Monday, November 30, 2009

Get It While You Can

I started researching my family tree at the age of 20, much younger than most get bitten by the genealogy bug. I don't know what the big draw was to find out where I'd come from but my interest was piqued by my paternal grandfather. He often spoke of Mother, my great grandmother. Great Grammie died when I was 4. Lots of people never know grandparents, so I was very fortunate to have known a great grandparent. She lived on the first floor of the same house we lived in, and I remember her.

One particularly strong memory I have was when my grandfather was bringing me home from the hospital after having my tonsils removed. It was raining and he had me wrapped in a blanket on his shoulder. Great Grammie met us on the doorstep. I distinctly remember their exchange about me. She must have died soon after that.

I just finished a six-week class about real estate title searching, sort of another kind of genealogy. Most probably know that when a piece of real estate is sold or transferred, a search of the title is done by a title examiner or attorney. This search is almost always done in person but many municipalities now have their land evidence records online.

The first thing I did when I found these records were available online was to look at the various recordings of documents associated with the house I grew up in. I was never certain when the house was built but it looks like it was in the 1850's. I do know that it had been owned by my family since about 1905. My father was the fourth generation to own the house. He sold it in 1996 before I had the chance to be the fifth.

As I went through document after document of mortgages, liens, and deeds for the property, I became a bit melancholy seeing signatures of my grandparents and my father, all gone. Then I came upon a reference to a Nora B. Lewis. It had to be my great grandmother.

But Great Grammie's name wasn't Lewis! I know her maiden name did begin with a "B" but I have a copy of her death certificate, and she had my great grandfather's last name. The only conclusion I can draw is that after my great grandfather's death in 1926, she must have remarried, but I don't know where or to whom.

I went to my mother and she didn't know the answer. Although these are her inlaws, my mother has been part of that family since she was 16 so it seems she would have heard something. My grandparents, my father and my aunt are all gone. I have no one to go to for an answer. I could probably do some research and try to find an answer but it's not going to be easy as she lived in at least four states over the course of her life.

I think I have a couple first cousins once removed still alive but I'm not sure. Finding them is going to be a challenge but I'm going to try.

I sure do wish I had talked more to my grandparents when they were here.


Photo courtesy of Google Images

9 comments:

mama-face said...

It's obvious that you know this, but you really are lucky for the relationship you were blessed to have with your grandparents. Though all of mine lived into their 80's and 90's, I never really knew them at all. Distance and strained family ties. I hope that I will be like your grammie when I am a grammie. If I ever get to be a grammie.

I love researching the history of homes. If walls could talk...

Just Breathe said...

That sounds so interesting. My brother in law worked on one for our family. I did know my great grandparents on my mother's side but they didn't speak English and I never understood Bohemian.

DUTA said...

Unfortunately, I didn't know any of my grand parents or greatgrandparents.

Several years ago, I started a genealogical quest to find out about my great grandmother who had emigrated from Romania to America and about her descendants there. (I might write a post someday on this subject).
It's not finished yet; I'm stuck with two people I know almost nothing about.

Genealogy is very interesting but it takes a lot of time and it requires cooperation from family memmbers and friends or neighbours.

Anyway, Good Luck with your work!

2 Toddlers and Me said...

Good luck with your search. It can be fun but frustrating. Hopefully you will find your answers easily.

Mommakin said...

This always becomes so confusing to me - as an adopted person. My family is certainly my family, but it is not my genealogy. That being said, my mother's grandmother lived until I was 15 and I won't say I knew her well, but I knew her. When my kids were born, they had three great grandparents living - my grandma and both of Tom's grandparents...

Good luck with your search - I'm sure it will be very exciting!!!

Pam said...

I think we all feel this way as we get older. Wishing we had paid more attention to our grandparents stories or that we had had the foresight to ask more questions. I'm sure doing geneaology research is much easier now with the internet. I bet you can find the answer.

Quasi Serendipita said...

This is a lovely post. Good luck with finding out.

Rinkly Rimes said...

I remember meeting my great grandfather..... and he was probably born about 1850! As a tiny child I was placed on his bed! I remember nothing but a huge white beard. But I'm glad I had the experience!

Mad's mom said...

Thank you for this. You just gave me a big warm and fuzzy while I think about my grandparents.

Just the pickmeup I needed.

Good luck on your quest!

 

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