Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ivan Pereksa - (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

This photograph of my great-grandfather Ivan Pereksta stands out because of his ill-fitted suit. While it was not uncommon for immigrants to be photographed in borrowed clothes, the stories I heard growing up emphasized how dapper Ivan was. His jobs in the United States were unskilled manual labor, but he wore pressed suits, polished shoes and always had manicured nails. The photo below, taken with my grandmother around 1918, accurately reflects the stories. I suspect the first photo was taken some years later, when he was a bit older and perhaps a bit worn down. The clothes, his posture, gaze and even his mustache are less crisp, a bit gentler.

Ivan Pereksta and Anna Pereksta with Ivan Pereksta,  Photographs, undated. Digital Images.  Privately held by Susan Clark [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], 1986.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Ancestors' Geneameme

Jill over at Geniaus has come up with another meme (and coined a great word) for we geneajunkies. I am answering this one for both my family (M) and my husband's family (H), who've been the focus of much of my research. Thanks, Jill, for a providing this diversion. It sparked a couple questions I need to investigate further and some interesting contrasts.

The Ancestors' Geneameme

The list should be annotated in the following manner:
Things you have already done or found: bold face type
Things you would like to do or find: italicize (colour optional)
Things you haven’t done or found and don’t care to: plain type
You are encouraged to add extra comments in brackets after each item

Which of these apply to you?
  1. Can name my 16 great-great-grandparents (M) (H)
  2. Can name over 50 direct ancestors (M) (H) 
  3. Have photographs or portraits of my 8 great-grandparents (M) Have 6 of 8, but still missing two of my European great-grandparents. (H) Have 6 of 8, but still missing one line. 
  4. Have an ancestor who was married more than three times (M) Haven't found one in my family yet, but would love to! (H) His great-great grandmother Cansada Jones was married four times. 
  5. Have an ancestor who was a bigamist (M) (H) Who wouldn't love to find this? We've got adulterers aplenty on both sides, but no evidence anyone tried to tie the knot twice at the same time. 
  6. Met all four of my grandparents (H)
  7. Met one or more of my great-grandparents (H) Definitely something to investigate. One great-grandmother died three years after he was born, but lived at such a distance they likely did not meet. 
  8. Named a child after an ancestor All our children are named after ancestors. They carry the names of my paternal grandmother, my husband's paternal grandmother, one of my maternal great-grandmothers and, coincidently, one of my paternal great-great grandfathers (we did not know this when he was named). 
  9. Bear an ancestor's given names (M) I was not named for ancestors, but do share my middle name, Elizabeth, with at least 3 ancestors. A 3rd great-grandmother was named Susannah. (H) My husband shares his middle name (an ancestor's surname) with his mother and great-grandmother and on back. 
  10. Have an ancestor from Great Britain or Ireland (M) (H) Scads of them.
  11. Have an ancestor from Asia (M) Autosomnal DNA analysis indicates Asian ancestry in my father's Eastern European family. 
  12. Have an ancestor from Continental Europe (M) My paternal grandparents were born in Europe. My mother's family includes colonial German and French lines. (H) There are German and Swiss lines. 
  13. Have an ancestor from Africa (H) His great-great grandmother said her grandfather was Haitian. 
  14. Have an ancestor who was an agricultural labourer (M) (H) 
  15. Have an ancestor who had large land holdings (M) (H)
  16. Have an ancestor who was a holy man - minister, priest, rabbi (M) I come from a long line of Baptist ministers. My father's family includes many priests, though I've not found a direct ancestor yet. His surname, however, means priest or father. (H) At least one. His 7th great-grandfather was a minister in colonial Virginia. Many uncles, aunts and cousins were Roman Catholic priests and nuns. 
  17. Have an ancestor who was a midwife (M) My great-great grandmother signed an affidavit that she was the midwife when most of her daughter's children were born. (H) I know the oft married Cansada Jones had a sister who acted as her midwife. I would like to know if Cansada acted as midwife when her sister's children were born.
  18. Have an ancestor who was an author
  19. Have an ancestor with the surname Smith, Murphy or Jones (M) I have a Smith 3rd great-grandmother. (H) No Murphys, yet. But his mother is a Smith and his father had Smith and Jones ancestors. 
  20. Have an ancestor with the surname Wong, Kim, Suzuki or Ng
  21. Have an ancestor with a surname beginning with X
  22. Have an ancestor with a forename beginning with Z (M) A 3rd great-grandfather was named Zebidee. 
  23. Have an ancestor born on 25th December
  24. Have an ancestor born on New Year's Day
  25. Have blue blood in your family lines (H) 
  26. Have a parent who was born in a country different from my country of birth
  27. Have a grandparent who was born in a country different from my country of birth (M) Two of the four were born in Eastern Europe. 
  28. Can trace a direct family line back to the eighteenth century (M) (H)
  29. Can trace a direct family line back to the seventeenth century or earlier (M) (H)
  30. Have seen copies of the signatures of some of my great-grandparents (M) (H)
  31. Have ancestors who signed their marriage certificate with an X (M) (H) Likely. I've found X signatures on deeds, but do not have marriage certificates for those ancestors.
  32. Have a grandparent or earlier ancestor who went to university (M) (H) 
  33. Have an ancestor who was convicted of a criminal offence (M) (H) There are a couple serious candidates on both sides for this one. 
  34. Have an ancestor who was a victim of crime (M) Seems ghoulish to hope for, but it would be such fun to research. I have a great-something grandmother killed by Indians on the Virginia frontier, but that seems more an act of war than a criminal offense. (H) His grandfather lost most of his money when the town banker absconded with the bank's funds after the 1929 stock market crash. 
  35. Have shared an ancestor's story online or in a magazine (M) I wrote about my grandmother here. (H) I wrote about his great-great grandmother here.
  36. Have published a family history online or in print (Details please) (M) (H)
  37. Have visited an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries (M) (H) 
  38. Still have an ancestor's home from the 19th or earlier centuries in the family (M) Not in this country, but as of 1991 cousins in Slovakia still lived in a home we think was the one my grandmother grew up in. (H) My husband's cousins have preserved the 18th c. home his great-grandmother was born in. It's hard to imagine a greater contrast between two homes. The one in Slovakia had dirt floors, minimal plumbing and was set on a small plot of land in a remote village in the Carpathian mountains. It was a breathtakingly beautiful spot, but clearly impoverished. The one in Virginia is a meticulously preserved colonial home, complete with gardens, still part of a working farm, set on a hill with sweeping views toward the Chesapeake Bay. 
  39. Have a family bible from the 19th Century (H) An early 19th c. Bible is in the family, though we do not own it. 
  40. Have a pre-19th century family bible

