Monday, July 16, 2012

Who is Emily Jackman? by Jena Galifany

My father has made a living from haunting family estate sales, swap meets, yard sales and the like. He has a knack for finding items that mean nothing to the present owner but is worth much on the open market. Daddy once found a little cream pitcher that was about 3 inches tall at a garage sale. It looked like it came from a child's tea set. He paid twenty-five cents for it and went about his business. Once he'd posted it on eBay, it sold for $125.00. It was silver and a collector's item. Daddy knows what to buy at a garage sale!

I've told you that to tell you this: My father knows I own Galifany Used Books here in Lancaster, California.  He found a couple of books that he thought I might enjoy and shipped them off to me. They are a set of two diaries. On the inside title page, they tell me the author of the diaries was Emily Jackman and the years are 1871 and 1872. The leather covers are smooth and soft but thin from age. They are amazing.

I've decided to not only read Emily's diaries, but I'm transcribing them once I figure out what they say. The writing is ornate in a few places and it makes it difficult to read. Emily must have used a pencil as her words are severely faded. She also did me the dishonor of writing very, very small. Nevertheless, with my hubby's excellent help. I'm able to read Emily's words. Steve rigged up a camera attached to a tripod sitting on the floor. It is attached to the big screen television. I place the diary, dimensions about the size of a credit card, under the camera and it is shown on the big screen. This, and a lighted magnifying glass, is allowing me to transcribe the tiny history of one woman in 1871.

Through clues from some of her entries, I've located Emily on the United States Census for 1880. She lived in Charlotte, Vermont and her husband's name was George D. Jackman. She was born in 1848. She is listed at white, American, and her occupation was "Keeping House". She had one son, Harrison, who was eight years old and another son, Earle who was two during the 1880 census. There would be two sons for Emily, a fact she knew nothing about as she wrote her diaries in 1871 and 1872.

I have to say that my father sent me a fascinating new hobby. I'm finding out who Emily Jackman was. Furthermore, I plan to locate some of her descendants and see if they would like to have her diaries back. I love a good mystery and this is only the beginning of a true life search into the past to reunite the diaries with Emily's family.


 Jena w/Grandma and Dee 


Emily has me thinking about my family history once more. There are so many things that I'd like to know about my family history but there is no one left to ask. Is this a great reason to keep a diary or a journal? I think it is. I believe everyone should keep some record of special events that later generations would like to know about or medical histories that future generations need to know. So many treasures are lost because no one thought to record it for the next generation.

I'm planning to start a project with my family through the email. I want each of my three siblings and multiple nieces and nephews to take part in asking and answering questions about each other and about memories of generations past. By having the emails, I can store them on computer and compile them into a logical "book" of memories and information for those to come. Who knows? Maybe I'll find out a few exciting facts about my family that only my older sister knows about. Do you have any suggestions that would help enrich this new form of family history recording?

Cheers,
Jena Galifany
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6 comments:

Margo Hoornstra said...

What a fascinating way to learn about one person's history. We just returned from my husband's family reunion. Nice to figure out where some of us came from.

Jannine Gallant said...

Jena, I love what you're doing with Emily's diary. I'm now the keeper of a scrapbook about my great grandmother. She sang and recited long poems as a child in a travelling light show her father produced. Boy was he a colorful character! Anyway, a distant cousin transcribed the book so that it can be read without damaging the fragile documents and photos. You're performing a real service to Emily's descendants, and I hope you find them.

My suggestion would be to include photos in your records from your family members, clearly identified. Generations from now, it will make you all seem more real and personal.

Barbara Edwards said...

How great a hobby! I love history and doing my children's genealogy. It can fill hours of fascinated reading. thanks for sharing

Jerri Hines said...

What an interesting story. Great blog!

JenaGalifany said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JenaGalifany said...

Jannine, I am the keeper of the antique photos for the family. That one in the post is me sitting on my grandmother's lap with my older sister wearing the hat. It's funny. I found out where my son's looks came from when my dad sent me this picture. He looks like I did then.

Yes, I think this will be a great new hobby!