Saturday, February 15, 2014

Not the Only One

Do you sometimes get the feeling you are the only one in your family interested in discovering your roots? I often felt that way, especially as a young person, beginning without any guidance or training, merely trying to collect family members’ oral reports of their memories of older relatives.

As I mentioned the other day, I was so surprised to recently discover that, at one point, my own grandmother, Ruby Broyles McClellan Davis, had taken an interest in genealogy, herself. At the time of the letter she received in 1969 from her aunt, Nellie Broyles Jones, I was still quite young, but I had already been seeking out books in my local library to somehow teach myself how to go about doing genealogical research.

Several years before that letter, apparently, my grandmother had been writing other letters of inquiry. As it turns out, one source book for Broyles family genealogy—the Broyles, Laffitte and Boyd Families, published in Atlanta in October, 1959—had been discovered by Aunt Nellie shortly after its publication. Nellie wrote my grandmother, advising her to purchase a copy of the book, presumably to help answer any family history questions my grandmother might have had. As we’ll see tomorrow, my grandmother must have followed up by writing a letter of her own to the author, himself.

This letter from Nellie seems to have been written on impulse. Without any opening salutation, without any signature or date, it seems like an afterthought dashed off in a hurry. It possibly accompanied another letter—but where that item might be, I haven’t been able to locate it yet. This onion-skin-thin page was tucked inside the envelope containing a different letter, dated March 2, 1960, from a return address listed as Atlanta, Georgia. We’ll try to decipher the contents of that follow-up letter tomorrow.

Nellie Broyles Jones writing to Ruby Davis regarding a genealogy book on the Broyles family
            Ruby send $1.14 to Dr. Montague Boyd for one those books on the Broyles. It tells you where they started from. Our forefather was from Germany. Dr. is your Great uncle Edward Broyles grandson. He was raised in Savanna Ga. They were rich + he a prominent M.D. I knew him when we were young.
            I got one book + so has my boys. Its very interesting if any one is interested. In the west and around you—maybe—you’ve a plenty kin. I’m going to communicate with some of them, just to see.


  1. Replies
    1. Far Side, I can't tell you how many years I tried to track down a copy of this book--never imagining in my wildest dreams that my grandmother had been corresponding with the book's author.

      Sadly, my answer to your question is "no." However, I'm taking consolation in the fact that a digital copy is now available for free at the link I included in this post. So...I'll have to go take another look, this time not by traveling 100 miles to a library having it in their holdings, but in the comfort of my own living room, flipping the "pages" on my iPad :)

  2. Jacqi, Loved your story about discovering your grandmother's genealogy correspondence. This must lift you up an extra few levels to find that your grandmother was somehow inspiring you early in your life. Congrats!

    1. Nancy, thanks for stopping by and commenting! Yes, it was encouraging to find this out about my grandmother...but oh, how I wish I knew it then! I would have loved to be able to talk with a relative about her research! I was way too young then to know what I was doing, even though I already knew I had the "want to" to do it!

  3. My great-uncle Franklin was a genealogist to the bone - most of what I have, he has left for me. I've a few cousins that are into it too.


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