I hail, as do all women, from a sacred and powerful legacy of grandmothers. I sing the blood song that lies deep within, passed down to me from each one, in a way that is unique to only me. I pull forth their magical gifts and make use of them in a way that serves. Their bones are my bones, their blood is my blood, I see their faces in my own face, and in the faces of my daughters, my sisters, my nieces.
My Grandmothers number to the near-infinite, of course. The more recent generations came to the USA from England and Cornwall, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France, Germany, Switzerland, Netherlands, Poland, Denmark, Sweden, and Italy. Maria Anna (Marianne) Foltzloger Schaaf, my maternal 8th great-grandmother and descendant of the ancient H1 mitochondrial mother I call Halenka, came from Memmelshoffen, Bas-Rhin, in the Alsace region in France. She arrived to Louisiana in 1721 after a treacherous Atlantic crossing (including pirates!) on a ship named La Garonne, husband and small children in tow, seeking relief from war and religious persecution. Life in the 1700s on the Cote des Allemands is documented as having been primitive and quite brutal and that hardship likely contributed to her death only three years after her arrival, leaving behind daughters to pass Halenka's genetic blood song down to her generations of granddaughters.
My other grandmothers' stories are many, I will never know them all, but I can only imagine each one who traveled to the USA was surely seeking a better life. They landed in various places and had their descendants in Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, Maine, Rhode Island, and other places I have yet to discover.
I am humbled, awed, and very privileged to know some of their names and stories. My life's work includes finding and naming as many of them as I'm able, and to leave a record of my work for the generations to follow. In moments of reflection and contemplation, I speak these names aloud with love, gratitude, and reverence.
G: Mabel Norma Taylor, Ruth Thelma Picton
1x: Louisa Alphonsine Fabre, Nina Manfré, Florence Newton, Cara Mae Hansgen
2x: Cecelia Dora O’Heron, Laura Edna Potter, Sarah Elizabeth Nice, Elizabeth Ann Adamson, Margaret Rowan, Antonina Lauricella, Ada Birdie Carter, Mathilde Marie Carr
3x: Mary Eva Daniel, Phoebe L Salladay, Elizabeth Lathlean, Ella McBride, Anne House, Elizabeth Johnson, Mary Meehan, Antonina Maggiore, Maria Palmisano, Frances Catherine Ratcliff, Margaret D Newman, Celeste Andras
4x: Maria Jacobina Dubbach, Catharina Ruhmann, Mary Polly Niles, Eliza Norris, Mary Rees, Mary Nankivell, Elizabeth Bieler, Sarah Hutchinson, Susannah Hall, Ann Dickinson, Elizabeth Sacker, Margaret MacDonald, Angela Cincotta, Maria Candida Serio, Antonina Barbera, Rosa Barbera, Catherine Joyce Huff, Caroline Virginia White, Eurasie Rose Rome
5x: Catharina Kreucher, Christina Balter, Maria Elisabeth Bany, Maria Eva Hohe, Rosanna, Anna MacDonald, Phoebe Chaffin, Sarah Tasker, Mary Ann Richards, Ann Cross, Elizabeth James, Maria Linsenbigler, Mary Harbottle, Ann Johnson, Susannah Smith, Margaret Pattison, Sarah Heppell, Mary Groves, Elizabeth Chamberlain, Sara Coon, Margaret MacIntosh, Giovanna Mattina, Maria Manfrè, Rosalia Martello, Antonina Pettarino, Rosalia Gumina, Angela Verdichizzi, Angela Ingargiola, Maria Manfrè, Naomi Bateman, Catherine Longmire, Anne Elizabeth Young, Judith Taylor, Anne Marie Portier, Francoise Edelmeier
6x: Christina Thelen, Helena Renneberg, Catharina Hoernichs, Elizabeth Norton, Mary Burgess, Sarah Christina Flick, Eunice Walcott, Margaret Bowen, Jane William, Mary Williams, Mary Hoar, Elizabeth Goddard, Mary Giddy, Margaret Heebner, Christina Mueller, Margaret White, Anne Patterson, Ann Armstrong, Mary, Ann Brewster, Isobel Forsyth, Margaret Anderson, Rosa Bongiorno, Angela Luciano, Giuseppa DiPietro, Antonina Gagliano, Rosalia Sciacchitano, Rosalia Martello, Rosa Panicola, Vincenza Basile, Emeline Anne Goode, Judith Bankston, Anne Ollive, Catherine Menti, Marie Madeleine Andre, Nanette Claudine Clereaux
7x: Anna Catherina Schrah, Sarah Hopson, Sarah Kimball, Rebecca Cummings, Rebecca Conant, Jane Thomas, Mary Thomas, Joyce Bonython, Margaret, Anna Veronica Dotterer, Sarah Hooper, Mary Gurney, Hannah, Janet Payne Carlyle, Rosaria Randazzo, Ann Hudson, Jemima, Anne Boumiere, Madeleine Benoite, Catherine Delorme, Anne Marie Lemperer, Anna Marguerite Steiger, Maria Magdalena Schmidt, Anna Maria Schaaf
8x: Anna Maria Kohl, Abigail Davis, Esther Prescott, Susanna, Maria Scholtze, Anna Maria Fischer, Mary MacLean, Angela Benenati, Catharina Modica, Marie Elisabeth Guilbert, Anna Maria Mayer, Maria Anna (Marianne) Foltzloger, Susanna Turner, Anna Maria Northrup, Anne Thurston, Freelove Bucklin, Elizabeth Seward, Hannah James
9x: Susanna Kriebel, Rosalia Paino, Marguerite Coulau, Elisabeth Isabelle Lanceleur, Sabina Langin, Barbara Kingery, Marie Eve Lisbeth, Janneke Blomen, Mehitable Tripp, Mary Tilden, Martha Cleaves, Martha Closson, Sarah Warner
10x: Jannetie Tijssen, Elisabeth Langevin Lacroix, Anne Picart, Petronilla Mandolotti, Bartolomea Lipuzzi, Anna Krause, Anna Borman, Elizabeth Bartlett, Mary Holmes, Elizabeth Mott, Anne Sisson, Mary Neissender, Martha Edwards, Mary Bradstreet, Sarah Dane
11x: Jeanne Sauvegrain, Anna Margarina Ranz, Marguerite Mahay, Millicent Eames, Mary Warren, Lydia Huckstep, Elizabeth Creel, Mary Paine, Mary Freeman, Eleanor Dodge, Sarah Chandler, Elizabeth Dane
12x: Francoise D’Isle, Elizabeth Walker, Alyce Bigge, Winifred Hatch, Edith Brayne, Elizabeth Whitfield
13x: Francoise Fourneau, Alice Walker, Cecilia Fawne, Margery Bridges, Mary Agnes Giles
14x: Thennelinne Fauchart, Isobel Abell, Catherine Fortescue
Blessings on the memory of you, Grandmothers. I thank you for allowing me to stand on your shoulders as I shine my light onto the world in a manner that I pray is of benefit to all. I am grateful for your sacrifices, for the pains you endured as you birthed the children who grew to adulthood to carry forth your genetic legacy, for your resiliency, for the chance to know and speak your names. For those who remain nameless and unknown to me, I honor you as well, you are not forgotten, and I will continue to search for you until that day we meet again.
What is remembered, lives.
*Bolded names are my womb lineage through my direct maternal line. Research and names are periodically updated. Last update: 11/2/2023