52 Ancestors Week 19 - Mothers Day

+14 votes

AJC - Mother's Day in the US is this Sunday (May 13). It seems like a good time to take a look at a mother in the family tree. After all, half of our ancestors were mothers! You could highlight your mother or one of the other moms in your family's history.

in The Tree House by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (539k points)
"I come from a long line of people who had children"  haha
Is ʻhalfʻ correct if there is ultimately ʻcollapseʻ in all our trees? Just popped into my mind and I have a cold and am not functioning at full speed upstairs. Can someone figure it out?
Does someone want to tell me why either my question or the comments have been flagged?
"is 'half' correct...?"

I guess it would be off-by-one for every time your n x great grandfather had two wives or n x great grandmother had two husbands/partners and you are descended from them both through different branches. But infinity / 2 is still infinity, and infinity-1 = infinity, so it's still a pretty close approximation.
Thank you, Scott!
This was a great answer, even though I didn't understand it very well. Math evidently not my strong suit. I'm running at about 10% pedegree collapse, so the question was germaine.
Thank you.

I'm not sure if an example is going to help clarify it, or make it worse.

(Excluding IVF and same-sex families) every person in your family tree has one (biological) mother and one (biological) father. So even if your parents were cousins, you would have six great grandparents instead of eight, but still half are female.

If your parents were only half-cousins because they had only a grandfather in common, you would have seven great grandparents, four women and only three men, with two of the women having been married to the same man (presumably due to an early death and remarriage). That is how it would get off-by one.

If the relationships are more remote cousins, and different generations, it still works the same. Just draw the whole tree on paper and count the men and women to check.

Counting step-parents and adoptive parents as well as biological ones could put the match further off.
The ancestress I wish to speak about has a private profile. Wikitree knows about this already but many wikitreers may not know at all. A ggramma of mine was beautiful to my eyes, but is another long gone ancestress. She has a stalker. A man repeatedly was bothing me for more info, more pictures more life details. I would answer politely and move on. Every month or so hed message me again same deal but as time went by he became , well, different. It began as questions about her ancestry then about her life then moved to how beautiful she was and doesnt she resemble him (I go see his profile) there is NO resemblance I can see not even a passing one. Then he steps up his game did she have affairs or boyfiends when living and well, I think I have given you the drift... i thought the questions were leading to a shared ancestry but no...he was in love with my ancestress! I asked him to stop I tried to involve Wikitree higher ups -that worked for a minute until he began a new profile for himself and started again!... so I notified wikitree management and made her profile private. I have not heard from him since almost a year ago, but he always messaged from her page so Idk ...
Anyway she lived a very hard and tragic life. She had two babies die, one at birth one a few months old. She then had 4 children, sharecroppers and later the family followed the cotton picking across tx and ok...and back... once her husband got stuck in poverty they couldnt seem to break away. The family always worked very very hard at whatever came to hand but it was never enough. She was pregnant, working in the fields and contracted Cholera she kept working til she passed out. She lost the baby and was very ill for months. But she was young and barely made it through. She was cooking and cleaning and they were in their moving mode when she caught the flu in late summer of 1918. She was terribly ill and some of her sisters took the kids when they could and helped out, but what she needed was a home and steady care which she nor others could afford. Finally the family moved in with her father and step mother and their remaining young children of he and his second wife.all of my ggrammas kids, including my grgrampa too got the flu. They eventually got better but She just kept getting weaker and weaker and never rallied.She refused to quit and kept trying to care for her family. She was sick all though 1919 and by midsummer she had a raging case of pnuemonia that was only found after her death in feb 1920. Her husband was so grief stricken it is chronicled that the family thought he would commit suicide.  The only doctor they had was one who was 'struck off'... but the autopsy told the story. She was not quite 36.this was my grampas mom.

