Well, maybe not so much mysteries as I have names that go with tonight’s photo.
The sandal is my own size 7 for size comparison. It was the only thing handy that I thought could give perspective.
For years I was baffled by the existence of the wooden shoes. They came in a box from my dad with a bunch of other stuff, most of which I don’t remember now. He gave no explanation for the wooden shoes: who did they belong to and why were they in our family’s possession?
At that time, I didn’t have the papers my dad later sent me. My family lines were tied to the British Isles, not mainland Europe. Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England.
When Dad sent me the paperwork he had that details his family lines all the way back to the first immigrants (there’s no research on the other side of The Pond that I know of and I haven’t pursued it), I discovered I have Dutch roots as well. There’s a VanVreedenburgh and a whole lot of VanEsselston/VanYsselston and Esselston/Ysselston relations who came to the Americas between 1634 and 1705. The Dutch eventually married into the English, and my Grandmother Kimmey came into the picture in 1874.
(The surname Kimmey has an interesting history on House of Names: it is one of the oldest English surnames, perhaps even outdating the Norman Conquest of 1066 AD. Kimmey is the oldest version of the surname.)
I digress. The point is: I discovered a branch of the family that was decidedly Dutch. Given the time of their immigration, they may have come over with Peter Stuyvesant or shortly thereafter. I found this link to be helpful: Dutch Immigration. The little wooden shoes possibly date back to that time.
Or they are some tourist memorabilia and have no relevance at all. I have no clue.
The leather baby shoes, however, came with a hint. Inside one of them is a little slip of card stock, written on both sides:
Aunt Mary Johnston’s
She was born Dec 2 – 1879
~~~~~~~Born 1775 Aug 12
Nathan Brown – her father
1775 – 75 yrs. old
Ancestry.com puts Nathan Brown’s birthday in 1791. I have found a lot of disparity between the written record I have that was handed down and the records of Ancestry.com. One has to be very careful on their website to not connect the wrong person to one’s Family Tree, otherwise I like their website.
Nathan Brown was my Great-Great-Great Grandfather on my mother’s father’s side. He was Grandfather to Newton Brown, a surveyor of the Wyoming Territory (second obit down in the link). I have a collection of letters from Newton Brown to my Great-Grandmother, Mary Melrose nee Brown, his little sister.
I suppose my next logical step would be to pay for the International version of Ancestry.com and start looking up the relations across The Pond. But first I have to get myself organized. Posting these items and talking about it online helps me start to focus. I lost my focus when my dad died.
Time to get back in the saddle.
Great Grandmother saved letters. Apparently she saved baby shoes as well.