I sometimes think I was born into Genealogy. Was my grandmother standing at the end of the birthing table waiting to catch me and swaddle me in some heirloom quilt? No, but she might as well have been.
Growing up I spent and incredible amount of time at my grandparents home. It was the place we went on the weekends and sometimes during the week or maybe just for a visit. Once I got a drivers license I burned-up the road between my city and their town. All of my grandparents lived in the same small town so one trip always included them all.
As a Child, my grandmothers would often tell me about my family. Who we were, where we came from and how our family came to be. MaMa (my maternal grandmother) would sit with a scrapbook she had made showing all sorts of pictures from her family, the Dillard’s and the Lords, and tell stories about Uncle Bede (pronounced beedy) or Uncle Albert who was the “sheriff”. Uncle Albert’s sweat stained hat hung on the wall rack in their Den. Other items were carefully placed through-out the house. MaMa would often say this person or that person was related through this person or that person and I could never keep up with it all.
As a teen I was given some unpublished papers by a Hunt cousin. I scanned them, as teens do – I kept them – but I never really did anything more than look at them occasionally thinking osmosis would occur and my ability to recall and recite our family lines would miraculously be like my grandmothers ability.
The information in the papers was typed, sourced, had transcribed records and a beautiful, meticulously drawn Family Tree leading back to my…
1. Mags is the daughter of [private mother] proven with DNA 2. [Private] is the daughter of Thomas Cleland Hunt
3. Cleland is the son of Bert Eugene Hunt
4. Bert is the son of Harvey Clay H. Hunt
5. Clay is the son of John Wesley Hunt
6. John Wesley is the son of John Hunt
7. John is the son of Esli Hunt
… fifth great grandfather Esli Hunt, Sr., b. February 10, 1759 in Bedford County Virginia. He was one of 14 children born to Englishman Thomas and (no origination known for her) Anne Hunt. Big Families were a big deal then. Every family needed a large brood to help on the farm, or the shop or whatever business kept the family afloat.
Elsi himself had 18 children, 16 of whom survived birth. All those kids made that beautifully and meticulously drawn tree even more stunning to me. I spent years looking at it, enjoying it, before I asked the cousin who had given it to me, who had done it.
Long after my mother had died, long after the years of looking at that tree the answer was…”You don’t know who did the tree? It was your mother.” My search began with Esli’s family tree. I have Genealogy in my DNA alright.