A Genealogy challenge….
Amy Crow – a genealogist on G+ set up a challenge – 52 ancestors blogged about, by doing one a week. Susan Clark did her post and that’s how I found out about it – so I’m going to join in.
Hazel Pearl Roberts – at age 16.
Hazel Pearl was born April 4, 1900 to Carrie Evelyn Hawkins and John Milton Roberts. She was their ninth child, seventh daughter.
Carrie was 31 at the time of Hazel’s birth, and John was 41 years old. They lived in Wesley, Washington County, Maine on a large farm where they grew a lot of their own food, had cows and goats, chickens and horses – and they grew blueberries as a cash crop.
Hazel was my great-grandmother and I knew her well…or thought I did. I found out more about her in the two weeks before she died than I ever did in the 27 years I knew her. She was always strong, independent and capable – opinionated and ladylike, two qualities that rarely go together with as much finesse as Hazel managed to wield.
January 10, 1920 – Hazel Roberts – Lodger, F/W/27/S – Born in Maine – Father/Mother both born in Maine – Occupation: Stenographer for a decorating company.
Seems pretty innocuous, right?
Hazel was born in 1900…so she would be 19…almost 20…not 27. Yes, census takers can be notoriously inaccurate – but it is also likely she lied about her age in order to get work.
My grandmother, Helen Adelaide Reynolds, was born February 6, 1920 in Everett, Massachusetts.
She married Harry Nelson Reynolds and they had two sons after my grandmother – and thirty-plus years together. He died of a massive heart attack on March 4, 1963 and I was born in May of 1963… and Hazel focused all of her attention on her new great-granddaughter.
My christening gown was made, by Hazel, out of parachute silk from World War II – her sons sent it home to her in the war. At one point during Word War II…both of her sons were listed “missing in action”. At the same time. I cannot imagine the worry and fear…
Tabitha, wearing the christening gown that all of the great-grandchildren and most of the great-great-grandchildren wore.
In her later years, Hazel lived with her sister, Ethel, in a cottage in Danielson, Connecticut until she went to live with my mom, Elizabeth (Betty) Eldridge. She lived with Mom until her death in February 1990.
Nana Hazel was the one that encouraged me to write. She supported my dreams and plans…she told me I could be anything I ever wanted to be…and when she was dying and we were sitting in her room, talking… I asked her if she had any regrets.
“The only regret is that I wish I hadn’t been so afraid.” she said.
“Afraid of what?” I asked
“Worried about what people would say…what they would think. Afraid to take more chances, afraid to travel more and do things I wanted to do..” she replied.
This blew me away. I never saw her as someone who cared much about what people would say – or who didn’t do something she wanted to do. After she died, I found a small red book that she had written a couple of things into – not much – but one of the things was “I wish I had dared to be the writer I wanted to be.”
Nana taught me one major lesson with those words. I stopped caring so much about what others thought. I started living MY life and not someone else’s. Her words changed my whole life from that point onward.
They still do.
Hazel’s stone is next to Harry’s but the pic of hers didn’t come out.
UPDATE: I just found in the Massachusetts Vital Records: Marriages – entries for a marriage for Hazel P. Roberts and Harry N. Reynolds, dated 1919. (Vol 27/pg 61). I don’t have the actual document so I don’t have the date – but they were married in Chelsea, Massachusetts. So – the January 1920 census is incorrect. They may still have been living separately – and who knows? Maybe they told the census takers that they were unwed – or someone answered for them and said they were unwed. Another mystery!