Equipped with certain tools that I deemed necessary for success in my quest to find granddaddy, I set off with enthusiasm. Then, I ran into my first haystack. This haystack was full of needles disguised as names. You heard me, names. As I mentioned, I thought I had the proper equipment to begin a successful dig; however, when I got to the site, I found that I was ill equipped.
Let me explain. My equipment included the names of my paternal grandparents, Sandy and Bertha Foreman Robinson; and my paternal great grandparents, Mose and Luvenia Poole Robinson. However, none, absolutely none, of these names were spelled the way I had imagined. I didn’t know who I was looking for, and if you don’t know who, you don’t know how!
You see, it was November 2003, five years after the death of my father and only days before his birthday. I had promised myself that I would know his family, so I sat at my computer and typed each name. Nothing happened. Numerous and various names appeared but none familiar to me. Then, slowly the name Bertha appeared, but nothing significant or related to my Bertha. Defeated, I gave up with the promise to return when I could devote more time to the endeavor.
Thus, in August of 2011, I retired. My first priority after getting my baby girl off to the University of Alabama was to start my search again. This time my search was better. There in black and white were the names of my grandmother, Bertha and her family, but there It was again, that haystack of needle, incognito names. I never knew my grandmother’s mother’s name, and I’m not sure that I know it now, but one thing’s for sure, I didn’t recognize this name at all. The penmanship was, to say the least, different. I don’t even want to discuss the other names in this blog – too much! This was my first painful needle experience, but years of teaching English and reading thousands of essays had prepared me. I was determined to decipher the code before me; at least I needed to know the name of my grandmother’s mother. To do this I needed something to compare. I searched each page of the 1900 Census for Indian Ridge (Anderson), Clarke County, Alabama to determine letter styles and patterns until I was certain that the name before me was Emma! My great grandmother’s name was Emma Foreman.
Feeling brave I entered Mose Robinson into the search box. There were no 1870 records nor 1880 records for Mose Robinson, but there he was in 1900, with a number of spellings for Mose and Robinson – Moses, Robertson (stick, stick). I would not have been able to find that record had it not been for some family explorer who had braved the journey before me looking for Mary Robinson, the sister of my granddaddy. Therefore, the needles were not too painful until I started to look closely at the record. Who was Sovanus? That couldn’t possibly be my granddaddy! Then, I looked further, and at the end of the record I saw the name, Cathern Mosley, Mother. Whoa!!! Where did Mosley come from? I had never heard that name connected with my family before, and I grew up with a town full of Mosley’s. Who was Silva Pool? Where was the Olivia Pool that I had heard about all of my life? Needles were flying everywhere. As a matter of fact, they were more like minute missiles, and I had to duck if I were going to make it through this trip. Oh well, time to call in reinforcements.