Your tombstone stands among the rest
Neglected and alone.
The name and date are chiseled out
On polished marble stone.
It reaches out to all who care.
It is too late to mourn.
You did not know that I exist;
You died and I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you
In flesh, in blood and bone.
Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
Entirely not our own.
Dear Ancestor, the place you filled
One hundred years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left
Who would have loved you so.
I wonder if you lived and loved
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot
And come to visit you.
~~~ author anonymous
* * * * * *
Questions I often ask myself a lot are – Where do I come from? Who were my people? What were they like? Do I physically resemble them?
I think we wonder a lot about these things whether we’re conscious of it or not. In some form or another we all want to know about our past and how it affects us. Genealogy is my other passion and I can spend days and weeks on end searching for pieces of the puzzle. The Internet has made it so much easier than it used to be. There are millions of genealogy sites with huge databases.
In most families there is one designated person whose job it is to poke and plod through those old records. In my family I’m the one who got stuck with the job. I don’t mind though. I love a good challenge when I have the time. And I have a deep curiosity to find out about my ancestors. I want to know what they were like.
But with a last name of Clark on my mother’s side and Smith on my father’s, it’s an unending, very frustrating search. Finding a needle in a haystack is about the gist of it. Through family members, old photos, and old Bible records I’ve researched back to my great grandfather on my mother’s side who was William Jackson Clark. He and Kathryn Goldsberry Clark had four sons. One of the sons died when he was 21. Henry had a habit of chasing other men’s wives. Rumor has it that he was killed by a jealous husband, although I don’t know that for sure. William Jackson Clark himself died at the early age of 39 but I’ve been unable to find out the cause of death. He left Kathryn to raise those four little children by herself. She never remarried and was buried in a pauper’s grave at the age of 69.
Kathryn’s father and uncles fought in the Civil War on the Southern side. I know she loved her sons with every bone in her body. She was a hard-working woman. She worked other people’s fields for a little of nothing, barely enough to scratch out a living. She was strong and tough, never knowing what it was give up.
I wonder if I’m like her. I hope so. I hope that she’s the one who instills the drive in me to sit at my computer long into the night telling my stories. I hope she’s the one who gives me my stubbornness. And I hope she’d be proud of me. I wish I could’ve known her.
Are you into genealogy? Do you have questions that burn, yearning to be answered? If so, we’re all in the same boat.