Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I'm a little green

Today I'm feeling a little green and it's not because of any Irish blood coursing through my veins. At this point in my research, there doesn't appear to be any Irish ancestors. The closest I can come is to my Scots-Irish McNeills.

The real reason I am feeling a little green is with envy. I envy those researchers that have a wealth of family nostalgia to sift through, stories of the long-deceased to write down for the yet unborn, close cousins, or best of all, photos of their people.

I was robbed of this to some extent. I haven't seen my father in over 30 years and since I'm only in my 30s, you can see the significance of this. I didn't have a father around to share his memories of his childhood or the stories of his parents. To some extent, my father was robbed of the same thing including our true surname. My grandfather Lee separated himself from his family in the 1930s never to see them again, nor speak of them again, nor use their name again. That was his choice, but it has impacted all of his descendants. It most certainly would not have been my choice.

One silver lining in all of this is I do have a relationship with my paternal grandmother, but we have lived hundreds of miles apart all of my life. On the few occasions I have visited her there have been some stories or a handful of photos to look at, but she's not really a saver like that. She left her own Kansas home in the 1940s for the riches of California and lost track with many of her extended family.

On my mother's side, she's an only child so no cousins for me. She had six cousins of her own who are now scattered all over the Midwest and West. If it wasn't for email and mine and my sister's diligence, we would probably have no contact with them except the annual Christmas letter. On this side of my family, I am fortunate to have photos and stories and even a few pieces of memorabilia. But that is only 50% of who I am.

I guess that's why everytime I make a small, minute discovery of some long-gone ancestor, I get excited. It's those little nuggets of information that piece together someone I never was given the opportunity to even know about. Those little nuggets slowly fill that pot of gold awaiting me at the end of the rainbow.

Treasure those family history nuggets for they could lead you to your own pot of gold.


  1. I am sorry you don't have more stories, memories, photos. I do like, however, your post today, the twist on green, the final message.

  2. Your words have made me appreciate the riches that I do have in still having cousins and having met most of my parents' siblings. Thanks for providing some much-needed perspective!

  3. Thanks, ladies, for your kind words. I am not totally without photos, but it has taken 10 long years to acquire the handful I have. Those that I do have were because of online connections with cousins and I've still never met any of them in person. However, I think there are some lines that are just destined to remain faceless for me. Definitely treasure what you have - I know I do.

  4. Hi Tracy ~ Your post definitely touched a chord with me. Although I have a veritable plethora of pictures for much of my family, my Mother's mother and that whole part of the family is pretty much a blank. [divorced when my mother was 3 - her father was given custody] It definitely does make me treasure what I have that much more...but I still long for a picture of my mother as a baby being held by her mother.

  5. Tracy, I think you have accomplished so much in your search of the McNeils, Grindstaffs and that line of your family. To have started with nothing and to arrived at where you are today is a goal you have reached. Please let me know if I can do any lookups for you, on any of the NC family lines you are searching. I understand your thirst for that one nuggest that will help to fill that pot of gold.