It is estimated that over 26 million people have taken an at home ancestry DNA test, and yes, I am one of them. For over a two years I have been sitting on my DNA results. I can honestly say there were no big surprises. We’ve all seen the commercials where the subject states they were raised thinking they were one ethnicity, but come to find out they are actually another ethnicity. I suppose I thought that would happen to me, but it didn’t – and I’m glad for it. Had something strange appeared, it would question all my work, and all the work of everyone in my family. So, I am happy to report that there are no it surprises.
Since, I have done a lot of research on all parts of my family tree, it was pretty easy to sort out my ethnicity. But Ancestry DNA offers what they call “communities” that show you migration patters over a period 250 years – more on this below. My genetic make-up is as follows:
England, Wales and Northwestern Europe 51%
Ireland and Scotland 36%
According to Ancestry my ancestors migrated to specific regions. Northern Arkansas & Middle Tennessee Settlers (Birdwell and Patton), Saint Lawrence River French Settlers (Chapman) and Lower Midwest & Virginia Settlers (Banwarth, Birdwell and Patton). I can confirm that based on my own research and that of other family members, this is accurate.
A few weeks ago I was looking for something to post on here and had gotten sidetracked. Sidetracked into ordering a book off Amazon that was based on the Chaffin family line from Jackson County, Tennessee. Yes, I am related to Chaffins’ through my ancestors John and Martha Chaffin Birdwell.
What was so intriguing about this book, was how knowledgeable the author is about his family and Jackson County, Tennessee. He is blessed with a ton of family knowledge and amazing stories and possesses an amazing ability to put them to paper.
I honestly could not put the book down. I’ve read it twice now and found myself referencing it for areas in and around Jackson County during my recent trip. I best part was while reading was envisioning my ancestors in his stories.
Several years ago I was afforded the opportunity to look and scan some funeral books. The part most intriguing is to read the names all those who came to mourn for the deceased. As I was browsing the books, it was amazing to see how much information these, often overlooked, books have.
I am sharing here photo copies of two funeral books; one for Thomas W. Birdwell and one for his wife Ms. Emma Lousetta (Kirby) Birdwell.
A few years back, for reasons that I didn’t understand well enough until recently, I was given two family bibles; both belonging to Birdwell family members. Like an epiphany – it hit me, I know why I was entrusted with them now – to share them! I’m a firm believer that family treasures such as these should be shared and not kept hidden away. They are old and frail – so out of fear of further damage, I locked them in a steamer trunk for safe keeping. Since I’ve brought them out, I’ve spilled two cups of coffee near them and figured it’s time they go back for safe keeping. But, not before I attempt to catalog and photograph the handwritten contents of them.
It’s a pleasure to look up each one of the noted bible verses to read what the owner thought was important enough to make note of. It’s very fascinating to see the handwriting of the owners. Cursive, all the notes are written in cursive – it’s a wonderful sight! The spelling is not correct in most of the notations, but I promise you’ll get the point.
The pictures below are of the smaller bible. It’s, obviously, well loved. The binding is held together with old masking tape, that has the feel of dried up crispy paper. A lot of the pages have been dog-eared or folded in half.
The pictures below are of the larger bible. Equally, as loved as the prior. The owner took the time to note each of their family members names and birthdates. I also found a loose leaf paper with some of the owners ancestry.
By now I’m sure you’re wondering who these belong to, right?! Well, these little pieces of family history belong to none other than, Mr. Thomas Birdwell and Mrs. Millie Wilkerson Keene Birdwell.
It took a bit longer than I anticipated but I have finally started to upload photo’s! Currently, there are two ways to access them:
From the home page, under the menu, click on the pictures tab.
From the home page, under Family surnames, click on a family name and if there are photos the link will be the first thing posted.
I will continue to link people in the photo’s to their individual pages. But, this is a time consuming project and will be completed as time allows. You will notice a watermark on most of the photos. If you would like a copy without the watermark please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope all who are reading this had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. We were fortunate to hosted Thanksgiving with our families and friends! As we decorate and get ready to celebrate Christmas and all its wonderful blessings, I can’t help but feel this little ping of heart ache, that I always feel around this time, for those that are no longer with us. Every holiday I explain to my kids, as best I can, just how it felt to gather with family to celebrate a holiday with an afternoon lunch/dinner at grandma’s all the while I find myself trying to replicate such holidays; to no avail. I do realized, that I’ll never be able to recreate what once was, but I am learning that I can bring in the best of those times into our holiday’s. There are no better times with family, than those that incorporate old and new traditions. This post is about just that, incorporating the old and the new.
Recently, my brother and I had a text message exchange about celebrating holiday’s with our extended family at our grandma’s apartment. While I know for certain, there are several dishes that I’ve not eaten since grandma passed away and the dishes that I’ve had, just don’t taste the same. As I said to my brother, “there is no better food than the kind sprinkled with grandma’s love”. Several years ago, my father gifted me, the ugliest aluminum pot (lid too) that one has ever seen. It’s old, it has dents, it is mis-colored at the bottom, and has stain’s that no amount of elbow grease or brillo will remove. Since it’s arrival in our house, this pot has made my family plenty of meals – and this Thanksgiving served as the pot of choice to cook the 7 pounds of potatoes! But most important, this pot belonged to my Grandma Chapman. And as silly as this sounds, this pot helped bring grandma a little bit closer this holiday. It felt good to make something, out of which, she used to cook the many, many meals we all remember.
As our evening continued, it was a no-brainer that we play a few hands of scat. We played 3 rounds and laughed while the newbies learned and most of us lost. But it was when my best friend won her first hand and her pure excitement, that I realized again that it’s not about recreating what once was – it’s about sharing those memories with everyone young and new!
SIDE NOTE: I’m not sure who will read this, but if you’ve ever celebrated a holiday at Grandma Chapmans – then you know what ‘scat’ is. But for those of you who don’t – it’s a simple card game where you try to be the first to get a ace, a ten and a face card of all the same suit. And is played typically for small increments of money. After dinner was done, dishes were washed, the adults would sit down for cards. This game was a staple during holidays, as much as a turkey is to Thanksgiving.
So, while this post was never intended to be about a person, but only to share with you my feelings of missing loved one’s during holidays, I can’t help but share with you all a little more about Grandma Chapman. On Friday, December 1st, Grandma Chapman will be our featured person. This day also marks the fifteenth anniversary since grandma passed.
While I haven’t been posting weekly, I have been very busy scanning HUNDREDS of photos and documents in preparation to upload to the website. But I have managed a few small updates, see below. Click on the names, UNDERLINED, below and it will take you directly to each person’s individual page.