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18 July 2017

Genealogy, It's for the Living

 Addie Virginia Hayes Reese
 Sep 10, 1923 - Jul 16, 2017
Genealogy research usually focuses on events that happened long before, but how do we grieve and realize that it’s just genealogy in the making?

When my almost 94-year-old Grandmother, Addie Virginia Hayes Reese aka “Granny Reese”, passed away this past Sunday morning I was gripped by grief before wanting to write her story (obituary) and release it.  Since my grandmother was from a small town south of Nashville, I started listening to Patsy Cline music to get in the right frame of mind. Once ready, I got my laptop and logged onto my Ancestry tree to begin creating what I hoped would accurately portray and respect her memory.

Virginia with my grandfather,
Wilburn Petty Reese in 1942
As the words began to flow and her tale began to take shape, I felt much calmer and happier.  It was cathartic to get her record down and feel like I was somehow contributing to her memory, rather than just being tortured with emotion. By taking action, it relieved the pain of losing her.

Virginia with my daughter Katie in 2016
Of course it also made me do a bit more research and complete her narrative just a bit more.  That’s the thing, our genealogy is never done, it’s just waiting for another life event to happen.

Photos courtesy of Shannon Reese

Copyright © 2017 by California Genealogical Society