Putting the Picture Together

choosing the rigth piece. decision concept
As I said in  an earlier post, eight days ago I received the results of my DNA test and got a long list divided into potential 1st + 2nd cousins, 3rd to 4th cousins, and 4-6th cousins. I was invited to give ancestry.com a try —a “14 Day Free Trial” to be exact . So you can guess where I’ve been this past week. 🙂
Cluttered desk
I already had a stack of data loosely gathered.
Through Ancestry.com I can now access the family trees of near & far kin. From other Falconer descendants I’ve learned my great-grandfather’s parents, John & Jemimah Falconer were both born in Scotland (she in Inverness) and met and married in Pennsylvania before moving to Minnesota.

Ancestry also has an extensive collection of census records, govt & church birth, marriage & death registrations that often verify — but sometimes raise gnarls in the branches. According to our family’s oral history, gr-gr-grandfather John Turner was born in County Fernanagh, Ireland in 1810 and came to Canada in 1828 and married Alice Doyle, “from an old Irish family. However, when I found the marriage registration of his son William to Alice Watchorn — my great-grandparents— it says John was born in Canada and his wife Elizabeth in England. More stats show 35 years between John’s oldest (1830) and youngest child (1865); Annie obviously died and he remarried Elizabeth, but who was she?

Ancestors.Mark Martins
Mark Martins, Pixabay

Altogether, the stats, info, records, and scraps of family stories have the appearance of a huge schmozzle of names and dates to be sorted and pieced together.

And, because I enjoy jigsaw puzzles and scrap-quilt piecing, I hope to assemble the families into in some sensible order. If you don’t see any blog posts from me for a few weeks, this is likely what I’ll be doing.

Ancestors.Mark Martin.jpg
Mark Martins, Pixabay

 

 

 

 

Books: The Perfect Christmas

I picked up this book at Value Village just before Christmas, and only just now got around to reading it. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it very much.
This two-tale book is well written, as are all of Debbie Macomber’s books, I’ve found. The first and longer tale, The Perfect Christmas — © 2009 — is one of those non-romantic romances where two people meet and don’t like each other. However, the author does this in a realistic way with no phony melodrama, no spitting nails at each other, such as you often see in modern anti-romances. The characters and dialogue are believable, professional, and respectful. The idea of paying that much money to find a spouse is the only thing I found incredible — but I don’t live in big city USA.
Seeing as the dating scene hasn’t delivered her dream spouse, Cassie Beaumont takes a friend’s advice and hands over $30,000 to a professional matchmaker to find her a well-matched mate. Rude and abrupt Simon Dodson may be, but she has to go along with his programme if she wants results. Determined to find the man she can live with, and have a family with, she can’t afford to have Simon, the psychologist running this business, get upset and refuse to work with her.
He proposes three character tests for her — and these are real jewels in themselves! I really enjoyed the realistic experiences Cassie has and what she learns as she works in these situations Simon has set up for her. Hats off to the writer for an excellent job on this part! She passes the tests and Simon promises to deliver the perfect spouse for her. But a wrench lands in the gears…

Can This Be Christmas? is an older, shorter story (© 1998) the writer has added as a bonus, yet it’s worth buying the book just for this one. Focusing on five characters needing to join family for Christmas, this morphs into a heartwarming human interest account of strangers stranded in a train station by a winter storm. None of them want to be here, but the Christmas spirit softens each one individually and melts them together as friends.

I rarely give a book five stars, but this one deserves them all.

FACES

by Edgar Guest

I look into the faces of the people passing by,
the glad ones and the sad ones, and the lined with misery
and I wonder why the sorrow or the twinkle in the eye;
but the pale and weary faces are the ones that trouble me.

I saw a face this morning and time was when it was fair;
youth had brushed it bright with color in the distant long ago
and the princess of the lovely once had kept a temple there,
but the cheeks were pale with grieving and the eyes were dull with woe.

Who has done this thing, I wondered; what has wrought the ruin here?
Why are these sunken cheeks and pallid where the roses once were pink?
Why had beauty fled her palace; did some vandal hand appear?
Did her lover prove unfaithful or her husband take to drink?

Once the golden voice of promise whispered sweetly in her ears;
she was born to be a garden where the smile of love might lurk;
now the eyes that shone like jewels are but gateways for her tears
and she takes her place among us, toilers early bound for work.

Is it fate that writes so sadly, or the cruelty of man?
What foul deed has marred the parchment of a life so fair as this?
What has wrecked this lovely temple and destroyed the Maker’s plan,
raining blows on cheeks of beauty God had fashioned just to kiss?

Oh, the pale and weary faces of the people that I see
are the ones that seem to haunt me, and I pray to God above
that such cruel desolation shall not ever come to be
stamped forever in the future on the faces that I love.

.
From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
©1934 by the Reilly & Lee Co