Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Family Reunion and More...

     The 41st Glover-Gleason Annual Family Reunion was held this year in Jonesboro, Arkansas, the weekend of July 25th-27th.  I'd made my reservations, made all the necessary plans, taken all the right steps, and fell flat on my face. Well not exactly, but kinda, sorta.  I went, but that's the story!
     I 'll preface my tale with a confession...I'm not a highway driver.  Sure, I live in a relatively large city, but avoid freeways like the plague!  I TAKE THE STREETS!  There, I've admitted it.  There are many who are baffled by this, namely a sister and cousin, who will and do, drive 5 miles out of the way, to get to a freeway, only to get off on the first exit. lol! In other words, I took the Greyhound Bus.
     In and of itself, Greyhound is not a bad deal.  Tickets are considerably cheaper than airfare, with advanced purchase (another story).  They now have Wi-Fi, and if you can overlook the lack of leg room, and having to physically transfer your luggage, each time you change buses, it's not so bad.  I figured I could tough it out for 21 hours. After all, relatives, kinfolk were at the end of the ride.
     So..the bus left Detroit at 3 p.m. All was good.  I was in blissful heaven, with  cell phone, tablet, and never ending Wi-Fi.  Oh yeah, my battery chargers.  Must haves!  I was due to change buses twice, in Nashville and Memphis, Tenn.  Did I mention there was a lot of road construction? Mucho..
Somewhere between Cincinnati, Ohio, and Louisville, Kentucky that night, my trip was totally rerouted, without my knowledge or consent I might add.  Three things happened.  First, we were sandbagged in traffic due to road construction.  Second, there was a young man on board thought to be sick, who it was later ascertained was either high or having a bad reaction to prescription medication.  When we finally arrived in Louisville, Emt's and the police were waiting.  The young man  was led (stumbling more like it), and we all watched as he was questioned, frisked, and relieved of 3-4 prescription bottles that we could see.  Then the police had to find his luggage.  Third, while in route, our driver got lost, and for some reason, didn't pull off into a well lit area to get his bearings, choosing instead to pull onto a dirt road, where he  had to be spotted by a fellow passenger, so as not to roll off into one of the two ditches on either side. (I was later told by that he'd only been driving for a month.  (If there'd been a accident and I'd died, my tombstone could have read: Killed by an idiot driver, who never should have been behind the wheel!).
     Needless to say, all bets we off, and we arrived in Nashville and Memphis  several hours late, having missed all our connections.  Collectively, we all headed to the ticket counter to have our tickets reprinted.  Most passengers had a prolonged wait of several hours.  Yours truly, had to wait until the following morning for the bus to take me from Memphis to Jonesboro.  I was stuck in the Memphis Bus Station from 6:45 a.m. Friday morning, until 9:45 Sat. morning.  I wasn't offered a complimentary beverage token, let alone a food ticket.  To her credit, the ticket agent did  apologize for my inconvenience, which to me was lip service.  When I inquired about a refund for that leg of the journey, I was told she couldn't give me one, since my ticket was purchased online. Huh? She did however give me the number to Greyhound corporate offices
     Don't get me wrong, I understand that time and unforeseen occurrences can crop up at anytime, and are no one's fault.  The bottom line, is how they are handled,  Greyhound, dropped the ball. And the odd thing was, when the bus bound for Jonesboro left Memphis Saturday morning, there were only 3 passengers aboard, and the header read: Jonesboro.  Made we wonder if there's normally even such a bus.
     One further note, I was not forced to stay at the bus station.  I could have gotten a room somewhere, but figured I'd be charged for the room I'd reserved in Jonesboro as well, since it was so late when I canceled that Friday.  All in all, time spent in the station wasn't horrid.  There were plenty of people to talk with, a 24 hr. restaurant, and relatively clean, functioning bathrooms!  What more could I ask for? Lol!
     My biggest regret?  Not making  the Meet & Greet in Jonesboro that Friday.  An entire day of possibly bonding with newly discovered kinfolk, lost.  I arrived about 11a.m. that Sat. morning.There was just enough time to check-in, shower, meet a few family members who were sitting outside the hotel, and skedaddle to the buffet.
Before I knew it, dinner was over, we were back at the hotel, and there was a family meeting.  Soon afterwards, everyone seemed to go their separate ways.  Some left for home that night. About 10 us did congregate in one of the rooms and spent an hour or so laughing and talking.  After saying our goodbyes,the others checked out the following morning, and I was left alone there for the second leg of my journey.
     The trip had its ups and downs, but the end result was that I meet some of my 'elusive' kin, and for that I am grateful! Would I do it again?  You bet!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Firsts