19 Answers

+21 votes

I had an awesome mother (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Stoner-631 ). My mother used to tell me stories about her childhood, and she also re-told the stories of her parents and her parents' parents. She had an extraordinary memory for when she was very, very young. Some of these stories had morals, some didn't.

My mother had a story about how she remembered how frustrating it was not to be able to talk. She'd ask something, and the attending adult would say something really stupid, like "Goo-goo, cute baby". She knew the names of all the trees in the back yard, except for one tree. Every time someone took her into the back yard, she'd ask what it was, to no avail. Finally, the "kind old man with the mustache" took her out to the tree in question, and said "Let's have our picture taken under the quince tree". My mother was eternally grateful. It was not too long after that that the kind old man stopped visiting. My mother would ask about him, but (after she learned to talk) her family would insist that no one by that description existed. One time, when she was about 8 years old, her big brother had been assigned to keep her quiet while her parents were busy. He got out a photograph album that she hadn't seen before, and said that it was an old one, and many of the people in it were dead. There was the old man with the mustache! It turned out it was her grandfather, C. C. Stoner, who had died when my mother was 10 months old. The moral of the story is that just because a baby hasn't learned to enunciate properly, it doesn't mean they don't understand what you're saying. Don't talk to babies in "baby talk", speak to them in plain English, and if they point at something, tell them what it is.


My mother, age 3.

Here's another story:

One day, when my mother was about three years old, her mother was having the women from the P.T.A. over for a meeting at their house. This was when they lived at a large house on Spaulding Place, in Pasadena. There was a playroom in the basement. When the time came that the P.T.A. women would soon be arriving, my grandma Edith sent my mother Lois and her much older brother Willis down to the playroom to play.

The basement was also the place where the firewood was kept, and there was a dumbwaiter to move the firewood from the basement to the fireplace in the living room. There was a box in the basement with the front open to put the wood in, and a crank to raise the box to the floor above. Directly above was a cupboard in the living room next to the fireplace, so when you opened the cupboard door, there was the firewood.
After they had been playing for a while, Willis, who was about 14 at the time, and should have known better, had an extraordinarily evil idea. “Wouldn’t it be funny,” he said to Lois, “if you were to get into the dumbwaiter, and I were to crank you up to the living room, and then if you were to knock on the cupboard door and cry ‘Mommy, Mommy, please let me out!’ Wouldn’t that be a funny joke?” Lois agreed that it would be a funny joke, so, being very small, she crawled into the dumbwaiter, and Willis cranked her up to the livingroom. Lois knocked on the inside of the cupboard door and cried, “Mommy, Mommy, please let me out!”
No one answered, and Lois could hear the women talking, so she knocked louder, and cried a little louder, “Mommy, can’t I come out yet?”
Still no answer, but the women weren’t talking anymore. So she knocked louder still, and cried even louder, “It’s so cramped in here, and I’ve been in here so long. Please, Mommy, won’t you please let me out?”
Her mother, Edith, finally opened the cupboard door, but she didn’t think it was funny at all! Neither did the women from the P.T.A., as they didn’t realize that the cupboard was a dumbwaiter to the basement. They looked shocked, then every last one of them got up and stomped out of the house.
Willis got spanked soundly for the prank, and Lois felt very badly because they didn’t punish her too. Her parents said she was too young and didn’t understand what she was doing. Lois told them that she did too understand, but they still wouldn’t spank her, so she felt guilty for a long time after that.

by Alison Gardner G2G6 Mach 3 (36.3k points)
Great story Alison!!!
Love both those stories.
What wonderful stories!  I particularly like the "ghost" story. I do believe these things occur.
You are so Blessed to have the precious memories of your dear mother. Cherish them always.
Wonderful memory and well told story
+14 votes
Well, I just got my mom's DNA test back from AncestryDNA. Looks pretty good.Couple of weird trace regions.  Weird thing is that it's more UK than French. Hamel IS a French name. Though, her side is a bit more mixed. What's funny is that she has some southern European. I joked that was the reason she makes good pasta sauce.

