Sunday, February 6, 2011

Surprised Humbled and Enlightened: My Ancestor Approved Award (Part 1 of 2)

Much to my surprise, I was recently awarded the "Ancestor Approved" Award from a fellow blogger, Sassy Jane Genealogy.  (Thank you Sassy Jane!) The "Ancestor Approved" Award was created in March of 2010 by Leslie Ann Ballou of the blog Ancestors Live Here as a way to show how much she appreciates and enjoys "blogs full of tips and tricks as well as funny and heartwarming stories...."

Recipients are to list ten things which surprised, humbled or enlightened them about their ancestors, before passing this award along to ten other bloggers.  Here's my first five thoughts:

1.  I was humbled to learn that my ancestor Nancy Jane McFerren, at 36, was left a widow with 7 children just two days before arriving in the Salt Lake Valley via handcart (and by ship from Ireland).  Her husband, John McCleve, had died two days earlier at Bear River.  She also had come to Utah via the Perpetual Emigrating Fund at the cost of $382.41, which needed to be repaid.  My Mom hails from this line.

2.  Nancy Jane McFerren later married David Ellsworth, and they had a few more children.  My Dad hails from this line.  If you hadn't noticed, the surprise is that my Mom and Dad are related via Nancy Jane McFerren.

3.  I was definitely enlightened when I wrote about ancestor David Edward Adams in a blog article.  He was 5 years old when he came to Utah with the LDS pioneers, hailing from Northampton, England.  He and his brother Edward walked most of the way.  At age 25, he was called by President Brigham Young to help colonize Arizona.  He had been courting Caroline Henrietta Lind at the time, but she wouldn't accompany him unless they were married.  I was enlightened and humbled to learn that at 25 years old, he had to sell land and property he had purchased, buy mules and a wagon, buy a year's supply of provisions and farm implements, and head off to Arizona with his new bride, all within two weeks.

4.  I wrote a blog article on some of my ancestors who served in the Revolutionary War, and I was definitely enlightened.  One was a drummer (John Byam).  One furnished supplies in Virginia and was recognized for his patriotic service (Stith Parham Sr).  And one deserted his family and started another, only later to be discovered when he applied for a pension (Israel Ellsworth Holliday aka Halladay).

5.  I always felt sorrowful for my great grandmother, Merab Emma "Belle" Lee (Morris), a daughter of polygamist John Doyle Lee and 18th wife, Anne Gordge.  Sorrowful because Belle was abandoned by her mother and was raised by another wife, Emma Batchelor.  Sorrowful because after her father was executed for his part in the Mountain Meadows Massacre, the Lee children were rejected, refused admittance to clubs, kept out of offices, and were never considered on the same social level as others.  Children in lower grades could not join in the games at recess.  And to think that same hatred was expressed to my own father when he was told:  "You're part of that Lee family - you have that bad Lee blood."

In my next post I'll finish the remaining five things that surprised, humbled or enlightened me about my ancestors.  Then comes the joy of sharing this award with ten of my fellow bloggers!  I'll announce those names in my next blog post as well.

Hopefully through your genealogy research you too have found inspiring ancestral stories that give you a sense of who you are and how you came to be part of a great and wonderful family.


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