Back in May, I blogged about my great grandmother, Mary Emeline Malone, and her father-in-law (my great great grandfather) Gideon Ashmore. I expressed my desire to know more about them. Well, lo and behold, that blog post brought me into conversations with three distant cousins who are also descendents of Gideon Ashmore.
Now I am in possession of a number of wonderful family items, including a record, handwritten by my maternal grandmother, about Gideon Ashmore’s involvement with some escaped slaves and Abraham Lincoln, copies from two books retelling the same story (in much greater detail than Carl Sandburg’s version), Mary Emeline Malone Ashmore’s death notice, etc.
I can hardly wait to find time to work more on the family tree. One thing I’m discovering is how easily a person can get lost. I know that my grandmother knew her mother’s middle name was Emeline, but the death notice has her middle name as Emily. So my cousins believed her name to be Emily while I have it as Emeline.
On my maternal grandfather’s side of the family, I long ago noticed that many of the 13 Johnson children switched the order of the names between birth and death, i.e. born Robin Lee, died as Lee Robin. Why did they do that? Is that a Swedish thing? Was it a Johnson thing? I haven’t a clue.
All her life, my mom was upset that her birth certificate had the wrong birthday on it. It was off by three months. Her dad always said that he might have missed her birth by a few hours (she was born at home, of course), but he hadn’t missed it by three months. Anyway, we sent money to the state of California a couple of different times to get the date corrected, but Medicare always had it as the wrong date despite our efforts. Then when she died, we discovered it was finally fixed. What we had never noticed, none of us, is that her birth certificate also had her middle name incorrect. It was “Barth” (a family name). The certificate has it as “Booth.” Mom hated what it really was and would have hated what the certificate said too. She always used her maiden name initial as her middle name/initial. Bless her heart.
My daughters and I cleaned out my mom’s room last weekend. I had feared I might cry a lot, but it helped that we had to get the room completely emptied as my grandnephew is coming to live with me while he’s at school. So we were ruthless. And we actually laughed a lot over sweet memories.
I came across a number of treasures during the day too. One was lavendar smelling salts that belonged to my mom’s mom. Circa 1920’s or 1930’s. Made in London, England. And they are still potent enough to raise the dead! Another treasure was the tax receipts for my mom’s dad’s payments for the lemon grove they owned in California in 1911. I hadn’t even known they owned the land there. Another were letters from my Swedish great grandmother or grandfather, written in Swedish. (I’ll have to get them translated before I’ll know which one wrote them.)
All of these discoveries will undoubtedly find their way into a book in the future. It’s simmering even now. And it will definitely be another blog post or two. Stay tuned.
(Photo above left was taken in 1916. Photo above right is circa 1920.)