Hubby introduced me to Geni, an online family tree where you can type information on each family member, as much or as little as you know.
The beauty of this system is the unlimited space and connections for each ancestor. We have had fun filling it in for the branch of my mother's side for which we have the information. Along with names and birthdates, there are anecdotes about some of my forebears, giving glimpses into an earlier time.
For example, my great grandmother, my mother's father's mother lived on a small farm in southern Idaho, married to a devout Mormon farmer during the 1920's.
[She] was a beautiful young lady, she always wore beautiful clothes and was a talented seamstress. We had an awful hard time the first few years on the farm and she wasn't a farm gal...not accustomed to horses, pigs, calves and chickens. This made it hard for her. When we were here in Arco we cared for two girls aged eight and ten. They had been abandoned by a couple by the name of Molan and were living with elderly grandparents who found it hard to care for them; they were shabby, unkempt and hungry. [She] sewed beautiful dresses for the girls and took care of them. This helped [her] a lot but shortly she became a schoolteacher.
-written by my great-grandfather.
Fascinating. From what my grandfather tells me they had no electricity or running water on that early farm and there her two eldest children were born, in a tiny farmhouse harking back to an earlier century. What a contrast from the well-to-do woman I remember from my childhood who always insisted being called "Grammy".
I love that she took care of those two girls, nameless, and now long gone. I love that she liked to sew and that she taught school. I love that on both sides of the family my roots go deep into the rich, black Idaho farm soil.
Yes, there were characters on both sides. This same woman's grandfather had four wives at the same time! This was back during the heyday of the Mormon settlement of Utah, of course. His parents both emigrated from different parts of England and married one another in Utah.
I hope to keep digging, to gather info on my Dad's side and to dip into the information already residing at Hubby's grandma's house, the tree going back on her side for generations. Someday my children will want to know the stories, to know their roots. I will show them these stories and they will add their own stories as time goes along.