Genealogy

As we go through this journey we call life, this world we live in will go through many changes. As I was looking at old family pictures, and it got me thinking about what a change it must have been to go from the horse and buggy days to the automobile. My grandfather and my Uncle Ted (back seat right two people) I’m quite sure grew up with the idea that cars were going to be around, but my great grandfather (back left) must have been quite in awe over the changes going on in his life. I remember the first time I drove a car, but I had ridden in a car many times by that time, and they were commonplace items. I just can’t imagine seeing a car for the first time as an adult, but that is what so many of our ancestors did. Bob’s grandmother talked often of the changes from a horse and buggy to the car.

When I was a kid, a computer took up an entire room, and nobody had one in their home. Then came the PC, and people started buying them. Pretty soon everyone had one in their house. Now there are laptops, netbooks, tablets, and even smart phones. I remember too, when the only phones that existed where in a building or the occasional telephone booth…remember those. Telephone booths almost don’t exist anymore, because we all have a phone in our purse or pocket, and most of them are smart phones now, so we can even access the internet with them.

So many changes have taken place in in the past 200 years alone, that our ancestors would not even know this place if they could see it. I have to wonder how much of it would absolutely terrify them, if they could step into our time. And what would our thoughts be if we could step back into the old West? Back to the days when the harvesting was done with a horse and wagon, and it took a large group of people to get the job done. Hay was cut down using scythes and loaded in the wagon using rakes and a pitchfork. That was a much harder time in our history, and the harvest wasn’t taken so much for granted. School was planned around it, because the kids were needed to help with the harvest too.

Sometimes, I think we all need to look back in time once in a while, and really see how very blessed we are to be living in a time where much of our work is easy, food is abundant, travel is quick, and staying in touch with people all over the world is a normal, everyday event.

It’s somewhat rare…being double cousins, but it does happen. I suppose it is rare enough that many people don’t even know what it is exactly. It might not even be a exact term, but it is the only one that describes this situation.

When two brothers marry two sisters, their children become double cousins…and that is exactly what happened. My grandfather, George Byer married my grandmother Harriet “Hattie” Pattan on December 24, 1927. Then my uncle, Theodore “Ted” Byer married my aunt, Gladys Pattan on November 2, 1928. Hattie and George would go on to have 9 children, Evelyn, Virginia, Delores, Larry, Collene, who is my mother, Wayne, Bonnie, Dixie, and Sandy. My Aunt Gladys and my Uncle Ted would have one daughter, Margaret. From the moment Margaret arrived, the children of the sisters and brothers were double cousins. And later there would be double second cousins, double third cousins, double second cousins once removed, double third cousins once removed, and so on.

Now as often happens, the children of the double cousins weren’t as close as the double cousins themselves. As the years go by many of the cousins don’t know each other well, or at all. I have been blessed in that for me things would turn out differently. When my girls were little they began bowling with two girls who were also sisters. Little did we know, until my mom heard their dad’s name, that these girls were the grandchildren of Margaret Byer, the very Margaret whose birth began the double cousins in the first place. So, every Monday night, during the winter bowling league season, I get the privilege of spending the evening with my double second cousins twice removed, and their daughters, my double second cousins thrice removed. Margaret’s son Ted and his wife Donna, and their daughters, Jaime and her husband Willie, who also have three children, Kaleb, Kielei, and Haley, and Ted and Donna’s other daughter Jackie. I am very thankful that I have had the chance to know them all these years. They are awesome people. Love you guys bunches.

Grandma's gardenDuring the years of the Great Depression, people had to do whatever was necessary to make ends meet. The backyard garden became a necessity, not a hobby. Hunting and fishing really became a vital part of life, not just a pastime. People had to make their own repairs around the house, rather than hiring it done. People put blankets up for curtains, and made their own clothes. I suppose it was like a move back in time…to the time when their ancestors didn’t have a store to go to, or a repairman to call, so they did what they had to do, on their own. I would imagine that there were a lot of repairs that the repairman would have scratched his head at…just trying to figure out how it ran at all.

While the things the people of the Great Depression era did were a bit unusual, and were an essential part of making ends meet, they were also a part of their independence. They didn’t want a government handout…even when they had to take it, they didn’t want it. They were used to taking care of themselves. Nevertheless, jobs were scarce, and often required the men to travel for work, leaving their wives and young children to run the farm. School became a luxury, because the kids were needed at home to plow, weed, and harvest the crops to put food on the table. Nothing was wasted either. They cooked the feet, tongue, and even brains of an animal for food. They didn’t necessarily kill an animal, if all they needed was the feathers for a mattress. Can you Grandpa by the Gardenimagine plucking the feathers from a goose while it is alive?? I would be afraid it would come after me, but it was well known then, that the feathers would grow back, just like our hair, of course, cutting our hair doesn’t hurt.

Tough times can make or break a nation and it’s people I guess, but if we are a people, determined to make it on our own, and help this nation be great at the same time, then we can be a nation who can handle difficult times with grace and dignity. If we become a nation of people who are willing to sit back and let the government take care of us, then we will be a truly poor nation indeed.

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