December 8, 2011 at 3:27 PM (Photographs, Treasure Chest Thursday)
Tags: Collier, pictures
Thomas Colyer (Collier) & Jenny Thompson Colyer
This lovely couple is Tom and Jenny, my grandmother’s grandparents. Jenny is my enate great-great grandmother. There was a family story that they loved each other so much that they got married twice. Their story probably could have gone on forever if not for one small detail… nosey progeny.
When I first began my research, I found a marriage record for Thomas and Emma J. Thompson dated May 6, 1875. Being the neophyte supersleuth that I was, I was happy to find the marriage record and believed that name reversal was at play here, as that was very common. This worked out well in my mind since their only child, a daughter named Addie, was born in 1883.
Fast forward to a random Saturday morning at the Connecticut State Library in Hartford. For years, cousins and I have been tracking Collier ancestors and trying to put together one of our most elusive lines. That particular day I decided to peek at the court records on microfilm. Was I ever surprised to find a listing for a divorce of Emma J. Thompson and Thomas Collier. I immediately reviewed the file for this couple and it turned out that Emma J. was not Jenny E. A small tidbit that gave away the shenanigans was a handwritten note by Tom’s attorney, removing himself from the case, as his client had a child out of wedlock. Other papers told of accusations of Tom’s extramarital activities, most notably with Jenny Thompson. This marriage was dissolved on October 9, 1891.
A walk back through the census and other documents revealed that Emma J. was most likely the older sister of Jenny E. Oh boy, Tom. Way to pick ‘em! I would imagine this caused some sort of a riff within the family, as sisters Augusta and Fannie are mentioned frequently and I even have a few of their personal belongings. Emma, however, seems to disappear from personal family records at that point.
Years later, on February 5, 1914, Tom and Jenny tied the knot. At ages 49 and 42, after becoming grandparents five times over, something finally prompted them to take the leap. What that was, this inquisitive granddaughter will probably never know.
My grandmother saved a few important pictures and papers, much the way her grandmother did before her. Treasure Chest Thursday is the perfect opportunity to share these gems.
December 7, 2011 at 10:10 AM (Advent)
Tags: New York
Holiday parties were not a big thing in my family growing up. Last year we threw a holiday party for the kids and their friends.
This year we decided to use that time and money for a day trip to New York City instead. That will be an instant holiday party, I’m sure!
We have plans to use our family pass in the morning at the American Museum of Natural History and then back down to Rockefeller Center for lunch reservations, festivities, Nintendo World, Lego Store, and American Girl store. All of the places my children want to visit and all within a two block radius!
Photo by Natashja Valentinjn, “Christmas Tree Rockefeller Center“, July 6, 2007 via Flickr, Creative Commons 3.0 Attribute.
December 6, 2011 at 8:00 AM (Advent)
I think that the 1974 Rankin-Bass production of The Year Without a Santa Claus said it best.
“I believe in Santa Claus, like I believe in love.”
This is true. I really do.
My son thinks that I’m a freak. I heard him whisper to his friend (when he did not think I could hear, of course), “My mom really believes in Santa Claus. Don’t tell her,” as he rolled his eyes in the know everything manner that children do when they realize their parents are totally clueless.
Well, child, I have something to tell you. Santa is the spirit of loving and giving that lives inside of us. Besides, if you stop believing in Santa Claus, he stops bringing presents. Get with the program.
December 5, 2011 at 1:13 PM (Advent)
There was one house… there’s always that one house, right? The house across from the post office had the most impressive Christmas lights. My mom drove us by it and told us that they had the same lights when she was a kid, too. They had a massive star on the roof and I think Santa and some reindeer were involved, too. It wasn’t quite like the scene from the Christmas Vacation or this “extremely festive” house, shall we say, but it was big excitement for kids to drive by!
Bluebus, "Christmas Decorations", December 24, 2008 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
I have to be honest. This uber festive gala of lights is not my style. I like simple. I am a candles in the windows and wreath on the door kind of person. I scoured the internet to find what I thought was an ideal outdoor decoration setup and this is what I found…
RAWRZ!, "Christmas Decorations", December 25, 2009 via Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution.
