When I was growing up I always thought of the two sides of my family, mom’s side and dad’s side, as being completely segregated. Mom’s family was from Villanow, and Dad’s family was from Subligna. It seemed like two different places, and people from one place didn’t really know people from the other even though they were only 10 miles apart. It wasn’t until I started studying my genealogy that I realized the cross-pollination between these two rural areas–each located at opposite ends of East Armuchee Road–was much more extensive than I thought. I don’t mean today or even the years I was growing up, but going back generations before my parents or even grandparents were born.
My mother started genealogy research long before it became an interest of my own. She is fond of telling how when she had been spending a lot of time doing research, Dad would joke, “Have you found that we’re related yet?”
“Not yet!” she replied. “But your people sure did like to marry my people!”
As I delved into the tree work, I found the same connections. Too numerous to count, my mother’s lines married my father’s lines over and over. There are no blood relationships between the two sides, but there are numerous connections through marriage. The web is complex and confusing (and fascinating too).
My first realization that Villanow/East Armuchee wasn’t just the stomping grounds of my maternal ancestors came when Mom showed me a grave in the East Armuchee Baptist Church cemetery in 2009. Delila Brown Ward, my 4th great-grandmother, is buried there. East Armuchee is the church where I grew up, where my mother grew up, and her mother before her. So, like Villanow and the valley itself, I also associated the church with my mom’s family. But Delila is not related to my mother. She’s a grandmother in my father’s direct line. And yet there she is, buried in East Armuchee cemetery, giving my father roots there deeper than my mother. And all the while growing up I never knew it, nor did Mom and Dad. I love it when you find connections like that right under your nose.
So let this be a genealogical lesson for your own research. Sometimes the answers you are looking for are right where you’re standing. Sometimes the things around you are more than what they seem. There’s always something else to uncover. You’re much more likely to grow tired of genealogy before you ever run out of things to research!
Next week I’ll look closer at Delila and explore some of the interesting connections she represents in my family tree.