Question of the Week: Do you have a favorite story about a maternal ancestor?

+10 votes
Do you have a favorite story about a maternal ancestor? Please share it with us here.
in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)

15 Answers

+11 votes
My maternal grandmother spent time in a jailhouse.

Why is that?

Her father was the county Sheriff and the family lived in the same building that housed the jail.
by Frank Gill G2G Astronaut (2.3m points)
Frank, thanks for the great answer. I have been the volunteer GED teacher at my county jail for the past eight years, so I have been locked up in jail every Wednesday afternoon. I have missed being there these last six weeks.
+11 votes

My maternal grand aunt Phoebe was certainly ahead of her time in recusing unwanted cats and dogs. I remember when half the town of Trenton, Missouri (population 5,000) were trying to catch a very thin young female black dog. She had long legs and was a fast runner, so this went on for a couple of weeks. Phoebe let everyone know, if they could catch her, that she would find her a home. After she was finally caught, Phoebe named her "Chase", because of the big chase. Chase still has some puppy in her and chewed up several things, but Phoebe loved her and kept her along with several other unwanted animals, and Chase lived to be quite old for a large dog. 

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (428k points)
+8 votes

Perhaps a couple.

My great-grandmother, Jessie (Longan) Thompson, would always tell us the story about her and her siblings going over to their grandparent's house. Her grandfather, John B. Longan, was suspected of running with the Jesse James' gang when he was younger, or at least that's how the story goes. No evidence yet to prove this, but there is evidence that he attempted bank robbery when he was young (see his profile for more information).

My great-grandmother, Jessie, would tell us that her and her siblings would go over to their grandparent's house and that they were allowed to jump on their feather bed until feathers exploded everywhere, and her grandmother, Eliza (Cook) Longan, would just laugh and laugh at that.

My great-grandmother never once saw her grandmother wash clothes, but they would throw out their clothes when they got too dirty, and just buy new ones. She remembered seeing her grandfather bring in a whole tree in the house to put in the fireplace, instead of chopping it up into logs. And that he would sit in his rocking chair, and when the tree burned down he would push more of it into the fireplace with his boot.

Did he actually rob a bank? They didn't seem to be hurting for money. I'm not sure if we will ever really know.

When Jessie was older she was very involved in politics, and I remember seeing a letter addressed to her that was an invitation to John F. Kennedy's inaugural ball.

And when I was young, I remember Jessie coming over to our house for our annual Christmas Eve party, and she would play the fiddle and sing these old songs, with a couple of songs that just had nonsense lyrics.

When her and her sisters got together at the same Christmas eve parties, I remember that they would all start talking a mile a minute, with multiple conversations going on at the same time, talking across from each other. It made it very difficult to keep up.

by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (243k points)
+7 votes
Marie Crocheron (unknown-232903) had Jewish ancestry and emigrated to USA In the Huguenot migration. mtDNA shows Haplogroup Jab1b1 Jewish roots.
by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Pilot (141k points)
+10 votes

My maternal grandmother Doris May (Lindsay) Laurin was a librarian and chaplin in the Framingham Women's Reformatory, in Framingham, Massachusetts for a couple of years in the 1930's. 

Here's a letter extending an invitation:

And my maternal grandmother got into the newspaper:

by Keith Cook G2G6 Mach 3 (37.7k points)
+7 votes
My maternal great grandmother, Louisa Goeringer was a healer. One thing she did to heal rickets in babies is amazing to me. She was a German immigrant who arrived in PA in the late 1800s who had 12 children of her own.

To treat children brought to her, she would first  bathe them in a “tea” made from flowers that looked like wild snapdragons. She would say prayers over them.

Then she would put limewater (the mineral, not the fruit) in their bottles( provided calcium) and put them naked in the sun,

which provided vitamin D.

Calcium and vitamin D are still used today to strengthen bone.

How did she know to provide that treatment?  Remarkable

to me.
+5 votes

My third great grandmother, Mary (Addison) Holizman migrated from Montrose, Scotland with one of her sisters to Brisbane, Australia at the age of 22.  She met a young German man -   on board ship and soon after their arrival in Brisbane, Mary and Johan (John) married in the Lutheran Church, Fortitude Valley, Brisbane. It was 1866, so they headed for the goldfields of Gympie, where my great great great grandmother, Ida Holzmann was born. Johan Karl worked on pastoral leases as far as Bowen, but eventually the family returned to Gympie. Mary had 8 daughters and one son. One of her daughters became a Brigadier in the Salvation Army with a special interest in women and the disabled. Another was a singer and writer. I especially love this obituary for Mary in the Gympie times on 12 Apr 1910 :

