Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Encounter

My genealogy days are thought to have started some 51 years ago while playing hide and seek in Granny Ewen's closet. [See post "50 Years of Genealogy", July 7, 2010.] That was until I found this picture of my brother and me at Nada cemetery standing with Granny Ewen. It seems that I was about four, and my brother about six years of age. Granny has her arm around Henry's right shoulder, and I have my hands folded respectfully. Henry is holding the flowers which I guess were to be placed among those already evident. It must have been mid-summer since our summer attire was in place, [See post "Shorts and Nothing Else", Dec. 30, 2010.], except we needed to wear shoes so we didn't mess our feet up. This might even had been that same summer we had our picture taken on Danny!

We must have been facing the head stone of George Washington Ewen. I do remember seeing a headstone with some kind of funny markings on it. This must have been the Mason's symbol faintly seen now in the picture to the right. The headstone clearly shows the wear and tear of time, and vandals, since it was placed more than a century ago. This is also where three daughters of Granny had been buried so we could have been saying hello to them. I certainly seem to be standing stiffly which means I must have been unsure as to what to do around these dead folks. Making silly faces would not seem quite right. [Pictures of the head stones are shown in the post "Nada cemetery", Aug. 14, 2010.]

The last picture shows the church that was standing behind our backs. This picture taken at just about the same angle, and just about the same position. It was our family's Sunday go to meeting church shown in the post of January 25, 2011. The fence line has grown, and crowded out the front. It seems that many other things have crowded out this small structure used by my family so many years ago. Only the graves remain.

George Washington Ewen and his wife Susan Francis (nee Cole) are buried there...just beyond the gate.

My brother and I were there some 50 years ago...saying hello.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Holding On

Holding on to things can be tricky at times. Things important to us are often placed in keep sake boxes, pressed between pages of books, or placed in a special hiding place known only to us. Perhaps a necklace , a ring, a flower, a picture, or a four leaf clover, or any number of unusual things that represent a special event or memory. Keep sakes they are called.

Wanda Bernice Ewen, born 20 April 1937, seems to be holding on to a cookie. Perhaps caught in the "cookie jar". What? Me? Not mean you want some? Well maybe one bite. The expression on the face seems to be saying.

How many times have we been caught in the cookie jar? Have to eat fast or someone will find out. I will share a bite or two with the one I have in my hand...but not the one I have behind my back.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

"Our Home is Gone"

Devastation has been part of many lives this past year. Forces of nature have taken much toll all around the world. The actions of wind (tornadoes), earth (earth quakes), water (tsunami and floods) , and fire (wild fires) continue to remind us that no matter how much we think we are in control of our lives, some things are beyond our control.

The first picture to the right shows our home in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. We lived, fought, and loved as a family in these four walls for just about 10 years. The front of the house is shown at springtime, when the azaleas were in full bloom. A welcome sight coming home in the evening.

2001 1st Avenue, it was called. It was built by Edward Montgomery who owned a wood working business. He put a lot of his skill as a wood worker into the details. He even had a bomb shelter built during the "cold war" thinking this would provide some form of protection from that thing called the "A-bomb". We were the second owners to live in the home. Little did he know that a different type of bomb would hit. This bomb could be called a "T-bomb".

Several families have lived in the house since we sold it, when we moved back home to Kentucky. My youngest daughter still lives with her family in Tuscaloosa, and experienced the "T-bomb" first hand. The day after the tornado, she called and said, "Our home is gone".

The last picture shows what she meant. Not much of the house still stood, and large, black letters now identified the property. Complete devastation, what more can one say. The house is gone, but the memories will remain.

Forces beyond our control. Good bye 2001 1st Avenue. Anyway, home is where the heart is.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Pointing The Way

Older siblings often take the roll of the leader. Here... go this way, go that way, get up, set down, and all the other directions that give the younger siblings that sense of "just let me do it"!

The picture to the right hung over Granny Ewen's bed. It shows May Millicent Ewen, born 7 December 1920, holding the hand of her younger brother, John Clarence Ewen (J.C.). [born June 16, 1922.] Both seem to be in a dress, but I guess in those days you used what you had. The oldest Ewen daughter, Minnie Thelma Clay Ewen, had died some seven months before May Millicent was born. J.C. came along some two years later, and May Millicent certainly had several years experience over the younger brother. She seems to be saying, "look, life is ahead, and you need to go this way". In this picture, she seems to be around four years of age, and J.C. would be about two years of age. "Now are you sure about this?", he seems to be saying.

May Millicent Ewen was to die December 25, 1925. Granny Ewen records in her own hand writing, "May Millicent Ewen - born Dec 7, 1920 Died Dec. 25, 1925. age 4 yr. & 6 mo.". To die on Christmas day. Who would every wish that? At least on this day, she is pointing the way.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sharing Tree Climbing

Just a little more than a year ago, the first post entitled "50 Years of Genealogy" was written. The story begins in my Granny Ewen's closet at age nine [Some 51 years ago!], finding the doctor's saddle bag of my great grandfather, George Washington Ewen. The next post tells of finding the Ewen family cemetery titled: "True Tree Climbing". The picture to the right shows this cemetery.

Just celebrating my Dad's 85th birthday, I found this picture among his collections. It would have been taken many years after my first "tree climbing" experience, but it does show the edge of the ridge that my uncle and I climb so many years ago. A few of the "towering pines" can still be seen, with the ridge dropping down just beyond the tree line. I do not have the name on the grave stone shown, but the first Ewen's buried here were born around the 1820's. To find this picture on the first anniversary of this blog was special. Happy Birthday Dad, and Happy Birthday to The Jones Genealogist blog...sharing tree climbing these many years.

The first two posts: Wednesday, July 7, 2010, "50 Years of Genealogy"; Thursday, July 8, 2010, "True Tree Climbing".

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Best Friends

The world would never be the same after M. Daguerre took his first photo. It appeared in the Gazette de france, Jan. 6, 1839 edition, and since this point, an untold number of images have been caught. These images have been called "Daguerreotypes".

By 1856, a quickly made, inexpensive product, was produced ultimately called a tintype. [At first they were called ferrotype or melainotype but who could say these words.] They came in various sizes from a whole plate (6 1/2 inches x 8 1/2 inches) down to a 1/9 plate (2 inches x 2 1/2 inches). They were produced on very thin sheets of iron involving certain chemicals which gave a very sturdy surface. These images could be carried easily and mailed easily. They captured the Civil War period in America in amazing fashion. They became the "folk art" of the day.

The picture above shows such a tintype from my families' collection. It is a 1/2 plate, measuring 4 1/2 x 5 1/2 inches. [An inch scale and millimeter scale are shown.] It has a plain back ground and dark surface common to the tintype. It shows a man with his dog. [I have been unable to identify his name, but I believe him to be a Ewen.]

The picture to the right is an enlargement of this tintype. You needed to sit still around 30 seconds to capture the image. Not much showing on this fellows face. Coat and tie are in place. Sitting stiffly. He seems to be holding his dog comfortably, and the dog has his paws upon the right knee. What an experience. Holding a dog still for any amount of time is a challenge. I wonder who he was.

A man and his friends.