Islands In The Stream

A major reason I began the 1718 Genealogy is that I’m a semi-purist at heart. I don’t like giving out information that’s wrong and if I discover that some of the data is incorrect, well I’m happy to oblige by changing it. I’m a sensible researcher at heart, as well, willing to chart into uncertain waters to established a reasonable bit of evidence for someone who should be a relative, but may not be. You’ll find this in the genealogies I’m targeting, especially those centered in New England. Oftentimes, I’ll come up with data, add it, then come back to it and connect the dots. A lot of discombobulated material will show up as small bits of genealogical floating islands that should be attached to the main lineages, but aren’t. All these little bits are pieces of the puzzle that will eventually fit into the whole and form a continent based on good old solid earth.
This genealogy is a major project for me. Not only do I enjoy the research, but those who know me, will realize that it will not be something half-ass and based on the flotsam that litters the waters of our ancestry. DNA has been the best new tool on the market today to establish people connections, but it’s still only a back-up to what needs to actually be done; the research that is required to document it all. For example a DNA test for cousins Robert and Irene can only tell you the relative closeness of the relationship. If William and Joel are in court for a paternity issue, the markers are a comparison between the two men, one much more specific to the child than the other. Evidence of this type matching is after the fact, after actual or circumstantial evidence proves the possibility of a suspect in the first place. So reliance on DNA as it becomes more reliable is a pertinent aspect to determining our roots, but confirms only what you’ve done correctly in the first place. Or not.
Is everything solid? No more so than the mantle beneath the crust. How many times have we come up against a suspicion to realize it doesn’t work because we have selected the wrong person. I can’t say enough how quickly certainties run awry when there’s more than two people with the same name in town. Factor in plausibility, gut feelings, misinterpretation of data, incorrectly transcribed documents and failure to obtain proof of a matter hardly commences the faulty attributes that combine to misdirect us. Like a puzzle piece facts have to fit perfectly in order for us to see the overall picture correctly. I make mistakes like this, frequently thinking I’ve got it nailed down only to discover previous perceptions were wrong. Like the helix matrix of a chromosome the complexity is enormously entwining very much like our individual lives and family structures. Makes me dizzy to think about all of that. No more so then the choices I must make from day to day running strategies that take from a week to a year to unfold and hopefully help me and my family to prosper.
Islands in the stream is not just a book, not just a song or an analogy but a unique method for me to puzzle out our ancestries in a piecemeal fashion, especially in a perspective that channels a lot of detail into a whole.  It’s seeing the forest through the trees despite the fact these mighty pillars all look the same. There is individuality in each just as in each person each family and in bloodlines that span millennium. Surname families are so much like drifting leaves in a stream, bumping into others, bouncing off things that have an impact, influencing the direction of that impact-at times chaotic and random-but constant and moving, spiraling through the faster narrower gaps or moving with the breeze when the waters are still. It’s more than just allegory these words pertain to.
(C) Copyright 2016 The Jameson Perspective. Authored Nov. 7, 2016.

Four Decades and Counting

This story is about time.
In 1973, my dad’s mom, Martha(McKnight) Jameson died after 92 years of living. She was a quiet woman from upstate New York, short of stature, really, a plain woman of her times, who raised eight kids, all of whom but one lived to adulthood. Thankfully, when she left Athol, Massachusetts to come to Hartford, Connecticut to be with her husband, Arthur, she brought with her her family photos along with the eight kids, one dog, and household furniture. The McKnight family was left behind and she entered a new world, a city that teamed with life so different than the farm-country life she had shared for much of her child and early adult life.
I didn’t know her well. As a rug rat I was having far too much fun with my cousins to be concerned about a gray-haired lady who sat in a chair watching us day in and day out smiling and nodding her head. When, eventually, I became aware of her we talked, what about, I don’t recall, now, but she always had time for me. Later on I didn’t have time for her as I went directly into adolescence and that crazy period called puberty.
Then, she died.
In 1974, one year after I was discharge from the Navy, I went to visit my uncle who supported his mother from 1942 on and asked the questions that flooded my mind then. He took me up to the attic and there in great condition was my grandmother’s Hope chest. Inside, was her wedding dress, other paraphernalia, a box of photos and an old Bible that dated to 1861. I immediately picked up the Bible and turned to the center where I discovered six or seven Jameson names I’d never heard before. Curiosity sparked, the genealogy bug bit me and before I could stop it, I was led onto a road that really caught my interest and I vowed to learn something about my ancestors.
Forty-two years have come and gone, but not without discovering the rich history that peopled my family. As I have become older and believe it or not, wiser, I have really thought long and hard about my extended history and the realization of having come full circle in life. God has bless me in all my undertakings and on a road that has led me to comprehending the full measure of that journey. My grandmother loved me as my own mother as I will with my own grandchildren with a fourth on the way.  Despite the pressures and stresses, the obstacles and emotions, the baggage we pick up and the failures we endure and no matter how heavy the cross I will always have hope and happiness exactly the same as the generations that came before me.
Autumn has picked up with its breezy winds and increasingly colder temperatures here in New England. The trees are beautiful with their colorful harvest, even as the leaves are picking up speed in its drop to the bare earth. As I enter my own Autumn, not of discontent, but fully knowing and aware of what lays ahead of me I will pass on what I’ve learned.
My grandmother was a wonderful human being with full knowledge of what occurred and what transpired. She brought up seven of those eight kids knowing full well what it was doing to her and why. She smiled and changed with the seasons and endured bravely often without merit and credit, being acknowledged finally from the mouth of a grandchild who knew her but briefly and yet now with so much more understanding.
(C) Copyright 2016, TJP. Authored Oct. 24, 2016.