Memories and Faces

Putting our footprints in the sands of time for our children

Memory Lane

Don't you just love finding treasures?

Posted by Patricia Dettloff on April 3, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Within the last few months, I’ve found a number of families and/or a family member in the US Census reports posted on Ancestry.com.

One find was especially exciting.

My maternal grandmother had a cousin who was a nun. We would visit the convent at St. Bernard’s Church and School every time we had a sleepover at Gramma’s. She referred to it as visiting her cousin and referred to her “cousin” by her birth name (Edna) most of the time. We always went to see Sr. Stanislaus, a Sister of St. Joseph out of Nazareth, MI.  So where was this “cousin” she kept talking about? For years we had no idea who she was. As I got older, I asked the question… “Who is Edna?” And what was her last name. Well, turns out Edna and Sr. Stanislaus was one and the same person.

Now it’s 50 years later and I have a photo of a nun in her habit. I remembered that it was Sr. Stanislaus, but what was her birthname? How can you ever find a nun? They didn’t give out their real names. How could I find her spot in the family puzzle?

In the boxes and boxes of Gramma’s photos, I found a picture of a young woman with an older lady. My notes (in my handwriting) said that the young woman was "Sr. Stanislaus (Edna) and Aunt Jennie," Edna's mother, and this information was based on the faltering memory and eyesight of the older generations. How exciting! Ah, a piece to this very large puzzle.

Now which Aunt Jennie was the older lady? Jennie was a popular name back before 1900 and there were many with that name in both the Rose and the Sharrow families. Thank you, Family Tree Maker and Ancestry.com. I was able to search my family tree lists I created of all of the family members back a long way. That and the family trees that were passed down to me from both sides of my Gramma’s family gave me food for my trek through history.

This week I found that Sr. Stanislaus was Edna Mae Perrin at birth and her mother was Jennie Sharrow Perrin. I found 2 censuses – 1900 and 1930. The earlier one gives me her family and age and she was a telephone operator at that time, the second one told me that she was Edna Perrin, occupation: nun. I can say with only a modicum of doubt, I found my nun.

I LOVE doing puzzles! Don’t you?


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