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Cup Runneth Over

We spent a day reunited with our far-away family and touring Grand Rapids' Art Prize 2011 - a truly amazing installation. Sunshine, a rejuvenated city, our loved ones within eye's and ear's reach, and interesting art made for an almost perfect day.

Then Dean Hunt's charcoal drawing Back to My Roots greeted us as we walked into The B.O.B. to see more art and have dinner. All that joy, food, AND genealogy? It was a perfect day.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Mary Stephenson Wyly - Tombstone Tuesday

to the memory of 
Consort of 
Died March 7th 1851
Aged 31 years & 4 months

Mary Wyly is buried at Leesburg Presbyterian Church (Leesburg, TN) where her husband, the Rev. Samuel Wyly, preached.  She was my third great great-aunt. 

According to our McAdams Family Record she was born 7 Nov. 1819 and married Samuel G. Wyly on 28 Sep. 1841. She was the daughter of John and Eliza Cloyd Stephenson, who are buried down the road at Washington College. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

Lancaster County Landmarks - Mappy Monday

This map, hand drawn by Louise Palmer Strong, was enclosed in a letter to my husband's grandfather (and her first cousin) dated 24 Feb 1956. The map shows the location of Clifton, the Palmer home, in relation to other historic landmarks in the area. At the time photographers from National Geographic had just finished photographing the home for the April 1956 issue featuring several Virginia colonial homes.

Clifton was originally part of King Carter's land and probably served as a hunting lodge. His descendants sold the house and farm to James Armistead Palmer in 1843. Palmer died shortly after, but his daughter Maria Lee Palmer and son John Armistead Palmer grew up at Clifton. Louise Strong was John Palmer's daughter.


Louise Palmer Strong (Clifton; Kilmarnock, VA) to William Meredith Smith, letter, 24 Feb 1956; digital image, privately held by Smith descendant, [STREET ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE], Frederick, MD.  

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Can't watch baseball so here's my mother - SNGF

It's Saturday evening and I'm listening to the Cardinals play their first post-season game. Too tense to watch so Randy Seaver's Saturday Night Genealogy Fun is a perfect distraction. Yikes. Other guys just scored.

Anyway, Randy asked us to list our matrilineal line and mtDNA Haplogroup if we've been tested.

The mothers -
  1. Susan Clark
  2. Carolyn Sawyer (b. 10 Dec 1929 TN, d. 10 Jul 1999 CT) married LIVING
  3. Iva Williams (b. 31 Jan 1900 TN, d. 27 Jun 1993 TN) married Robert Sawyer
  4. Flora McAdams (b. 13 Apr 1867 IL, d. 17 Dec 1945 TN) married R.J. Williams
  5. Rachel Mulkey (b.15 Sep 1839 TN, d. 1906 TN) married Samuel McAdams
  6. Ann Duncan (b. 23 Oct 1809 TN, d. 12 Dec 1849 TN) married Philip Mulkey
  7. Sarah Hunt (b. 10 Nov 1789 TN, d. 9 Jul 1858 TN) married James Duncan
  8. Sarah MNU (b. 14 Mar 1763, d. 13 Feb 1834 TN) married Uriah Hunt
I did autosomal testing earlier this year and learned my mtDNA Haplogroup is H, the most common European haplogroup. That's not specific enough to provide any hints on my mystery Sarah, beyond the probability that her mother was not an Indian princess.