Why “The Malevolent Matriarch?”

GREAT GRANDMA'S TONGUE WAS AS SHARP AS HER PENCIL. Afraid of no one, she let loose in hundreds of letters to daughter Bertha, sometimes twice a day. Her stern "disposition" intimidates (yet I adore that photo on the right. Notice her posture, her confidence. The hat and coat add to the "don't mess with me" ...

A journey from 1891-Post 4

Signature number four A fly on the wall My mom has two, gold trunks in her apartment, and both are filled with genealogical treasures. In late August, she found something in the bottom of the smaller trunk. It was an autograph book once belonging to my great, great, great grandparents Charles and Maria Smith. To ...

Storytelling: Interpretations

Adding the dramatic effect When I read novels these days, I notice that the authors are writing their stories almost as if they are describing how they want it to look in a movie.  With this in mind, I began to think about the “special effects” that could accompany some of the older letters I ...

The Art of Successful Letter Writing

A Letter from an Ancestor By Susan Phelps “In an age like ours, which is not given to letter-writing, we forget what an important part it used to play in people’s lives.”   ~ Anatole Broyard On May 9, 1887, the Reverend Charles Smith sat down in his home in Plover, Wisconsin, to write a ...

Storytelling: Painting a main character

“Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can't remember who we are or why we're here.”  ~ Sue Monk Kidd Storytelling is an important part of family history.  Passing down stories about our lives and the lives of our ancestors makes history real.  Characters make stories come to life.  ...

Full circle

"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can." ~ Arthur Ashe Family reunion...of sorts Meeting up with a long lost cousin A year or so ago I found my step-cousin Milton on Ancestry. Receiving a response of any kind on that site often does not happen; I was pleasantly surprised when ...

Letter #7: December 27, 1889

The series continues A letter from Josiah INTO IRONWOOD My mother found letters authored 129 years ago by my great, great grandfather, letters, in fact, partly responsible for the start of this blog. The author's daughter is our malevolent matriarch. Alfred Josiah "Si" Smith was his name and his family lived in Ironwood, Michigan. As ...

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