“If you don’t know your history, then you don’t know anything. You are a leaf that doesn’t know it’s part of a tree.” Michael Crichton
I started researching my family history before I was in high school. We had always been told that we had Native American ancestors. I even wore moccasins to school for the longest time. Even in the snow, I would wear my little moccasins because I was so convinced that my people were trodding in the snow with their moccasin…I should do the same.
Recently, I took the DNA test and was super disappointed that no Native American blood was found. My 4rd great grandmother did have a Native American partner, and had several children with him. Since, at the time, it was illegal to marry a Native American, and the children that resulted from a relationship with a Native American were not recognized she could not share her relationship with anyone but her family. Was she raped by the non Native American contributor that resulted in my 3 great grandfather?
If my 3rd great-grandfather was not a Native American, yet all the other children were. I am not sure there is another conclusion. She was feisty, but she wouldn’t have been able to fend off a man that thought he had rights to do what he wanted. In those days, women barely had any rights at all, and were subjected to the men that “kept” them. If your father thought a young woman should get married, she would be obligated to marry.
So many unanswered questions…
Then, I have the long agony of Abigail Warner, I am not even sure she was actually married to Fizer. I do know they had a child, but I haven’t been able to find any marriage documents. Which doesn’t mean too much for that period since it was just before the civil war. Either he was killed or missing, and after she married Mr. Collins. That’s the gist of what I know about her. Where was she born? What about her family?
I want to know as much about the women as I have found about the men. I am so grateful for all my ancestors and what they had to do to make a living to get all of us where we are now. Sure, we all make our contributions too. I have read of so many of their sorrows getting to their destination, being sold at market, scratching at the ground to find food. Fighting in wars that they didn’t want to fight. Our lives are so blessed because of the sacrifices they made.
My great aunt Neil Gray was one of those people that made great sacrifices. She raised most of the children after her mother passed away from complications of child birth. Then, her younger sister (Hazel) was playing with matches, and caught on fire. She lived for three days, screaming in agony in her little bed. Everyone did everything they could, but the doctors could not save her.
My great grandfather drank all a lot after that, an Aunt Neil went to school, and took care of the children until they were all old enough for her to move away. Move away she did, she packed up, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana. She went to work for RCA. She never had any children of her own.
I loved going to her house. It was always so clean! She made homemade dinners in her big kitchen, and she even had a green house that was attached to her house. I loved going in there, and spending time with the plants. There was a Venus fly trap that provided hours of fascination for me. Her mannerism was very formal, as she would have matching gloves with each outfit. She truly was an original, until I found a Degas that looks like her twin.
Here’s a photo of my great aunt and her art twin…