Thursday, October 14, 2010

Who Or What Do You Blame?

Can you identify person or event that started you on this search for family information? Did you pick up researching where a relative had left off?  Did your interest stem from your child's school project on genealogy?  If you have been researching many years, it may be hard to pinpoint one reason for this  journey.

I place the blame for my passion for genealogy on the family storytellers and also on being a naturally nosy person. As  a child, I grew up hearing stories about my relatives.  It was inexpensive entertainment and there was an abundance of characters. When my dad told the story of how Hugh Wolstenholme crossed the mountains and "washed his hands in the clouds," I wanted to know which mountains he crossed.  How old was he when he crossed those mountains and where was he coming from?

When my grandmother told me the story of being dressed all in blue when she married my grandfather in 1902, did she mean even her underwear was blue?  And why blue - why not pink or yellow or green?

Who was the mysterious "Temus" Joyce and how was he related to my great-grandfather, James Pinkney Joyce?

Did my Joyce family really leave Lawrence County, Tennessee during the early days of the Civil War because they didn't believe in slavery? And did they really turn their wagon around  at night so it would appear they were heading south instead of north? Was this done because my great-grandfather was trying to avoid being drafted and having to fight against his older brother who remained in Tennessee?

Why did none of my close relatives in Livingston and Crittenden counties, Kentucky fight for the South during the Civil War? A few served on the side of the North, but most of them didn't fight at all and none favored the South. Were they opposed to slavery or in favor of states' rights or what? 

Through research, I've learned a few answers, but enough questions remain unanswered to keep me researching the next 30 years - at least I hope so.


LSW said...

I surely hate to admit that it was my 8th grade science teacher who gave me the initial push with an assignment to create a family tree. I despised that man. However, to satisfy the assignment I ended up talking to both my grandmothers and they began talking to me about the family history, conversations that continued with every future visit. We will blame/credit my grandmothers for being such good story tellers that my interest did not stop once the class assignment was accomplished.

I, too, have wondered why none of my Hodge relatives in Crittenden/Livingston did not serve in the Civil War. There has to be an explanation for the lack of involvment in that area of the state.


Karen said...

I, too, got my start from wonderful old stories, told by my mother - my German great-grandfather courted my French great-grandmother ("Dorothea Francine" - what an elegant name!) during the war, risking life and limb and the love of their families to marry... sigh... too bad not a word of it was true! But it got me started! :)

Life Goes On said...

My interest started with my aunt alice. Wish I had talked to more relatives before it was to late. My goal is to hopefully pass on my interest to my children and grandchildren

Linda McCauley said...

I didn't have time to comment yesterday (busy with football) but here's my answer -

Lisa S. Gorrell said...

Mine began with the birth of my first child in 1988. I began asking questions of my grandmother and looking at the bible that my other grandmother had filled out. I filled out the family group sheets but thought nothing more of it. Later, when the woman who babysat my children talked about researching for 6 days at the FHL in Salt Lake City, I couldn't fathom how anyone could spend so many days & hours researching. I asked what it was all about and she took me to Sutro Library in San Francisco. When I found my grandfather in the 1920 census, I was hooked. I had always enjoyed researching for papers in college (just never liked writing them). Now I go to Salt Lake City yearly with the group.

Brenda Joyce Jerome said...

Thanks for all the comments here and on Randy Seaver's Genea-Musings blog. Y'all kept me busy reading all of the wonderful responses about who you blame!

Terri O'Connell said...

Here's my reply, finally

Blayde said...

Both sides of my family hail from Arkansas, (three grandparents from the county where I was born) but four uncles moved to California, two during WWII, two afterwards. I grew up in Arkansas, moved to California as an adult. At my uncle's house after his funeral, two out of town relatives introduced themselves to each other. Seeing this, my California-raised cousin expressed surprise that they were related but had not known each other. I explained to her that although each was related to us, they were NOT related to each other. I decided to write down what I knew so they would know the relationships.

Years later another cousin (daughter of the uncle above) was given an assignment to bring in a family tree. Aunts (by marriage) that she called referred her to me. AND the teacher had told her that she could go up to the nearby Mormon Temple's family history center. Wow! I've been researching ever since. I saw my first census, recognized so many names that I have ended up with what I call a community tree. Seeing the intermarriage among folk in the community, and nearby communities, I gave in and just added every family that lived in the small community when I was growing up. I added their connections in nearby small communities over the years and will add anyone's relative who can tell me how they connect.

I have virtually NO oral history on my father's side (3 sentences...) still don't know his mother's side beyond her maiden name (JONES...) My father was the youngest child and she died when he was a year old. (It was a 3rd marriage for his Mother and his Father.) Grandma was the one grandparent born in another county, so we still don't know any relatives beyond my father's half-siblings on that side... all deceased before I started this research.

Earlier this year I was involved in a thoroughly exciting ancestry search. I asked a man I'd known slightly from school who his mother’s ancestors were. (I already had his father’s side) He did not know his grandmother’s maiden name, but I have a list of African American marriages from the county records (another project) and found their marriage there. I recognized her maiden name from land research that I had done. One thing led to another and I learned that he shared ancestry with one of my classmates and with another who was my sister’s classmate. It was very satisfying for me to give them the information which they had not really known before.


Darlene said...


This was a great SNGF topic that you provided Randy for SNGF.

See my contribution at My Colored Roots. Mine will also have a Part II. Give me a couple of hours.

When you mention your "relatives in Livingston and Crittenden counties, Kentucky fight for the South during the Civil War", you bring to mind one of the misnomers of the Civil War and of that time period in American History. Not all soldiers in the north fought for the Union and not all in the south fought for the Confederacy. Didn't know these myself until I started researching.

I will be back to visit.


Barbara Poole said...

Brenda, I'm a week behind, but wanted to comment. What a great topic, and I know Randy used it for his SNGF. My answer is unlike any others, when I started my job at the DAR in Washington, DC., the minute I had a tour of their huge library, I was hooked. Within a week, I had taken a book out and stayed up until 2 AM reading it. I wish I could blame a family member or a teacher or some other outside source, but it was an instant calling for me. So, I guess I blame a library!

Darlene said...


Does that mean you got started with all this fun while you were getting paid to do it? That is Awesome!


Alanna said...

Wow! There are so many reasons why I am here.....
my post is at

Unknown said...

I blame me!!! Genetically instilled within is a gipsy, only me no one else has a desire to be curious, to wander, to look into the deep of the deep and see what's there! Thus began my journey, where did my no fear, no hesitation, no sinking choking roots into one spot behavior come from? In this post I read you have a James Pinkney Joyce I have a James Pinkney Story thus another question... Was that a common combination of names??? Ahh it continues...