Friday, March 8, 2013

Funeral Card Friday: Anna Gee Aldritt

Today's funeral card is that of my third great grandmother, Anna Aldritt (1805-1890).  She was born Anna Gee in Longdon, Staffordshire, England.  She and her husband and children immigrated to America in 1852, and they moved to Minnesota in 1856.  (Two years before Minnesota became a state).  She lived on the shores of beautiful Lake Minnewashta in Chanhassen, Carver, Minnesota until her death in 1890.  Aldritt descendants still live on that land today. 

Anna is buried in Leach Cemetery, just off Lake Minnewashta. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Fearless Females 2013: Day 6: Heirloom

Today's Task:  Describe an heirloom you may have inherited from a female ancestor.

I am fortunate to have several wonderful heirlooms from female ancestors.  One of my favorites is this beautiful fan that belonged to my great grandma Meema (Julia Estell "Estelle" Shaw Lenont, 1877-1958).  My dad had it framed in this pretty shadow box in the 1980s. 

Meema's Fan
Here is Meema in her wedding portrait from 1901.  Can't you just picture her fanning herself with her lovely fan? I feel very lucky to have this piece - a common item for back then, that Meema probably used every day - but so special to us now.  

Estelle Shaw Lenont, 1901

Do you have a favorite heirloom from a female ancestor?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday, Thomas Paine's Birthday and National Freethinkers' Day

The perfect tombstone for today, Tombstone Tuesday, is that of my great, great grandfather, Isaac Lenont.  Isaac was born Izak Leenhouts in the Netherlands in 1834, and died as Isaac Lenout in Northfield, Rice, Minnesota, USA in 1884. 

Family lore and some bits of tantalizing information we've dug up indicate that the personal philosophies of Isaac and my great, great grandmother Sarah Jones Lenont were directly at odds.  Isaac was said to be a staunch and strict Calvinist, while Sarah was a noted Freethinker!  Sarah was even a delegate to the National Liberal League Conference in 1881 - leaving her husband and children in the care of a housekeeper she had hired so that she could attend the convention in Chicago.  Upon her return, Isaac let it be publicly known that he would not be responsible for any of Sara's debts for attending said conference. He had obviously disapproved of her going.  But she went anyway.

Where am I going with this?  On Isaac's death, his widow Sarah and their five grown children changed their surname from Lenout (or various other Dutch spellings) to Lenont.  Sarah even put "Lenont" on Isaac's tombstone, even though had never gone by that variation.  She also put on his tombstone the following quote from Thomas Paine:
For Justice all place a temple, and all season, summer. The world is my country, to do good, my religion.
Clearly, as a Calvinist, Isaac would have considered Paine's words to be codswallop. My theory is that Sarah and her modern, forward-thinking children were happy to be free of the stern and domineering Isaac, and they showed this by by immediately changing their name to distance themselves from him.  And Sarah put her own kind of quote on his tombstone... because she could!

Interestingly, as I was thinking about which tombstone to feature today, I discovered that today is the anniversary of Thomas Paine's birthday, and is also National Freethinkers' Day!  How perfectly these three things fit together!   One of my genealogical goals is to discover more about the personal beliefs of the members of the Leenhouts/Lenhout/Lenout/Lenont family, to determine if my theories about the name-change and the quotation chosen for Isaac's tombstone are correct.  Happy Freethinker's Day!

The Freethinkers' Movement is often represented by a white rose with thorns (symbolizing truth, and the pain that must sometimes go along with the truth).  

Do you have ancestors who were at odds with one another because of their beliefs?  Do you know of a tombstone of which the deceased would not have approved?  Do you have any Freethinkers among your ancestors?  Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Family History Writing Challenge, February 2013

Family History Writing Challenge

I am excited to be taking part in The Armchair Genealogist's Family History Writing Challenge in February! Twenty-eight days of writing family history... that oughta get this old blog rolling again!

The idea is to pledge to write a certain number of words per day.  I've pledged 75 per day - which sounds incredibly wimpy, but at the end of the month I hope to have produced four more "mini-bio" blog posts like the one I did on Carrie York, here

Wish me luck and follow along to see how I do! 

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