Thursday, September 4, 2014

Family Trees: So Many (Broken) Branches

This will be a series of family genealogy posts all circulating around an obituary... so, I'm warning you.

You can skip ahead if not interesting to you. But as the family library/archivist/documentarian, I'm going to post these, so they are SOMEWHERE for future generations.

You know how people always make a list of things they would do if they won the lottery?

A new car!
A new house!
Vacations!
Cruises!
College funds!
Endowments Funds!
But more realistically, debt reduction!

Yes, to all of the above, but I would LOVE to have the resources to employ a team from "Who Do You Think You Are?" to  track down the information on a particular line of my family tree. That of my Grandpa Jack.

Maternal Grandma Ollie did such a good job back-tracing her family lines, back in the day before the Internet. My paternal lines are starting to come together - thanks to unique family surnames.

But my mother's father's side of the family?

Well, therein lies the mystery - and really only three to four generations back.

Bear with me ...
This is Grandmary (on a beach!)
photo c. Grumpa, this summer, Oregon Coast
 This on the left is her father's headstone, Grandpa Jack aka Jasper, and
 (right) a picture of a picture of Grandpa Jack. I don't have an actual copy of a photo, and this is a lousy one at that. This original is in Grandmary's possession. There aren't that many photos of Grandpa Jack. This is 8 years before I came along. He's holding up some of his tobacco crop; he was a farmer. The "Agrico" logo on the matte is for a fertilizer company.
 
This is the headstone for my great-grandmother Mary Ann, Jack's mother.

Here's where things get interesting.

Grandpa Jack had a brother, Ira -- pronounced in Southern as "Ory." You try taking an oral history thinking you hear Ory and it's written IRA! Not at all confusing. And the nicknames --- a curse for future genealogists.

Grandpa Jack and Great-Uncle Ira had the same mother, Mary Ann, but different fathers. Half-siblings, yes, AND different surnames. Ira's family used Mary Ann's surname of Bass. So very "interesting......." Something is up there, no?!

Anyway ...

Uncle Ira had children, Grandmary's cousins.

This is a picture of Uncle Ira with his wife Flossie.
taken at Cousin Ida's house in NC, 2010

This is Grandmary on the left with her cousin Ida on the right, c. the North Carolina road-trip of 2010.
See a similarity? (Reminds me: I need glasses - like last decade.)

That genetic legacy is on two sides of a branch of the family tree, and traces down to me, to my brother J, and to his daughter Amber. We can trace it back to great-grandmother Mary Ann. We'd like to trace it further back, but the family history is murky. So many questions, like: Why weren't Ira and Jack raised together? Who were the fathers? Who were Mary Ann's people? What was the story? Must have been a doozy. It's not been told. Also, where is the rumor-family connection to a possible Southern Native American tribe? SOME people in the family can tan like you can't believe. Others of us -- so, so, so, pale to the point of ghost-like.

Sadly, the connections to the past are being lost to time.

We learned this summer that another North Carolina relative, Grandmary's cousin and Cousin Ida's sister, Pauline - aka Ms. Polly - also died in July.

I had only visited Ms. Polly a few times, but Grandma Ollie made a point to keep in contact with Grandpa Jack's side of the family once he passed, and Grandmary continued/continues to do so. I am glad I got to visit back in 2010 and see Ms. Polly for the last time. She was frail even then, and you could see the decline, but she still made an effort for our quick visit.

I had to shoot these surreptitiously.  You need to be discreet when on a proper Southern "rock and talk" with the older generation of relatives.

I much prefer this picture from her obit. That's really how I remember her from when I was much younger.

Obits - for genealogical purposes 

Pauline “Ms. Polly” Bass Gardner

 Pauline Gardner

July 19, 2014

July 19, 94, Pikeville (N.C.)

Pauline “Ms. Polly” Bass Gardner, 94, passed away on Saturday, July 19, 2014 at Wayne Memorial Hospital surrounded by her loving family.

Pauline was born in Johnston County on January 19, 1920, to the late Ira and Flossie Mitchell Bass. She was married to the late Grover Gardner. Pauline was a member of Pleasant Grove Free Will Baptist Church. Although Pauline leaves a vacant place in our hearts, we know she truly earned her special place in heaven. Pauline will always be remembered as a loyal woman of faith, love and respect for everyone who touched her life.

