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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day 8, HAWMC Prompt:: Best Conversation

Day 8 of WEGO Health offers this prompt: "Best conversation I had this week."

I had an online conversation with a woman who found me on Facebook: she is a cousin going back in my maternal grandmother's family line.

The day she contacted me was my mother's birthday, and the name that caught her eye was my mother's mother's maiden name: Buxey. My name then is only a few degrees removed from her own; her maternal grandfather was my grandmother's first cousin.

After ascertaining that I was related to her, she offered to send the information on her branch of the family, and offered me another Facebook contact: that of a retired genealogist in South Africa, who has traced the Buxey family back as far as 1616 in England. This is a branch of our family about which I knew very little. I knew that my grandmother's grandmother had come from county Tyrone, Ireland, had lost her husband on the voyage over, and had then married a young British officer supervising the immigration. Beyond that, information was sketchy at best.

My parents had sat with relatives in the late 1960's to begin to draw up a chart of ancestors this side of the Atlantic. I have a few small pieces of paper written by my father's sister, giving the names of his mother and her brothers who emigrated from Edinburgh and Leith in Scotland, and the larger piece of paper in my parents' hand-writings listing the parents and grandparents of both sides of the family. But in the larger scheme, my mother's information showed only a small portion of her mother's family.

Her mother was one of twelve sisters and brothers, and the information given to me this week shows the descendents of many of those many relatives. With today's internet access, reaching out to a far removed cousin in South Africa seems natural, and common. I've forwarded the information that I gained on to my own sisters and brother, and my mother's nieces and nephews, all of whom will expand our family's branch of this developing lineage.

The history teacher within me marvels at the Canadian great grandparents who were born just before and just after America's Civil War Period, and those names recorded in church papers in England during the Protestant Reformation almost five hundred years ago. It is the family treasure that will be passed on to our own descendants, and one that we might never have known were it not for the internet connections of today.Whatever roles relatives may or may not have played in history's tableau remains to be discovered.

There was a family Bible begun with my parents' wedding in 1940, and it rests with one of my sisters now ... perhaps this new information will be placed within its covers in time. Meanwhile, it is still my intention to continue recording my own portion of the timeline, at the website titled Beyond Old Windows, and in packets of year by year pages tied in ribbons for my one day great great great grandchildren to find, and to share.

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