Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Inspiration From Family Photos


It's the day before Thanksgiving—at least, here in the United States—when so many turn their thoughts and preparations to gathering with extended family. What better time than now to warm up to a week-long mini-research project based on some virtual visits with cousins over recently-shared family photos?

It was a little over a week ago when a surprise contact from a DNA cousin brought several family photographs to my attention. I had never seen them before, so I passed along the pictures to my mother's cousin for some input. That began a conversation on family memories, prompted by seeing the faces of relatives this cousin hadn't seen in years.

Needless to say, I learned a lot about my maternal grandmother's family in that exchange. It also prompted me to revisit what I had entered in my McClellan family tree about my great-grandfather, Rupert McClellan, and his eight siblings. Since I had last worked on that line—all the children of William and Emma Charles McClellan—I have expanded my genealogy subscriptions which has brought me more information on many members of that family. But not as much information as my mother's cousin was able to provide.

It's time to revisit the McClellan family now, not only because of the additional information I'm finding online on these distant aunts and uncles, but because of the photographs now coming my way.  We'll take the next week to explore what else can be found on Rupert McClellan and his siblings.

In short, while I've already enjoyed discovering life vignettes about my great-grandfather—such as his stint serving as mayor of Fort Meade, Florida—there is much more to learn on Rupert's siblings. Of the nine children of William and Emma, Rupert was second born, trailing his older brother Frank by three years. Following those two sons was another, the short-lived William Robert McClellan. His younger brother Philip was the last of the sons until the reign of McClellan daughters—Asenah, Fannie, and Emily—came to a close with the arrival of two more sons, George and Norman.

All these McClellan children were born on the family property in Wellborn, northern Florida, a tiny rural community in Suwannee County. From 1868, the year Frank was born, until Norman's arrival in 1894, the family grew through post-Civil War and Reconstruction years, and eventually most of the McClellan children dispersed to other locations farther south in Florida, or to other states nearby.

Some pursued professions, some found themselves coupled with idiosyncratic partners, and yet others led a life cut short unexpectedly. All told, there are some family details I've yet to discover. This will be our week to see what we can find on these McClellan siblings whose faces have just now reappeared in the family photographs shared by a generous cousin.

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