Dinner invitation

My prompt this week is whom would I like to invite to dinner or is there a recipe that’s been handed down. There’s no recipe handed down for generations, too many of my ancestors lost parents when still children. I have a few from my mom but I don’t think any go way back.

However I would love to not invite someone to dinner but to be invited to join them for dinner. Sit at the table with an entire family; watch the interaction, be part of the interaction. Or there may be very little interaction because perhaps the children were supposed to be only seen and not heard. I’d love to help prepare the meal, set the table and clear the table. Though I wouldn’t want to go so far as killing a chicken or anything like that. Just have the meat all ready for cooking.

I just can’t decide which family, what country and what era. Maybe go way back to Johann Ferdinand Carl Römer, 1771-1860, my ggg grandfather. He was a man of wealth so I think he had servants and I doubt there was much banter at the dinner. His portrait is below. I don’t think casual me would fit in comfortably for any length of time so a three day visit would be best.

The James Emmett Cole family would be nice to drop in on. James, 1850-1928, was born in Pennsylvania while his wife Charlotte Hardwick,1847-1923, was born in Haddenham, England. She lost her parents while a young teen (no passing down of recipes), ended up as a servant until her brothers who had emigrated to Canada and the US could bring her over also. They had 8 children, one of them Sadie or Sarah, 1881-1914, my grandmother.

It’s really difficult to select another one because as I said so many children lost one or both parents. However I will also have to select my nemesis, Abner Munn, 1763-1847, his wife Sarah Ives,  1766-sometime between 1820 and 1830, and their ten children. He’s my nemesis because he and Sarah had four documented children in Massachusetts and then six undocumented in New York state. I of course am descended from an undocumented child. I wouldn’t even know about the parent child relationship if my mother’s aunt hadn’t tried to prove it for DAR. She knew it because the family had remained close to their cousins but of course DAR wants paper proof not a letter from someone declaring cousinhood. Back to poor Sarah who  had two sets of twins, numbers 6,7,8 and 9. The table must have been alive with chatter because I just don’t see how you could keep all ten quiet for an entire meal. I’ve no photo of any of them even though a few of the children lived into the 1860’s and the era of photography.

So here isPhoto1500016 the painting of Johann.

The James Cole family, my grandmother Sadie is on the left.


And the family years later. My grandmother is on the left behind her husband Roy Munn, great grandson of Abner. I should add Roy lost his mother at age 10, no passing of recipes, Roy is holding their child Doug. Later they would have another son Richard and then my mom. Sadie died when my mom was 10 days old, no passing down of recipes again.



What a wonderful prompt this week. Without looking at my tree I know that a Hughes lived the longest, 103 years old. So how much of his dna could I have? He was my father’s great great grandfather or my 3 great grandfather. Assuming I always get his genes from a descendent, Lewis Hughes gives 50% to Thomas Hughes and Thomas gives all of his father’s dna and none from his mother etc, max I could have is 50%. But that is impossible. So I have 4 grandparents, 8 great grandparents, 16 gg grandparents and 32 ggg grandparents so 1/32nd isn’t much. I don’t have photos from that line. My dad didn’t like his grandfather so I have none of him and none further back either. He died in 1877 so there probably were photos but have been lost.

But I am more interested in my female line for longevity. My mom passed at 79 which I hope to easily pass. Looking at my female ancestors most did not last a long time but they did pump out babies and babies. Abigail Burt Ball Munn Stebbins had at least 7 children and lived 83 years. Marietta Munn Burnham lived 92 years and I like that number better. She’s not a direct ancestor but a second great aunt. I think what she did that resulted in a long life was that she only had one child. I wish I had her photo but that one child lost her husband of less than two months and never married again. She would have inherited everything in that line and when she passed I doubt anyone saved anything. So no photos of Marietta. There are many pictures of her brother Heber Chase Kimball but none of her.

