Climbing the Family Tree

post date: June 4, 2011

We're in front of Philadelphia Baptist Church, Etta, MS. My great-granduncle pastored this church in the 1800s.
This weekend we’re attending a Pritchard Family Reunion in Oxford, Mississippi. We did the same thing last year with a somewhat larger attendance. This year it was mostly the cousins who are now all in the 55-65 age range. We were joined by our Uncle Russ and Aunt Mary, both over 90 years old.

My cousin Barbara has spent many hours (hundreds, I suppose) working on tracing down the Pritchard-Gray-Mayfield family tree. Today she used a vast chart to show us over 1000 people descended from three different couples, with one man going back to Ireland in the mid-1700s. 

What have we discovered?

**There are lots of preachers, doctors and teachers in our family tree.
**It’s amazing how some names pop up again and again. For instance, the name Lydia occurs a number of times. That fact was emphasized by my cousin Susan walking in carrying her six-month-old granddaughter named Lydia.
**Many of our ancestors came from Ireland and Scotland, but the Pritchard name is of Welsh origin.
**Jeremiah Gray, born in 1805, had 15 children.
**There are lots of twins in our family tree.
**We had one man four or five generations back who suddenly moved to another part of the country under questionable circumstances. The official family position is, “He was a rounder.”
**The Gray family has a monument in the Macedonia cemetery that lists the various members of the family across the generations and then says at the bottom, “In that great family was fulfilled the promise of Psalm 128:1-4.»

Somehow it’s very comforting to learn about your family history because it gives you a sense of time and place. I like knowing that my father used to wear overalls when they rode horses to the Philadelphia Baptist Church in the 1930s. Every family has its own distinctive story, and it’s good to know that you have a history and a heritage. It’s also good to know that although your family is not perfect, it’s still your family, and that’s why you smile when someone says, “You remind me of your dad.”


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