I go through phases with Ancestry.com. Whole months will go by that I don’t visit the site even once. Then randomly I will sit down with the intention of only spending a few minutes online, look at the clock and like a flash 3 hours have gone by. I totally fall down the wormhole. I pour over names, research census records, check dates, count children, look at death records…
This is the death record for a woman named Martha Barnett, who died in 1919 in the teeeeeeeny town of Cedar Creek, Texas (21 miles from Austin, near Bastrop). Her cause of death was “NO DOCTORS” (what the hell does that mean?). I also believe her to be my great, great, grandmother.
My mother told me that she thought some of her family was from central Texas and gave me her grandparents names. Thus starting the madness. From there I got their parents names, and from there I got their parents names and all the kids names, and all the random “laborers” that lived with them in their houses in 1810 etc etc etc.
So, it seems I come from a long line of farmers and housewives…..I suck and both farming and housework, by the way.
I would have made a terrible 1800 frontiers woman. Afraid of my own shadow, the “woods”, tetanus, brown spiders, spindly black spiders (black widows!), hard work outside, drafty houses, sun damage.. I will exhibit an almost violent reaction to having to (gasp) hand wash something. Just to name a few of my near-phobias…(You totally want to be my friend now, don’t you?)
Sorry to say that their line of work was not “aristocrat-ing” or “bourgeoisie-ing” – I would have been awesome at that!
I kid, I kid. Sortof.
Anyway, learning that the thriving metropolis of Cedar Creek was only 30 minutes away from where I live now was kinda exciting. Learning that Martha (above) and her husband, my great, great grandfather Charles John Barnett are buried there was even more exciting. I loaded up the doggies, and the fiance and we went on a little trip to check it all out.
As we drove through the country side, we talked a little about what it might have looked like in the mid-1800s. And, what brought them over to central Texas from the deep south, anyway? And, why this area in particular?
I need to do more research.
But until then, I discovered not only my great, great grandparents graves in the cemetery, but a whole mess of presumed relatives. Creepy/crazy!
And, look – someone cared enough to put yellow little flowers in front of their graves. Isn’t that my job? The totally neglectful great, great, granddaughter – ugh!
Thank you to the sweet soul who is looking out for them and cared to make their headstones pretty.
Who are these people? What were their lives like? How did they all die, and why so early some of them? What brought them to Texas? And to Cedar Creek (the sticks, even now)? How long has it been since someone from their family visited them? What does “NO DOCTORS” mean?
It’ll take time, but I aim to get some questions answered.
Thanks for reading this very personal entry!