Family History and Poncho in Progress: My Ancestor Plucked Wool From a Dead Sheep...

Pattern: A Very Harlot Poncho
Yarn: Cascade 220 (maybe turquoise heather colorway?)

A stockinette in the round knit is just what my brain needs right now. Feeling a bit stressed about getting everything done before summer vacation starts in 8 days (as my girls keep reminding me). This project is perfect. No real thinking involved. No need to look at a pattern. It is a simple, relaxing project. And from looking at all the project pages on Ravelry I am excited to wear it.

The last few months I have become very involved in family history. My children might say obsessed. It is really fascinating. Our church puts a strong emphasis on families and genealogy work. But I've never been that interested in it. Until now. There is a woman in our congregation that is VERY enthusiastic about it and really started my involvement. I've had family members that have traced my family on both sides pretty far back and have made our ancestors writings and journals readily available. I've taken this for granted most of my life. Now that Joel and I are trying to find his ancestors and realizing that all we know about them is what we can find in the census reports, it is a bit sad. But it is thrilling to actually find their names and even a little about them. The World War draft cards are the most interesting to find. Then we can get an idea of what they looked like, at least their height, weight, eye and hair color. And as I start to piece their families together I gain a greater appreciation for their lives. Like Joel's Aunt, Louisa, who lived in the late 1800s. She had 7 children each born 2-3 years apart. The same year she had her 6th child, she lost her 5th child to Pneumonia. So sad.

One of the books available to me about my ancestors is The Life and Times of George Washington Hill by Theresa Snow Hill. He is one of my great-great-great grandfathers. His wife Cynthia Stewart Hill was the first person in the state of Alabama to join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The year was 1842. She joined the Saints as they became Pioneers crossing the plains to Utah. When they were in the last few weary miles from the Salt Lake Valley she found a pile of sheep that had died and been left lying on the ground. She picked off as much wool as she could, filling 2 sacks full. Doesn't that sound so gross and smelly. But she must have been thrilled to have the wool. She had learned to weave when she was a young girl in Alabama where they had nice cotton to weave. She asked her husband to make her a loom when they reached Utah so she could use the wool she had gathered. When I started knitting I never thought it would make me feel connected to my ancestors but it has considering most of them were proficient in the fiber arts just to survive.

If you are interested in finding out more about your family, you can get a free account at Family Search and start to build your family tree. You can access census reports, birth, death, and marriage records, and other records there like the draft cards. Check it out. If you have any questions feel free to email me.

And if you want a little, somewhat silly entertainment and inspiration you can watch the video that Joel shot a few months ago. Find Our Cousins 

It is short but fun. You'll have to let me know what you think.

Sharing with Nicole, Ginny, and Tami.

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