Bridging Generations

Ancestors and descendents of Joyce Verla Pratt and Mark Richard Berrett

Archive for the category “why i write”

The Mothers in our Family

Today I’m celebrating the mothers in our family history who have helped shape my life.  They each have stories of strength, courage, humor, and love, and I’ll continue to share their stories.  We are fortunate to share history with them.

joyce senior pic

Mother – Joyce Verla Pratt Berrett

Roberts, Alpha Madalene

Grandmother – Alpha Madalene Roberts Pratt

Version 2

Great-grandmother, Estella Jane Widger Roberts

Compton family copy

Great-grandmother, Iva Compton Pratt

Harriet Brown - 1899 copy

Grandmother – Harriet Lydia Brown Berrett

Brown, Eliza 2

Great-grandmother, Eliza Brown White Brown

Annie Elizabeth Toone

Great-grandmother, Annie Elizabeth Toone Berrett

Brown, Jemima

Great-great grandmother, Jemima Brown Rogers

“We all carry, inside us, people who came before us.”
– Liam Callanan


Now, how are we related?

Is she my cousin or my aunt? How many greats is that grandfather?  If my grandmother is your great grandfather’s sister, what does that make us?  One of the most confusing parts of family history can be figuring out how all of these family members are related to each other and how we are related to them.  As we add more generations and more names, the relationships become even more complicated.  And sprinkled throughout our family history, we have plural marriages, second marriages, half-siblings, and step grandparents.  Our family tree appears to be a little gnarled at times.

Outside of immediate family and grandparents, many of our relatives are cousins. Cousin is a term for someone who is descended from a common ancestor.  A first cousin is someone who has the same grandparents as you do.  We share great-grandparents with our second cousins, and mutual great-great grandparents create third cousins.  “Removed” simply means that you and that relative are from different generations.

Use this chart to help figure out how you are related to your many cousins.

  • Determine what relative ? you have in common with another relative.
  • Find your relationship to ? in the left column.
  • Find your relative’s relationship to ? in the top row.
  • Figure out where your row and column meet and see your relationship.

generation chart new-1

For example:  Lynnette Berrett Butler and Gwen Daniels Orton are both related to Harriet Brown Berrett.  Although they are the same age, Lynnette is Harriet’s granddaughter, and Gwen is Harriet’s great-granddaughter.  Lynnette and Gwen are first cousins once removed.

Have fun figuring out how you are related to the people you meet in this blog!

“I have a family tree with branches by the dozens.
I have grandmas.  I have grandpas.
I have uncles, aunts and cousins.”
‘I Have a Family Tree’, LDS Children’s Songbook, p. 199





We all have a story

This is why I feel so compelled to record and share our family history.  Enjoy!

Why I Write


San Francisco – July 2008

When one of our sons was quite young, he was unusually afraid of bridges. Each time we drove across an elevated stretch, from the backseat we could hear his voice edged with fear urging whoever was driving to, “Hurry, hurry. Go faster! Hurry and get across.” He didn’t look out the car window, but kept his head down or his eyes straight ahead so as not to see the ground fall away beneath. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to get to whatever destination was on the other side, he was simply terrified of the process.

It's a long way down

It’s a long way down

Then when he got a little older and began to understand that bridges weren’t so scary, he was brave enough to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge on a family trip to San Francisco. He realized it was kind of fun to be up so high and have such an amazing view of the entire Bay area – although still a little nerve shaking to look down.

Butlers at Golden Gate Bridge - September 1987

Butlers at Golden Gate Bridge – September 1987

In 2008, we were in San Francisco once again as a family. This time we rode bikes across the Golden Gate bridge, stopping from time to time to marvel at the time and effort spent in construction, the view, the distance across, and the convenience that bridge provides. As an adult, this son was as excited about that adventure as the rest of us – even sporting his 10 month old son in a seat on the back of the bike. We all felt something exhilarating about biking across that expanse of concrete and cables – it was one of the highlights of the vacation.

Along for the ride

Along for the ride

The past few years as I’ve been processing seemingly endless pictures and mementos of family members I don’t actually know, a couple of times I’ve wondered aloud why I’m really doing this. I wonder if I’ll ever really complete the project. Tell me again who is going to care about all this stuff. Why am I taking the time to sort, organize, preserve and label pictures of a lot of people who are gone and almost forgotten? Who would really know if I threw some of this stuff away?

“. . . family history builds bridges between the generations of our families. Bridges between generations are not built by accident. Each [of us] has the personal responsibility to be an eternal architect of this bridge for his or her own family. Dennis B. Neuenschwander, “Bridges and Eternal Keepsakes,” Ensign, May 1999, 83

What a great reminder! The picture albums I am creating, the blog posts I am publishing, and the memories I am preserving are family bridges. This work allows each member of the family – past, present or future – to be discovered or rediscovered. These records are the bridges that connect those of us living today with those who have gone before and those who are yet to come. I am in awe when I consider the time periods these bridges span, the care with which they’ve been constructed and preserved, the panoramic view of family they provide, and the connection I feel to these faces and letters. My feeling of exhilaration returned!

Bridge building materials

Bridge building materials

And it makes me happy to help build this bridge!

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