Friday, May 24, 2013

I am in Tennessee - Finding roots

The house place in Sneedville is long gone. Sheldon Livesay, a 2nd cousin and head of the Of One Accord ministry in Rogersville, says he thinks it burned down. There is only the foundation of rocks. I am disappointed but we walked on the farm. It was very large and the original land grant was 1000 acres.

For the first time, there is a visual of the home place. My grandfather played in the field and the river. I finally have an understanding of the topography. I was disappointed the house was gone but at the same time, delighted to see the river from the road. They lived in an incredibly beautiful spot; a small river valley between two hills. I understand all those things that my great grandmother mentioned in her letters.

Now my cousin and I are off to Nashville and beyond. The adventure continues.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

2 weeks and counting

Growing up, we learned nothing about out Tennessee family. We knew they existed but it was never anyone's priority to share any information other than my great grandfather was murdered in front of his family. I can't think of a single other fact that was discussed.

Many years later, my mother got hooked on genealogy. My parents made a trip to the 1982 World Fair in Knoxville. It was then that my father met his Tennessee cousins for the very first time at the age of 60.

Things tend to repeat themselves so at roughly the same age, I am going to Tennessee. It's two weeks and counting. I have made arrangements to meet some cousins and to have the Sneedville Historical Society open for us to research. My companion on this trip is my cousin who knows as much (or as little) as I know about the family.

Patty and I are surprised at how we accepted the fact that the family was out there but not part of our lives. It might have to do with age but now we want know. These are our roots and part of who we are.

I can describe in detail, Montana and Texas. That's where my parents are from and we spent lots of time traveling to those states. That history is no surprise and I have a very complete family tree on my mother's side. It's my dad's side that has all the mystery. In fact, after we tackle my grandfather's family, I am going after my grandmother's story.

So I am packing. I am taking my family group sheets. I am taking my scanner and camera. I am going to meet my ancestors on their own turf and see what they have to tell me.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wishful Wednesday - Who was Martha Jane McColloam?

Martha Jane McCollum was my great grandmother. Somehow, I can't seem to let her go. I want, or more so, need to understand who she was. I have five letters she wrote to my grandfather. I have read them over and over again. Still, she eludes me.

The other day at baseball practice when I was refusing to get out of the car, I wrote down the things I know about her from the letters. Maybe they don't add up to a lot but it's a start.

She had a strong tie to her children.
Her children did not want to disappoint her.
She had a great love for her grandchildren.
She was a hard worker.
She managed the farm.
She did not remarry after her husband was murdered.
She was on good terms with her daughter-in-laws and son-in-laws, at least those who lived in town.
She was money savvy.
She was business minded.
She was observant.
She believed in God.
She was in tune with the weather.
She could read and write.
She worried about her children.
She shared into about the community but was not a gossip.
She was never unkind in her comments but some were made with humor.
She was well aware of the event going on in the world.

This is a Wishful Wednesday post so what do I wish? I want to post this and have it all rearrange itself into a full and complete person who I can understand.

Part of the problem I am having is that I have no frame of reference, no setting. In three weeks, I am going to Tennessee, to Sneedville. I will be able to see where she lived. I will be able to walk in her steps. I need to take what I know and add it to what I will see, what I will find. Then maybe, this ultra-strong, self-reliant woman will reveal herself to me. When I have that down, I will be able to move onto the others who are crowding my mind, demanding a hearing.