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What Did Your Great Grandma Do?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by JustinD, Mar 29, 2007.

  1. History, it seems to me, is largely written by men. Therefore it is quite tricky to find out what the women in your family were doing even 3 generations ago.

    My great grandmother was a native American in the northwestern United States and the wife of a German immigrant farmer. She died when I was 8 and I barely knew her but before she was sent to the nursing home she kept the family farm going until about 1984. Quite a woman.

    Wouldn't it be interesting for you to tell us what yours were doing? If you don't know then try to find out, it would be good for your soul.
  2. oooohhh what a neat thread to start!

    My great grandmother on my mother's side was a dear sweet lady! Every time we went to visit with her, she would have gingerbread coming out of the oven and would tell my great aunt to take me to the kitchen and give me some! She thought my Mom wasn't feeding me enough because I was so thin! If only she knew how much I DID eat! I'll have to try to get in touch with some relatives to see what else she did, but I can tell ya she had siamese cats. She died when I was very young, but how can I forget her gingerbread! I treasure the recipe too!
  3. Which one? Naturally, you have four of them. As a matter of fact, I can still remember all four of them and as far as I know three of them were farmers and one (dealt with below) was running a little grocery shop.

    On this photo, the little girl to the right is my grandmother on my mother's side (with her sister). She is still alive (aged 91). Her mother (that would be my great grandmother) is right from her. The lady to the left is her grandmother (my great-great grandmother).
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    Here is another photo.
    The lady in the middle is my before-mentioned great-great grandmother and the grim looking lady to the left is my great-great-great grandmother. One the three boys (don't know which one right now) is my great grandfather. All the boys fought in WW1, two evidently fell, the third was MIA.

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    This photo is more than 100 years old. All photos of this series were in rather bad condition and it took me days (tied to my computer and PS) to restaurate them.

    Here is the full series.


    This thread reminds me to dig out photos of my other ancestors as well - and do some more restauration work :Crunk:

  4. As a little side note:

    It is mind-boggling when you start to think of what these people have witnessed.

    E.g., another of my great grandmothers (the mother-in-law of my above mentioned grandmother) was born in 1882, at a time when there were still gun fights in the Wild West (if I remember correctly, O.K. Coral was in 1883), long before the Wright brothers made their first attempts to fly, and she died (1973) 4 years after Armstrong set his first foot on the moon.

    My head swims when I think of that.

  5. WOW, Harry! What incredible precious photos! DUnno if I can find any, but I'm gonna try! This is truly an awsome thread! Since I'm into historical stuff, I just love the ladie's fashions!
  6. DABO


    Jan 13, 2006
    My father's mother came from a Russian town called Natefka. It was apparently the model for the town in Fiddler on the Roof (Anatefka). So a lot of what I think I know about her life comes from that story. She was a poor girl living on a farm. I assume that her mother was also a farm wife, but I don't know anything about her.

    My mother's grandmother was born in Lithuania and fled to England with her husband by hiding in a hay wagon.

  7. Just yesterday I had a discussion with some friends about genealogy and the problems encountered to get to records.

    When your grandparents all were born around 1870, married late in life and had offspring <my parents> that did the same ,there is sometimes too much space between generations for the children to remember anything beyond their own grandparents.

    This is a complicated way of saying that I have no clue what my great-grandmothers actually did for a living. I was never told by my parents specifically. I have the impression though that they ran their household in the cities that they lived in <Utrecht, Amsterdam, Leeuwarden, Klaaswaal - all in the Netherlands>, but did not work a farm or work outside of the house. There are some pictures in existence, like Daguerro type etc. of really old, old ladies, but they could be other relatives.

    Needless to say there are not many people that I am closely related to. In fact, my sister and I are the last surviving members of our part of the family tree...
  8. Harrry S. - Great photos. The "grim" look is an understatement! She doesn't seem too happy to be photographed. :eek: 

    Great thread. But, sadly, I have no answer. I have even tried to do some research on my family treee with limited success. :frown:
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 29, 2007
  9. I don't think so. Either she was concentrating so hard not to move - with these cameras you had very long exposure times - or it is just because life in those times was very hard.

    Yes, that is not always easy. My grandfather once had to do it because the Nazis demanded it. And, the oldest ancestor he was able to track down was executed (as leader of a group of rebellious farmers) towards the end of the 30-year war (that must have been 1648).
    In Europe, the 30-year war is usually as far back as you can trace any records (almost every record was destroyed at that time) unless you hit an aristocratic lineage.

  10. Toby D

    Toby D

    Mar 7, 2006
    I can empathize on the troubles with genealogy, the records were never that great in so many places as the generation one seeks falls further into the mist of time.

