When I started doing family history it was by accident. I was working on a story about my grandparents. (I know, I know. I’ll get there) I wrote about how they met, dated, the devastation they felt when my grandfather was drafted into World War II. I wrote his return four years later, and that they were married only seven days later. I always thought that family history was records, and charts. I didn’t realize that the story was family history. As I continued writing I realized that I needed more information. I needed to know about my grandparents, parents and siblings, even aunts and uncles. That was it for me—I was in love with family history.
Since I started writing that story thirteen years ago, I have had so many experiences. I have felt love and strength. My great grandmother Viola Stout made a history of her life and gave a copy to all of her children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and even some of her 2x great grandchildren. My copy has been read many times and marked with tabs and post-its. In my copy she wrote a message to me, and I never really gave it a second thought. About a year ago I opened the book and it turned to that page. I read it and realized how much her words pertained to my life at that time. I texted my siblings to see what was written to them. My jaw dropped; she wrote something different to each of us. These messages were written over 20 years ago when I was a teenager, but her words applied to my life as I was reading them. My sister, who is three years younger had words from our great grandmother that applied to her life as an adult. I felt her love for me, she was guiding me, and her words were inspired, and they gave me strength.
Four years ago, I was delivering my youngest daughter, I had a few complications with my other two kids, and this pregnancy was no different. Before and after delivery I had lost consciousness several times. It was a very spiritual and personal experience, but I will share that my Great grandma Viola Stout and her daughter, my grandma Merle were with me. I named my baby Charlotte Viola after my great grandmother. This year as I was writing about Viola, I was shocked to learn that she passed away exactly fifteen years to the day that my daughter Charlotte was born.
We were born into families for a reason and I know that our loved ones are still there for us even beyond the veil. I have had hundreds of experiences, promptings and feelings of love through my family history work. I have felt strength from those that came before me and I am grateful for my blessings that come to me through family history.
You can read more from Dani on her Instagram account @roots2blossoms