Sometimes it seems as though family members are not very interested in our years of genealogical research.
I find that sharing family history in small bites — a copy of an old picture, or a few pages of information on a branch of the tree with which relatives can identify — works well.
This year, just a few days ago in fact, I decided I wanted to make a one-page chart of one of my dad’s Bennett lines so I could frame it for my brother and sister.
I chose a font that had an italic appearance, almost like handwriting. Here’s an abbreviated version of what I came up with, starting with my dad:
Gayland Alton Moore
born June 20, 1924
was the son of
Iona Alvara Bennett
born March 17, 1903
was the daughter of
Walter Sherman Bennett
born November 20, 1865
was the son of
Sumner Robinson Bennett
born Oct. 11, 1822
was the son of
And so on, back to Anthony Bennett, who lived in Gloucester, Mass., in the late 1600s.
What I wrote for each person also included place of birth, and date and place of death, showing this Bennett line from Abbot back to Monson, Guilford, Gray and Gloucester.
When the project was finished, the chart fit well on an 8-by-11-inch piece of paper.
I also made copies for both my sons, each of whom has his own family now. And I’m making copies, inserting the names of Uncle Roddy or Uncle Carroll in place of my dad’s name, for their families.
The project was simple, quick, inexpensive and not so bulky that a person would think it took up too much space to keep. And it can be easily copied so that children and grandchildren can have a copy, too.
I’m sure that as time goes on, I’ll come up with other ways to display family information I want to share, and of course, there are various “trees” and pedigree charts on the Internet or in books that can be copied and filled in.
Some genealogists make a poster based on a tree, with each branch containing a name, date, place and even a photo if available. Many family reunions do this on a large scale so that relatives attending a one-day or weekend event have an easy way of seeing how everyone fits together.
Sixty-five years ago last spring, my uncle Carroll W. Moore, 19, who was serving in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II, wanted to give his sister Mary a gift for her 16th birthday.
A letter handwritten on a piece of U.S. Air Forces stationery reads:
I, the undersigned, do hereby find you guilty of having a birthday on the 22nd of April in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and forty-five and sentence you to spend the enclosed small sum of five dollars for some gift that you want.
Failure to comply with the above instructions will result in the forfeiture of one ride to the movies in model A 1929 sedan now operated by Roderick M. Moore, civilian Jr. grade.
C.W. Moore, Pvt., A.C.
Sqd C-2 Personnel
Actually, $5 would have been quite a nice sum in 1945. The letter was saved by my grandmother, Ione (Bennett) Moore, mother of Carroll, Roderick and Mary named above, and of their oldest sibling, my dad, Gayland.
The model A belonged to my great-grandmother, Rena Bennett of Abbot, who purchased it by selling blueberries and such.
The movies were shown at the theater in Guilford, Uncle Roddy has told me, and the family especially enjoyed films that had animals in them.
Not everyone could fit in the car at the same time, so Roddy would drive his mother and sister, Mary. Another time he’d take his grandparents, Rena and Walter Bennett; and yet another time, grandparents Hattie and Alton Moore.
That means that Roddy often went to see a movie three times to ensure that everybody got the chance to go, except Carroll in the Air Corps and Gayland in the Navy.
I find this letter fascinating and have sent it along to Uncle Carroll’s sons, first having copied it for the other branches of the family. It’s a small item which will help bring to life for my cousins and their descendants the Moore-Bennett family of Abbot during the war years.
The 150th anniversary of the beginning of the Civil War will be April 12, 1861.
On Nov. 29, I wrote how much I liked Ned Smith’s new book, “The 22nd Maine Volunteer Infantry in the Civil War: A History and Roster.” The roster lists soldiers from many Maine towns.
BookMarcs on Harlow Street in Bangor carries Smith’s book.
Send queries to Family Ties, Bangor Daily News, PO Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402; or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org