I’ve been thinking a lot about my Great Aunt Freda lately. It feels like Aunt Freda is as much a part of me as my pinkie finger. I don’t think of it every minute, but I know the memories are there when I need them. Those memories that helped create who I am now hover in my heart and knowing they are there where I can pull them out at any time is a comfort. Although I have written about her here before, I write about her again today because good people and their love stay with us, gluing us to reality and the good in this world, especially during times that seem dark and dismal.
To fully understand Aunt Freda, we need to go even further back in time. You see, there once lived a woman named Rozelma. An odd name perhaps? Somewhere I saw her name spelled differently so it’s possible her real name was actually Rose Alma and someone at some point wrote it phonetically and she was thereafter Rozelma in print. Either way, what we know about her is that she was born April 8, 1859, about a hundred years before I was born in 1959. She married Enoch on Sep 3, 1885 at the age of 26. She was my great great grandmother. The pictures below are of Rozelma, then Rozelma and granddaughters Ivy on left and Freda on our right.
Rozelma and Enoch had five children, three girls and two boys. Rozelma and Enoch’s first child, Nina, was born April 28, 1888, about two and a half years after they were married. The picture below shows Nina, who is my grandfather’s mother and my great grandmother.
Elsewhere, a child was born to William Henry and Annie Marie on September 2nd, 1887 and they named him Hugh. Hugh had a sister named Carrie. Pictured below on the left are brother and sister, Hugh and Carrie. Nina married Hugh on March 11, 1906 when she was 18 years old. The marriage connected those two families on our family tree (Carrie and Nina were then related by marriage). Pictured below on the right are Hugh and Nina.
Nina and Hugh had five children, three girls and two boys. Their second child, Freda, was born on July 30, 1908. Freda’s younger brother, Arthur, was born on July 25, 1912. The picture below shows Freda, back left, and Arthur, middle right.
Freda married Everett on May 16, 1934. Pictured below are Freda, and then Freda and Everett.
Freda’s brother Arthur married Dorothy and they had six children, three girls and three boys, and they named their oldest Joan (later called JoAnne). The picture below shows Arthur, Dorothy and JoAnne at front right.
Freda and Everett had no children, but Freda was close to her brother Arthur’s children, including JoAnne. Freda showed JoAnne all of the history of the family that was passed down from her mother, Nina, and her Aunt Carrie.
JoAnne had two daughters of which I, Kerri, am one. (I am named after Carrie, but with a different spelling.)
The point of this partial family tree/lineage is to show that, thankfully, each generation has had an interested and willing person through which information was passed. It shows how important it can be to not only pass down recorded information, but to instill in following generations the importance of the records.
So, family history was recorded and passed down from Rozelma and Carrie to Nina to Freda to JoAnne to Kerri.
Our paper history has escaped fire and flood long enough to be preserved to the present time. Now the documents and pictures have been scanned for viewing on computers and shared with multiple family members. Where it will go from here, we don’t know. Hopefully, some who follow will show an interest in family heritage and will continue recording for those who follow them. If the papers are destroyed, I hope the digital records will be held by someone who cares enough to keep it updated and relevant.
Rozelma was a woman of faith. She passed that faith down to her daughter, Nina, as evidenced by a letter that was saved.
Freda’s Great Aunt Carrie made a thorough list of names and dates of births, marriages and deaths, which Freda’s mother Nina preserved. My Great Aunt Freda was also a godly woman who kept the information, added to it, and made sure it would be passed down through JoAnne. Many kept newspaper clippings of obituaries, birth and wedding announcements, etc. JoAnne researched lineage and organized information, preserving and expanding our history. All of what these people did pieces together a family tree and stories to go along with it.
Even though Aunt Freda had no children, she invested time and love in her nephews and nieces and then her great nephews and nieces. Through special moments, she created memories of her that lasted and a recorded history that is lasting.
Who is your Aunt Freda? Is there a grandmother or grandfather who made you feel special? Is there an aunt or uncle who was a good role model for you? Did someone teach you to fish or play golf or cook or sew, or just make you feel warm and loved? Have you let that person know that he/she was a positive influence in your life? And whose lives are you investing in? When you are gone, whose heart will you live in?
My ancestral aunts were great in more ways than generationally. Will you be like my Aunt Carrie and record your family’s important dates? Will you be like so many women in my family who knew the importance of faith and passed it down?…..and like JoAnne who researched ancestors and recorded interesting facts and stories to be remembered and enjoyed?
Do you have a family tree that includes full names of ancestors? Will you be instrumental in maintaining and adding to family records? What memories do you have of family members? What fun stories might fade away when you’re gone?…would you take time to write or type them so they are preserved for future generations?
Don’t put it off. Write or type it now. Don’t be overwhelmed by the task. Start by scribbling notes. You can go back later and fill in the gaps, but you won’t ever finish it if you don’t start it.
My next post will give some ideas for starting.