Telling Their Story

Standing left to right; Edward Monty and his son Oreon Monty. Sitting left to right; Ida Monty, Joyce (Jicey) Monty, Etta Monty Smith. Picture from the collection of Carl Gonya.

Here is another example of what I call a front porch picture. Pictured is the Edward L Monty family of Beekmantown New York. The picture is taken on their farm. A quick look at the picture shows a family dressed in their finest clothes in a proud pose. Edward Lafayette Monty (1818 – 1904) my wife’s 2nd Great Grandfather is shown standing at a table with a saw in his hand. A horse and wagon are in the background. Flowers in the flower boxes can be seen on the front porch. One of the windows is slightly open to let in fresh air. Ida Bell Monty (1861 – 1879) is next. Since Ida died in 1879, I believe the picture was taken on or before 1879. Joyce (Jicey) Murphy Monty (1817 – 1904) is seated next; she is my wife’s 2nd Great Grandmother. Seated on the end is Etta Monty Smith (1857 – 1942). Standing with his hand on his mother’s shoulder is Oreon Monty (1850 – 1930) who is my wife’s great-grandfather.

Edward was a farmer in the Chazy and Beekmantown area. He married Joyce or Jicey Murphy of Cohoes New York in 1846. The family story is that Joyce made her trip to Beekmantown from Cohoes on horseback with her trunk strapped on. This was no easy journey of over 150 miles over a large sparsely unsettled part of the state. Pictured below is the trunk that Joyce packed her belongings in. They were to be married well over fifty years until death took them just months apart in 1904.

My wife Sandy with her 2nd Great Grandmother Joyce Murphy Monty’s trunk.

Great Grandfather Oreon Monty worked in a sawmill and was also a farmer. He was to work his farm until his death in 1930. Oreon did not marry until he was 41 years old. His bride Emma Craft was fifteen years younger. They formed a marriage that was to last 39 years ending with Oreon’s death. Emma was to live for eight more years. Below is their wedding announcement.

From the Plattsburgh Sentinel; November 6, 1891.

While we may not have pictures of all our great-grandparents, we may have family stories or information that we have found because of our research efforts. It is up to us to tell their story because if we don’t, we can be sure that all or most will be lost within one or two generations. We can make it as simple or complex as we like. I hope the above helps some of you to get started on your family history project. The way I see it is you could have a one-page story about an ancestor or a blank page. Which one do you want to pass down to future generations?



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35 Responses to Telling Their Story

  1. dlpedit says:

    An excellent challenge to get busy recording that ephemeral history, Charles! I wish I had started earlier. But better late than later–or never. Your opening paragraph and photo reminded me of how odd many of our ancestor’s given names were. Somewhere down the line I had a female relative who was named Tennessee, Tennie for short. And my grandfather had several brothers, cousins, etc., with odd-sounding (to me, anyway) names, names that you seldom hear anyone naming their kids today: Sherfie, Geeter (pronounced as a J), Rissie, etc. I wonder what our descendants will think of what we’ve named our kids? Whatever it is, they’ll only know it if we record them!

    • Sometimes, those strange names are family contractions of longer names, or they may be nicknames. I know I have come across several of both in my research and sometimes, their real name was not even known to the next generation. That’s why it is so good to get the actual documents of birth and marriage. 🙂

    • chmjr2 says:

      I also have thought about the strange names in my family tree. As I said in a reply to another comment perhaps it would be worth a blog post.

  2. pen4hire says:

    That is a fabulous picture. So rare to get a “slice of life” photo in those years when most got studio photography. I also have a trunk that accompaied my 2nd great-grandmother as a girl when her family moved from New Hampshire to Ohio by wagon, canal boat and Lake Erie boat. It amazes me that we have these treasures!

  3. A great post! And a wonderful photo. How I would love to have such a family heirloom to tell the story of and to pass along to the next generation.

  4. Amy says:

    What an amazing photograph! You (and your wife) are so lucky to be able to see the faces of great-great-grandparents and where they lived. And yes, we must tell their stories.

  5. Peter Klopp says:

    I agree with Amy: we must tell their stories. If we don’t, our ancestors will be no more than ghosts without flesh and blood. Let us all write and/or continue to write their stories.

  6. Eilene Lyon says:

    A nice example to set for aspiring family historians. It doesn’t have to be complicated, just do it.

  7. Pingback: A reluctant blogger – Searching for Judy's family

  8. judyg1953 says:

    I haved blogged in a year and a half and you have inspired me! I am doing it now – with pictures!!!

  9. KerryCan says:

    You’re quite the crusader for this, Charlie, and you’re so right! I love seeing the photo of Sandy and that old trunk–what a treasure!

  10. Elizabeth says:

    I have had my blogs made into books using a French company. That way my grandchildren can read all about my life and the lives of others that I write about. I also am writing short pieces about each ancestor that I research. This is so much more meaningful than just the tree with dates.

    • chmjr2 says:

      I believe that Amy of the • Brotmanblog: A Family Journey blog does the same thing. I have thought about this also. It would be a great way for many of us to keep our family history.

  11. OMG! I have my great-grandparents trunk! You sure don’t see many of them!

  12. Diane says:

    I love reading the stories behind the people. These are my favorite type of posts to read!

  13. I loved the picture and the stories. As always, I look forward to your narratives.

  14. Your words at the end of this blog are so true about not having photographs of our great grandparent’s. I think it really is important to hand down stories that we know, or have researched. It is so important to preserve our heritage.

  15. I love this! Old pictures, especially of whole families on their porches (we have them in my family, too) are favorites. I have always been fascinated by genealogy. I researched my family tree on both sides very extensively in 2011 and organized it all online. I was fortunate to already have a lot of information from speaking to my grandparents when they were alive. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Debra Hunter says:

    I hope you still read replies that are older than when you first posted. I just discovered your blog about the Monty familly. Seymour Monty was my Great Great Grandfather born about 1830 in Beekmantown. In the 1860’s he moved to Chicago where he died and is buried. I have never been able to find who is parents were.

    I have seen a Lewis Monty, son of John & Sarah Clark, who lived about that time and later moved to Berrien, MI. My grandma used to visit Berrien as a child in the 1920’s. So perhaps Lewis was a brother or cousin of Seymour.

    Have you ever come across a Seymour Monty?


    • chmjr2 says:

      I have no information that would help you. However I would suggest that you get a copy of the book “The Descendants of Jean Monty 1693(?) – 1755” by Jeanne Monty. It is in two volumes and if you are doing research on the Monty family this book is a must.

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