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Tuesday 18 March 2014

Pop Pretty, Part 6: The Big Picture

Have you ever struggled over a puzzle, one in which all the pieces look alike, except for the edges. All of the  border is done and you've sorted as best you can. You need to find a few key pieces to get you started but everything just looks the same.

Genealogy is like that puzzle for me. However there isn't a picture to guide you until the pieces are retrieved and assembled. I had the borders of the family puzzle done. I knew our great grandparents and their predecessors for three generations back.

From Joanne, the Pretty family historian, I had found my cousin Patti, her Mom, Olive and Olive's twin sister, Jenny who were my father's first cousins. The father of the twins, Fred Pretty, was my grandfather Samuel's brother. Patti, her husband and parents, live in Australia. They were looking for the family's history as well.

                     Olive, Patti and Jenny on Pretty's Lane in Dildo, Newfoundland. 
        Olive and Jenny are Robert Pretty's granddaughters. Patti is his great granddaughter.

There were lots of Prettys in Newfoundland but other that Robert's descendants, I didn't think any were from our Samuel and Harriet, because Robert didn't have any brothers. Samuel and Harriet had one boy and four girls. According to Joanne, some of the girls had gone to the mainland. That was too big a pool to search on my own so I joined a genealogical website and put in what I had.

Within a short while I found descendents of one sister, Martha Jane, called Jennie by her family, through her great granddaughters Gwen and Betty in Nova Scotia. Within a few weeks I found descendents of another sister, Elizabeth, through her granddaughter Dolores, in Massachusetts. It was as if the world opened up. More unbelievably, there was a picture of the sisters together. The families hadn't known each other but like me, they were looking as well.  

           Martha Jane (Jennie) Pretty and Elizabeth Pretty
Jennie and Elizabeth were seamstresses. Did they make their coats? Elizabeth's coat is form-fitted for that hour glass figure. 

Since that time, I have tried to find descendents of Lydia and Edith. Lydia did have a son. After she died of tuberculosis, her husband remarried. Her son eventually married and had a family so there are descendents but I haven't been able to contact them. The other sister, I believe, died young, but I haven't proof of that yet. She is one of the unknowns.

These three sisters, like Robert, died of tuberculosis at an early age, leaving young families. That disease devastated the descendents of Samuel and Harriet. However, the children, in spite of the loss of their mothers, survived to grow and have families of their own. Generations later their family lines are thriving.

When life presents obstacles, the immediate challenge can seem insurmountable. Those ancestors of ours, dying young and leaving such young families, must have been devastated to leave their children. Today, with the passage of time and the help of technology, we can see the big picture.

  L to R, Back:  Colleen, Barb, Larry, Carl, Betty, Gwen. Front:  Jack and Eva (Jennie's granddaughter)

     Dolores and Richard with their thirteen grandchildren from their seven children. Dolores is Elizabeth's granddaughter.

These pictures make me smile!

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