My grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Uphouse Edwards, about 1974
In the era when families are spread through the U.S., I suppose my family was quite an anomaly. So much so that in later years my grandmother would often remark, “I must have done something wrong – I just can’t rid of you kids!” Of course, all of us “kids,” now well into adulthood with families of our own, knew she was fiercely proud of her loyal brood of children and grandchildren. Her life had been spent raising her three daughters, and then, spending her mid-life and senior years doting on her six grandkids.
Reflecting back, I now realize I took my childhood for granted, and assumed that all kids had wonderful grandparents and extended families. Continue reading
Flora Stanwood with her husband Fred Simpson and his grandson, Orval Swanson
In my last post I discussed how the use of the internet has expedited some of my research. However, I’ve also learned that sometimes we can become too reliant on databases, web searches and other online tools. Sometimes we just need to go back to basics.
Such is the case in my search for a photo of Flora (Stanwood) Simpson. Aunt Flora was one of those people that stayed put. Since she was found year after year, census after census, in the same place, I got to “know” Aunt Flora better than many of the other Aunts and Uncles in my family tree. Flora was married three times. She was widowed at the age of 25 when her first husband, Morton Howe, died, leaving her with four small children. Next she married John Miller. This marriage was brief, as in 1900 she married her third and final husband, Oliver Fred Simpson.
My grandmother, Goldie Simpson, recalled seeing Aunt Flora when she herself was very young. She remember this “very old woman with wrinkled socks.” Since my grandmother was only 3 years old at the time, she couldn’t offer many other details. :-) However, she did remember many of Flora’s step chlidren, who were my grandmother’s first-cousins. The relationship is a bit complicated, but the short story is that there were two Stanwood women who married two Simpson brothers. Continue reading
My great grandparents, Ernest and Susan (Stanwood) Simpson
Growing up, my grandmother, Goldie (Simpson) Edwards, played a pivotal role in my life. Living next door to her, I spent much of my time at her home. Later, when she moved across town, Mom would drop me off at “Grammer’s” house before school, and the bus would take me there after school. Grammer was the kind of grandmother most kids would want – prepared with cookies and milk when I’d get off the school bus, and always ready to help with home work. At Christmas time she could never keep a secret from me. I don’t recall a year she didn’t tell me what gift she’d have for me under the tree (and sometimes she’d even let me see it!), but always warned me to “pretend to be really surprised!” As a grew up, I began paying closer attention to when she’d tell stories about how family. She always spoke with great pride when she’d talk about her mother being a Stanwood. She’d saved old letters and photographs that would later provide my first clues when I began researching our family history.
Like most genealogists, my first efforts began at the National Archives. I’d spend hours scanning the censuses, and would come home and look for more clues, searching for something I’d missed. Eventually I was able to locate cousins who were also tracing our heritage, and through them obtained more hints to solve family puzzles. After my grandmother died, my mother took a keen interest in genealogy; one of my best memories of my mother was our 2004 research trip to Bar Harbor, Maine, where we visited home of many Maine Stanwoods, descendants of our ancestor Job Stanwood. My mom passed away just two years later, and I will forever be grateful for the hobby we shared together in her last years.
With the passage of time genealogy has certainly evolved; so much information is now available online. Even without a subscription to genealogy databases, one can find clues by “Googling” their surname. While I’ve had many web sites through the years, this is my first effort at posting my family history online. Extending it through a blog to reach out to other cousins is also new – time to catch up with the 21st century!