Monday, September 10, 2012

Countdown to the book

The August post is a bit late, mainly due to a hectic but fruitful month that included the sale of my condo in Atlanta.  The process was lengthy and draining, but ultimately I closed on August 17.  The next week, my sister and her son, Zysean, came to Crosswicks to visit for a week, so I spent the first week of September finalizing my August benchmarks.

In August I began the process of preparing for the book that will be made from this website, as the ultimate goal of this project.  When I was first presented with this project proposal by Andrew Waskey nine months ago, a small voice inside me asked, "How will you ever collect enough material for an entire book?"  Now, nine months later, the voice is gone and I'm wondering how I can distill this 132-page website into just one book.

This month I finally added a branch of the family that I had heretofore neglected, simply because there was no easy place to put them.  Grace Lucy Holsenbeck Brandon was very close to her older brother Marshall, who we all know as Pop, and her family has kept up with ours over the years, mainly through her surviving daughter, Libba.  I have telephoned and corresponded with Libba over the course of this project, and she has been very generous with her help, in the way of material and remembrances.  She felt a kinship to this project, not only because of her Holsenbeck roots, but also because she lived at 992 Washita for several years just after the war and became part of our family.

Since Aunt Grace was neither a descendant nor an ancestor of Pop, there was no easy place to fit her family on the website, so this month I created three new pages that are devoted to her and her descendants.  You can begin here and navigate from there to the other two pages.  There are several photos of the family that she sent me, and I included a descendant page based largely on information gleaned from Bryant Moore's files.  This information is out of date, I am sure, but at least it provides a beginning for anyone interested in Grace's family.

After the successful and educational journey this summer to Chesapeake Maryland and Tidewater Virginia, and after finally finding the grave of Thomas Gillham, Sr., in South Carolina, I began envisioning a similar trip west to Illinois to visit the area settled by Thomas's children and our Gillham ancestors.  I am not sure when the trip will take place, and it may occur after the formal completion of this website, but I will definitely post information on this blog, which I hope to continue indefinitely.

In preparation for this trip, I did some research into the Gillham family and found a remarkable volume titled The History of Madison County, Illinois, Illustrated, With Biographical Sketches of many Prominent Men and Pioneers, published in 1882 in Edwardsville, Illinois, by W.R. Brink & Co.  According to this book, the most prominent founding family of Madison County was the Gillhams, led by James Gillham (the son of Thomas Gillham, Sr.) who came to Madison County by most remarkable circumstances in the 1790s.  After settling in Kentucky to start a farm, his family (all but a son) was kidnapped by Indians and led to Illinois where, through an agent, James was able to locate them five years later.  The entire story is depicted here on the website.  Once James settled in Illinois after this harrowing episode, he invited his brothers (among them our ancestor Thomas) to move to Madison County and lay roots.

I have gleaned the pertinent passages of the Gillham history and posted them here, which include a remarkable anecdote about how the Gillham family helped to make Illinois a free state.  Interestingly, Thomas Jr's son Isham named his son (and our ancestor) Shadrach Bond Gillham, after Shadrach Bond, the first governor of Illinois. 

The final additions and edits to "The Gillhams: 1933-1978" have been made and the entire story can be found here.  Emily and Martha sent me some additional information that completed the final chapter of the story, that of the family's life after the move back to Atlanta in 1955.  As always, if any of you have other additions or find errors or omissions, please comment on this blog or email me here.

On August 7, I mailed out 5 reels of WTG's 8mm film to located in Chicago.  They seem to be reputable and were actually recommended to me by my high school geography teacher, who I ran into on facebook.  I sent an estimated 900 feet of film, which at normal speed would equal one hour of footage.  If everything goes to plan, they will mail the film back to me and send me a 320 GB external hard drive containing the digitized film.  Then I can load it onto my laptop, edit it and upload it onto YouTube, and then provide a link to the clips on the 992 website.

 Stay tuned!