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About This Site
My name is Teresa Stewart Sitz. I began this site in 2005, shortly before the adoption of our 10-year-old son Zach was formalized. The process was long and painful, and genealogy was the sort of consuming interest I needed to take my mind off the uncertainties our little family faced.
Genealogy, or family history, is a highly personal endeavor. Even among the driest facts, such as census records, there remains an editorial voice. People include or exclude others in their family based on various, often arbitrary, reasons. Census takers were notorious for their poor spelling and inability to transcribe an oral record to a written record. Places of birth are dittoed down a line of families regardless of where they actually came from. Initials are substituted for names, and best guesses substitute for actual fact.
In the case of this site, the editorial voice is mine and that voice reflects my desires and sensibilities. I have met only a handful of the hundreds of people listed on this site, but in working extensively with the records of my ancestors they have taken on personalities and identities that cannot be expected to reflect them accurately in any way. Such was the case with Louisiana Carolina Stewart, born in 1847. It was very difficult for me to find her when she dropped from the Stewart household in the 1880 census. It was only because I extended the genealogies of those who married into our families for a generation or two, and that I tracked neighboring families, that I was able to locate her at all. A very faded, practically illegible, inscription in the family Bible confirms that Louisiana Carolina Stewart is Lucy C. Rabe. I was delighted to locate her and have to remind myself that she didn't necessarily have long red hair, a wasp waist and a wicked sense of humor. Because I have to keep reminding myself that I do not know most of these people I have created a site with a muted background and few extraneous, mood-inducing graphics. I have tried, as much as is possible, to present an accurate record of our families. The other people involved in the site keep me honest, holding me to rigorous standards when I am tempted to elaborate.
You will find no one particularly famous here. There's an as yet unfounded rumor that one of our ancestors signed the Declaration of Independence. Some of our ancestors fought in the American Revolution. We fought on both sides of the War Between the States. We did not own slaves, though we married into families that had held them. Until recently the members of our families were unlettered - farmers and laborers. We moved from Europe to the colonies, and from there to the frontiers. We helped build churches and towns in Indiana, Ohio, Alabama, and Texas. We were in Deadwood for the gold rush, Texas for the oil boom, and Silicon Valley for the information boom. We were born, married, raised families, and died. In a modern sense we are quite ordinary - American.
My relationship with these families follows:
Daniel Stewart and Araminta D. Coleman married and gave birth to Joseph Coleman Stewart.
Simpson Patrick Compton and Mariah Alcey Elizabeth Austin married and gave birth to Nancy Louise Elizabeth Compton.
Joseph Coleman Stewart and Nancy Louise Elizabeth Compton married and gave birth to Clyde Arthur Stewart.
Roscoe Golding and Jennie Blake married and gave birth to Audrey Beryl Golding.
Clyde Arthur Stewart and Audrey Beryl Golding married and gave birth to Robert Gene Stewart.
Robert Gene Stewart and Hilma Charlene Larson married and gave birth to me, Teresa Stewart. I married Kenneth Barry Sitz.
The Stewart family was very close knit until the Great Depression with strong bonds across generations and family lines. After the Depression it seems the different family lines went their separate ways. Perhaps it's natural that when great aunts and great uncles die the glue that holds a family together dissolves. I have to wonder, though, if events such as the Civil War and the Great Depression don't continue to reverberate through our families today. Different families responded to the Depression in different ways, some more successfully than others. As well as dividing the family along class lines it seems the different families drew the wagons in tighter and ever smaller circles. Some Stewart descendants with whom I've spoken have not even known the first names of their grandparents. At first I thought this might be due to some scandalous secret, but the truth has proven more mundane. Distance, divorce, and disapprobation have decayed, over time, the ties that used to bind.
It is with great pleasure that I'm able to help bring the family back together, to reconnect cousins and aunt and uncles who have not seen each other in decades. When I first began working on our family's history I envied the web sites I found where histories complete with photographs mapped entire families. I thought these must be very important people to have such complete records. What these families had, in the end, that ours didn't, was someone willing to do the leg work, make the phone calls, write the letters, visits the libraries and cemeteries and just generally make a nuisance of themselves. I am the official nuisance in our family, and just hope that the resulting work justifies all of the annoyances I've inflicted on our family.
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