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Getting to Know My Great Grandmother Addie May Wood

May 17, 2010

By Shana Davis

Since I was a young girl I have known the names of my great grandparents. Some of them I knew personally. One great grandmother’s name has always been just a name on my pedigree chart. She died at the young age of 29 leaving four small children. My grandfather was only 18 months old when she passed away. My grandfather did not remember well so we never heard any stories about her. Her name is Addie May Wood Peterson.

In August of 2009 I learned that my cousin had obtained one of Addie’s original journals. He scanned in the pages and transcribed it. He also collected some old photos and other history relating to her family. I knew I needed this information. I knew I had to publish her story. I thought it would be a great project to work on this winter after the holidays.

While putting this book off, I felt a sense of urgency. I wasn’t really sure why. I was working on some other projects and did not want to set those aside. I gave in to the sense of urgency, set my other projects aside and started publication of her story. I planned a trip to the Bountiful, Utah City Cemetery to take photos of the grave stone and pay my respects. As I studied the death certificate prior to visiting the cemetery I noticed that Addie May Wood passed away exactly 100 years ago from the day I started publishing her story. I had planned my trip to the cemetery 100 years to the day after she was buried there. Is it purely coincidental?  Maybe so, but I like to think it is not. Her story has waited much too long to be published.

My sister prompted me to go to the new LDS Church History Library and look for some personal information for Addie May Wood. I went there while working on the publication of her book and told the workers what I was looking for. They told me there was about a two-month backlog and I would have to wait for it. I told them about my experience mentioned above and a kind worker told me to do some family research on the computer and she would see what she could find. She found what I was looking for in about 10 minutes and printed it out while I was there.

(Me and my son Bennett. Bennett was named after my great grandfather who was written about in my book.)

I have been honored to publish her story at last and have enjoyed reading every journal entry and every recollection and looking at each photo. I have loved the spirit I have felt while reading and publishing this book. It has been a very tender experience for me. I feel that I have a connection to her now. More than just a name on my pedigree chart, now she is a part of my roots. I admire her faith, beauty, spunk, hard work, and determination. It is difficult for me to imagine the agonizing grief she and her family must have felt during her final days. (She passed away from meningitis about four month after giving birth to her fourth child.) I appreciate the decision she made to marry Bennett (my great grandfather) and have children. Even though she passed away at such a young age, she made an unforgettable difference in my life. Without her, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I look forward to meeting her in the next life. 

Special Thanks to Alina Merryweather for creating such a beautiful template I could use as a starting point. That saved me a lot of time and ensured I had coordinating elements.

See Shana’s Book Addie May Wood.

Make your own heritage storybooks with our Cornerstone series found in the Template Gallery.

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