Thursday, June 30, 2011

We Are Family

If we are honest with ourselves most family historians often find our departed ancestors more intriguing than our living relatives.  Consequently we spend a considerable amount of time tracking down records, photos and other sources of information in order to learn more about family who died long before we were born.  I confess to falling into this habit more often than not.  But I had the chance to reconnect with several of my extended family on my mother’s side the other day, an event that reminded me how important it is to take time for our living relatives and to enjoy their company while we can.  Both my parents died at a young age and that makes any opportunity to visit with family who knew them and/or me as a child particularly precious. 
James Montgomery Quesenberry 1847-1913
Of course since this is a family history blog I have to offer a little background on the common ancestors of the group of women that got together yesterday, after all those dead relatives are the ones that makes us a family.  We all descend in some degree from James Montgomery Quesenberry through his oldest son, Andrew Jackson Quesenberry.
James was married twice.  His first wife, Rhoda Nunn was seven years older than James; she is the mother of Andrew.  James and Rhoda married in 1865, after James retuned from Civil War.  He enlisted at the age of 16 in I Company, 50th Virginia Infantry. He fought at Gettysburg, among other places and was captured by Union forces at Spotsylvania Courthouse in 1864 and was returned to Virginia in a prisoner exchange. Rhoda died sometime in the 1870’s and when James married again it was to a woman twenty-four years younger than himself, Mary Lawson.  James and Mary had twelve children, of whom ten survived to adulthood. 
James and Rhoda’s son, Andrew Jackson (Andy) married Susie Odell and they also had twelve children, my grandma Rhoda being one of the six girls in the family. I have never been to a Virginia Quesenberry reunion, but I am told there are a lot of relatives there!
Andrew Jackson Quesenberry and Susie Odell Quesenberry

That brings me back to the luncheon that my mom’s cousin, Betty, hosted yesterday.  There were a couple of generations present, although with large families the generations often come in varying ages.  One of my second cousins is in her seventies, one in her thirties and I am in my fifties, yet we share great-grandparents.  Most of the women I had known as a child, even though we don’t stay in touch on a regular basis.  A couple of cousins I had not even met before, or at least don’t remember doing so.  But that is where the wonder of family comes in.  As we talked and laughed and shared photos and memories there was a comfortable feeling, a feeling of being at home.  And isn’t that what family is for?
The Quesenberry Sisters circa 1925: Minnie, Annie, Bertha, Mattie, Rhoda, Lizzie

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