Friday, April 9, 2010

Ancestor Approved Award!

Many thanks to Terri at The Ties That Bind and A Rootdigger for awarding me the Ancestor Approved Award! It is always good to know that people are still reading my blog, even though I abandoned it during the accounting busy season!

The Ancestor Approved Award asks that the recipient list ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlightened you and pass the award along to ten other bloggers who you feel are doing their ancestors proud.
I am supposed to write 10 things, but I think I will only write 5.

1) The biggest surprise I have found is the pension file of my great-great-great-grandfather, John PEMBERTON. He fought in Company C, 1st Michigan Cavalry during the Civil War. He gave a very long deposition about his time in the Civil War, including details about his brother's death, war-time injuries, family relationships, etc. I had no idea I could know so much about an ancestor who was born in 1839!

2) Another surprise is a story my grandfather, Clifford Robert DROUILLARD, told me not long ago. He said that he joined the U.S. Marines under the identity of a good friend of his from Michigan who was drafted. This was in the early 1950s, so it was probably during the Korean War. His friend did not want to be drafted, so my grandfather felt he was doing him a favor. He wasn't in the military too long before he was found out. Being a Canadian citizen, he was ordered back to Canada. He tried to marry a woman in Florida (where he was stationed) in order to stay in the U.S., but his plan didn't work. He ended up divorced and back in Canada, where he joined the Royal Canadian Army.

3) One of the most enlightening tales is not about my ancestors, but about those of my uncle. My cousin wanted to know more about her dad's dad's side of the family because she never knew her biological paternal grandfather, Arthur CHAMBERLAIN. He left the family when my uncle was very young, and my uncle was raised by his stepfather, George MASON, whom he considers to be his father. Nevertheless, my cousin wanted to know more about Arthur and his parents. All she had was a funeral card with his birth and death dates. As I found out more about Arthur, it seemed that, like my uncle, he had a rough family life as well. His parents divorced, and his mother took the three youngest children and went to live with her boyfriend in Detroit. The older two children stayed behind with their father. Arthur was the youngest, and by the time he was 7, his mom was already living with her boyfriend. I don't think this excuses Arthur from leaving his family, but it helps to understand the reasons he may have done so.

4) Why did my great-great-grandfather's sister, Myrtle PEMBERTON, marry her first cousin not once, but twice? Did they do this in Canada because Michigan had laws about marrying first cousins?

5) I think something that has humbled me most is how much I look just like a PEMBERTON (my mom's family) but act just like a TRAHAN (my dad's family). When my grandfather, Benford Maurice TRAHAN, died last year, and we were going through his things, I figured out where I got my organization skills from. Yet every time I go to Michigan, everyone tells me how I look just like "Pammy Sue" (that's what they call my mom in Michigan).

6) OK, I have to do six because I just thought of one more thing. I was very humbled when I realized something at the time of my grandmother's death. I realized that she had truly gotten what she wanted most out of life: a large family that is very close to one another. One day I asked her once why she had 8 children. She was not a farmer's wife, and plenty of people had stopped having 8 children by the time the 1950s rolled around. I think the real reason is that she could not afford artificial birth control, but she said that it was because she always wanted a big family. She grew up an only child on a farm in the middle of nowhere with only her father and was always lonely as a child. If there was one thing my grandmother wasn't in all the 27 years I knew her, it wasn't lonely. She always had children, grandchildren, or great-grandchildren at her house. ALWAYS!!! So, regardless of the real reasons she had 8 children, I think that in the end, God blessed her with her greatest wish.

Since so many people have already gotten this award, I think I will award it to three people:

Alanna at A Twig in My Tree
Becky at Grace and Glory
Holly at Raeburn Family Odyssey


  1. Thank you, Jennifer! I loved your you've motivated me to do some searching in Civil War pension files. I haven't done that yet. I'm honored to receive this award and I thank you again! Now I need to get busy and post about it on my blog.

  2. Hi, Becky! It's so funny because I usually forget to go tell people I've actually awarded them something, and they end up finding it on my blog! I guess I am just trying to test and see who really reads it...LOL!

  3. good going girl.
    These are fun to read.