December 19, 2014

Do You Have Favorite Family Members?

Minnie Smith age 12

Are there favorite family members you like to research or write about?  Until someone else posed this question, I hadn’t really given it much thought just who I seemed to write about the most.  I think about several of my ancestors quite often though, and wish that I could have met them.

Minnie Smith Yates

I’ve written about my two grandmothers before in Growing Up Grandma-less where I explain how much you lose when you never get to know your grandmother.  I think about my Grandma Minnie Yates quite often, especially now that I have two granddaughters of my own. What would I have learned from her? I wonder…

Donald, Helen, Joan, Jeane and Joyce Moline

My maternal grandmother, Helen Nordgren Moline, had a very short life, but she left us with a mystery.  Well, several mysteries.  She was killed by a hit and run driver as she stood on a corner in Seattle in September of 1929.  At the time, she was already living away from her husband, two adopted children and three biological daughters.

In 1930 Grandpa Moline and the three girls are living with another young woman in the house, presumably the adopted daughter.  But where was the adopted son Donald Moline?  And, why two adopted children when they had three girls? Did Grandpa want a boy so bad to carry on his name that he wanted Grandma to keep having babies till she ‘gave him one’, and when she had my mother, the youngest and another girl, did they decide to adopt?

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There are plenty more people for favorites in Jim’s family too:

Henry Skaggs, one of the “long hunters” who ( I was told) had an unnatural relationship with his granddaughters.  He’s not my favorites because of that, just the long hunter part because he was one of the pioneers who went into Kentucky with men such as Daniel Boone.

My husband Jim is a descendant of Henry Skaggs through Henry’s marriage to Susan Scott. Their daughter Nancy Skaggs married Peter DeSpain. Of that union a son, John DeSpain married (3) Mariah Perkins. John and Mariah’s daughter Mary Elizabeth DeSpain married John W. Whitmore, a Medal of Honor recipient in the Civil War. The DeSpain and Whitmore families settled in Des Moines County near Pleasant Grove, Iowa.  Peter DeSpain and Nancy Skaggs had 19 children.  I know she probably had no choice, but I sure admire that woman!

Mariah Perkins DeSpain

Who are your favorite ancestors? Let me know by leaving a comment, please.

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