About Kay Strickland

I am a keeper of my family's lore, chasing after my ancestors' tales in south central New York, southwestern Pennsylvania and Southside Virginia. The stories and photographs that I share on this blog are my intellectual property. While I do my very best to provide well researched posts, I do not pretend to have reached genealogical proof standards. Therefore, much of this work is to generate conversation among interested parties. If you would like to share my work or my records, please contact me: dkaysdays (at) gmail (dot) com.

Leaf Litter from the Family Tree

The leaves from our deciduous forests are turning yellow, or brown, and dropping with alacrity to the ground.  They carpet every surface–grass, water, rocks, moss, driveways.

Falling LeavesFor years I have used the family tree metaphor to structure my genealogical research.  Only today did it strike me that leaf litter can also be an inspirational metaphor, as in those leaves, those ancestors, that get dropped, and disappear to nurture the soil of the family’s winding tale.

 

And as a review of this deed transcription suggests it is often women who carpet the family forest floor.

Screen Shot 2017-10-18 at 3.02.36 PM

On 15 June 1770, Samuel Whitworth sold 120 acres of land to William Wills Green, my fifth great-grandfather.  The parcel included houses, outbuildings, orchards, woods, water, and parts of Allens Creek, Mecklenburg County, Virginia…land that lay not far from where my father grew up.

William W Green took possession of the real estate on the same day.  His neighbors included Edward Beavils, Francis Moore Neal, Abram Green, and Thomas Whitworth.

No women were present for the sale.  No dower rights were acknowledged.

 

English common law crossed the ocean with the European settlers from which I descend.  Among the provisions of this legal framework was coverture, the principles enshrined to govern married women, prohibiting their agency to hold property, run businesses, conduct trade,  and act as citizens.

Therefore, though I know from William Wills Green’s last will and testament that he had 10 children, there is no record of their mother in this deed, or among the long list of deeds I have uncovered.  There is no acknowledgement of the women with whom she quilted and cooked; no indication that a midwife helped birth all those babies; no public record of any domestic work that contributed to the Green estate development.

Which is frustrating.  I have to snuffle in the leaf litter of history to discover the women in my past, more imagining than documenting their stories to fill out my family tree.

If you are a women’s studies buff, please leave any sources and ideas for research questions in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

 

 

Leaves on Kitchen Creek

Falling Leaves

I am grateful for falling leaves, golden lacy edges resting on rock and water.  

In the big scheme of things

In the big scheme of things, I am just one person, one set of feet walking across the National Mall and into the National Gallery.  I am just one camera capturing light and shadow, positive space and negative line.

However “only” I am, I do have a vision of a just and safe space for every human being.

And in the big scheme of things that vision, that art, remains visible, discoverable, actionable.

 

in the big scheme of things

Human being walking into National Art Gallery, East Wing, Washington, DC, 6 October 2017

Renewed Acquaintance

Male Monarch Butterfly.EH

Monarch butterflies come through northeastern Pennsylvania every year, finding our cone flowers tempting way stations.  This year a specimen stayed focused on the nectar hunt long enough for me to snap dozens of photos from a variety of angles.  I like these three perspectives for the detail that I could observe and research.

The first photo distinctly shows the black dot on the vein in each hind wing, a field mark that identifies this beauty is a male.

Male Monarch Butterfly.EH1

In this second photo, I am struck by the Monarch’s  thorax, perfectly coordinated with the black and white polka dot wing trim.

Male Monarch Butterfly.EH2

In this final shot, the Monarch wings held in the vertical plane, I get a clear glimpse of the feet searching for nectar among the cone flower’s nectaries.

What a delight to get reacquainted with this lovely symbol of hope and transformation.

Move Into The Week: With Anticipation

Young Fledgling

Recent American Robin fledgling waits patiently for parent delivery of  Wiggly Food™.

This time of year I can wander my yard, equal parts naturalized woodsy, goldenrod-filled meadow, and human-cultivated garden, and hear the earth’s pulse.  A Tufted Titmouse song peals over the trees, setting up territory for one more clutch.  Soft coos drift between Mourning Dove mates, one on nest, the other on roof.  And high pitched whistles drift among leaf rustles, feathered ventriloquists hiding their fledged selves from two and four legged threats.  The robins have had another successful clutch emerge  into my private preserve.  One short-tailed fledgling remained composed as I gingerly captured her wait.  I anticipate a week of new generation sightings.