A southern girl in the Pacific Northwest

I feel like I lost a day! I keep thinking today is Saturday. The good news is that I feel much much much better. I’m still sneezy and somewhat congested, but it’s held easily at bay with a tablet AND my headache has abated.

This morning was stressful and sucky. I combated my extremely frustrated bad mood with heavy duty cleaning. There’s still a lot to do, even so. I am buying a new mattress set tomorrow, so I need to have the second bedroom ready for the existing set to get moved in there. I really had no idea how much shit had collected in there – I feel a little like a hoarder!! But anyway, it’s mostly cleared out now, the closet is Oregonized and a box of goodwill items has been filled.

But while all that is grand, and has taken my mind off of being growly and sad (and gave Stripey and Henry an opportunity to bounce around like spring chickens) what I’m REALLY EXCITED about is my genealogy mystery!

Rewind to me in the 7th grade and my fascination with all things history. My Gran Peg (the one who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s) and I started working on a family tree together. We got a lot of names and information from people who were still alive to tell stories, remember nicknames and answer questions.
We wrote extensive notes, all of which has come in handy as I’ve applied the info to the family tree on ancestry.com.

For example, we have a Horace Rush in the family. There are a LOT of other families on the site who list Horace Rush as being married to X. Had I not had our family notes, I would have probably assumed there were enough markers in common to believe our Horace was the same guy. EXCEPT for a lengthy story from my (very eccentric) Great Aunts Olive and Marie, detailing a girl who felt onto an ice floe. The story itself is not important, but the names, the Anderson boys, the Anderson girl, the Rushes and the Andersons… made me certain that OUR Horace was married to Sarah Jane Anderson, not X.

In one of the notes, my gran was clearly talking with someone on the phone. She scribbled a bunch of names and how they related, and then there was a space and she’s jotted “Cornelia Rebecca Moore, born in Maryland.” On my 7th grade notepad we had drawn up a list of questions, and one of them was “who was Cornelia?” No other mention of her, and Gran couldn’t remember.

Ok, so here we are now. My Gran is in her own twilight world and doesn’t have a clue who I am anymore. I have done nothing with the huge box of photos and letters and newspaper clippings since I brought them home over a year ago – too sad. Too overwhelmed. Too scared. But I dragged them out last night and started.

Hours went by and I searched and googled and searched with no information forthcoming about Cornelia, born in Maryland. With no dates, I was starting to give up hope. Then I decided to try name variations and BAM! POW!

There she was! And just like that, all the disparate pieces of the story fell into place.

And we’re distant cousins to Abraham Lincoln, just like the family story went.

Today I found a cousin of my gran’s – the son of one of the eccentric aunts, as a matter or fact, on Facebook! I sent him a message. If he can help answer some of the questions, I might be able to fill in even more holes. There are places where the trail simply ends, and I have begun to suspect that it’s time to move the search into the international databases. I have several photos of people who are wearing… I don’t even really know how to describe their clothes except that they look distinctly foreign. I might have gotten to the point where immigration happened.

It’s a profoundly satisfying and interesting process. Matching the names with the faces in the photos – some of them are noted, some are not, has been very very neat. My Gran has photos that were her mom’s, and her mom has photos that were clearly HER mom’s and back at least one more generation, if not more. Some of the photos are difficult to make out.

I’m so grateful for this fascinating hobby.


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