Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Climbing trees

(A tree from our family farm)


I can join the DAR now. Not that I ever especially wanted to, but I might. Ancestry.com is full of information, much more now than several years ago when last I joined. I do so love it when someone else does all the genealogy research for me, I'm just not that motivated.*  I've just this hour discovered my great-great-great-great-grandfather, a one Capt. John Floyd, "an active officer in the Revolutionary War."

That's very interesting, but what I've found to be much more interesting is how many mothers and fathers I really have. I don't just have the two, I've got 126 by the time I reach back as far as Capt. Floyd, and he's nearly living memory to me. What??? Oh, yeah. You see, family memories are tangible and transmitted a very, very long way.

My great great grandfather, of the great grandmother I actually knew, had a dreadful experience of losing two children to cholera in a season of floods and rains. The coffins of both had floated back up to the surface after the burials and he had had to go back in and weight the coffins from the inside and rebury his most beloved and dreadfully lost young adult children. It was a trauma that grieved him the rest of his life. Afterwards, he built a little house over their graves so they would be safe and protected in their rest ever after. That little house still stands and my father takes pains to see that it's not treated like a tool shed - and so will I.


That true sorrow and desire to protect what remains of two such promising young folk was passed to me thru the voices of my grandparents, who knew him and felt the loss of friends and relations that should have been theirs as well. My grandparents were born in the late 19th century and were no farther away from the Revolutionary War than I am from their youth now. As William Faulkner said, "The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past." Non-Southerners like to dismiss that fact as some idiosyncrasy of our rebellious history, but if you have any sense at all you will look around to discover the ground and framework of your life are all integral to a past you might have dismissed.

The good news is the past and soil you draw from today is much bigger than you had planned. At least 63 mothers and 63 fathers that I might be able to trace all had lives and strengths and legacies that are bequeathed to me, even though I might only discover a few. I'm not boxed in by the two or four or six that I've hugged and kissed goodnight, there are many more whose skills and capacities I carry - I just don't know it yet. Yes, I've got one mother who really irritated me, but I've got several more I found just today that raised big families, lived long lives, and were renown for their love and one more place at the table.



I plan to add the photographs of all the ancestors that I have and leave the access open to the public, for all my distant relatives to enjoy. I hope it inspires them to add their best and oldest photos, too. I don't know how to add such stories as I know, but I'm sure I've got some third+ cousins who could throw a few good ones in the mix to share. I'm still trying to adjust to having a Capt. John Floyd as an ancestor, but I'm wondering what his wife Nancy Ann was like as well. She lived to be nearly 100!




*With the exception of the Mormons - they load up all sorts of good information, then slap it all together with people who are obviously no relation and presumably baptize you into their church decades after your death. Fair warning: I come from a long line of foot washing Baptists, French Huguenot refugees, and brush arbor Methodists. We are washed in the blood, not your temple, and all slander against that blood will be answered in due time. Mind your own house.

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