"Gympie has lost another old identity, by the death of Mrs. Charles W. Holzmann, of Inglewood Hill, on the 28th March last. Mrs. Holzmann came with her husband in the first rush, and dwelt in a calico hooise on what is now known as Mt. Pleasant: They left, the field for a time, but eventually returned, and pitched their dwelling on Inglewood, Hill, among a wealth of scrub trees, and where neighbours were scarce. Mr. Holzmann died some 41/2 years later, but his wife lived on. and spent close on 30 years on the hill. In spite of 46 years sojourn in the Colonies, the accent, brought from her birth place, Montrose, Scotland, was not completely lost. Her death, at the age of 66 is, as the removal of a familiar land mark, for, Mrs. Holzmann was widely known, and deeply regretted by a large circle of warmhearted friends."

by Jeanette O'Hagan G2G6 Mach 1 (12.5k points)
+5 votes
My own mother was a security guard in a nuclear weapons plant, one of the first females in this particular plant in the 1970s. I was in middle school at the time. She carried a .45 caliber pistol and learned to shoot the M-16 rifle and the .50 caliber machine gun. She had a pet tarantula that she caught while on patrol.  I have a photo of her in her uniform and a copy of her Department of Energy security clearance application which includes every place she ever lived and every job she ever had up to that time.  Pretty good genealogical info!
by Randall Merriott G2G2 (2.7k points)
+8 votes

My grandmother, Florence Youngblood grew up in Mississippi.  Unmarried and over 30 she seemed destined to be an old maid schoolteacher.  When she saw a poster in 1912 asking for teachers to go to the new state of Oklahoma to teach Indian children she decided to go.  She went to Tahlequah, OK, and soon began attending the Methodist Church where my  Cherokee grandfather was pastor.  Unmarried at 45, he never expected to have a wife and family, but the church ladies had different ideas.  Florence and Jim Parks were married in December, 1914, my dad was born in December, 1915.

by Kathie Forbes G2G6 Pilot (372k points)
Love your story Kathie, I am not sure how much you know about Tahlequah. Every Friday night my husband and I have been meeting friends to eat at the very nice Cherokee Casino in Tahlequah This is the thing we have missed the most during the pandemic.
The casino is really nice  and the art collection in the conference center is amazing.  I don’t get out there very often, though. All my Parks and Ballenger cousins who lived there have passed away as well.
Kathie, glad you have gotten to spend time there, sorry to hear you no longer have your cousins.
+7 votes
My grandmother was quite a lady. Her marriage to my grandfather imploded when he had an affair.  In an effort to keep the family together he suggested they move to the Island.  She agreed and told him to head there first.  He left and she stayed.  She opened a venetian blind business that eventually failed.  She owed more than a few people money.  She worked hard and paid every single one of them back. My mother always talked about how great she was (this was her mother-in-law).  I wish I had gotten to know her more.
by Annabelle Sotvedt G2G1 (1.7k points)
+6 votes

My grandma, Natalie, collected creepy dolls. So creepy and lifelike that their eyes seemed to follow you around wherever they went. She even put a few of them in the bathroom. That made doing your thing so, so awkward. There's something to be said for waiting when you go home or going before you leave.

One time my parents and I were visiting for some party and I asked her about the dolls. She smiled and told me that they come to life and to behave myself in her house or else they'll "get me". My face must have went white because she, my aunt, my mom and my cousins all started laughing. 

When she passed away, all of the cousins were asked if we wanted the doll collection. They ended up being split up and went to various female cousins' house. I told them the dolls were haunted. They believed it because NO ONE wanted the dolls. We all thought they were creepy. All of us.

I think they're all in storage now. 

Bonus round: My mother informed me of this time my great-grandmother, Clara Laplante, went to my paternal grandparents for dinner. She had a ton of fried calamari. She said she loved calamari. But, hated squid. Calamari IS squid!!

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (456k points)
edited by Chris Ferraiolo
+3 votes
My mother’s sister was Lucy Poinatale Picard. She was born in 1908 In Bristol, Connecticut USA, and died in 1958 of the Asian Flu. She was 50 years old,  in good health and had no preexisting conditions.
by Rosemary Dill G2G6 Mach 1 (18.0k points)
+3 votes
Three of my great-great-uncles/aunts never married because their mother believed that no one in the neighborhood was worthy of them. However, my great-grandmother, Mary Elizabeth Patterson, eloped.

Apparently, she inherited some of her mother's prejudice. She repeatedly told her husband that she was to be buried with the Pattersons, but since she predeceased my great-grandfather, he buried in the Shepherd Cemetery!
by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)
Great story Pip, goes to show that the survivor gets to do things their way.
+2 votes
My father’s mum orchestrated my parents getting married, then proceeded to teach her so many home maker skills, including pattern drafting, pulling clothes apart and ‘magically’ making something new and much more. She became my mum’s best friend for the rest of her life. I have never heard a bad word said about Nanny.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Marion, thank you for your sweet story. It is wonderful when women can love each other.
+1 vote
my mothers 9th great grandmother Marie Rollet took into her home my fathers 8th great grandmother Marie Oliver Manitouabeouich who had been adopted by Olivier Le Tardiff.
by Allan Cadran G2G2 (2.7k points)

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