Making It Work Monday: It Helps to Know From Whence You Come

I love stories.  I love making them, telling them, writing them and hearing them.  So it should come as no surprise that I love digging around in sites like  This weekend I caught the itch to dig a little more into my family tree on my father’s side and boy did it pay off.

There are names that I have heard since childhood that never quite clicked for me. Many of these names belonged to family members who had passed on before I was born or old enough to have fixed memories of them.  Added to that was my grandmother’s recent sharing with me of two family photo albums that prior to this month, I had no recollection of ever seeing.

Not only were there pictures, but there were also notes from the efforts of others before me describing who those pictured were and where and when the photos were taken.  Many of the photos also showed the wear and tear of their years.

I kept digging and digging until I found some images that I could touch up and share.  I now have images of the matriarch line from my father’s side of the family going back 140.  Yes, as Reconstruction gave way to Redemption in the American South, I can now look into the face of my relative who lived through this turbulent time of violence and struggle.  But this was also a time of innovation.  The year my Great Great Grandmother Mary Lou Holt Mills was born was the same year that Alexander Graham Bell made his first sound transmission.  It was the same year that James Augustine Healey became the first Black Catholic Bishop in the United States.  The electric dental drill was patented by George F Green that year and the first roller skating rink opened in London. The year 1875 also marked the first telegraphic connection in Argentina and Brigham Young University was founded.

I can’t help but wonder how Grandma Mary Lou would have felt if she could track those global events happening in places she had never seen and likely never even heard about in the way that I can as a result of technologies like the internet.

If you’d like to take a peak at the women who came before me, you can view the public link to my post on Facebook by clicking the link below.  (You don’t have to have a Facebook account to view the post, I checked.)

Tracing My Paternal Matriarch Line

I’ll be back next week with more of “Racing Astronauts”  If you need to catch up on where we are in the Wright family’s adventure you can visit the storyboard page at

~ Marta C. Youngblood

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