It made me think back to one of my own pictures from 1979 where I’m in my Easter Sunday finest at my Grandma and Grandpa Stewart’s house. I’m donning a bright red wool coat, with a little yellow and white dress peeking out, white knee socks and of course, those shiny church shoes! Whatever made my mom think that red and yellow were a good fashion choice, I’ll never know! But that meme on my Facebook page the other day did start me thinking about our family’s past Easter traditions. Does your family have any?
This picture from 1984 sums up my country bumpkin life in rural Amanda, Ohio in the 80’s. My parents were still married, my sister and I still spoke, we played outside a lot and there was, for a time, a string of foster children in and out of our modest ranch style brick home. While many often weren’t with us for very long and some so brief I can’t even recall their names now, a few stayed quite some time like the little red-headed toddler in this picture, Christina, and became a part of our family.
I cannot stress the importance of tracking down records offline. It would be positively lovely if every document, record and trace of our ancestors were scanned and readily available online, wouldn’t it? Isn’t that every genealogist’s dream? But since they’re not all online, we have to resort to other sources, like our living relatives, and hope that they can provide additional clues to help further our research.
When I asked my dad what he knew about his grandfather, William Arbie Lemaster, he had really no information to give me. How is that possible? Well, firstly, William Arbie died in 1941 and my dad wasn’t born until 1950 so they never met. But I thought for sure that my dad would have some stories, quips or gems of genealogical information he could share… alas, no. He knew the scantest of information aside from two of Arbie’s spouses names. Arbie’s son, Curtis, my dad’s dad, had mentioned there was a brother that he’d never met, that another son was called ‘Peanut’ and not much else. That’s not a lot to go on there, genealogically speaking.
Yes, I’m technically Irish. Well, I should say I am 9% Irish according to my Ancestry DNA test and I have a story handed down about my family’s immigration from Ireland. I also have a small shamrock tattoo on the back of my neck that most people naturally assume is for my heritage. However, I do not celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It’s never been the traditional jovial, happy day at the bar drinking green beer with friends nor feasting on Irish soda bread, corned beef and cabbage. Saint Patrick’s Day has been nothing but a constant, solemn reminder of my grandpa Curtis Lemaster’s death thirty years ago. It’s not that I don’t remember my other grandparent’s dates of death nor feel their loss any less, but his is just emblazoned in my brain (and on my heart) because he was the first one I lost as a child.
Frederick Grim was brother to my great-grandmother, Laura Grim Lemaster. Laura was mentioned previously in a post about her father, Wallace Grim, writing a note to accompany her marriage record saying he was “giving up his girl.” Laura married Louis Borders in 1902 and he died just a few short years later in 1907.