Tuesday, July 26, 2011
The way I walk I see my mother walking,
The feet secure and firm upon the ground.
The way I talk I hear my daughter talking
And hear my mother's echo in the sound.
The way she thought I find myself now thinking,
The generations linking
In a firm continuum of mind.
The bridge of immortality I'm walking,
The voice before me echoing behind.
by Dorothy Hilliard Moffatt
The above poem & image are ones I used as part of a college pre-press assignment & pretty much sums up how I feel on the subject of family history. Life is a circle, as I repeatedly had pounded into my head as a child when my father often quoted his favorite saying: History repeats itself (mainly because no one takes the time to learn from it).
Here on Life in the Past Lane, I plan to post things genealogy related to various ancestors & also maybe talk about other things I find interesting along the way. When my husband's cousin Shevon was about to get married, I did alot of research on her mother's side of the family tree. I came across a blog called HuntforGubler that not only had blog posts detailing the lives of various ancestors, but also included digital documentation of some of those details. I thought this was so cool & it inspired me to start my own. For almost fifteen years now, I've traced down various branches of my family tree, both direct & collateral, & I've amassed quite a lode of documentation in the course of that research. Over the years, I feel I owe many other researchers who came before for many of the family treasures that I've run across & it's only fair to pay it forward for others starting their own research. Some of what I've discovered, like census & military records, is in the public domain. Some comes from my own family & some still from previously unknown distant cousins.
The above image I created from family photos of six generations of women on my mother's side of the family. Starting at the bottom is me & my mother. Above that comes my maternal great grandmother, Dora McCoy Cook, & maternal grandmother, Vera Mae Cook Turnipseed. Next comes my maternal great great grandmother, M. E. "Betty" Holland McCoy, who was the first white girl born in Burnet Co., Texas. The John Rickman Holland family has been in Texas since 1841 when Texas was still a republic. Finally at the top of the pile, is my maternal 3rd great grandmother, Mary Covington Holland. (I often refer to her as the one I get my bad hair days from). Mary was born in North Carolina to David Covington & Rachel McIntyre. Her family moved to Alabama where she married John Benjamin Holland, son of John Rickman Holland & Elizabeth Walker Holland, in 1843. John & Mary moved to Texas & settled in Burnet Co., Texas. John's father John had divorced his wife Elizabeth & had moved to Texas (all but one of John's children joined him here) six years prior to the birth of John & Mary's second child in 1847. In 1856, Mary lost her husband when Indians murdered him, leaving her alone in a sparsely populated land to raise seven children under 12. In 1863, she lost one of her sons, Samuel Lorenzo Holland, to the Indians again. She lived until 1921 when she was buried in the Holland Cemetery located on the Holland family farmstead where several other relatives & community members are also buried.
I digress, but any way, my purpose is to leave something behind for future generations. I often pause in my day to day life to think of how far we've progressed as a country in terms of technology & how blessed we are to live in this day & age. What would Mary think of her 3rd great granddaughter cooking dinner in a microwave? I can't imagine having to go out & shoot something in order to have food for my table or having to spin cotton in order to make by hand the clothes on my back. It's not that I haven't camped out (I used to do this every summer as a teenager) & cooked over a campfire, but being a city girl, it's hard for me to imagine a place totally bare of buildings & asphalt. I credit my mom with being the woman who's had the greatest impact on me, but I like to think that each of the women in my family has had something, however small, to do with me being the person I am.
Obviously beyond my maternal & paternal grandmothers, I never had the chance to know these women because they were gone before my time, but they're all still a part of me, making me unique. If you noticed the quote found at the top of my blog, that's how I feel about my ancestors & by telling their story, I honor them & they live again, if only in my heart, & maybe someone else's too.