Added Family, The Gifts You Gain By Sharing Your Family History

Francis Victor Winchurch c.1939You may not know it, but my husband, John does a bit of writing too. He tends to focus most of his efforts on his genealogy pages having picked up the research bug that bit his father years ago. One could easily say that his dad’s initial interest actually started when faced with a question from John that he couldn’t answer about a relative listed in the family bible.

Today marks what would have been his father’s one hundredth birthday and John has written a lovely piece about his dad who was born in the same year the first world war began. If you are interested in seeing more images and learning a bit more about his life, you can find it by clicking on the name,

Vic Winchurch.

I love the way internet links are able to act as a kind of map helping those with common ancestors find each other and connect to family lines that might otherwise be lost to history.

John’s genealogy pages have brought him into contact with other relatives who having searched for family name found their way to his site. Especially poignant to me was an email not so long ago when a cousin in Canada contacted him after seeing her grandfather, George Arthur Gadesby Smith’s face in a photo for the first time after her search led her John’s website. Her grandfather was brother to John’s maternal grandmother and after George Smith died during WWI leaving a wife and two children,  his widow remarried and immigrated to Canada causing that link to be lost until a few years ago.

Having met John later in life, I never had an opportunity to meet his dad, but I’ve heard enough stories to be able to see where some of John’s gentle nature and compassion likely come from.

If you have an interest, the blue links will take you to John’s website and the sweet birthday piece he wrote to honor his dad.

John and Vic Winchurch

Old Photographs & Things In Common


Remember yesterday when I showed you a couple of old family photos and asked you if you could tell what I physical characteristic I had in common with the folks in the photographs? It ought to have been obvious as I got older, but I never noticed it in other family members until I saw the picture of my great-grandmother in her hat.  Some of you readers picked it out right away.

Now I wonder if I didn’t notice their sticky-out ear, was I the only one who noticed mine?

Gene Harper - Age 6

My dad had it, one ear tucked nicely in and one sticking out.

Elizabeth Harper - Age 6

You can see I have the same one in, one out, right down to the same ear.

Elizabeth, Margaret, & Jennie Harper

Of my father’s three children, I am the only one with two different kinds of ears. You can see it sticking out in the photo above.

This picture of my daughter taken when she was younger shows how her lovely ears go back nicely allowing her to wear her hair pulled back with no worries. I always wanted to do that when I was a teenager, but my ear looked funny.

It’s interesting how the ear thing skipped my sister Margaret and showed up in her son. Maybe that’s why people think he looks a lot like me.

What Old Family Photos Can Reveal About You

This is my great-grandmother on my paternal side. I saw this photograph for the first time about five or six years ago and it led to a discovery I had not anticipated. She and I share more than just DNA although what I discovered in this photograph is due to our genes. Can you guess what it might be? The baby she is holding is my grandmother and I can see that she has it too. (See update regarding this photo at the end of the post)

Need another clue?  This is my dad as a boy. The quality is not as nice, but you can still spot what I discovered if you look.

Here’s one more photo of my dad taken when he was about twelve. I think what I’m referring to is pretty obvious, but I’d like to hear from you.

What do you think the three of us might have in common?

UPDATES: John thinks the photo above it is more likely my great-great-grandmother, Clarenda who was born in 1869 and would be about 42 in this picture, but I still think it’s my great grandmother Eunice at age 20 holding her daughter Clara (Hmm … I wonder if my grandmother was named Clara to honor her grandmother, my great-great grandmother) Maybe John is right, but I think a 42 year-old woman would look older in 1911 than the woman above.

Now I’ve got to go hunt for the photo to see if it has anything written on the back. Free free to share your opinion.

Like It Was Yesterday – Sweet Contentment

I scanned this photograph along with some others during my visit home. It was taken almost twenty years ago on a day I remember so well that my heart still aches a bit with the memory of it. It was a peaceful moment where no one said, ‘Smile or Say Cheese,’ but instead allowed the easy comfort of our mother-daughter connection to share itself naturally despite the busyness of a children’s birthday party at McDonald’s.

Miranda looks into the camera with what I remember as an amazing sense of confidence at an age when the biggest challenges to her changing heart’s desire were the parental insecurities of a mom and dad who were frequently conflicted on how to do everything just right.

As for me, I remember the delight and contentment I felt sitting there feeling her little arm against the back of my neck with her hand resting on my shoulder. Most days I can’t remember what I did the day before, but moments like these are so vivid that I feel sure this will be what I’ll remember in the last minutes of my life. Twenty years or yesterday … it is still a sweet memory of contentment.

Pioneer Woman’s Husband And Ellen DeGeneres

I know you are probably thinking … what in the world does Pioneer Woman’s husband, Marlboro Man have in common with Ellen DeGeneres? That is exactly what I thought when they both showed up in the same dream the other night. After all, it’s not like Pioneer Woman and I are big buddies or anything even though we did meet briefly along with about 799 other women in Atlanta one night. You may remember when I wrote about the experience in my post, I’m No Pioneer Woman.

Pioneer Woman & Elizabeth Harper

Strange dreams are not that unusual for me, but I’m generally not dreaming about other people’s husbands or celebrities like Ellen. This one was so weird that I had to think about it a day or so before I decided to mention it to John, my own sweet husband pictured below.

I’m not sure why Marlboro Man decided to spend some time with me while I was trying to catch up on my rest, but my friend Tina and I did have a little chat about him while out on a run earlier in the day so maybe he was trapped in my subconscious somewhere.

I can’t remember how he came up in conversation, but we were discussing his assets and how they are so frequently highlighted by Pioneer Woman in her blog. We were completely appropriate and only briefly touched on her pictures like the one here, before moving on to new topics.

One of the most endearing things about Pioneer Woman is how much in love she is with her husband and I know just how she feels especially when I see pictures of my darling man like the one below.

Or this one taken during a visit to Scotland.

Pioneer Woman occasionally likes to show you pictures of Marlboro Man in his younger years and I have some favorites of John from his mid-thirties that do it for me too, like this one at the beach in 1979.

And I just love this picture taken with his girls in 1972.

I have to say though that I really fell for him when he emailed the picture below during our early online dating days. Seeing him playing bouncy ball on the lawn with his little granddaughter was just about the cutest thing and is part of what I find so attractive about him.

So I know how Pioneer Woman feels when she shares pictures like this one of Marlboro Man in his daddy role or this tender one , because they are the kind I tend to like best.

But getting back to that dream I mentioned … It seems Marlboro Man came for a visit and he had a bunch of tiny cow bells with him. It makes no sense to me either as I know they don’t raise dairy cows. What made it even more interesting than seeing him show up in Cornwall was the reason for his trip. He explained that every time he saw a person doing something kind for someone else, he was there to give them a tiny cow bell to acknowledge it. I am not sure how to connect it all, kindness and cow bells and Marlboro Man, but even more confusing was when Ellen came dancing into my dream to pick up her bell. Maybe it was because she has been so kind in her comments on American Idol this season, but I could not say for sure.  Although I am usually pretty good with dream interpretation, this one has me stumped. Anyone care to hazard a guess as to what it might mean?