Barry's Relatively Speaking: Old Stepfathers Never Die (They Just Fade Away!)

Posted on Sep 03, 2012

Barry's Relatively Speaking shares the personal experiences and stories of genealogists found in the Everton Genealogical Helper Magazine collection on MyGenShare.com. Joan  shares the following experience.

I first became interested in "stepfathers" while doing research on my husbands family back in 1957. I made the acquaintance of a distant relative who had much family data which she offered to share with me. During the course of our visit she mentioned the fact that her grandmother had been widowed with several small children and had ^ subsequently remarried. Upon asking the name of the second husband I was assured that it wouldn't make any difference to me since he wasn't "really related, anyway." No matter how hard I tried to obtain this man's name, it wasn't forthcoming. Shrugging it off as an old lady's idiosyncrasy I said my goodbys and decided I could always find out the name from other sources. (I never did).

Years later, while doing research on my fathers family, I learned that his grandmother was born AFTER her father died in "Lincoln's War." The fact that his name was John Jones didn't do much to ease my searching and after many years -and numerous dead ends - I learned that the widow had remarried and the children were raised by a stepfather. A little questioning of various family members soon revealed that many had known but after all "he was ONLY their stepfather!"

By this time I too was a mother with four small children. My children were also being raised by 'a stepfather. I began to take a closer look at their relationship. As I watched the love that flowed between these children and their

stepfather and saw the hours he spent working for them, playing with them, providing for their every need - both physical and spiritual -my mind went back to the numerous stepfathers I'd uncovered in my genealogy research, many of whose names I might never learn.

No where on my charts was there a spot to record the love and care bestowed upon these orphan children by a man who presumably owed them nothing. Somehow the unfairness of it began to overwhelm me. Why must the stepfather be discarded into some trash heap of "never minds" because he did not biologically father the children. Somehow we must find a way to honor this forgotten man. I'm sure God must have a special place in Heaven for these special people.


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