Sunday, September 29, 2013

Goodbye Aunt Mary Kay

Mary Kay - Graduation - 1962
We lost my aunt Mary Kay a few days ago to cancer.  It seems that cancer has taken far too many of our family members lately…but since we are from a large family – we must remember that with great blessings comes loss as well. 
My grandparents Frank Stewart Johnson and Helen Marian Gage were married in 1939 and by January 1946, they had had five children.  My father was the oldest and the only son (b. 1940) and then four daughters followed:  Shirley in 1941, Anne in 1942, Mary Kay in 1944 and Frances in 1946.  The longest distance between children was between Anne and Mary Kay – and while it might not seem that significant to most…it was definitive gap.  I’m sure when they were small that it must have felt like Dad, Shirley and Anne were almost “the three musketeers!” My grandparents had moved to North Dakota when they had married and their first three children were born there.  They came out to Idaho in early 1943 in the dead of winter.  I have often thought that it must have been difficult for my great grandmother not to get her hands on her first three grandchildren until they were a bit older.  Grandma Gage got to take care of those three grandchildren when their mother went to the hospital in Moscow, ID and had Mary Kay.  I’m sure it was a special occasion when Grandma Marian could present her newborn daughter to her mother.   
Mary Kay with her father, Frank Johnson
I can remember my Grandma Marian saying Gene, Shirley and Anne then the little girls.  I know from my own perspective as being the youngest of four, I used to feel left behind because I wasn’t quite old enough to feel included. 
Back Row - Gene & Shirley -
Front Frances, Mary Kay & Anne

Left to Right - Frances, Shirley, Mary Kay, Anne & Gene - Marian behind
I have often thought that Mary Kay must have felt that way – plus she was a sickly child and wasn’t able to play and do as much as her siblings.  Plus her younger sister was tomboy with a “large” personality and Mary Kay didn’t quite fit in with her.  It didn’t help that by the time she was seven or eight years old my Dad and Shirley spent a lot of time out working and she spent very little time with them.  They were all out of the house and married by the time Mary Kay was 13 years old.  It might have been easier to have the older siblings around since Mary Kay and her younger sister, Fran fought like cats and dogs.  They were supposed to do the dishes together after meals and quite often, my grandmother had to separate them.  In fact, I don’t think that they got along well until they were adults.  After my grandmother moved to Lewiston, ID from Canby, OR in 2001, I think that Frances and Mary Kay became as close as two sisters could be and were the best of friends.  It is amazing what time and love can do for a sibling relationship.
In many ways, Mary Kay was the most adventurous of her family.  She alone traveled outside of the Pacific Northwest as she joined the Air Force and later the National Guard.  She had experiences and met people that her siblings never had.  I don’t think that her life was easy and like most of us, she made some good and bad choices.  I know that towards the end of her life, her family became even more important to her.  Mary Kay enjoyed camping and fishing and made a point to come up to Idaho to go camping with her sister up on the Lochsa at Powell Ranger Station.  I don’t think that she had missed many of the bi-annual family reunions during the past 20 years and it was extremely important to her to not miss the one this past summer.

Despite being very weak and showing the ravages of cancer treatment, Mary Kay sat at a table with her children and grandchildren surrounding her.  I think that I will always think of the expression of peace and pride that I saw on her face.  In my mind’s eye, I think that I will remember Aunt Mary Kay sitting in her chair out by her Motor Home enjoying her morning coffee and the loving attention of her dog talking to each family member as they walked past.  Mornings on Hatter Creek were like that during family reunions – it was those quiet times when we would meet each other on our way to somewhere else.  I would like to think that Mary Kay was welcomed by her beloved parents and grandparents and when we have our next family reunion, she will join the others looking down with peace and pride at their family.  Mary Kay was a beloved mother, grandmother, sister, cousin, and niece to the many members of a large family, and she will be missed and well-remembered.
Taken in 2011 - Frances, Anne, Marian, Gene, Mary Kay & Shirley

Friday, September 20, 2013

Gallup Family Portrait

When I first started researching the Gallup family, I had a list of names that belonged to my great great grandmother's siblings.  However, I never had faces to put to the names.  A cousin gave me a copy of this photo several years ago, and since then I have seen many photos of these family members. 

I believe that this photo was taken around 1915 or so and most certainly taken in or near Lyons, Burt Co., NE.  Here are the cast of characters...

Back Row:  Irena Gallup (m. Frank King) , Hugh Gallup, Alice Gallup (m. Win Grenier), George Gallup, Everett Henry Gallup
Front Row:   Elizabeth Gallup (m. John Hanson) , Albert Burlingame Gallup, Phoebe Montanye Gallup, and Fanny Gallup (m. Theodore Robinson, Cyrus Montanye, & Henry Tabor)

Not pictured are Helen Gallup m. Joseph Brown - see below (Helen is at the top with daughter Helen Brown Noonan and her two children)  Phoebe Montanye Gallup on the right.


