Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Missing Pieces of the Genealogy Puzzle

I'm sure I have mentioned before about my grandparent's last names, on my father's side, being Brown & Smith. Those common names had me running into a barrier not too many generations down the line. That, plus burned down court houses, properties being flooded to make room for the Lake of the Ozarks, along with not very good records being kept at that time. I assumed I was at a dead end.
Just a little over 2 months ago we made a trip back home to Missouri for me & after having a great reunion with my Brown cousins, I made a blog post about it. I never dreamed that sentimental post would lead to cousins I had never connected with before!

An email came to me & I immediately knew it was the person I had wanted to connect with, but had no idea where to even begin. Somehow her brother had run across my blog post & he too knew immediately that we were family!

Somewhere in the tangle of my treasures of our family, is a faded newspaper article telling of twin baby girls being born on separate days, in separate cities! Dad would tell this story every once in a while...especially when my own Karen was expecting her twins!

It was quite the tale! One baby girl was born in Warsaw, Missouri, when the doctor discovered there was another baby! He was unable to do the delivery so the mother was rushed to a hospital in Kansas City, 125 miles away, and on the next day, baby girl # 2 was born! Headlines were made & the story was passed down through the family.
I was almost at a loss for words when I read the email & discovered it was from none other than one of those famous babies! Cousin Karen had found me. Karen & Sharon
And the best was yet to come! Karen also had a deep interest in our family roots & had done months & probably years of research on her part of the family. You see, her grandmother & my grandfather were sister & brother! Our parents would have been first cousins! And somehow, through the miracle of the Internet, we had connected.
Sharlen & Leonard Howe
parents of Karen & Sharon
& my Dad's second cousin
Jim & Maude Tolliver
grandparents to Karen & Sharon
& my Dad's aunt

The Alexander Brown Family

Leslie Brown, my grandfather on the right

Marthan--or Martha Ann (Upton) & Alexander Brown

our great-grandparents

from Warsaw, Missouri

The past few weeks, Karen & I have sent scanned photographs to each other, some that we had were the same, some neither of us had before. I shared my information on my branch of the family tree, filling in an empty space that Karen thought she would never find. Karen has sent me documents filling in blanks that were empty, and has shared a complete Brown document. And my new treasurer is a book that she wrote for her family, giving her memories of growing up in Warsaw, Missouri, "Memories of Maude & Jim".

Our interests are very similar. Maybe it is that Brown bloodline we have running through our veins! At least it won't be our fault if the family history isn't shared with younger generations. My three Howe cousins...

Sharon, Karen, & Gary

We are making plans to meet not too far off in the future. Karen told me of a friend that lives in Indiana & she plans to visit someday, hoping to work in a visit with me also. I could barely believe it when she found out that her friend actually lives in Columbus...just the next overpass south of me! Our paths are meant to cross.

There are just so many stories to share, some that we don't know all of the details too, some have been locked away with the passing of the generation before us. For both of us, there is no longer someone to ask.

Pass your heritage on down the line. You never know who in your family might take interest. Write things down. Right now our younger generation probably isn't too interested, but some day they too will want to fill in all of the blanks in their genealogy puzzle. Who knows how many other cousins are out there lurking in blogland!

1 comment:

Dorcas said...

Oh, Sheila! This is so neat. I'm very happy for you and hope you get to meet your long, lost family soon!! How exciting!!