But they are important none the less
How many times have we, as genealogists, read some abstract article like this one http://www.times-herald.com/close-up/Internet-connects-Californians-with-family-cemetery-near-Senoia–1455403 on how genealogy helped to connect families? How many of those times did we say to ourselves “I’ve done that”?
I truly doubt there will ever be an article written on the fact that I have managed to track down descendants of all 7 children born to William Redding Byers, aka Redin, and Elizabeth Banks Byers in the mid 1800’s. Or the fact that I was able to have many of those descendants attend a tombstone dedication for Redin’s CSA stone. An article was written about THAT, but not about the years I spent finding people to attend it.
I met my husband in 2003, and being the lover of research that I am, I was thrilled to have a new family to research. When it became apparent that we would be marrying, I began work and with the help of his great uncle Leelan Byers, I got a really good starting place. I took what he had and started tracking stuff down, proving AND disproving information along the way. There is no way I could possibly identify the hours that I (and my own mother) spent looking for information. Libraries, historical societies, cemeteries, old age homes, the internet, newspapers and the telephone were all used as tools, each one invaluable in its own right.
Redin had 7 children: Matilda Jane, Richard Marion, William Redman, Mary Amanda, Reacie Caroline, Thomas Francis and Lula A. Of those 7, Redman and Amanda moved to Oklahoma and Arkansas. The rest scattered to different parts of Georgia, where the family had moved to in 1867, from South Carolina, where they were all born.
In 2007 I finally tracked down (with help from my mama and Lynn Cunningham) where Redin was buried. The family kept saying he was surely buried in a church cemetery where other members of the family were buried, but after extensive research, I could find no proof of that. His death certificate stated he was buried in a cemetery 50 miles to the south. My husband and I went over every inch of the cemetery at Tanner’s Church in Conley, Ga and couldn’t find him, which meant he was in one of the graves marked only with a rock.
Through the goodwill of the church, we were allowed to pick an area of the cemetery to have his CSA stone, supplied for free by the VA, erected. I cannot tell you the sense of fulfillment I had the day it was installed, but I can tell you that as good as it was, it didn’t match the day we had the dedication ceremony.
When the church had given its approval for placement, I stepped up finding family in earnest. My goal was to have at least one descendant for each of his 7 kids at the dedication. I didn’t meet that goal because of logistics, BUT I did find at least one descendant for each child, the last one coming forth 1 week before the ceremony, so I know they were all there in spirit. I like to think Redin was looking down with joy as he saw so many members of his family there to honor him. The event was covered by the newspaper, those interested can see/read about it here http://www.ancestrallychallenged.com/dedication.htm
The years have brought new family ties, new friendships and new revelations. Many of the people I have found had no idea their extended family was so large, and they are more than eager to learn about their ancestors and their living kin. Will I or any of these wonderful people ever have this experience written up for the world to read in a major media outlet? More than likely not, but you know what? The internet is a vast expanse of connections and putting it here will probably highlight it in more ways than I can count.
Do you have a story? Would you like to see it here? You can contact me at shanifaye @ gmail.com with what you have written and I will be glad to post it for you. You’ve worked hard for your research results, it should be recognized.