Guess Who Came to Dinner?

Guess who came to dinner?  

Well, to be fair, I don’t know that there was ever a dinner.  If there were, it would likely have been at his house.  They called it Monticello.

You see, what happened was, I was searching through some old documents, courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I had heard that these people knew who my ancestors were…and I looked into it.  I knew as far back as my great grandparents, and had seen photos of them.  I heard a few stories of them from my grandparents, but only listened as a child would.  By the time I was middle aged, and my grandparents were long gone, I realized that there was a lot that I would have asked.  

Among those many questions would have been questions about my grandparent’s siblings.  On one side, my mom’s dad and his brothers had a baseball team.  There were eleven of them.  On the other side, there was a fascinating photo of my great grandparent’s family with their many children, and my grandfather as a baby…wearing a baptismal dress.  

Among the questions answered for me by the Mormon’s obsession with baptizing the dead is that my grandfather’s oldest brother, so nattily attired in a morning coat in that family photo, was named Ulysses Beck.  I received all of their names, in fact.  And it gets better.  

Previously I had only known back to my grandfather’s (and Uncle Ulysses’s) parents’s generation.  Ulysses father, Dock, and his peers were my top floor.    Thanks to those Saintly Latter Day dudes, I now know the names going back three more generations.  Lots of interesting names included.  Some details were quite specific, and some less so.  The further back one goes, the fewer details were available.  But, each generation had interesting tidbits.  

Such as, I never knew that I had Virginian relatives.  As it turns out, there were quite a few.  That was mildly interesting, since I now live in the commonwealth.  A bit of trivia, I suppose.  Another interesting aspect is the names so commonly used by my family.  As a child, I thought my maternal grandmother’s name sounded so archaic, although I grew to love it.  Her name was Martha.  As it turns out, that name wiggles its way backward through the years from middle names to first names depending on the generation.  Several men were named, apparently, after presidents.  There is a Theodore Roosevelt…in addition to Ulysses.  

The way, way back generation in my list had the most interesting aspect.  My paternal grandmother’s family goes back to Virginia.  The earliest member of that line was named Sally (or Sallie), depending on the document presented.  That woman, my great great great great grandmother was born in the 18th century, and died in 1835.  I found that one night before heading off to bed.  I was fascinated to find a connection to someone who lived here that early.  The next day I began to wonder about my Virginia line, and I thought I’d look up information about Sally Hemings.  It turns out that Sally Hemings died in Virginia in 1835…also.  

The information on my great great great great grandmother Sally is sparse.  In fact, all I know is that she was born in Virginia, died in Virginia in 1835, and her line produced my grandmother.  So…I am wondering.  Was there a dinner?