Funeral services will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 20, 2014 in the chapel of Seymour Funeral Home with the Rev. Barry Stallings and Rev. Anderson Barnes officiating. Interment will be on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. in the Pikeville Cemetery.

Pauline is survived by her daughter Pat and husband Nick Sutton of Pikeville; sons, Jimmy Gardner and wife Joan of Pikeville, Kenneth Gardner and wife Mary of Pikeville; sisters, Helen Thorn of Goldsboro, and Ida Padgett of Goldsboro; seven grandchildren, and ten great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

In addition to her parents and her husband she was preceded in death by her sisters, Hilda McManus and Maebelle White and brothers, Ira D. Bass and Eurice Bass.

The family will receive friends following the service at Seymour Funeral Home and at other times at the home.
The family request memorials be made to Lancaster Bryan Sunday School Class, % Pleasant Grove FWB Church, P. O. Box 36, Pikeville, N. C. 27863

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.seymourfuneralhome.com

Published in Obituaries on July 20, 2014 12:39 PM

Pauline Bass Gardner

Jan. 19, 1920-July 19, 2014
Pauline "Ms. Polly" Bass Gardner, 94, passed away on Saturday, July 19, 2014, at Wayne Memorial Hospital surrounded by her loving family.

Pauline was born in Johnston County on Jan. 19, 1920, to the late Ira and Flossie Mitchell Bass. She was married to the late Grover Gardner. Pauline was a member of Pleasant Grove Free Will Baptist Church.

Although Pauline leaves a vacant place in our hearts, we know she truly earned her special place in heaven. Pauline will always be remembered as a loyal woman of faith, love and respect for everyone who touched her life.
Funeral services will be held at 6 p.m. Sunday, July 20, 2014, in the chapel of Seymour Funeral Home, with the Rev. Barry Stallings and Rev. Anderson Barnes officiating. Interment will be on Monday, July 21, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Pikeville Cemetery.

Pauline is survived by her daughter, Pat, and husband Nick Sutton of Pikeville; sons, Jimmy Gardner and wife, Joan, of Pikeville, Kenneth Gardner and wife, Mary, of Pikeville; sisters, Helen Thorn of Goldsboro and Ida Padgett of Goldsboro; seven grandchildren,10 great-grandchildren; and three great-great grandchildren.

In addition to her parents and her husband, she was preceded in death by her sisters, Hilda McManus and Maebelle White, and brothers, Ira D. Bass and Eurice Bass.

The family will receive friends following the service at Seymour Funeral Home and at other times at the home.
The family requests memorials be made to Lancaster Bryan Sunday School Class, Pleasant Grove FWB Church,
P. O. Box 36, Pikeville, N. C. 27863

Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.seymourfuneralhome.com.
(Pd)

WEB-CAST VIDEO CLIPS
There was even a 36 minute recording made of the web-cast of Ms. Polly's funeral service/sermon. Now, that's a first! My Grandma Ollie would NOT know what to do about that.

For the link, please go to: http://webcast.funeralrecording.com/events/viewer/6234/hash:86115587E8FF0965

So much Southern twang, but some stories and preaching bring her to life beyond the words of a printed notice.

Obituaries contain a wealth of family history information. When you can, always include them - and all versions you can find. You may think it's redundant, but sometimes, a slight variation in an obit will have a clue that another version will not. 

3 comments:

Brian Sasser said...

Pauline Gardner was my maternal grandmother. I'm her daughter Pat's son. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for writing it.

Brian Sasser said...

Your questions on this post could all be answered by Ida. YOU would not have the Native American blood because that came from Ira's grandmother.

Auntie Nettie said...

Hello to you, new cousin(s)!

It's amazing the reaction this post has gotten today, so long after it's initial publication. I was contacted by you, Brian, and Mickey (one of Hilda's sons) and my mother (Grandmary) has also gotten calls today from more of her cousins.

We are both glad to hear that Cousin Ida is still well. That's a relief to us both - as it's hard to visit NC as often as we could to check in with her. I will need to drop Ida a note and share all the fun news. I think it will make her day.

Ida and Mary are the closest links on the family tree to Jack and Ira and I have a feeling they are in the Great Beyond making sure that their families stay in touch, no matter how far apart we are in years and geography.

Hope this spurs some future family gatherings - in various points around the country, not just here in cyber space.

And maybe this will be the impetus for me to get blogging again soon about all the branches of my colorful family tree.

Until then,

Be well.

~ Auntie Nettie