dee_burris: (Default)
2013-08-25 11:11

Sometimes the answers are on the other side

Have spent a lot of time the past two weeks on several family trees.

For the ones unrelated to my own family, there are friends looking for answers.

They didn't even know there were questions, because - well, every family has some secrets. If not created in recent generations, then the secrets of the ancestors can be startling and unwelcome surprises to their descendants.
I have no farther to look for evidence of family secrets than my own great great grandfather, who had an entire second family a half mile away from his farm.

For at least 14 years, James Littleton Burris had a relationship with a woman young enough to be his daughter. They had at least 5 children together, possibly more.

You can't really call that a fling. So I wonder...did my great great grandparents have some sort of understanding? Our family lore says Elizabeth Adeline Ashmore walked beside James Littleton Burris on almost the entire journey from Lawrence Co., TN to Arkansas in 1838, and fell deeply in love with him. So, did she just look the other way when he left to go see his other family three decades later? Was my great great grandpa polyamorous, and his wife accepted that?
Then, there are the other families...

The yearning and pain I see in the eyes of two half-brothers, who desperately want to find the body of their half-sister who just disappeared one day, and whom they fear was murdered by her own parents...

A dear friend who didn't find out until he was in his 30s that his grandmother stabbed his grandfather to death with a kitchen knife. Had she finally decided, after leaving him and moving to Memphis with their daughters, that she just wasn't going to take one more beating after he arrived drunk at her house that Saturday?
Sometimes the answers died with them.

But it doesn't make me stop wondering. And if nothing else, I'll ask them on the other side...
dee_burris: (Default)
2010-11-01 18:32
Entry tags:

When secrets are exposed...

It started a few weeks ago with an email I got from a young woman trying to break down a brick wall in her own family history.

Little did either of us know that we were getting ready to uncover a 140 year old secret.

Cut for length... )