Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cousins, truth, and family history

Recently three cousins came to visit and I enjoyed seeing them and catching up. Sandra Mock was the cousin I first began working with on genealogy. She and her sister-in-law, Winnie, had traveled all over in search of our illusive great great grandfather. She helped collect all the family histories from the John Cecil Council family and sent them to me to put into my computer so we could write a family history.

At the time we were doing our research, there was no quick computer searching as there is today. We all scoured old courthouses, church records, and wrote to government agencies in hopes of getting a copy of death certificates or birth records. I spent some hours in Tallahassee looking for vital records to prove much of the information I'd received.

Chris Gowdy was one of the cousins who came that day and she has kept up with Council family history as well. Betty Jo Council is from the Ruskin Councils and I always enjoy talking with her. I used to see her at the family reunions when I lived in south Georgia and could make the trip down to Crawfordville.

My friend,Nancy Simpson says the word "cousin" has an emotional context when used in a poem. It is a word drenched in emotion just like the word mother. I've been so lucky since I began my study of family history to meet by email cousins I've never met. Most recently I met Linda Wimmer, a cousin my age, who is researching our Robison family. Pat, a cousin in Florida who has become a dear, dear friend as well, is also my age and we have so much in common. She loves delving into our family background and she has turned up some of the most interesting facts that she hasn't told others and she might never tell them. But these facts would make a great story for a novel if she ever decided to write one.

Truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction in many cases.

Can't wait to see what truths my students write in the coming weeks. But what is truth anyway? My truth is not my brother's truth, but I can only tell what I believe is true.


tipper said...

I'm glad you've got to meet new family members. Recently at a funeral, I saw cousins I haven't seen in years. It left me thinking about how we are connected by blood-by those who went before. And made me wish it didn't take a funeral to get us all together again.

I like the changes! I'm going to add you to my links!

Glenda said...

Southern funerals have always been like a reunion I think. I have kin who love to go to funerals to see all the relatives or friends they've not seen in a while.
It is a shame that we don't take the time to plan those gatherings while people are living. For years we've talked about having a reunion of my mother's family, the descendants of William Henry Robison, but it never happens.
Life is just too busy to get it done in the allotted time we have. God needs to give us more time now that there is so much to do, don't you think?
Thanks for adding me to your links.