Tuesday, July 15, 2014
I know that we like to make fun of Ancestry's little shaking leaf, but it really cleared up a mystery for me recently. Actually, it was a mystery that I had even forgotten about. In an old box of pictures that my Grandma Ritchie gave me - many of which were picture of my Grandpa Ritchie's family - was this adorable picture. As you can see, it was taken in Scotland. On the back, in my Grandma's handwriting it says, "Bill & Hildegard". At one point she and I had gone through these pictures because "Ritchie" is added in my handwriting. I didn't think to ask her how it was possible that Bill & Hildegarde, both born in Cleveland, Ohio happened to have their pictures taken in Scotland. I have to admit that at the time I was so wrapped up in names - either added them to my genealogy or making sure I knew who was in all the pictures - that I never asked any OTHER questions.
So, many, MANY years later I came across this picture and couldn't figure it out.
I put the picture away and forgot about it - totally forgot about it. Then, a few weeks ago I was going through my hints - the shaking leaves - and got a hint for Hildegarde Ritchie. The hint said it was an arrival record in 1905. Well, I KNEW that was wrong because Hildegarde was born in this country. Still, it's not that common a name, and I always like to look at a hint before I dismiss it, so I clicked on the actual record. I was so surprised to see a record for Mary, William and Hildegarde Ritchie - with both of the children noted as "US born". So this was "my" Hildegarde! I never knew that my great-grandmother went back to Scotland to visit her family.
Seeing this tickled something in my mind and I remembered seeing this picture - it all came together. I know this is hardly a stunning discovery - or even a brick wall. But it was a proof that the names on the back of this picture were correct and it also gave me a look into the life of this family that I hadn't known. Mary Benzie was only 17 when she came to the USA. Here she was, 10 years later, coming back from a visit to her parents in Scotland.