Great Grandparents; Sepia Saturday

Robert Dykan & Ida Ma Pitt W- Family This week, I have made pretty good progress with the research on my family heritage.  Seeking those timid records that love to hide in the dusty shelves and hard bound tomes of ancient times.  Okay, so that's overstating it just a little bit.  These days it seems its as easy as typing, to find the right bread crumb that leads to an old record.  A little typing and a whole lot of patients that is. 

I managed to find the marriage record of my my great grandparents. That’s them over to the left, some time after the marriage obviously.  I found it on line, and was able to view the actual book in a neat little picture window.  I could zoom in to Robert Dykan & Ida Ma Pitt 1where I had no trouble reading what was written there.  The hand writing of whoever kept those records is absolutely gorgeous. 
They were married on Dec, 17, 1895, in a Baptist ceremony by Rev. H.B. Smith witnessed by one John Robertson and one Nellie Terris (Terris is Great Great Grandmother Fentons maiden name, Although Nellie must be an aunt).  The happy event took place in the village of Springhill, Pugwash Parish, Albert County, Nova Scotia.  Their parents were listed as Thomas and Mary Pitt, along with John and Gracie Fenton. The record even listed the occupation of the fathers.  It seems that my Great Great Grandfather Pitt was a Mariner, and Great Great Grandfather Fenton, a Miner.   In the picture, my Grandmother is center front.

I also found many other records.  Nova Scotia has the best records search utility.  It checks birth, marriage, and death records, then shows the results in an easy to follow format.  If you find the one your looking for, you just click the “view” button, and you get to see the book.    I also found birth records of three great great great uncles and one The Pitt 6aunt, all for free.  If you want or order a digital copy, it costs $10.00, or you can get a certified paper copy for $22.00.  You can view samples of the records here.

Here is a picture of the six Pitt girls Circa 1945, my Grandmother is center right, in the light coat and white hair.

If you enjoy the old photographs, click on over to Sepia Saturday, and follow the links to view many more.  Maybe you might even have a few of your own you would like to share.  No problem, just join in the fun.  You can find the link over in my side bar at any time.  Just look for this button.

My New Hobby, My Own Heritage

Census taker visits a family living in a carav...
Image via Wikipedia
I’ve had an interesting weekend.  As most of you know, I did a Sepia Saturday post this weekend, and had so much fun with it.  Going around and seeing all the other people that posted something, and their pictures spurred a desire within me.  I want to get more involved in tracking down my heritage, and seeing where all my ancestors came from. 

Now for quite some time, I have had a passing interest, nothing too serious.  Every once in awhile, I would get the urge, and talk with my sister and mother about it.  Both have done extensive research and found a number of links.  Mother had visited Novia Scotia, and gotten many of the census records, and birth and death records for the area we hail from.  She had sent me copies of all of them at one time, but to be honest, the overwhelming amount of information scared me a little.  It boggles the mind how well, and simply, they kept records back then.

Much of this information was compiled by a person researching another family, that just happened to tie into ours at my Great Grandmother.  Mother received that information after her trip to Novia Scotia.  It was funny, because when she visited the hall of records, or what ever it is they have, she told them the name of my Great Grandmother, and the person said “Yes and she married _______ of Pugwash Novia Scotia”.  Mother was taken back because the information was completely accurate to what she already knew.  It turned out this person had quite a bit of family information, and forwarded it to Mother. 

After this Saturday, I dug all of that stuff out again, and started really trying to make sense of it.  The problem I was having, was that seeing everything in different records with little connection between them, made things very difficult to follow.  I needed some way to make it visual, something easy to set up, and that I could invite other members of the family to visit and add what information they have.  I found, a FREE site that works very much like the MyAncestry .com.  It’s very simple to navigate and use, so before long I had made serious progress in entering what information I had.  As of right now, I have 75 of my relatives, close and distant, listed.  All the way back to 1815 in New Brunswick.  The nice thing is it’s all in a visual form like a family tree, and your notified if there is comparative information in another persons tree.  Then you can contact them to follow up the possible ties.  I have found a number of them already, and I’m just getting started.

I have much more to do, so far we can trace parts of the family back to 1760, where trail ends somewhat abruptly.  The Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather was a “foundling” left on the hospital steps, at an estimated age of 1 month old, in Shrewsbury, England 1760.  So technically that particular family name is not even accurate, there was no way to find his real name.  All of this is just on one side of the family, just one little branch of one side.

I think by the time I’m done, I’ll have enough to write a pretty comprehensive history of my family lineage.  It’s amazing what get’s my juices flowing some times, and believe me, this is just what I needed.

Any of the family out there that has records or information, please send me copies.  I would love to get more pictures too, there are not enough yet in my collection.

A Little Look Back Before My Time; Sepia Saturday

Hacienda San Francisco, Sisga Colombia South America

Sharing a few pictures and memories, not necessarily mine.  This will be my first Sepia Saturday post, a quick and simple adventure into the pictorial history of my Mother.

