I know I’ve mentioned the word before on my blog -- specifically regarding my Browning v. Beck casefiles and the location of Margaret (Markee) Browning’s tombstone -- but once again I find myself putting the word to good use.
As usual, background! This weekend has been a free one for me and since my calendar appeared open I decided to scamper off to Quitman, a tiny town in east Texas, to attend a Cemetery Preservation Workshop presented by Gerron Hite, the Director of Cemetery Preservation of the Texas Historical Commission. It was a 5-hr presentation on Texas cemetery law with a focus on access issues, procedures to follow when surveying a cemetery, and the process required to get your local cemetery designated a Historic Texas Cemetery. We broke for lunch and the last hour was taken up with a brief overview of gravestone cleaning. Most recommended for those of us preferring something we can buy over the counter, unlike the BioWash or D/2 (sold online)? Orvis. Available from your local feed store or quilt/rug cleaning store, it’s a non-ionic soap that, along with a good amount of water and some soft wooden craft scrapers, should solve many of the basic issues like moss or lichen that plague old stones. I’m going to try my hand with it as soon as possible.
Of the 50+ people there, one man stood out because he was wearing a Chicago T-shirt. I couldn’t help but notice because as everyone who reads my blog knows, I’m an Illinois girl. I mentioned the shirt and soon discovered it was a gift; he was a native Texan after all. (Ah well, nobody’s perfect!) He introduced himself as Deason Hunt and he and his wife and I talked genealogy for about ten minutes or so, exchanging pleasantries and interesting stories. I mentioned I wrote a blog and he said he did too and that he was rather new at it. He wanted to check out my blog and asked if we could also exchange blog addresses. Sure! After we did so the workshop began again and except for a few smiles and nods on our way out he and I didn’t get to speak at length again.
I recalled our conversation a few hours after my return home and decided to look up his blog. I went there and I could tell at first glance it certainly didn’t seem like the amateur effort he’d made it out to be! I enjoyed reading an entry or two and then thought to click over to the section he has labeled as “Family Bios.” It was there, with the listing underneath his own name -- HUNT, Annie Elizabeth (Fears) -- that a bell began to ring loudly in my head.
I scrambled to open my genealogy database, hardly believing that it was possible for something to be that random. It couldn’t be…..but in a moment, with the click of my mouse, I knew that it was. I knew I’d recognized the name!
I got very excited and pulled out the card Deason had given me in order to give him a call. I introduced myself again and reminded him we’d met this morning at the workshop. I then explained that I was pretty sure he was related to my ex-husband and therefore, my daughter, through his Hunt side. We tossed a few names about and it didn’t take long for us to make the connections and realize he and my daughter were indeed related! I did some quick calculations and figured out that my daughter and Deason are (if I’m not missing a generation here, and it’s very possible since my database on this is sketchy) 3rd cousins, 4x removed.
Serendipity at work, once again. Had to be. I only decided this morning at 5 am that I was even going to drive the 2.5 hrs one way that it took to get to Quitman and believe me, decisions don’t come easy at 5 am when remaining all cozy and comfy in the covers sounds like the plan to follow! And then consider my decision to pick Deason out of the crowd to choose to talk to. Honestly, part of that decision was that Chicago shirt he wore. If he hadn’t worn that shirt (and had a vague look about him of my mother’s uncles as well) I don’t know that I would have chosen to do anything but the polite nod and smile that people do in social situations.
But he did, and I did, and now we know our families are related. How bizarre. Ain’t genealogy grand?
5 hours ago