Thursday, November 28, 2013


Welcome to the Fifth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge!
The rules for the Challenge are simple:

1. Find a poem by a local poet, famous or obscure, from the region
one of your ancestors lived in. It can be about an historical event, a
legend, a person, or even about some place (like a river)or a local
animal. It can even be a poem you or one of your ancestors have written!
Or if you prefer, post the lyrics of a song or a link to a video
of someone performing the song.

This year we have 11 bloggers with 13 poems to share. They range
from Texas to Great Britain, and we have some new participants
along with the veterans. I urge you, please visit each link because
they've all come up with some great poems and stories. And don't forget
to leave a comment at each blog! 

 Here are this year's blogposts:

Dorene Paul starts us off with Cedar Point, a Poem by Harry Lorenzo Chapin, M.D. .
Cedar Point. It's an ode to a popular local amusement park, and Dorene tells us a
bit more about Dr. Chapin's life. It's over at Dorene's blog, Graveyard Rabbit of 
Sandusky Bay. 

New York/New Jersey
Kathleen Scarlett O'Hara Naylor has wanted to take part in the Challenge in previous
years but for one reason or another never quite made the deadline. But this year she
did with a great poem by  Joyce Kilmer, The 5th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge: The Twelve-Forty-Five , a train ride that both the poet and Kathleen have taken 90 years apart! It's at You Are Where You Came From. I'm glad you made the Challenge this year, Kathleen!

Cousin Vicki Everhart of the Be Not Forgot blog has submitted two entries for this edition
of the Challenge. The first is 1833 :: The Night the Stars Fell in which she shares some Texas history with us along with the  epitaph of Susanna O'Docharty.

The second, Sentimental Sunday :: Dear Home Faces starts off with a section of  "Snowbound" by my cousin John Greenleaf Whitter and ends with a song from the
Judds, and in between there's a bunch of Vicki's family history!

John Tew, our second newcomer, likewise contributes two entries to the
Challenge.The first, Genealogy Poetry Challenge -- "Quite Frankly" by Mark Halliday, speaks to what many of us think when we look at old family photographs.

The second post deals with a poem written by his great grandmother Nettie Flagg
Cooke,the original copy of which John is fortunate to have in his possession. Matrilineal Monday (November 18, 2013) -- Poem by Nettie Flagg Cooke reminds us, in John's
words, "of how fragile life was not so very long ago and of how far we have come in
defeating childhood diseases in this country even as other areas of the world still
suffer the same pains of lost children as our ancestors did."You can read the poems
and the stories behind them at his blog Filiopietism Prism.

Heather Wilkinson Rojo of Nutfield Genealogy has submitted poems written by her grandmother Bertha Louise Roberts in previous years' Challenges. For this Fifth 
Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge she's sent along  another, "Spring Time".
It's a fun poem that Heather feels was inspired by the difference in New England
weather from that of Bertha's native Britain.

One of the things Massachusetts is sadly known for is the Great Witchcraft Hysteria.
Barbara Poole of Life From The Roots shares a poem about a victim of that sad period
in Old Mammy Redd, an Accused Witch, Recently Pardoned. I think where she found
the poem is interesting, too!

Rounding off  Massachusetts is my own entry, "Evangeline" by Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow.   My ancestor Jonathan Abbott housed some Acadian exiles at a
house he owned in Andover, Ma. and they send him an engraved powder horn
to thank him. So I suddenly found that a poem I'd read in school had some bearing
on my family history. The excerpt I chose deals with how the Acadians in one
small town learned of their exile. You can also read about the Abbot powder horn
in this post

New Hampshire
Cousin June Butka, another newcomer, and I have New Hampshire roots, and
for the Challenge she's written a blog post New Hampshire Thankfully in which
she shares the lyrics of a song, New Hampshire Naturally by the Shaw brothers.
There's also links to a YouTube video of the song and to June's own beautiful
photographic tribute to the state. You'll find it all at her Dame Gussie's Genealogy 

It was once much more common for poems to be written for and recited at events
and celebrations. Cousin Pam Carter of My Maine Ancestry found one for a
Centennial Celebration at Bethel, Maine. The poem was written by Jacob Brown
about Gould Academy and Pam's post about it is entitled at Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge-Bethel Academy.

Pam Schaffner's post A Poem for Halloween ~ My Contribution for Bill West's 2013
"Great American Local Poem Genealogy Challenge" at Digging Down East is on
"First Death in Nova Scotia"  bt Elizabeth Bishop, a poignant look at the death of a
young child, and another child's first experience in dealing with death in the family.

My friend (and fourth newcomer) Michael Davies' grandfather was a Pentecostal
minister in Great Britain and a pianist as well. He composed new music for the old
hymn "I Fell In Love With The Nazarene". Michael has the lyrics of the hymn and
more in his post Hymns Of My Fathers - "I fell in love with the Nazarene"  at Tall 
Tales of a Family.

And that concludes the Fifth Great American Poetry Challenge. My sincere thanks
to all who took part this year. Please visit their blogs, leave a comment, and if
you aren't already one of their followers, become one!

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