(The following was written by Della M. Cummings around 1943. There are numerous versions of this on the Internet, so it is hard to tell which one is the original. Regardless, I believe this sums up the feeling and motivation of many genealogists. I think you will enjoy it. -- HB)
We are the chosen. In each family there is one who seems called to find the ancestors. To put flesh on their bones and make them live again, to tell the family story and to feel that somehow they know and approve.
Doing genealogy is not a cold gathering of facts but, instead, breathing life into all who have gone before. We are the storytellers of the tribe. All tribes have one. We have been called, as it were, by our genes.
Those who have gone before cry out to us, "Tell our story!" So, we do. In finding them, we somehow find ourselves. How many graves have I stood before now and cried? I have lost count. How many times have I told the ancestors, "You have a wonderful family; you would be proud of us." How many times have I walked up to a grave and felt somehow there was love there for me?
I cannot say. It goes beyond just documenting facts. It goes to who am I and why do I do the things I do. It goes to seeing a cemetery about to be lost forever to weeds and indifference and saying, "I can't let this happen." The bones here are bones of my bone and flesh of my flesh. It goes to doing something about it. It goes to pride in what our ancestors were able to accomplish, how they contributed to what we are today. It goes to respecting their hardships and losses, their never giving in or giving up, their resoluteness to go on and build a life for their family. It goes to deep pride that the fathers fought and some died to make and keep us a Nation.
It goes to a deep and immense understanding that they were doing it for us. It is of equal pride and love that our mothers struggled to give us birth. Without them we could not exist, and so we love each one, as far back as we can reach. That we might be born who we are. That we might remember them. So we do.
With love and caring and scribing each fact of their existence, because we are they and they are the sum of who we are. So, as a scribe called, I tell the story of my family. It is up to that one called in the next generation to answer the call and take my place in the long line of family storytellers. That is why I do my family genealogy, and that is what calls those young and old to step up and restore the memory or greet those whom we had never known before.
(In keeping with the above, Phyllis is one of the chosen. Following is information about her grandparents, Fred and Blanche (Marble) Wood. These are the stories that keep our ancestors alive, thanks for sharing, Phyllis. -- HB)
My grandfather, Fred Albert Wood, was a deaf mute brought on by having meningitis at an early age. He went to the Missouri School for the Deaf in Fulton, MO from 1895 until just after 1900.
Fred was a hard worker and never begged anyone for money instead of working. He worked at the Wolf Milling Co. in Neosho, MO where he helped repair machinery. He could tell by the vibrations if the machine was working correctly. To wake himself up he had a wind-up alarm clock, and would tie one end of a string to the winder and the other end to his toe, and when the alarm went off, it would tug at his toe and wake him up.
He was a tall man, about 6 ft. and always seemed "rough". I never knew him to be mean or rough, but even though he couldn't talk, he could make noises. And those noises were strange and loud when he was upset.That was his way of being heard.
I once met a man who had worked with him building houses. He told me if they demolished a house on which my grandfather had worked, they would find instructions and messages written to my grandfather by his co-workers on the boards they used to build the house.
He always had a notepad with him to "talk" with people. I can only imagine how hard life was back then for a deaf mute.
My grandmother, Fred's wife, Blanche Julia Marble Wood, was also a deaf mute brought on by measles at an early age. She was taught to read lips by an aunt. She was in a car accident in 1937 in which my grandparent's oldest daughter, Easter Lilliy Wood, was killed. She lost her sense of smell because of the accident but was still the best cook I knew.
Blanche was a seamstress and was the best dressed lady I knew. Her snow-white hair was never out of place and her clothes were always neat and ironed.
Without my grandparents my childhood would have been really bad. There were times we had no food so she would always make sure we ate and had clothes to wear. My mother was so lucky to have them as parents.
Fred and Blanche had a television, we didn't, but they couldn't hear it. That was always strange to me -- they watched it all the time.
The story goes that I could "talk with my hands" before I could speak. I was forced to quit using sign language because they were afraid I would not speak.
