Tuesday, March 24, 2015

52 ANCESTORS, 52 THEMES, No.12: "Same" - Grove TERWILLIGER

This year's challenge by Amy Crow is another weekly blog, but based on Themes. Last week, it was "Luck of the Irish,"  and this week, SAME, as in same as me.  This was difficult - no one had my same name, although there were a few "Cecelia" names. No nurses.  No similar experiences... Ah. But there WAS an ancestor who had a very similar passion for family history:  my great-grandfather, James Grover "Grove" TERWILLIGER.  

That's right - THAT Terwilliger, the one who made a huge many-paged Souvenir Album, filling it with obituaries, letters, cards, tickets, and other bits and pieces of his life.  His Album inspired me to continue searching for more information about my ancestors, my 'larger' family. I had started several years before I retired, thinking it would be a way to know how I related to a much broader range of family members. 

On a separate blog I am attempting to inventory the entire Album, page by page, name by name, event by event. Here is my other blog, TERWILLIGER SOUVENIR ALBUM, where you can follow along.  There are about 120 pages, and I'm only up to page 34!  

A dozen years ago, when I opened my deceased grandmother's box, and dug into one package and box after another, I was surprised and disappointed to find nothing of apparent value.  No gorgeous jewellery or beautiful silk dresses or scarves, no lovely hand-sewn or embroidered keepsakes. I put it away after poking in it casually, thinking I'd look more closely when I had more time.

And, when I did have time to be more thorough, I was thrilled to find so many genealogy and family history clues. Here are only a few of the genealogy/family history items:

1.  Several detailed genealogies my grandmother's brother Hal Terwilliger had drafted out for her in order to qualify for membership in either The Holland Society, and/or for Daughters of the American Revolution, and including photocopied pages from several surname history books. Names: TERWILLIGER, GRAVES, GRISWOLD, MERWIN, MORGAN, TREAT.
2.  My grandmother's typed out "Memoirs", dictated to a friend of hers about 5 years or so before she died here in Vancouver.  I must get these many pages into a blog at some point in the future.
3.  Several notes/letters, again from her brother Hal Terwilliger, about how we related to several famous surnames, or important places.
4.  A timeline list of my grandmother's medical events in her handwriting. 
5.  Photographs of my grandmother and her children, with her own mother, and grandparents.
6.  A bag of very cheap costume jewellery (sigh!), quite out of date, not taken care of, and not particularly valuable.  I wanted to find them attractive or valuable for any reason, but - no.
7.  A huge bulky heavy box, which, when unwrapped and all the tape sliced through, showed a huge book, labeled "TERWILLIGER SOUVENIR ALBUM." Very large, it is 17"x14"x6" - large, and heavy, and in fair-medium shape.

This Album is a different kind of treasure chest. It contains so many useful items about my great-grandfather's social and family life, including several pages with family obituaries and newspaper articles about a number of relatives. It was from these pages of history, as well as pages of wedding cards, that I was able to prove various family relationships and add to my family tree. Many clues are in this Album, and I keep finding another one, and another one, as I inventory each page. I'm impatient to get to the end.

Did I do a similar Album?  No. Although one year my mother [his granddaughter] made separate photo albums for all three of us children, when I was about 28, starting with the phrase "In the Beginning...".  And I did something similar for my own 4 children.  

No, it wasn't making such an Album which is the "Same" relationship.  Rather it is the passion to save family history, to remember family members through various means, to pass on knowledge of one's family - that is the "same." 

I'm sure if he were alive at this point in time, he would be thrilled to be doing genealogy research on his/our relationships. Yes, I doubt his eyes would glaze over - he'd probably want to go with me on trips to find more information, and tramp over cemeteries!  

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Family, friends, and others - I hope you enjoy these pages about our ancestors and their lives. Genealogy has become somewhat of an obsession, more than a hobby, and definitely a wonderful mystery to dig into and discover. Enjoy my writing, and contact me at celia.winky at gmail dot com if you have anything to add to the stories. ... Celia Lewis