October 24, 2005

The Ties That Bind

Dear Ancestor

Your tombstone stands amongst the rest
Neglected and alone
The names and dates are chiselled out
On polished marble stone
It reaches out to all who care.
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I'd exist
You died before I was born
Yet each of us are pieces of you
In flesh, in blood, in bone
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse.
Entirely not our own.

Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you.

This is a scan of a postcard my grandmother gave me. The shorter man with the tie and white apron is my uncle Olin. I had the priveledge of knowing him when I was a young girl. He passed away when I was about 18. He was such a sweet man - always so happy to see us when we visited and he always had a joke to tell. He was about 20 years old here, working in the Lancaster city meat market. This is the only picture I've seen of Olin when he was so young. You can't really tell with the picture this small, but he was a handsome young man. When I picture his elderly face in my mind, I can see that handsome young man smiling at me.

This is my great great grandma and grandpa Black. They owned a small store in Downing, MO in the late 1800s and this is their store. Grandpa Black's father came here from Germany and changed his name to Black when he arrived. Unfortunately, I have yet to find record of where in Germany he came from or what his birth name was. I never met Grandma & Grandpa Black as they both passed long before I was born.

The man on the left is the famous Scottish poet Robert Burns, known to this day as the national Bard. He is from Ayrshire - the native land of my family. Although I have yet to find the exact link to him, many times I have heard that he is one of our ancestors. The man on the right is my great Grandfather Roy Burns. You can easily see the similarities - the same chin, mouth and brow. It even looks like Robert may have had the "Burns ears" though they are cleverly disguised by his hair (my genetic luck allowed me to escape that fate, but not my sister. HA!).

I knew Grandpa Burns when I was young - he passed away at the age of 95 when I was 16. He was a wonderful man who loved to tell stories. One example would be when he was dating Grandma (the dauther of Grandma and Grandpa Black, mentioned above). One time, while on a date, they "parked" their horse and carriage off the path for a little romance. While they were snogging, the horse decided it was a perfect time to take a dump. Talk about spoiling the mood! lol

More Lines to Scotland

I had a breakthrough this weekend. I was poking around on-line and found a website that featured geneaological information about my mother's family. I was thrilled to find the lineage of my maternal grandmother's mother all the way back to Scotland - FIVE generations back! My great(x6) grandfather John Waddell was born in 1724 in Glascow and emmigrated to Virginia as a young man.

Not only did this discovery provide me with the information on another ancestor who came here from Scotland, it also gave me the link to three other surnames of origin: Green, White and Cannon. I'll add them to my list and now, with my enthusiasm renewed, continue to dig for the roots of my family and their history.

There are SO many fascinating stories - the great grandfather who drove like a maniac, the funny names (such as Comfort Killgore, Tingle, Parthenia, Delphia, Green Berry...) the one who had to sleep in the barn because he wet the bed, the scandals such as the corset story & the great uncle who was framed by the sherrif, the children who died falling out wagons or from being kicked by a horse, the stories brought back from the Civil War and those who didn't return... They are endless and priceless.

Some Surnames in my family tree:
Burns, Bennett, Bivens, Sommers, Neil, O'Neil, Black, Lambert, Tingle, Waddell, Speer, Killgore, Slightom, Cook, Hope, Rollins, Cheatham, Reynolds, West

Maybe someone reading this post is actually a cousin. Who knows?

Side note: You can comment here today because I DON'T HAVE GOAT-SUCKING HALOSCAN! YAY!


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  2. Having been involved in my family history for 30 years and having acquiring over 30,000 names, it is HUGE. I have come across relatives that I've caught myself saving, "damn, I wish I had known you'

    The poem rings so so true...

  3. I often think it would be neat to have met many of my ancestry. Then again, I don't really need more people hanging their heads in sham eat me.

  4. That's too cool! I've been doing a little digging on my ancestry. A cool site (if you don't have it already) is the Ellis Island site (http://www.ellisisland.org/). If an ancestor came through there, they're registered. I found a couple of my parents uncles on the site. It gives date of entry and the ship they came over on. Very neat.

  5. Oh I'd LOVE to have neat stories to tell about my ancestors. Too bad no one wants to tell me them. I doubt they even know. People in my family aren't storytellers I guess. Well, at least I can tell stories to my kids.

  6. Are you sure there is no one wiht the surname Hancock? We could be related and not know it!

  7. related to the bard, huh? that's quite a bloodline. no chance of us being cousins - i'm from the other side of the celtic/gaelic family!

  8. Denny - I know you're into it. I find myself saying that, too.

    Pete - hang their heads, pffft! You don't give yourself enough credit.

    Vince - It's so much fun. I'll check that site out, thanks!

    Undine - any older ones that are still alive? Quiz em! We had too many story tellers - must be where I get it. lol

    HEP - none that I know of...but it's possible!

    Cali - yep. Pretty cool. Oh, I don't know...they're from all over the UK. The Cooks, Tingles, Hopes & Slightoms from England, Killgores, Waddells, and Burns from Scotland, O'Neils/Neils from Ireland...a celtic stew. lol What side are you from?

  9. A lawyer I used to work with was married to a Waddell... that's as close as I come. Just a tip - the German word for 'black' is 'Schwartz' except it has the umlaut over the 'a'. I can't think of any German word that actually resembles the word "black." Thought that might help.

  10. Well...the only thing I know for sure is that my family tree did fork....lol....and yay to no more hell-a-scan.....for some reason half the time I came in here it froze me up and I had to reboot...have a great week!

  11. I'd love to know that much about my family history! Very cool.

  12. Hmm, I have cook and cheatham on my mother's side. But on my fathers' side, we're quite Irish on his mother's side, and more french on his father's side. French or Austrian, they've both owned the area we are from.

    Who knows, maybe we are distantly related. I was told by a historian at one of our Ferrell reunions that anyone with the exact last name with that spelling is a relative somewhere back in time spanning to the last king of Ireland!

  13. Fascinating! I don't know a lot about my family beyond a few generations. No bards, but maybe a few cards.

  14. that geneaology stuff is pretty fascinating. My sister's been uncovering a bunch of that for our family and some of it: shocking.

    Case in point: George Washington AND Robert E. Lee are in my tree.

  15. Nanner - ha ha - it's like 3 degrees of the bard. There has actualyl been some talk that his name was Schwartz, so good call. Can't find a record, though...dern it.

    Mike - I've never actually had haloscan. So...not sure what's causing the big freeze. You have a good week, too!

    Brighton - it's so fun to discover. You should try some digging. :)

    Jamie - wow, we could be cousins! I've heard that to. In fact, I was told by an Irishman that the last king of Ireland was an O'Neil so I'm probably a descendant. Me, a princess - now that's funny. LOL

    Michael - you should quiz your mom good while you still can. Yeah, we have plenty of cards. lol

    Derek - it is. That's too cool - Generals are good. :)