Saturday, April 12, 2008

It Runs in the Family

Here's the call for submissions in the mid-April edition of the Carnival of Genealogy followed by my attempt to answer it.

What traits run in your family? Which of them did you inherit? Do you have your mother's blue eyes? Your grandfather's stubbornness? Your aunt's skill with knitting needles? Is there a talent for music in your family? Or do you come from a long line of teachers? Have you ever looked at an old photo and recognized your nose on another family member's face?

Music - I sing. I play instruments. I really didn't realize it was a family trait until I got to the Thornton Family Reunion and noticed that there are quite a few of us that were talented musically. I was the only one of my immediate family members that seemed to have the skill. However, I think that I have a nephew that has inherited the music gene too! Even cousin Terry has that trait.

Food - I enjoy flavors, and I love to cook! I think this runs on both sides of the family. My mom was a dietician, but she was also a good Southern cook. I'm more adventurous than most of the family when it comes to food. The Thorntons just like to eat PERIOD. I have more gourmet tastes. Some of the family members pinch pennies when it comes to food, but I refuse to compromise taste. It means that I purchase Eggland's Best eggs instead of the supermarket brand. I purchase real butter instead of margarine. I'm picky about my coffee. I buy organic chicken because it tastes better.

Reading - I am an avid reader. I often have two or three books in process (besides reading my Bible). My maternal grandmother loved to read. My mom has taken up reading in her retirement so I suspect she just didn't read as much while I was growing up because of the demands of job and family. Mysteries are my favorite genre of fiction. I read a lot of history books. I read books on information technology trends mostly for work.

Needlework - My aunt Daisy could make the most exquisite handcrafted items. My mom always wished that she could tat and smock like her older sister. Mom was a good seamstress but she didn't possess the same level of skill that her sister did. I know that needlework and sewing were essential to know back in the older days. I limit my needlework to counted cross stitch. I'm not nearly as talented in this area, but it's a great stress-reliever when I do attempt a piece. I'm hopeless when it comes to sewing. I have a sewing machine, but I'm not very good at it. I remember singing on one of my college's teams one year. The seamstresses were running behind on getting our outfits done on time for our first appearance so they decided to let us hem our own skirts. I sewed both sides of the skirt together in 2 places, making a place for 3 legs. I think they quickly ripped the hem out and got the seamstress to do mine. They decided I was hopeless when it came to a needle and thread!

Carpentry - The Thornton men seem to be pretty skilled in this area. My paternal grandfather worked as one. Dad was good at things like this. One of my brothers also enjoys making things. I even have a niece who is skilled in this area! I didn't inherit this gene. If I had, I would have floor to ceiling bookcases in my den!

Big Ears - You can spot a Thornton a mile off because they have big ears! (They stick out a little too.) When Cousin Terry published The Thornton News, he developed a slogan that talked about the beautiful women and the men with big ears.

Perhaps the family trait of which I'm most happy:

Christianity - We tend to be very active in our churches. Cape & Bennie Thornton were active in the Christian Church in Cotton Gin Port, Mississippi when they lived there. My Lantz family started out Amish. After Abraham Lantz married a Methodist (Laura Lucy Taylor), they began attending the Christian Church in their Illinois community. They continued that alliance after they moved to Mississippi. Many of the family members have now joined the Baptist and Methodist Churches. (I attend a Southern Baptist Church.) Several have studied for ministry and served in churches.


Janice said...

The part of your story about the music gene just shows me that we can't possibly be related :D :D

Janice aka Tone Deaf

Colleen said...

Your thoughts on Churches as a trait was interesting. I used to be active in church, but haven't been in many years. However I still consider myself very spiritual, which I believe was passed down to me from all of my lines.

Professor Dru said...


Your article reminded me of my Thornton family. They also has musical talent and were and still are active in their churches. They lived in Nash and Halifax counties in North Carolina. My great grandfather Minor Thornton was also a carpenter. My family is African American.