The attached video is the story of Anne DeGarmo VanVranken and her early life growing up on the DeGarmo family farm. The farm is located in Schuylerville, New York and has been in the DeGarmo family for many generations. Throughout this video, Anne shares the events of her young life while living on the farm. She begins with early memories of losing her father at a young age, to growing up with a single mother and three older brothers. With the help of others, Mable Hamm DeGarmo, Anne’s mother was able to keep the farm in the family. Anne shares her experience of growing up here. They were a self-sufficient family, as many were at the time. She gives us an insider perspective of how raising animals and growing your own food on a farm worked in the late 1930s throughout the 1940s. Anne also gives us a glimpse into her oldest brother’s life as he was a solider in World War II. She concludes her interview by stating this is just one chapter in her life’s story as she is currently in her late eighties living with her husband. Together they have four children, nine grandchildren and three great grandchildren who have grown to cherish these stories she shares with them about her life on the DeGarmo family farm.
My name is Mackenzie Macey and I an interning at the Folklife Center at Crandall Library this semester for credit towards my duel master’s degree in history and information science from the University at Albany. My concentrations are in public history and archives but my main interests tend to lean towards local history. My goal for this project was to take the time to look at history through the life of an everyday family. This internship at the Folklife Center gave me an opportunity to do just that. This experience has changed how I interpret history. These stories of the everyday person is what gives us a true glimpse into the past. It is through these photographs and oral histories that we can get a better understanding of those who came before us. It is also how many of us can keep our family stories alive.
This is something as a history grad student that I find to be very important. We want to be able to give a voice to those in the past who were not able to speak. We want to show how everyone shaped history and played a part in getting the world to where it is today. I enjoyed getting to work with Anne and learning all her family connections. For me, this project was not only interpreting an important part of history, it was also personal. This project gave me a look into my own past and allowed me to connect with relatives I never met. Because of this project I now have a better understanding of myself as well as my family history as I am one of Anne's nine grandchildren.
I encourage everyone to sit down with their older relatives and just ask them to talk about their lives and their past. You never know what they are going to tell you and what you will learn about them!
Video: Growing Up on the DeGarmo Farm with Anne DeGarmo VanVranken.
Interview and edited video by Mackenzie Macey; Intern; University at Albany.
Video produced by the Folklife Center at Crandall Library, December 1, 2021.