Saturday, February 23, 2013

How It All Began

Susan & Billy Blair when the "Journey" began.
Digby-Griffin Reunion at the American Legion Hall 
Belton, Texas.

In 1979 my father, Robert Glenn Blair, gave me copies of a few old family photos he had professionally restored.  He said he didn't know who some of the people were, but knew they were relatives.  This started us on a quest to interview old family members to see if we could "discover" the missing names.  We eventually got all the names, but we also got several recordings of old family stories, copies of hundreds of old photographs, drawings of old homeplaces,....  As my interest peaked regarding genealogy, I was eventually given the unofficial title of "family historian" by the family.  Relatives began giving me all kinds of information and I began writing down the family stories they shared.

Digby-Griffin Reunion at the  Pavillion at Frank's Lakeview Inn at Belton Texas.
Pearl Digby & grandson, Billy Blair, try to chart family lines while Billy's son, Will, plays.

 My interest grew and I began researching family lines, going to courthouses and digging through old, dusty records.  After many years, I began looking for the "lost" relatives in the family, tried to figure out the truths within the mixture of family story/ historical record.  The journey has been a fascinating one and it still continues.  I recently realized that it will take at least a couple of years of hard work to get all my information into a form that my family can enjoy.  I desperately want both my immediate and extended family to know their "roots" and to have a love and appreciation for the history of our family.

Accuracy is difficult in family history research because you are at the mercy of your sources.  People recording old census information sometimes recorded names only as they "heard it".  Family stories often have inaccuracies, depending on who is telling the story and what they remember.  Family history researchers often get onto the wrong family line because the same name was used repeatedly in family lines.  Obituaries often have dates or names wrong, tombstone dates don't match the dates on courthouse records, and people sometimes state things as fact that they just "think" are true.  I've almost even accepted someone else's information which agreed with mine as confirmation of my research until I realized that I was the source they used for their information! 

This blog is the result of the memories, photographs, stories, research, drawings... of countless relatives.  They have given sacrificially of their time, money, patience (especially with me), and their love.  I can never repay the debt for all their kindness and valuable information.  Many of them allowed me to record our conversations, look through their boxes of sentimental treasures, copy their priceless old photographs, borrow or photograph sentimental obects.  I've also asked them to fill out detailed forms about their family members, often more than once.  I am grateful to everyone who has sent me information and hope that you will enjoy the gradual revealing of our family history on this blog.

Billy Blair
(William Lee Blair)

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