Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ancestors or Alien Descendants?

One of my interests is genealogy. Since I love mysteries, genealogy is one way for me to play "detective" without actually getting into a living person's business.

Over the years, I periodically resume searching for my elusive ancestors. Since I can find no trace of my great-great-grandfather Kimery before 1840, I have concluded that he must have been an alien from outer space! Actually, prior to 1840, he was too young to be listed as "Head of Household" on the census records, and census records did not start recording the names of the family members until 1850.

Actually, I think there must have been a slight name change, or change in spelling, as my great-uncle Ralph once told my daddy that our last name used to be spelled and pronounced differently, but he couldn't remember how.

In the course of my genealogy detective work, I have acquired quite a few old family photos, and I love 'em!

Isn't this a cool old picture? A very distant, almost cousin sent this to me. We believe that it is a party...maybe a wedding?...attended mostly by my Stroup relatives. Since my great-grandmother Kimery was originally a Stroup, my grandparents are in this picture (the couple in the middle), along with some Stroup cousins, and possibly a few of my grandfather's siblings, as well. Since so many of the Kimerys inherited the Stroup looks, it's hard to tell which one is a Stroup and which one is a Kimery.

I don't know who she is, but I love the look of the young woman on the bottom row. It looks as if she is flirting with some fella who didn't get into the picture!

Here is a picture of my grandfather that was only discovered about 10 years ago. My aunt had an old picture in an antique frame which needed refinishing, so she took the picture out and found this picture of my grandfather behind it. Since he had no mustache and looks very young and not as "filled out" as he was in adulthood, it seems to have been made when he was a teenager. I think he was a handsome young man, even if he did have that "deer in the headlights" stare.

I don't remember much of my grandfather, since he died when I was 5 years old, other than that he seemed to be this HUGE, but gentle, man who was in a wheelchair most of the time. He could walk, but arthritis made it too painful for him. Having learned more about him from my older brothers and sisters, I can understand why he was in such pain. Apparently, he not only LOOKED like a hunk as a young man, but actually WAS a hunk. Although he was primarily a farmer, he worked on the side quite a bit to earn income to support his family. When the railroad was building a line through his county, he got a job working to build the tracks. It is said that he was so strong that he could pick up and tote TWO railroad ties on his shoulders. Apparently, he would lean the ties against a tree or a wagon, and then hoist one at a time onto his shoulders, carry them to where they were needed and toss them down. And he did this all day long! Everybody always said that he had "crippling arthritis", which he probably did; however, I'm thinking that the arthritis probably started when HE HURT HIS BACK!

I remember a bit more of my grandmother, as she took turns staying with each of her children after my grndfather died. My grandmother was apparently a very upright and moral woman...BUT she could be quite a booger! Nobody knows what her problem was, but it manifested itself in often hateful behavior. As a child, I apparently did not like her because she was always scolding me for being noisy.

On one of her extended visits with us, my Aunt Sally, who was my grandfather's sister, came with her. Aunt Sally got along quite well with Mama Lula, and I apparently loved Aunt Sally to pieces. My mom says that Aunt Sally was "partial" to me because I looked like her granddaughter who got run over and died.

Why Mama Lula and Aunt Sally were such good friends is a mystery to me. Mama Lula was a prude, and there was no way she would ever put "paint" on her face. She also had some kind of Victorian idea that a "lady" never allowed her back to touch the back of a chair. Being a heavy lady, she actually broke the springs in the front of my Mama's new chair because she would always sit right on the edge of the seat. I don't remember ever hearing Mama Lula laugh or seeing her smile.

Aunt Sally was the exact opposite. Every morning, she would fix her hair, and put on her makeup and jewelry. She would smile at me, read stories to me, and listen to my stories as if they were the most fascinating tales she'd ever heard.

At that time, I was seriously into art...well, about as seriously as a 6 year old can be. I spent much of my time drawing pictures, including family portraits. It was inevitable that I would draw Mama Lula's and Aunt Sally's portraits. My mother still laughs to this day about those "portraits". Aunt Sally was delighted with her portrait, as I portrayed her as a beautiful young lady. I've been told that she framed it and carried it in her suitcase as she traveled amongst her children.

On the other hand, Mama Lula was FURIOUS! She told my mama that I needed to be punished, and got even madder because Mama told her that I hadn't done anything to be punished for...that I had drawn what I actually saw. I drew Mama Lula with her lips pursed up like she'd been eating lemons, and with as many wrinkles as I could get onto her face! If you look at her in the party picture (she's the 2nd from the right in the middle row), you can see that she pursed her lips like she had been sucking on lemons!

Anyway, here is a picture of Papa Jim and Mama Lula on their wedding day in 1900.

This is a ca1916 photo of 5 of their 6 children, plus a cousin who was staying with them at the time. My daddy is the little boy at the bottom right. Wasn't he cute? He doesn't look very happy to be wearing a pair of knickers and that shirt with the big bow, though!

This is a picture of my Kimery great-grandparents and my Stroup great-great-grandmother. My grandfather is the 2nd from the right in the back, and I believe the girl next to him is my Great-Aunt Sally. Doesn't she look like she'd be a sassy young miss? The other two men and the man in the separate picture are, I believe, my grandfather's brothers, and the other young woman is his sister-in-law. The 3 young children in front are also my grandfather's youngest siblings, Alice, Myrtle, and Ralph.

I haven't done any real family research in quite a while. While I've dug up a few family skeletons, I've hit an internet dead end in searching for my great-grand-father Kimery, whose name may have actually been Kimbro, Kimbrough or even something totally different. One day, I hope to be able to go spend some time in Northeast Tennessee and North Carolina to see if I can find any record of him. That'll be a while, though!

Have a great day!

1 comment:

bj said... have some priceless photos of your family. Aren't you tickled to have them! I have a few that I am very proud of, too.
love, bj