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.