Thursday, March 18, 2010


Before I had children (BC), I started researching my ancestry. I found that much had been documented on the DeHarts, my mother's father's family. They came from Holland in the 1600's to flee religious persecution, and they were early prominent land owners in Brooklyn, NY. Very cool!

On my mother's maternal side, the Clevengers, there wasn't a whole lot of documented research. I began digging through online databases of birth, death, and census records. Those are pretty fascinating to examine. There were boxes you could check if someone was deaf, dumb, blind, idiot, or insane. The casualness of that language amazes me. We live in such a politically correct society that there are special terms for everything!

Anyway, I found record that indicate that my grandmother had several (at the very least four, possibly six or more!!!) brothers that were born but never reached adulthood. This is in addition to the six children that did survive. Some of these mystery siblings were stillborn, others died in childhood, others, I can't quite figure out. As close as I am to my grandmother, and as many "family history projects" I did with her growing up, I had never heard of these people. I talked with my mother about it, and she does recall the mention of one, and a family Bible she has shows a couple more, but there are still more to unravel.

This has really sparked something inside me. I am just fascinated by the idea that babies just sort of came and went. Now, I know this was the 1910's, 20's, and 30's, but amazes me. They were home births, possibly with a midwife, or even unaided. I just want to know what happened. Were they ill? Was there some kind of birth defect? Prematurity? My mind swirls with the possibilities. And how did she, my great grandmother, Ina, feel about this? Did she mourn every baby or was she secretly relieved that there wasn't going to be another mouth to feed? I have some pictures of her, and she's such a stout, stern looking woman. My grandmother is still alive and probably can tell me some things, but her mental state isn't always stable. I want to seive through more pictures, visit the family home place and cemeteries this spring and investigate further. I feel like there's a story to tell...finally!

1 comment:

Elly Gilbert said...

Of course this is not you posting this. It is me....John. I got to reading back on a number of your blogs over the years and WOW! I have always mentioned the "writing thing" as a career to pursue, but after reading this afternoon....I am even more convinced this is a path you should further pursue. My opinion of course, but still you can do it. I have no doubt in my mind you could writie about anything if you wanted to. You write as if you enjoy it and anything I read seems so effortless. I wish I could write that well.