Thursday, March 14, 2013

H is for Homes, Houses - Family History Through the Alphabet

My home, my ancestors' homes....  Buildings where I lived, where they lived, places where we loved, learned, laughed, played, and worked....  When I think about family history I think about individual ancestors, but I often find my thoughts meandering to the houses and homes -- the environments -- where they were born and grew up, where they moved with their spouses and started families of their own, where they grew old and died.

I grew up knowing two homes:  the home where my parents, siblings, and I lived; and the home where my grandparents lived.  I knew both houses inside and out:  the kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms; the basements where, early on, the laundry happened in wringer washers and the canned goods were stored; the houses where, at first, there were no indoor "facilities," then later the bathrooms were added.  They were homes of both happiness and sorrow.  In my mind's eye I can walk through the houses and remember the layout of each room and where chairs, couches, and televisions were placed; the dressers and beds in the bedrooms; remember the canisters on the kitchen counters.  They were homes where loved ones shared meals, watched television, and played games together; where we learned honesty, responsibility, work, to mind our p's and q's, and a multitude of other values.

I can't help wishing to know about the buildings where my ancestors lived as well as about the homes they created.  What interactions took place?  What values were instilled in children as they grew?  How were chores delegated?  What games did the children play?  It's easy to find some general information about families in different time periods but I wish I knew specific information about my own ancestral families.  

I have few photographs and even less information about the houses in which my ancestors lived or the homes they created inside those buildings.  I so wish I could walk back in time to see how my grandmothers washed their clothes and what those clothes looked like; how they grew or purchased and prepared food; how they arranged the furniture in their homes; and, most especially, how they mothered and taught their children and interacted with other family members.  I wish I could see how my grandfathers built wagons and houses and farms; how they taught their sons and daughters; how they worshipped; and how they interacted with their wives.  I wish I could spend a day working along side them, help prepare and sit at a family meal, and worship with them on a Sunday.

Like most of us, our ancestors lived in houses and grew up in homes.  To me, home is a place where a family lives, loves, gathers, works, plays, learns, and shares.  It's the place which determines the path on which a child will begin his or her life's walk.  That beginning at home effects the people our ancestors became. 

This post is a contribution to the Family History Through the Alphabet challenge.  Go to the link and you can see other submissions for this meme.  Alona Tester of  Genealogy and History News is the creator and keeper of this meme.  Thank you, Alona! 


1 comment:

  1. I love this post! You are on a roll through this challenge, while I am having so little time to blog.

    When I think about my ancestors homes, I always recall a window right over the kitchen sink. Usually a small one, with plants on the windowsill. (That's where one of my grandmas grew her African violets.) And I wonder what they were thinking as they stood at the kitchen sink, doing one chore or another.

    I do the same thing when I go into an old home that was never in my family.

    Great post!



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