Share Your World 2016 Week 6

Share Your World Week 6

What is your favorite word? Behoove, because my youngest child used to laugh at me hysterically when I would use it around her. I think she seriously thought I made it up.

What is your least favorite word? Well, it used to be ‘hon,’ until I found myself using it with a few of my older patients in much the same context younger women used to use it towards me – all nice and saccharin sort of overly sweet, with just a touch of condescension.  The first time it inadvertently came out of my mouth I was really glad my patient was pretty high on drugs, terrified, but also high as a kite.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? I get pretty fired up over feminist issues.

What turns you off? Disrespect.

What is your favorite curse word? It used to be F***. It was sort of forbidden for a long time in my head, now I am more tempted to use it rather freely.

What sound or noise do you love? The ocean, and giggling laughter of little children who are truly having fun.

What sound or noise do you hate? Nasally voices, combined with whining.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? Dancer. I want to be on Dancing with the Stars and take home the mirror ball. Also, a forensic anthropologist – solving puzzles with dead things sounds like fun. Also horticulturist, and designer, and …

What profession would you not like to do? Politician, garbage collector, entomologist

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? See, I told you so. Never doubt me again.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’d have to say that I’m grateful that Alison and I have been able to find so much information on this ancestry search. It’s turned out better than I ever imagined. Since the week is half-way over, and I have no real plans I suppose I can look forward to my days off, and that football is finally over for a few months.

Bad Grandpa

I have to start this post with a big thank you to Alison, my co-conspirator in this whole ancestry search. There seems to be an obvious reason that she found archaeology to be one of her interests. She has an amazing ability to dig through layers of history, some of which is covered in dirt and grime, and sift out information.

I really didn’t plan to post again on this topic so soon. I figured we were at a dead-end of sorts, ready to fill in small details, perhaps uncover a few more tidbits in the coming months or years, but not really expecting much else. Then Alison went to work again and now the puzzles continue, along with so many contradictions.

My newly discovered Grandpa seems to have been a bit of a scoundrel, or if you prefer, a rogue, a rascal, a miscreant, a reprobate, a good-for-nothing, a cad, a blackguard – dare I even use SOB. Although, to be fair, we can only speculate as grandpa is not here to defend himself, nor are mom and grandma present to accuse him. Here’s some of the new information:

-Mother was born in 1926 in Montana. In a US-Canada border crossing record, dated August 1926 – 1 month before my mother was born – my grandfather attempted to enter into Vancouver, British Columbia but was rejected. The rejection fell under Section 33-7, which states: “…trying to enter by force, misrepresentation, or stealth…” It also listed him as single.

Hmmm…running away from responsibility…running toward or away from criminal activity…running booze over the border…single, when you’ve been married since 1923 and you will soon be listed as father and current husband on a birth certificate…??

-Then we have the 1927 and 1929 city directory here in Washington. Grandpa is listed as back living with my grandmother and mother again, and probably with her parents as they all show the same address. So Canada rejects him and then we have a birth certificate dated September 15 1926 from Montana. What circumstances lead a man to be rejected by Canada, then return to his pregnant wife and travel with her to Montana where she births his daughter while all the while stating he is single.

Hmmm…was he really in Montana when mother was born…if not, was he in trouble in Canada, or the United States, for that Section 33-7 issue…who might have convinced him to then remain with my grandma and mom for another 2 1/2 years as the city directory indicates…??

-Between 1929 and 1930 things seem to fall apart. The 1930 census lists grandpa as a ‘lodger’ and living back in Nebraska once more, in the city where he was born. He indicates ‘married’ on the form, but does not list a spouse or child. We assume he is alone.

Hmmm…have he and my grandmother divorced at this point…has he gone on the lam again…run out and left them high and dry back in Washington…??

Then we find these bits, and more confusion:

-Coincidentally, during what we assume to be the ‘marriage break-up’ time period of late ’29-early ’30, the 1929 Indian Census records list him as widowed. Odd, as the state records have him living here in Washington with my grandmother, his wife, for at least part of 1929, and grandma didn’t die until 1991…

Hmmm…who died to allow him to list widowed? Wait, could it be another fabrication, or little white lie? Did one of his other wives pass away, so technically listing widower wasn’t too far-fetched…??

