Saturday, July 25, 2009

May the sons of your daughters smile up in your face. - Irish Proverb

Seven years ago it occurred to me that I knew very little about my ancestors. My father's mother was about to turn eighty, and my other three grandparents had all died in their fifties. I began to ask my parents questions about their parents and grandparents. Perhaps they had been gone too long, or maybe the things that I wanted to know just weren't noted or discussed. My questions just left me with more questions and it struck me: If I don't find out what I can, part of my history- part of me- will eventually just disappear!

I jumped on my dial up internet service and signed up for I took the information that my parents knew and plugged it in. In the course of looking for information about my mother's grandfather, Bernard Jennings, I was led to a message posted on a board two years earlier, also looking for information about Bernard. The poster's name was not familiar, so I sent a message with little expectation of a response. It came back right away- "Who is your grandfather? Walter? Bernard? Frank?" Yes! my grandfather is Frank! And she knew his brother's names!

Her name is Cathy and she is my age and her grandfather was my grandfather's brother. She was so nice and helpful and she was my cousin. Suddenly I felt a connection to my history that I thought might vanish. I was given a gift, one that I hope to pass on to my sons so that they may smile up in the faces of Bernard and Frank and the many others who helped to pave the way for us.

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