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Now browsing: Hometown News > Columnist Archives > Family - Kathy Josenhans

Revealing the Past
Rating: 2.84 / 5 (160 votes)  
Posted: 2006 Nov 03 - 02:58

I'm sure there have been times in your life that you've questioned why you have allergies or a genetic illness.

Or maybe you are a pack rat and can't throw anything away.

Can't seem to lose weight and don't know why?

Well we all have our own little quarks and that's what makes us who we are.

Then again who are we?

Why did you inherit that weird little habit?

Who in the family passed you that trait?

Yes, all these questions we have pondered at one time or another.

For years, I wondered who I got this crazy curly mess of a mop on my head from?

Since all of my immediate family either had normal or no hair, it must have been from someone in my deep past. It's always been a big joke for everyone that my hair is the most unruly, kinky and hard to manage head of hair.

My nickname in Junior High was "Chief Bushyhead" and that has stayed with me all of my life.

Then a few years ago someone must have had the same hair and invented the no fail ceramic flat iron. Hallelujah!

This brings me back to my original question: Who are we?

For about 10 years, I've really wanted to do our family history, but couldn't seem to stay focused long enough.

If I hit a brick wall, I'd give up for a while then go back to researching.

For the past 18 months, I have been diligent about getting this task completed and I'm extremely happy to report that it's paying off. Although I thought I may reveal being related to gangsters or something horrific, I find we were the all American family trying to make his way in this new world.

I joined the Ancestry Web site and signed up for the free ones like Rootsweb.com and Genforum.com.

To my amazement, slowly but surely, I would receive e-mails from people who were searching for the same family line.

We all exchanged information and I've recently spoken with my ancestors descendants. It's so rewarding when we exchange our ancestors' photos back and forth, and the stories behind them.

My great-great grandfather, who was born in Tennessee in 1829, fought in the Civil War from 1861 until the end in 1865. Now you would think a cornbread southerner would be proudly carrying that Confederate flag, and quite honestly we thought he did.

When my brother and I found out that he had served in Company A, Regiment 8 of the Union Army my uncle loudly protested and said, "You must have the wrong man!"

But, no, it was my great- great grandfather, who died a proud veteran in 1899.

I am proud to be his great-great granddaughter. After more research I found out that this is how Tennessee became the Volunteer state, the most volunteers for the civil war and about equally for each side.

I recently went to visit my great-great grandfather's grave (still standing) and thanked him for giving life to me.

I thanked him for my curly hair and for staying out of harm's way to make way for his descendants.

He would be proud of all of us: We have two cars instead of two hogs to trade in. Our pensions can pay the bills compared to his $12 monthly military pension for his widow to live on.

Now if I could only find his father, my story would be close to complete.

Every little bit I do, I feel more complete too. This is a gift for my descendants to carry with them.

You count, no matter where you are from or what the story may be. This is a great hobby and I'm enthused to share it with you.

It's not that hard to get started and I hope your history is easier than mine was to do.

But if you find a relative with kinky, curly, unmanageable hair, give me a call.

Kathy Josenhans lives in Port Orange with her husband, Frank, and their German shepherd, Heidi, and a cat named Bogie after Humphrey Bogart. The Josenhans have three grown children. She can be reached at kjosenhans@gmail.com.

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