Week 10 – Genealogy Road Trips: No two genealogy road trips are the same but they’re always fun and meaningful. Describe a memorable trip in your past. Where did you go? What did you find (or not find)? Did you meet any new cousins? What did the trip mean to you and your family?
About twelve years ago, my husband and I were back home in northwest Arkansas and we drove up across the state line into Missouri to meet my second cousin twice removed and her husband who had researched our families for some fifty years. Mae Barnett Barker and I were not that far apart in age but quite far in generations from our common ancestors, Murphy Brown and his wife Rebekah Poindexter Jones. My line of descent is through elder daughters who married young and although Rebekah was my third great grandmother, I have a picture of her as the oldest person in a five-generation picture - the one at the top of this Blog! The baby in that picture is my mother's oldest brother. Rebekah was Mae's great grandmother because her line of descent seemed to always be through the "baby" of the family, thus spreading out the generations. In fact, Mae's father knew Rebekah (who lived to be almost 90) and heard her stories for himself. Rebekah was living with his family at the time of her death.
Mae's husband had an interest in family history before he was twenty. They lived right there near the counties where our families had settled and lived for several generations. Paul Barker went into their homes and hand-copied family Bibles before there were copiers. He visited those overgrown and snaky family cemeteries in the back forty. He's been in all the courthouses in the area - those that were burned during the War and those that remained intact.
Paul and I had corresponded for a few years about the Missouri families but we and our respective spouses had not met in person. Paul and Mae took us to the cemetery and we saw the graves of Rebekah and several of her infant children and the common grave of her husband and fifteen-year-old son that were killed by a neighbor during the Civil War. We walked on the homesteads. I felt as though I had walked among my people and on hallowed ground.
We ate together, we talked together, we took many photos. Wonderful, wonderful day.
Mae is gone now - she died in 2008, but Paul still helps with the inquiries that come into his local genealogical society. He has helped me in so many ways, sharing everything on my maternal families. After discovering my husband also had families in that area, Paul went back to those courthouses and dug out countless records on the Haden family for me. Paul has helped in ways I could never have imagined. I am so grateful for his kinship, even though it is through marriage.