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Posts Tagged ‘Shelton’

So this was fun ….

We were on vacation a couple of weeks ago in the Outer Banks of North Carolina – Duck, to be specific.  We’re always reluctant to leave the house when we are there, because … I don’t know … the waves or the gulls or the sea oats might do something spectacular.  You have to watch them every second.  Anyway, we were on one of our rare jaunts into Duck and stopped at a favorite gourmet food and wine shop, Tommy’s.  If you know Tommy’s, you know why we go there.  If you don’t know Tommy’s, go there.  It was Tasting Tuesday at Tommy’s [don’t you love alliteration?], and we were making the rounds, tasting all the free snacks and goodies we could get our hands on.  We tasted hand-made chocolates (bought some), homemade pound cake (bought some), kettle corn (bought some) … you get the idea, right?  This is why Tommy’s has Tasting Tuesdays.  Mr. and Mrs. Tommy are smart folks.   We only went in for scallops – I swear.  That’s all we needed … scallops.

I turned a corner while Jim was investigating some beer.  Lo and behold, THESE were staring me in the face:

Shelton and Childress Wine

Now, for you non-cousin readers, you may not know why these are significant.  So let me tell you …  Shelton and Childress are family names to me.  My mother’s maiden name is Shelton, and my father’s mother’s  maiden name was Childress.  And there they were, sitting on the shelf, right next to each other.

I know what you’re thinking … did you buy them?

You bet we did !

When we got home, I promptly turned on what Jim calls “that magic divining machine,” and searched for info on the vineyards.  Here’s what I found:

Shelton Vineyards – http://www.sheltonvineyards.com/default.aspx?shelton=42

Owned by Charlie and Ed Shelton in Dobson, NC

Childress Vineyards – http://www.childressvineyards.com/home.asp

Owned by NASCAR owner Richard Childress, in Lexington, NC

I have no idea if I am related to Charlie, Ed, or Richard … but you can bet I’m going to try to figure it out.  In the meantime, I’m going to drink some nice wine, and wish I was back in Duck.  I *always* wish I was back in Duck.

Duck 2012

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Family Pictures

Where am I from ?  What an easy question !  What a hard question ….

If I asked you where you are from, your first instinct would likely be to tell where you grew up, or maybe where you live now, depending on the context of the question.  But to a genealogist, even an amateur one like me, that question is loaded.  A genealogist hears not only “Where did you grow up?”, we also hear, “Where are your parents and grandparents from? What about THEIR parents and grandparents? Did your family originate in Europe? Asia? Africa? the Mideast? How did they get to America? When did they get to America? Why did they come to America?”  (At least, that’s what an American genealogist hears … I have no clue what a European/Asian/African/etc. genealogist hears!)

All my life, I was convinced I had Irish roots.  I mean, if you could see me, you’d agree … dark hair, light skin, a smattering of freckles (even at my age), green eyes.  SCREAMS Irish, doesn’t it?  Plus, once I read “Gone With The Wind,” I was convinced I was Irish.  Me and Scarlett (with her Irish father) … soul sisters for sure.  At some point, someone (not sure who) mentioned we were Scots-Irish, but at the time I (a) had no idea what that meant, and (b) cared only about the Irish part.

It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that the dream died.  OK, maybe that’s a little dramatic.  The point is, as I began to explore my family’s heritage, I discovered that we are very, ummm … white bread.  Not a melting pot.  No hyphenated heritage.  Not a blend of anything, unless you consider a blend of various towns and villages from England to be a blend.  Yep, that’s right.  I’m as English as they come.  Both sides.  No forking of that part of my family tree … one straight trunk all the way deep into English soil.  Queen Elizabeth likely has more variants in her bloodlines than I do.  If Henry Louis Gates, Jr. were to search my tree, he’d fall asleep.  (If you have no idea who he is, let me recommend “Finding Your Roots” on PBS – fascinating stuff.)

I was so disappointed.

But then the questions began, and disappointment faded.  Why did William Stewardson come here from England in the first place?  What about Ralph Shelton?  And the more questions I had, the more interested I became.  How did the Childress family, the Pettit family, the Elliott family, and the Mills family come into the picture?  And how about the Noels? The Parkers?  The Drumhellers?  WHAAAAAT ??  Drumhellers??!!??  Look! Germans!  Oh, for heaven’s sake!  How did THEY get in here ???  I was making a point … I was on a roll !!

My point is this … even the most direct line has some surprises.  You may know about them, you may not.  But every single one of those people had something to do with you drawing breath as you read this.  The fun of genealogy is stumbling over those surprises, meeting those people (even if it’s only on paper), and figuring out where they lived, how they lived, and how they fit into your history and the history of their society, wherever it may be.

So one of my goals of this blog is to explore where I come from geographically.  Mostly, that answer is Virginia, Virginia, Virginia, England, England, England. And Germany. Maybe Scotland.  And (oh please oh please oh please) maybe even Ireland.

Next post … where in Virginia ?

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Four Generations

This is one of my all-time favorite photographs, for so many reasons.

