Monday, August 10, 2009

They've got just a little bling.

The vast majority of my ancestors were not well-to-do folk. They were mostly farmers and their wealth consisted mainly of family and friends, rather than material things. But every once in a while I come across a picture that makes me wonder if some of them really weren't all that poor. Case in point is the photograph below, which depicts my great-grandmother Amanda Minerva Alexander Wiseman. The fancy dress isn't one that a farmer's wife would wear on a daily basis. I wonder, just what was the occasion?

The picture is not dated. Amanda was born on September 25, 1860 and was the first of four children of William and Rachel (Van Curen) Alexander. Amanda was married to Samuel Bray Wiseman on June 7, 1883 (her sister Laura married Sam's brother Henry).

From this other picture and several others of the Alexander siblings from my Dad's collection, I think that the Alexander's were one of the more affluent families in my lineage. Although with a total of 19 children between them (he was married twice and she once before they married each other), I don't see how William and Rachel managed. Of course, all of the children didn't live with them at the same time (the first one was born in 1841 and the last in 1868). Undoubtedly, the later children had it better than the earlier ones.

The photograph below (not a good copy of a copy, but the best I have) was taken earlier. Based on the ages of the children, probably about 1892/3.

Amanda and Sam Wiseman with their children.
Charles (my grandfather, born 1885), Goldie (born 1890), and Smith (born 1888).

Contributed to the "Bling, ancestor Bling" edition of Smile for the Camera.


Caroline said...

I love your photos. I have more than a few photos that seem to depict the family as something other than what I "know" them to be. So many secrets~so little time!


Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Her dress was beautiful. Was this her wedding dress? Was there a special occasion or was it her one, best dress? Was she talented with a needle? Pictures pose so many questions!

Anonymous said...

Great Bling! I love Goldie's expression in the second photo - typical face on a kid who is TIRED of standing still and posing!


Greta Koehl said...

Amanda was a very elegant-looking lady. I also was surprised to find some well-off families among my mostly poor ancestors.