Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reflections on my Mom, the genealogist

Yesterday, December 30th, 2011, was the 5th anniversary of my mother's passing, after a valiant fight with Alzheimer's for one year. I spent yesterday, reflecting that she is the reason I'm so involved with genealogy. She was not just my mother, but my mentor in terms of the importance of leaving a legacy of family history. The picture above was taken of our family in either 1958 or 1959 at our home in Maple Heights, Ohio. It was part of the 40 boxes of pictures and genealogy paperwork that she left in my care.

It was with my mother and father that I first visited relatives in Fayette County, PA; and went hunting for tombstones in the cemeteries. It was through her that I learned about the confusion of the FOX family, and watched while she researched and produced articles and pamphlets relating to Ohio genealogy. She did all of her work with letters! In fact I have over 500 copies of letters she wrote (she used old fashioned blue copy paper) and also all of the replies.

When I first brought my husband-to-be home to meet my parents, all my mom really cared about was his lineage. And was shocked but then thrilled to find she would have another family to unravel. My mother, however, just did not do the work - she insisted that I do it with her support.

Today, my passion has become genealogy, and continuing to unravel the family history. I often wonder what she would have said about her research, if she had been given the opportunity to blog. She traveled to the National Archives in DC, was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and visited the Family History Library in Salt Lake City on several occasions. But she never used Ancestry, and had only just begun to put her work into the computer. I wonder whether she would have told stories or written about her research. I simply know that the time we spent searching, rolling the microfilm forward, was precious time and one of memories.

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