Sunday, July 19, 2009

Genealogy Jamboree blog assignment: interview

NOTE from DearMYRTLE: The following guest blog entry was composed by Donna Railsback Braly who attended the 2009 Southern California Genealogy Jamboree. BRAVO Donna, for accepting the challenge, and KUDOS for a job well-done! -- And as to the question about neatniks versus messies, Ol' Myrt here must confess she is a messie.


I attended DearMYRTLE's workshop entitled "The Winter of our Discontent: 3 Months to Better Organization" at the Genealogy Jamboree in Burbank, CA last month.

There Pat Richley (aka DearMYRTLE) distributed 12 envelopes to members of the audience.

Although I've been researching our family history for 23 years plus (as an amateur), truth, be told, any of the envelopes would have been appropriate, but I received # 8.

The assignment was "Interview two other family members." This one hit home the hardest for me. I had just lost my father in January suddenly, so no more stories can be gleaned from Dad anymore. And mom is getting up there, she turned 83 this year. So I interviewed my mom about some ancestors I'd never met or hardly knew, including her mother and father. I hadn't even typed it up yet which means it could get lost or destroyed before I did.

I emailed DearMYRTLE saying I'd done my assignment. Now as I searched for the title of the workshop in the syllabus so I could write this accurately, I see that I was supposed to interview two family members. Oops! But it doesn't end there.

DearMYRTLE shoots me back an email. I expected her to say good going and that's the end of that. She does congratulate me, but she also gives me another "assignment or challenge", report on the interview!

So here goes:
My mom told me her father Arch Buchanan Hill liked to tell stories. Mom also inherited this trait, although she didn't appreciate it in him. She hasn't told us stories he told, but tells our family stories and things her mom said. And grandma's been gone 52 years now.

My mom remembered two "nice" things Ida Beatrice (Clark) Mantle, her grandma said: 1) When Ida's daughter, Iva, was dying of cancer, she said something to the effect I never thought that her kids would rally around her like they are.

When my mom and dad married, dad's Aunt Grace (Railsback) Young said "It's much too soon for me." My mom told her mom and grandma this. Ida said "Well, that's none of her business." There may have been an expletive in there that my mom edited out.

Mom also told of her mother when she was single, being a school teacher and her future husband picking her up at the station, as she had come to teach there. His dad was on the school board. Well, they ended up marrying in October, and grandma didn't go back to the schoolhouse. I'm sure teachers weren't allowed to be married back then.

And one time, when they were searching for a man with a gun, grandma hid grandpa's gun in her high top shoes.

And Grandma told of coming from Linn, Missouri to Oklahoma by covered wagon with her siblings and parents.

You can visit my website or for photos of these people:

As a family historian, I want more than birth, married, death, burial dates and place names where they occurred. I want photos and stories to put skin on their bones, know what they were like, saints and sinners alike.

Mom says I only like dead people. I might add "and dogs". You can be disappointed in your ancestors but so far they haven't said mean things about me; and my dogs are only disappointed in me if they don't get their daily walk and two meals a day.

The picture above is of John Edward MANTLE, Ida Beatrice CLARK MANTLE. "Ed"ward Kay MANTLE is seated. Ed died in 1901, so this was taken before then.

Donna Railsback Braly
P. S. Now I need to get back to cleaning house.

P. P. S. It would be an interesting survey to see how many genealogists are neatniks vs. messies.

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