What is intriguing about researching a family tree is all the life stories you stumble upon. Some are happy stories...and others make you cry...as I've gone through my family branches, I realize how short life used to be. Most of the men on my tree died well before they were 50! The death of children appeared to be a normal part of life.
Some parts of the tree resemble an ancient soap opera. Others appear to be parts of a fairy tale. Whether it is drama or sweetness, every branch has their own story to tell.
A couple weeks ago, I was revisiting a particular branch of the tree- my 2nd great grandfather, Thomas Jefferson Buzzard. I had never given his name much thought....but you see this is why all clues count...this time when I looked over his siblings, I noted his brother's name was "George Washington Buzzard"-- hmmm...what a patriotic family, I thought...then I decided to climb higher up the tree. With the help of ancestry.com, I manage to discover more links in my tree.
I went up via my 3rd great grandmother's line...Elizabeth Gilpin...and oh my- as I went up higher...things became clearer. Col. George Gilpin- my 6th great grandfather, was the aide to George Washington during the American Revolution. After the war, Col. George Gilpin was made surveyor of the Potomac and did many public improvements. It is said, he was one of the pall bearers at George Washington's funeral. He married two sisters- one after each other- they were said to have been Martha Washington's cousins- however, although I've read this in various research documents- I cannot find the proof of it yet.
I later discovered that George was related to the Washingtons of Westmoreland, England- and this is why there was a close connection between he and George Washington. My 15th great grandmother was Elizabeth Washington- who is somehow related to George Washington. I've yet to figure out the exact relation-- something like a gr-gr aunt.
For someone, like me, who was not born in the US and until recently had very little connection with this country- I have found it amazing to see different connections which tie me to this place. Branches which come from Ellis Island (my other gr-grandfather was an Ellis)- branches spreading all the way from the Mayflower- the Winthrop ships- the civil war and now the Revolution.
The tree doesn't just stand in this country- it spreads its branches across Europe. Each branch tells a story of those who went before me with courage and strength. I will continue to climb through the mass of branches, some broken, and see what new life stories I can find.