On our recent trip to our hometown, my wife and I were very fortunate to be able to see and hold items that once belonged and were used by my wife’s ancestors. But even more fortunate we were to learn some of the stories behind these articles. This experience helped to bring these people from mere dates in the past to real individuals who gave the breath of life to future generations. Much of this was made possible by my wife’s cousin Carl Gonya who before high school took up the mantle of the family historian. His exhaustive research into the family lines started long before the internet made things so much easier but in many cases made for shoddier research. His collection of family artifacts and pictures is impressive and the result of diligent family research.
The 172 years old Monty family bible contains family records up to about the mid-1900s. Marriages, deaths, and births are registered in this fascinating family heirloom. It has been handed down for generations as testimony to the joys and heartbreaks of the family. One of the first notations was the marriage of my wife’s 2nd Great Grandparents Edward L. and Joyce Jicey Murphy Monty in 1846.
Joyce Murphy had to travel from Cohoes N.Y. to Beekmantown N.Y. which is over 150 miles by horseback to reach her new home once she was married. She packed most of her belongings in the pictured horsehair trunk and carried it with her all the way. Joyce and her husband Edward were to raise five children and would die within three months of each other in 1904
The picture you see of pansies was done by Emma Craft Monty as a wedding gift to her daughter Florence on her marriage. Emma is my wife’s great-grandmother who was born in 1866. Florence who is my wife’s great aunt was married in 1919. I should also note here that Florence is Carl’s grandmother
Perhaps the best part of all the heirlooms we got to see were the pictures. Not only did we get to look at them but we got to download hundreds into my laptop so I could take them home. One of the many pictures we were able to obtain was one of Joyce Murphy Monty which is below. I have so much more to go through that I am sure many family stories will be told featuring these photographs
I owe so much to so many cousins that have over time contributed so much to my family research that can never actually be repaid. I have been the recipient of family pictures, copies of family letters well over a hundred years old, family records, unpublished genealogies, and just sharing family stories. I have had cousins put me up over night and spent hours searching through cemeteries and then buy me dinner. I have had one cousin who I met via ancestery.com DNA match who invited me to the family’s genealogy facebook page. Where thanks to many unseen cousins I was able to fill in entirely new branches of the family tree. All of us should do this. If we all do, then our hobby of genealogy will be that much more enjoyable for everyone. We will find that our research will be more detailed and family stories will not be lost and forgotten in just a generation or two. I hope the drive to discover our family’s past also leads us to share it with close and distant family in order to pay the proper homage to generations past.