February 1, 2006
A few months ago my sister, Lynn brought over our Family Bibles, entrusting them to me for a time. Maybe I was in High School when I'd looked at them last, other's I'd never seen before. At this point, I am enamored by my Mother's family.
I love the smell of old books, papers and fabrics. Folded lovingly, sometimes with buds of lavender scattered in the folds, these are moments to be saved and cherished. Books carefully kept are a pathway back in time. The lives and things of family, rustling petticoats and lace, folded aprons, lilacs and magnolias, dried flowers and tears splashed among the pages of old Bibles greatly cherished and read by some of this side of my family link me to them.
Within the pages were Boy Scout merit awards tucked there by my namesake when her son died at 15, dried ferns and something that crumbled into dust when I tried to carefully turn the page to see. And the names of the dearly departed were there.
When Tim and I drove over to the east coast in November we spent some time at Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Lancaster County, SC. Many, many of my maternal Grandmother's family are buried there. One of Grandma Taylor's sisters died in infancy and my Mother Valeria is named after this tiny child. I never knew that. There is a town nearby, Buffalo and other towns that aren't there anymore but that my family lived in...once.
It's difficult and distracting tracing every which way and that. In South Carolina, for instance, no records were kept when that area became a state because there were no English nor Episcopalian churches there. If you can find which church your relatives attended, you may find records called "hymenals", sometimes these were published in old newspapers. In South Carolina, births, marriages and deaths were of no concern to the state, Common law marriage was considered lawful. It's a tangled web I tell ya.
While in South Carolina, Tim fell in love with the state and I suspect we'll go back there from time to time. There are friends there, new and old, some family left. It's going to take me some time to find this part of our family, a long road perhaps, but it will be fun to turn back the folds of fabric, turn the pages of lovely old books and I'm looking forward to it.