Saturday, April 7, 2012

G is for Genealogy

Genealogy:   A record or table of the descent of a person, family, or group from an ancestor or ancestors; a family tree
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I’m hooked on genealogy and have been for a number of years. I put it away for a long time but last year, after watching Who Do You Think You Are? on Friday nights, I dug out my disorganized notes and records, joined ancestry.com and started searching.

Genealogy is addictive. I struggle between writing fiction and wanting to devote all my time to writing my family history--at least, a few personal family stories like  the one below.
Me and Grandma
I was closer to Grandma than her other grandkids. Maybe because we lived right across the pasture and I saw her every day. When I was little, I stayed with Grandma while Mama worked. I watched her wring the necks of chickens, slam them to the ground and laugh while they flopped to death. There was something a little scary, yet fascinating about watching my old Grandma, long grey hair knotted at the base of her neck, killing chickens.
When I got older, I’d still hang out with Grandma. I thought she could teach me something school books, and my own mom, couldn’t.
Being at Grandma’s house always felt right.

But this story isn’t 100% true. I wasn’t any closer to Grandma than the other grandkids; I did live across the pasture. And I did stay with her when I was little while my mom worked but once I started calling my panties 'drawers' and the front porch a 'gallery', Mom put me in a kindergarten. I did watch Grandma (I really called her Mamaw) wring the necks of chickens, and she did twist her long hair in a knot. She laughed too. Yes, she fascinated me, so is the story a lie?

I wonder what keeps people from 'elaborating' their family history, stories about their ancestors? 
John Henry Roach is 18 years old. Mattie Mae Smith is 16 years old. Too handsome and beautiful to be wringing the necks of chickens.

8 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

I was never interested in genealogy when I was younger. I've gotten more interested as I've gotten older.

Pat Carroll Marcantel said...

We're covered, Jess. We now have license to add a little here, subtract a bit there and call it "Creative Memoir." Aren't we fortunate? Of course, I don't have any family members left to call me down when I may add or subtract!
Genealogy digging is not for me. I get frazzled--more than I already am! Good job,girlfriend.

Tonja said...

Genealogy is very addictive (and spelled weird). I just got hooked and hope to write some family stories too.

Mr. Opinion said...

Genealogy is a huge interest. Yet I think about it too much..

Jeremy Bates said...

i actually checked up my last name a while ago... its Bates... apparently it comes from Bateman, which, with an northern English accent, sounds like "Boatman".... so from what I've read, my grea great great somebody was a ferryman! lol

Rhia Roberts said...

Even if the story wasn't totally true, I love the expression you used about 'living right across the pasture...' There is such romanticism there that creates such a compelling scene.
Rhia from Five Minute Piece for Inspiration (around #800 on A to Z Challenge).

Lynn said...

I hear you about genealogy and getting all caught up in it. I LOVED your story about you and your grandma. I never got to witness my mom breaking a chicken's neck, but was told she did. However, I did see my uncle whack the head off of a chicken and it ran around--- just like the saying, running around like a chicken with your head cut off!

Lisa Campbell said...

What great memories! I love the chicken details. So real. I actually did my G post on a story about my grandma who was born in 1910. She loved genealogy more than almost anything, so I'm trying to share her stories.