Today, I received a really great email from Kookie Hemperley, my cousin who makes guest posts here on occasion and I would like to share this with you:
Letter from Kookie Hemperley, my 3rd cousin 1x removed:
I really hate to see 2012 come to an end! It has been such an amazing year in that through genealogy I have made new friends, found new cousins and made a few discoveries about myself. Allow me to share some of it with you.
In December 2011 I connected with Susie Higginbotham Reynolds, descendent of Sarah Mildred Martin Williams, daughter of my great great-grandfather, Henry Washington Martin. Early in January, Susie drove from her home in Mt. Vernon, Arkansas to my home on a quest to compare notes and share photos and stories on our Martin relatives. From the moment she stepped out of her car, I knew she was my type of gal!!! She was warm, friendly, and looked like a real go-getter. Not only did she come bearing tons of photos, letters, etc., she also brought along another cousin, Gary Higginbotham and his wife Bessie. I also invited Cheri Payton Atkins, a relative through Henry Washington Martin’s wife, Sarah Courtney (who remarried George Pill following Henry’s death). We had a great day and have all become great friends besides being third cousins one time removed!
Susie and I have spent countless hours on the computer emailing back and forth, texting, talking on the phone and sharing any hint of information that might lead to more discoveries about our ancestors. Sometimes we pull “all nighters” but together we have located her illusive Francis Hereford Williams and the history of his being the founder of the Highland Baptist Church in Texarkana along with another ancestor, Stephen Boullemet a native of Saint Domingue who settled in New Orleans. She’s also been back to visit several times during 2012. How would I describe Susie? She’s like a pugnacious little bulldog that just doesn’t give up! Cheri and I have tromped around graveyards, visited cousins and made numerous trips to libraries and become “best buds”.
On the Stanley family tree, I was contacted by Michelle McBride during May. Her great-grandmother and my grandfather were brothers and sisters. Our Stanley relatives were also related to Pattillo’s and our genealogy searches have resulted in some results that one might not want to include in one’s history. It seems my great-grandmother (a Pattillo) had a brother who shot and killed his father! How could that be? Well, after much research it seems the father had shot first and the son, who was charged with murder, was found not guilty of any charges at the trial. Michelle and I agreed that it was a part of our family’s story and should be told and included in our trees. While she and I have not had a face to face meeting, we have talked on the phone and are hoping a visit will be in store for 2013. Michelle is also planning a visit with some of her older Stanley relatives shortly to gather more information and hopefully photos and family stories.
Then in November 2012 I was contacted by Kenneth Whitehead regarding the Hemperley family tree. Ken is the curator of the East Point Historical Society. East Point was the area of Georgia many of the Hemperley’s lived during the 1800s. Some of their ancestors remain in the area today. In fact, the funeral home, which began in the early 1900s, is still offering service and comfort to those of the community. More importantly the Hemperley’s left foot prints on the history of the area.
Ken has been most gracious in sharing documents, newspaper clippings, death certificates, etc. with me. In fact, Lillie Ruth Hemperley has been written about in “Lil, In Celebration of Lillie Ruth Hemperley Stewart’s 99th Birthday on February 16, 2004”. It was written by Regina Stewart. One of Lil’s sisters, Ina Hemperley Short also wrote “As I Remember It” in celebration of her 90th birthday in October 1987. Ken has taken the time to scan over 600 documents, put them in a DVD and give it to me and other Hemperley relatives!!! The DVD arrived a few days after Christmas and I thought, “What a wonderful belated Christmas gift”. How lucky can you be and wouldn’t it be wonderful if just one person in every family tree would save the treasures of their families and share with others.
Ken and I have also been doing a little research, via email, on members of the clan that he had not “fit” into the puzzle. Luckily, I found some information as well as did Ken. Should you have relatives in that area of Georgia, I’m sure the East Point Historical Society would be willing to share information. By all appearances, they have a great working society. You can check them out on Face Book or check them out when you are in the area.
While checking out the East Point Historical Society you might also want to visit Susie’s website at http://ourfamiliesuntoldstories.com. Not only does she post genealogy there, she also is documenting her family’s day to day lives in the hills of Arkansas.
The persons mentioned here were contacts made through Ancestry.com. Should you be contacted by someone through Ancestry, please take time to reply as you may never know what you are missing. Don’t take everything you see on Ancestry as gospel for we all make mistakes. And finally if you copy a photo or document from someone else’s tree, please give credit to the person who has spent endless hours collecting, proving and sharing with you.
As a reminder to those who search regularly for information on family members, I would urge you to make a New Year’s Resolution to (1) document each person in your family prior to adding them to your tree; (2) to label your photos; (3) to preserve your documents and (4) to share openly.
As sad as I am about 2012 ending, I am also happy for all the new contacts made and look forward to adding more “cousins” in the coming year. To each of you I wish you a healthy, happy, prosperous New Year with lots of “green leaves”.
Thank you Kookie, for sending me this letter and thank you for singing my praises. I am so glad to have found you and all the other cousins that I found in 2012 and I look forward to 2013 as well so that I might know my family better and continue to share the stories here on this blog.