Friday, May 18, 2012

Little Things

I'm still committed to little things - they can provide a great deal of satisfaction - and raise intriguing questions.  It depends on what they are, what we know about their owners, and what we can learn through further search.

Cleaning out my childhood home included going through a multitude of attic items.  Getting to the attic was its own challenge - climbing a 12-foot step ladder, moving aside the access covering, and hoisting myself up into the attic through an opening measuring maybe 3'x3'.

The contents were, of course, those of a typical attic - a little of this, some of that, and more of the other thing.  EXCEPT for one box.  It contained a collection saved after Alice May GODITT Hills died.  There were gold-toned shoes that fit TRAEA's Grandma.  There was a child's pull toy with pieces missing  There was jewelry.  There was a gold tooth!

And there were the buttons, pins and other memorabilia Alice had collected and her son, Leander, had saved.  Starting in the upper left corner, they are:
  • Pin presented in January 1924 by the Sea Shore Lodge Daughters of the Revolution;
  • Two Daughters of Rebekah pins;
  • S.V. President (Senior Vice President?) pin from the Women's Relief Corps;
  • Lusitania commemorative;
  • Past President pin from the North Shore Association of an organization with the initials LPAM that remains unidentified so far;
  • Unidentified lady;
  • Monogrammed silk scarf;
  • Daughters of Liberty pin presented from Alice's "Peanut Pal";
  • Red-ribboned commemorative with the U.S. Mint on one side and the Lord's Prayer on the other;
  • Ribbon with colors found on other Daughters of Rebekah ribbons and the date 1923;
  • Another unidentified lady;
  • Women's Relief Corps pin;
  • "Committee" ribbon with no further identification;
  • Triangular pin I've not yet been able to identify;
  • Methodist Church pin.
Even with the remaining questions, these give us a picture of Alice as a woman who was active in a range of organizations dedicated to church, patriotism and assistance to others.  And indeed, TRAEA's Grandma found Alice listed online as taking part in a number of these organizations.

After sorting through several ideas, I finally decided to display these little treasures in a simple black-framed case that came with a foam-like material on which many of the items are pinned.  The entire display now hangs on my office wall.

Any help identifying some of these items, or adding to everyone's general knowledge of the organizations will be truly appreciated.  After all, it's the little things!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


There are some expected and some quite unexpected results in the DNA Analysis for TRAEA's Grandma's genetic ethnicity.  But since these can go back thousands of years, maybe anything's possible.

This grandma contributes a pretty concentrated genetic ethnicity to her descendants -
43% Scandinavian
17% Southern European
16% British Isles
14% Central European
7% Eastern European
3% Uncertain

Scandinavian?  Norway, Sweden, Denmark had never before been a blip on the genealogical radar.  Ancestry explains that these were a well-travelled people (think Vikings), or as they wrote "seaborne raiders. . . . . violent pillagers. . . . . well-travelled merchants and ambitious explorers."  In other words - if your roots are European, you may well find Scandinavians in your DNA soup.

Southern European - Italy, Spain and Portugal - I feel warmer already, although I never suspected any related connections to such a delightful region.  Interesting possibilities there.

British Isles - totally expected.  The only surprise is that this percentage isn't greater.  A HUGE number of ancestors on the Hills / Hackett tree arrived in North America from the British Isles.  But since DNA reaches back into the mists of history, the overall picture obviously blurs.

Central European - France, Germany, Austria - again expected, especially France.  A smaller percentage than British Isles is also reasonable, although I'm amazed that those numbers are so close.

Eastern European - Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Romania, Greece - hmmmmm.  There is a family rumor of Jewish ancestry that dangles tantalizingly from one side of the tree, and there is the possibility of a Russian connection on the other side.  Maybe there's some validity to one or both.  Goodie!

Uncertain.  Perfect - even DNA should leave a little wiggle room.