A couple of week ago I mentioned on Georgia Black Crackers that I had happenings on the paternal side of my research, also. However, I never got around to posting about what was happening on my paternal side.
First, let me provide the background information. My paternal grandmother had one sister, Aunt Goldie. After returning to my research efforts, I’ve often wondered what became of my Grand Aunt. I knew of her children and grandchildren but through the years, there’s not been much contact with them and whenever I asked dad about her I got the usual “I don’t know.”
Based on the 1920 and 1930 Federal Census records, I determined that Great Granddad, Peter Everett, ended up rearing his oldest daughter’s children, cousins Etherlyn “Hun” Johnson Curtis and James Henry “Buddy” Johnson, which probably explains why great granddad remarried after great grandmom died. With great granddad rearing his grandchildren and not being able to locate Aunt Goldie anywhere after the 1910 census, I just assumed that she and her husband J. Henry Johnson had both died sometime between the 1910 and 1920. What other explanation could there be for Grandpa Everett ending up with his grandkids. However, that wasn’t enough for me as I longed to know more about my grandmother’s big sister.
What else? I also knew that Aunt Goldie’s youngest grandson, Cousin Clifford (my second cousin), was residing here in my home state. Of Aunt Goldie’s remaining descendants, Cousin Clifford is pretty much the only one we’ve had contact with, but after dad had to move into Assisted Living, we lost touch with him. So, my first step in trying to learn more about my Grand Aunt was to try to locate and get in touch with Cousin Clifford. Earlier this year, through Google, et al, I found an address and wrote but never heard anything. As weeks passed, I always meant to follow-up but never did and eventually let the whole matter drop.
Well, while I was on vacation last month, Cousin Clifford called. When I got in touch with him, he explained that he had received my letter but accidentally shredded it before he had a chance to call. He had to do a bit of detective work of his own to figure out how to get in touch with me. So, after we got caught up on how everyone was doing, we got down to discussing Aunt Goldie.
Cousin Clifford explained that since he was the youngest of his siblings, he didn’t remember a lot about his grandmother. He told me he was six when she died. He remembered that she had married several times and that she died around 1956. He also confirmed that his mother and uncle were reared by our great grandfather. Cousin Clifford also suggested that I talk to his brother who’s be working on the family research, also, but best of all, Cousin Clifford said whenever I venture to our ancestral home in Martin County, NC that he would like to go too.
Well, since reconnecting with Cousin Clifford, I’ve actually been able to find a few more bits and pieces of Aunt Goldie’s life as a young adult. Thanks to the Pilot Family Search I’ve located information on Aunt Goldie’s marriage to both her first husband, James Henry Johnson, Cousin Clifford’s granddad, and her second husband, James J. Hyman. I tell you it’s almost like Aunt Goldie was waiting for Cousin Clifford and I to reconnect before allowing me to find out about this snippet of her life. Could this be the start of uniting the two branches of descendants of my great grandparents? I’m hopeful.
You see, between my maternal side and paternal side, my paternal side is much smaller (26 grandkids vs. 6 grandkids) and scattered. Just in my grandmother’s branch of the tree, we, her descendants, are in California, Florida, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and Cancun, Mexico. Growing up, I always wondered why there weren’t the tons of relatives, the big family reunions, etc. on my paternal side like on my maternal side.
There are also a lot of “old” genealogical lessons to be learned from all of this.
- Be careful when making assumptions – things aren’t always what they appear (Aunt Goldie was very much alive during the time period I thought she was dead.)
- Always follow up on any correspondence. If I had have done this, Cousin Clifford and I could have been in contact so much sooner.
- Persistence pays off – Keep at it. Don’t be deterred! (Cousin Clifford was determined to reconnect even after I had dropped the ball.)