     This has been a year of many firsts for me.  I do believe that it is true, -  you never forget your first.  And at the risk of sounding slutty, I hope there are many more to come! (-:
     Using the trusty people finder White Pages, I connected with a cousin, Marie, in El Dorado, Ark.  I'd run across Marie's name on the back of an old Glover Family Reunion program.  She was listed under the name Theodocia/Docia.  There were 2.  Which one was she related to, and how?  I called, explained who I was, etc. etc. I believe she was as happy to be found, as I was to find her.  Turns out, one of the Theodocia/Docia  mentioned in the bulletin was her grandmother, married to my Great- Great Uncle Jack. Her mother was Thelma, their daughter. We now speak a few times a month.
     I finally did meet Howard, who lives here in the city. To think that we've almost co-existed for a lifetime and never known of each other's existence is a sacrilege in itself.  We arranged to have lunch at a Red Lobster on a Saturday in March, and had a great time.
     Last, but not least, I FINALLY met some of my kin, whom until recently, I'd never laid eyes on, and in some cases, never heard of.  The Glover/Gleason Family Reunion is held every summer.  Since first hearing of it, I've planned to go, for the past 5-6 years.  Well this year, when my bulletin came in the mail, I immediately made reservations, and plans to attend. And guess what?  I went!! And that's another story for another day....
     

Monday, September 8, 2014

Anyone Not Watch WDYTYR (Who Do You Think You Are)?

     Am I the only person in the " genealogy world ," that does not watch WDYTYR (Who Do You Think You Are?)
     I know, I know, I can hear the collective gasps.  "Who does she think she is..."
Hold on, hold on, there is a simple, explanation!  And did I mention that I'd like to watch it. It's not too outside of the realm of  'possibilities' for me to watch it, - albeit one very specific  change would have to be made..... - The show would have to focus  on  ordinary, every day people, and to assist them in   researching their families.  Perhaps I shouldn't be so turned off at the plight of all those poor, poor celebrities with everything at their disposal, i.e. - assistants, time, and last but not least, - money.               
     But the fact remains that WDYTYR does focus on America's rich and famous icons. The  fact that each episode wraps  up in one hour, despite having  jetted around the world a time or two,  at times, tackling, then hurdling over what are normally insurmountable walls does rub me the wrong way and gives the show an air of  unreality.  For all intents and purposes I might as well watch A Kardashian Christmas.  Who wants to watch the rich and famous unveil their roots?  I don't.  I feel like I'm I standing outside a window watching the enlightened ones receive yet another perk, because of their status.....
     H-o-w-e-v-e-r, should WDYTYR ever do a segment on  run of the mill, salt of the earth, everyday folk, like My Elusive Kin, I'd be rapt with interest, sitting front row center.  Anyone else agree?

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

In Memory of Donnie Wilkins


Today's post is in memory of Mrs. Donzell "Donnie" Wilkins (March 15, 1919-December 21, 2013).  Donnie as she was called, was the first relative that I met when I began my genealogical journey.  I'd been wandering around, making vague searches for about a year, when out of the blue, my mother mentioned Donnie who lived in Shreveport, Louisiana.  I was dumbstruck! Here, I'd been asking questions of her and my aunt, trying to ascertain the maiden name of my great grandmother, Elizabeth, and she just thought to mention Donnie, more than a year later. To add insult to injury, she added that Donnie had been raised by my 3x great grandmother Harriett, Elizabeth's mother.  Helloooo....! Where did this wealth of information suddenly come from?  If I hadn't been so  excited at the  prospect of this new found info, I probably would have been angry.  An entire year, and she'd never thought that Donnie might provide the ladder enabling me to scale that particular brick wall.  I consoled myself with the thought that it was better late than never!.
Maybe there was a method to my mother's "amnesiac" madness. There was a caveat you see.  The information came with a warning.  One that I was never, ever to deviate from.  Or else!!  My mother told me that NEVER, under any circumstances was I to reveal that I knew that Harriett was not her real mother. Nor was I to inquire about Donne's true parentage, because although Donnie was raised by Harry & Harriett Glenn, neither of them was a biological parent.  Whose child she really was, how she was actually related to the family, was, and still is an unknown.  She just was.
In my mother's generation, there are/were things which are hush-hush, never discussed, or at very least, only discussed behind closed doors.  I would never have disclosed the "facts,"  although  I had to wonder what all the secrecy was about.  More than 80 years had passed!  What could have happened?
But as I pointed out to my mother, her 'nondisclosure' threat really wasn't necessary.  Harriett is in the 1870 census, age given 15.  Even if her age is incorrect, you figure, that by 1919, 49 years have passed, meaning it was possible that Harriett was her mother, but not likely.
Anyway, I made contact with Donnie, and we began to speak via phone every other Sunday.  I traveled to Shreveport twice, staying with her both times.  I remember that on my last visit, we were at the library, where I was doing research, and she began to say, "my real mother...",  and she stopped herself.  I didn't respond one way or another.  I really didn't know what to say.
Most of the few pictures that I have, such as the one used as the background for this blog, came from Donnie.  I will always be eternally grateful to her. My only regret is that we didn't meet years ago.
She will be missed!


