Sunday, March 30, 2014

Overlapping Lives

During this Women's History Month I've been thinking about the mothers and daughters, grandmothers and granddaughters among my ancestors and how much time - how many years - their lives overlapped. 

Audrey, Emma, Mary
My mom, Audrey (Meinzen) Doyle, was born in 1915.
Her mother, Emma (Bickerstaff) Meinzen, died in 1973.
Audrey was 58 when her mother died.

Emma was born in 1893.
Her mother, Mary (Thompson) Bickerstaff, died in 1940.
Emma was 53 when her mother died.
Audrey was 25 when her grandmother died.

Mary was born in 1872.
Her mother, Lydia (Bell) Thompson, died in 1930.
Mary was 58 when her mother died.
Emma was 37 when her grandmother died.
Audrey was 15 when her great-grandmother died.  Again, she didn't have much contact because this grandmother lived a day's drive away.

Beulah, Elvira
Beulah Gerner, my father's mother, was born in 1888.
Her mother, Elvira (Bartley) Gerner, died in 1943.
Unfortunately Beulah died in 1913.  They had only 25 years together.

Elvira was born in 1854.
Her mother, Rebecca (Smith) Bartley died in 1899.
Elvira was 45 when her mother died.

Tressa (Froman) Doyle, my father's paternal grandmother, was born in 1867.
Her mother, Catherine (Saylor) Froman died in 1928.
Tressa was 61 when her mother died.

. . . . .
I been thinking, too, about what skills and values the older generation taught their daughters and granddaughters.  I know some things my grandmother taught my mother, and can imagine some things my great-grandmothers taught my grandmothers, but I need to do a little more research before writing that post.  The times in which they lived, especially two generations apart, would have changed some of the details of their lives.  A post for another time.



  1. I often wonder about my grandmothers' relationships with their mothers and grandmothers. Like too many family historians, I didn't bother asking the questions when I had the chance. But now I would love to know whether they were close and loving, whether their grandmothers ever punished them for slamming the kitchen door too many times, what kind of gifts they gave them, what special foods they were known for, etc.

    1. Oh, me, too, Wendy. I know a little about my mother's and grandmother's relationship, but not much about anyone else's. My great-aunt once wrote briefly in a letter about my paternal grandmother's (my great-aunt's sister) relationship with her daughters. I wish there were a way to learn more about their interactions.

  2. Don't you wish you go back in time for 5 minutes just to see them interact? Life is all about those you meet and how you interact. History is so interesting...what did they wear as daily, around the house, clothes. Did they sweep everyday, work on a kitchen garden? Did they get together for birthdays? Cook together? Can together?....

    1. Every day, Nicholas! (Things like these and Wendy's thoughts were going to be the subject of what would have been a longer post if I'd gotten to it sooner, but which will be a separate post a little later.) I wish I could be a behind-the-scenes observer of one ancestor or another, in one home or another, at a meal, etc., for a day, an hour, even, as you say, 5 minutes. How I wish I had ancestors who wrote journals, or had copious photographs taken (which had been passed down to me!), or were story tellers of events in their lives (and their children were storytellers, too). Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I appreciate it.


I appreciate your comments and look forward to reading what you have to say. Thanks for stopping by.

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