Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Research here I come...

Today, I officially started researching my family tree again. Thanks to They sent me the upgrade to my FTM 2008 for free. So now I have FTM 2009 on my laptop. This makes researching my family tree much easier.

Today, I'm researching Buena Spence. Buena is an ancestor that has an interesting story to tell. She did something that caused her mom to be called as a witness to her trial. Not only that, there is a possibility that she had children that did not belong to her husband. I know, I know. You're saying that these family secrets should be left buried. Well, I DISAGREE!!! Everyone wants to know the true story, but few will ask those question.

Before my family reunion last year, an aunt of mine sent me obituaries for various family members. She sent me one for I. Joseph Williams. While researching him, I found no connection to my family. I called my aunt and she told me that he was her first cousin on her dad's side. He was his sisters son. I had his birth certificate in hand and I told her that it didn't make sense. His mother is listed as a non-Spence. She couldn't tell me which sister because she didn't know. I just thought that she was mistaken and put the obituary to the side.

Well, a few weeks before the reunion, I got a 'wild hair' and it was bugging me to find out who this person was. I talked to several other family members and they led me in the direction of I. Joseph's daughter. I tracked her down and just asked her "How are you related to the Spence family?".

She told me the most interesting story.

She said that the woman on his birth certificate was not his real mother but she was his step mother. She said that his real mother was married when he was conceived but the man she was married to wasn't his father. As a matter of fact, he has another brother from this union. When his real mother died, the 'government' came in to take the boys (she had 2 sons with this outside man) and put them in orphanages, I think. At that point, the real father stepped up and claimed them to be his children. From that point on, he and his wife at the time raised the boys. aunt wasn't crazy! It seems that Buena was the bit of a wild child and has a good story to tell.

So, next week when I go to Elizabeth City, I will be spending the day at the courthouse to find the court records from 1922. I'm extremely excited!!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why we're clueless.

Talking to my dad yesterday, I realize that as a family, we’re clueless.  We don’t know who are relatives are, let alone our ancestors.  I put in a perspective he could understand. 

I told him that I know my grandmother’s siblings and their descendents.  But, he doesn’t know his grandparents siblings and/or descendents.  That is a generation of cousins he has no idea about.  That’s what makes us clueless. 

But, that’s one of the beautiful things about family.  Because we have the same blood running thru our veins, there is an instant connection to them as well as to the past.  There is similarity in lives that you can not forget.  Because they’re family, you’re always connected.   

I’ve spent the last several months trying to reconnect with those family members no one knows about.  I’ve called cousins as distant as possible with a simple “Hello, you don’t know me but you’re my cousin.  My great-grandmother was Bessie Spence.”  From there, they have welcomed my phone call.  It’s beautiful.   Bessie & Rosa Spence were the matriarchs of the family.  Everyone knows those names.  It’s like getting a VIP pass to someone life by saying you’re descendent from them. 

I truly believe my calling is to reconnect my family that has long gone distant.  Family rumors and disagreements cause some family members to stop reuniting.  Others no longer see the importance of keeping up with cousins. 

I always find it silly when some cousins are to scared or nervous to call other cousins.  I’ll call anyone.  Why be scared to talk to family?!?

But as we move forward, I hope that my efforts will show my family that regardless of anything, because we’re family, I love you.  I may not even know you. 

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