Monday, September 1, 2014

Return Of The Prodigal Blogger....


     It has indeed been a long time between postings.  Almost a year to be exact. I feel like a country bumpkin who has fallen off the turnip truck, hit her head, (in the process developing amnesia), been wandering the farmland the past year, trying to get her bearings all the while, looking for the way home.....
    Life, the job, countless obstacles, and unforeseen occurrences have always manage to  somehow derail my blogging progress.  But, I'm b - aa-c-k now.....At least I think I am.  I hope I am.  Maybe I should just take things one day, one post at a time.  Lol!
 


 
 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

A Glover Feather in My Cap!

     If you're like me, you rarely get stamped, first-class letter mail anymore.  So, yesterday, when I glanced over at the mail lying on the floor in front of the mail slot, I got kinda excited.  Invitation?  Belated birthday wishes?  A response to a genealogy inquiry?
     As you can guess, I was anticipating something good, by the time I actually held the letter in my hand, and immediately saw that it was indeed for me, and that the return address was from a Glover relative, whom I'd heard of, and knew lived in Arizona.  I wanted to rip it open, but didn't want to chance tearing the letter itself, so I very calmly took a knife and slit open one end.
     The letter began:  Dear Cuz, (Those two little words were music to my ears!) I know we have never met, but I know that we are cousins... I WAS/AM SO EXCITED!  Or, as the young folks say, - stoked!  Not only is this the first time that someone approached me first, (genealogically speaking), but this new connection adds a new leaf to my family tree.  And, he no doubt has information about ancestors/relatives of which I have scant or absolutely no knowledge of.  As a matter of fact, he made reference to a cousin in Ohio.
     I've written about my cousin Howard before in my miniature 'exposes?' of The Glover Family. We sprout from different branches of  the same tree, in the form of Neal Glover, who was my 2X grandfather, and Howard's Grandfather.  Though we both live in Detroit, we've never met, and only became aware of the other other's existence, within the last few years, when I contacted him. My new 'correspondent', is his youngest brother.
     Etiquette might dictate that I respond in kind,- by letter, but let's face it, - I've never been one to follow the rules, Lol!  I did the only thing which made sense to me, looked him up in White Pages, and called.  No one answered.  No problem, that was expected, being a Saturday afternoon and all.  I've paced myself, and reasoned that I'll wait, and try again later, this afternoon, on the off chance that he's a churchgoer.  After that, all bets are off!
     Howard and I have now more or less cemented  plans to meet.(We alluded to it before, but it was never anything definite).  We have another cousin who also lives here in the city. She's Howard's  first cousins, as their fathers were brothers.  I've been tasked with finding her, and making the arrangements for the three of us to have lunch.
     At the risk of being repeating myself, "I'M SO EXCITED!"  Maybe the ancestors aren't upset with me after all.  Or, maybe it's like I said before, 'nothing happens before it's supposed to.' 
This picturesque scene is on the back of the card/letter. which I received.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

"Help.. I Need An Ancestor Intervention!"

