You often see posts for people traveling to their family home to do research and see loved ones and family. Visiting the Archives of the state or province where the family lines connected and settled. You even see posts where people follow the (whichever) “Great Wagon Road” their pioneers used to get to the place where lines connected and family settled.
My Genealogical Holiday
I was asked to speak at a family reunion in Cherryville, North Carolina by my Mom’s Neill Family. Not because I am a Neill researcher, but because 3 Neills had done DNA tests and I had results and observations to share.
It was supposed to be one day for a short bit of Genealogy and I was done.
Blaming my Flight
On the flight south a fella politely turned his head from his row mates and and sneezed on me. Within two days (mom said it isn’t possible it was the sneeze) I was laid out with a very nasty bit of nastiness – a cold turned into bronchitis variety of sick. The first two days were spent with family and friends, but on the third day I flat out couldn’t do a thing. All plans canceled – except the presentation.
What to do when your Mom is in charge and you are home Sick?
My mom is in charge of my schedule this trip anyway. One day I knew about in advance. The “Going Through Doodle’s Photographs Day” (Doodle = my grandmother who passed in 2005 on the brink of a century). I had gone through them with her many years ago and had asked her to go through them and mark who the people were so when we went through them later we would know. She did. She reorganized them into their own envelopes with each person in the photo noted on the back. Wow and thank you Doodle.
Who needs a Brick and Mortar Archive?
We also went through her keepsakes: letters from her grandkids, EVERY single newspaper article about us and Dad and Mother and Mom. An old Scrapbook about…we couldn’t really figure it out…clippings from the Laurens Advertiser on keeping house and home. Bible verses and stories. Her children’s storybooks (so delicate we barley touched them). My dad’s early artwork. It was, for me a wonderful day of sitting with my parents, with my dad, and reintroducing Doodle and my dad to me through Doodle’s archive.
Bolstered with piles of pills, cough syrup and herbal remedies we set out for the drive up I-85 into North Carolina for the reunion and the presentation. Nothing better than a potluck in the Carolinas – Friend Okra, Mac and Cheese, Home cured Ham Biscuits, Squash Casserole, Green Beans cooked southern style and Banana Pudding. The tastes of my childhood. The Presentation went very well, made more so by one of the organizers who took all the kids into the church kitchen for Ice Cream while I spoke (Thanks Sam). There were great questions afterwards and a couple of people asked me if I might help them with brick walls. I was able to spend time with the DNA testers as well, to thank them for testing and to give them specific information about their results. One set of results were a bit hard to deliver as they introduced one fella to his real last name according to the DNA. He didn’t tell me, but he told my mom I had it wrong. That’s ok. It’s DNA and unless he got a friend to do the swab?
More HomeSpun Archives
The plan was that I was going to spend the night at my Aunt Chris’s and meet with the testers so there would be time to discuss things. But with me so very under the weather I didn’t stay. Chris had a bag of stuff for me to take back to South Carolina. The First Volume of the Shoe Cobbler’s Kin, By Lorena Shell Eaker. Family Memories and Stories, a collections of emails and essays about the family including recipes. The last one is an incredible collection of Family notes for each of James Andrew and Mary Jane Eaker Neils descendants which was aptly entitled, Genealogy. This collection of Binders and book were too heavy for me to carry. Now I have two days to try and absorb them. Wow.
Downtime and Chief Inspector Gamache
Since I am sick I asked my mom to make me some soup. In my mind I was thinking of her old cure, Campbells Tomato Soup. Instead I arrived at the kitchen table to Lobster Bisque. YUM. When I curl up with a blanket (which means I can’t work – incapable of holding a laptop and curling up in a blanket at the same time) I pull out my current Louise Penny book and read. Being able to escape to Quebec with Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of Sûreté du Québec while I am sick in South Carolina is more than wonderful.
The delivered archives are calling to me here, wrapped in the blanket, medicines and herbal cures to my left and my Mom and Dad working around the house, around me (Mom is cooking dinner for My Aunt, my Brother, my Niece, my cousin and his family tonight – I hope I can smell the lemon zest I hear her working on in the kitchen).