My great grandfather Jesse O Burgess
We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again. To tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve. Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the story tellers of our tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes. Those who have gone before cry out to us: Tell our story. So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before and cried? I have lost count. Hoe many times have I told my ancestors, “You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us”. How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me? I cannot say. It goes beyond documenting facts. It goes to who I am, and why I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying – I can’t let this happen! The bones are bones of my bones and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to our pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish. How they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life fort heir family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a nation. It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth, without them we could not exist, and so w love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore memory or greet those who we had never known before…
by Della M. Cummings Wright; rewritten by her granddaughter Dell Jo Ann McGinnis Johnson; edited and reworded by Ton Dunn, 1943."