Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society and I feel absolutely compelled to share the experience. This is my first year as a member of the society and the January meetings are reserved for show and tell. The purpose was for anyone who wished to share, to present an ancestor, story, or artifact from their genealogy research – whether it was the impetus for your entry into genealogy, or just an interesting piece of your past – the meetings are free and open to the public and all are welcome!
My heart was so full after everyone’s presentations! We had a range of stories presented that were heartwarming, awe-inspiring, uplifting, and demonstrate just how strong our connections to our ancestors can be!
I am probably going to mistakenly leave out some of the stories that were shared (I wish I’d written them all down!), but we heard from members and guests who:
- lacked family photos from her own family, so now creates art based on black and white pictures she finds at various places – pictures that invoke past memories for her and so she paints – not to recreate the photo, but to capture the essence of her memories
- has a set of diaries from his ancestor that chronicles several years of his life, in which is an original wedding invitation from his late 1870s wedding, and a receipt from the doctor for the delivery of his child in the 1880s (if I remember the time range correctly). This member also has hand hand-written newspapers created by his ancestor that were circulated during the civil war
- shared that her entryway into genealogy stemmed from wanting to know more about the land in her family that bore her family name
- had a desire to better understand how an African-American student came to have the same last name as his own ancestors despite having different ethnic ancestry
- shared handmade embroidery from an ancestor that was created in the 1870s
- researched the origins of a handmade quilt owned by a circuit-rider Methodist minister and tracked down the mystery of which of his sisters created it, and the source of the fabric used
- described how a family story of an ancestor riding to get her husband out of jail from “The President” took her on her own adventure in family history
- researched his grandfather’s family after learning from cousins in France that his grandfather had been a “stolen child”
- a 1st time attendee who grew up going through absolutely EVERY photo in her grandmother’s photo albums became interested in genealogy after when her grandmother passed, discovered photos that she never even know her grandmother owned
- and I shared a story on how Ancestry’s green shaky leaf helped me make a connection in my own family about a runaway slave.
It was in incredible display of our common shared goals of seeking to learn more about the history and lives of our ancestors.
And sharing is what we encourage our TNGenWeb researchers and site visitors to do. You never know if that keepsake you have stored away in your home, or the newspaper clippings that have been passed down through the family, can be of great benefit to another researcher trying to establish family connections much like I heard at the meeting yesterday.
We encourage you to get in contact with us and let us share online the precious family mementos and stories! In fact, if you share a story in our comment thread below, about how information you may have learned from one of our TNGenWeb county websites or special project sites has helped you make a family connection, you will be entered into a drawing for a $10 Amazon gift card that I will personally pay for. Leave a comment below by February 1st to get entered! As you leave your comment, specifically state which county or site you found the information on.
Disclaimer: I am currently a board member for the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society. TNGenWeb provides free resources for genealogy & family history and this post is not meant to promote membership for the society. I only intend it as a vehicle for sharing the impact genealogy has in our lives.