Growing up, we were always entertained by stories of my Mothers time growing up in Colombia South America.  My Grandfather was an engineer, and made his living building dams.  One of his jobs took him and the family to Colombia South America, where they lived until completion of the dam.  It was a time that apparently left an impression on Mother, for she had many fond memories of that era of her life.  Even dedicating numerous chapters of her memoirs to the eventful time of her youth.

Mother was 10 Years old when they first moved to Colombia.  Much like many kids her age, even in this era, she knew very little of anyplace other than “home”.  Home was of course Denver Colorado, or more appropriately a farm on the outskirts of the city.  That now, is well within the city, and could hardly be called the outskirts of anything.  At this tender age, she set out on an adventure of a lifetime, accompanying her mother, sister, and little brother to a country, fresh out of a revolution.
Mother and Gitano
1949 / 1950 the adventure began with a series of flights on Delta and Eastern Airlines DC-4’s, and Pan American Clippers. The first few months in country, were spent in the capital city of Bogota.  They stayed in a hotel there in Bogota, The Continental, while awaiting the arrival of the remainder of their luggage that had been shipped by sea.  She spoke of the buildings that lay in ruins from the recent conflicts, and how they were not allowed to go anywhere alone.  She also speaks fondly of her first “culinary adventures” in Colombia.  The food must have been fabulous.  

After they moved to their home near the work site, Hacienda San Francisco, in Sisga, Colombia, she spent much of her free time riding horses.  Her favorite horse was Gitano, provided by a nearby hacienda for their riding adventures.  Schooling was tutored by her parents, my Grandmother grilling her on her spelling, and making her practice her handwriting.  Grandfather would provide her with the specifications of the dam project to instruct her in mathematic.  Requiring her to complete graphs on the completion of the project and learn percentages.  What time was not spent riding, or learning was spent reading. 

Cyhthia 1950All the food was cooked on a “carbon” stove (coal).  they had a garden in which vegetables were grown, along with chicken, lambs, and other live stock for meat.  The butchering was completed by servants.  She remembers my Grandmother asking them to chop the chickens head off instead of wringing their necks, I suppose she thought it was more humane.  They never bought meat from the markets other than to feed the dogs.  All fresh fruit purchased at market was pealed prior to consuming it.  Clothes were washed in a washing machine when they had electricity, and by hand when they didn’t.   Water for the house was supplied by collecting rainwater in an averca (concrete container) and overhead cistern.   

Mother speaks fondly of “the most romantic event” of her young life, a midnight, moonlight ride from Sisga to Las Fuentas, a neighboring hacienda. Dancing to a small band, in a setting among the kerosene lamps of hacienda life was a first for my young mother.  I have a feeling she had a few suitors, some she wrote about, and I would bet many she didn’t.

I would love to be able to post actual excerpts of Mothers memoirs, but I promised her I would not.  I don’t think she would mind this  

Ravages of Sleep; A Magpie Tale

Bedroom View
Image courtesy of Magpie Tales

The remnants of a nights frolic welcome my sleepy morning eyes.  Stirring a sensation deep with in my soul, igniting a fiery appetite to continue those lustful wants.  The memories of sensual touches and passionate kisses while the stars smiled upon our unbridled escapades.  The comfort of your embrace, warmed by a mysterious moons full light.  Anguish returns, as slowly I recall, it was all a nightmare.  

Dreams, so cruel, thriving on a memory astonishingly lavish and real.  I dam the ravaging disease that took your sweet love from me.  I have only the single picture to stare at, and those fabulous memories you gifted me with your spirit.  Memories that now seem as if they must have been fictitious creations of wishful thought. 

Each night is the same, an evening forsaken to the the desolate companionless realm of a sorrow so deep and lasting.  Longing to hear even a whisper of your voice, feel the tenderness of your brushing touch.  I stare at your picture on the wall, and relegate my self to restless sleep, inaugurated with a tear soaked pillow.  The dreams come of those memories you left, cherished, tangible, and idyllic.

I ask you, no plead with you, how can I move on when I’m insufferably lost in love with a memory.  A memory so true and real to my mind, it’s impossible to overcome.  The days have passed, one by one, turning to weeks, then months, and finally to years.  Must I pause in waiting for the decades to elapse?
This short fiction is just that, fiction.  Inspired by Magpie Tales, and her treachery in capturing my imagination with this picture.  Feel not sorrow for me, yet hold a little compassion for that poor unfortunate character who developed in my thoughts.

