These are images that I have of my ancestors. Without these, I would not know their features. I do not know their voices or their facial expressions. I don’t know their body movements or how they smelled. How they sang. What they ate. If they were cold or affectionate. Sick or healthy. Had chronic pain or were free of it.
These are images that I have of my ancestors. If one is when young, would I know him older? If one is when old, would I know her as a girl?
I don’t know these people.
Yet, they built me.
Their characteristics came down through their children to me, and I passed them to my son. My favorite photos are of the women – as the special kinship I feel toward them, particularly up my direct maternal line, is strong.
I know my mother and my father, my mother the most. But the rest – they were gone before me.
It is true that, in part, I am who I am because of them. Not just because of them, of course. We all contribute to our own personalities. But I started with what they gave me – what they sent down.
The men – they shaped my relationship with myself and other men. The women – they shaped my relationship with myself and other women.
Here are photos of some of those who built me.
From Left to Right, beginning at the top:
- Elizabeth (CORMACK) RENFRO, 1809-1901, 3rd great-grandmother
- John Marion RENFRO, 1846-1916, 2nd great-grandfather
- Isaac VAN DUYN, 1822-1903, 3rd great-grandfather
- Martha J. (BLUE) VIRKLER CLUCAS, 1848-1921, 2nd great-grandmother
- Carrie D. (VIRKLER) TROUTMAN PHILP, 1873-1969, great-grandmother
- Henry Pat ANTON, 1872-1943, great-grandfather
- Marion Ann (RENFRO) ANTON, 1874-1934, great-grandmother
- Adele Marie (ANTON) TRAUTMAN MILLAR, 1893-1976, paternal grandmother
- James Joseph TRAUTMAN/WILSON, 1929-1985, father
- Isaac Andrew WILSON, 1848-1931, great-grandfather
- George KUHN, 1830-1901, 2nd great-grandfather
- Obe Dallas VAN DUYN, 1875-1946, great-grandfather
- Roy U. WILSON, 1894-1939, maternal grandfather
- Henry Bascom WILSON, Sr., 1824-1913, 2nd great-grandfather
- Barbara Ellen (HAAS) WILSON, 1854-1933, great-grandmother
- Sarah (JOHNSON) KUHN, 1833-1917, 2nd great-grandmother
- Minnie Magdalene (KUHN) VAN DUYN, 1877-1949, great-grandmother
- Carol Vernice (VAN DUYN) WILSON, 1902-1959, maternal grandmother
- Margaret Ellen WILSON, 1931-2005, mother
- Some little girl on a bouncy horse, Summer 1967.