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Posts Tagged ‘Newton Brown Wyoming’

“I know what I’ll do! I’ll put together that scrapbook of Mom’s memorabilia. She’s only been dead since 1995…”

I’ve been stuck in the Vortex for the past four days. First, there was the sorting out all the scrapbook materials between my mother, myself, my father, and my mother’s family (Great Grandma Melrose saved everything and her sister, Great-Great Aunt Gert was a prolific writer of letters to both my mother & grandmother). Mom was pretty good at collecting things herself, as am I.

As was my father, his mother, and his father’s mother. But I wasn’t dealing with Dad’s stuff just yet. Or mine.

I have scanned over 42 documents of varying size, from old letters to land deeds – anythng too fragile to take to a printing place and try to copy.  I use Scanbot, an App on my Smartphone. It allows me to scan multiple pages as .pdf files and will automatically send those to my Google Drive, inserting them in the folder I want. It does take a lot of time, but I’m not standing in a printing place, trying to unfold delicate documents and keep them from falling apart. Using Scanbot, I could take several photos, combine them, and save them. While they loaded to my Drive, I carefully put the documents into acid-free clear sleeves so they can be stored safely.

I also put together 98 pages of scrapbook – my mother’s clippings, saved poems, and loose memorabilia. I didn’t bother with the fancy scrapbooking they do nowadays: I scrapbook the old style, like my ancestors did. No special notes, just things of importance to my mother – and no judgment of what she saved. I’m talking about things she saved from the mid-1940’s until her death.

The land deeds were items Mom collected on various genealogical trips back to Wisconsin to trace her father’s family (Melrose). She also has copious notes she shared with a cousin & fellow genealogist who traced the family back into id-1500’s Scotland. That was no mean feat as the family preferred certain names: Philip Melrose would beget John Melrose who would beget Philip Melrose who would beget John… And often, one baby would die so they would reuse the baby’s name on the next son so there were two Philips in one family but only one who grew up to beget the next John (or two).

It gets further confusing because my Great-great-great Grandfather Philip Melrose married Euphemia Brown in Scotland before immigrating to the States. My Great Grandfather Philip Melrose married a Mary Brown, no relation to the afore-mentioned.

They often had very large families and often more than one marriage (I had to explain this to my husband who found that odd: the first spouse often died, so there was a remarriage and a blended family of half-siblings. My Great-great Aunt Gert (the letter writer) was the half sister of my Great Grandmother.

Genealogy is not just collecting the names of one’s ancestors, it is also about finding the stories. I’m fortunate to have a Family Bible handed down through the Melrose clan and the scrapbooks created by women – and men – who felt their history should be preserved. The collection of deeds and war records tells other stories. The letters, homey and warm for the most part, detail day-to-day events as well as the hobbies and interests of the people who make up my DNA pool.

Great-Grandmother’s brother, Newton Brown, surveyed much of Wyoming in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Great-great Aunt Gert had a U-Pick in Vancouver, Washington (and I am forever addicted to Boysenberries as opposed to any other variety of blackberries because she allowed me to just pick and feed my at little face). Great Grandmother saved every one of Dale’s letters, detailing his life in Oregon and subsequent death at Fort Lewis in 1917 (scarlet fever).

 

And that’s just my mother’s side of the family. That file cabinet in the photo above is the information I have on my father’s side of the family, dating back to the earliest ships to sail for the Colonies from Great Britain.

Oh, yeah, Mom’s side can be traced to the Mayflower as well. The Melroses were recent immigrants, coming here in 1860, just in time for the civil unrest to drive them to the wilds of Wisconsin (besides, the weather in North Carolina wasn’t fit for the Scots — so says a note that I scanned today). The first American John Melrose had to sign a document stating her would not choose sides in the war between the states.

I do need to sit down and work on the actual name-collecting part, where I fill in the blanks on a family tree that includes the names of half-siblings, second spouses, and distant cousins. But my brain is dead currently, and all I can do right now is bind everything up into scrapbooks and acid-free sleeves in a binder. I think I need a fire safe for the Wisconsin land deeds.

Mostly, I just want to get as much of this digitized as soon as possible.

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