Thursday, March 4, 2010

Journaling Into My Past

I have (yet another) new passion.

Last weekend we stayed at my mother's house and ended up pulling out a huge box of documents and old family photos. Holding those frail photos in my hands and reading profound thoughts that my ancestors shared rekindled an interest in researching my family history.

When I get into something, I REALLY get into it. Last night, I was up until 1 a.m. following one lead after another, trying one more search term in Google. This is an addictive treasure hunt.

In hopes that I don't get too caught up in this, I'm trying to integrate this fascination with my ongoing life.

For example, I shared the art journal page with the grid that I originally intended to house photos of the different aspects of me (mother, wife, yogini, etc.). That grid is now going to combine some of the magnificent photos we uncovered of those who created and remain in my soul.

I'm still working on it, but here's a more updated version (I added chalk and oil pastels and did some outlining with charcoal pencil):

I have yet to decide which photos will be included, but am so excited to share just a few:

This is my great-great grandmother on my father's side, Carrie Deffaulx. (We believe her name might have been "Marna", but we're not sure if that is a first or middle name.)

Isn't she just lovely? Those eyes are captivating.

This is her husband, (my great-great grandfather), Louis Deffaulx.

I LOVE the moustache and hat. We have record that he was born in France and became an American citizen sometime during his life. Apparently, his parents owned a vineyard...ooooh, how I would love to learn more about that!!

One more photo to share that really speaks to me. This is Carrie's daughter, May, who would be my great-great that right? (May's sister is my great-grandmother.) (I never met May.)

This photo draws my heartstrings together. She is me, and I am her.

I'm just giddy about all of this but am really trying to maintain balance....thus, I'm off to play with my daughter and her legos. :)

Do you have any tips for researching family history (for free?!)? I'd love to know them!


  1. I love these family photos. What a treasure. I wish I had some tips for you, but I don't.

    I am so thrilled that you are joining The Artistic Mother's Group.
    We will be allowing two weeks for each project. But if you get behind, please don't worry. Just keep working a little each day. The whole point of this group is to develop the habit of doing art each day. It is also so we can encourage one another and be an accountability group. I personally need the accountability part of it. Knowing that others are coming to see what I'm up to is very motivational; otherwise, I may not finish it on my own. Some projects may be easier for you than others and may allow you to catch up. But if you don't, don't get discouraged. Just keep on going. This is a low pressure group. I want everyone to have fun and also enjoy visiting one another.

    Be sure and check my blog often for updates and notes of encouragement.

    I am signing up as follower and putting you on my blog list so I can know when you post, and I am adding your name to the list right now.

Again, I am so glad you could join us. See you on March 6th, our launch date.

    Note: Due to copyright laws, we are not allowed to do tutorials or step-by-step photos of the projects on our blogs or take photos of the pages in the book and post them. You may post a photo of your version of the project and talk about your experiences and feelings relating to it.

    Also, if you are doing this project with a friend, each person must have their book unless you are doing it together under the same roof. No photocopying of the book, please.

  2. These photos are so cool! What a treasure to find!!!! Your pages are looking wonderful!

  3. Lisa,
    I love the photos! How wonderful that you have them (and the documents)...I LOVE sepia. I've always said if I were on an abandoned island and could only have one ink pad it would have to be sepia.
    Don't stay up too late! :-)

  4. What wonderful treasures you have found in those old family photos! The quality looks of the first two (I guess they are the oldest) is great. Lucky you!

  5. how cool, what good looking ancestors (is that term too old for them) you have. what a great project to stay up until 1am for!


  6. What a treasure! I love digging into family history like this ;-)

  7. I have a special message for participants of The Artistic Mother's Art Group on my blog. I will be posting regular updates, tips for doing the projects and notes of encouragement. One of the future postings will be about the upcoming Flicker group for participants. I will have information for alternative ways the projects can look like and so many other things. There is a possibility that our group may be featured in a major art publication at some point, which will go unnamed at this time. We are going to be featured at Designing Moms soon. Everyone will want to post photos of their best work on their blogs because these publications may choose photos of some of the participants' work. I will do a post soon on how to take great photos to help you best showcase your work. I cannot possibly contact each participant individually when something important arises; so if you could check my blog often, that would be great. I don't want you miss anything. To make it easier for yourself, you could add my blog to your blog list. Then you will see when I have posted and you will know when to come.

    Tomorrow I will have tips for doing the first project.

    I posted a message today about getting started on The Artistic Mother workshop.

    Thank you again for being a part of this group. I know we will all get so much out of it and learn how to balance family and art time.

    Trudy Callan
    Coordinator for The Artistic Mother's Art Group

  8. so excited to find you! And how many parallels we seem to have - yoginis, mothers, art journalers, midwestern lisas!

    i love the idea for this journal spread ... i have been so aware of myself as this collection of selves that i want to integrate ... actually, this past year i have felt like all the pieces are coming together ... yoga preparing me for parenting, my daughter opening up my practice and my creativity, creativity and yoga flowing in similar manners ... very twisted up here, but you get my drift?

    ah, balance ... my balancer is calling to me to play a game ...

    so excited to "meet" you :)

    namasté - lis

  9. Trudy: Thanks! I'm definitely looking forward to it.

    Jingle: Oh, I couldn't agree more...I'm so excited to go raid my mom's stash of old photos and see what else I can find!

    Cheryl: Hah - Yup! I usually try to age a lot of my papers and crafts and it makes me soooo happy to have something authentic. Yummy stuff. And, well...sorry, but I couldn't heed your last advice. Had another late night last night. :)

    Debbie: Thanks, and I too am amazed at the quality. These photos have absolutely no retouching. (I have some others I might need to do some Photoshop work on, but am so pleased overall)

    Chelsea: Me too, and it is quickly turning into another addiction! (LOVE your profile, by the way) :)

    Shona: Ah, I needed that validation...Late nights following passions ARE ok! :) And I would definitely consider the term ancestor just sounds cool!

    Lis: I KNOW! How odd, right? I am going to email you as well, but I love the is all about unification, no?! (Hope you had fun with the game)

  10. Lisa--Something big is going on with you. Every time I visit your blog--your posts just seem to go deeper and deeper. Thanks for sharing those photos--they're amazing. You're amazing. Big hugs, my dear friend!

  11. how tender & beautiful are these finds & your words! & i just love the name may!! i send love to your dear heart strings!!

  12. Your journal page is looking great, and I love your photos!