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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Gray Family Connections

There is a wonderful feeling when close and distant family members connect with each other through today's technology. Using http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/ Anderson County, Texas Message Board, I have been able to connect with two second cousins who I did not know before. I am a Hollingsworth Gray descendant on my mother's side. One of them is a Brinson Gray descendant on his mother's side and the other is a Simpson Gray descendant on his father's side. We are near each others' ages even though they are first cousins to each other and I am a second cousin to both of them.

They have surnames of Brinson and Simpson, but because their mother and their father were sister and brother, I have a connection with them through my maternal grandfather. The sister's and brother's mother was the oldest sister to my maternal grandfather.

We share a common great-grandfather and great-grandmother who were Richard Lusky "Dick" and Mary Ellisor Gray who I wrote about in an earlier January 2008 post. Their oldest daughter lived from 1878-1924. She married a Simpson who lived from 1861-1942. These two first cousins were born after the death of their grandmother and near to the time of death of their grandfather. The two second cousins did not get to know their grandfather and grandmother.

In my family of fourteen first cousins, including my brother, and two sisters, we were fortunate in the timing of the lives of our grandparents because they lived until most of us were out of high school, going to more school, working, and/or married. Even though my maternal grandfather was a younger brother of my two second cousins' grandmother, he was born 15 years later and lived from 1893-1978. My maternal grandmother lived from 1893-1980.

The miraculous part is that, without today's technology and the Internet, these two second cousins and I would not have made contact with each other. The days of holding family history papers and photographs by one family member are over. The sharing of documents, letters, diaries, photographs, and stories is the only way to go. To do less is to hoard and prevent future generations from knowing about their family history.

Publishing family histories with paper is still important. Locating printed documents or copies of original documents that support and cite genealogy research about our ancestors is critical to telling the facts as they were, without leaving anything out or embellishing the truth, more than it was.

I am grateful for hearing the stories that my relatives recall about growing up, or that their parents told them about their parents. These are the stories that are worth writing down for future generations to read.

One of the second cousins' stories is a memory of attending the father's funeral at Pilgrim Cemetery of their first cousin. Another is about one cousin shooting a bow and arrow into the air and both cousins running for cover when they were young. A third story concerns one cousin loaning his cousin his knife to whittle with while visiting each other.

These are private stories, and to protect the living, no names are given. The stories are told about each other in general terms, and we will leave the details of who told what in the stories to the tellers themselves when they choose to reveal themselves and their stories.

I hope my relatives will read this story. I have sent them email notices about looking at this story and others I have posted here about all sides of my family.

I hope one or more of them will post their own story, short or long, humorous or serious, on this blog about our common ancestors. This is the way we will continue connecting with each other and our future generations.

Other genealogy lovers are also welcome to comment or share their feelings about any of the posts here.

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