-Then, that same census documenting the years 1930-1934 and 1937 list him as married.

Hmmm…married to whom at that point…and we don’t know what state he was in. However, my mom, because she would also have had the Native American bloodline (1/16th I believe) was listed on these census records as well right along with him.

Hmmm…grandpa appears to have no problem listing his daughter, who he apparently no longer lives with, nor likely supports, yet he can’t seem to make up his mind regarding his marital status, or even if his wife is still alive…??

Totally confused at this point? If so, you’re not alone. It appears that grandpa was following the trend of the times – invention of information to suit the mood and circumstances, just like many of my female relatives did with their names. Single, then married, then widowed with a living wife, then married still to grandma or someone else, perhaps divorced, or a polygamist with two wives in different states…grandpa covered just about every base, and then we’ve lost track of him after 1937, until his death in 1952.

My brain is whirling with possible options at this point, along with the realization that much of this story will always remain unknown. I can accept that.

Do you know your own history? Does all this craziness I’ve been posting entice you to dig into your own past? Are you worried about what you might find?

I dare you, go ahead…start digging and tell me what you find. I can’t possibly be the only one with such a clearly unsettled past.



We have a few more answers to all this familial mystery.

Quite by accident, as I was trying to search for information on my maternal grandmothers 2nd married name and a possible marriage record, up popped my mother’s birth certificate!

I had no idea why we couldn’t locate it online when we tried last week. That fact led to all my speculation in this post...and the thought that we might never really find information on my grandfather, and the final decision to trace the certificate to Montana and actually order a copy. That paper will likely arrive late this week because it was too late to cancel the order. At the very least, we can confirm what we found online.
I don’t know what I will think if the copy we get doesn’t match the information we found online. That might suck.

Anyway, for the time being we can definitely say that my mother’s father is listed on her certificate and that the box noting a legitimate birth is also checked. Alison also found my grandparents marriage certificate. On both of these records it became clear that my maternal grandmother used a totally different first name at that time. I have always known her as Blanche. We have census records with that name, but in 1923, when she married, and 1926 when she gave birth to my mother, she listed Betty. I suspect that fact has something to do with why we couldn’t find the certificate last week, but I know that I sure got lucky this time around.

This weird habit of females in my family using two or three or perhaps more names during their lifetime is a trend. My grandmother was one of many we’ve found doing this. We’re assuming that they had a fondness for nicknames, or thought it was perfectly acceptable to change up or adopt various versions of their name as the mood struck. We also assume that it was acceptable to them that official (legal) records did not need to match or contain their given birth name because hey…why not be different.

We also found out that:

-At the time of my mother’s birth, both my grandparents listed Washington as their place of residence. We suspect that they went back to Montana, where grandma’s parents lived, for the birth itself.

-My grandmother was born in Washington. I always thought she was born in Montana. She was eighteen when she married…the first time.

-We are unsure just how long this new family stayed in Montana. We are also unsure exactly what city/area of Washington they returned to after they left but they did return here.

-We have no idea when my grandparents divorced.*

*Divorce records are tough to find, or we just aren’t searching in the correct state or with the correct names, because again, who knows who anyone was at any given time. Also tough to come by are most records after the 1940 census. There is this rule that records 72 years prior to the current year cannot be made public. So, we can locate the 1940 census, and likely other minor records in that decade or earlier but records from roughly 1954 to the present are only available with proof of relationship, and bunches of fees to have them copied and mailed. Very likely, the 1950 census and other legal records are just now being transferred into the public domain and going onto the internet. I can’t begin to guess just how soon those might be available. 

-My grandfather was from Nebraska. His occupation on the birth certificate is listed as barber.

-We have discrepancies in his birth year. It is listed as 1902, but many later documents and records place it as 1904. This makes him either 19 or 21 when they married.

