I had never thought to ask my parents much about their families. I’m glad I did because now I know details that have helped me feel closer to these parts of me. My mother’s grandmother Edna’s journal was a highlight. I read the words of a woman I didn’t have a chance to meet yet for years had admired her still-life paintings that hung throughout my childhood home.
A painting by my great-grandfather on my mom’s side
I had a huge revelation after finding out Edna came down with the Spanish flu in 1918. She writes, “We tried to get a doctor to no avail. I asked Charlotte to phone Mother and tell her that if Christian Science could heal as a friend had assured her, now was an opportunity to prove it. She and the friend came over. The friend prayed and read to me from Science and Health, and when I awakened the next morning, I was well.” If Edna hadn’t recovered, I wouldn’t be writing this story, and I feel very lucky to be here.
If Edna hadn’t recovered, I wouldn’t be writing this story, and I feel very lucky to be here.
My grandparents on my dad’s side
Edna also wrote about my great-grandfather Glenn securing a position as head designer at Meeker Advertising in Joplin, MO. Eventually they decided to return to their hometown of Ithaca to start their own advertising business. Another link tying me to the past—I work in advertising myself with clients all throughout Missouri. This commonality between us made me smile. They went on to build a cottage on Cayuga Lake, and my mom told me that Glenn painted the view on the ceiling of their porch overhang. I wish I could have seen it!
The construction of my great-grandparents’ home on Cayuga Lake
At MGC, I accessed Ancestry’s database, ready to learn more. I was surprised to find that my great-great-grandpa was sentenced to more than five years at Auburn Prison in Upstate New York for a first-degree grand larceny charge in 1902. The record also included interesting details such as his occupation (railroad car inspector), age (32), and height (5’8”). As I continued searching, I found additional court documents that showed his sentence was later reduced to less than two years. I have yet to find out what he was convicted of stealing, but that’s part of the fun of genealogy research—I can keep digging.