Adventures in Genealogy: A Trip Down Memory Lane

My great-grandmother, Minnie Eliza, died long before I was born, way back in 1954. She was born on the 4th of July in 1864, a year before Lincoln’s assassination and more than 100 years before my time.

I can only try to imagine what her life must have been like. When we visit towns like Virginia City, Montana, I feel like I am traveling back in time to be with her, though.

We go together to the general store…

And visit the dress shop along the way…

And maybe pick up some hair pins…

And admire the dolls and other toys at the toy shoppe…

Of course it’s not really what her life was like on the prairies of Kansas but I do get little glimpses from stories shared and from looking at her bio on I know that she was put on the orphan train as a child and adopted somewhere along the way. Her mother suffered from a “rare crippling disease” and had to give up her children for adoption (which makes me wonder if that’s where I inherited my mast cell disease from!).

I also know that of her own twelve children, only five survived. The rest died either in infancy or before their fourth birthday. For every one that survived, there were one or two before and after that didn’t. Can you imagine? I certainly can’t imagine losing one, let alone seven babies!

The only photo of her when she was young seems to exude sadness, and I think I know why.

But I can’t really know if she was sad or not because of the way portraits were taken back then. I hope she lived a happy life despite it all. Photos of her where she was older seemed to show a happier side to her.

When you think of everything she saw in her lifetime, it’s mind boggling. From the invention of the typewriter when she was four years old to the light bulb and indoor plumbing to probably watching early episodes of I Love Lucy before she died in 1954.

In a lot of ways I envy her but in many ways I don’t. I do wish I could time travel and meet her, just once, though, and maybe give her a great big hug. 🤗

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