“My great grandmother, Sarah Clarissa Hancock Black, was born in 1893 in Chihuahua, Mexico, where her family had fled to escape religious persecution in the United States. She had a reputation for being very intelligent and high spirited. She loved to race through town on one of the fastest horses in the area. Some townsfolk considered it scandalous that she would wear a riding skirt and ride a horse “like a man” inside of side saddle.
In 2010 my husband Evan and I started watching the popular TV show, “Who Do You Think You Are?” where celebrities follow their ancestry lines and find interesting stories that help them feel a part of something bigger than themselves. I, too, wanted to find remarkable stories about my ancestors, but wasn’t sure where to start. One day, looking through DVD’s at my parent’s house, I noticed a DVD called The John Tanner Story. On the front was a label my Grandma had made that traced my Dad to John Tanner — not far, only 3 generations. I thought that was interesting and I took the DVD home. We watched it one night instead of “Who Do You Think You Are?”
In 1970 Steve Brandau became interested in his ancestors. His grandfather, George Brandau, who served in the German army as a butcher, emigrated from Germany in 1905. He settled in the Owyhee Mountains in the western part of Idaho and Steve remembers every fall when George used his butchering skills making sausage and preserving meat for the winter.