Foster family - Christmas 2018

About

Family history. Some may wonder why their nose is so big, where they get the shape of their fingernails, why their hair is curly or straight, or, gulp, falling out. Usually, one needs only look to their parents to determine where their features originate. This may be as far into previous generations as the interest goes.

Sometimes though, the desire to understand goes well beyond physical features, to an insatiable desire to discover everything possible about one's history. My curiosity has become a hobby and often times a passion, getting more serious as the years progress.

Ella Mccartney Selensky

My appetite for genealogy was whet when I was just eight or nine years old. I met my great great aunt, Ella McCartney Selensky. Aunt Ella was 100 1/2 years old and had been born less than one year following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. She was a wrinkled bit of a woman with bright blue eyes that were clouded over and sightless. She didn't flinch when my little brother accidentally slammed the front door, as she had gone deaf some years previous. She was able to hear with the aid of a huge horn that was stuck into her 'good ear'. She giggled when she realized my dad; "Little Chuckie" has come with his own children, to visit.

Although it was summer, she was wrapped in an ancient quilt to keep warm. She surrounded herself with memories of a lifetime, her tintype-wedding photograph, black and white snapshots and some recent Polaroids. This little lady didn't expound on any historically significant events that day, but she certainly sent my mind racing. Wow, her father could have voted for Abraham Lincoln or read of his assassination firsthand! She was a living breathing piece of history!

I never saw her again, but I think of her every time I discover another grandparent for Erin and Amber or another story about a long forgotten family member. Of the 28,849 relatives in my database, our daughters' grandparents now total 705, Foster grandparents make up only 421 of that number, so much more research needs to be done.

The quest continues ...

Last update: January 8, 2020