My mom is the oldest of six kids. She's had to wrangle all her brothers and sisters together. Wasn't easy but she managed. =) We're probably gonna go out Sunday. Dunno, yet.

We'll see.
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (219k points)
I'm not sure why different companies give you different results from the same DNA, but I think it has to do in part with whether they compare you only to people now living in those places, only to people who claim to have ancestry in those places, or to both. I believe it's important to compare apples to apples, by which I mean to have siblings all test with the same company so you'd know they're using the same parameters for analysis (be it those things I mentioned above or something else). So, I had all my siblings test with the same company I did.

Back to place names becoming surnames, that actually is one of the origins for surnames when surnames first came into use. While some surnames are occupational, descriptive (e.g., Black or Brown), or locational. Many men who went to England during and shortly after the Norman Conquest took the name of their native village, town, etc. as a surname. One example is Hugh or Richard (first name debatable) Morville from Moreville, France. Another is believed to be Bernard de Balliol from Ballieul, France. So, I suspect the Hamels in England, as well as those in France, originated with the the village of Hamel, France.
Hi Chris. Since place names is one of the origins for surnames when surnames first came into use, I suspect the Hamels originated with the village of Hamel, France. I notice that Hamel is in the part of France that sent lots of folks to England during and following the Norman Conquest took the name of their native village, town, etc. as a surname. Hugh or Richard (first name debatable) de Morville went to England from Moreville, France, and Bernard de Balliol from Ballieul, France.
Well, time and again I've been told that AncestryDNA was best for people with Italian ancestry by professional genealogists. That's why I went with them. My great-aunt, Nicolina took her test on Ancestry as it was a good deal and my dad wanted to follow suit. So, we went with them because we wanted to compare everything with her. I then took my DNA and put it up on myheritage and 23andme. I put it on FTDNA but I can only see my matches. I also put it on gedmatch. The percentages on Myheritage and 23andme differed. I've been told that's because of the sample size they had to work with. They also analyzed it a lot faster than on Ancestry.

Very interesting facts about the surnames. My last name has two meanings. Iron worker and it's also part of a cardinal's vestment.

Interesting. My father's grandfather's wife was a Hamel, and I never realized the name was French (in this case, via Quebec) until 2 years ago when I did his tree.

Davis is another name that turned out to be French surname, surprising me.

I was surprised Bernard was a French surname myself.
Chris, if you transferred DNA results to FamilyTreeDNA from another company, which is free, you would need to spend just $19 to unlock the rest of the tools that are available to people who tested directly with FamilyTreeDNA.
Natalie, if your Davis ancestors lived in Quebec, chances are they were indeed French. However, Davis is also a Welsh surname. It appears among people born and/or living in Wales 1,700 times before 1700 and 26,000 times before 1800.
Loretta, yep. I know. I'll probably do it next chance I get. The matches, though, are pretty much the same ones on Ancestry which is nice.
The Davis name wasn't my ancestor, but he was from Quebec and was definitely French.  I bet there are quite a few names that can be common in more than one language.
Well that's a fact Natalie (quite a few names common in more than one language).
+6 votes
I am in but this is going to be a hard one.
by Linda Barnett G2G6 Pilot (313k points)
+9 votes

My mom passed away 8 years ago. She was very proud of her Scottish heritage. She tried to explain her Campbell roots to me, but I never got it.  Knowing more about genealogy now, I went there for Mother's Day. Also remembering my aunt fondly. She raised my mother from the time she was born, and was a snuggly grandmother figure to me. Hope you all have a lovely Mother's Day, and remember...If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy!! Blog link here - http://www.libbyonthelabel.ca/2018/05/52-ancestors-week-19-mothers-day.html

by Libby Park G2G6 Mach 1 (14.2k points)
+8 votes

I miss my mom!  She was a wonderful mother, but unfortunately died at age 50 from colon cancer.  She never got to meet her grandchildren, but I know she would have loved them as fiercely as she loved me and my sister,  

Mom was an excellent seamstress who made clothes for people to earn extra money.  She taught me how to sew.  She was meticulous.  Sewing in hems had to have a little knot every fourth stitch, seams had to be ironed flat, etc.  She made all of my prom dresses and Sunday clothes.  I still remember fondly many of those outfits.

