While my daughter was in the midst of a semester abroad, studying in Ireland, she saved one treat for herself at the end of her school commitment: a trip to Paris. But, of course! Where else would a longtime student of the French language wish to go?
As a consolation prize, upon her return home—barely in time for Christmas—she brought special gifts. One of them was an exquisite bar of chocolate, wrapped simply in a transparent plastic wrapper with an orange cardboard label affixed to the exterior.
The label itself—barring the fact that it is in French and not our native English—was plainspoken as well: Chocolatier à Paris à la Mère de Famille. A line on the side of the container added the note: Depuis 1761.
I assure you: words cannot begin to describe the delectable treat resting inside. It is like no other chocolate I’ve had the privilege of sampling. If you are ever in Paris, think of me and buy me another bar of this delicacy. I have been nursing this solitary treat through the weeks following its presentation at Christmas and, sadly, there are only a few squares of the precious stuff remaining.
Despite its marvelous smoothness, though, that is not why I chose to tell you about it today. I have another reason. Actually, it is a rather sorry reason, owing to the foul temper in which I remain, subsequent to spending hours searching for the specific link connecting my second great grandmother to the rest of the Taliaferro clan in Virginia. I am stuck in 1851—not a very impressive date for those delving into colonial genealogies. I should be wallowing in the names of my many ancestors preceding that brick wall date. Somewhere like 1761 should be no problem whatsoever for a surname as well documented as Taliaferro.
But here I sit, stymied with the mismatched records which will not let me budge beyond that 1851 Waterloo. And yet a chocolate bar—a chocolate bar, of all things—can do a better job of tracing its history beyond that taunting 1851 roadblock.