When a person researches his/her family, there are (hopefully) many "hallelujah" moments. Moments when you're so excited because you've found something of great value concerning your family. I've had many of those in the past few years. One came when Mama, Frances Langdale Jowers, showed me copies of her mother's birth certificate, her father's birth certificate, her father's death certificate, and her parents' marriage certificate. Her brother, Charlie, who lives in England, sent them. I don't remember why Mama said he sent them. I just remember being so excited the first time she showed them to me.
Ten or so years ago I asked Mama about her family, her grandparents and any others she remembered. She told me she didn't know her grandparents. She didn't even know their names. Sometime later she gave me a paper where she had written down what she knew about her family. Her family lived in England. On the Langdale side, she mentioned an Uncle Charles, Aunt Maggie, Aunt Pat, and Uncle Fred. She mentioned a cousin, Harriet and 3 sons of Aunt Maggie and another girl. On the Kirkpatrick side, she mentioned Uncle Sydney (aka Sidney), his wife Bertha, one unnamed daughter, and a granddaughter, Wendy. At the top of the page she wrote "Unknown before 1892."
The certificates listed in the first paragraph changed everything! The birth certificates (certified copies) told us the names, addresses, and occupations of Mama's grandparents and the maiden names of her grandmothers. The marriage certificate gave her parents ages, addresses, occupations, fathers' names, and the date they got married and where. I now had something to go on.
I didn't start researching the families until about 2009. Using the Murphy, NC Library internet access to the Library Edition to Ancestry.com, I had access to records in England, mainly censuses and parish records. Since then, I've traced my direct line of Langdales to my third greatgrandfather (1700's, birth year unknown) and to my fourth greatgrandfather (1700's, birth year unknown) on the Kirkpatrick side. All have been sourced.
I've often wondered what Mama would have said to what I've found out about her family, and I've discovered a lot. I wish she knew. I plan to share some of my finds as time permits.
These are my grandparents, Thomas Henry Langdale and Maud Kirkpatrick Langdale. The photo was taken at the wedding of Margaret Maud Langdale and Henry (Harry) Norris in 1942. My grandfather was 45 and my grandmother 49 when the photo was taken. My grandfather looks tall in the photo but he's standing on a step. He was actually 5 ft. 1 1/2 inches tall and my grandmother stood under 5 ft.