poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘great-grandparents

the unknown thousands – family history

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Today, I will divert a little from my usual topics and mutter about genealogy.  Along with my other projects, I try to keep learning about my family.  Fortunately, I have a lots of materials to look at: family letters, post cards, diaries, well-researched family trees and so on.


I am always surprised at how much is lost.  Some of this is due to the loss of records, some is due to the overwhelming numbers of people involved in the family history of just one person. When I first became interested in family history, I thought about how many lives have contributed to make ‘me’.  The numbers of ‘grandparents’ add up quickly as I go back in time.



Generation Numbers of parents/‘grandparents’
1   (me)
2   (my parents) 2
3   (my grandparents) 4
4   (my great-grandparents) 8
5   (great-great-grandparents) 16
6 32
7 64
8 128
9 256
10 512
11 1024
12 2048
13 4096
14 8192
15 16384
16 32768
17 65536
18 131072 … and so on …


So, to make any one of us, it took thousands of people.  I knew this before, but knowing I have 131 thousand ‘grand-parents’ in 18 generations is unsettling.


I began by just trying to know the names of those 16 great-grandparents in the 5th generation.  I have them almost figured out.  Those with an * beside their name have a published family tree.  Those with a ? are uncertain.


Charles Clark (*) (farmer)

Margaret Aitcheson

James Johnson (farmer)

Mary MacIntosh

Lewis Norramon (?) (farmer)

Mary  …….  (?)

Josiah Hawk  (*) (shoemaker) )

Sara Kresge (*)

William Spavold (carpenter) (shipwrecked off Briar Island) ( )

Phelena Warner

Robert Manzer

Eleanor Evan

George Cook

Eliza Jane Smith

George Sabean  (*)

Jane Mullen



About some, like William Spavold, I know quite a lot (thanks to the efforts of my Dad).  I am also gradually assembling a history of my great-grandmother Ella Hawk (daughter of Josiah and Sara) (thanks to the efforts of my aunt).  The sad thing is, all I will ever know about most of these people is a name.  In spite of this, I owe them my existence.



my drawing of William Spavold, his mother and brother after their shipwreck

my drawing of William Spavold, his mother and brother after their shipwreck


Copyright  2014   Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

April 9, 2014 at 9:40 am

sacred spaces #2

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One of the repurposed churches I have encountered is the church where my great-grandmother and great-grandfather were married on July 24 in 1886 in Laramie, Wyoming.  The church was the First Methodist Episcopal Church on Second Street in Laramie.

The church building, constructed in 1860, still stands at 152 North Second Street, but when my great-grandparents were married there, it stood at a location across the street from its present location.  When it was abandoned as a church, it was rolled across the street on logs, where today it is the oldest church building in Laramie.

When we visited Laramie in 2002, we did not find the church immediately because it did not look like a church.  When it was rolled across the street, the back of the church faced the street…

A look at the rear of the building shows what the face of the church would have looked like in its previous location…

The church has been repurposed and today is used by a distance-training business.   Inside the church, I could see the windows overlooking the spot where once my great-grandparents stood to say their vows…

Have you gone on a journey to discover the people in your family history?  Have you stood where their feet once stood?

Written by jane tims

September 15, 2011 at 7:02 am

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