Saturday, April 16, 2011

Genealogical Travel Trips are Great - Part One

J. Mark Lowe
I'm spending the weekend in Gadsden Alabama for the North East Alabama Genealogical Society Swapmeet to benefit the Nichols Memorial Library. On Thursday, the Library was open late, so I checked into my hotel by the Coosa River and stopped by the Library. There were several folks there researching and many of the great NEAGS volunteers who always make me feel so welcome. As I sat down at a table to begin research, the discussion turned to DNA and before I knew it, we were having an impromptu basic DNA presentation.
Friday morning began with a visit to my cousin, Jimmy Martin. Jimmy is the Grandson of Beckham and Kate Morris Martin of Warren Co KY. We usually visit at the Martin Family Reunion in Smiths Grove KY in July. I've always enjoyed our conversations and when Jimmy heard I was going to be in Gadsden - He invited me over.
Jimmy and his wife, Kris, live just outside Gadsden not too far east of the Coosa River. He gives wonderful directions and I drove right to their home. Jimmy was waiting for me. I am about 20 years older than Jimmy, so my knowledge of his older family members interests him. His Grandfather, Beckham, was one of the best storytellers in the family. Jimmy's Dad, Jimmie, always seemed so much like Uncle Beck and had a big personality himself. This younger Jimmy has that same contagious grin and laughter and seems to have been blessed with the storytelling gift himself.
Thanks to an earlier discussion with Jimmy, I found the pension record I mentioned in my earlier post. I sat down on the sofa and looked through the old pictures Jimmy had layed out. The only thing genealogists like better than old pictures is gravestones. There were many wonderful pictures of the family some old, some new.
In a few minutes, Kris came home. Jimmy asked her about the pictures she had used earlier in the week for a Scout presentation. Kris handed Jimmy an envelope. He pulled out an interesting tintype of an older African-American gentleman. He explained that Kris' parents found it at an antique shop. Unfortunately, there was no identification or even location. He pulled another photograph of a family out of the envelope and handed it to me. The lady in this photograph reminded me of my Lowe Great-Grandmother. When I flipped the picture over, the words on the back said Jim Martin's family. This was a photograph of my Great-Grandfather, Great-Grandmother and their oldest children, including my Grandmother. I had never viewed this photograph before. The resemblance is even more interesting because my Lowe Great-Grandmother and Martin Great-Grandmother were first cousins. I made a photograph of this picture and promised Jimmy to identify all of the children in order.
Kris had brought in some Bar-B-Q from Dad's in Gadsden for our lunch. What a great choice, the three of us had a great visit and discussed their sons - who are wonderful BTW. As we finished our conversation and Bar-B-Q sandwiches, a phone call told them schools were dismissing early because of the approaching storms. I realized I was late for the Library and headed back to Gadsden. Visiting with Kris and Jimmy was just like family visits should be. I felt like was I back in Kentucky visiting with my Martin family and sharing the same stories I heard growing up.
Friday afternoon was filled with one-on-one consultations with patrons of the Nichols Memorial Library before a presentation on my favorite online resources. Heavy rains and winds kept a few people home, but fortunately the major storm bypassed us.
Feeling a bit weary and feel some rest will give me enough energy to share the rest of the weekend, some great genealogical tips, and maybe the picture Jimmy shared. We all worked at Keeping the Story Alive by sharing the stories of our families.
Read Rosemary Jones Hyatt blog for the North East Alabama Genealogical Society.

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