Birds

Sympathy Saturday: When Genealogy Research Becomes Emotionally Taxing

For a Sympathy Saturday Post, I choose to nominate my 2nd Great Grandparents, David Cate Leavitt and Ella Gertrude Bird Leavitt along with their son, Claud Leon Leavitt.

Oh heavens, I sure hope I am not the only one who feels the writer’s pain while reading about the death experiences of their loved ones. The narrative that we have for Ella was written by her baby girl, Ella Maud Leavitt Brown in 1979. Maud’s narrative about her mother is filled with heartfelt memories and serves as the life tribute from a girl who dearly loved her parents and her favorite brother.

I use Ella’s language in recounting the death of each loved one:

David:

David was ill with what they called “Black Lung,” but was still working in the mines. He would come to Salt Lake City on weekends and whenever he could. He came home one time and was very sick with pneumonia and a bad heart, and on 4 August 1924 he died. Ella had his funeral in Provo, Utah. That was where all his brothers lived, and he was buried in Provo City Cemetery in August 1924. The Bishop of the Ward they lived in in Salt Lake City, traveled to Provo to speak at his funeral. David had been a good man, and a good father, and grandfather. Ella would miss him terribly, but she continued on with her lot in life.

Claud:

He had been working in the eastern United States and had been laid off. It was then the start of the “Great Depression” Claud was working his way back to Utah and was in Omaha, Nebraska. He was working for the railroad and had train tickets in his hand when he was either knocked down, or pushed, or fell (we don’t really know) off the platform and under the moving train! The same way he had got his legs cut off years before!!! The news of this was almost more than Ella could bear, but somehow even though you don’t think you can, you have to go on—and Ella did, with her faith in God!

Ella:

The summer of 1941 Ella’s cousin (Roxie Wood Terry) came and spent a few days with her. When it was time for her to leave she talked Ella into going back home with her to St. George, Utah for a visit, Ella did. They had a wonderful time that summer (this was only the second time that Ella had been back to the place of her birth in the 69 years of her life). They visited old friends, and old places they had known as children. One hot day they took a lunch and walked out to “sugar load” (a flat top mountain where they used to play). The sun was very hot and they had walked a long way, and they were very tired when they arrived back home. Ella got sick, and through exhaustion she suffered a very bad Stroke. Her cousin called the children in Salt Lake City and they, Maud and Roxie, got on the next bus leaving for St. George. When they arrived there Ella could not talk, and could not move one side of her body. It had been a really bad attack! The girls knew she wasn’t going to live. They sat by her side all during the day and night. The next morning around 10:00 o’clock on 17 July 1941 Ella was taken home to live in eternity with her dear husband, their two daughters, and their son.

R.I.P. my departed grandparents and uncle and may Maud’s treasured memories of you live on.

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Matrilineal Monday: A Voice from the Dust

How fortunate is the genealogist who has the written word of an ancestor! In my case, it is my great grandmother. What a feeling of love and bonding to read her mother’s story, as if it is a voice from the dust.

Just recently, I uncovered a copy of my 2nd great grandmother’s story as told by my great-grandmother, Ella “Maud” Leavitt Brown. Maud and her sister Roxie believed that preserving and sharing family history was necessary. With that spirit of record-keeping, they retold the story of their Mother, Ella Gertrude Bird Leavitt to share with their grandchildren.

This special lady descended from a long line of Pioneers, dating back to the days of Nauvoo. She was raised a stalwart Mormon and lived by her religion and devotion to God. In the story of her life, her daughters recount her hardships, her blessings, and her striving to always do the right thing. So, in honor of Matrilineal Monday, I share the story of Ella Gertrude Bird Leavitt. For a proper segue, I quote Maud:

“I am writing this as I remember my Mother, and some of the stories that were told of the times before I was born by the help of my sister Roxie. As of this writing (Roxie and I) are the only two still living of the children of David and Ella. I have fond memories of both my parents, and hope this story will enable those who did not get a chance to know them, to at least know about them, and love them as I did.” 

ELLA GERTRUDE BIRD

Categories: Birds, Leavitts | Leave a comment

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