“Same” is the theme for week 12 of the 2015 52 Ancestors challenge. I’m always fascinated at how characteristics and features get passed to us from our parents and grandparents. Every now and then, I come across a photo of an ancestor that sends me into utter shock because of a family resemblance. The “sameness” that can appear between generations is sometimes enough to give a person goosebumps!
My family has the “Raines nose” … almost everyone has the same nose. Some of us have the same eyes, and all the women in my generation bare some resemblance to each other, albeit some stronger than others.
My Uncle David looks like my great-great grandpa, Scott Douglas. My Grandpa Raines looks like his mother and my Aunt Sissy (a lot!). My Mom and Uncle David could be twins (they are siblings, but not twins). Every now and then when Mom smiles, I see my cousin Aimee.
My other cousin Amy (yes, I have two!) reminded me not too long ago that the “Raines genes are strong!” She might be on to something.
Many of us resemble one parent more strongly than the other. I look like my mom … no surprise there. To VERY strongly resemble a great aunt, however, borders on cringe-worthy.
When I was growing up, Grandpa would tell me how much I looked like his sister, Goldie. I have reddish gold hair like hers … and it is long and thick like hers was. I didn’t know what Goldie looked like, other than some faceless woman with my hair. Mom would sometimes talk about how Aunt Goldie would sit on the couch in my grandparents’ living room, with Mom on the floor in front of her … Goldie would brush Mom’s thick gold-brown hair until it was smooth and shiny.
Aunt Goldie was born on April 19, 1906 in Murphysboro, Illinois, to Phoebe and Albert Rains. On October 3, 1925, Goldie married Lloyd Nausley. Together, they had one child, Betty Jean (b. 1927).
Betty and I first became acquainted when I was just starting out on a serious trek through my family history. That was almost 20 years ago. One of the first things I asked her for was a copy of a photo for her mother. Betty had also told me how much I resemble Goldie, so I HAD to see for myself. We didn’t have easy digital ways to share things then, so I had to WAIT for the MAIL to deliver the photos of Goldie. With bated breath … that’s how the waiting went. Then, one day, the Pony Express delivered my much anticipated photo.
I opened the envelop, quickly read Betty’s letter, then unpackaged the photo. I looked at my great Aunt Goldie with a combination of amazement, wonderment and little sadness because I would never have the chance to meet her.
In her face, I saw mine … not my mom’s … not my grandpas’ … mine. I saw my eyes, my smirky mouth, even my eyebrows … the shape of my face, the tilt of my head … the wildness of my thick, unruly hair! I was looking at me, only not me.
Even as I’ve aged, I still can see the resemblance. Aunt Goldie is on the far left in this photo … and I can see her legs … I mean, my legs! Actually, my mom’s legs … but, who’s looking that close? Okay, me.
We all look like Grandpa Scott Douglas … so maybe it’s the Douglas Genes that runs strong!