Thursday, September 21, 2017

Mayhaws, Mimi, Mel, and Mayhem - Brought to You by a Nasty Gal Named Irma

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

What a couple of weeks we’ve had. Virtually every square inch of Florida has been impacted in one way or another by hurricane, Irma. We didn’t just get to watch as most of our country did, from a safe distance and the air-conditioned luxury of our living room. No, we had to watch in order to make the decision if we should stay or go. Many of Florida’s citizens had no choice as they were in mandatory evacuation zones. Where we live was right on the edge of one of those zones. So, we prepared by putting up our storm shutters, bringing in supplies of food and water, talking our two middle sons into coming to our home, gassing up our car, and praying.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Sacred Harp Singing

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams
Last week I told you about learning that my grandfather, Wilburn Bass, was a leader in the Sacred Harp singing community in south Alabama. I’m still trying to deal with that surprise. I cannot believe that no one ever told us this about Grandpa. It could be that our mother didn’t even know as her father passed when she was just seven years old. Since I recall attending Sacred Harp sings with his widow, my Granny, I have to wonder why we never knew this information.

I’m sure some of you know what I mean when I say Sacred Harp singing, but many more of you likely do not. While I’m no expert on the subject, I do know a bit about it. If you saw the movie Cold Mountain, you may recall the scene in the church where they were singing and raising and lowering their arms in the rhythm of the music. That was Sacred Harp.  

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Social Media and Genealogy Connections

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

Facebook has been around for quite a while now. But many people are just becoming aware of how effective it can be for finding and connecting with long-lost family members. It seems that the advent of DNA testing for ordinary folks has increased the awareness of social media for such.

In my own family, once I did the DNA testing available through Ancestry, I was able to connect with family members I had never known before. And through those connections, I was able to join a couple of closed, or private, DNA pages on Facebook and reach even more extended family members.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

I Wish I"d Asked That - Family Questionnaire Part 3

@DDuPreeWilliamsby Debra DuPree Williams 
This week we finish with our questions for family members. This is a great tool for those who don’t want to take the time to write a memoir. Your family will thank you one day if they haven’t already done so. I know that there are many questions my sister and I wish we had asked of our parents and grandparents, and even of our aunts and uncles. So many family stories lost to time. I hope you have found this helpful and that you have added your own questions to the ones in my list.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Wish I'd Asked That - Family Questionnaire Part II

by Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

Last week I asked if you had begun a memoir and I gave you a list of questions to ask family members in case you aren’t into writing a memoir. 

I hope that you enjoyed reading through those and that you may have gotten to interview a relative or two. 

This week, we continue with part two of the questions regarding your adulthood.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I Wish I'd Asked That . . . Family Questionnaire Part I

by Debra DuPree Williams @ DDuPreeWilliams

DuPree Siblings with Spouses and Two Nieces 1980s
I’m of the generation that is likely next for Glory. My parents went home to be with the Lord in 1996 and 2012. While my sister and I did encourage them to tell us many of their life stories, there are still things we wish we had asked. Before it was too late.

The Past has Passed
There are things about our grandparents we wish we knew. We were too young to care when they were still alive. My Granddaddy DuPree, my last grandparent, died when I was only thirteen. I can tell you that at that age, I didn’t care about much besides getting to spend at least a couple of weeks with my cousins in the summer time. How I wish we had gathered around family members and asked all the things we would love to know now.

If you haven’t begun a memoir or if you don’t care about writing such, how about just answering some questions with a sentence or two? I think most people could and would do that. Perhaps you could get one of your children or even a grandchild to write down your answers.

Let's Get Started
Below are just a few questions to get you started. I will use multiple posts to make this easier and more manageable. These questions can be used not just for you, but for your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and any other family member you wish to question. Some may seem obvious, but believe me, you may be surprised at what you thought you knew. For example, we always thought our mother was born in the same county in which we were born. She wasn’t. She was born in a totally different county, at her grandmother’s home. And she wasn’t the first of the twins to be born, she was last, making her her father’s seventeenth and final child.

If you don’t like my questions, make up your own. This is just a basic guideline. Have fun with this, and be very glad that you didn’t wait too long.

The Questions:

Your Childhood, Schooldays, and College:
  • When and where were you born?
  • Where did you get your name?
  • Where did you fall in birth order?
  • What is your earliest memory?
  • Where did you live when you were a child?
  • Tell us about your home(s) and how long you lived in each one.
  • Who were your closest friends?
  • Where did you go to school?
  • How did you spend your free time?
  • Did you play outdoors or mostly indoors?
  • What games did you play?
  • What were your favorite television shows?
  • What was your favorite music?
  • Did you play an instrument or did you sing or dance?
  • Were you in any groups such as FFA or Scouts?
  • Were you in any clubs or groups in high school?
  • Who were your favorite teachers?
  • What were your favorite subjects.
  • How old were you when you began dating?
  • Were you allowed to go steady?
  • Did you learn to drive in high school? Did you take driver education?
  • Did you ever own your own car or did you drive the family car?
  • Did you take college entrance exams? How did you do on those?
  • Did you attend college? Where, and what was your major?
  • What degree or degrees did you earn?
  • Did you use that degree in your professional life?
  • Were you in a fraternity or a sorority? Which one?
  • Were you in any groups, such as academic societies?
  • Were you in sports in college? Which one(s)?
  • Were you active in musical groups or theatre?
This is a good start. Next time we’ll enter your adult years.

Can you think of any other questions you’d like to ask about your relatives’ formative years? Leave those in the space below. 


Thursday, August 10, 2017

An Old Country Church

By Debra DuPree Williams @DDuPreeWilliams

If you grew up in the south as I did, you likely attended worship services in an old country church. The one I frequented was Taylor Methodist Church, now called Taylor United Methodist.

This was the church my mother’s family attended when she was a child. It is rich with history, and is still an active, though small, congregation. My cousin, Florence, is a member, making this the place of continual worship within my family for over a hundred years.

 Precious Memories

I have fond memories of visiting this precious place for worship services and revivals. My family and I were members of the big Methodist church downtown.

When my sister and my cousin, mentioned above, were teens, a young preacher by the name of Johnny Couey came to preach one night. I remember, even as a child, thinking how handsome he was. My sister and my cousin just about flipped over him. I’ve just learned from Florence that Johnny is still alive and still preaching. How wonderful.