I don't have a photo of Allen Gallup who lived in New York, but below is  photo of my great great grandmother and her children. I would estimate that both photographs were taken around 1896.  The two children are the twins, Peter Z. Gage and Phebe Margaret Gage - the small boy is my great grandfather Ora Silas Gage and the baby is Alice Irene Gage and also Orlando Gage is in the top picture.

This Gallup lineage is as follows:

Edith Phoebe Gallup m. Orlando Gage
Silas Gallup m. Phoebe Ann Montanye
Ebenezer Gallup m. Susan Harden
Silas Gallup m. Sarah Gallup
Nathaniel Gallup m. Hannah Gore & Nathan Gallup m. Sarah Giddings
Nathaniel Gallup m. Margaret Gallup & Benadam Gallup Jr m. Eunice Cobb
John Gallup III m. Elizabeth Harris & Benadam Gallup m. Esther Prentice
John Gallup m. Hannah Anna Lake (John Gallup III and Benadam are brothers)
John Gallop m. Christobel Bruschett

John Gallop and Christobel Bruschett are my 10th great grandparents and were the immigrants to the New World...

The pictures above are the best photos that I have of my great great grandmother's family.  They have a long history in this country arriving in Boston in 1630 then moving to Connecticut and later New York and finally immigrating to Nebraska in the 1880's. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My DNA Journey - MtDNA Results

I am interested in the science of genealogy research – I’m not sure I understand it as well as I should but I am certainly interested enough to dip my toe in the waters.  Earlier this summer, they had a special running on Family Tree DNA for a 12 marker MtDNA test which tests the maternal lines of an individual.  I must say that the results were surprising.

My maternal line goes thus:
  • Carmen Maria Johnson
  • Betty Jean Tannahill
  • Capitola Esther Friddle
  • Sophia Vestelle Dollar b. TN
  • Buena Vista Bailey b. NC
  • Mary Marguerite Church b. NC
  • Asinith Jencie McCall b. NC

I can take it no further.  I believe that the nationalities that are associated with these lines are Scottish, German, and Irish and it really doesn’t go any further back than 1800 in North Carolina.  Understanding that these maternal lines go back much further and in fact go back thousands of years, it seems a poor listing of my maternal lines.  I must admit from experience that they can be very difficult to research – sometimes you have to just get lucky because you can’t find any other documentation that lists anything other than a woman’s married name.   Several years ago, I watched a documentary on National Geographic channel called “The Seven Daughters of Eve” which discussed the maternal lines that have emerged from the genetic testing that has been done.  It was based on a book by Bryan Sykes published in 2001 called The Seven Daughters of Eve. Now I want to go back and see it again – because now I have an idea which of the “Seven Daughters of Eve” is a matriarchal ancestor.

So, I just recently received my testing results and find out that I am from Haplogroup T2 and my ancestral matriarch is “Tara”  So…what does this tell me?  Someone from Haplogroup T has a European lineage and has an origin in the near east greater than 45,000 years ago.  In fact, according to what I read, my Haplogroup of T2 is considered to be one of the older lineages that may have been present in Europe and probably dated from the “Late Upper Paleolithic”…. translation – Late Stone Age.  So, my ancestors were probably cave dwellers who might have lived in Europe between 10,000 and 50,000 years ago.  According to what I found, about 10% of European ancestry traces their maternal lineage back to Haplogroup T.  According to the theory of Brian Sykes, my ancestral matriarch – “Tara lived about 17,000 years ago in the northwest of Italy among the hills of Tuscany and along the estuary of the river Arno.” 
Now, I am not quite sure that I know what this all means.  I know that they want me to do more testing, so I can go deeper into what branch or sub clade that I come from.  As I understand it, further testing has determined that there were most likely “additional daughters” that would definitely increase the number from seven.  When I go on the DNA website, the only matches that currently show up for my Haplogroup of T2 come from England, Ireland and the United States with the most being in Ireland. 

There are some generalities that I read that actually quite interesting.  The T Haplogroup is currently found in high concentration around the eastern Baltic Sea.  Wikipedia listed Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to be part of T2 which would also include most of the royal lines of Europe, because not only was his grandmother Victoria the ancestor of most of the European royalty she was also a descendant.  Jesse James was also said to be part of T2.  So…evidently I have royal cousins and criminals as distant relatives.  That sounds about right.