Reminiscent Wednesday

Sunset from the Front Porch
Image by The Tattered Coat via Flickr

I sit here on my front porch, watching the sky transform from that blistering conflagration of afternoon, to the soft cooling darkness of evening placidity.  Listening to some Ray Price, Patsy Cline, Connie Smith, and others.  I  suddenly realize there is one of the few traditions in Texas, I have become fond of.  The evening front porch social.  All along the street, neighbors sit enjoying the shade, until that fiery enemy in the sky settles along the horizon painting marvelous colors in the sky.  Talking and visiting with each other, sharing a beverage, most often a cold beer.  While the kids ride their bicycles up and down the street, playing a game of catch, or testing the boundaries of any and all rules.  There is something soothing and peaceful about this convention.

Not being the most social person I often find myself enjoying this time in pleasant solitude, yet I still receive the calming serenity of this provincial practice.  The feeling is hard to explain, but it leaves me with a sense of consistency.  I know it probably makes no sense what so ever, but there is that comfort afforded to us with convention.  I don’t mind the solitude in the least bit. I prefer to think and ruminate in privacy, yet it is agreeable to acknowledge I’m surrounded by others.

I enjoy watching the kids, with their freedom and innocence of youth, frolic unhindered by worry.  It takes me back to those times, seemingly so long ago, when my brother and I unbound our enthusiastic imagination.  At times I feel sorry for that little community, the rambunctiousness of young boys can be trying.  Our escapades  are legendary I’m sure, at least in my own mind.  I fondly remember darkening evenings on Main Street in Alma, when we would race our wagons down the hill.  It’s important to keep in mind that the hill was quite long, not as steep as it could be, but steep enough.  Of course our wagons were not your average little red wagons.  We modified them, adding four by four blocks between the axle mounts and the body.  This effectively raised our wagons, giving us the impression of riding a jacked up 4 X 4, and of course making the wagons extremely unstable at higher speeds. 

Now the proper way to race the wagons is to sit in them, and hold the handle straight up in front of you for the purpose of steering.  We would have a couple of friends give us a good starting push to get the speed up faster.  Try to picture in your mind, pre-teen boys sitting in those modified red flyers, speeding down Main Street, which by the way was also the state highway, reaching frightening speeds.  At the higher velocity, it becomes very difficult to steer because that little handle starts shaking pretty bad.  It doesn’t take long before the wagons tip and roll, sending us tumbling along the highway, giggling and laughing.  I don’t think any of us ever made it all the way down the hill.

The memories of those times are amazingly soothing and refreshing.  The fact that we survived our numerous escapades with danger, we neither recognized nor acknowledged, bodes well for the future generations.  It seem to me in my middle aged mind, the dangers we subjected ourselves to at times, were far greater than many of those these kids tangle with.

Baking Summer Heat

Fire in the Sky 3

Image by ChrisCosta77 via Flickr

The hot summer months of July and August, spark a fathomless yearning for the coolness of my mountain home.  I simply am not built for this blistering abysmal Texas heat.  I long to walk along a cool mountain stream, so close to timberline, you can feel the cooling breeze of snow capped peaks.  If only I could once again experience the dryness of those mountain airs swirl around and encompass me in a comfort not forgotten.

There are days down here, that feel nearly like walking on a lava flow.  The sun beats down unrelentingly, baking the ground and reflecting the heat onto any unsuspecting soul so unfortunate enough to be working outside. 

All week long I have been working outside, doing what we call a rough in.  That consists of installing the plumbing, drain pipe and water pipe prior to the concrete being poured.  Down here just about all houses are built with a full concrete slab floor.  That means that the plumbing has to set just right so the pipes come up in the walls as they should, or you end up jack hammering a lot during the next phase.  

We have had temperatures nearing the triple digits all week, and humidity levels that make it feel like 105 to 107.  One of the difficulties I personally have is a serious problem with perspiration.  I sweat so much that it literally drips off me as if I just stepped out of a shower.  The problem, with this is that I lose considerable amounts of water and salt from my system, making me very susceptible to heat exhaustion.  At times it seems like I simply can’t drink enough water to replace that which I lose.    On Tuesday it got so bad, I actually quit sweating, and shortly after that, I got cold!  This scared the daylights out of me, for it has never quite been this bad for me before.  I have cramped up, and had other symptoms before, but never like this. 

I immediately stopped working, and found some shade where there was a breeze, and tried to drink more water.  The problem was that as I tried to drink, I became nauseous, and promptly threw up everything I took in.   During the day I had already consumed nearly three gallons of water, but it did no good, and now I was losing everything I had taken in.  The next thing that happened was my hands cramped up so bad, they looked like claws, fingers unwillingly drawn into unnatural positions, making it even more difficult to even hold a cup.  I had to cool down and do it fast!  I took a towel from my truck, and wetted it down, then took some ice from the cooler wrapping it in the towel, and placed it around my neck.  Then I started the truck and turned the air conditioner on high, and sat there for twenty minutes, sipping water slowly.

While resting I fondly recalled those wonderful summers in the high Colorado mountains.  Temperatures never exceeded 80 degrees, and humidity was unheard of.  I would rather be cold than hot any time, you can always put on more clothes to warm up, but there is only so much you can take off without causing a stir.


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