Archive for ‘Dunn’

April 27, 2011

Wake up Call

Start right now. Call them, visit them, write them a letter. You know, those people in your family who are getting older. Hey, none of us are getting any younger, and this life thing, it’s progressive. So stop what you are doing and make that call to arrange that visit, or sit down and write that letter, use your best penmanship, don’t type it. And ask them, “tell me about your life when you were younger”, “how did you meet your spouse”, “tell me about your sisters/brothers”.

When I first started genealogy, when I was very young, about 4, I was given the standard advice: Start with yourself and document, document, document. Interview your older relatives and ask them about your family.
Yes, you must document. The reason is that your records are most likely to exist. This is dull as dishwater to do, but you must get the records before that courthouse burns or springs a leak in the records room, or w-h-a-t-e-v-e-r document destruction forces hit your records. But, I would say put your emphasis on interviews, which are taken from the most perishable resource.

Oh, BT-dub if you are recording, put the volume control on medium, that way you can be assured you have some sound. I have interview tapes which are difficult to hear since I did the exact opposite of what I thought I was doing.

For every birth record you collect, for every marriage license you find, interview two people. Do this until you run out of people. Here is the twist for you, do descendant research periodically in your tree. After pushing back a generation, or so, follow their descendants, even especially those who don’t directly connect to you. Then you will find some new people to interview.

After some time of doing research, I was a little older, I think about 8, I interviewed my Great Aunt Pearl. One question I frequently asked was “what was your grandparents’ names”. This is how I knew her grandmothers name was Emily Lemarr. Then life happened, and time to research, and interview got scarce. I wish now I had pursued an advanced degree in History, not Computer Science.

Here is the painful part, had I interviewed her a few years earlier, then done the follow up work, which I have recently completed, I would have found the family connections that I have now, and I could have interviewed the granddaughter of Olive Case Evans, Mae Dunn Coe. You see, she died in 1975. Admittedly, as stated in the timeline above, I was only 5, and very new to research. She was the informant on all the death certificates for her sisters and their husbands. She knew everything, even where her brothers-in-law were born and the names of their parents. Perhaps she had Joshua and Catharine Case’s family Bible. Perhaps she had all the family Bibles. I am sure you are thinking, contact her descendants and interview them. I may be completely wrong here, but I believe this line died out. You heard it, died out. Mae’s only daughter, Celeste E. Coe Kascke, died in 1981. According to census records, she and her husband had no children. I found a death certificate for a premature infant daughter born to the Mae and August Kascke, in 1925 in Missouri. I suspect there are many more of these in Colorado, where they subsequently moved.

Families are more fragile than we have been lead to believe. Interview them now.