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FF Sparks (Casual)

Preparing to go Home...

Pretty much everything except the laptop is packed, ready to go to the airport in about an hour and a half. Then it's off homewards again, back to Seattle and kieri and brent2005, who've probably enjoyed the break from me. ;)

Last night, surubee came by with Jon to drop off some Roman potsherds they found in Israel while there, which was cool. Susan had a chance to look around the house a bit, see a little of the ground floor and get an idea of some of what's around here. We also foisted books off on her; mom and Sally are saying we're making a new household rule that anyone who comes into the house has to leave with five books, to try and deal with the insane number of books in this house. (To give an idea, this house is three stories tall and has eight bedrooms. All but two and a half bedrooms are filled with boxes of stuff, or bookshelves.)

Spent a little more time looking through things today... grandpa's childhood pictures, more books, and so on. We found an antique caviar serving dish grandma had bought at an antique store as a gift for dad but had never managed to deliver. I also found a re-bound really old edition of The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, which I have claimed as one of my 'help empty the house' books.

It's snowing lightly, as I sit here in the kitchen and look out at the stablehouse in the back yard. The stable-house which is still filled with all of great-grandmother's stuff. I keep wanting to go out and look through all that, as this was the great-grandmother who was expelled from finishing school for stealing a passenger ferry, and who held down a job as a fishing boat inspector during the Depression by cutting her hair short, binding her breasts, and cross-dressing. Quite a character.

Dad commented today, "You really feel the weight of history and generations before you in this house, don't you? Because there's lots of your family here, but also family artifacts and history dating back generations which have been moved here." And he's right; out here, like nowhere else, I feel a connection to my ancestors, I feel more aware of family history.

But now it's time to go home.


I've loved reading your posts. I envy the rich history of your family and the depth of the memories going back so many generations. By contrast, I have very little knowledge about my grandparents' lifes, let alone the great-grandparents who migrated from Austria or the great-grandmother who migrated from County Cork. All I know is where they came from. I'll never know now why and what kind of people they are. You're very lucky.
Well, the easiest one to follow (on mom's side) is the Bates line. The Bates family has been around since the American Revolution, and their history is plentiful, and there's already been enough research to trace that line back to the 1400's in England. About the Wilhelm and Tatman lines (on mom's side), there's not too much except for names we've tracked down, and stories about the recent generations (witness great-grandmother). The Cooper line is interesting -- that's the one where Thomas Cooper (who my grandfather was named for) fell in love with a "gypsy princess," eloped with her, and they fled to the US ahead of irate-daddy's assassins -- but there's (of necessity) not a lot we have about that line before Tommy and his wife made safe landing in Pennsylvania to elude daddy.

Dad's family tree is less interesting to me, though that's where my French and Scottish heritage comes from, and I used to be more interested in my roots to clan Kearney/Carney (alternate spellings of the same family name).
My mom's side is also practically nonexistent in any sort of geneological research, though I did manage to find out when her grandfather migrated from Austria via Ellis Island records. It's also that side of the family I want to trace, since the Leitls (mom's maternal) are Austrians and the Laselles/Flahertys (her paternal) are French/Irish.. yet we have no cultural traditions from either family. I find that rather sad.

On my dad's side, one of his cousins did a great deal of research and managed to trace the family back - through a great-grandmother - from Canada to France before the French-Indian War. The only information I have on dad's mother is that she had an English father and a Scot stepfather. No stories, unlike my husband's uncle who did his own (French-Canadian) family tracing and managed to get as far back as the late 1780's in Canada. He sent me several letters reminiscing about stories his own father told him, including some chilling information about orphans and kids being farmed out and child abuse. It's stuff like that which helps you understand family members and why they acted as they did, and thus affected subsequent generations.