Updated: Nov 7
A Note from Kyle Bradley who loves America and his kinfolk!
I often hear and read comments by people who boast they have found Presidents, Princes, Debutantes and Dignitaries in their genealogical lines! How exciting and neat that is eh? I can understand and relate to how finding that elusive clue about an 8X's great grandparent, Regent of a noble house that changed the course of the French Revolution or something of that sort would be an ancestry fanatics mind blower, would be great conversation fodder and certainly something to be proud of, but, and I can only speak for myself when I say, that’s just not the case for me! Now, while I find my ancestors to be infinitely interesting, intriguing and fascinating, with all the tidbits and ordinary goings on of their everyday lives, the grandparents, the great- grandparents, all the children of all the children, all my aunts, uncles and cousins through the generations, the cold hard fact remains, Kings and Queens they were not, Outlaws, War Hero's and gun totin' Lawmen weren't written into my tree, alas, no Railroad Barons or Wall Street Tycoons to pass down millions to future generations!
Truth be known, up until the early 1900's most of them were very ordinary people indeed and by today’s standards, assuredly not wealthy and not necessarily noteworthy. Either poor Western Kansas dirt farmers, East Ohio coal miners and Central Illinois railroad and factory workers on whose backs those millions were made for the Tycoons! Don't get me wrong, you see, the husband of a cousin two generations back was a policeman, a beat cop in Kansas City but he never arrested Al Capone!
My 3X Great Grandfather worked in the railcar shops in Quincy and his claim to fame was chronicled in the papers of 1912 when he fell from the roof of a moving train car and fractured his collar bone! I think you will agree, that's very exciting stuff indeed! You know, I'm okay with that! I'm perfectly fine with it! As a matter of fact, just the other night, I went to bed with a big ol' grin on my face and pleased as punch because lo' and behold, I found a brief snippet of an article in the Quincy Daily Journal recounting the valedictorian graduation ceremonies from a noted girls school of a great grand aunt of mine in 1900! The obituary of an unfortunate childhood death of a daughter in 1892, the grisly account of the murder of my great-grandad during a botched robbery on his country store porch in 1932, the struggles of my 2X great grandmother who was in and out of the "asylum" in Topeka for years, eventually passing away there. It's the little things I get excited about! It's the 'boring' stuff that keeps me digging for more! It's the mundane, day to day happenings that feed my ancestral addiction! It never ceases to amaze me that these "ordinary" people and their "ordinary" lives came together in just the right way at just the right time to ultimately put my parents together and most fortunately allow me the privilege of sitting here contemplating it all! How very lucky I am!