It occurred to me this weekend that I have been writing this blog for six months now and I have not introduced you to my inspiration - Elizabeth. If you read my profile, you will see that I have two great- great-grandmother's named Elizabeth. They both are on my father's side of the family. Let me introduce them to you today.
Elizabetta De Paolo
Elizabetta is the grandmother of my father's mother. She was born in Italy and lived there her entire life. I can not find any record of her coming to America. My grandmother never spoke about her being here in America either. I also know my grandmother never got to travel to meet any of her relatives in Italy because of WWI and WWII. However, I admire Elizabetta very much because she let her daughter Rose travel to America at age 13 to start a better life here. Can you image the courage it must have taken to let her daughter go to a strange country without any family at 13, knowing she would never see her again? Now I didn't say Rose came to America all alone, she didn't. From the records I have found, it appears (I have not yet confirmed this - I am looking for the ship's passenger list) that she traveled to America with her future mother-in-law. My great-grandfather was in New York City waiting for both Rose and his mother to arrive here. My great-grandmother Rose carried this picture of her mother, Elizabetta, with her to America. The best I can tell is this picture was taken about 1870, around the time Elizabetta got married. I am sure it was the only time she ever had her picture taken.
Elizabeth is the grandmother of my father's father. She was born in Ireland and came to America as a young woman, probably during the Irish potato famine. She lived in New York City. She met and married my great-great-grandfather, Michael Smith, sometime before the American Civil War. I do not know (yet) when they were married because I haven't been able to find their marriage certificate. (I am still looking!) However, I do know they were married before 1861 because my great-grandmother, Mary, was born in 1861. Like most Irish in NYC at that time, they were quite poor. Unfortunately, that means I do not have any pictures of Elizabeth. I only have pictures of her daughter, Mary, later in life after Mary had grandchildren.
I think of these two women often throughout my day. How did they manage to keep their house clean, cook meals and wash clothes without all the luxury appliances we have today? How did they manage to do it with very little money? I know it took a lot of creativity to run a household back then. It also took a set of skills that not many people have today. Since I was in my 20's, I have been trying to learn these skills to keep them alive and pass them onto others.
That is the reason I started this blog!
Do you know your ancestors? I bet you too have someone like Elizabeth in your family.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has a FREE web site that you can use to help you locate your ancestors: www.familysearch.org. This web site has all sorts of tutorials and on-line help if you don't know where to start. It has records from all over the world! Anyone, from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, can access this site to search for their family records. You should check it out!