When I was growing up, older relatives often tried to interest me in genealogy. Daddy would tell me to leave “the Family Tree” alone or I might find something in its branches that I didn’t want to know. Apparently, other friends’ parents told them the same thing. Now that I’ve reached retirement age, I wonder what in the world any of us could possibly find out that we wouldn’t want to know.
As a teenager, I loved accompanying relatives to old graveyards, many of the cemeteries all but forgotten, to find the grave of Aunt or Uncle or “Cuddin’” Somebody. Beautiful tombstones fascinated me, as did the sentiment engraved on them. We had a relative called “Sweet” and one called “Sally Love.” Baby graves were the saddest, many with a little cement lamb on the headstone. I didn’t write down the information that I heard on those outings – and now much of it is lost.
My self-imposed quarantine has given me the perfect opportunity to start again tracking down stories and photos of my ancestors. I can see how people become both addicted to and overcome by historical research. Stories and dates and photos from one source don’t always add up or agree with information from another source, and, in most cases, the only people who could have cleared up conundrums are no longer with us.
That said, one thing is for certain. As much as I would like to find pictures and stories about my ancestors — Blackstocks, Averetts, Jernigans – I could not be more thankful for the family I do know well.
For a previous Father’s Day column, I wrote about memories I have of things Daddy and I used to do – like riding down dirt roads in the truck on Sundays and stopping to search for arrowheads in the fields; of things he did for me – like driving to Auburn to help me out of more than one crisis situation; of sacrifices he and Mama made so that I would never be dependent on another person but could support myself.
I’m still working on finding stories about relatives who died before I was born, but I also treasure the stories and memories I made with the ones I have.
Happy Father’s Day.
Marian Carcache welcomes
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