When I was nine years old, I had recurring dizzy and fainting spells. My parents took me to the doctor, who could not diagnose the cause of my problem. I cried, cried, cried, and cried some more when the doctor finally told my mother because of the heavy weight of my hair that she had to cut my beautiful, long hair that had grown past my waist. Because we did not have extra money for a professional haircut, my mother tried her best to cut my hair. In my mind and in the whole world, she gave me the ugliest, short bob haircut with the already short-short bangs. I looked like a boy. After a year when my hair grew longer, my mother gave me a home perm which I hated even more. I wanted my long, straight hair back. I discovered after the fact that it was not my long hair causing my dizzy and fainting spells, but the tight bindings of the rubber bands in my ponytails and/or pigtails I wore almost daily.
My mother, both my grandmothers, and my aunts had short hair so I had no idea why my long hair meant so much to me until I found a picture of my maternal great-grandmother, Mary Kless Yonker,1852-1935, who is sitting in the beautiful hills somewhere near Wilcox, Pennsylvania. When I saw her picture, I instantly felt a loving bond and connection so deep and spiritual it brought me to tears. I have seen many ancestor images in my 50 plus years of research, but I have not seen many who wear their long hair loose and flowing like my great-grandmother’s hair.
Through questions to relatives, I discovered Mary loved to read, especially the New Testament in the Bible. When I read 1 Corinthians 11:15, “But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering,” my connection is further cemented because this has been one of my favorite scriptures since I started studying the New Testament in Bible School.
Mary’s picture not only spoke many words to me, but left me reeling with feelings and emotions that I will forever treasure in my heart. May we all connect through writing and sharing treasured stories from photos of our ancestors. If a story is not written and shared, it is lost forever.
People needing research assistance in foreign countries can find it at in FamilySearch.org in the Help Center — the question mark on the top right of the FamilySearch home page. Then click on Help Center, then Learning Center. Enter “Breaking through International Barriers.” These lessons can be of assistance in researching an ancestor’s country of birth.
Roots Tech 2021 is coming up, February 25-27. All sessions will be held online this year at no cost. Take advantage of this learning experience by going to rootstech.org to register for RootsTech Connect. Emails giving information about any updates will then be sent.
Also families can discover fun family history activities on the Family Search.org page under “Activities; Family Activities; The Family History Guide; and Relative Finder-BYU Family History Technology Lab.