Sunday, March 22, 2009

There's some old lady on the phone

I don't know if it's an exception or rule but it most of the people I've met who do family history research are women and elderly. My wife has given me more messages than she wants to remember from strange women but I guess she could figure out from their age they were not competition.

Her aunt Frances was one of the first family members we came across who was into genealogy. I compared notes a few times with her but Mary was the one who drove around rural Tennessee with her looking for cemeteries.

I've met several elderly women who were related to one of my family lines who did genealogy research and was fortunate to have them share their research with me. For the most part they started their research when the only way to do it was to visit Court houses and public libraries, reading microfilm or faded paper records. They haven't taken to using the Internet, which is a shame because the availability of information on the Internet today allows us to find answers so much quicker.

Elizabeth Taylor, from ATL not LA was one I met, about 8 years ago. She and I are related on the Paulk family from Georgia. She sent me a large box of her research and some from a woman in Chicago named Emma Pierce who had died 10 years earlier. Emma Pierce and I were related from both the Paulk and Hogan family. Both ladies had tirelessly typed out their research and had shared with each other for about 20 years before Emma died. It was interesting to see the questions they had tried to answer, many of them dealing with my immediate family members, so I had the answers they never found.

About 6 months after I received the papers from Ms. Taylor I called her house and found she had passed away also. Since then there have 4-5 other elderly women who I had been sharing research with who have passed away. In most cases there wasn't really anyone in their immediate family who was interested in the research. I hope they hang on to the papers and another member of the family decides to take up the cause.

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