Saturday, July 31, 2010

Death Often Came Early in this Family

For the last few months my husband and I have been focusing on the family of one of his great, great grandaunts as the result of family history records that came to us from another descendant of hers.

Larry’s great, great grandmother was Catherine Campbell, wife of John Haught. Catherine’s oldest sister Mary has been the subject of our research. On 10 Feb 1867, when Mary was 28 years old, she married Absalom Critchfield in Glover Gap, Marion, West Virginia. Absalom had lost his first wife Abigail Maine, the mother of their 8 children, on 28 Nov 1862 in Waynesburg, Greene, Pennsylvania.

I love to print out a family group sheet and then take time to really study it and see what stories it tells me. I looked at the family of Absalom and Abigail Critchfield. Since they were married 2 May, 1841, it’s estimated that their first son John Linzy was born about 1842. He died in 1886 at age 44. Their second child was son William Whitlach Critchfield, born 20 Nov 1846. He died 22 Feb 1865, aged 18. Third child David Kennedy Critchfield was born 30 Aug 1848 and died in 1879, aged 30. Their fourth son, James Leroy Critchfield was born 24 Mar 1851 and lived to the ripe old age of 83. He’s pictured below with his wife Sylvania Glover, who is also a distant cousin of my husband’s. 
James Leroy Critchfield and Sylvania Glover Critchfield
Absalom and Abigail’s 5th child was daughter Mary Jane, who was born 1853 and died in 1889 at the age of 36. The sixth child of Absalom and Abigail was Thomas Jefferson, born Apr 1857 and died 1921 at the age of 64. Seventh child Sarah Elizabeth, born 12 Oct 1859, died at the age of 15 in August 1875.

If that isn’t enough hardship and tragedy in one family, here’s more. Absalom and Abigail’s eighth child was Nancy Anne, who was born 25 Sep 1862. Abigail herself died two months later, on 28 Nov 1862, then baby Nancy Ann’s death followed one week later, on 5 Dec 1862.

When we take time to study a group sheet like this, we begin to get an idea of what these family members experienced in terms of loss, grief, and tragedy. We gain a better understanding of the emotions they lived with, the troubles they encountered and the strength it must have taken to persevere.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I’m Changing the Purpose of my Blog

Curt Witcher July 2010 Curt Witcher, the manager of The Genealogy Center at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Ind., was the plenary speaker at BYU's Conference on Family History and Genealogy on Wednesday. Michael DeGroote reported on his talk in the Mormon Times this morning. His article can be found at this link:

For all of my adult life, until the advent of social networking sites like Facebook, I’ve been a letter writer. I also have always loved receiving handwritten letters in the mail. In Curt’s talk, he asks the question, “When was the last time you received a letter from someone?” I know it’s been 2 or 3 years since I have. It’s been that long since I’ve written and mailed one too! 

I started this blog in September, 2008 with the intent of sharing my genealogy research findings. Lately I’ve slacked off on my postings because I’ve been quite busy researching and enjoying the written gifts sent to me by other researchers with relevant material on my husband’s family. This brings me back to Curt’s point: in many cases, we know much of what we know about our family’s past because of the letters that were written by and to them. What I’ve enjoyed reading for the last two months are transcriptions of letters written to my husband’s great, great grandaunt by her grandchildren in the early 1900s. See the previous story abut that. 

But my grandchildren are not writing letters to me these days. They’re posting their daily activities on Facebook instead.   

After reading Curt’s observations, I’m going to change the focus of my writing from sharing with the geneablogging community to sharing with my posterity. I suppose the content will be the same, but my purpose will be changed. As I write and post photos, explanations, findings, etc. I’m going to do it with my grandchildren and great grandchildren in mind, rather than my contemporaries on Facebook! Right now my grandchildren are not interested in what I have to say or to share, but with wonderful tools like Blurb, I can write about my family history and print it all in book form for my descendants. I’m confident that SOMEBODY, SOMEDAY will find SOMETHING that I’ve written interesting and maybe even valuable.

Friday, July 23, 2010

A Nice 70th Birthday Present


I recently was blessed with an offer from a complete stranger of family history information that pertains to my husband’s great, great grandaunt. I immediately replied to him with a request for anything he was willing to share. I received a CD in the mail a week later that contained stories of Mary Campbell Crihfield (or Critchfield) as told by her grandchildren. On the CD were also transcriptions of letters she had received in the early 1900s and photographs of Mary and many of her family members.

I printed the contents of the CD and prepared a 3-ring binder for my husband and me. We read pages from the book each evening and have found that we sleep well by thinking of Mary as we drift off to sleep.

My husband’s brother will celebrate his 70th birthday August 1st. I prepared the book above for his birthday present. He and our sister-in-law will now be able to learn more of his great, great grandaunt and will find that their hearts are drawn to this wonderful woman as a result of reading the precious, loving stories and letters it contains. 

Happy Birthday dear brother-in-law!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

My Kindergarten Class Picture

Kindergarten Class Morrison School

I’m thankful to my kindergarten classmate Bonnie McKinney Guinn for posting this class picture on Facebook today. I have the same picture but haven’t scanned it yet. I’m in the front row at the far right. I remember that dress I was wearing. The big collar was “Chartreuse”---a popular color in 1952 when this picture was taken. My twin brother Dennis Margheim is in the 3rd row, 3rd from right. We were in the morning class taught by Miss Aileen Williams at E. E. Morrison School, Great Bend, Kansas. We’re pictured together in the photo below.

Dennis and Becky Kindergarten

Oh, the wonderful memories. I can still smell the Crayola crayons and the tempura paint. I remember dipping candles, learning to tie our shoes (we partnered up---I taught my brother since I already knew how to tie), and best of all, I remember singing “This Old Man” while playing the tambourine.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

An Anniversary Long Forgotten

Ernest and Ruby wedding portrait

Yesterday would have been the 67th Wedding Anniversary of my mom and dad, had they stayed married and had my mother still been alive. They were married July 9, 1943 and divorced in 1949. My mother Ruby Nadine Flanders Margheim Craine passed away July 14, 1990. But July 9th still is a special day in my heart, for I know they came together in love at the time of their marriage and had hopes of remaining together for the rest of their lives. In their wedding portrait above, my dad, Ernest Ludwig Margheim, is 21 years old. On August 8th this year, he’ll celebrate his 89th birthday. My mother was born in 1925, so she was 18 years old at the time of their  marriage. I think they look much older than the 21 and 18 year old couples of today.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Myrtle and Pearl: aren’t they pretty?

Simon Haught & granddaughters Myrtle & Pearl Ramsey 1904
My husband’s great, great granduncle Simon Haught is pictured here with his arms around his beautiful granddaughters, Myrtle Flossie Ramsey (left, born 1902) and Pearl Emmeline Ramsey (right, born 1900). Simon was born 1844, the son of Jacob B. Haught (b. 1807) and Susan Haught (b. 1811). Simon and his wife Elizabeth Campbell Haught had a daughter Alcena Eleanor Haught who married Willis Milzey Ramsey. Alcena and Willis were the parents of Myrtle and Pearl.