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Shout out to the Grandmothers!!!




One thing you all will find out about me is that there are times where when I think, I (try to) write. As such, my grandmothers have been on my mind a lot lately. You see, Christmas 2023 will mark six months since my mother-in-law passed away. Why is this relevant? It is relevant because my newborn grandson recently got to take his first picture with both sets of his grandparents. As such, my thoughts turned to those grandmothers that passed away.


When my daughter took that picture of all of us, that made me think of how awesome my mother-in-law was to both my kids. The things she'd teach them, the love that she always showered upon them, and of course, all the conversations they had in general. My kids always knew their 'Bep' was there. Just talk to my kids and you can see the influence that Bep has had on them. In addition, she was excellent at relaying the family history to my wife, especially the vivid stories of her growing up. She was good to my kids (and all the rest of her grandkids), and I very much appreciate that.


Also during that picture with my grandson, my thoughts also turned to both my grandmothers. Let me start with my paternal grandmother, Doris, aka Big Mama. Though I got to know her later in life (I met her in my late 20s), she was good to me. In fact, talking to her is how I got to know a lot about my father's side of the family. She shared obituaries, pictures, and of course, stories. Some of the things she told me made my mouth drop. On the other hand, every time we talked I realized and understood the genealogical significance of what she was telling me, and I cannot express enough how appreciative I was when she accepted and got to know me. Thanks to her, I was able to research and add more branches to my Alexander & Burwell paternity. Now let's turn to my maternal grandmother, my Grandma Sweetie. In case you're wondering, Sweetie was actually her name (from Raymond, Hinds County, Mississippi). Now don't get me wrong...she was old-school Mississippi, so if you did something wrong, she let you know it! At the same time, she was good, and I mean GOOD to me. I was born in her house, so to speak, and as such I always had a close relationship with her. I talked to her about a LOT during my formative years, and she got on me when I was wrong, but always had praise when the good things happened in life, big or small. She taught me to appreciate the little things, she always gave me tidbits about being the best man I could be, and no matter how old I got, she always wanted to 'do', either for me or for my kids once they came into the world.


One of my fondest memories of my grandmother is when she would walk from her house to pick me up and walk me home from school when I was in first & second grade. I cannot tell you all how excited I was when I would walk outside and see her! It was not an easy walk...it took time for her both ways but she did it anyway. Don't get me started on when she'd buy me those Affy Tapples when I didn't have enough change to do so! She also talked to me quite a bit (unbeknowst to most of my family) during my teenage years, and I have no issue saying if not for her, I do not know how I would have turned out.


When I became an adult, she continued to be there for both me and my wife. She absolutely loved my wife, and likewise my wife loved her. When I found out the truth about my paternity and started asking questions, I still remember her saying this: "boy, let them sleeping dogs lie!" Even when I started asking questions about her side of the family, she was not open to my digging into her family, but I am so thankful that one day when I went to see her that she gave me this name: Jeff Davis Hubbard. That name may sound random, but it turns out that Mr. Jefferson Davis Hubbard was my grandmother's granduncle (my great-great granduncle). Thanks to her remembering his name, the genealogical floodgates opened and I found a whole new branch, the Hubbards (also of Hinds County, Mississippi).


Then, on another visit, Grandma Sweetie asked me to check and see if we had any indigenous ancestry. Her rationale was that she was always told we had indigenous roots and wanted to know if I could find them. I researched this pretty hard, and what I found was not indigenous ancestry, but my being able to trace her Bracey name back to the late 1700s/early 1800s Hinds County, Mississippi to two Bracey brothers who both were enslavers. I was able to ascertain that this was the same Bracey family who enslaved my ancestors in Virginia before emigrating to Mississippi. Though Grandma was mildly surprised once I gave her the news, she did say that I did answer some questions she had all her life and acknowledged that some things she had been told in her life were incorrect. If nothing else, I am extremely proud that I was able to give Grandma answers that she was not necessarily seeking, but was happy to know the facts.


All in all, here I wanted to show love to the Grandmas that have passed away, and show what a repository of information grandparents can be if you pay attention. They not only were good grandmothers in their own way, but they all contributed to the family tree on both mine and my wife's side of the family. Now that I am a grandparent, it's my job to pass on these names, stories, and histories to my grandchildren. I only hope that I can give to my grandchildren what Bep has given to my children, and what Sweetie and Big Mama have given to me.





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