Monday, April 13, 2015

Mystery Monday - SHOW off that family treasure & TELL the story - Paula Parmelee

Editor's note: Today's post was written by Sandra Gardner-Benward

...........and here is another of many 'members shared items' from our February Show N Tell. Enjoy!!

Let me introduce you to Paula Parmelee......  

Paula has written up one of the family storys from all of her research on her Chaves great grandparents. You can see her pride in her smile. 

Paula: I wanted to share my notebook at show and tell, it represents the work and joy it took to find my great grandparents. I'd met my great grandmother once as a child but didn't really know anything about her which was quite unlike the relationship I had with my maternal grandparents and extended family.

Paula begins.................. My two sisters and I grew up believing our last name was Schaff and our father’s family was of German descent. We didn’t have family stories other than those of our father growing up poor in Denver. We didn’t go visit our father’s relatives like we did our mother’s. We just figured our father’s family wasn’t close and let it go at that. The things we thought we knew about our father and his family changed in 1975 when our mother relayed to us a story she had been told by our estranged father many years before. His family surname was actually CHAVEZ, from New Mexico, and they were Spanish not Mexican. The story goes that when our grandfather, Philip Schaff, Sr., was 8 years old  he, his mother and his siblings were kicked off the family ranch in New Mexico. They moved to Colorado, changed their last name and grandpa went to work to help support the family. How terrible!

We had many questions but no one to answer them. After the divorce of our parents we had lost contact with all of our father’s family. What to do? I found myself wanting to discover as much as I could about our family. But pre-computers and the internet, that research took time, time I did not have while raising four active children. Fast forward to 2011, I decided it was time to start looking for our Chavez family. I began by learning how to research by working on my mother’s and my husband’s family trees. Both families were very well documented and I figured, if I ran into difficulties, I had experienced family researchers who could help me out. By 2012, I was ready to research the Chavez family. 

...........  YES! research she did, lots of twists and turns but Paula broke down all those brickwalls and wrote the story........

........and.this story continues in the pages of a coming issue of Root Cellar Preserves publication. And I find it very exciting to have your family story published so that it lives on and on..... imagine 25 years from now one of Paula's descendants in Allen County Library / Genealogy Dept......... or  Family History Center in Salt Lake City, or at the California State Archives, Sacramento at the Root Cellar Library.........  looking through a Root Cellar Preserves Publication with your family story. WOW!!  

Paula: A treasure of mine, a photo of Donaciana, my grandmother, was taken about 1900. It is the first photo of someone that looks like me, or I look like her. I realized that in all my life I never saw a photo of someone I resembled. I certainly did not look like my mother’s people. That was okay, I looked like my father’s people. I just did not have any contact with them. It is amazing to have friends and family look at Donaciana’s picture, look at me, look back and say that’s you, except for the eyes, that’s you. I found my family. What a great story and many many brickwalls crumbled too. Great Job Paula.........

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