Mom was fiesty, especially whenever she thought someone was trying to walk all over her or her daughters.  I remember when she went down to the school to have a "talk" with the lady dean who never had a menstrual cramp in her life and thought all of us girls who did were just lying and trying to get out of school.  I never had a problem with the dean after mama talked to her.

When it was time for me to go off to college, she took a job as a secretary to help pay for it.

Mom was a bit overprotective. too.  I remember one time when I was home from collage and had gone out on a date.  Mom was asleep on the couch when I got home waiting for me to return.  I hated that she wouldn't just go to bed and not worry about me. After all I was "grown up."  I snuck by her and went to bed.  She was furious when she woke up and found me in my bed.  Looking back on it, I know I did a mean thing to a woman who loved me dearly and just wanted me to be safe.

I like to think she's still looking down on me and protecting me and my sister.  I haven't had the signs my sister has, but I am pretty sure she is.

My sister had a medical scare and the day she was to go to the hospital, she found a mercury head dime on the dashboard of her car.  She knew immediately Mom was with her because Mom always collected mercury head dimes.  Neither my sister or her husband had any idea how that dime got there.  Those dimes were taken off the market decades earlier.  My sister had that dime mounted in a pendant setting and wears it around her neck.

Thanks, Mom.  We know you are one of our guardian angels.  We miss you dearly!



by Carolyn Martin G2G6 Pilot (130k points)
I have never seen a sweater like this one before. Very unique and very pretty.
+10 votes

My Mother was German, Dutch, Irish, Welsh, Scandinavian, and perhaps a bit Scottish. Above all, hers was a huge heart in a very small package. Her life was devoted to her family and her church. In addition to raising eleven children, she served many years as a Sunday School and Bible teacher as well as pianist for The Salvation Army. Her story is told by the memories of her sons and daughters ... https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Keever-95&public=1.


by Loretta Layman G2G6 Mach 2 (22k points)
Love this photo, and the biography you wrote.  She sounds like an awesome mother.
Thank you Carolyn. She was, and it kind of amazes me because she had no mother of her own after she was 7. Same goes for my Dad. His mother died when he was 10, and his father never remarried till Dad was grown and out of the home. I thank God they were such wonderful parents, especially under those circumstances (not to mention starting their family in the Great Depression).
Very nice picture. Thank you for posting.
+8 votes

She was beautiful too.My mom, Frances Dutsch Brandt, was mostly German with just enough Irish to lighten the stolid German heritage.  She was the youngest of ten children, raised in the time of the Great Depression and WWII.  She was a teacher, postmaster, executive secretary, and after her children were grown she returned to school to earn a Masters Degree in Tax Accounting and became a Certified Public Accountant.  She was also a two time cancer survivor.

This will be the first Mother's Day following her death last summer.  Three of her grandchildren are graduating from college this year - one with a degree in voice from University of Indiana who has been admitted to the cantor program at Hebrew Union University, another with a degree in construction management from LSU who is a Marine in the Reserves who intends to go active duty for a while, and the third, with a true gift for caring for animals, who is graduating from the Veternary Tech program at Baton Rouge Community College.  Grandma would be so proud of her grandchildren.  Mother's Day won't be the same without her.

by Mary Jensen G2G6 Mach 7 (76.3k points)
My grandmother, Emittie Morgan (Maxwell, Sevin) was married at age 12. Her step mom and father gave her in marriage to a 21 year old man. She was not in love him. At age 13 she had the first of 4 daughters. At age 28 her husband left. She converted her home into a boarding house to support her family. One day a young man who was working with US Steel and building bridges in Louisiana came to the boarding house. One taste of grandma's biscuits and he proposed to her and her 4 daughters. Grandma went through a hard time, worked hard and raised her daughters to take care of themselves. She was a strong wonderful woman in my life.
Your mom looks like the mom next door. The kind of mom that all of the kids want to be their mom. The place where they go to for cookies after school.

