Sunday, March 11, 2012

Part 2: The Autoethnographic "I" Journeys Backwards

Now too fragile, that original family "tree" from the 1900s, must be carefully preserved.

Entry 2: The Autoethnographic "I" Journeys Backward

The journey backward begins on the day I found the lined paper in my grandmother’s top dresser drawer. We were cleaning the house after her death, and as people do in such circumstances, items were divided, shared, and discussed. I ignored the jewelry, newer furniture, and such as I was drawn to the personal gems. My cousin could have the roasting pan. It was the recipes and notations on scraps of paper that were my treasures. I held old birthday cards that had been tucked into her dresser and felt part of a long lineage. I remember holding up the frail paper, with the Simons family listed on it, birth and death dates neatly entered. I asked if anyone wanted it. The negative responses freed me to tuck it into my box of treasures.  Little did I know that the name at the top of that paper would merge so deeply with my own. Then I did not understand the twists and turns of Mary Ann’s life.
Part of my genealogical journey in that era, a time before the Internet and ease of finding records on-line, consisted of trooping to the Marquette County Courthouse and paying for marriage licenses, birth records, and death records, anything to fill in the gaps for at that time that was all I was interested in doing. But after returning to Maryland, life took over. I put all those papers carefully away, waiting for the time when they would speak to me again.

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