The Jenkins
Rappahannock VA
to Mason Hall TN

                 ~ Strangers in a Box ~

 

       Come, look with me inside this drawer, in this box I've often seen,

        At the pictures, black and white, faces proud, still, and serene.

                   I wish I knew the people, these strangers in the box,

                Their names and all thier memories lost among my socks.

        I wonder what thier lives were like, how did they spent thier days?

               What about thier special times, I'll never know thier ways.

     If only someone had taken the time to tell us who, what, were, or when

                 These faces of my heritage would come to life again.

               Could this become the fate of pictures we take today?

             The faces and the memories, someday to be passed away?

       Make time to save your stories, sieze the opportunity when it knocks

           Or someday you and yours may be the Strangers in the Box

 

                 

Who is this couple? These two pictures were given to me by Edna Ruth Chalker of Dyer, the wife of Allan Chalker, after his passing. Allan was the son of Ada Bradford and George Chalker. Edna found them in her garage and had no idea who they were. These beautiful tin-type photos are estimated to be over a 100 years old. The photos may be of Ada and my grandmother's grandparents, Young and Catherine Bradford. They are not James and Nancy Bradford. Were they John Jr. and Mary Ann Lovitt? Could they possibly be George Chalker's parents or grandparents?

 

The StoryTellers

My feelings are in each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.

To me, doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called as it were by our genes.

Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do.

In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors you have a wonderful family you would be proud of us? How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say.

It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do.

It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying I can't let this happen. The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it.

It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today.

It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family.

It goes to deep pride that they fought to make and keep us a Nation.

It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do.

With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are them and they are us. We are the chosen.

So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take their place in the long line of family storytellers.

That, is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and put flesh on the bones.

Author unknown