52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 8 (Prosperity)

continuing the 52 weeks 52 ancestors challenge over at my other blog:

Gangleri's Grove

When this topic came up in the genealogy challenge, I immediately thought of my maternal third great grandmother Rachel Bobo. She was born in 1824 and died 1908 having spent her entire life (as far as I can tell) in Hardy County, West Virginia. She married a farmer, William Seymour Baldwin (1823-1864) in 1839 and they had a passel of children including my great great grandfather Isaac Hamilton Baldwin.

RachelBoboBaldwin copy

(yes, the birth date is off on the photo – welcome to genealogy)

The first time I saw her last name, I was amused so of course, I had to research it even further. It’s a French name that can also be spelled Beaubeau, Baubeau, or Bobeau – keeping in mind that there was no standardization with the spelling of names until well into the early 20thcentury). Turns out, Rachel is descended from Gabriel Bobo, an Huguenot immigrant to…

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Time for some poetry

Half a Cento

I am the vestige of the dead.
Attend.
Do not offend them.
Things that feast on death
are so beautiful.
Their longing breaks us.

Blood or bones or gunpowder –
Of what am I made?
Am I a fire-white ghost?
Tangled, pitiless, pure?

Or am I a haint,
riven in blue
fed on sorrow,
a veteran of many wars?

I am writing my own myth,
holding in my hands
a purgatory of virtual kinlessless
Do not condemn me.
The soil in which I work is deep
but full of stones,
and the etymologies of my life
picked over by ravenous memory.
Nothing combines.
Longing has destroyed me.

This myth that I write,
stained with the ink of my soul,
burnt at the edges and artery-red,
is the only way
out of this labyrinth
and its endless corridors of dispossession.
The calculus of my heart is razor sharp.
I am not afraid to dine on ash.
Attend.
I am a vestige of the dead.
They are not done speaking yet.

(with thanks to S. Hartman, J. Adams (Lawrence), Tracy Smith, S. Smallwood)

by G. Krasskova

52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week Three (long line)

Week three: 52 ancestors in 52 weeks.

Gangleri's Grove

One of the prompts for this particular week on the official facebook page for this project asks if there is an occupation that seems to recur in one’s family tree. Ironically, there is and it’s one that I myself am pursuing too: theologian/clergy.

On my maternal line (through her father), my 7thgreat grandfather is Alexander Underwood (1688-1767), a Quaker minister who settled in Pennsylvania. I’ve actually been in the Meeting House that he helped to build in Warrington Township. He was apparently very prominent in his community and travelled frequently to help build up Quaker communities in the colonies.Processed with Snapseed. (Warrington Meeting House — my photo).

I’m descended through his daughter Ann Underwood, who married Stephen Ailes. Their son Stephen Ailes (1750-1828) and his wife Elizabeth Swayne (1751-1820) had a son Stephen Ailes (1771-1816) – my family has never been overly creative with naming their children lol. It’s a…

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Week 2 (favorite photo)

Week 2 of 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. 🙂

Gangleri's Grove

I don’t know if this is a favorite photo per se, but it was certainly one that I was overjoyed to acquire.

edna baldwin perry hannaThis is my great grandmother (maternal father’s side) Edna Baldwin (with her then husband and my great grandfather Perry Barnes Hanna). She haunted my family for years (metaphorically speaking lol). There is tragedy and loss and bitterness and so much there in her life on which I wish I had clarity; she was really the lynch pin that set the tone for not just her children but theirs as well and by extension my generation too. Intergenerational pain and trauma but also courage and perseverance and the ability to survive with all the viciousness that sometimes entails. While parts of her story are bleak, I respect her and I honor her as one of my disir (protective female ancestors).

Edna was born c. 1879 in Hardy, WV to…

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks – Week 1 (Fresh Start)

I thought I should share this on my boneladyblog too 🙂 It’s my new genealogy project.

Gangleri's Grove

So, I joined this genealogy project consisting of year long, weekly prompts about my ancestors and it seems pretty cool and so today I receive the first prompt: Fresh Start and I thought: what does that mean?

I know that most people doing this are probably not polytheists and are probably going to choose to write about something new they discovered about a particular ancestor, or something relevant like that and I thought about doing the same thing, except the current state of my ancestor shrine really has me moving in a different direction. Namely, it’s a mess. One of my goals this year is to get back to where I was two years ago with my ancestor work, when my shrine was like a living extension of my heart, a vital, vibrant seat of communion between me and my dead. I’m not sure where things went awry (actually I…

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An Ancestor Find

I have been looking for a photo of my bio-mom’s paternal grandmother (my great grandmother) for over fifteen years. I found photos of my 2nd great grandmother, my 3rdgreat grandmother, and a fascinating story about my 3rdgreat grandfather but in all that time of searching (and I have some training as a genealogist so I know how to do a decent search) I hadn’t turned up anything on the woman in question: Edna Baldwin (later Edna Armiger). It didn’t help that her name was not all that unusual.

I will say that every place and person I contacted was extremely helpful, and through that help I was able to flesh out this line all the way back to the Huguenot ancestor who first came over to the States. I’m very grateful for everyone’s assistance. The key piece came from one of my aunts – who also has what I would term an ancestor practice, though for her it is being what she calls a “keeper of our line,” and remembering stories, tracing genealogy, etc. Well, she found a picture of Edna Baldwin and Perry Barnes, my great grandparents. I almost fell out of my chair when I opened the package today. This fills in a huge piece of my genealogy and my ancestor shrine.

Edna was apparently an opera singer in Baltimore, though during the depression she supported herself by working as a seamstress. She and Perry divorced early –theirs was a volatile relationship. My aunt told me that Edna once threw a knife at Perry (he had serious drinking problems so I’m not passing any judgment on this whatsoever) and only the thick newspaper he was holding up prevented damage. Family history says that Perry was a doctor, but I’ve found no evidence of that (and census records indicate quite the contrary, though he did graduate from college). I suspect they were two passionate people who were extremely ill matched.

Anyway, may they both meet with comfort and healing amongst our ancestors. May they be well remembered. They’ll both be well honored at my shrine.

edna baldwin perry hanna

Creation Song

i was spoken into being
by a ruthless God
sung into consciousness
by discordant runes
resolving into me,
knit through my synapses
running like fire
into my heart.
These things have consequences.
smoke sings,
an angel cries
and i devour
the heart of my God
and am reborn.

(G. Krasskova)