52 Ancestors: Back to School


I was looking at some of the boxes I have for my family history items and came across this stack of books. These books used to sit in our childhood home, in the family room on a higher shelf, out of reach of the prying hands of children.


Each book is from a different ancestor, obviously important enough to hold on to and eventually pass down. Some even contain information useful to genealogy.


The oldest book belonged to my great-grandfather William McCallum. “The Miner’s Son, and Margaret Vernon,” written by M.M. Pollard was presented to him from Carleton Place Public Schools in Ontario, Canada, a prize for “General Proficiency” in December 1883, when William was 11.


The next oldest book is from my great-great-grandmother Louisa Jennie Ishmael, a copy of “Daniel Baker’s Talk to Little Children,” a present given to her on her 11th birthday, 20 December 1884.


Interestingly, the book also contains notes from my grandma about her genealogy that are incorrect. Her grandmother was named Louisa but went by Jennie. Her mother’s name was actually Mary. (Always double-check information given to you!)


The next book was a gift to my great-grandfather Chester Crowe on Christmas Day 1902, from his uncle Orvill Crow. The inscription in the book is a little odd, as the family has added the “e” to the end of their surname two generations before, but yet it is not reflected in the book.


A worn copy of “Jack and the Beanstalk” is inscribed to my grandfather, William Gordon McCallum, but was known as Gordon growing up. This book was gifted to him on his fourth birthday (27 November 1911) by Dan William Drummond. As I type this, I realize I have not attempted to find out who Mr. Drummond was, but now I must!


The final book is a copy of Shakespeares’ “Merchant of Venice,” which belonged to my grandma Veva Crowe. The inscription reads “Veva Crowe Salem, Oregon class of 1935-36.” This copy states “for use in schools and classes.” My grandma went to school in Salem but graduated from Monmouth High School in 1939.


These books obviously held meaning to my ancestors, and they hold meaning for me as well.

Thanks for reading, as always you can find all my 52ancestors posts by clicking the tag!

Until next time,




2 Replies to “52 Ancestors: Back to School”

  1. I love books! This story is awesome and you are fortunate to have these and the stories they hint at! Thanks for sharing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.