Thanks for posting.
+6 votes

I am thankful to have many wonderful memories of my mother and grandmothers. And I'm blessed to have step-children who send me Mother's Day wishes and children who call me Grandma. Blended families are common today - and even more common, more blended many generations ago. I was working on a profile yesterday of a man born 1470 whose son by his first wife married a daughter of his second wife and her previous husband. His family is fairly well documented, thanks to many records that survived the centuries. Finding records to untangle blended pioneer families in America is a much greater challenge that can sometimes be complicated by misleading information found on tombstones or cemetery records.

For this week's challenge, I have an example of each - both step-mothers who were called mother.

First up: Sarah Ann (Furgason) Bell, daughter of Berryman and his first wife, Nancy Collier, but according to her tombstone by Martha (his second wife, Nancy's sister):

Sarah Ann, wife of Robert Bell
Daughter of Berryman and Martha R. Bugarsn [this spelling on stone]
Born January 21 1815
Died February 11 1876

Berryman married Nancy in Virginia in 1811 and Sarah was born in Virginia in 1818 (according to census records). In North Carolina, her father married Martha Collier, Nancy's sister, in October 1818. Perhaps Sarah never knew that Martha was her aunt, not her mother. Certainly whoever had her tombstone inscribed considered Martha her mother.

Next up: Elsy Jane Billingslea (1761-1839). She is buried in the Batchelor-Noland Cemetery, the family cemetery of Pearce Noland (1789-1857). Until recently, Noland descendants believed her to be Pearce's mother, Alice (Peyton) Noland, widow of George Noland. Family records mapping the cemetery note her as Pearce's mother, but the source of the notation is not clear. The Billingslea name was explained by the assumption that she had married Walter Billingslea after George died in 1800 (George had named Walter guardian to his minor children). Recent research into Walter has found a record of him and Elsy, his wife, prior to George's death. And research into Alice Peyton has determined that she was born after 1764 (but there's no guarantee that Elsy's tombstone is correct in saying she was about 80 when she died in 1839).

Pearce was 11 when his father died and Walter Billingslea became his guardian. What happened to Walter is still being researched, but it appears that Walter's wife, who Pearce called mother, continued in that role until her death.

So Happy Mother's Day (a little late) to all who fill that role!


by Liz Shifflett G2G6 Pilot (319k points)
+6 votes
My Great Great Grandmother Martha Burke (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Burke-2986) had 13 or maybe 14 children.  She lived 2 years beyond the birth of the youngest.  She married Christopher Columbus Fitzgerald (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Fitzgerald-1983) and had their first 3 children in the Republic of Texas.  I believe all of them lived to adulthood.  Strong woman, that.
by A Nony Mouse Moffett G2G6 Mach 1 (14.3k points)
+5 votes

Of course I would like to write about my mother. We were very close, as I was a present at 2am the morning after her birthday, and an only child. She was widowed when I was almost 5, and she was almost 35. Just the two of us lived together for the next 10 years and she taught me many things, such as cooking, driving, sewing, and the need to be able to be self sufficient. After she was widowed the second time and I was divorced, she came to live with me, and we had another nearly 20 years just the two of us. She was a mother, a best friend, and sometimes a worst enemy. I do miss her.

To meet the '52 week rules', I need to write about someone else. So, I just adopted a third great grandmother, Mary Hanks. She had nine children between 1784 and 1803, and died at age 44 in 1809. It had to have been a difficult life.

by Kay Sands G2G6 Pilot (204k points)
It sounds like your mom and you were very close. And your story sounds like my son and my story. Except, I was divorced when my son was three and we were alone, just Michael and me for the next 15 years. Even when I remarried, my son and I remained best friends. My husband took Mike under his wings and he finally had a father.

