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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Faces from my past.....

Your heritage tells where you come from. It cannot always predict what you will become, but it is an important link to who you are. It tells the human story behind your birth and family. I have found my search into genealogy fascinating.
For several months, I was practically obsessed with fact-finding and gathering information. I have collected quite a bit. Each time I opened an envelope, I felt an irrepressible excitement. Each new face was a window. Each scrap of family trivia a clue. Yes, most of the people pictured below are gone into another world. As the Bible says, they are asleep with their forefathers. But, their epic tale lives on in me, in my parents, my brothers, my cousins...the stories handed down of their character and humor and faith give me roots and grace my life. I value my place in this line of family tradition. To know your heritage invokes honor, responsibility, and pride. It strengthens the cords of life and holds you fast.
George Washington Bender and Mary Elizabeth (Binkley) Bender and their 9 living children. My great-grandfather, Charles Bender, is in the middle in the front. The Benders immigrated from Germany (surname is a derivation of Fassbender -- "workers[benders] of iron.") The Binkleys(derived from Binggeli) were from Switzerland -- 3 of my Binkley forbears served in the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. George and Mary married in PA and traveled by covered wagon to the west -- Illinois, where they settled. They were Dunkards -German Baptist Brethren or Church of the Brethren. George and Mary's graves are behind a small block Brethren church in Illinois.

The Stewart Clan -- my Scottish/Irish ancestors. My paternal grandfather, James U. Bender, Sr., is the boy whose face is barely seen 4th from left on top row. My great, great grandfather James E. Stewart was born in Scotland in 1812 and immigrated to America. His wife, Catharine Porter was born in Ireland. They married in Pittsburgh, PA, and later migrated west to Illinois. The story has been told in my family that some of our Protestant ancestors were burned at the stake in the old country.

The Walkers of Fulton County, Illinois. My paternal grandmother, Thelma Walker Bender, is in the middle in front. My great, great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Walker, served as a private in the 11th Indiana infantry during the Civil War. His son is pictured above, James Abram Walker, seated on the right.

The Moss sisters of Franklin County, Missouri. My maternal grandmother, Pearl Lorraine Moss Williams is in the middle of the front row. My great, great great grandfather, Peter Benjamin Moss, served in the 8th Missouri Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Legend has it that the Moss side is distantly related to the great hunter, Daniel Boone, who did eventually settle in Missouri. I have not found the direct link yet, but it is makes you feel good anyway. (smile)

My maternal grandparents, Harold and Lorraine Williams with their firstborn. Harold's mother's family were the Beesons who trace their ancestry back to the 15th century in England where many of them were knights. Edward Beeson came to America in 1682/1684 on one of the voyages of William Penn. The Beesons were Quakers.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the trip back in time...Genealogy is indeed fascinating. I have an uncle who has researched the "Kennedy" line and has a ton of information. (I haven't been able to see it yet.)It takes alot of time, research and dedication! How fun to be able to pass this on down to your family...complete with your family picture!

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