30 September 2015

A Family Timeline

Have you ever created a timeline for your family? David and I are working on one that includes our great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, us, and our children. I wanted to see which of our various ancestors were alive at the time of our births and the births of our children. Something that David said yesterday prompted this particular quest, but at the moment, I can't remember what that was. I have a big case of CRS (can't remember stuff)!

Five of our grandparents were living when our first two surviving children were born. Both of our paternal grandfathers and David's maternal grandfather had passed away already. David never got to know his paternal grandfather (Robert Bruce McClendon, Sr.) as he died before David was born. His maternal grandfather (Leon Wallis Roberts) died the year before we got married. My paternal grandfather (Andrew James Gunter) died the year that I turned 15.

Between our first two and last two children, we said good-bye to three of our grandparents. Both of my maternal grandparents (William Howard Taft Spence and Maggie Pressley Spence) and David's paternal grandmother (Ruby Fowler McClendon) left us during this "between" time. Yes, both of our paternal grandmothers were Fowlers before they got married. Finding their connection, if any, has been a quest of mine since I learned they had the same maiden name!

By the time our last two surviving children were born, only my paternal grandmother and David's maternal grandmother were living. His maternal grandmother (Mary Bushnell) died in 2006. The last of our grandparents, my paternal grandmother (Evelyn Fowler Gunter), died in 2010. Our oldest son had been in the US Navy almost six years at this point. I was very fortunate to have grown up living near all of my grandparents and had them long enough that I would be able to remember them. Not everyone is so blessed.

Like David, our children grew up without their paternal grandfather. David's daddy (Robert Bruce McClendon, Jr.) died just two weeks before our oldest son's first birthday. He has no memory of his Papa Bruce. Unfortunately, due to misfortune in our family, our youngest children have no memory of my daddy (Jimmy Ray Gunter). He lived until 2012, but the last 15 years of his life were taken from us. At the time of his passing, we lived over a thousand miles away. They do not remember him. This saddens me greatly.

David created a chart for me in Excel (this program hates me…the feeling is mutual!) to show where our lives intersected with those that came before us. It will be fun to add world events along the timeline as well. Boy is it going to take a lot of paper to print this and a lot of wall space to display it!

Have you ever created a family timeline? How did you lay it out? Please share your feedback and ideas in the comment section. Thanks!

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