Thursday, November 23, 2017


Happy Thanksgiving and welcome to the 9th Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge post
roundup! This year's edition has all sorts of genealogy related poetry: lyrics from hymns and songs,
poetry written by ancestors, poetry about ancestors, and poetry written by descendants about
their ancestors. Please read these fifteen contributions, and remember to leave comments to let the bloggers know how much you enjoyed their posts.

A year ago Michael Davies blogged about a Welsh inscription on the bottom of his great grandparents' headstone. The English translation was "Ever to the Sound of the Golden Harp." and
it is part of a hymn. Michael shares the hymn in both Welsh and English in his post The Reference to "Y Delyn Aur" by Price and Annie Davies   at his Tall Tales of a Family blog.

Michael also has contributed a second post, November 11th - The Lost Of The War, which is a poem 
he wrote when he was 14 or 15 years old, It was inspired by a school trip to visit
World War One battlefields in Belgium and France

June Butka of Dame Gussie's Genealogy Rants found a poem entitled "Picture in Verse" about her 8x
great grandfather and writes that "I believe the sentiment expressed in this poem could be applied to immigrants to our nation today. Life is uncertain, filled with the unknown. It’s how we deal with Life that determines who we are." You can read it in Immigrants remembered.

After the Revolution Linda Stufflebean's Loyalist ancestor moved to New Brunswick near the Miramichi River. Her post The Ninth Annual Great Genealogy Challenge included maps and photos of the area plus a great poem by childrens' author Robert Munsch, Check it out at Linda's  Empty
Branches on the Family Tree.

There are several levels to Nancy Messier's "Matilda Toots" for the 2017 Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge at My Ancestors and Me. On one level it's a memory of a family tradition and the place 
a 19th century song has in it. It also is a history of the song that includes a link to a performance plus the actual lyrics. Finally, the lyrics themselves are a glimpse into how are 19th century ancestors 
spent a day ice-skating.  

Elizabeth O'Neal's submission at My Descendant's Ancestors reflects her Tennessee heritage. It's 
the official state poem "Oh Tennessee, My Tennessee", written by William Lawrence while he was
a POW during the Viet Nam war.  Elizabeth thinks it has great imagery and I agree with her.

The naming of towns or changing those names was often a contentious issue for our ancestors. Dorene Paul's  "Sandusky" by Judge Elisha W. Howland has a poem about one such controversy and the history behind it at her Graveyard Rabbits of Sandusky Bay blog.

Like Van Landry I have some Entanglements in my family tree although a bit further back than his.
He explains all about it and includes a great poem he wrote about it {"Me, Myself and I") at his blog
Family History.. Van wins the "Willy Puckerbrush" which I give out in memory of Terry Thornton for "Most Humorous Post

Randy Seaver joins the challenge this year with "The Wreck of the Hesperus" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  I'm a big Longfellow fan so I enjoyed learning about Randy's family connections to the setting of the poem. It's all on his Genea-Musings blog.

Over at his TransylvanianDutch blog, John Newmark has posted a poem that was written ninety years ago about immigrants to America that he feels has just as much relevance todsy as it had when it was written.Poem: A Cry of the Foreign Born - by St. Louis poet, Leah Rachel Yoffie (1883-1956)

Reader Duane Hermann doesn't have a blog but he wanted to take part in the Challenge. So he sent me two poems in a comment. They are poems he wrote after visiting his ancestral homeland of Bavaria and they've been published in his poetry collection Prairies of Possibilities. I've posted them
here on West in New England in Two Poems From Duane Hermann

John Tews's great grandmother wrote many poems during her short life and he is fortunate enough to
have some of the original handwritten works. He shares her story and photos of one such poem at his
post at Filiopietism PrismA Poem by Florence Leonette [Flagg] Cooke for the Ninth Annual Great Genealogy Poetry Challenge of Bill West (October 4, 2017)

Barbara Poole recently found a poem about her ancestor Dr. Mannaseh Cutler, David McCullough 
helped a wee bit in why she found it, and  you can read all about that at Barbara's blog Life from The Roots in her post "On Learning To See," and I have David McCullough to Thank for the Poetry Challenge Idea.

One of the little known facts about William Bradford, the Pilgrim governor of  Plymouth Plantation,
is that he wrote poetry. Heather Wilkinson Rojo  of Nutfield Genealogy (who recently toured many Mayflower related places in England) shares one of Bradford's poems  in her post A Poem by a Pilgrim.

Finally, a few months ago my connection to a pear tree that was planted by an ancestor four hundred years ago, that had a poem written about it in the 19th century, and that is still living today. You can
read the whole story here in my post The Governor's Tree

That concludes this year's Challenge. Thank you  to all the participants for such great posts!


Linda Stufflebean said...

Bill, This was my first year participating in your poetry challenge. I've enjoyed it and am working my way down the 15 entries. It took me quite a while to find mine about the Miramichi so I guess I had better get started hunting now so I'll have a worthy entry for next year. :)

Bill West said...

Thanks for taking part in it, Linda! :)

Nancy said...

Thanks for including my post, Bill, and creating this genealogy poetry challenge. I wanted to let you know that you gave my name as Nancy Kruse in the above post but it's really Nancy Messier (just in case you'd like to change it). Thanks again.

Bill West said...

Thanks Nancy! I've fixed the name. :)