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Thursday, August 10, 2017

Family history

I've been reflecting on family history, which I love, and wanted to share a couple of experiences.

Several years ago, after my dad's stroke, I was at my parents' house and answered the phone. The person asked for Robert Bogle. She obviously didn't know my dad. Didn't know that he went by Bob or that he'd had a stroke and couldn't speak. I just said he wasn't available.
She replied, While I have you on the phone, do you happen to know if this is the same Robert Bogle who would have been searching for information on Inez Fay on Ancestry.com?
That is my great grandmother, so I knew the answer. YES! She proceeded to tell me that her name was Linda, she was the admin on the Fay family genealogy page! And she had been looking for us!

A little history on my g-gran, Inez Fay. Her father, Herbert Fay, was supposedly an engineer working for the railroad in Mexico, an American with a young wife, Elizabeth Barrow. Gran was born in Colonia Diaz, Mexico. She said her parents left her with the nuns. Small problem, in 1901, Colonia Diaz was a former Mormon polygamist colony, no Catholic nuns in sight!
When Pancho Villa started raiding the northern towns in Mexico, Gran said her Granny Jackson swooped her up and took her home to New Mexico.
Jackson was Granny's 3rd or 4th husband, her Herbert Fay having long since gone back to Ohio.

So, Gran knew very little about her own family, but she had 2 brothers, one older and one younger, and a lot of hope. She purchased the Fay Family genealogy book and made a few notes of her suspicions.

Time loop back to my phone conversation with Linda. She was able to fill in the blanks and answer questions. Yes, Herbert had headed west, married, had a child, and then gone back to Ohio alone. Yes, he was the son of Philip Fay, had served in the Civil War, and was a Mayflower descendant with deep Massachusetts roots. The family history book she had given to my dad had finally paid off!

Generation after generation of names were now available to us, along with fabulous stories and links to make to our visit to Boston, Plymouth, and Salem, MA! (Not to mention my brother Tom's mission there.)

Fast forward again to last year when I decided to have my DNA tested by Ancestry.com. Mom and Tom had already participated, but I wanted access to the same information! It was fun to see the few close relatives pop up, as confirmation that contrary to my older brother's insults, I was not adopted.

With the middle name Fay as my guide, I gravitated to the members of that family that I found, including a fairly close relative who turned out to be my grandfather's cousin, the daughter of Inez' younger brother. Inez had maintained a relationship, if somewhat distant, with the small family that she knew. My "new-found" cousin recalled a visit from Inez when she was very young.

Shirley and I began to correspond. She is getting on in years, but loves to travel! Her nephew does most of her family history, but focuses on her mom's side of the family. Eventually she mentioned a family Bible that had come into her possession. It was Granny Jackson's. She had brought it with her from Sweden. There was some writing in it, but it was in Swedish and she really hadn't had much luck finding a Swedish speaker to interpret. As "luck" would have it, my mother-in-law was 1st generation American. Her parents were Swedish. She had recently passed on, but her brother, who served 2 missions to Sweden is still with us.

Shirley decided that she would send me the Bible. When I suggested that she could just send photocopies, she replied that she had no children, and she would like me to keep the Bible in the family, just share any information with her!

Not long after she sent the Bible (from1801!), I took it to David's uncle to inspect. He translated the writing, but I'm still working on connecting my ggg-grandmother Anna Skoglund (Fay/Jackson) to the Frodig Family in the Bible.

Not long after this, Tom connected me to another cousin, the granddaughter of one of Inez' half siblings, who had contacted him. We have also shared many stories about this interesting and tangled Family.

I still haven't unraveled the mystery as to why Inez was left with the "nuns" or if they were really LDS "sisters" or why the Fay Family had such trouble staying married. Luckily, my parents and grandparents have broken that tradition!

That's what I love about Family history, there's always more to be done.



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