog part personal journal, part commentary on genealogy research, part snapshot/highlights of particularly notable or interesting ancestors, part photo album and hopefully leave a legacy for my family, so that in generations to come my descendents can look back and have an easier time finding their way home.
Where our branches cross, I hope you find some useful and interesting information.

Our life, our family, our blood, our ancestry, and “where we come from”-they ARE who we are. You cannot know home, until you know yourself. You cannot know yourself until you know your history.

I have a lot to write…so I’ll get right on it!

 

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