The #52Ancestors Challenge

With school and life, working on my own ancestry has taken a back seat. To stay connected with it through this busy year, I’ve decided to give Amy Johnson Crow’s #52Ancestors challenge a go. I doubt I’ll keep up, especially since I’m starting late, but I’ll try to do at least some of the posts. The idea is to do something – anything, really – with your research so it doesn’t just sit, hidden away in a drawer, real or virtual.

The first topic is “Start.”

I’m pretty sure my passion for family history started when I was very small, listening to my grandparents, my great aunt and uncle, and my great grandmother talk, and seeing memories of the life left behind hanging in their homes. I’ve been fascinated by it for as long as I can remember.

But the ancestor whose story started me on the serious research path was Mary Ann Macrae, my 2x great grandmother. When she was forty and the mother to eight living children from newborn-13, her husband died in Minneapolis, where they’d immigrated in search of a better life after several years and two lost children in the tenements of Glasgow. With no way to support eight children on her own, and determined to keep the family together, she managed to somehow gather the resources to pack them all up and take them back home to the village in which she grew up, in the West Highlands of Scotland. I can’t imagine what that trip must have been like in 1896, newly widowed with eight children and all the possessions she could manage in tow. Her strength amazes me and inspires me.

All eight lived good, long lives. I’ve no idea what would have happened if she hadn’t taken them home, but I’m glad she did.



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