    One side of the family is from Baden-Baden, a Methodist Minister in rural Western Iowa. Great-Great Gramps was killed at a train crossing in a buggy(circa 1878). Most rural Ministers were circuit preachers. So Great-Great Grams got to raise 5 daughters by herself. Two others were pioneers to Iowa and Nebraska building farms in the 1860's(We still own one after 150 years!).

    The last was from Virginia and Ky. Great Grampa married into Ky family that had previously owned slaves before the war. He eloped with her to Clarksville, TN from Hopkinsville, KY to marry and then returned to Hopkinsville for the honeymoon at the hotel. Reading the newspapers of the time, this was a popular way to go. Her father had died by 1880 and the paper said Great Great Gram had "reconciled herself to the union".

    He passed down a letter from his wife's side where her father was making a wedding gift of 3 slaves to another daughter in the 1850's. Its sickening to read, the attitude of those times still confounds me. But my branch went off to Colorado to mine. That's where Dad's father met his mother, riding the hand cars to the mines.

    Gramps was born there in Manitou. They eventually owned a lodge in Rosemont, CO. Great Gramps was arrested once in Colo Springs in 1910 for failing to remove the snow from in front of his store. A great uncle was killed in a train accident in Kingman, AZ. Trains seemed to kill a lot of folks in the past. Great Gram eventually divorced him in 1926, that side produced notorious alcoholics. My own grandmother divorced in 1922, same reason.

    Gramma contracted a mild case of TB in the 20's so the state wanted to take her son's away from her to protect them. She made a deal to hand my father and uncles over to her father, which the state accepted. Naturally, they were never away from her at any time.

    When I get to the early 1800's, its like night has fallen, I just can't make any progress at all.
  11. You folks are all pretty young.

    My Grandfather was born in 1860, before the U.S. Civil War (or The War of Northern Aggression as some of that period called it). Two of my great grandfathers fought for the Confederacy, and both were captured. One was reported killed in the ammunition dump explosion in Petersburg, VA. After the war, he showed up at the back door of the family home, and the maid didn't recognize him. When his wife (my great grandmother) was summoned, she looked at him and fainted.

    And that is about all I know about her.

    Both of my grandfathers died before I was born, but I knew my grandmothers, both of whom died in the 1950s. My father was the youngest of 11 children; he died in 2000 at the age of 90. I am the youngest of 28 grandchildren. My generation is now the older generation

    We have a family reunion every July 4th weekend at the old family home place in Central Alabama. The average attendance the last several years has been around 150 people.
  12. My Grandmother made Moonshine in West Virginia until the "revenuers" came.

    It's the reason we live in Pennsylvania, they ran from W.Va. - true story.

  13. Interesting Thread,
    My Great Grandmother is the lady on right top row. My grandmother is the lady on the far left next to her is her sister, my Great Aunt Flora Floyd.
    The North Carolina folks may remember the Professional golfer and Masters winner Raymond Floyd. My Great aunt Flora is his Grandmother.
    This is a family photo of my Great Grandfather, Great Grandmother and all their living children at the time.

    Families were big in those days on the farm.
    I guess it had something to do with no TV or shopping malls.:biggrin:
    English D. Cook's 86th Birthday-Oct 12th, 1944

    somewhere, Marion County, SC

    "Cook Family"
    Back row: Bertha (mama-my grandmother), Flora, Charlie, Mattie, Lillie, Eston,
    English D.(Great Grandfather), Melissa (my Great Grandmother)
    Front row: Cantey, Alex, Clarence, and Oscar

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
  14. Great responses so far. The pictures added to the text add tons of interest!
  15. I know what you mean. I do not have a clue what my greatgrandmothers were like. In fact I do not even know their names. All four of my grandparents emigrated from Russia in the beginnning of the 20th century; and, it seems that my family, including myself and my ancestors, have tended to have children later in life. I had uncles who were born in the 19th century. So, I am not even sure how long ago my greatgrandmothers were born, or died. In fact, one of my grandmothers died in 1917.

    One of my daughters tried tracing the family history; however, she ran into a dead end. It seems that there is not much, in the way of records, of jews in Russia. It is unusual that, of the Berinskys that we have found, there seems to be a lot of common themes. I was educated as an engineer and later went into law. The first Berinsky, that my daughter found, lived in St. Petersburg, and was a civil engineer. She found him on a Russian photo posting site, as his hobby is photography. Of the several Berinskys she found, they were almost all engineers and college professors. Though we cannot prove a common lineage, it is very curious that most of us, with the same surname, have similar professions and interests.
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