Being Breath

stories from the wilderness of everyday life

Journaling Into My Past

I have (yet another) new passion.

Last weekend we stayed at my mother's house and ended up pulling out a huge box of documents and old family photos. Holding those frail photos in my hands and reading profound thoughts that my ancestors shared rekindled an interest in researching my family history.

When I get into something, I REALLY get into it. Last night, I was up until 1 a.m. following one lead after another, trying one more search term in Google. This is an addictive treasure hunt.

In hopes that I don't get too caught up in this, I'm trying to integrate this fascination with my ongoing life.

For example, I shared the art journal page with the grid that I originally intended to house photos of the different aspects of me (mother, wife, yogini, etc.). That grid is now going to combine some of the magnificent photos we uncovered of those who created and remain in my soul.

I'm still working on it, but here's a more updated version (I added chalk and oil pastels and did some outlining with charcoal pencil):

I have yet to decide which photos will be included, but am so excited to share just a few:

This is my great-great grandmother on my father's side, Carrie Deffaulx. (We believe her name might have been "Marna", but we're not sure if that is a first or middle name.)

Isn't she just lovely? Those eyes are captivating.

This is her husband, (my great-great grandfather), Louis Deffaulx.

I LOVE the moustache and hat. We have record that he was born in France and became an American citizen sometime during his life. Apparently, his parents owned a vineyard...ooooh, how I would love to learn more about that!!

One more photo to share that really speaks to me. This is Carrie's daughter, May, who would be my great-great aunt...is that right? (May's sister is my great-grandmother.) (I never met May.)

This photo draws my heartstrings together. She is me, and I am her.

I'm just giddy about all of this but am really trying to maintain balance....thus, I'm off to play with my daughter and her legos. :)

Do you have any tips for researching family history (for free?!)? I'd love to know them!