Alison managed to trace back familial lines for my grandfather, and – because I don’t know if we can ever be one hundred percent sure – she also found information on his death. In that regard he is noted to have died in 1952, just 7 years before I was born. Apparently he was killed (run over) by a train and is buried in Albuquerque New Mexico. I do vaguely remember stories surrounding the railroad and trains in connection with my grandfather, so I think this makes sense. I wish I knew what sort of relationship, if any, my mother may still have had with him. I have a feeling it was minimal at best.

Finally, we have his ancestry going back to 1700! A great+ grandfather came from France at the time, but after ‘marriage’ he settled in Canada and left his wife behind. I list ‘marriage’ in that way because he was one of quite a few of the great+ grandfathers who married (took as a wife) Native American women. This wife is listed as a significant princess in the Winnebago tribe. Her father was a major chief and had connections to Tecumseh and some of the conflicts he led across the United States. She apparently refused, or was forbidden, to go with great+ granddad and I guess Canada as a settling place seemed like a good idea to him. Through notations, we know that my grandfather was 1/8 Native American.

The irony in this story, and we hope to look into more of the history of these people and their tribe, is that my mother adamantly kept saying that she had “Indian blood” and that we were connected to the Winnebago tribe that settled both in Nebraska and Wisconsin. Honestly, I tended to believe she was full of crap, because well, after a while believing her stories made less and less sense to me and as I’ve asserted, it was always a crap shoot as to what might be truth and what was likely a lie, or a convenient alteration of some insane idea.

I definitely feel happy that we have come this far and managed to find out more about my family, not just for myself but for my children and the next generations.

Alison is working on a family tree. We also plan to add a bit more information about some of the family lines of new spouses that have joined the family in the last few years so that they can continue with their own histories if they choose.

The one remaining mystery, closely tied to that issue of availability of public records noted earlier, is the details of my maternal grandmothers 2nd marriage. Having a confirmation of the year my grandparents divorced would help us to begin the search for records of her 2nd marriage. We know that my mother was using this mystery man’s last name as late as spring 1946, although she was not adopted by him so the legality of that is in question. My grandmothers death record uses the name associated with her 2nd marriage. Finding the documents that may lead us to this man will likely be a work in progress I suspect and will do more to satisfy curiosity rather than have a direct bearing on me from an ancestral standpoint.

So, we push forward with filling in little missing pieces here and there. If we get more interesting news I will pass it on in future posts.





Life is now more a quandary than a mystery

So there was this post.

To explore my roots or not…

To dig into my familial past and try to answer some questions that have plagued me for years because of so many conflicting stories.

Alison jumped into the quest with metaphorical guns blazing, shooting rapid fire internet searches to here and back and in the process she began to uncover my/our history.

So far we know these facts, which are actually more additions to existing knowledge rather than brand new information:

My father’s paternal family has been dated back to 1600’s Denmark. I forget just how many great grandparents we’re up to now. It was fun to see how my maiden name came to be. There’s that quaint ritual of taking a father’s first name, such as Frederick, and when a son is born that child then becomes Hans or Paul or Whatever + ‘son’ – Frederickson — son of Frederick. Every generation with a male then grows a new surname. My maiden name was born from the son of Poul, and quickly took on a more familiar spelling Paul-son. Somewhere down the line we changed the -son- to -sen and thankfully stopped the tradition, or I likely would have been named Edwardson instead.

My father’s maternal family was from the south once they settled in the United States. Tennessee and South Carolina were predominate. Charity Broadstreet, (I love that name) just a few years prior to the Revolutionary War, married a man born in Ireland but who, with his family, emigrated to the colonies.** We’ve been able to trace that line to his parents, both originally Irish.

**Or is it immigrate? Not sure which one to use in this situation…Dear TDP if you are reading this – comments are welcome.

Alison has managed to update and even add to information already established about my spouse’s family, so for her and her siblings there’s a good record forming there of her fathers ancestry. That side has deep Italian and German roots, huge families, and even some name changes on the paternal side. I remember someone telling us once that the Italian ancestors were shoemakers and their name actually is a reference to their occupation. Who knows if that’s true.

