Thursday, March 25, 2010


Genealogists have always come up against brick walls. They hammer away brick by brick to find their elusive ancestors. To find that piece of information that will get them to that next step, next generation. 

So here is the conundrum for future researchers. You are looking at a family and there are two children in the family. They are 2 months apart in age. You start to question this because one surely must be adopted. You hunt and hunt for an explanation but sure enough the records show they are that close in age. You look for a sibling of the parents who may have died leaving their baby with their brother or sister. Nope. No luck. 

I  was just watching the news and they showed a family who had twin boys. One of these babies was born prematurely, the other was carried for 2 more months and was delivered then. They were born 63 days apart. 

Oh how we are going to pull our hair out over these puzzles. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010


I was contacted by the wife of a distant cousin (Hi Chris) about a piece of  jewelry she received that had been in her mother's possession. It was called a mourning ring. There was a name inscribed inside of it with the deceased's death date and age. 

She looked all over her family tree and can find no connection to the name and we have both done research to try and find out who this woman was but we have found nothing. Zero. 

The custom was to bequeath these rings to your friends and loved ones after your death. They were often made with black stones and had the deceased's woven hair under a piece of crystal. Sometimes pearls were added to symbolize tears. 

They also put hair into brooches and necklaces and some created pieces that were all woven hair. Women sometimes had little containers on their dressing tables to hold the hair that they removed from their hair brushes. I think Cass at This Old House has one or told me about them?? I can't remember for sure.

All of these photos are from the Colonial Williamsburg site. They have an amazing site filled with history and genealogy info. I envy those of you who may have visited there.

This ring with the two colors of hair are engraved "George and Martha Washington" and are believed to hold their hair.
Sometimes engraved in these rings were the Latin intials  AET that refers age at death or OBT which refers to the date of death.

Do you have any of these heirlooms in your home? Can you share any information or history about them?

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