Writing exercise #2

I see her through the years through the tears

Tender chest, willful eyes

Pudgy hands, pretty hair

Unsteady gait, curious mind

Brilliant with the promise

of exuberant wonderful life

The horizon laid before her parents

Hope upon hope

The air of privilege and prestige

Was filled with the stench

of decaying feces seeping through his flesh

Laid in his arms

He stroked her pretty hair

Filling her with the stench

of his rottenness

Eating her soul

Left with a gaping gasping wound

She railed against the endless pain

and against everything close

Like the beating sound of rain

The unyielding frantic pitch

Yielded only to death

I see her now through the years

Through her tears.

 

mystery man

Growing I heard stories of my grandfather Nicholas Dozenberg, confabulous stories about China and the pottery pieces that adorned the fireplace hearth. Far, far away places that I could only imagine. And that man.

I knew he was my mother’s father and had been married to my grandmother. There where “cousins,” in Santa Barbara California that had visited us but that was as much as I knew about his family. He must have had a family.

He must have been an interesting man for all of the grown up people to be talking about him. I heard from my grandmother that he spoke, “seven languages,” and that intrigued me more than anything. How could anyone speak that many languages?

right – Nicholas Dozenberg
HUAC Committe Hearings
secret testimony
Washington DC
May 21 1940

Why was my grandmother so intent on writing her story?

Why did my mother feel the deep loss of this man in her life?

Where was his family?

Where did he come from?

Who is a spy?

Who did he spy on?

Why was he a spy?

How could I know him better?

Would I ever know him?

Was he really a communist?

I grew up in a culture of hippies, free love and sunshine. A very different place then most of the rest of the world. My aunt listened to the Beattles and my favorite color was hot pink.

The information gap grew and turned into a lifetime pursuit of learning, understanding and appreciating the life of the mystery man

Evolution of a Sister Blog

I was challenged by someone to, “start writing,” after admitting to years of research for the Man of Family blog . I could not refute the logic or resist the challenge.

The idea of writing a blog seemed easy at first …….. until I attempted to write it …….. well here are a few of the lesson I have learned along the way.

I procrastonated and in retropect it seems as though I was protecting myself because the idea and the actual writing where more challenging than anticipated even though I have invested many years researching in preparation.

Writing a blog is like creating a piece of jewelry; the finished piece needs to be purpousefuly balanced and athestic in final form.

My blog is a family history project so there is the context of time to which I am necessarly bound, (chronological order).

Another equally important constraint is telling the story is a coherant narrative, not just a bunch of facts about people that other people are not related to, to add character and depth to ancestors near and far that I did not know in my lifetime.

The very first entry was important for my project, it may not be for others that have subjects that include subjects that are less restrictive.

The acutal writing seems to fall into place after the first sentance is written. The first sentance sets the tone for the entry.

Researching the facts are important pieces not be overlooked in the interest of time.

And related to the above sentence; understanding the historical context in which my ancestors lived. This includes reading and appreciating history as I have never appreciated it before. (I recently finished my second book on World War I, not much of a war buff but the historical context cannot be overlooked.)

Writing about ancestors first includes gathering as many of the facts of their lives as possible, this includes a photos, writings, personal effects if possible. People leave behind things and pictures that where important to them and this leaves a sense of who they where in “real life.” I also try and acquire vital records when possible.

The idea of the “sister blog” developed to include how the research has been done, some interesting observations, and points of interest and writing exercises to help bend the mind around the beauty and the power of the written word.

writing exercise #1

Solitary

The sun is light is freedom.

Feeling my body in motion.

The tune of trinkets at my side.

The confidence of safety.

The door is thick dark steel.

The barrels turn under the command of my key.

The dank still air 

Smells of musty concrete and new paint.

The slab is cold and hard.

Layers of old old paint and ancient scrawls

Dance on the walls.

Love pledges to long forgotten faces.

The clank of the cell door and catch of the lock.

Blare out their call of home.

photo by: Blue Sharpie

A Tale of Families: The Davis’

Albert Davis is credited for compiling the family pedigree as he knew it in 1927, just a few years before his death. His daughter Ruth Davis Kerr used his research to type a formal manuscript some years later. It is this resource that I reference in my recounting. It has served as the account for multiple membership applications into the Daughters of theAmerican Revolution.

Daughters of The Amerian Revolution

Documenting the pedigree back further than three generations from Albert is murky. Davis is a common surname, and thus records into the 1700’s may be unreliable, or perhaps one or more generations immigrated. It is reported that “Absalom Davis” was the father of five known sons, Micajah, James, Gideon, Chelsey, and Cyrus. There may have been more children(daughters), but those names have been lost in this account. There is evidence of additional children in the on-line trees that can be found in abundance. Absalom may have been Richard Absolom Davis who immigrated from Wales, most likely part of the Scot-Irish immigration wave that has been referenced previously. If this family immigrated in the years before the Revolutionary War they where early in this movement. It is also believed that Macajah’s father moved from Maryland to North Carolina.

Read more »

Wordless Wednesday: Minna and Meta Brownfield

Minna and Meta Brownfield, Big River, Saskatchewan, Canada

My great aunt, sister to Nicholas Dozenberg and daughter
The Brownfields: mother and daughter: Minna and Meta

Wilhelmine (Minna) Braunfeld (anglonized Brownfield) nee Dosenberg
born: 1880, Russia, Latvia died: 1953 Big River, Sasketchwan, Canada
Meta Brownfield
born: 1914 Big River, Sasketchwan, Canada died: 1997, California

One of my all-time favorite pics. The Brownfields where pioneer settlers of the Big River area in Sasketchwan Canada (approximately 90 miles north of Prince Albert.) Fir trapping, fishing, and lumber milling where the mainstays of industry in this area. Judging from Meta’s age this photo dates around 1930.

Copyright © amanoffamily.com 2012

The Annals of a Family

Certainly much appreciation is due to my predecessor, Joseph Francis Thornton, the last child born to George Abram Thornton and Mary Amanda Braxtan, (b. 06 June 1864, Bedford, IN), named for mothers brother and father’s brother, both Union officers. His tireless commitment produced this family history book.
Published in 1940 his research was done entirely without the aid of modern technology. His efforts included collecting books, (some referenced earlier in this blog), visiting cemeteries in Indiana, Kentucky and other known parts of the country where ancestors where laid at rest. He examined court and library records in various counties and states, researched the ancient muster rolls of ancient battles, and lent his ear and pen to extended family.  Contributors to his work are acknowledged as Caroline T. Woolfolk, George Davis, George Abram, Jr., James Clay, Henry Clay Thornton, Louise Thornton MacDougal, Eddie Thornton Baylis, Paul, Henry, Frederic and Stanley Shaw, and Nina Davis Heck, Allie Braxtan Harris, her daughter, Nellie, and her son, Henry Harris, Frank and Samuel Braxtan, Alfred R.Orton (author of “The Family Tree,” c. 1916).

Read more »