Friday, October 26, 2012

Lessons From The Move; Part 3

Apparently I was looking kind of bored or lazy this summer. One day my mom suggested I help her scan some old family photos. We took her scanner over to my Grandma's house (on my dad's side) and set it up on her dining room table. Grandma pulled out a big Rubbermaid container fill of pictures. They were in no real order. There were envelopes with pictures from 40 years ago and 4 years ago all mixed together.

As Mom and Grandma looked through pictures, I made the scans and wrote down names and any other information. It was really cool to see pictures of my dad and grandparents when they were young. For the most part, it was what I expected. I mean, I recognized the names and/ faces. I had seen some of the photos before; we just wanted to make sure they were preserved.

Then we came to some pictures of an elderly woman with a broad grin.

"Who's this?" I asked

"Oh, that's Granny Baxley." Grandma said, as if I should know. When I just looked at her she added, "Mr. Wilson's mother."

"Baxley? I thought his parents were Stephen Wilson and Mary Turbyfill."

"Yes. That's her. Everybody called her Elsie. She remarried after her husband died."

I stared at the photo, my heart pounding, my mind in shock. This was the woman I had been searching for and wondering about for years.

There is a program associated with FamilySearch that takes your family tree and puts it on a fan chart. Mine looks like a wagon wheel with some spokes missing. Some lines fill the spaces for the 9 generations on the chart. Some just stop after a few generations. This was one of them.

I have had an account on for 12 years. I have taken spells of being almost obsessed with filling out my tree, then put it away in frustration for long stretches.

The one name that I have always gone back to was Mary Elsie Josephine Turbyfill. Who was she? Who were her parents? What was her life like? I have asked all these questions. At times I felt desperate to know her. I felt anguish that she seemed lost to time and forgotten.

Elsie, about 1930

Now here she was, smiling up at me.

There were actually several pictures of her and her family. I was amazed beyond words.

I went back to my parents house and renewed my subscription to I uploaded some of the pictures, especially Elsie. I needed to bring her out of the shadows. I couldn't let her stay forgotten.

Elsie and Jeanie, about 1950

One of the pictures I added was of her with her sister "Jeanie". It is such a sweet depiction of two sisters who obviously cared about one another.

Almost immediately I received an email from a woman who is descended from Jeanie. She has worked tirelessly for years on the Turbyfill line. She had made connections with other relatives from across the country.

It is a HUGE family!

This cousin of mine not only offered to share all of her information with me but lived just a short distance away. We got together and swapped information. After talking with her about her side of the family I realized I had seen another picture of her great grandmother AND her husband. I shared this picture with her. She said it was the only picture she had ever seen of him.

Jeanie with her husband and 2 of her sons, about 1930

Finding so much information on this line of my family has been truly humbling. I can only describe it as a miracle.

I never could have imagined that some as simple as scanning some old pictures and putting them on the Internet could reap such rewards!

There were many photos of people none of us had ever heard of. I wonder if anyone out there is looking for them as well?

Elsie and Jeanie, about 1950

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