This, to me, is the epitome of how a New England house should look when it’s all decked out for Christmas.
December 4, 2011 at 12:03 PM (Advent)
In my house growing up, we had built-in cabinets with glass doors in the hallway and my mother and grandmother used to put cards in all of the windows. Sometimes I didn’t know who the senders were, but I loved to look at all of the pretty cards. I looked through my boxes of treasures but alas, there are no cards to share with you. I did find one Christmas letter of interest but I will save that for another day.
I love to send Christmas cards! I typically send about 50 cards each year. I have sent them since I was a teenager. I’m pretty happy with this year’s card. Most of you reading this won’t be the people receiving the card so I’m going to go ahead and give you a sneak preview.
December 3, 2011 at 10:21 PM (Advent)
When I moved out on my own, I was entrusted with some very special ornaments that had belonged to my grandmother. I also had all of the ornaments that I made as a child and a few that my oldest son had made. I lived in an apartment and had all of my personal belongings in a storage area. To make a long story short, a crackhead stole them. The building manager believed his story that the storage area belonged to him and unlocked and helped him load my personal belongings into a u-haul truck. I called the police but there was not much they could do. They said they’d look for the stuff. I doubt it. Nothing was ever recovered.
That year I started a new collection. With tears in my eyes, I made some ornaments using paint inside of glass balls. They are quite pretty. The majority of them are still intact. I have continued to add to the ornaments each year.
Today we decorated our tree. I think it was the first time that I had a bit of happiness while unpacking the ornaments. Many of them date back to the early years that my husband and I were together and our collection of handmade ornaments is growing. They are different but they are special.
December 2, 2011 at 6:21 PM (Advent)
You won’t find any figgy pudding at my family celebrations. You might find some fruitcakes, but they won’t be the edible kind!
Growing up, we enjoyed the typical kinds of holiday meals like turkey, roast beef, or ham.
Fast forward. I’m the adult. I have the biggest house and do the entertaining. I am a vegetarian. Never fear! I have come up with a solution for my carnivorous husband and all of my cousins. Surf and turf!
The men can huddle (in the snow or not) around my grill outside and cook steaks and boil the lobsters on the side burner. I can make some baked potatoes and a nice vegetarian lasagna, serve some rolls, and put my efforts into setting a festive holiday table.
While only in its second year, i think this tradition will be one that hangs around for a while!
December 1, 2011 at 4:08 PM (Advent)
The Christmas tree was so important in our house as a child that we even had a special “nook” for it! Throughout the rest of the year, the spot remained empty except for the occasional winter when a sewing machine would occupy the space if the sewing porch got too cold. It was this way before I was there, as shown in this picture from 1969.
I don’t recall how the tree found its way to our house but once it arrived, my grandpa would put the lights on. This happened at his leisure, and we were not to bother him about it! Magically, on Christmas Eve, Santa decorated the tree. My mother said that this is how it worked when she was a wee one, too. Perhaps it was because there were less children in the world and Santa had time to do all of that.
We have learned to manage the tree decoration as a family in December since Santa no longer offers the full decoration service on Christmas Eve. This works out fine for us. We are not perfectionists. As long as everything is upright and safe, we’re happy! Last year we switched over to the energy saving lights and they take some getting used to visually, but the electric bill proved that it’s the smart choice!
The tree selection – oh, yes. This is the important part! Sometimes we cut the tree by ourselves or sometimes we get one that’s already been cut at a local farm. The selection of the perfect tree is a family effort. Yesterday the three youngest children and I made this year’s choice and it sure is beautiful! We picked out a 12 foot Fraser Fir from Coward Farm in Southwick, Massachusetts.
My mom just called. Guess what the first thing she asked was?
“Did you get your tree yet?”
November 30, 2011 at 1:31 PM (Wordless Wednesday)