Do you have days when you wish your interest in documenting your family's history had sprouted and put down roots when you were ....oh, about 10 or 11 years old? I certainly do. Why didn't I notice that we never seemed to talk about my dad's side of the family in our home? Why didn't we ask his parents all those great questions like "how did you meet?" or "what were your brothers and sisters like?" Perhaps because my maternal grandmother lived with us and the fact that she was actually born in Ireland, any concern we might have had for another important part of our heritage was overshadowed.
So here I am ...a woman of a very certain age ... having only recently developed a sense of urgency about recording the details of my family's presence on the planet. I actually grieve for all the missed opportunities to learn more about those individuals who played such an important part in shaping what would become my life.
Only weeks ago I located the burial place of my paternal great great grandmother Catherine Connelly Jones ...she lies in Cincinnati in a presently unmarked grave... and I am going to do everything in my power to change that status. Yet her husband, James R. Jones, remains lost to me. He died suddenly in August of 1863 in Wheeling, W. Va., during the continued turmoil fo the Civl War and the confusion created by the formation of a new state. His death came only two months after his court martial, conviction, and dismissal from the Union Army.
I'm aware that thousands upon thousand of family historians may never know where their ancestors lie. Still .... a part of me feels as if I had shown more interest, asked my grandfather to share his family stories, probed him with a little girl's questions, that though James R. Jones' grave might be countless miles from me, I would have the comfort of knowing where he rests.