My grandparents, especially my grandmother, will always hold a special place in my heart because of the hardshops they must have faced -- and won -- and never gave up.
(There is a picture of Fred and Blanche on The Burdick Family Association web site, in the "Photos" section. -- HB)
(You may remember that a few years ago Andrew Burdett and Bill Burditt invited us to be a part of their DNA study. I have provided a few updates but now that their study is complete, or as complete as these types of efforts are, I wanted to give you my opinions of what it means for our family. -- HB)
The Burdett DNA Project was started to gather genetic information about the well-established Burdett/Burdette/Burditt family. This family can trace its history through England back to 1066, the year William the Conqueror arrived in England, and further back to its roots in France and Norway. Andrew and Bill wanted to determine how and if the various Burdett family groups are related.
To refresh your memory, females carry two X chromosomes in every cell while males carry an X and a Y chromosome. At conception, the new life receives one of the motherís X chromosomes and either the X or Y chromosome from the father. If the fatherís X chromosome is passed along the new life becomes a female while inheritance of the Y chromosome produces a male.
Since there is only one Y chromosome involved during this process, a sonís Y chromosome is always identical to his fatherís, which in turn is identical to his grandfatherís, and so on back in time. Therefore, a male Burdick with a direct male line of descent from Robert Burdick will have the same Y chromosome as Robertís in 1651 Ė and beyond.
So if Robert Burdick was, as many believe, an offspring of the English Burdett family his Y chromosome, as well as those of his descendants, would be the same as the Burdett familyís DNA material.
Andrew and Bill knew of the possible Burdett-Burdick connection and kindly invited us to become a part of their study. If "Burdick" DNA matched "Burdett" DNA, that would prove we are one family. If there was no match, it may or may not prove anything. Things are never as straightforward as we would like.
Before I provide my opinion of the results, here is the project summary (you can see the entire study yourself by pointing your Internet browser to http://www.burdettdna.org):
72 - MEMBERS ENROLLED
08 - UNIQUE GROUPS
13 - RESULTS NOT GROUPED
00 - PENDING RESULTS
Of the 72 people included in the study, 12 were Burdick family members. Of the eight groups defined (members of a group share the same Y chromosome) the Burdicks all fall into the same one (except for me and my uncle, which I'll explain later). All Burdetts fall into one of six groups. No Burdicks fall into any of the Burdett groups and no Burdetts are in the Burdick group. There are 13 members who do not fit into any group and two of those are Burdicks (one in England and one in Germany).
These results show two indisputable things. First, that the Burdett family is very large and diverse, given that their family members fall into one of six groups. Second, that all tested Burdicks (again, except for me, my uncle, the German and the English member) fall into a single group which means that the Burdicks in America descend from a unique male ancestor.
But does it mean that the Burdicks are a part of the Burdett family? The answer, in my opinion, is -- I don't know but I think the answer is "no." If the Burdicks tested fell into one of the Burdett DNA groups that would be undeniable evidence that the two families are one in the same. But they don't.
Since the Burdicks do not fall into any Burdett group that could mean we are simply yet another branch of that large family. But it could also mean that we not related at all. While trying to stay objective, I think that if the Burdicks were really Burdetts the probability would be relatively high that we would be "captured" within one of the established Burdett groups. But we are not.
There is one additional piece of information that may be relevant. A few months ago I received notification that a Burdick family member in England, who was not connected to the Burdett project, matched the DNA of Josef Bauerdick of Germany. You may recall that Josef's theory is that the Burdicks originated in Germany (where there is evidence of the name dating back to the 1200s) and migrated to England in the 1500s. From there the Burdicks came to America in the form of Robert. I believe this England-Germany DNA connection provides evidence that Josef is correct. And if that part of Josef's research is correct it lends credence to the rest of his work being correct. And remember, no one has been able to establish a Burdett-Burdick connection, which is substantiated by the DNA study.
