Your Family Tree

I know my family tree only as far as

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Only as far back as great-grandparents on both sides. My father's father's family came to the U.S through Ellis Island circa 1890. My paternal grandfather was not born yet at that time. They wound up in the hills of southeastern Kentucky, where two of the men married women from a local family. There's some doubt about how old my paternal grandmother was. We've found some evidence in the past year that indicates that she may have been as much as 10 years older than the family thought previously. IIRC they married in 1920. In search of a life better than trying to scratch out a living as dirt farmers in the Kentucky Appalacians, they moved south, first to Bridgeport, Alabama, and then a bit further south to Gadsden. At the time, Gadsden was a steel and cotton mill boom town. They had eight children, six boys and two girls. My dad was the second youngest.

My mother's family was in Gadsden earlier than that, although we don't have as much info about them. My mother has told me that her paternal grandfather owned a grocery store, and he was shot and killed in a robbery. It was a notorious crime that people in town remembered for years afterwards. My maternal grandfather was a wheeler-dealer character who ran all kinds of businesses in town, some legit and some not so much (he brewed and sold beer, in a dry county). I barely remember him, though; he was a heavy smoker and he died of lung cancer when I was an infant. That was in 1960. My maternal grandmother never remarried, and she died in 2005 at the age of 99, having lived nearly half her life as a widow. My mom only has one sibling, a brother who's 11 years younger than her. (I can remember when he was still in high school.)

My parents met while attending Auburn University in the early '50s. They married in 1953, while they were still in school.

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