I'm imagining time with an ancestor again. In my last conversation with an ancestor I didn't mention in my post that I would ask about her parents and family. I wouldn't want my ancestor to think I wasn't interested in him or her personally or that I was only interested in talking with him or her for the purpose of obtaining genealogical information. I would certainly have included questions about family -- parents, siblings, ancestors -- in our visit, but only after my ancestor and I had developed a rapport and become comfortable with each other.
I would choose a spring or autumn afternoon for this visit.
I would like to know...
- if he worked in the mines even as an 8-year-old. Family legend says he did. If so, I would like to know what he did and how he felt about it.
- if he was able to attend school while he lived in England and what it was like, if he did.
- that he remembers about preparing to come to America, the trip across the ocean, landing in America, and travelling from New York to Pennsylvania.
- what happened that he decided to keep a mustache his whole life. (Again, family legend says there was an accident that caused scarring.) What was the accident and how did it happen?
- how he met his wife, Tressa Froman. Maybe he would tell me some courtship stories. Maybe he could tell me where his father-in-law is buried!
- if he remembers his grandparents on either side of his family, if he lived near them, and whether he saw them often. I hope he would share specific memories.
With an afternoon to spend with him, I would ask him to show me around the farm in Stoneboro. I would ask what life was like for him as a boy on the farm and what school was like. I would want to know about his childhood friends. I hope he would talk about growing and selling strawberries, determining where to dig a coal mine, and share any special memories of his parents and/or his children.
I'm sure his answers to my questions would prompt more questions and the afternoon would pass all too quickly. I fully expect to be able to talk to Pap when I pass through the veil from life to death.
I welcome your thoughts about questions you'd ask your own ancestor. If some of you would like to write a post and leave a link in a comment I'll compile your responses in a blog post next Sunday or Monday. (Feel free to use this image or the one in the previous post at the link above.)
Happy visiting with your ancestor.
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