July 3, 2013

Old scrapbook unearths family information

Recently, within a week’s time, my family experienced quite the transition, seasons of life that leave a mark on your heart and your spirit.

I was privileged to attend my great-granddaughter’s kindergarten graduation. Gabrielle’s eyes sparkled with pride as she looked for her family.

A day later, my granddaughter, Carly, ascended the stage to receive her GED, the result of hard work and dedication to improve her life. She starts college this fall.

Two days later, I attended my 90-year-old uncle’s funeral. Lyle McGibbon was my father’s older brother by 15 months. Dad died in 1974 at age 50. Uncle Lyle shared his memories of growing up with Dad and his siblings on the five-generation family farm. I will miss our walks down memory lane.

How quickly we go from kindergarten, to high school, to adult life, and then we leave, some sooner than others. I thank God every day that he has allowed me to be here to see my family grow up.

I have an old scrapbook that belonged to my grandmother’s great-aunt Angeline Spencer Parker Meade. It contains newspaper clippings from 1880 to 1919 when she died, including many poems and obituaries. I wonder if she imagined someone would cherish it like I do 100 years later?

Many clippings tugged at me to dig deeper into my genealogy research, asking the question, “Why is that person’s marriage or obit included?” only to find out we are related by marriage.

One obit titled “Oldest Man Pioneer in Akron’s History” gave details of Daniel S. Foote, who died in Ohio at 92. I knew my great-great-great-grandmother was Mercy Fidelia Foote (1816-1909), who married Mason Spencer (1811-1874) in Malone. Angeline was their daughter.

Months later, I confirmed that Daniel was Mercy Fidelia’s brother. The obit says Daniel was born in North Bangor in 1823 and spent his younger years working his father’s farm. The slogan “Go West, young man” must have convinced Daniel to leave New York for Ohio, settling in Braceville, then pressing further west in 1844 to Akron, marrying in 1849.

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