But, Michael died almost four years ago, and it has been terrible since then. We both miss him every day. I know how you feel.

My sympathy to you.
+4 votes
The person I felt closest to, was actually my mother-in-law, rather than my mother. My mother-in-law had a deep abiding interest in the Lozier family history and genealogy and she was the source of many names and relationships when I first began doing my husbands family tree. She also had a wonderful and wicked sense of humour.

I still miss her, even though she died 10 years ago.

by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (539k points)
+5 votes

I never knew much about my great-grandmother Mary (Yerkes) Wilkinson.   She died before my father was born and her daughter, my grandmother Maude (Wilkinson) Perry  died when I was only six and I didn't have much contact with her. 

The one story that came down through the family was that she had literally dropped dead in the evening while churning on 29 October 1907.  Her death certificate says she died of a cerebral hemorrhage in the PM before the doctor arrived. She was 53 years old. 

A few years ago, a letter written by one of her nephews, Charles Cecil Yerkes, to Maude turned up in some old family papers.  When I read it, I was touched by his comments about Mary which follow.

“Oct. 29, 1918

Dear Cousin Maude

            Today is your birthday and as I thought of it a day or two ago I promised myself that I would take time this eve. To write you a line or two.  Of course this letter will be several weeks in reaching you but it is always pleasant to know that others think of our birthdays.  You and I were brought up almost as brother & sister and you were really the nearest to a sister that I have ever known.  Yes, Maude, today marks not only your birthday but also an event which many of her dear friends will never forget, for your mother was a sweet character that has had her silent influence on my life, and her memory is very dear to me, dearer, I believe than that of any other person who has passed on except my own mother.”

I hadn't realized Mary had died on her daughter's birthday until I saw this letter.  How sad for Maude.

Charles’ mother died when he was a young child and it appears other family members took the children in.  The details are still a bit fuzzy so I don’t know if he was actually in Mary’s household or just living nearby with another relative.  She made an impression on him in any case.   

by Jill Perry G2G6 Mach 2 (23.4k points)
+4 votes
I've got a bit behind with these but will try to get caught up. The blog (https://feetuptimetothink.blogspot.co.nz/2018/05/52-ancestors-week-19-mothers-day-eda.html) says all the things one would want to say about a fabulous grandmother, my mother's grandmother, Eda Sarah Edwards. Her profile (https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Edwards-13691) doesn't say much at all.
by Fiona Gilliver G2G6 Mach 8 (89.1k points)
+5 votes

Most people have written about good mothers, but I am going to write about a bad mother, though fascinating in other ways, and a good grandmother.

A friend of mine said she was the "first liberated woman she ever met".

My grandmother, Meena ( Lillian Florence (Meacham) Gunn (1886 - 1973) ) ( https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Meacham-526 )

Her current WikiTree profile is just the barest skeleton. 

She was born in Kent, but grew up in South Africa, where her father was a brewery manager at Olsson's in Capetown, and a serious amateur artist.  Her mother was also an artist.

In her teens she was sent back to London, to study at the Royal Academy of Music, and she made her debut as a concert pianist.  She was  a member of the Fabian Society (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabian_Society),  and the Theosophical Society ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theosophical_Society ) and was friends with George Bernard Shaw ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Bernard_Shaw), H.G Wells ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._G._Wells ), Sidney ad Beatrice Webb ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sidney_Webb,_1st_Baron_Passfield and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beatrice_Webb),  Eric Gill ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Gill ), Clifford ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clifford_Bax ) and Arnold Bax ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Bax ), and Florence Farr ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_Farr ).

