I'm preparing to go to northwestern OH in the next three weeks for a well-deserved respite. I'm sooooo excited! It's a dual purpose trip -- half is a visit with family, the other half a research trip. For the next couple of weeks my posts will be lighter here since I'll have to use the two precious hours I have in the evening after work to pour over my decades' worth of notes/papers/clutter, etc., and decide what things are most important for me to research while I'm there.
Before I do, though, I simply must say something about serendipity.
When I began research on my Browning family back in the early 1990's my immediate family was only partially interested. My grandmother was quite interested, my parents were somewhat interested, and my younger brother not at all. He was a world traveller who at first never intended to settle down. He eventually married but his wife was cut from the same cloth that he was. They established a company that could travel with them and traveled all over, living in poorer countries and in remote locations for months on end.
A few years ago they finally decided to put down roots and when they did, they decided to focus on an area of the country within a few hours drive of a city that they did a lot of business in every year. They did a search on the Net and eventually chose a place that had one of the lowest crime statistics and median home prices they could find in the area. They moved there and searched for a house, finally finding a lovely turn of the century home for a very good price. Soon thereafter he and I were talking about his choice and he asked me if I'd ever heard of the city he chose. When he told me the name, my heart skipped a beat.
Heard of it? HEARD OF IT? Had I ever! By a fluke of fate he'd chosen a place in OH about an hour away from the ancestral home of the Browning family! Our Brownings had settled in and around Tippecanoe and Deersville in Harrison County, OH in the early 1800's and had lived there until around 1851 when they moved on to Crawford County, IL.
I was struck then by the sense that a circle had semi-closed and I still think about it now. My own desire to return to Crawford County pulls at me all the time. I wonder about the choice my brother made and if it had been simple coincidence or something more. Synchronicity, perhaps? He didn't know his ancestors had lived there; he just chose it out of a hat. Or did it choose him?
Regardless, I'm thrilled to have a family member live so close to the area where our Brownings lived. I'm able to stay with him and visit while I do research. I'm so looking forward to this second trip there because I intend to tie up many loose ends that I didn't get a chance to try to tie up on my first trip there. That first trip -- last August -- was with my parents and my daughter and it was more a 'vacation' than a research trip. I couldn't simply take off all day doing research because there were other people to consider. Not so on this trip! That's why I need to do some proper preparation.
On this upcoming trip I have two things on the agenda for sure. One, I'll get to meet one of Samuel Browning's other descendants -- our ancestors were brother and sister -- and I look forward to being able to take a picture of the oval-framed old picture he has of my Samuel's son-in-law. Two, I intend to stop off at the State Archives in Columbus and try to find out if a court case that Samuel and his daughter Julia filed against a man named James Beck in 1837 actually did go to the Ohio Supreme Court. At the conclusion of the Harrison County trial, Beck mentioned his intent to take it there. I'd like to see if he did.
I should write about the trial and my last trip to OH back in August before I go on this one because that one had a few coincidental moments, genealogically speaking, as well. I'll do that this evening if I can find the time.
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