Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Thank you, Ancestors

I like to do some research on a sampler style and then I pick one of my ancestors and include that person's name. After getting into genealogy, I realized that I had so many ancestors who came to the US when life was primitive. They emigrated because they wanted land and a better life for their descendants. Many came here for religious freedom. They were willing to undergo hardship for their convictions. Most knew that they would never reap the rewards themselves, but they did it for their children. The more I learned the more I wanted to honor these people, so I decided that I would make my samplers as a tribute to them. Some of these samplers I design and some are reproductions or in a particular style.

Most of my ancestors were here before the American Revolution. That meant that they endured a harrowing 4-6 month journey across the ocean, and there was very little here when they reached these shores...if they survived. I may have had a wealthy ancestor here or there, but most of my ancestors were small landowners. Their houses were built with wood they chopped. The food they ate was raised by them. Life was fraught with danger. There is a record in the church in Rhode Island that my ancestors went to. A couple was killed by Indians while they were on the way to church. My ancestors were there when it happened. Scary, isn't it?

Although these samplers are a tribute to these women, I have to be careful to stitch the tribute in such a way as to not confuse sampler collectors 100 years from now. Can you imagine what a chore it would be to date such a sampler? They'd have 21st century fabric and thread and a date of 1700. The more I learn about samplers, the more I learn about my ancestors..and about myself.

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