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Dorothy’s Place: Family tree or bush?

By Dorothy Denne

What with all the new research methods, genealogy research has become very popular. As regular readers of Dorothy’s Place know, I love nostalgia and reminiscing. So, I decided to draw a family tree. I gave up very early on. I couldn’t figure where the devil to put the branches. For example, you see….
Mom’s sister, my Aunt Jessie, had two daughters, Mabel and Dorothea. Mabel married Bob J. and they had a baby boy, Harold. Dorothea became engaged to my dad’s younger brother, my Uncle Homer.
Sadly, Mabel died of smallpox when Harold was only two days old. Shortly thereafter, Uncle Homer got another woman pregnant or, as it was known in those days, he put her in the family way. His “honor” and her father mandated that he marry her, so he dumped Dorothea. This was a lucky break for Dorothea.
She loved Harold dearly and Bob J. was really a pretty nice guy. So, Dorothea and Bob were married. It turned out to be a lasting, loving relationship. Lasting and loving but getting confusing. Her nephew was now her son and her brother-in-law was now her husband.
Bob’s sister, Ruth, had married Dorothea’s brother, Olin, so Dorothea’s brother was now Bob’s brother-in-law and Bob’s sister was now Dorothea’s sister-in-law.
Aunt Jessie’s children, who would be my first cousins, were all so much older than I that I thought they were aunts and uncles. Their children, who would be my second cousins, were of my generation so we all thought we were first cousins.
My mom was their Aunt Mabel. Their grandma was my Aunt Jessie. Their Grandma J. was no relation to me but I didn’t know that until it was too late to ever call her anything but Grandma.
Confusing, huhA!X It could have been worse. If Dorothea, who I thought was my aunt but was really my cousin, had married Uncle Homer then she would have been my aunt for real, my second cousins would have been my first, her Aunt Mabel would also have been her sister-in-law and the whole damn family tree would have been cross rooted.

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