Thursday, March 10, 2016

Would you like to see your Great Grandfather's handwriting?

I never knew my Grandfathers.  They died before I was born.  I do have a couple of pictures.  a picture is wonderful because you can look into your Grandfather's eyes and see his destiny - the reflection of all his hard work, sacrifice and love, is you.

What I wanted was to connect in a more personal way.  I wanted to see how he wrote.  A lot can be surmised by your ancestor's handwriting.  As my grandmother Dora got older, her handwriting got bigger and bigger and shakier until she just started typing letters by memory how to type.  Macular Degeneration runs thick and deep in my ancestors, so I can look forward to the same.  Seeing Gran's writing calms me and tells me that I will be able to be ok even when old and blind.

Seeing my Grandfather's handwriting on his World War I application, I see courage and strength.  He could not know that his life would be cut tragically short because of faulty gas masks in the Army.  The mustard gas disintegrated his intestines and they just sewed him up and waited for sepsis to take him.  He knew he was dying and invited my mother up to lay on his chest.  At 4 years old, she knew too. 

Signed Walter Riley Collins on the left.
Finding this document cleared up the correct spelling of his middle name. The family spelled it Walter Raleigh Collins for years and this helped the lineage progress back nicely to ancestral Cherokee tribes in Arkansas.

I hope you look for World War I and II registration cards and see what you learn.  
My great grandmother and grandfather's marriage license in 1898.  This is the oldest evidence so far of my German heritage.  Before researching my family I didn't know about any German heritage.  I am searching for more, but grateful to have this documentation.

So any document that requires a signature is considered correct corroborative evidence of ancestry.  There are other very correct evidences, but these are my favorites because they are so personal.

Write back and tell me what your feelings are as you find more things.  If you are having troubles, submit a question and I'll help you find it.
Everyone should know what their story is....

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