So I find myself in the same camp as Josef in believing that our roots are in Germany and that we are truly "Burdicks", not "Burdetts". You may disagree with me, which is fine. As I've stated many times I am not a genealogist, that work is too hard for me! If someone can present evidence of a Burdett connection, not simply repetition of stories passed down through the generations, I will gladly change my mind. But for now I believe the evidence, especially the lack of evidence from the Burdick DNA project, speaks for itself.
Oh, I forgot, I was going to provide an update on my own DNA situation. You may remember that I was the first Burdick tested and that my Y chromosome is radically different from the Burdett family. But it is also radically different from all the Burdicks tested. My uncle carries the same gene, which means we have the same male ancestor (in this case, my grandfather). It also means that my branch of the Burdick family is NOT direct biological descendants of Robert. This situation could only happen by one of two situations: either there was an unrecorded adoption in my ancestral path, or there was an episode of marital infidelity.
While not common, there are many instances of unrecorded adoptions, especially in the early years of our country. And the other alternative? If there is one thing I have learned from my involvement in genealogy is that people are no different now than they were in the past. So I may be the product of an ancestral extramarital affair. I have so far been unsuccessful in obtaining a DNA sample from the next closest branch to my family, but I will continue my own personal quest. As I have stated before, DNA does not make a family, it is people like you who do. And I thank you for being my family.
Maureen Galloway (email@example.com) lived next door to Sy Burdick in St. Clair Shores, MI in 1957. She bought her first guitar at a pawn shop in Detroit and started talking lessons after school in Sy's backyard. He taught her to play Spanish, flamenco and classic; it was the music he liked. He liked Maureen's style and dedication and gave her his own Spanish guitar before he died many years ago. Maureen will cherish it always, it still has the beautiful sound it made over 100 hundred years old still has "heart". Are any of Sy's family members out there?
Bert Burdick (firstname.lastname@example.org) has never found information about his grandfather, Harvey Thomas Burdick. He was born in the territory of Kansas and had a brother named Ed who lived in Blair, Oklahoma. Albert Burdick, their father, was an MD and a captain in the Civil War. This family is rooted in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio but split up in the 1800s when some brothers moved west. Other than Bert's great uncle in Blair, Oklahoma, they have pretty much lost track of the rest of the family. Bert's grandmother noted in her journal that family members came to United States in late 1700s from Scotland and Bert thinks his uncle in Blair had all daughters which makes searching more difficult. Any leads would be appreciated.
Jan Hellewell (email@example.com) is trying to find more information on Abigail Burdick (I1128003) who married Levi Lawrence and moved to Canada. Abigail's parents were James and Phebe (Smith) Burdick of Lanesborough, MA. She was born January 22, 1768 in Lanesborough and died in Buford, Canada. But there the trail ends. Can you help?
Jack Burdick (firstname.lastname@example.org) wanted to inform everyone of the death of his mother, Shirley (Bartlett) Burdick, who passed away on October 25, 2010. She had been in a nursing home for a little over three years, dictated by "getting old" challenges that left her unable to take care of herself and live safely in her home. As time went on, she was diagnosed with dementia evolving into border line Alzheimer's. Jack and family celebrate her life and know that she is in a better place with no pain and a much improved "life style." Her obituary appeared in the Elmira Star Gazzette on Saturday, Oct 30th, 2010: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/star-gazette/obituary.aspx?n=shirley-m-burdick&pid=146296839&eid=sp_shareobit.
Tim Gleason (email@example.com) is researching Julian Charles Burdick (I3393). He was born in Brooklyn, December 1871 or 1873 and was married to Jessie Ellison. They had two sons, Charles Harold (b. 1903) and Robert Van Buren (b. 1908). Tim would like to connect with relatives about J. Charles' time in New York. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Steve Culmer (firstname.lastname@example.org) sends word of the passing of his wife, Nora, on August 21, 2010, from cancer. Nora, or "Nono" as she was known, worked at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, for seven years. Her last year there was the 25th Anniversary of Dollywood, and she was able to see Kenny Rogers, Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus, and of course Dolly Parton, which made her very happy. Nora loved her two cats, Goldie and Precious, who stayed with her in bed near the end to help protect her.
