Hi, it’s me. I’m alive.
I also have a bit more free time on my hands nowadays, so I can hopefully post more.
And I’ve returned to working on my family research – such as it is. To fill you in on how that’s going, I’ll start with a tangentially-related story about my mom.
It’s been a roller-coaster of a year for her. A huge part of that is because she’s lost two of her brothers in the past nine months.
Last November, my uncle Ucline passed away from cancer. And on the same day, she found out my other uncle Egton was diagnosed … with cancer. So she’s been to two funerals in Jamaica – one last December, the other this past May. Between that and moving, she was weary, to say the least.
She knows I’ve been picking away at the family research. (And, of course, I excitedly tell her every time I make some sort of discovery.) So before she left for funeral number two, I mentioned since she’d see relatives on her father’s side of the family (where I’ve found the majority of the family research), she might want to talk to them if she had questions she wanted to try to answer.
She saw her older sister (who lives in Jamaica part of the year), her younger sister (the only sibling I’ve never met), and her (melodramatic) younger brother who resides in Florida. She visited her second cousin, Mrs. Shearer (remember her?) who, as it turns out, is actually several years younger than my mother (and not older, as she originally thought).
She met the daughter of one of her favourite uncles, who died in England in the mid-1980s. She started to ask her questions, but never got very far, due to family interruptions.
They even paid a visit to Cascade, where they visited a relation who still lives there (he’s in his 80s) and knows about the Campbells. They tried to locate the old homestead and family burial plot, which is down in a valley and inaccessible due to (a) overgrowth and (b) a gigantic tree which fell during a previous hurricane and has blocked the way. My mom still remembered the approximate location, but that’s as far as they got.
A couple of weeks after returning from Jamaica, she called me one evening, as I was making some writing revisions for a freelance gig.
She’d been talking to her half-sister (the one aunt I’ve never met) and wanted me to verify the name of one of her uncles, who had a mental illness and was long-since deceased. I told her who it most likely was, then found out the reason …
Apparently while at my late uncle’s house, she had come across part of a will, in which my great-grandmother Jane Ann had left a parcel of land to said uncle.
This caught my attention.
I could care less about the land. (Trying to own real estate is one country is complicated enough, never mind entertaining the prospect of owning real estate in two.) But the will represents documentation that I didn’t think existed for my family – or was lost to time and the garbage bin.
I don’t know what (or who) else is mentioned in the will. My aunt (who lives in New Jersey) told my mom she would look at it more closely when she has time. But I’m not holding my breath as to whether she’ll disclose anything else.
But that tiny drip of information got me thinking about family research. About Ellen. And about that massive brick wall separating us.
So occasionally throughout the summer, I started re-tracing my steps for the umpteenth time. I looked at the documents I knew about. Visited my usual genealogy sites, searching for the same names over and over again.
And wondering if I would ever get another break.