Monday, December 15, 2008

3 Wishes! - Carnival of Genealogy

The topic for the next edition of the COG will be: 3 Wishes! This is your chance to write a letter to Genea-Santa*. Make a list of 3 gifts you would like to receive this holiday season from 3 of your ancestors. These have to be material things, not clues to your family history (we're talking gifts here, not miracles!). Do you wish your great grandmother had gifted you a cameo broach? Or maybe you'd like to have the family bible from great great grandpa Joe? How about a baby doll that once belonged to your dear Aunt Sarah? This is a fantasy so you can dream up gift items. They don't have to be actual items that you know your ancestors owned. However, they do have to be historically accurate to the time period in which your ancestor lived. Do your research. No asking for a new computer from your great grand aunt! Genea-Santa wouldn't like that ;-)

Well, I'm not that optimistic, but as my daughter might say "Mum, Believe!"

So, Dear Ms and Mr Genea-Santa, please see what arrangements you can make about these three genea-wishes of mine. I'm not much for jewellery, and heaven knows, I have enough dishes, ornaments and furniture here. I've kept my choices light so delivery shouldn't be much of a chore. (These wishes are in no particular order. Truly, I'll appreciate anything you can do.)

Wish #1. A Photograph of Mary Ann White and William Rogers

When my great uncle John William Rodgers/Rogers died in 1978, he was the last of three brothers, one being my grandpa. Almost till his death, he lived in the same house he shared for decades with brother Frank and their step sister in Toronto, Canada. I feel sure anything precious that his mother left would have been saved, and John, as the last sibling, would have inherited any family photos or papers. My dad did attend John's funeral, and met the lawyer who handled John's affairs. John didn't leave us anything specifically, but the lawyer promised to send on John's personal effects which might contain some family papers. Unfortunately, the lawyer was soon very ill, and nothing was ever done about this.

I once wrote the firm asking just in case there was a dusty storage room full of interesting old files, but no answer was received. I know now where John's father came from, and I do realize, Genea-Santas, that there might not have been time or money for even one photograph, but I still hope to see someday an image of John's parents. Even one or two images of his brothers and step-sister, Sue Battice Peel, when they were young, would be grand to see.

Yes, Genea-Santas, I hear you. You think I should at least write that firm again. Santas help those who help themselves, etc. Still Santas, if there is a photograph of William Rogers or of Mary Ann White somewhere in the world, maybe you could ask one of the techie elves to scan it and post it on Dead Fred. Tag it 'ROGERS/WHITE, Shipham, Somerset, England and (???) to Toronto Canada' and I'll find it quick as a wink.

Wish #2. One of my mum's own paper doll sets.

One of my mum's biggest disappointments with her young daughter, I think, was my complete lack of interest in paper dolls. According to my mum, paper dolls were her favourites when she was a girl. I can understand that now as I know she was always interested in clothing and in sewing. Paper dolls with wardrobes would have been such fun for her. Alas, I never was interested despite the number of times she cut out Betsy McCall paper doll pages for me. I still have a few of those. (Betsy McCall paper dolls by Kay Morrissey were published in McCalls Magazine beginning in 1951.)

(I did love dolls though, as you may well remember, and Mum might be very surprised, Genea-Santas, that I'm not asking for one of hers. She told me her dad used to bring her a new doll when he had been travelling, but her mother gave them all away in later years. I know Mum never had an Eaton Beauty doll - her dad had a small town general store, after all, and Eaton's Department Store was the competition - but I'm sure she had some beautiful ones. If you could see the poor naked wooden doll she did save and give to me, you would laugh!)

Now I have a few paper dolls of my own, but I sure would like to have a set that she loved. I wonder if there might have been a flapper or two?

Wish #3. Harriet Healy's Bible.

When Harriet Healy left West Yorkshire, England for New York in 1856 with her soon to be step- daughter, Elizabeth Wood (later Woodman), I feel sure Harriet carried a Bible with her and that one of her parents had all the family names and dates entered into it so that the family history would be maintained. They would have known she wouldn't be coming back and they might even have tucked a word of advice or two inside. It's true that I have quite a number of Bibles already, Genea-Santas, but oddly, none has any family information written in it. Harriet's will be the exception to this family rule.

Well, Genea-Santas, there you have my three Genea-Wishes for 2008. No matter what, I'll leave lemon shortbread cookies out for you and there will be milk and ginger beer in the fridge. If you drink the milk, please don't leave the bottle out on the kitchen counter - the cats will knock it off hoping to lap up any spilled milk. I better leave new lint rollers there for you both too. I can imagine how well cat fur shows on your nice red suits.

Wishing you both a very happy 'after Christmas' holiday somewhere warm and quiet,

Diane R

Sue and Joan Paper Dolls by Lydia Fraser, published in the Canadian Home Journal, March, 1936. These paper dolls are too late for my mother to have played with, but she would have cut this page out to keep, I'm sure, had she seen it.

LINKS - Here's some more info, Ms and Mr Genea-Santa, in case it helps the research elves.

The History of Paper Dolls by Judy M. Johnson, The Original Paper Doll Artists Guild:

The Eaton Beauty Doll:"The Doll We Will Never Forget" by Evelyn Robson Strahlendorf on


Brenda said...

Oh boy, you just opened a memory for me, Diane. I was one of those paper doll players! Thanks for the nudge ... and the very interesting post.

Colleen Johnson, CMJ Office said...

I remember my mom saying that she played with those paper dolls too. I had some but always ended up ripping the tags and getting frustrated. LOL

Happy Holidays!

The Belly Dancer said...

I love paper dolls. I draw them and collect them. These ones are lovely. New follower.