Skip to main content

I Now Know Who You Are, Grandma Whitehead!


Family history research can become a tangled web sometimes.  Trying to keep names, dates, and relationships straight is often a challenge for my mind.  I'm sure as a child I gave my mom more than one glazed-over look when she would try to explain the relationship to me of an ancestor she had just found.  I understand the impulse to just nod along politely, but please, try to keep up with this post because it is just THE COOLEST THING EVER.


Last week when we were out on our date, John suggested browsing at the local antique store.  I readily agreed, as we both like going to this particular store.  It is huge, and specializes in everything.  (If you want/need a zebra pelt, I know where to find one.) We never know what we are going to find.

Last week, what stood out to us was an oval framed photo.  The store was packed with framed photos and artwork, so there was no reason this particular photo should have grabbed our attention.  The small price tag was labelled, "Grandma Whitehead's photo".  I wondered how in the world the store owners knew the woman's name.  I turned over the photo and found this:


                     I know that the writing is hard to impossible to read from the photo, but it says: 
Ann Whitehead--1828-1872
 (Nee Showalter)
Marriage to Michael Whitehead
Date ? [The question mark is written there]
There were 4 children
Milton born 1849--Married Sallie Mayo
Two children died before they were a year old
(H.E.W.-1865 and Alvaria 1852)
Ethan E. Whitehead   Born 1859
Married Nell B. Wright --18
Died 1930
[There is an arrow pointing down from Ethan's name]
One child only
Stanley Whitehead
Born 5-7-1885

I was stunned with the wealth of information--particularly the information about the children who had died so young.  I imagined that someone, somewhere, would want to know about this family.  Having done family history research, I know how difficult it can be to know about children who don't show up on a federal census. 

I considered buying the photo, but thought it would be an expensive precedent to start purchasing old photos of people to whom I'm not even related.  John and I left the store, but all weekend I brooded over this photo.  I couldn't get this family off my mind.  I called my mom and told her about it, and she asked, "Did you say 'Showalter or Stowalter'?"  At that point, I didn't really remember, but Mom explained that we tied in distantly to a Showalter line. 

Monday afternoon, I could stand it no longer, and I returned to the antique store to purchase the photo.  I figured that at the very least, I could post the information on an online genealogy board.  I spent most of the evening on ancestry.com, trying to see if there was a link between the woman in the photo and my own family history lines.  I suspected there might be, based on the fact that both families were living in the same states at the same times, but it wasn't until this morning that I finally found the link! 

(Here's where you need to pay close attention to prevent the glazed look of genealogy overload): 

My great-grandpa, William Roy Pierce, had a brother named James Pierce, who married a woman named Eva May Showalter.  Eva May's grandpa, John Showalter, had a brother named Abraham Showalter.  Abraham Showalter was the father of Anna, the woman in the photo. 

I don't even know how to begin to calculate the odds of this occurrence!  As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I believe that family relations can continue beyond the grave.  A major purpose of our temples is to provide ordinances which allow families to be forever.  I think it is more than coincidence that brought this photo to my attention.  I think about Anna, and her concern that her children not be forgotten.  Family history really is a labor of love, and I think that we can be guided in our research--even when we might not know who we are looking for. 

I now know who you are, Grandma Whitehead!

Comments

  1. Wow! I'm coming back from the temple with your mom, & she told me about your photo. It gave me goose bumps to read about your experience!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I found your post about your picture. I put you on my Google Reader so I won't miss any of your posts. Nice seeing you at the temple and sharing the story with me. I was happy to do Clara Stowalter's work.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Martha, thank you for helping me!

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Oops, I inadvertantly removed comments, when I was hoping to only remove identifying information (an e-mail address). Sorry, Dennis. Basically, Dennis said he is the g-g-grandson of Ann! So excited to hear from a direct-line descendent.

      Delete
  5. Thank you for sharing this. I was extremely touched!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Conversations are so much nicer when more than one person does the talking. :-) Please leave a comment and let me know your thoughts; I'd love to hear from you!

Popular posts from this blog

Never Give Up Hope

Twenty-three years ago, a beautiful little girl was born. From the get-go, she was sweet, sensitive, and rather shy. She has grown into a young woman of whom I am so proud. She has worked hard to overcome challenges, and recently told me she is trying to face her fears, and asked me if I would write her story and share it here on the blog, in hopes she can inspire others through their own struggles. Although I offered to publish an auto-biographical piece for her, she wanted me to write her story from my perspective. At her request, and with her approval of this post, I share the following:
The phone rang, and the social worker on the other end informed me that a baby girl had been born 10 weeks early and drug-exposed. She wasn't ready to be released from the medical facility where she was currently staying, but would we be interested in being her foster-to-adopt parents? Of course! When John and I filled out our paperwork, we indicated that we were comfortable with a premature bab…

Six Sentence Story: Burst

The moment the church organist started playing the introduction to the hymn, the precocious toddler girl stood up on the pew. Music just moved her, and she was doubly excited when she realized she recognized the tune. Though everyone around her was opening a hymnal and finding the right page, that was unnecessary for her. 
First of all, she couldn't read, but second, even if she could read, she didn't need the words; they were etched into her memory. Finally, the organist finished the introduction and the chorister signaled the congregation to begin, but while the rest of the church-goers sang, "Lord, dismiss us with thy blessing," the sweet little girl belted out, "Go tell Aunt Rhody." By the time she got to the line about the old grey goose being dead, all decorum was lost as those around her burst out laughing. 




This has been another Six Sentence Story. The blog hop is hosted by Denise of Girlie on the Edge each week. The rules are simple: write a six sent…

Six Sentence Story: Release

Her small brow furrowed in concentration as she carefully placed the wriggling worm on the little hook. 

"Ready, Daddy!" she called, and Daddy came over and helped her cast the line into the lake. To the amazement of both of them, soon the bobber took a dip into the water. Daddy talked her through reeling the keeper-sized fish onto the shore.

"I'll name him Lucky, because he is lucky I caught him!" she proudly announced.

Lucky's luck ran out, though, when he realized this wasn't going to be a catch-and-release situation. 

**************************
I'm joining again with the Six Sentence Story link-up. Go read the other entries, and feel free to add your own. This week's prompt: release.