Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What's the Most Important Task in Genealogy?

Photo of the old railroad depot in Rocky Hill Station, Kentucky.

I recently attended the funeral of a wonderful lady who was aged 99 years and the next day attended a funeral of a high school classmate who was aged 54. One of the lessons I learned from attending these two memorial services was the need to prioritize life.
My calendar is always full of tasks with articles, books, and lectures. What happened to those times when I filled my calendar with driving visits to relatives. Those times when I learned that my Great Aunt Grace loved collecting Avon bottles. [She shared a bottle with me.] I also learned about her family history and wonderful stories of growing up in the Bee Springs community in Kentucky. Or the visits with my Great Aunt Jen where I learned about my Great Grandmother Clara or my Aunt Jen's in-laws.
This past weekend my sister and brother-in-law trekked into Beckton, Kentucky to visit our oldest nephew, Brett, and his wife, Becky. They have recently moved to Kentucky from Texas. After checking out their new home located on the banks of Barren River, they told me about a small family cemetery located across the road. In a moment, we went cemetery hunting. We found a typical burial ground surround by an iron fence. Filled with briers and tall grass, we were able to read a few stones and identify the family. More about this on another day.
After this exciting cemetery visit, we headed to Mammoth Cave National Park for lunch. Brett also loves history and takes every opportunity to pull stories out of me. Our Martin family held many, many reunions in the Old Hotel at Mammoth Cave. [Edmonson County, KY]
They have recently completed a wonderful new Visitors Center at the Cave, which adds even more opportunities for visitors to gain an understanding of this historic place and the people who lived and visited here. If you get a chance to visit, be sure to try the Peach Cobbler with Chaney's Dairy Barn ice cream. Once we had this great lunch including conversation, we walked around on the grounds and enjoyed the beautiful (pre-Spring) day.
As we drove back to Park City from the Cave, my nephew asked me about Rocky Hill [Station] just up the road. I told him that my Dad, his Granddad, was born. The explanation included information about Granny and Papa Martin's farm, and that although the house was now bricked, it was the house where Dad was born. We drove by the house and up the road past where Aunt Jen lived, and where her in-laws lived next door. I also told him that Dad's cousin owns the farm now and lives about 2 miles up the road.
We turn at the crossroad and went through the town of Rocky Hill [Edmonson Co. KY - There is a Rocky Hill in Barren County, too.] We stopped so I could take a picture of the old depot. My nephew is the manager of the natural gas system in the area, so he showed us their work area there.
As we talked, I remembered coming to this town cemetery for a burial. My nephew suggested we drive up this other crossroad by the railroad and see if the cemetery was near. I spotted the Rocky Hill Cemetery with a large sign on our right. We slowly drove through this well-kept cemetery until we began to recognize names. I hopped out of the truck with my nephew right behind me. I walked toward a family surname, and there was the grave of my Great Aunt Jen and Uncle Hubert. More stories followed as we returned to the truck and headed back to the house.
What's the Most Important Task in Genealogy? Sharing the stories and spending time with family. As we share the discoveries we've made in our family history, the people and places in that story come alive for those new 'hearers.'
Keeping the Story Alive is the goal of every family historian. Time to get back to those deadlines.

No comments:

J. Mark Lowe
J. Mark Lowe Reviews
Springfield, Tennessee Speakers
powered by Speaker Wiki