Great Grandmother Porter (my mother's father's mother).
I used to joke that I came from Hardy European Peasant™ stock, (Irish-German-Polish on my mother's side, and Welsh-Scottish on my father's) and going through some old family photos, realize that joke isn't so far off the mark. I'm built like most of the women on my mother's side of the family: short thick waist, broad shoulders and hips, short neck. My foremothers may have been sturdy and stout but they were "strong like ox," and up to the demands of hard physical labor on farms and running their homes, while bearing and raising (numerous) children.
Below are pictures of my Grandma Porter (my mother's mother) as a young woman and in her 60's.
Looking at these pictures is a good reminder of what's realistic and not for my body type. Much as I have often aspired to a more willowy, aristocratic silhouette, it's just not in the cards (or genes) for me. I spent so many years thinking my body was "wrong" rather than understanding that my build was mostly a result of my genetic heritage, and not recognizing the positive parts of that heritage: physical strength, endurance, skin that does not burn easily, green eyes.
Sometimes it seems that we only think of family resemblances above the neck. We talk about how "she has her Grandfather's eyes" or "she has her Aunt's chin" but we don't often hear "you have your Grandmother's hips."
Have you recognized your own body heritage in old family photos? Whom do you most resemble?