I believe so far, that on top of the heritage already mentioned, there is Dutch, French Canadian, British, perhaps Spain and/or Portugal, possibly Native American…and others I have forgotten.

As to my own mother’s heritage, because those questions were really the impetus for this search, the quest is a tough one. The abundance of last names is throwing off the search. Discrepancies in birth years aren’t helping much. Census records have helped to establish some familial ties associated with my grandmother and various people who aren’t exactly related to me in the way I believed them to be. Siblings to my grandmother have been discovered.

Finding the man listed to be my mother’s father is still a work in progress. A middle name would definitely be helpful, but we don’t have that. I am becoming even more suspicious that my grandmother was never married to the man listed as my grandfather. We have requested a copy of my mothers birth certificate. Perhaps, if his name is listed, we can then have better luck tracking him down. If no name is listed, and the law was the same in the 1920’s as it is today, then likely he either did not give consent to have his name on the record, there was no marriage, or perhaps he never knew he had a child.

Then we run up against the issue of the third last name my mother would occasionally use, this one on top of two legally married last names. Alison found a yearbook, from a high school in this state, where my mother is using this additional last name – Mc****. My grandmother used that name later in life, but again…we can’t get a handle on marriage records, or even a first name at this point.


It appears that the women in my recent maternal ancestry seem to enjoy picking up and discarding names almost on a whim if you will. So we wait and we wonder and we keep following other leads and discovering bits and pieces. Fingers crossed that the birth certificate will tell us something when it arrives.



We all make choices everyday. If we are true to ourselves, we follow what is in our hearts, we listen to that gut feeling, and we silence the outside voices that try to persuade, or tempt, or apply values that are wrong for us as individuals.

When we know what’s right for us, the hardest journey might often be to follow the path that seems so clear, but such a puzzle to others. It may seem easier to allow oneself to be caught up and led, joining the herd of doe-eyed sheep wandering through life marching from place to place as gates open and close before us, and behind us.

There are the unique individuals however, those who know who and what they are, what they believe and stand for, and what they want from life. They go forward with conviction. They speak their truth simply and bravely and without apology.

I am proud to know and love one of those individuals.

Read about her here.

Share Your World 2016 Week 5

Share Your World Week 5

If you had a shelf for your three most special possessions (not including photos, electronic devices and things stored on them, people or animals), what would you put on it? My college diploma, because getting that was a major, late life goal. Chippy, my favorite stuffed animal as a child. My bed.

If you had a box labelled ‘happiness’, what would you put in it? Pictures of my kids and grand kids. Chocolate of course – some with caramel. Asparagus. Candles. Books. Enough money to frivolously pay for the ability to get a Master’s degree…I could add more, but I would need a really big box.

What do you want more of in your life? Respect. Not specifically, but as a woman, respect for my value and the fact that I am not something to be objectified.

Daily Life List: What do you do on an average day? Make a list of your usual activities you do each day. Wake at 4 AM and ignore the cat yowling until 5 or 5:30. Feed the cat and put ice in her water fountain.

Open the curtains, turn on the early morning news and check email and blogs. Breakfast is either almond meal/banana muffins or eggs and fruit, although sometimes oatmeal. Have a cup of coffee and then take a shower.

If it’s a day with the grand kids then I finish up packing my lunch and head to my daughter’s house where I will be until about 4 PM caring for Miss G and Miss C.

Then home, do a quick sweep of the cat litter all over the floor and then start dinner. After that I catch up on blog posts and comments, perhaps watch a bit of TV or read, then it’s usually off to bed.

On the days I’m not working I typically have at least one chore to do around the house as I space them out over the week. I may get in some yoga type stretches as well. If I’m in a talkative mood I might manage a blog post. Sometimes there’s errands needing to be done as well, but typically I do all my ‘work’ in the morning.

The rest of the day follows the pattern described above with the addition of some adult coloring, or art, or playing with the cat.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up? I’m incredibly grateful that I had a few days to myself. I slept in the middle of the bed. I never do that. I’m looking forward to the possibility of exploring more of my families background after my discovery discussed here.