Friday, July 17, 2009

Ancestry Bling...

The new Carnival of Genealogy challenge is out. And this time, we are to post on our blog a photo of an ancestor and their "bling". Or if we don't have a photo of the ancestor wearing their bling, a photo of the bling.

Well, I come from simple, hardworking farmers. And sorry to say, their hasn't been much bling in my ancestral past! [At least not in the last 200 years or so!]

But there has been one simple piece of jewelry that was reported to have been owned by my great-great-grandmother. I haven't been able to find proof of that. However, I do know for a fact that it was owned by my great-grandmother, as she is the one who passed it on to my mother. And a few years ago, my mother gave it to me.

This is a photograph of my great-grandfather and great-grandmother, Frank [Francis Isidore] Banet and his sweet wife, Adeline Josephine Eve.

Adeline was born to Joseph and Annette Eve on February 11, 1867 in Floyd County, Indiana. She was the youngest of at least six children. The "bling" in question is said to have once been owned by Annette, and then passed on to Adeline. My mother once took it to be appraised, and the jeweler told her it was definitely mid-19th century, which would mean that it easily could have been originally owned by Annette [b. 1840, d. 1870]. Again, there is no proof that she was the original owner.

In the early 1950's, Adeline passed this on to my mother. Adeline was the only grandmother my mother knew, her paternal grandmother having passed away six years before she was born. Mother was so attached to Adeline, that on Adeline's death the family waited to tell Mother about it, because they knew Mother would not be able to get to Indiana in time for the funeral. [Mother was stationed with the WAC's in San Francisco, California, and couldn't have got leave in time.]

Adeline was 91 years old when she died on November 5, 1958. I was born the following November 4th, and I believe that was some consolation to Mother over her loss of Grandma Banet.

The "bling"? I don't believe there's a photograph of great-grandmother wearing this necklace. If there is, I haven't seen it. However, here is a snapshot I took of it.

The body of the cross is made of gold, in two pieces: a front and a back. An antiques jeweler told me it was "handmade". Carefully pressed in a mold. Then the two pieces placed together. The back is devoid of any ornamentation. The front has a "pressed" feathered designed on all arms of the cross. The indentation in the center holds a very tiny diamond. It is considered a "large chip", but without cut facets.

As for monetary worth, I've had an estimate of $750 - $1,000, with a possibility of it going higher at auction, simply because of the "handmade" factor.

As for sentimental value? This cross pendant is priceless! Each time I wear it, I feel my great-grandmother near.

My mother suffered a brain-aneurysm with debilitating stroke in 1995. She has days her memory is good, and others she can't recall a conversation from one moment to the next. But undoubtedly, each time I wear the necklace and visit her she becomes so excited about seeing her grandmother's necklace. "Oh, Cyndi, you're wearing my grandma's necklace!"

In 2006 my son's fiancee wore the necklace during their wedding, as her "something old". She had tears in her eyes when I placed it around her neck. Now, that same sweet girl is about to bless us with a granddaughter. It is my hope to one day place that pendant around my granddaughter's neck. And perhaps, one day, it will be passed on to her granddaughter.

And so, "Annette's Cross", as we've come to call the pendant, will one day soon be passed to her great-great-great-great-granddaughter.

I think she would be happy to know it. And I think she gives us her blessing.


J. Moore said...

Quite a lovely little item, you're fortunate to have such a thing.

Family Curator said...

So glad you posted this photo and story. You've written a priceless memorty; I hope you will print out this article and keep it with the necklace for future generations.

Tina said...

What a beautiful story and priceless heirloom! Thanks for sharing it with us!