I suppose that I am going to have to find the money to do some further testing.  I am curious what it might tell me.  So, now I know my ethnic heritage (My DNA Journey - The Results) and now I am curious to dig a little deeper into that heritage to find out more about deep genetic roots that I would never find through documentary research.  All I can say is that I have a lot to learn!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

A Tinkerer at Heart

My mother used to say that Uncle Bernard always gave her heart a little pang.  Not because he was incredibly good looking (although he was as a young man), but because he had a quirky smile that reminded her of her father who she lost when she was six years old.  I think that my Dad thought Uncle Bernard was one of the smartest and most interesting people he ever knew.

John Bernard Gage was the third of ten children.  He was called "Bun" by his family - which I think had something to do with his ears.  My grandmother was his older sister and she always said that she was especially close to Bernard when they were growing up.  He was her comrade and playmate and during their childhood they had many adventures in and around the farm at Mapleton, Iowa where they spent their childhood.  When they moved to Hatter Creek near Princeton, ID in 1935, Bernard enjoyed tinkering around the farm.  He made himself a gun that he used to hunt around the place.  This homemade gun is a bit infamous in the family - it had the name of Diploducus and many of the younger generation wonder if it is still back in the scrap pile behind Bernard's old place.
Bun and his homemade gun "Diploducus"
Because of some sickness and stubbornness, Grandma, Uncle Orland and Uncle Bernard all graduated from Potlatch High School in 1939.  I think they might have had a class of 20 and three of them were Gage's. When he heard that they were going to have the Tin Lizzy derby in Lewiston in 1939, he got is car ready to race only to find out that he couldn't drive it as he wasn't quite old enough yet.  So he talked his sister's fiance (my Grandpa Frank) to drive the car in the race, it is still one of my favorite pictures.
Grandpa Frank ready to drive Bernard's Tin Lizzy in the Derby in August of 1939
Bernard flying his Corsair over Emeraru
 It didn't take that long after high school for Bernard to become restless.  One day he took off and road the rails back to Nebraska and Iowa to work.  It took a while before his parents knew what had happened with him.  Just that quickly, he came back home and decided to sign up with the Marines in early 1940.  He lied about his age saying he was about a month older than he really was. 
Bernard began the great adventure of flying a plane and was an experienced pilot who had already flown missions over China when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.  Bernard flew over 400 missions in a Corsair flying reconnaissance for the most part, but after the war was over - Bernard was ready to come home.

Bernard and brother Don and his Indian!
Bernard's younger brother still remembers the day that Bernard came roaring up the road on an Indian motorcycle.  I know for a fact that that motorcycle thrilled his younger brothers who were enthralled with the cool machine.  Bernard was home to stay and I don't think he ever wandered too far off the mountain for the remainder of his long life.  He might make a few visits to some places...but home was always calling him back.  His wandering days were over.  Bernard settled down with his wife and young family and farmed.  My Dad has always said that Bun was probably one of the finest mechanical minds he ever knew.  Bun could take an engine and make a few adjustments and tweaks and pretty soon it was running better and with more power.  I know that on one occasion, some guy wrecked his car on Hatter Creek and Bun bought the car from him.  All he wanted was the engine - he took the powerful engine that was in that car and put it in his tractor.  (Dad tells me that it was called the Olds Rocket 88) Then he put smokestacks along either side and one evening took it on its maiden voyage.  Down the road, Dad could hear the engine roaring and looking up at the horizon, he could see flames coming out of the smokestacks.  Pretty soon they just fell off...too much heat I guess.  Bun was always tinkering with something.  He got an old VW Bug frame and used it to try engines out for airplanes.
Bun and his VW test vehicle!
 Even towards the end of his life he still had the itch to tinker with an engine.  My brother bought an old tractor from another uncle and went by Bernard's before he headed home.  Bernard looked at the tractor and half jokingly said that he would be willing to make a trade.  He was willing to trade his tractor that had been already tweaked for an old one that needed work.  He got a new riding lawnmower a year or two before he died.  Bernard was quite seriously considering buying some 4 wheeler wheels for his tractor to give him better traction...and probably more power.
Bun trying to negotiate with my brother for his tractor!

Bernard was part of the "Greatest Generation,"  like many men who had military exploits in the war, he didn't really talk about them all that much.  Perhaps to his brothers or sons - but not for general consumption.  I'm not sure that he really understood a lot of his nieces...his nephews made more sense to him.  When it came time for a hug though...he was front and center with that wonderful twinkle in his eye and quirky smile.  I learned a lot about Uncle Bun when I was older and appreciated what he had done in his lifetime.   I learned not too long before his death that he didn't allow anyone outside of the family to call him Bernard or Bun and that he was instead referred to as John.  I didn't even know his real first name was John until I was an adult.  He was always Bernard or Uncle Bun.  There was nothing that Uncle Bun liked better than to work in his shop on his latest project.  When he got to the point that he couldn't do that anymore, I think that a lot of the fun of life left him.  Bernard never liked to leave his home and after he died, his brother and son scattered some of his ashes over the home place so he would never have to leave!