I spent my childhood traipsing through graveyards.
My mother is a genealogist. For years, she has collected our family history and mapped out the family tree. Names and dates and places … she’s uncovered it all.
In the time before the internet and ancestry.com, my teacher mother spent her summer vacations in dusty library rooms scanning reel after reel of microfilm copies of old census records. Family vacations were planned around being able to visit courthouses and graveyards that might hold clues to our ancestral history.
None of this meant much to me until the summer of 2003, when I gave birth to my daughter Julia.
Matt and I had trouble naming our only daughter, particularly in finding a middle name that we could both agree upon. I finally came up with the idea of using a family name, and came across a unique name from my mother’s vast genealogical files. To my surprise, Matt agreed. At last we were ready to meet our little girl, Julia Chambless.
Just before Julia’s birth, Matt was stationed at Ft. Stewart, GA. When my mother found out, she got excited.
Paige, what is the name of the county where Ft. Stewart is located? You know, our Chambless line came out of GA.
I didn’t know … but it wasn’t hard to find out the name of the county.
Ft. Stewart is in Liberty County … and if you haven’t put two and two together yet, those Chambless ancestors of ours could be traced right back to Liberty County, GA! Even though I’d always loved the stories my grandparents and great-grandparents told, this was perhaps for the first time I really felt the excitement of connecting to a distant family tree branch.
This year, I’m teaming up with my mom to write down the tales from our family tree. I’m planning to do one each week, with a goal of 50 over the course of 2020. There are mysteries and comedies and intrigue. Who knows … maybe even a little romance.
I hope you’ll follow along!
52 Family Tales for 2020