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                         Janice's Journey

The genealogy work that I do is dedicated and written to you, my beloved children, my husband, and all of the amazing family members I've met and connected with over the years.  Why?  Because it took me over 25 years to discover the stories of our ancestors!  It’s been an amazing journey thus far and each new found ancestor or story almost takes my breath away.


I’m keenly aware that God has selected me to be the Griot/Story Teller for my maternal and paternal lines of our family.  It’s as if there is a driving force that pulls within the depths of my soul and compels me to keep searching.  At times, I literally feel as if the ancestors are guiding me.  Don’t think that as a person of faith that this is not possible.  The DNA of our ancestors is alive and well, deep within me as well as you.   If you take a moment to briefly study what DNA is, you will fully comprehend what I’m conveying to you.

Now before I go too far, let me explain why I'm writing about my family to begin with.  My husband, started his research over 20 years ago.  I would listen to the numerous calls that were made and the connections that he was making.  In my mind, I thought, ok, that’s nice but I really was not interested.  I was confused as to why he would want to spend so much time speaking with people he didn’t know and across so many lines.  After one of his calls, he suggested that I start research my family history.  I made it very clear to him that I knew my family history.  He immediately started asking me questions.  The first was “Who are your grandparents”?  Of course I knew who they were!  Then he asked about my great grandparents.  I really had no idea as I attempted to recall their names with a very blank stare on my face.   So HE is the reason that I'm labeled as a genealogy addict.

 At this point, I called my Aunt “Sook”, my father’s older sister.  Wait, what is her real name?  Oh my goodness!!!  I didn’t have a clue.  I had to call my mother and ask.  Well, her REAL name is Ruby Cross.  My Aunt Ruby is the best!  She told me as much as she could remember and then she told me that she had a picture of my great grandfather, Edward W. Cross (b. 1874 – d. 1935).  After my conversation with her, I was hooked.  It was that force pulling at me that I described earlier. As it turned out, no one had conducted research on my paternal line.  There was nothing.  The only thing that was done was to circulate the picture to the left.  I was stunned.  That’s it, no research.  Next question, who was his wife?  Oh, Grandma Golda Smith Cross.  How many children did they have?  Response:  Maybe 8, wait, no, 10, oh wait, I’m not sure!  How could you circulate a picture but not know how many children there are?

The Genealogy Detective in me kicked in.  But let’s be clear, I had no idea that I would become the family historian for our family.  My thought was if I could get a complete list of how many children they had, I would be satisfied.  Well let me tell you, that was not the case!  My appetite to know how many children Edward and Golda had consumed me. 

Please understand that when I started researching 25 ago, was no where near what it is today.  There were numerous trips to the New York City Regional Archives Center, road trips to Mullins, Marion, Latta, and Columbia South Carolina (libraries, archive centers, and courts for probate records).  We made numerous visits to family members to obtain bits and pieces of information, picking their brains to obtain any leads that would be helpful to writing a narrative for our family.  Again, I was amazed that what I walked away with was bits and pieces. 

As I reflect upon all of those bits and pieces, I cherish them now.  Why?  They have helped me establish an outline and story to write this book.   Our family history is literally like having a skeleton and adding flesh, muscle, and finally, breathing life into it.  It is a journey where various emotions are experienced.  They range from frustration, joy, sadness, feeling overwhelmed, ready to give up, victory, elation, jubilation, feelings of pride, disappointment, and persistence.  Each day, they call me.  Who are they?  My ancestors!  I hear them saying, look here, speak with this person, go speak to the presenter after a session.  They are right every single time! 

They call out to me to have a conversation with someone I have NEVER met!  They lead me to look at records at 1:00 am.  I hear them in my spirit, calling me to keep searching.  There’s more work for you to do my child, my granddaughter, my great granddaughter, my great, great, great, granddaughter.  Write, speak, share, encourage, and tell our stories.

Family Tree, genealogy..jpg
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