Saturday, January 14, 2012

I look, I find, I research and I am amazed.

Dear Uncle,

Well now, I'm a bit calmer then the last time I contacted you and that's a good thing. But it did get me to thinking about just who have I been searching for.  Of late, as you know, it's been the Irish side because I have neglected it for so long.  Prior to that was your side of the Family, hence the name the Beal Family Tree.

For many years I felt alone in my search, and got used to the eye rolls and the "gotta go and get dinner on the table" or the "sorry someone is at the door gotta run, love you, bye".

Ok I got it, I was in it alone. Then like a miracle, a couple of years ago my brother got interested in our Charley.  He was the one who went to the Civil War and never came back.  Kind of. Now my brother is an educator and loves history as much as I do and seems to enjoy the deep research a little more than I do. After some digging and some contact from far flung, previously unknown cousins, the story took a different turn.

My brother approached me with an idea that perhaps we should send for Charleys Army records, which we did. But you know how it goes, information leads to more searching and more info.  The next thing you know we're searching for the other Beal boys in the Civil War.  Five of them, from the same family. Two came home. One died a few years later and the other lived to a good age.

I don't do war well.  That is to say I don't want to see the pictures or read of the horrors.  I have nightmares. Just skimming over the exploits of the boys battles was enough to keep me awake nights for months.  So I left that particular part of the research to my brother.

He has done an outstanding job of recreating the days of battles, where the boys were on a particular day, what the days were like weatherwise and militarily. He has gone through diaries and military transcripts and logs and what all to bring the boys and their experiences to life. Sometimes too real for me. These boys break my heart.  So my brother will write and do it so well.  Our family will know what our boys went through and give them the respect that they and their parents deserve.

I am thankful that my brother, who was once only vaguely interested in the family tree, has found the members of the family that stir him and make him want to tell their story.  Were it not for him it is doubtful that I could do them justice.

Uncle, you knew these boys.  Your nephews, your brother Calvin and Sally's boys. Eleazar and Jesse who made it home.  George W., Merrill and William who didn't. Brave boys.

That's who I look for Uncle.  No one famous, or rich. No high society, special groups, certificates or whatever. Yes, I've found the ones who would put me into groups, certificates, etc. but these are my kin. I've got my heros and heroines, remarkable people, to me anyway, pioneers, risk takers. Strong folk. Determined.  It was not easy, not privilaged.  I am so proud and humbled to be of their line. I look, I find, I research and I am amazed. That is why I look into the past. But you already knew that.

And so my dear Uncle until the next,
Fondly,
Your Devoted Niece

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