Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Jigsaw Puzzles and Genealogy

There have been many events in my life that have brought to the forefront just how short life really is. On August 21, 1991 two events happened that changed my life forever. That was the day my mom, Clara Jean Garrison Hatch, passed away. Albert and Mittie’s youngest child died at the early age of 52. That same day, the next youngest daughter, my Aunt Betty, also died. Both involved in a horrible auto accident, just a couple days after attending one of their Garrison family reunions. 

Aunt Betty and my mom, Clara Jean
With the realization of how quickly our loved ones can leave us, I set out on a mission to dig deeper, to find more information pertaining to my family’s history. Many years ago, my father encouraged me to do genealogy, so I have been researching all sides of my family for some time. As I have gotten further into it, I see that for a large part of that time it had really been somewhat of a superficial search. Now that I have a little more time, it has become a bigger priority to figure out “from whence I came.”

Searching for ancestors is fun! Is it easy? Think for a moment, if you will, about a jigsaw puzzle. When you dump out all the pieces of the puzzle on the table, it looks like a big jumbled mess. That is kind of what it feels like when you first start doing your family history. But just like when doing a puzzle, you find a piece, and then you find one that attaches to it, and another, and another and pretty soon, you start to see a little piece of the picture. The more you do, the clearer the picture becomes. It's a lot like that when doing research on your ancestors. You find a clue here and there on your family member and pretty soon, you start to see what they were like, you get to know more about them, they start to become a real person, a member of your family.

I’ve been doing research on the Garrison side of my family tree, and I haven’t been able to get any further than John Wesley Garrison, my Great Great Grandfather. No matter how hard I have tried, I keep hitting that proverbial brick wall. However, I do know a few things about him. He was born in 1832 and died in 1911. He lived in the Rowan and Davidson County, North Carolina area and although not verified yet, we think he was married to Mary Ann Mathis. He is buried in Abbott’s Creek Primitive Baptist Cemetery in Wallburg, Davidson County, NC. Have you heard of this family? I would love to hear from you if you have. I recently joined the Garrison DNA Project and they already have someone in their system that is a descendant of John Wesley, so they are hopeful that eventually we can find and verify his parents and other ancestors.

Every little bit of information leads you down a path that could be the exact one you need to be on. But I will tell you, I have been down a lot of rabbit holes too, thinking I was on the right track, only to find after hours of research, that I wasn’t. But you just press on and within no time you have another piece of that jigsaw puzzle in place, making even the wasted time seem worthwhile. Are you looking into your family history? If you’re not, I would encourage you to. However, be prepared, because it can be addictive. In fact, I think it’s time for me to go find some more pieces to my puzzle!

Terri’s Tidbit for Today: Do you have a local Genealogical Society in your town? They are such a wonderful resource for looking up Family History. The Genealogical Society of Kendall County, in Boerne, has room after room full of valuable information that could help you learn more about your family. Joining gets you even more benefits. Check them out on the web by clicking here or look for a society in your area.

Side note: After reading my last blog, my little brother commented on how we used to play some board games at Grandma and Grandpa’s house.  Immediately one of those games came to mind. My grandfather had a Carrom Board. Have you ever played Carrom? He used to sit for hours and take turns with each of us grandkids that wanted to play. You have the board (see below) and all these little wooden rings. You picked a color and then you tried to get them into the little nets by flicking them with your finger. I have long since forgotten the rules but the one thing I do remember was how my finger would hurt so bad after playing just a couple games, but Grandpa would play over and over again and it never seemed to bother him. Thanks Todd for reminding me of that special time in our past!

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