Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.


Climbing the Family Tree

Just in case I didn’t have enough to keep me busy (House work? What’s that?) I’ve started working on our family tree.

FTs have always fascinated me.  (No, I’m not Mormon.) I don’t know if it’s because of the stories we heard about family when we were kids or the stories we didn’t hear.

Once Grandma told me her granddad (or her gr-granddad) was the younger son of a German count. I haven’t found any evidence of it, though. Maybe she was just wishful thinking.

BTW: I have one branch of the tree I can’t follow back very far. I call it the family stump. 😦

anna-e-dickerson-@18This is my maternal great grandma. It’s a picture of a tintype Grandma gave me a long time ago. Wasn’t she pretty?

Here’s the whole tintype.


Those are a couple of friends with Gr-grandma on the right. Tula and Betty. They don’t look like they’re having much fun.

Virgil,-Grandma-Dickerson,-This is another grandmother. Not sure which one. She doesn’t look very happy. The kids don’t either. They really look as if they’re expecting to be shot rather than remembered.

Why is that?

Quitman,-Bella,-Betty-WallaI love this picture. Looks like they’re having so much fun . . . except they left their smiles at home.

A couple of things I’ve really enjoyed about Family Treeing is the names of my family. A couple of my uncles had really different names.

One was Quitman.

The other was Okla Homer.

(No, I’m not kidding.)

The other thing I’ve noticed about names is the repetitiveness. There are several Josephs. And Lewises. And Bettys. Mary seems to be a very popular name in my linage. (Mama’s name was Mary.)

Joseph-Dickerson I wish I knew more about them.

I do know that my grandma’s daddy died when she was less than a year old, so Grandma’s mama took the kids to live with her fam.

grandma's daddy

So why do I bother? Why do I want to know where Grandma Reeves moved to Oklahoma from? Why do I care where Grandma Nycum came from?

I don’t know. I met a woman once who grew up in the town my Grandmother’s family moved to Oklahoma from. I told her my ancestors had lived there by the name of Mitchell.

She got very excited. Her brother’s best friend’s name was Mitchell and, oh, my gosh! I looked just like them.

Knowing my family history kind of makes me feel as if I have a base. Roots. You know? Now, maybe I know who I have in heaven, praising Jesus and praying for me.

And if I run into anyone who looks just like me, I’ll know we’re related. 🙂

Is your family tree finished? Do you have it proudly framed and displayed on the wall or tucked away in a drawer somewhere?

If it’s finished, how do you know where to stop? 🙂