Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Were Your Ancestors Beautiful?

What is Beauty?
For the sake of this post, I am going to define beauty as the following:
  • Physical Beauty [While it's superficial, I know, it is a real, tangible, and undeniable part of beauty].
  • What's Said About You By Others; and
  • Your Actions [They really do speak louder than words.]
Pearl Pointer 2
Physical Beauty
Whenever I look at this photograph, I am so captivated by the subject's beauty.  This is Pearley May "Pearl" [Williams] Pointer, the wife of Harvey Lewis "Harve" Pointer.  She is my husband's great-grandmother on his father's side.  Wasn't she beautiful?  Her skin is so perfect looking and her face is so expressive that I think, sometimes, she looks like she is going to "pop" out of the photograph and into my life.  [I wish she would because I have some questions for her...]  It is easily one of my favorite old photographs.  Pearl was born 21 May 1887 in Fairfield Township, Carroll Co., Missouri, and her family moved back and forth from Missouri to Iowa.  She died in Collins, Story County, Iowa 29 Sep 1970.  Her maternal line, the Odell family, and her paternal line, the Williams family, can both be traced back to England.
Haley Autograph Book
What Others Say About You Can Be Very Revealing About Your Character...
This photograph is of a 125-year old autograph book that belonged to my husband's great-great grandmother Lovina Emaline "Vina" [Richmond] Haley.  She was the wife of Daniel Haley [one of 10 children of Irish immigrants, Patrick & Bridget (Foley) Haley], and she was the daughter of James Richmond, Jr. of Indiana and Luvisa Logsdon/Logston of Kentucky.  This family heirloom is easily one of my favorites.  All of the entries are four line rhymes.  The first chronological entry was made 22 Feb 1884 by Della B. Stier, her niece, and it indicates that Della is the one who has given this album to her.  Many of the entries are by her nieces, nephews, and sisters right before they left Iowa to live out west.  What a precious gift they gave their aunt as well as their aunt's many descendants.  By the entries alone, you can tell that she was a beloved aunt.  However, these aren't  the only entries.  There are some by her friends as well as other family members.  In fact, 14 Mar 1885 Daniel Haley [my husband's great-great grandfather], her husband, wrote the following:

     On this page
     The first in this book
     I will write my name
     In your Autograph Book.

     Yours Very Truly,
     Daniel Haley

Daniel and Lovina's son, Wilbert Raymond Haley [my husband's great-grandfather] wrote the following to his mother 3 Jan 1896:

     Dear Mamma,
     I thought I would write on this sheet of paper to let you see it when
     you are old and see how good
     I could write when I was nine years old.  I will write my name.
     Your Baby,
     Ray Haley

And here is one that when I read it to my children, we all got goosebumps:

    9 May 1889
    Mrs. Haley,
    One hundred years from now
    Where will this album be
    Who will look these pages o'er
    And think of you and me

    Sallie Pontz

[Well, 125 yrs later, I can tell you, it's me!]
Edward Haley
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Here is a photograph of Frank Edward Haley, the first son of Daniel and Lovina Haley.  He was their adopted son [their biological son was Wilbert Raymond Haley who I mentioned above].  I have determined through a lot of research that Edward was not a blood relation of theirs.  Many times, if there was an adoption, it was usually a blood family member of sorts.  Well, from the best I can tell, Edward was not a blood relation.  Edward was adopted as an infant, and Wilbert came 9 years after that.  What love Daniel and Lovina must have had in their hearts to adopt Edward and raise him as their own.

Though I don't have a photograph of Lovina [not yet, anyway], I can tell that she was just as beautiful as Pearl was!



  1. Hi Caroline, I noticed that you were following my blog--so I decided to check yours out. I LOVE Genealogy.. I have done quite a bit of Family History since I retired in 2003.

    The stories are so interesting.. And about beauty???? Since they never smiled in pictures (and sometimes looked almost mad) it's hard to know where the 'physical' beauty was!!!! I do have some handsome uncles on my mother's father's side. AND --my Great Grandfather was quite handsome. I'm sure that ALL of them had lots of inner beauty.

    Please come back to my blog --and I'll keep checking yours out.

  2. I adore Pearley May . . . as well as the way you're displaying the family photos! I, too, have an old autograph album . . . from the late 19th century . . . belonged to my great-grandma, Berta Mary . . . unfortunately, the cover is missing. Such treasures, aren't they!

  3. She was a beautiful woman.
    That a autograph book just amazes me. 125 years old. How wonderful for you to be to read it.
    To see their handwriting and their read their love for each other.


  4. She is captivating! What a breathtaking woman! I never see this intensity and charm in old photos! She really does look like she might step out of the photo!

  5. I have a copy of a letter written by an ancestress in 1835. Of course there are no photos or paintings of her, but I imagine her to be quite beautiful from her penmanship and choice of words.

    On the other hand, a ggm whom I'd only seen in a few snapshots as a bent and wrinkled 80-something, turned out to be drop-dead gorgeous at 35 and 40!

  6. That is wonderful, the entry asking who will read these words and think of them! If I ever have an opportunity to write in another autograph book I am going to write that. I think my own was lost somewhere through the years but I do have my greatgrandmother's. And yes, Pearly is beautiful and looks nice too.


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