After the research began on finding my Great-Grandparents, their children and so on. But first I realized I had to begin with myself. Who knew me better then I?
Adding my family was a breeze, check off list.
My parents, siblings, also a breeze, check off list.
Grandparents, now this was easy on my Mother’s side. Her parents were still living so I was able to add them into my family file. However, my Father’s parents were no longer alive to get their information. I am thankful that my father provided me with their names, date of death and cause of death.
My grandfather passed away when I was 14, I was his favorite, not in a bad way, we lived many hours’ drive away, as we drove over the winding mountain roads I would get sick. So when we arrived at my grandparents’ home I would stay behind with my Grandpa while everyone else jumped back into the station wagon and continue their quest of sharing moments in time.
Most of the time I would sleep as it was exhausting throwing up on and off for eight hours. When I was awake, he made times together fun like collecting four leaf clovers, he would pay me 5 cents for each one found. To this day, whenever I pass by a clover patch, I still gaze through the patch to find any that may be there.
He was the first memory of a family member passing in our family. Yes there has been many, though, at this time being age 14 was a difficult time in my life. I never actually became fully depressed over his death. He had suffered Cancer for 7 years, to watch him get chopped up just to stay alive to suffer the next event. I believe it to be cruel that they did that to him. I loved him so much and to see them cut him up so he could live longer wasn’t fair to him.
So, on that Easter Sunday when the phone rang while we were staying at our grandparent’s home, we knew that that was the call. The ONE!!!
I remember the rain after which that call was made, was sunny, then pouring rain. Even through the funeral and the drive home, rain.
Years later my Grandmother showed me the Family Bibles, and she explained much of the people she grew up with. How it was, and her pursuit to find her husband (my Grandpa’s) grandparents. And her Father’s people also.
After my sister gave me a few pieces of paper with names they had been researching I would visit library’s looking for any name that would match. I realized that the history books had much information, though some would be incomplete, others would have names and family information. I celebrated my findings only to have my mother tell me they already had known about this. Wow, shot down at my prime. I admit I was a newbie. I tried!
I realized later on when cousins were able to post their family history online of their findings, this was a GREAT WAY to connect with cousins who I never met. My family line on my Father’s side was not known yet, I was happy to give our information. This was nearly 16 years ago! YEAH!!!
Through a cousin, I was guided how to submit a post in a quest to find my grandparents families on RootsWeb. I didn’t understand the process but followed their specific instruction. One day while checking my email, a cousin explained that they were my Father’s 1st cousin, and further explained they wondered where our branch had left to. She played with my father as a child and they left the area never to be seen nor heard from again. We were so excited and began sharing our family, our photos and our stories.
A few years later I tried this again with other great-grandparents names. A cousin sent me an email and explained that we were her lost line. She had an account with Ancestry, I did not. She sent me an invitation to her tree to fill in my family for her as I was able to add photos of my family for her records it was exciting for me and her. She was my Father’s first cousin also.
I was so happy to find my family information and photos of many loved ones. I collected them all and produced a book for my Father of his Ancestors, Uncles, Aunts, and Cousins. I was able to present this to him on Father’s Day. He cried.
After this my Mother told me to only give her what I found due to the fact that it tore my Father up to see his family in that book. (I wasn’t aware he found he had Cancer and would not live much longer, it was too advanced and nothing could be done).
As I continued my research on family, and shared with my Mother and Sister, what I had found with no response in return.
The day came when I called home asking about our family gathering at Thanksgiving. My Mother informed me that Dad had gone to the hospital as he had had a heart attack and she knew she would never see him again alive. I called my daughter, she brought me to the hospital to see my father was in such pain and begged that it would be over. He had Prostate Cancer, I was unaware. I stayed with him until my daughter informed me that she had to go home, she was my ride home. I didn’t want to go, this was it, I would never see him alive, be able to hug him and tell stories of life again. She brought me home, a few hours there was the call.
Four months later my Mother had fallen gravely ill. I would visit her when able, when the snow came I would shovel her long gravel driveway so she could make her doctor appointments. I brought her a book she requested, I found her in bed, she had fallen and this was it. She accidentally spit out the word Cancer. Then she reneged. I knew, and was hurt because she never told me. And now, soon she would be gone. There was nothing I could do but take care of her.
My sister finally made the choice to have her put in the hospital later that day, I rushed to the hospital to find that the doctor had been summoned in, with her three remaining children left, he asked the question. “Do you want to remain awake for a while for your family, or do you just want to go to sleep, this is it.” She chose the latter as she was in grave pain. We stood there while she slipped into that coma like sleep.
I spent the night with her at the hospital knowing this was the last day I would be able to spend with my Mom. She held on while her body began the shutdown process for another day. I visited the hospital, still, she was shutting down. It was the next morning while I was preparing to visit with her that I received the call.
Time passed, I was given my Mother’s genealogy files. The one with copies of the family Bibles, original photos along with all that was given to her from her Mother, family and her Brother-in-law. (My father’s brother)
I was stunned, why couldn’t my Mother share this with me while she lived, yet she chose to keep all this to herself even unto death.
My family was upset with me because I shared our family with our cousins, Aunts and Uncles. I never meant harm, just wanted us to always be family. I never had that, my parents moved us far away from our family. So though I wanted to connect I was told that I did wrong by my Sibling and Mother.
So as I write this, hear me now. I love my family, I love our Ancestors. I never liked history that much growing up, however, after finding our forefathers in the history that immigrated here all those many years ago, I want to tell their story. They are the reason that we are here in America today.
This Blog will be an attempt to tell their story. I will add my findings along with proof in hopes to help you with your family history. I am not selfish, I believe their story needs to be told. Whether it be good or bad in someone’s acceptance. It is what it is and there is nothing we can do to change the past.
So, let’s share what we know to keep them in our hearts. The photo below is of my siblings, grandparents and me. I’m the goofy one the right with the sunglasses on my head. This was the last photo taken while my grandfather was alive. Photo taken in summer of 1977, West Liberty, West Virginia. They lived in the community at West Liberty College. We spent a lot of time exploring this as we got older. As I learned how they sanitize our waste. Oohh
Thank You for your time, hope that you’ll come back and be able to connect your family Heritage….