Amy Oates (email@example.com) has had the honor of being involved in a truly humanitarian effort by spending several months in Haiti after the devastating January, 2010 earthquake in that country. As she says, the trip was such a gift and we should all be proud of her for her efforts through the Antioch Community Church. The main purpose of this trip was to transition the short-term relief efforts to a long-term development project. Antioch has committed to building at least 100 new homes and at this point about 40 homes are completed. Future phases will include projects that teach and empower people in health, agriculture, business, and education. The Church is also cultivating community within Lafferoney, which is counter-cultural for Haiti. One win was to participate in a community day in which young and old joined in the work of leveling a road using rubble from broken homes. Such a beautiful picture of God using brokenness for redemption! Thank you, Amy, for your efforts and for sharing your experience with us.
In 1936 in California, Stephen Burdick's (firstname.lastname@example.org) grandfather, Kenneth Lee Burdick, bought a blue-green, Kissel Gold Bug Speedster from his sister Delight's first husband. The Kissel Kar Company operated from about 1906 until 1942. The car had no springs or shocks, but air cylinders for that purpose. It had a large cylinder from the engine compartment that came into the passenger compartment and ran up along the steering column. The driver had to periodically put 90-weight oil into this cylinder and use some sort of a hand ramming device that would provide oil to all moving parts of the engine. The Kissel had a two-person rumble seat, and another seat just in front of the rear wheel that pulled out from the side of the car -- where you rode with your feet on the running board. Amelia Earhart owned a yellow Kissel that was nearly identical to Kenneth's. He was only 14 when he purchased the car; California had no age limits driving and licenses were issued to families. Here's a link about the Kissel: http://www.oldcarsweekly.com/article/forney-museum-2010/.
Joe Burdick (email@example.com) has provided another installment of his Newsletter. Sounds like he has been keeping himself busy -- including getting married! Welcome to the Burdick family, Tabby, I'm sure Joe is filling you in on volumes of Burdick history. Check out Joe's Newsletters on the Burdick Family Association web site (http://www.burdickfamily.org) by selecting the "Newsletters" button and scroll to the bottom of the page, there you will find links to all of Joe's newsletters. If you have something you would like to add to Joe's future newsletters, please let him know.
Catherine Hawthorne (firstname.lastname@example.org) has an old picture who she thinks may be Herbert and Sarah (Burdick) (Alderman) Chesebro. The inscription on the back says "Uncle Arne and Aunt Mate" (these are possibly nicknames that were common at the time.) Herbert was Sarah Burdick's third husband (he was 10 years younger than her), her first being to John Nash and her second to Homer Miller Alderman (with whom she had 9 children). You can see the photo on the Burdick Family Association web site (http://www.burdickfamily.org) by selecting the "Photos" button and scrolling to the bottom. There's also a newspaper clipping showing Sarah and Cora Alderman Spicer (Catherine's g-grandmother). Sarah probably raised Cora, so they were very close throughout their lives. If anyone knows this Burdick line please contact Catherine, it's a mystery that she and her sister have been trying to solve for years.
Is there a "King" in your past? A Burdick soldier recently contacted me in an attempt to trace his family line. His father and grandfather share the same name - Warren King Burdick. His grandmother's name is Cora. As you genealogists know, an unusual middle name like "King" is often a tradition handed down from father to son. Perhaps this tradition in this family goes back further. There is only one "King" in the Burdick genealogy: Charles King Burdick who was born in 1826 and died on September 18, 1862 at the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War. Charles' parents were Josiah Otis and Eliza (Sherman) Burdick and he had one sister, Hannah, who married Frederick Lewis. Our soldier's dad remembers hearing the name 'Charles King' when he was young and the name 'Hannah' has been mentioned in oral family history. Could there be a connection? If you can help make this connection, please contact me (email@example.com).