In 1907 she married the musician Herbert Hughes ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Hughes_(composer) ) and in 1908 they had a son, Patrick Hughes ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spike_Hughes ).   Meena and Herbert separated by 1911, when Pat was 3. 

Caring for a young child did not appeal to Meena.  She would leave him alone in the flat for hours on end while she went off "doing her own thing" (by that time pottery,sculpture. Pat was sent to boarding school at age 5. Pat's autobiography is full of description of times when he went "home" for the school holidays, only to find that Meena was in Florence, or somewhere else, and he had to camp on the doorstep of one of her friends.

None the less, Pat's autobiography, makes it clear that he loved her dearly, in spite of neglect that in modern times, would be considered child abuse.

In the early 1920s, Meena and Herbert finally divorced, and Meena married my grandfather "Jack" (the Egyptologist Battiscombe Gunn) ( https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gunn-1707 ) ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battiscombe_Gunn ). 

By this time she trained with Sigmund Freud to be a psychanalyst,

 In 1928 my father Iain (J.B. Gunn) ( https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Gunn-900 ) (  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._B._Gunn ).  Like his half brother, Pat, Iain was sent off to boarding school at age 5, and we have letters showing that he was desperately lonely.

In 1939, with WWI imminent, Iain was evacuated to the US where he attended Solebury School.  In 1940 Meena and Jack divorced,  and Meen married a young neurologist, Alex Grey-Clarke. Alex was born in 1911, 25 years her junior, and younger than her first son Pat.  But nobody said a word to  Iain about it.  When he returned to England (before the was was over, but when it was clear England was not going to be invaded) he was shocked to discover his mother had remarried.  I don't think he ever really got over it.  And, as a psychoanalyst, she should have known that keeping it a secret was the worst thing she could do.  None the less, my father wouldn't hear anything bad about her mothering. 

She was a great grandmother.  When she was paying attention to you, she made you feel you were the most important person in her world.  But when something else caught her attention, she would run roughshod over anyone who got in her way. And she definitely had a sense of entitlement.

"You are getting to be like Meena" is not generally a complement. She once said that she would rather be an example TO her grandchildren than an example FOR her grandchildren. In reality she was both.






by Janet Gunn G2G6 Mach 6 (60.5k points)
+4 votes

My choice for Mothers Day is Mary Sheppard https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Sheppard-2743. Mary was born in 1838. She married Henry Hawcroft, a distant relative of my husband, in 1854. They had two sons. Henry was killed in the Lundhill Colliery Explosion in 1857. The explosion left 90 widows and 220 children without fathers. Mary was the youngest of the widows. In 1862 Mary had a daughter whose father is not known. Mary married a second time in 1864. She and her new husband, William Morris, had another fifteen children. After having a total of 18 children Mary lived to the age of 92 and was the last surviving widow of the Lundhill Colliery disaster. In 1927 she told story to a local newspaper. At that time she had over 100 direct descendants.

by Joan Whitaker G2G6 Mach 5 (55.8k points)
+3 votes


My relationship with my mother has been an odd one. Things in our house were normal until I was 12-years old. That was when my baby brother was born.

It seemed like a dream come true for my sister and me. Mom was home when my sister and I got home from school and there was the smell of fresh baked brownies, bread and cookies.

But that dream came to an end fast. Mom went back to work, and my world was turned up-side-down. I went from being a normal child to being a mother. It was my responsibility to get my brother up in the morning, feed, diaper, get him ready and take him to the babysitter next door. I came straight home from school and picked him up, and was with him until dad came home.

My relationship with mom had ended. I felt that she had dropped all of her responsibilities on me, and the talking between her and I was over.

Not only that, but my sister and I came to realize that my mother preferred boys. I know you are probably thinking that it was because he was the baby, and that is what dad told us.

But a few years later when I had my son, he became the favorite child. I could go on with examples of this only to say this . . .

My mother is now 85 years old and I am 67. Last week I broke my left leg in two places and I will be bed-ridden for 8 weeks. My sister is gone now - she died in 1991, and my dad died in 1995.

