I haven't had any time the last two months for family history research. Well, clearly all the photos from Wayne's parent's apartment that we've discovered, scanned and labeled adds to what's known about the family history but it kind of came to me. I didn't have to go looking for it. And, actually, I didn't have to look far for the most recent finds either, this time on my side of the family.
This is my grandmother, Mary Melinda Barry Hedrick. She was a tiny little thing, barely making 4'10" on a good day. I don't have a date for this picture but I'm guessing early to mid 1950s. My mother was the youngest of seven children with the oldest being 14 when Mother was born so Grandma was a little older than the grandmothers of most of my friends. She died in 1968 at the age of 87 so I didn't hear a lot of stories of her younger days.
This picture makes me smile because it's just the way I remember her and I chose it as the profile picture for the information about Grandma in my online tree at Ancestry.com. The tree is public, meaning others with Ancestry memberships can see whatever I put out there as well as attach photos or documents to their tree. I'm OK with that; what I put out there I'm happy to share. Plus Ancestry tells me exactly who is adding that information and to what tree.
I got just such a notice recently telling me that someone had added Grandma's picture to their tree. Curious what our connection would be, I went to check it out. Oh, my, was I ever happy I did! Not only did she have Grandma's picture from my tree, but she had others of Grandma I had too...like this one.
That's Grandma in the front and her sister Rosa (or Aunt Rosie as we always called her) and Nellie Fuller in the back. Only I didn't know the name of the third young lady until I found Marlene's tree. As it turns out, Marlene is Aunt Rosie's granddaughter.
I sent Marlene a message through the Ancestry channels thanking her for posting the photo as it gave me a name I didn't have. She replied, telling me Nellie was a friend of the two sisters. Then she also added that Grandma and Aunt Rosie lived at the Fuller Boarding House in Woodward when the family first came to Oklahoma. Great-Grandma Bell would not let her daughters live on the "God-forsaken prairie" while the parents homesteaded.
Those few sentences gave me a lot of information. I had no idea my great-grandmother went by the name of Bell when her given name was Rachel Isabell. And I didn't know Grandma had lived in a boarding house in Woodward. It didn't do Great-Grandma Bell a lot of good, however. It wasn't long before both girls married and lived on the "God-forsaken prairie" on homesteads that adjoined the parents. The two sisters were Great-Grandma Bell's only children and they remained close all their lives.
Marlene had this photo in her tree and while I haven't uploaded it yet to mine, I have a copy of it as well. That's Grandma and Grandpa on the left, Rosie and Herb on the right and Great-Grandma Bell in the middle. My records say it's my grandparents' wedding photo...and Marlene has this labeled as her grandparent's wedding photo. We may both be right as the couples married just two months apart. It was fun to zoom in on the photo after I scanned it to see that the two wedding dresses are either identical or nearly so.
A few more messages made their way back and forth between us when Marlene shared more stories about my grandmother that I knew nothing about. The Ladies Guide To Needle Work is a textbook from the finishing school Grandma and Aunt Rosie attended in Goshen, WV. Aunt Rosie said the first summer after they graduated they worked for a milliner in Louisville. According to Rosie, Grandma had a talent making hats that Rosie didn't share. Everything Rosie made was rejected while Grandma's were all accepted.
A finishing school? Working for a milliner? It's a side of my grandmother I never knew. She even gave me an address Aunt Rosie wrote on the inside of her book of where the girls lived in Louisville. Who knows where that might lead.
It does, however, put this photo in a different light. While my grandmother may have captioned this photo of her in a giant hat as Shade of the Gay 90's on the front, on the back she wrote Louisville 1901. Do you suppose she's modeling one of her creations? The photo had to have been taken just before the family set out for Oklahoma as that occurred in 1901 as well.
All these stories would never have made their way to me had it not been for Ancestry.com. I have photos of Great-Grandma Bell to share with Marlene and hopefully she has more stories about Grandma and Aunt Rosie to share with me. Sometimes the world wide web is a wonderful place.