Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Beginning

I think that this whole adventure began because I grew up with only one set of grandparents - my mother's parents. And on that side, I not only had grandparents, I had a very fondly remembered great grandfather  - born in 1868. That is him, sitting in the chair talking to me - I was about 3.

My father's parents, on the other hand had both died before I was born. I grew up knowing his brothers and sisters, but hearing virtually nothing about the earlier generations. I once asked my father what his grandmother's name was, and his answer was "Granny."  His father had moved the family south in a search for work during the Great Depression, when my father was only 10 years old - even he had few memories of the older folks.

So when I launched my first sortie into the genealogy woods, I was looking for my dad's folks.  I was lucky - I have often been lucky in genealogy - and I started finding interesting stuff right away. Unfortunately, my father had died by that time, so I started showing off the cool old documents and information that I was finding on my father's family.

Mama listened and oohed and aahed appropriately over my little treasures - until one day she said, "You are getting pretty good at this."  I said that I was certainly learning. And then she asked the question that put me on the road that led me to this place. "Can you find something for me?", she said.

Who can say no to their mother? Not me - not about anything like that, anyway. So I asked her what she wanted me to find.

"When I was a little girl," she said, "my mother would look at me and say "Girl, she sure do favor Granny Jerkins."  I didn't think much of it back then, but since you have been doing all of this digging into families, I have been thinking about it. I called my brothers and sisters and none of them ever remember hearing anything about any Granny Jerkins. Could you find out for me who Granny Jerkins was?"

I assured her that I would try, and on my next trip to the local Family History Center I took the first steps on this 15 year long journey.  In the coming days, months, or years, I will tell about the journey - about what I learned about Granny Jerkins and her ancestors, about the people that I met along the way, and about some of the stories that go with both.

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