Friday, January 16, 2015

Week Three: GUID AS A WINK

Hand drawn Family Tree by Midge Frazel, 1970-1971
Photo by Midge Frazel, 2015, magnet purchased from Ellis Island store

Guid as a Wink
Week 3
"A nod's as guid as a wink tae a blind horse"
(Always ensure you make your meaning clear)
["Haud Yer Wheesht!" Your Scottish Granny's Favorite Sayings by Allan Morrison Neil Wilson Publishing (May 31, 2011)]

As you can see by the photograph above of my hand drawn drop down style chart, I have been researching my Scots since the 1960s. The paper this is drawn on is blueprint paper given to me by my late father-in-law because I was taping sheets together. My father-in-law didn't like talking about family but he did admire my stick-to-it attitude so he gave me the biggest piece of paper he could find and watched me add names. I didn't have family group sheets until 1972. I designed my own.

Interviewing Elders
Interviewing the youngest great aunt in my father's line was an experience everyone should have. She was my great grandmother's youngest child and she was born in Scotland. We corresponded a bit before I got married, moved, changed jobs and put my genealogy aside. I am still looking for her place of burial.

First Focal Family
This week I am focusing on my great grandfather, John Broadfoot and his wife Jane Hannah. Most of their children came to America. John outlived his wife and married again and had four or five more children. His second wife outlived him. He is the granite in my blood. John was a monumental mason and granite hewer.

His son, Thomas, was my grandfather. Thomas died before I was born. Thomas's brother, John, is the ancestor of my California cousins. Recently, one of them went to Dalbeattie, Scotland and took photographs. Naturally, I was interested in the gravestones, so their cousin who has a brother who lives in that town, took the gravestone photos and emailed them to me. 

They asked me an important question that I should have been able to answer. "Where did our family live in Dalbeattie?" So, that is where this quest begins. I have births, marriages and deaths. I have census records. They were a disorganized mess. I am confirming each one, making sure they are:

  1. Saved in my timeline at Scotlands People.
  2. Printed from my printer 
  3. Saved to my backup drive, to my tree and to my Flickr account.

The records need to be printed because of the information at the top of each original image. There is a numbering system that I finally understand. You pay for each search so if you are going to do this, you must gather all your information from family, from gravestones, and from every INDEX that you can find. I wasted a LOT of money and time by not knowing that. I even took a course and didn't understand that.

But now, we can use Google Maps to find the house numbers and streets. It is amazing! 

Jane Hannah, my great grandmother (1851-1895)
John Broadfoot, my great grandfather (1853-1926) 
John Broadfoot's second wife Margaret Tait (1862-1943)

My father told me that his father, Thomas, and his father, this John, did not get along. While he was in high school, my father was in a play. They put talcum powder in my dad's hair to make him look older. My father was unprepared for his father, Thomas, to stand up and shout from the audience. "Damn it, he looks just like my old man!" My dad was so embarrassed. 

My grandfather left Scotland and left his old man behind and never went back. My father found his father dead on the kitchen floor where he had taken his own life. Alcoholism and depression got him. I am glad to have a story even if it is not a pleasant one. Finding balance is key.

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