It was never my intention to be an amateur genealogist. The credit, or blame, for getting me involved goes to my daughter Gayla and my cousin
Gayla’s father-in-law had done extensive
research on his family. Encouraged by him, she began asking questions and keeping a notebook on our family. Cousin Mary, always faithful to write to “Uncle Kenneth” and “Aunt Rozellah” (my
parents) was known to have done some research on the Brooks family. So Gayla
and Mary began to write to each other, sharing information.
Then my husband Jim and I planned a trip to Oklahoma. It had been twenty years since our last visit to my home state. Because my parents had moved to Florida, the brother and
sister who still lived in Oklahoma had come to Florida
several times. Both parents had recently died and those siblings would have little
incentive to travel our way in the future. We planned to spend time with my brother,
my sister, and two aunts. We had not originally planned to drive all over Oklahoma
looking for relatives living and dead. “See what you can find out while you’re there,” Gayla said. I replied sharply, “We’re
going on vacation, not to work.” But she said, “You’re going
to be there and I’m not, so I can’t do it myself.”
I gave in.
While in Oklahoma Jim and I took time out from
visiting my brother and sister to go to my father’s birthplace, Wewoka, in Seminole
County. Daddy had said that his great-grandmother
Lucinda Davis’s house was turned into an Indian museum so we made arrangements to visit the museum. I believe the building that houses the museum is located where Grandma Davis’s house was but
it is not her small but comfortable frame house. It is built partly of native rock and was the community center before it
became a museum. Although known as the Seminole
Indian Museum, it also contains exhibits chronicling
the history of the white pioneers and of the local oil industry. As far as I could tell during my short visit the Hawk/Davis/Haning family is represented in the museum only
by a brick in memory of Lucinda Hawk Davis 25 March 1835 – 10 January 1936.
in Wewoka we visited two of my father’s cousins and barely missed seeing a great-aunt who was living in a nursing home
but currently away visiting relatives. The aunt we missed seeing, Rena Haning Moreland, has now taken the family longevity
record, her life spanning 3 centuries 16 November 1899 – 28 July 2002.
We did not have addresses for any of the relatives
who still lived in Wewoka. When we stopped for lunch I asked the waitress if
she had a telephone book. “I’m sorry to bother you,” I said. She answered, “That’s okay. You’re
looking for your family. That’s important.” and she produced a phone
We found my father’s cousins, Jane and Ruth,
and called them to make arrangements to visit.
first saw Cousin Jane, my father’s cousin on his mother’s side. Jane
had one of the family history books and she let me look at it. I got out my notebook
and scribbled notes as fast as I could. It was nice to hear that my father had
been Jane’s favorite cousin when she was young.
Our visit with Ruth, my father’s cousin
on his father’s side, was interesting, too. We got the true story of the family’s Indian heritage from her.
Grandma Fannie, had lived with Ruth’s family after her first husband died. (See the link, "Our Cherokee Heritage"
at the top of this page.)
Back home I gave my daughter a copy of the notes
I had taken about family history and went back to my everyday life. Part of that
life included a writing group. One assignment the group leader gave was, “Write
a story about a person named Jenny Kinsolving”.
I had never heard the name “Kinsolving”
and it seemed to me that the first thing to do if I wanted to create a character by that name was to find out what her ethnic
background was. So I entered the name Jenny Kinsolving in a search engine. I got several pages of results and clicked on the link to Genforum. There I read what several people had written about one of their ancestors, Jenny Kinsolving, from Ireland.
Finding the fictional Jenny Kinsolving had been
so easy that I began to wonder if I could also find my ancestors by searching the internet.
So I entered the name of my most fascinating ancestor, the great-great grandmother who lived more than a hundred years. And there she was, Lucinda Hawk Davis, on a site maintained by Nora Kelly, a second
cousin I had never met.
I shared the notes from my Oklahoma
trip with my daughter Gayla but kept a copy for myself. Using those notes as
a springboard, I created this family history website.
Knowing absolutely nothing about proper genealogy
protocol, I began a serious search.