Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Before you read my article, hop over to “Dinner with the Dunhams,” to read one of the most hilarious stories ever written about family gatherings.

This month’s genealogical challenge, posed by Jasia of The Carnival of Genealogy at Creative Gene, is to write an article answering this question: “If you could have dinner with four of your ancestors who would they be and why?”

Since my female ancestors have posed some of my more difficult research moments, I’d invite only the ladies in my family tree to dine with me.  I’d ask all of them to help me in the kitchen, and it would be fun to see how they might react to my “modern conveniences.”

The only female ancestor I knew personally who also happened to be an amazing cook was my maternal grandmother, Addie (Ryan) Manning.  She taught me that it was not the ingredients in the bread that made it wondrously light, but rather the amount of air that you added to it during the “kneading” process.  “Grammy” had many practical secrets to being a good cook, and so she would definitely be my first invitee.

My second guest would be Anna Bradley who married my 3rd great grandfather Enos Smith.  At least I THINK her maiden name was Bradley.  Not only am I unsure of her heritage, but she was married to another one of my brick walls.  She probably would not have time to eat much of her meal because I would be quizzing the daylights out of her.

My third dinner guest would be Eleanor Urin, my 8th great grandmother.  She lived with her first husband William Urin on the Isles of Shoals, off the coast of New Hampshire, in the late 1600s.  The Shoals is a rocky and harsh place to visit, and it is mind boggling to me that she not only resided there, but she also raised children there. She would probably have some unique seafood recipes to share.

My fourth and final invitee would be my maternal great-grandmother Mary (Lyons) Manning. She was born in County Galway Ireland, and ran a boarding house in Manchester, New Hampshire for several years. Not only could she share her special Irish recipes, but she could help me to understand how the city has changed since the late 1800s.

I’m sure that these four special female ancestors would enjoy some unique entertainment, and so I would ask the three “Kings of Geneablogging“–Craig Manson, Terry Thornton, and Randy Seaver–to perform a Valentine’s Day themed dance.  They’ve been practicing very hard, and  you see what they’ve been up to in the video below.  The entertainment will surely be the most memorable part of their visit.


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