Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Heritage. (Hamptons/Twin Forks pt.1)

I've always thought that ancestry is fascinating- especially if you're American! It's fun to discover the stories of your ancestors and the history of how your family was pieced together. In the spirit of learning about our roots, my mother and I visited the historic Sherwood-Jayne house in the Long Island town of Setauket, NY, where several generations of my ancestors (the Jaynes) lived from the early 1700s to the turn of the 20th century. Our docent was wonderful and taught us not only about our ancestors, but also some really interesting facts about life in the 1700s. Here's what we learned:

The front part of the house is where the Jaynes lived, all the way from the 1730s(ish) to 1907. In 1908, the Sherwoods moved in and added the addition in the back. 

A "luxurious" table of the 1700s! Notice how TINY the plates were. The pewter tableware was considered extravagant. How...fancy?

After Pompeii was discovered in the mid 1700s, everything "Pompeii" was considered all the rage. As a status symbol, families would have traveling painters come in and paint their walls Pompeii-style to give their rooms a flare of luxury. Wallpaper hadn't become popular yet, as buying and shipping it from Europe was a hassle. These painted walls were covered up for years by wallpaper, until Mr. Sherwood moved in and decided to re-wallpaper. When he discovered the painted walls, he thought it was so interesting/bizarre that he decided to leave it.

There weren't too many original Jayne pieces of furniture in the house, but this lovely four poster bed happened to be one of them. And what was even cooler....

My name was on the coverlet!! earlier Elizabeth Jayne. :)
After the Jayne name was "married" out (the Jaynes are on my and my mother's maternal side), the name has been passed down as a middle name. My grandmother, my mother and I all have Jayne as our middle name.
These coverlets weren't usually made by the women of the family, but rather by professional weavers. This one had gorgeous detail! Or maybe I'm just partial because it's a blue and white combination (my favorite!).

I always joke about how much I hate Long Island. Go figure, it's the center of my heritage. As least it's in Suffolk county and not in Nassau (yuck)! Unlike my Dad's side of the family, my mother's side has been in America since the Mayflower, so they've left behind a lot of history on US shores. I wish I knew half as much about my Dad's side of the family as I do about my Mom's, but it's harder finding family information/artifacts when most of it's located across the globe.

Have you researched your heritage/family roots? What interesting stories about your ancestors have you discovered?
*   *   *

My next few posts will be about my adventures in the Hamptons and the Twin Forks of Long Island. There's so much to share, I had to break it up into several parts. I'll also be doing some petite fashion reviews from my purchases at the oh-so-awesome Tanger outlets!



Raulston said...

That is exceptional! I really enjoy unearthing my ancestoral roots and it looks as though you do as well. Hope your keeping cool by the water!

Michelle said...

Ah!! What an exciting trip!! I love the last photo of you with the coverlet!! So neat! Since the cool!!

I know very little about my heritage. I hear a few stories about what it was like for my grandma living in Italy during WWII.

Thanks for sharing!

Sweet. said...

Finding about ancestral roots is quite interesting !!! I wish my mum would tell me abit more about our family history !! but I really enjoyed reading these posts.
And those antique furnitures looks amazing !! gives such a feel like were going back to that era !

amazing blog :)


cRk said...

Love the Banana top!!