15 March 2012

Getting to Know Great Grandmothers - Part Three

Does anyone in your family have red hair?  Are some of your family members very tall or very short?  Do several generations of your family have distinctive features of one sort or another?

Tall people have been quite common on one side of my family. Red hair has also been quite common on that side of the family.  Have you seen little Annie?  Annie grew to be quite tall, as did several of her children and grandchildren.  Annie also had red hair.

As far as I am aware, Annie's heritage was English through and through.  Her family came mainly from Huntingdonshire and Surrey and she spent most of her life in London.

But what about my husband's great grandmother, Carolina?  She was Italian through and through as far as I am aware.  She was born in Viggiano in Basilicata.  Carolina was a very short person.  She also had red hair.

I have it on very good authority that this is a picture of Carolina, probably taken around the time of her first communion in the Catholic church in Melbourne.  What age does she appear to be?

There is much that I would like to investigate further about Carolina's life.  She grew up to be quite a businesswoman.  I have already written something about her family:

Carolina's father

Carolina's husband

Carolina's daughter

Have you found evidence in archival records of your family members' business activities?

07 March 2012

Getting to Know Great Grandmothers - Part Two

What does "home" mean to you?  You may call home somewhere that at least one close older relatives lives, or lived, such as a parent or grandparent, or a place in which you grew up.  Have you ever considered your real home as a place where your grandparents grew up?

Perhaps at least one your grandparents mentions or mentioned their mother quite frequently to you.  If you have known a great grandparent yourself, you probably only did so through the eyes and mind of yourself as a very young child.

I am finding that learning about my great grandmothers can tell me quite a lot about myself.  Perhaps it is just because I am female, like they were.  Perhaps it is because I am interested in the topics of identity and belonging.

Explorations of family history can often become a reflection on the meaning of home.  You may have photographs or even painted portraits of great grandparents.  You may even have them on display in the place you currently call home.  Some of your ideas about interior decoration may even reflect the tastes or interests of at least one of your grandmothers.

How are your great grandmothers a part of your life today?