My mother was over on Wednesday and for the first time in our lives - we talked. We talked about how her and dad met. When they dated. Her feelings (this subject was taboo all those many years ago) about my dad when she was a teenager.

We talked about all kinds of things. The things I wished we would have talked about 50 years ago. Intimate mother/daughter conversation. Today I thanked her for the conversation and asked her if we could have more like that, and I could hear the smile in her voice when she answered "yes".

I have my mother back. I feel whole again. What a wonderful feeling, and I thank God for this awesome blessing.

by Cheryl Hess G2G6 Pilot (236k points)
edited by Cheryl Hess
+4 votes

I am going way back to the 1600s because over 80% of the members of GenVerre trace their lines back to her.  We call she and her husband our Mythic Couple.  She is https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Krieger-372  Appollonia Krieger married to Michel Andres.  

She was the daughter of a glassmaker who married a glassmaker and whose children were part of the glass industry in France and what became Germany.  

She is my 8th Great Grandmother.

by Laura Bozzay G2G6 Pilot (506k points)
+4 votes

So, I have been thinking on this one for a long time....how do you choose out of all the mothers that came before us? So it got me thinking that most mothers take on the responsibility of their children, but not as many take on the responsibility of other people's children in addition to their own.

So I decided to dedicate this to the mothers who took in additional children who were in desperate need of a mother because their own mother could not look after them, either because they were unwed (the reason why most babies were given up for adoption) or the mother had died and the father could not raise the baby, or even worse, both parents died soon after the baby was born.

So the first mother is Elizabeth Ann Munday who was living with her husband William Frederick Phillpott, an ex-soldier who worked as a general labourer, in 1902. They had 3 children of their own at the time (William John aged 11, Beatrice Alice, aged 8 and Florence Mary May aged 5) and lived in a small 5 room terrace house. The couple were not wealthy, and were not in need of a child, having three of their own to feed and clothe, yet they took in a newborn Doris Sarah Slater and adopted her. We can only speculate how Elizabeth Ann Phillpott knew Doris' mother, as little is known about her other than she was a domestic servant.

Fortunately with DNA testing, we are now trying to identify Doris' biological parents.

Elizabeth Ann and her husband went on to have one more child Ena Margaret Jane in 1906.

Another woman who married into my family was Ellen Rushin (I'm still working on her profile). She does not appear to have had any children with her husband Thomas Arthur Towerzey Phillpott. They took in a child who was probably Ellen's niece - Laura Rushen who was born in 1869 in Westerham, Kent. No birth has been found for Laura, but Ellen's brother Thomas and his wife Maria were the only Rushin family from Wiltshire living in Westerham, Kent. So Laura was either one of his twin daughters that were born in 1870 (Sarah or Kate) OR Ellen & Thomas had an unmarried sister who went to stay with Thomas for her confinement.

So Ellen raised Laura who then married Arthur Lamberth in 1886 and they had three children, but Laura died after the birth of the last child Maud in 1895. Arthur kept the older children Violetta and Arthur jnr, but Ellen raised her "grand-daughter" Maud.

by Michelle Wilkes G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
edited by Michelle Wilkes
+1 vote

My mother is German, Scottish, and English, and an AncestryDNA test do confirm those roots.  Although German blood, her ancestors on that side happen to be the ones she's most curious about.  She's proud of her English and Scottish roots, but we have a lot of tree established on those lines, so she is interested in filling the gaps on the other side of the pond.  We do know that the Germans actually came from Volga, Russia, and were settled there for quite some time before migrating to the USA.  Oh, and my AncestryDNA test indicate that I am likely related to her.   :)

by William Catambay G2G6 (9.3k points)

William, this is the question for last year's challenge. If replying for the challenge, you want the 2019 question.

It was bound to happen!  LOL!  I believe I replied to the 2019 question as well. :)

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