Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Birthplace Pedigree Chart #MyColorfulAncestry

When J. Paul Hawthorne shared his colorful five generation pedigree recently on Facebook, it quickly went viral. It was a fun idea and I couldn't help but jump in and participate.

Simple in nature, it nonetheless has generated some interesting realizations as well as new questions for me.

We know that for every major move in an ancestor's life, there was generally a push and a pull. Something pushed them into moving from a location and something pulled them to the new location.
While I know the reason for some of the moves my ancestors made, I realized that for other moves, I have no idea what motivated them and so more research is needed.

I also realized that I don't know where some of the couples from different locations met, so I would like to learn more about them.

The graph also underscores why my DNA test at Ancestry estimates my ethnicity as 37% Scandinavian.

As I looked at the chart, I thought about the traditions that have been handed down in my family.  I thought of my aebleskiver pan that has been passed down through several generations, and the tradition of biscuits and gravy for breakfast, cornbread with meals and many of the other things my family eats have likely been passed down. I can see that the predominance of Danish and Southern US heritage is apparent not only on the chart but in my life. This chart helped remind me of why my family does some of the things we do.

So while this initially began as a simple, fun activity, it underscores the benefits of finding new ways to look at our family history and how doing so can lead to new questions and consequently greater understanding.

Paul shared details about his idea on his blog, GeneaSpy which you can find HERE  If you would like to make your own colorful five generation chart, he shared the template at this link.

Thank you Paul for sharing this fun idea!
J. Paul Hawthorne, GeneaSpy, genealogy, ancestry, #MyColorfulAncestry

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Friday, April 1, 2016

Picture This!

It's been interesting to note which posts on my blog have the most visitors. Heads and tails above the rest, my three part series about the arrest and trial of Marion Gurganus, a moonshiner, which I shared in February 2013, continues to be the most popular. I too was intrigued by the details of the story and equally interested in what I learned about moonshining in the south. You can find part 1 of that series here , but be sure and read all three posts to get the complete story. 

Recently I received an email from a new found cousin, Betty Wedgeworth. She shared the picture below of the Gurganus family which includes several of the individuals mentioned in the moonshining story and graciously consented to allow me to share the photo on my blog. Thank you Betty for not only sharing the picture with me, but also for identifying each family member! 

The picture was taken about three years before the events that occurred in the story.

Gurganus family, Walker County Alabama, moonshiners, ancestry, family history, ancestry,
Back: Bertie Gurganus, W.P. Gurganus, Marion Gurganus, Isaac Wilson Gurganus, William Zachary Gurganus, John Gurganus, James Samuel Gurganus, Joseph Jasper Gurganus
Front: Melissa Johnston Gurganus, Cary, Ludie Thompson Gurganus, Belle Waller Gurganus, Sarah Gurganus Dunn, Amanda Evans Gurganus (my great grandmother), Rene Odum Gurganus, Susan Odum Gurganus (1907, Oakman, AL)

****James Gurganus b. 1798 and my third great grandfather was a brother to John Wesley Gurganus  b. 1806. John Wesley Gurganus was Marion Gurganus's (shown above) grandfather. 

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

In Your Easter Bonnet

Easter, Easter bonnet, Bakersfield, California, rhubarb, hats, grandma, family history, genealogy
Me in Bakersfield, California 
I know am a sap for old movies and old songs, but every Easter, Irving Berlin's song "Easter Parade" runs though my head.

In your easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
 You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter parade.
When I was little, I always wanted an Easter "bonnet" and many of my childhood Easter pictures show that it was often part of my outfit. Kids like hats anytime of the year, but at Easter, the stores seem to have a large variety of pretty ones to tempt the little ones.

As a little girl, my Grandma Hazel Mickelsen Ganus liked hats as well, but she, her sister and her cousin were creative enough to make their own.

In her personal history Grandma said she could hardly wait for the rhubarb to come up in the spring. When it did, she and her sister Lena and cousin Edith loved to pull off a stalk or two and sprinkle it with sugar. I love rhubarb, but I confess it takes more than a sprinkle of sugar for me. In fact, douse it in sugar, put it in a crust and top it with ice cream and it is one of my favorite pies.

Grandma went beyond eating the stalks of rhubarb, she found a creative use for the leaves. She said:
We always enjoyed making "make-believe" hats from the large rippled leaves. The shapely leaves were very adaptable for hats. We would trim the hats with sprigs of lilacs, pansies and little yellow sneezers from the garden. We fastened the flowers to the leaves with toothpicks. Sometimes we were very creative with our jaunty bonnets. Each would try to out do the others. We admired and often laughed at our creations. When we finished we placed the hats on top our heads at just the right angle. We found there was quite an art to balancing them. Of course we always had to have a fashion show, so we would parade to our Mothers and our neighbors to show them off. In the fall of the year, we would do the same thing, but this time we would use cabbage leaves. We found they also made very attractive hats when decorated with flowers of various kinds, and they would set upon our heads a little better than rhubarb leaves. 
I cringed a little as I read this because I was always cautioned as a child to leave the rhubarb leaves alone as they are quite toxic, but I guess grandma was old enough and smart enough to know not to put them in her mouth. I also wonder what yellow sneezers were. When I googled it, it brought up a variety of yellow flowers that cause sneezing, so I am not sure what Grandma meant exactly, although yellow dandelions are certainly "yellow sneezers" in my book. In any case, I can't believe they would put such a thing on their hats, although ladies will put up with most anything if it looks good enough.

I love that Grandma took the time to record this memory. The Grandma I knew was an older woman who was quiet and so I love that Grandma introduced me to Hazel Mickelsen, the little girl who dolled up in her "jaunty" rhubarb leaf hat and put on a parade for her mother and neighbors.

Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved