Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Original Catherine Kerr

I have become the repository for all historical documents and photographs pertaining to my family. Below is a copy of my maternal grandmother's naturalization certificate (i.e. citizenship).

Catherine Henderson Bell emigrated from Scotland when she was in her teens, first to Canada and then to America. She later married James Kerr and they lived in Detroit, Michigan, where my grandfather worked for Ford Motor Company.

A few interesting points about this naturalization document which you probably can't see.

1) My grandmother signed her name 'Catherine Henderson Kerr' in one area and 'Katherine Kerr' in another. The latter must have been a mistake. I assume she started to sign Kate, which is what she was often called.

2) Her physical description reads:

Date of birth July 22, 1912; sex female; complexion fair; color of eyes blue; color of hair dk. brown; height 5 feet 5 inches; weight 118 pounds; visible distinctive marks; little finger l. hand off

Both Grandma Kate and Papa Jimmy were missing digits. Papa Jimmy chopped his off with an axe when he was a boy--I think it was the first two knuckles of an index finger but I would have to consult pictures to be sure. Grandma Kate got her pinky caught in a washing machine ringer. It wasn't until I was an adult that I learned she was missing a finger because she hid it so well!

Grandma Kate's birthday is this Saturday. She will be 94 (ninety-four) years old. She now lives with my parents in Florida and they are throwing her a birthday party.

Happy birthday Grandma Kate!

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