Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Women Before Me.

I have a post I'm working on, it's just semi-difficult to get into the right words.  It's a post that I need to post, for me.  But in the meantime, I'm reposting a post I did a few  years ago on my old blog...........

This post is about the women before me.  My ancestors.  And a necklace....

In my possession, I own a cameo necklace.   It's a family necklace.  Here it is:

And here is a closeup of the cameo portion:

This is the only picture of I have of my great-great-great grandmother, Anna:

She came over from Switzerland with her husband Caspar in the early to mid 1800's. That is about the only information I have of her. I know that she and Caspar had their children here in America, and that this picture was probably taken here in America.  I don't know if she was the original owner of the necklace or not, but I do know that my great-great grandma Lydia had it, as you can see she is wearing it in this picture:

Here is her daughter, my great-great Grandmother, Lydia:

This picture was probably taken circa 1900 or so. I do know it was passed on to her daughter, Lillian, however she was not the "eldest" daughter, so I don't know why it was given to her (not that being the eldest daughter automatically means you get it or anything like that, at least not back then, I'm just curious as to why she possessed it).

Here is my great-grandmother, Lillian:

This picture was probably taken circa 1920. I know I have a picture of her somewhere where she is wearing the necklace as well. My Grandma Lillian died far too early in her life. Throughout many years the family thought that she had died some mysterious "woman" disease. It wasn't until a family reunion in 2000 where we found out that she had died from an abortion gone wrong. This was in 1934. And it was in South Dakota, which makes me even more upset about South Dakota trying to pass a law against abortion. I have no idea why she had an abortion back then, but I can only guess that maybe it was because it was during the Depression era, and possibly they barely had enough food for her, her husband, and 3 children. Maybe it was a medical reason why she had to have one. We'll never know. I do know that the necklace was passed down to my grandma, who was the eldest daughter:

My grandma never had a picture taken of her with the necklace. I do remember getting to look at it now and then when I would visit her. My grandma didn't have the easiest life either. She was 12 when her mom died and her and her sister had to go live with an aunt and uncle (because back then it wasn't proper for a father to raise girls by himself) and thus she was separated from her brother and her father. She got to see them during the summers however. Then her aunt and uncle were in the military and were being stationed in Puerto Rico and another aunt, Aunt Edie, thought it was far too improper to have children being raised in Puerto Rico, so she took over care of my grandma and my aunt. While I'm sure Aunt Edie loved them, she was much more strict on my grandma and my grandma ended up eloping with my grandpa John when she was 19 because she knew Aunt Edie would have forbidden the marriage. After my grandma passed away in 1993, the ownership of the necklace went to my mom, the eldest daughter:

This picture was taken during the mid 1960's. My mother also never had a picture taken with her wearing the necklace. When my mom passed away in 2004, the necklace then came into my possession, the eldest daughter.
I knew far, far in advance that the necklace would one day be mine. My mom always told me that. Even though my mom's death was sudden, she did state her intentions with certain family items, and the cameo necklace was one of them.
So now it is in my possession, stored securly in the safe. My great aunt Joan (my grandma's sister) told me that I should wear black when wearing the necklace, it highlights the necklace more. So one day soon, I will take a picture with me wearing the necklace.
And one day I would like to take it to get it appraised to see if they can even determine where the necklace had originated from, when it was possibly made. The value of the necklace is priceless to me.


  1. a bit teary. Its so great that you have so much info about your female ancestors. I would give anything for that, as mine is sketchy at best....knowing who you are and where you come from is priceless too.

  2. Wow, I'm also teary and agree with Kelley - what you have is priceless and you are blessed to have it.

  3. How wonderful to have the photos and stories that go with this necklace! It is so special.

  4. Oh, what a very sweet story. I am the only one in my family that is very much into our ancestry and I get so teary eyed reading about the struggles our ancestors endured and thankful that we have come so far and yes,concerned that we may someday take a giant leap backward.

    My cats are named after my grandma and great-aunt.

  5. Love this story so much. Thanks for sharing! You should go on Antiques Roadshow.

  6. Beautiful story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  7. I just love this! The you honor who made it possible for you to exist....that you keep these photos, memories and the necklace and honor them in the way you do...and that you are going to keep this necklace on its journey.
    It always amazes me how an object carries such stories and feelings within does our art when we create it. Thank you, Tina, for such a touching blog post!

  8. A wonderful story - thank you for sharing it. I would love to see a picture of you wearing this beautiful necklace. In the world we live in today, many would miss the priceless value of this necklace - so glad you are not one of them. Makes me think of all the jewelry in pawn shops and the stories that could be told.

  9. that's a great story of the necklace and all the women who previously owned it. My family history is such a jumble that I don't have anything like that to share, and I love to read the stories of those who do.

  10. What a treasured heirloom to have to pass on through the generations of women in your family. I have just been going back through my history to find out more and it gives a sense of connection to the past...This necklace is just lovely.