When you think of time travelers it’s usually in some form of science fiction. There is another kind of time traveling that has little to do with fiction . . . family history research. Those of us who are fascinated with our family history don’t think of ourselves as time travelers, but we are. Our research takes us to some amazing places as they were many years ago. Often those trips are frustrating, but then we meet an ancestor who is very happy to introduce us to her family and friends.
Recently one such adventure happened to me. I was in Ancestry.com checking out the latest batch of new leaves in my online tree. Following one leaf to another user’s tree brought me face-to-face with my third great grandmother, Frances Georgina Scott Barrett.
Delighted as I was to see Frances, I knew she had more to tell me and that I needed to introduce myself to her great great grandaughter, Kay. I was right. Kay has all kinds of information on this branch of the family. One very special treasure is the diary of Georgiana Barrett Devlin. Georgiana is Frances’ daughter and my great great grandfather’s sister.
Kay has transcribed the diary, added notes from her research and published it. Within seconds of learning about this treasure, I had a Kindle copy of the diary and soon found myself in 19th century Mississippi. Georgiana has introduced me to members of the family I never knew existed and helped me sort out family relationships that my research could not. Every time I open her diary, I take another trip back in time.
While Georgiana has given me lots of new directions for my own research, I’m even more indebted to Kay for her work to transcribe and share this wonderful treasure. It also is an inspiration to pay it forward. I have a collection of letters my maternal grandfather wrote my grandmother before they got married in 1913. He died in 1921 so these letters and a few pictures are all we have of him. I have been slowly scanning and transcribing those letters. Kay’s effort with Georgina’s diary had inspired me to make this project a priority with the hope that it can help other family members with their research.
The Diary of a Southern Lady and Dolph’s Letters will keep me on the move between the 19th and 20th centuries for some time.