Four Generations

First, there’s the obvious … four generations of women on my mother’s side of the family – what a gift to have this image.

Carrie Frances Mills Elliott – seated
Irma Frances Elliott Shelton – checked dress
Janet Arlene Shelton Stewardson – dark dress
and me … cute as a bug, right ?

Second, it makes me laugh.  Look at Grandma.  She does not look happy to be doing this at all.  Who knows? Maybe she wasn’t feeling well that day. I remember she wasn’t crazy about having her picture taken, so you kind of had to sneak up on her to get a good smile.  But, boy, when she smiled?  Best grandma face ever!  I could talk about her forever … the woman was born to be a grandma.  She was a lovely daughter, a terrific mother, and a great friend … but her gift, her reason for being put on this earth, was to be a grandma.  She cooked like a grandma, she sewed like a grandma, she told stories like a grandma, she grew flowers like a grandma, she spoiled us like a grandma, she hugged like a grandma, and she loved like a grandma.  Still – she didn’t like to have her picture taken.  Silly Grandma.  (Please note – my Grandma was not a giant … this was taken from an odd angle, probably to get us all in.)

Third, I like this because it’s really the clearest image in my head of my great-grandmother.  She died when I was barely 5 years old, so my memories are sketchy at best.  But they all look like this – a tiny little woman, with soft white hair and a serious smile.  My little sister is named for her, and was born the same year Granny died.  The only things I really know about her, I know because Mama tells me the stories.

Fourth, I like it because it gives me a real sense of how I came to be me.  I am exactly like them, and nothing like them.  I have characteristics of each of them, and of none of them.  When I look at these faces, they don’t just hold memories for me, they feel very “here and now,” even though two of them are gone.  They feel immediate and relevant and still influential on my character.  These women – particularly Grandma and Granny – are salt-of-the-earth women.  Their stories are very blue collar, hands in the soil, feet on the ground stories.  When I first began searching my family history, I thought those stories were boring, that they weren’t really stories at all.  I was wrong.  It’s a very solid place to stand, which has allowed my mother and me (and my brother and sister and my niece and nephews and cousins) to stretch and reach far beyond the boundaries of these women.

I think that’s what families are for, aren’t they ?  To ground us, teach us, bind us, and set us free.  And when I search our history, and find another name or place that connects me, I gain  insight and encouragement.

Hard to believe one little snapshot says all that, huh ??

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As I mentioned on my other new blog* (because, really, you can never have too many, right?), one of the very first discoveries I made when I began researching my family’s history was a photograph of my great-great-grandfather, James Crew Shelton (1844-1923), of Pittsylvania County, Virginia.  I was in the midst of posting information on Ancestry.com, when one of those little shaking leaves popped up and seemed awfully persistent.  I clicked, and among the listed hints was a link to a photograph:

James Crew Shelton

GULP! He appears to be a right fierce old gentleman, doesn’t he?  And if I look very closely, I can see the features of his grandson, my grandfather … Jimmie Meace Shelton.  The person who had posted the photograph was generous enough to let me copy it to my tree, but was uncertain where she had gotten it.  All she knew was that she had found the image online.  I would love to credit the owner of the original, but don’t know who that is.  So, if you are in our Shelton family, and this is your original photograph, I’d love to get in touch, and I would also love to know if you have any other photographs from that generation, because this one is wonderful !!

I think that discovery was the moment I was officially hooked on this process.  I dabbled in some on-line genealogy several years ago, but it was all so new.  I must admit, I am a sucker for instant gratification, and the sheer volume of information we can tap into now is amazing.  However, all of this available information on-line has made me want to dig around in old courthouses and archives, and get my hands on “real paper.”  The online images are terrific and I’ve learned so much already, but to actually see a document that was produced in the life of someone who is responsible for me being here … that would be a goose-bump moment for sure.

So when I hit those brick walls – and boy, have I hit some doozies! – I remember the goose-bump moments and it is enough to keep me digging.  I’ll share some of them here, as I go along.  And if we’re related, I hope you’ll reach out and share some of yours with me, too.

http://grandmaspicturebox.wordpress.com/

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“Cousin bait” … I love it !!  When I began working on my family’s history a little over a year ago, I began reading several genealogy blogs, and ran across that phrase a lot … cousin bait.  Typically, it’s about putting information out there so it can be found by cousins you haven’t met yet.  So here we go … straight and to the point:

If your last name is Stewardson, Shelton, Childress, Pettit, Elliott, or Mills, and you are from Virginia, get in touch.  Let’s share what we have, what we know, what we don’t know, and what seems odd.  Other names of interest include Drumheller, Noel, Saunders, Leadbetter, Parker, Hines, McGhee, and Crider.

And don’t even get me started on the in-laws … Marion, Brown, Hazel, Hatfield, Hancock, Hopkins, Clements, Henning, Montgomery, Wiise, McFarland . . . .  well, okay, but save it for another post.

I’ll blog about what I’ve found, what I’m looking for, where I think it is, where it wasn’t, and how frustrating it is to try to search Virginia roots while living in Georgia.

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