Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"Remember when, I was young and so were you..." ~ Alan Jackson

Thank you for stopping by my blog.  The post today is part of a blog circle called "Sisterhood Stories." Take the time to follow the blog links, you'll be glad you did.  After you've spent some time here, please pop over to Laura's blog at

Clan Stuart of Bute Crest
Recently, there has been a big advertising push by  Being curious, I tried the free trial, and became hooked on tracing my roots.  Being a photographer, I was THRILLED to find images of ancestors as far back as the 1750's.  Of course, they're not photographs, someone had to take the time to paint a portrait.  These are my 5th great grandparents John Stewart and Margaret Potts.  John Stewart, a first generation American in this family line, and he came from the Scottish "Stuarts."   I have come to meet some Scottish cousins through the DNA portion of, and learned that I am from the Stuart of Bute Clan.

Meanwhile, John's wife Margaret Potts came from the family who founded Pottstown, Pennsylvania, which was another fun historical lesson for me. (Paintings from the Jerry Dagenhart collection)

 Photography is currently so readily available to everyone.  But if you step back in time to 1839,  Sir John Herschel invented a process of "light writing" using a glass negative.  This was followed by Louis Daugerre's more publically adopted photographic process called daguerrotypy, also introduced in 1839, but more widely used starting in the 1860's.  As the new art form took hold, people were documented in a new way.  The subjects had to sit still for 30 minutes to create a non-blurry image.

 This is a daguerreotype of my 3rd Great Grandparents
William Henry Stewart (1810-1860) and Adeline Johnson (1830-1880)
(From the Jerry Dagenhart collection)

I had never seen any of these paintings or photos before, but I must tell you, my grandmother was the spitting image of Adeline, who sadly died from tuberculosis.  Aside from the profound improvements in photography over the years, we are also very lucky to live with our more modern medical advances.

As each generation passed, the photo process improved.  These are some photos of my Great Great Grandparents.  Please note, I discovered that Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain is a distant cousin to my Irish GG Grandfather Daniel.
Daniel Pomeroy 1837-1916 and Sarah Jane 1843-1917

Reuben Yount 1844-1921
I found this Great Great Grandfather's pictured in an online book about Civil War Soldiers of Catawba County.  Thanks to the internet we now have instant access to so much information.  He had submitted a story of his life for the book, and I learned that he fought at The Civil War Battle of Gettysburg, where he lost his right hand, but luckily not his life.  

Alfred Ratchford 1855-1902 and Letitia Ann Jenkins 1858-1906

I spoke with my 90 year old grandmother yesterday, who said the Great Great Grandparents above died young, Alfred had a heart problem, and Letitia died from measles.   Aren't we blessed to have immunizations?

Finally, this is the first photo ever taken of me.  Photography has come a long way since then.  I'm so grateful for our current ability to capture moments so quickly and effortlessly.  It's also wonderful to be able to share our photos with friends, family, even distant cousins, all over the world.

I wonder what the next generation of advancements will bring?  Thanks again for stopping by and please visit Laura's blog at .

Here's a little inspiration to get out there and live life fully and savor those moments.  Remember, time flies.
Remember When? ~ song by Alan Jackson, "Up" characters by Pixar 


  1. Oh Abby this must be SO fascinating to trace all this stuff about your ancestors and to actually find pictures!!! I'm going to look at now....

  2. That is fascinating! I could see myself losing hours and hours in a place like Ancestry. We have it easy with the photos now don't we? Yet, we still forget to capture so many moments...

  3. Wow, that is incredible. I would love to be able to go back that have got me thinking now! its amazing to see photos that old - but to have found paintings too!

  4. Oh I must have missed this last week! I love following your family journey - you've talked about it before and the photos make it come alive! xxx

  5. Good for you for taking the time to look back & find out about your family history. This is something i so want to do myself. What a treasure to have!!

  6. Abby, I just love this post. I find it fascinating to look back at family history and for you to have found photos and paintings is amazing. Unfortunately, my Irish relatives documents were destroyed so I can only get back to the late 1700's. I find it amazing when you can find a likeness of a closer relative in some of these older photos. It was an investment to get their photos taken back then not like to day when we can take photos at any time or place, we should be very thankful of relatives foresight to have their photos taken and images preserved for future relatives to see ( like you ;)


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