|From left to right : Me, Makayla (excuse me/correct me if this is wrong!), PG and Jinx|
Genealogy has been a part of my life since Addison was born just over three years ago. During my six month bed rest where I lived primarily on the couch with my infant and Macbook, I began to indulge in Ancestry.com, swiftly building up to lengthy obsession sessions on the site. Since then, I've been so fortunate to meet many relatives online and even meet a few in peson! About 2 years ago I met with Loma, a distant cousin of my dad's who had photos of my dad and grandma that we hadn't seen as well as priceless information on my grandma's side of the family. She was able to come to a gathering of cousins I hosted for those who have been helping me with the genealogy of our family. Loma had found me on Ancestry and soon, a Mildred Adams found me there, as well. She had plenty of information to share regarding my Grandpa Neil's (dad's dad) side of the family. Turns out, her grandmother and my dad's grandmother were sisters so, although they don't really know each other well, Mildred's sisters are close with my dad's cousins and so on. The connections seem to be this neverending web but in the end, I'm always grateful for the stories I've been collecting more than who goes where on the ol' tree. One of my favorite things about Mildred? Her nickname has been and always will be Jinx. Not only that, but it seems to have taken precedence over her actual name, which I love!
After lightly chatting about meeting one another, we recently were able to do so. Jinx was coming to town for her class reunion and was meeting some family in Skaneateles, NY. We both agreed to drive an hour and meet halfway one Sunday afternoon. She was with her sister PG (actually Phyllis but PG is her longstanding nickname) and her sister's granddaughter, Makayla. I had Addison and Micah with me. On a pretty toasty and blindingly bright day, we headed over to the local McD's to sit down and chat. Before me are simply 2 more women on a long list of strong, independent, witty ladies from both my Grandma and Grandpa's sides. We both had a few photos to share but mostly I listened. When you begin digging into your family history, listening and patience are key. I recorded some of her stories so that I can jot them down because my one regret is all the stories I heard at the past 2 gatherings I hosted went unrecorded. I have memory of some but would love to have them documented. It is one thing to review census reports, find every name to fill up your tree and to begin collecting photographs but to listen means to meet the people that have long since passed. They become funny, cute, stern and surprising - characteristics a few photos can't always tell. I knew my great grandmother Grace as seeming quiet and reserved when I was very little. I knew she lived to be very old, over 100. When I heard her name over the years, that's who she was to me. Since this genealogical journey, I've come to know her as being independent after losing her parents at a young age, mischievous while sneaking kitties into a home she lived in, humorous and lively with her way of staying youthful in all her years. I've learned about her perfect loaves of bread, her quilting and Jinx introduced me to her weaving skill. These simple little things begin to form how you see yourself because I have learned qualities about my great grandmother that have certainly been passed down to her son and daughter and to my dad and aunts and so on and so forth. Truly, you find out what you're made of! One day I'll be sharing this whole collection with my daughter and she will hopefully find the same joy I find in learning our roots.