As I’ve said before, my mother was the youngest of fourteen children, twelve of whom lived to adulthood–six boys and six girls. It’s easy for me to get two of my aunts confused, because they married two brothers, and so ended up with the same last name. That means I could never have any hope of figuring out the tangle of cousins by name, even if I could remember meeting them. Family reunions were crazy crowded, so I never could keep but a few of the families straight. Especially since two of my uncles were married more than once and had children by different wives.
Looking backward to Mother’s forebears, this mingling of families happened before (and lots of the records are confusing because there are so many people with the same names). But I think I have the following set of relationships clear in my head.
One generation of the Missildine children born in England came to the United States. William David Missildine (and remember, this is my mother’s family, but Mother also married a William David and gave birth to a William David, as well) married Annie Jane Soles. William and Annie Jane had four children: John Robert, Joseph, Sarah, and James Monroe.
John Robert and James Monroe fell in love with the Freeman sisters. Susan Freeman married John Robert. Georgianna Freeman married James Monroe. At some point, the boys’ mother, Annie Jane, died. After that, I believe it was a bit of a scandal that their father, ol’ William David, married another Freeman sister, Sarah Ellen. So three sisters married two brothers and those brothers’ father: your sister was also your mother-in-law, and that sounds like too much of a good thing and also a lot like a Bell family soap opera.
The Freeman girls also had a brother, Montgomery, who ended up being called Uncle Gum. This is Uncle Gum, and all you guys growing your moustaches to raise money for Movember men’s health awareness and issues, tremble before his hirsuteness.
In the photo below, Ruth Missildine is on the back left. Ruth was the daughter of James Monroe Missildine and Georgianna Freeman. She was also my mother’s mother and so my grandmother.
The other girls are Helen and Gertrude Tunnell, and I don’t know how they fit into the family tree. Seated, on the left, is Uncle Gum, and on the right is Ruth’s father (so my maternal great-grandfather), James Monroe Missildine. Serious bunch, aren’t they?