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Top left to right: Marena Springs Powers, Etta Follette Motte. Bottom left to right: Bertha Powers Motte with Betty, Bette Motte Cox. The first three snapshots were taken probably by my photographer father, Harold W. Motte, Sr. All were done in the 1940’s, the one with Mama and me in 1944. The portrait of me was done in June of this year for a church directory. I thought about repairing (retouching) the old snapshots digitally, but I sort of like the authenticity of their appearance.

The Powers and Springs were Irish, Mottes and Folletts English or Scots/English. I look more like the Folletts than anyone else in my ancestry, I think. Curiosity spurred me to make this collage to look for resemblances. I like it.

Notice the spelling? Names have been changed to… well, not protect the innocent in this family. My real name is Elizabeth, nicknamed Betty, Betts, Betsy, or just plain Bett growing up. I changed the spelling in the 8th grade at the instigation of a classmate who thought Betty was too ordinary. Bette Davis was a big star back then and he suggested I spell it her way. So I did and still do.

Etta Follette’s family name had been Follett until they moved to New Orleans and settled in a French neighborhood. The final “e” was added to help the family fit in a little better — apparently there was a little antagonism of the French toward the English in those days.

One of the Motte clan moved his family to Florida before the Civil War and dropped the final “e” from their name, I don’t know why. Those distant cousins spell their name Mott and that’s fine with me. We’re still related. Maybe I’ll meet one of them some day.

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