     I've truly been floundering.  Kind of like 'knit one, purl two.'   Post 3 weeks, take a break for 2 more.  I work crazy hours, tis true, but I can't totally blame the job.  I'll hit a brick wall, bang my head, become frustrated,  pout in a corner for a while, then try again.  It's my very own vicious circle, but C'est la vie!,
that's life I guess.
     I am beginning to feel that the ancestors are either totally pissed off with me right now, displeased for one reason or another, OR are thwarting my searches and not allowing my efforts to be fruitful because this is simply the right time for connections to be made.
     I embarked on my Alf Glover Journey a few weeks back.  I can't honestly say I've not been successful, I guess I want resolution and answers, - yesterday. LOL!  I continue to bump my head....
First, while cruising the net one Friday Night, I wind up on the MyHeritage.com site.  Browsing through their family trees, I find my 'Alf', his wife Eliza, and some of their children.  Not all, but a little bit of something is always better than a whole lotta nothing.  Right?  Only problem was, that in order to browse the family tree, I had to join the site.  $76 worth of join!  Turns out I know the owner of this particular tree.  Well, 'know' might be stretching things, but we were genealogical 'conspirators' several years ago, and used to exchange emails (I've since lost his email addie).  I messaged him via the MyHeritage.com, and have yet to get a response.  And unfortunately, it's been my experience with The Ancestry Message Boards, that members more likely than not, -  do not respond.  Money not exactly well spent, I'd say.  Down the toilet would probably be a more apt description.
     I did find an obituary notice for someone I believe to be one of Alf's grandchildren on Ancestry.  The obituary is in The Flint Journal, from Flint, Michigan.  I called the library there, verified the obit, and was given the publication date, column, page, etc.  Unfortunately, the library no longer handles requests for obits. I would, I was told have to make my request with the Flint Genealogical Society.  I very promptly typed up my request, wrote out a check for fees, and mailed it off.  I live approximately 60 miles away, so I figure they'll receive the letter in a day or two, after all, we're talking Flint, Michigan, not Los Angeles, Ca.  How long could it take, I figured. (Apparently longer than I thought).  Yesterday, I broke down and called to see if there was some sort of snafu (It had been about 2 weeks). The check hadn't been cashed, and if there was a snag, I could take care of it, nipping things in the bud.  Right?  Wrong, again, LOL!.  I was told by the president of the genealogical society, that the volunteer who handled requests was out of the country, in Germany, and wouldn't be back until the end of the month.  Grrrr (the sound of my teeth gnashing!). I don't want much, just to prove or disprove a familial connection.  Jesus, Mary, Joseph!  My mother used to say that sometimes when you keep running into dead ends, it's because you are not supposed to do whatever it is you're attempting.  Could this be one of those times?  Are the ancestors trying to tell me this is a no-no? Or should I be reminding myself that patience really is a virtue?
     There was however, a silver lining in my cloud.  I'd called the Lafayette County Arkansas library, and was advised to call Southwest Arkansas Archives in Washington, Ark.  I spoke with Mrs. Lloyd there, and while she couldn't help me with ' my' Glover's, she was a fount of information in other respects, giving many useful tips.  For instance, it never occurred to me to check tax records for the early part of the century.  I always figured most of my ancestors were too poor to own any personal property of note, thus would not have paid taxes.  She quickly disabused me of that notion, explaining that anything they owned would have been considered personal property (i.e. livestock, a watch), and taxable.  She also gave advise about searching courthouse records, - that they were arranged by school districts.  The only down side is that these searches must be done in person,by me, sooo, it's a dead end for now, and will have to wait until I'm able to travel there on a research trip, which, hopefully, will be next summer.
      Finally, Mrs. Lloyd gave me the name of a fellow Southwest Archives Board Member who works at The Barton Library in El Dorado, Ark.  I called the next day, spoke Mrs. Boulden, who by the way, seems to be very nice, judging by her telephone persona.  She gave me her email info, and asked me to jot everything down, and send it to her, which I did the very next day.  I am on pins and needles, awaiting her response!
     I contacted the Columbia Library Genealogy Dept. in Columbia County Ark., and spoke to Dana. As with Mrs. Boulden, I was asked to email my info, to which I complied, and received a reply 2 days later. Great response time, for which I am grateful.  Dana appears to have given it the all American try, - unfortunately, the cemetery records she was able to find weren't helpful, with one exception. She found a grave for an Eliza Glover, who died in 1924, in  Pine Bluff, Ark, which is in Jefferson Co.  Could this be 'my' Eliza?
Guess it could be a viable lead.  So far, I've only located the family in Lafayette, Columbia & Union Counties.  Doesn't mean they couldn't have lived elsewhere.  God knows the family moved around a lot. Perhaps Alf preceded Eliza in death, and she moved in with one of their children or another relative in the Pine Bluff area.  Only the ancestors know for sure, and so far, they ain't talking!