Thursday, 24 September 2015

DNA never forgets, so they say

Convicts Esther Salamon Spencer and Thomas Stubbs had 9 children together:

Mary Anne (1801 - 1860)
Thomas (1802 - 1878)
Sophia (1803 - 1803)
Cecilia (1805 - 1896)
Elizabeth (1807 - 1888)
Annie Esther (1809 - 1837)
George (1811 - 1838)
John Emery (1812 - 1836)
Godfrey (1814 - 1814)

We are lucky enough to have photos of Thomas (Jr) and Cecilia from the 1860s or so.

Thanks to recent information supplied by Matiu in New Zealand, we now know that George married a Maori chief's daughter and fathered two sons, Wiremu (meaning William) Te Kakakura Parata, and Hemi.

This photo is of Wiremu.

I am amazed by the resemblance between Thomas and his nephew Wi Parata, especially around the brow area. I'm even more amazed by the photos of two living descendants, David and Steve. David is descended from Cecilia, and Steve is descended from Mary Anne. 

David and ancestor Thomas have the same cleft in their chin.
Steve looks similar in the brow and eye area to Thomas and Wi Parata.
Steve and Thomas were born 150 years apart, but the DNA shows through in their family resemblance. I think they could easily be brothers, going by their looks. Like Steve, I'm also descended from Mary Anne, but none of the men in my family look similar to these men. It's funny how DNA flows down the line, but seems to deviate around leaving its mark in some faces and not others.

Photo of Thomas Stubbs from the State Library of Victoria
Photo of Cecilia Stubbs from relative June in WA
Photo of Wi Parata from New Zealand History
Photo of David from his wife Barbara in NZ
Photo of Steve from Maree in Tasmania

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

We Are The Chosen

This beautiful piece of prose sums up exactly why we do what we do. It's a calling or vocation to do this work. I feel blessed that I'm the one on my family chosen to do this. 
Thanks to The Ancestor Hunter for sharing this, and to Della M. Cumming for her words.

We Are The Chosen

My feelings are in each family we are called to find the ancestors.
To put flesh on their bones and make them live again,
To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.
To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead,
Breathing life into all who have gone before.

We are the story tellers of the tribe.
We have been called as it were by our genes.
Those who have gone before cry out to us:
Tell our story.
So, we do.
In finding them, we somehow find ourselves.

How many graves have I stood before now and cried?
I have lost count.

How many times have I told the ancestors
you have a wonderful family, you would be proud of us?

How many times have I walked up to a grave
and felt somehow there was love there for me?
I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts.
It goes to who I am and why I do the things I do?
It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever
to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen.
The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh.

It goes to doing something about it.
It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish.
How they contributed to what we are today.
It goes to respecting their hardships and losses,
their never giving in or giving up.

Their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.
It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation.
It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us
That we might be born who we are.
That we might remember them.
So we do.
With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence,
Because we are them and they are us.
So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family.

It is up to that one called in the next generation,
To answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.
That is why I do my family genealogy,
And that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

[Author: Della M. Cumming ca 1943.]