Family history can be filled with surprises. Good ones, and some not so good ones. Finds we make in our family history often prove or disprove something we have believed for years.When my mother died in 2001, we found so many surprises among her personal belongings. Who would have believed she’d kept every card she’d ever received from our dad and many of their friends? Every last one of them.
We couldn’t keep everything we uncovered, but one thing I was certain I would bring home with me. Handwritten facts of my mother’s early life with a list of grandchildren, her siblings, nieces, and nephews. Facts revealed I had never heard or read before.
Lately, while editing and revising my memoir, I dug out these notes and began to fact check againstthem for dates, names, and more. Yesterday I came upon something rather surprising.
As I was working with my manuscript, I picked up Mama’s notes to do some more fact-checking. I’ve gone through life believing my name was given to me for no clear reason or relative. You know–a “just because” name. However, I am wrong!
Right there in her notes. In Mama’s own handwriting it reads:
After her arrival, we named her Sherrey Alice. The Alice was given her for an aunt of mine, Uncle John’s wife. My mother always told me that Aunt Alice was such a sweet person, and I said if I ever have a little girl I’m going to name her Alice, so I did. Her Daddy put the Sherrey with it.
Now, I want to search through family photos and see if there is one of Aunt Alice because by the time I would have been old enough to know her, I believe she had passed on.
So now you and I know where my name came from, and you also know why that crazy email address reads like it does: “firstname.lastname@example.org.” Well, you almost know. But there’s more to that email address for another day.
Do you have letters, journals, or other family items, such as scrapbooks, etc., that hold family history? Have you used any of them in writing your memoir or other works?