Photographic Memories

This past week has really been a roller coaster for me.  Not just because Grant has seemed to want to start sleeping through the night randomly but also because the husband has left for work and gone to Vegas.  Vegas…work must be so tough.

Between managing a household like something out of Downton Abbey, running back and forth between soccer practices, chasing after a toddler who loves to be naked and homeschooling I am pretty beat.  But, I like to make time to do what I enjoy on Sunday mornings while the little ones watch cartoons and become tiny little tornadoes of toys in my living room.  So, I got my fresh cuppa and sat down at the lap top for a little R&R.  Research and relaxation.  Relaxation turned quickly into having to read pages of a book over and over again about who married who and was it a cousin or someone else in a clan?

So, in doing research for the Scottish side of my tree I had stumbled across another website for researching family history.  I am not sure if I have actually ever used this site in the past.  If I had, it would have made my top ten sites in a previous blog posting, seeing how a majority of the website is free to use and record matches to build your family tree.

While I was doing research on Captain John Mackenzie, Sixth of Ballone, I came across the site  This actually was more of a seg way site to  I couldn’t access more information than just the general when it came to the site, so I created an account on my heritage and was immediately matched to people in my family.

This is great because the site is free to use to build your family’s tree.  I am prompted several times, of course, to extend my membership but the prices for a monthly subscription aren’t half bad.  It would run me about $10.00 a month to access more information available to the sites subscribers.  The site seems pretty easy to navigate through too.  It shows you record matches from other family trees to compare to your own.  It also has state records available.  This you will need the membership for, hence why I kept being prompted to purchase.

Now, most of this legwork has already been done by yours truly along with my sister, but it was still fun to build the tree from scratch and great to see how much information I had remembered from searching record after record previously.  Most of it seems to be my mother’s side of the family.  I started by inputting my parents and grandparents’ names.  And wha-la!

I got a match.

It was familiar.  It was something I had seen before but a very long time ago.  Tucked away in my mother’s house there is a bundle of photographs of my Grannie, Elsie Gertrude Brenaman, and my grandfather, William Floyd.

But here, on, there they were.  The photographs that are tucked away in a drawer somewhere in the house I grew up in.  It was amazing to see them again.  I remember looking at them when I was a teenager.  I can remember my Grannie, younger than when I knew her, sitting on the lawn in a grass skirt.  I can remember a photograph, and possibly the only one I have ever seen, of my grandfather standing in a yard, a hard look on his face.

My grandfather, William Floyd, died when my mother was a young child.  I never got the chance to know him, besides what my mother can remember or what she has been told of the kind of person he was.  What sticks out more clearly in my mind are the stories of my mother’s young life with my Grannie.   Stories about terrible haircuts, Crisco oil on babies in drawers, house fires and growing up with a gaggle of brothers and sisters.  My mother was the youngest in her family and I always love to hear the stories about how her brothers stood up for her or how her sister, one in particular, was always getting into trouble.

It makes me wonder.  How many copies of these photographs are out there? Where did this photograph come from?  Could I trace the original source of the upload?  Would they know about bad haircuts, troublesome sisters and growing up in Portsmouth?

So, I started to message people.

I am waiting on responses.  I want to try to post what people have replied about how they got a hold of the photographs and how they know these people in the family tree.  Are they close relatives or are they simply inputting the information into a larger puzzle?

What I love most about family history isn’t always seeing how far back you can go…or if you are related to a king…or the number or sources you can cite.  More importantly, family history is more valuable to me in the stories that come with the people you find.  Knowing what kind of human being a person was or their beliefs or their secrets is more fascinating to me than the facts in black and white on a birth record.

So, hopefully I can write an update on this endeavor and post more about it as part of living history on My Past Life.

Thanks for reading!


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