Week 1: START
My interest in family history started when I was about 15 years old. Back then I didn't know what it was called, I only knew that it fascinated me. As a teenager, I was very quiet and shy. I enjoyed listening to my elders talk. I loved history, loved books and absolutely adored spending time at the library. Mom and grandma always talked at the kitchen table. The talks were often stories about the ancestors. What they looked like, what they did, recipes, sewing, old times. I was always there, with mom and grandma, between the tea cups and saucers, quietly listening, taking it all in. Looking back, I can see that my interest was a huge clue that I would one day fall in love with genealogy.
|Martha Toler Brown 1908-1996|
I felt like the photo spoke to me. I had never seen anything like it. My mother encouraged me to talk to cousin Martha. I remember that I was so shy, she made the phone call for me and put me on the phone. After that, cousin Martha began to write me. She wrote often, each time giving me more information and more pictures. She told me all about her family and encouraged me to write down the family history.
Born in 1908, to William Arthur Toler and Mary Elizabeth Doyle. Martha was the first cousin of my maternal grandmother. Martha's mother, and grandma's father were siblings. Her father was born a slave in Pittsylvania county, Virginia, to parents, James Toler and Julia Parker. He was a Cole Miner who migrated to Buxton, Iowa. Martha's mother, Mary Elizabeth was also born in Pittsylvania County to Sarah Doyle and Burwell Lee.
|Mary E. Doyle 1870-1947|
|William Arthur Toler 1857-1929|
Looking back all those years ago, I realize that I had loved ones all around that inspired me. Grandma kept the stories alive, mom pushed me to communicate, and Cousin Martha inspired me to start. ♥