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Branches On My Family Tree

When I first started exploring my family tree, I sought to draw a line straight back as far as possible. Within a short time, I had names and dates ? all taken from shaky sources ? for several ancestors. Soon after, I learned that genealogy is like detective work: just because something is in print doesn't make it right. The truth tends to take a little hunting around.The more I worked, the more I wondered about the lives of my forefathers (and foremothers, too). I looked first at my dad's grandfather.

A man named Styrle Iretone Taylor must have had a hard life! As I looked at the death dates of his parents, I realized that was true, but not because of his name. His parents had died scarcely two weeks apart while he was fourteen.Regular death records gave me no clue, and since they passed away in 1914 and 1915, I was pretty sure they weren't victims of a car crash, as cars rarely reached such fatal speed and were few and far between. Perhaps a train wreck? The death notices gave me the clue I had been looking for.

It seemed William Ellett Taylor (my grandfather's grandfather) had been a well-to-do businessman. He owned a saw mill and a general store in rural Virginia. Sadly, the sawmill did him in.

While working one late December day, one of the blades flew off the saw and cut a major artery in his leg. By the time the doctor arrived, death had claimed him.Such an account piqued my interest. Unless his wife stood nearby (and the newspaper account did not mention her), the deaths were unrelated. I searched for an obituary and learned that she had been sick for a number of years (an account verified by a letter written to her son while she traveled to Atlanta for treatment). Apparently, the loss of her husband was too much for her, and she followed him to the grave a scant two weeks later.

As I sat at the microfilm, having read this, I could not have put myself in young Styrle's shoes. Only six months from his fifteenth birthday, he had surely been preparing himself for the loss of his mother. Suddenly, out of the blue, his father was taken from him, as well, leaving him orphaned. How must he have reacted to this?.

Family rumor notes that he traveled for several years around the country (a fact I have been unable to prove, which makes it even more believable) before coming home to marry. He stayed in the same small town where he grew up. Death seemed to have him marked ?his oldest son and namesake (yes, he named my grandfater Styrle Iretone Junior) died unexpectedly of a heart attack at age 57, and his wife died six years before he did. Styrle Senior passed on at the age of 92 in the home he raised his children in, long before researching my family tree ever interested me, long before I could ask him for details about his life.For me, genealogy started off as an adventure, an opportunity to solve a puzzle and connect the dots from myself to someone centuries before. The more I learned, however, the more I came to see that genealogy is more than that.

It is a way to connect with and learn about those who came before me, who brought me into this world. It is my chance to learn where those things my father taught me may actually have come from, to learn the challenges I face today have been survived by those who came to this world before me.It is a way to learn who I am by determining where I am from.

.Nola Redd is an author on http://www.Writing.

Com/ which is a site for Creative Writing. In addition to genealogy, she loves writing freelance. You can view more of her fiction and nonfiction at http://Writing.Com/authors/scottiegaz.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Nola_Redd.


By: Nola Redd


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