She told me so

She told me so

Dear Mother,

I’ve been thinking a lot about you this week and missing you considerably.  I’m sure you’re gloating just a little bit over my feelings of abandonment, because I’m certain that at least once or twice you warned/threatened/tried to guilt me with a statement to this effect: “You’re going to regret not getting involved in my family genealogy with me. Because when I’m gone, you’re going to be left to do it on your own. And you’ll be sorry!” Your threats didn’t move me far enough or fast enough, and you’re right – I do regret it – fearfully so.

Mother's genealogy repository
Mother's genealogy repository

Remember all those files that I brought home from Dad several months ago? All those files that harbored your years of genealogy research? All those files that I wasn’t quite sure how to handle? All those files filled with names I only had a passing acquaintance with?  Well, I’ve cleaned and organized them several times since bringing them here, and this week I finally started the project of assembling my surname binders for “Compton”. Who knew you had such a treasure trove of family history memorabilia? I am impressed!

I’ve read the letters of research requests you made and marveled at your determination to find information back in the day before the internet. I even found a couple of letters Gram wrote in the 1950s. Oh, how you would have loved ancestry.com! How you would have been thrilled to find so much county record information online.

Marriage Record for Francis Compton & Mary DeVall
Marriage Record for Francis Compton & Mary DeVall

And I know you would have been as giddy as I was when I found the actual marriage record for Francis and Mary DeVall Compton, scanned and available on the internet, right from the comfort of my own home.  (If you’re looking, their names are 4th from the top)

I’ve studied the pictures and seen a lot of history in them. I’m fascinated with the clothes and hairstyles of both the men and women, and I look for family resemblance in an effort to connect to these ancestors that I never knew.

I’ve decided that I take after the Compton side of the family – a little bit like Great-Grandma Iva and a little like her sister Pearl.

Iva Compton Pratt - about 1909
Iva Compton Pratt - about 1909
Pearl Compton
Pearl Compton

But I hope not too much, because their mother, my great-great grandmother Mary DeVall Compton, didn’t age too well. Maybe she was just having a bad hair day!

Mary Emma DeVall Compton
Mary Emma DeVall Compton

I wish you were around to answer my questions. Did you know Pearl Compton (Grandma Iva’s sister) worked at a silk factory in Belding, Michigan and lived in a dormitory there? I discovered a memory book of her friends tucked down in a file, and did a little internet research about The Belrockton.   I wonder why she never married. And why did her brother LD not have a real name?

And even though you may not know the answers to those questions or a million others that pass through my mind, at least we could have a good laugh together when reading this letter Aunt Nonie sent with the obituary for Willard Parker Ross (haven’t yet figured out who he is):

“Of course you know Ross and Daisy Compton was my Mother’s brother. Maudie was their daughter. Willard & Daisy Ross, Daisy’s mother was Grandma Compton’s sister my aunt Matt. Also Willard was Aunt Matt’s second marriage. Of course we called him Bill. I hope this is clear.”

Are you kidding me?

So, Mom, know that you’ve been vindicated! How I wish I had spent more family history time with you – much, much more. How I wish I had responded to your pleas for help. How I wish I had you as a partner in this fascinating and addicting pursuit. But I’ll carry on, because I love it, and I know you did too.

And even though I probably don’t deserve it, could you drop me a few hints from time to time?

This girl would love a little help.

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