Monday, June 15, 2015
Then and Now
One of the thinks on my genealogy bucket list has been to find the house of my 3rd great grandfather. My daughter was accepted into a two week summer school for Talented and Gifted students at a college near where my 3rd great grandfather ended his days which means a long drive twice a day and four hours a day for the next two weeks in which I have time to burn. So one day one while she was in school, I set off in search of his house.
I only knew the town where it was located in a mailing address but didn't know if it was actually in town or in the miles of surrounding countryside. I decided that since it is a small town, that I would be able to scour the town and the surrounding countryside in a few days if need be but since I knew it was standing 26 years later in 2002 when another picture of it was taken during a 76th family reunion there which I didn't know about until a couple years ago. I called up the organizer of that reunion and though she couldn't tell me where it was, she did seem to think it MIGHT be on the northeast side of town.
With that information to go upon, I drove down the main road through town and when I got towards the east side I turned north. Whether it be luck, good intuition or perhaps some genetic homing beacon, I drove right to the house. It was still occupied by someone and I didn't want them to feel like I was stalking them so I didn't linger. I took the photo below and drove on down the road away where I could see the house and the lay of the land and contemplate things.
Two generations of my family are in the photo above, my great grandfather and his father. My third great grandfather had died only six years before the picture was taken and I have featured pictures of his grave and a barn on a farm he lived for a time previously on this blog. For some reason, I felt connected to him at his grave and at the old barn that he used to work in on a farm he rented earlier in his life but felt little connection to this house. I could have stood in the very inches of earth that my great great grandfather stood for the photo and those of his son and my great grandfather but for some reason, being in the barn where they sweated and toiled working the land meant more to me.
Still I guess I can say I've been there and cross it off my genealogical bucket list. While calling the coordinator for the family reunion 13 years ago, she reminded me that the family is having the 90th family reunion since the above picture was taken later this summer and invited me to attend. I'm not sure if I'll go since it would inevitably mean meeting my biological father for the first time since he left 35 plus years ago. A family reunion is supposed to be full of good memories and not uncomfortable pauses in what would probably be awkward conversation. Hey, how have you've been? But then, perhaps I need to just get it done and over with and out of the way in a setting with plenty of others around to help alleviate any awkwardness. I guess I still have a couple months to decide.