Marietta’s mother Abigail Kimball Munn lived 80 years and that I believe is that case because she had only 6 children. All of my other female ancestors had so many children and as a result didn’t live a long life. Amelia Roemer lived over 65 years and had 10 children so without looking at my entire tree I believe she is the only one who survived to old age while having a brood. So I put her photo up and I think she had a long life because she looks stern, no children would mess with her. She lost her husband when my grandfather was about 4 years old. A tough cookie. 4b477614-88f1-4a50-9a8e-219afcf1fa2c

Margaret Cole nee??

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Margaret is my third greatgrandmother born in 1791. I don’t know her maiden name, I don’t know her husband’s name, and I don’t know where she was in 1850. From her headstone I do know she died in 1864, she was 73 years old and she was the mother of Elisha Cole. I also know she must have traveled from Bloomsburg, PA with her son’s family in 1851. The family headed west for whatever reason and had a child in Indiana before settling in the Schoolcraft area of Michigan. That’s about 540 miles with no interstates and just walking. Google maps says you could walk it in 7 days and 9 hours. I can only assume they mean 7×24 hours plus the 9. If they meant 8 hour days why is there 9 hours added on. That’s about right, 540 hours at a little over 3 miles an hour. No speed walking or you would fall over.

Now this intrepid woman walked that at age 60. The first time I saw this photo was at my first and only Cole reunion in Schoolcraft in 2001. As the photo was passed around they joked that she was sort of ugly and thankgoodness we didn’t see anyone there that inherited her looks. I write that this woman walked all that way but you are probably thinking she rode in the wagon. I have a copy of a letter sent to another ancestor that the writer walked the entire way from western New York to Michigan.  They walked to save the stress on the horses or more likely oxen.

You can see she has lost her teeth but it appears her hair is still dark unless all of it is tucked under her hat. We also know she had at least one child at home but more likely she had closer to 10. She had a hard life, all farmers’ wives had it hard. That same letter writer said she’d be happy when harvest was over because then she wouldn’t have to feed so many and wash clothes for all the farmhands.

I’ll keep looking into her life and looking for her husband and parents but I’m proud this ugly old woman is my ancestor, God rest her soul.


My heirloom


My grandfather was a stained glass artist. He won a competition to replace a stained glass piece from Reims cathedral in the early 1900s. A crown piece was cracked. Reims is not only the capital of Champagne but the French kings were all crowned there. I have the piece that he replaced. I went to Reims and met with an architect in charge of restoring the cathedral, it was bombed in both World Wars. After looking at a photo i had of it he said it was 14th or 15th century and said he could pinpoint the year if i brought it to him. However i wouldnt be allowed to keep it. I didnt go back. Maximilian Ernst Römer.



First blog post

This is my very first post. I’m doing Amy Johnson Crows 52 ancestors in 52 weeks. #52ancestors

The first prompt is “Start” so I guess I’ll start with what started me to delve in genealogy. That was my elusive relationship between my ancestor Abner Munn and his son Jesse. My mother’s aunts couldn’t prove the relationship but their father John Calvin Munn knew his father Jesse and his grandfather Abner. They had letters verifying the relationship from cousins but the DAR didn’t accept it. And unfortunately I don’t even have those letters. The census didn’t help as it didn’t have the family correct in 1800 or 1810. Abner had 4 children in Monson Massachusetts but then moved to Bethlehem New York and there are no records. Jesse and his twin Joseph were named for their grandfather Jesse Ives and his twin Joseph but that isn’t proof. Anyway while searching for paperwork I started looking at more and more ancestors. Then my dad asked why I didn’t look at his side and my searching expanded and expanded.  So my ancestor for this first week is Abner. In 2017 I went to Salt Lake City and spent many hours looking at church records, all in Albany county and then I expanded my search area. Then I met Crista Cowan who told me I was searching on the wrong area. They had been members of the Congregational church and then the Baptist church and neither did infant baptisms. To further make it difficult the Baptist church in Mendon New York burned in 1825 and that would have been where Jesse would have been baptized later in life. Stymied again and again.