A is for Aimee

I missed the boat in joining the Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge in May. I think this is a great idea and I’m going to try to do one a day for the next 26 days. We’ll see how well that works out.

Starting this off with A is perfect. My A is for Aimee, my great great grandmother. She started this whole thing after all. A few years ago my mother told me that my great great grandmother was in the history books. At the time I wasn’t interested and didn’t look very far into it. I vaguely remembered her saying it had to do with a flood in the 1920s but never researched more.

One day I was thinking about why I love history so much. For some reason early American history was something I could never get enough of. I loved the days in high school when we were learning about it. Especially the Salem witch trails, but more on that later. While I was thinking about this, my mind went back to Aimee. Who was this woman? What kinds of things did she do with her life and why would my mother say she was in the history books?

So I looked up advice on starting your family search. I ran across the show “Who do you think you are?”. After one episode I was hooked. I signed up for an ancestry account, plugged in my name, parents, grandparents, and Aimee’s name. That’s all I knew about my family. I didn’t even know her husbands name or her birth and death date. Ancestry had a few hints pop up and I found out the basic information about her. Her husband was Wilfred “Fred” Thomas and they lived in Barre, VT.

But what about this flood my mother kept talking about? Using their search feature I found this from a newspaper in 1977.

Ancestry wasn’t able to help me get the names of the boys so I ran over to Family Search. There I was able to find the names of the boys and the date they died. About this same time my mother was contacted from a long lost relative we didn’t’ know we had. She was a granddaughter of Aimee. She gave my mother a recording of an interview done in 1977 about the flood. On it there was a man who said that he knew the Thomas family. He was supposed to be the fifth boy in the rescue boat but there was no room. He and everyone else watched as the boys and the rescuer rowed away from the house when it struck something and overturned. It is said that the man rowing the boat had a hand on the youngest boy, Carroll, but was unable to save the boy. He had to let go to save himself. After watching their children being swept down the flood, the interviewer said that Mr. and Mrs. Thomas just sat down without a word.

This was the fateful event that put my great great grandmother in the history books. Aimee’s life after that only got worse before finally getting better. She passed away in 1981 just 3 years before I was born. I would have loved to have known her.

Through Aimee’s parents I have traced the Fuller line until they merge with the Putnam line from Salem. There was my connection to early American history. I had a relative involved in something I was so interested in. Once I found this out I had to know what else my family was connected to. This journey led me to find that every line, expect five or six, that I have been able to trace in the US goes back to 1600s.

Genealogist always say that certain personality traits travel down the family tree. Could it be that since almost my entire family came to the US before the Revolutionary War be the reason why I’ve always been interested in that part of history? I don’t know. What I do know is that through Aimee I have learned so much, not only about myself, but this country as well. I can’t wait to keep going.

So Aimee this is for you!

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One response

  1. This is very belated I know, but you’ll have to forgive me for that. And I’d like to welcome you to the Alphabet Challenge (like I said it’s rather belated).

    Anyway how wonderful that your great great grandma was the one who inspired you to start family history. But then finding her tragic story would have been heartbreaking.

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