Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Glorious Hard Time

A Glorious Hard Time

By John Chambless Haley MD
With Robert Ware Haley MD

Copyright January 1984

I just finished reading this fascinating book, written by one of my clients great-grandfather. I did find this reference to the book on Amazon.com:

Unknown Binding: 299 pages

Publisher: J.C. Haley and R.W. Haley (1984)
Language: English

This is a fascinating tale that actually begins with Dr. Haley's grandfather, who was born in Ireland on September 7, 1813. The tale then moves forward, wonderfully documenting the lives of individuals in the family up until 1984 when Dr. Haley printed this book. Dr. haley was 92 at the time.
I don't usually review books on this blog, instead saving them for my book review site, Library Thing, or Book Blogs. However, I am making an exception in this case.
I was given a digital copy of this book to assist in researching the Haley family by Dr. Haley's great-granddaughter. I had put off reading the text while we focused on other branches of the family . But now was the time to begin the Haley research. And still I put off the reading.
Instead, I focused on the data I could locate. It was absolutely fascinating! One could tell that there were some unusual circumstances surrounding the events that dates, times and places were unfolding to, but just what they were was  just beyond my grasp.
And then, out of curiosity, and to assuage my need for more reading material, I popped up the file and began reading the book.
I wasn't expecting to find alot that would assist me in the process of digging up the family's history. After all, my mind was telling me, what could a 92 year old man possibly have recalled clearly?
Ahhh, but then the mind is not always as sharp a tool for recognizing the ability in others, especially the aged, as we would like to think it is! [Well, not mine at least! And I even spent 13-years as a geriatric nurse specialist!]
Dr. John Chambless Haley, at ninety-years of age, had a sharper mind than many twenty-year-olds! He was recalling events in great detail, and clarity, that seemed to fill out the story as I had uncovered the facts so far.
Names and dates that I had found, suddenly came to life! Individuals whom I had found "interesting" suddenly took on bone, sinew and flesh. I could see them in my minds eye as I was reading about the very facts and details I had uncovered!!!
Dr. Haley's family, once quite influential, went through the great reformation of the South, following the Civil War. With his father a key player in the family at that time, Dr. Haley was able to give great detail to their downfall.
Then several years later, he and his brother and their respective family's, began to literally pull themselves up, from the dusty, dirt farms they owned on the Texas prairies, to men of great accomplishment and distinction.
I count it a privilege to have been able to read this account, and now have it permanently in my files. I count it a great honor to be working on the genealogy research of such as this.
What a wonderful confirmation to those who support recording family histories. I am immediately reminded of Dr. Bill [William L.] Smith's book, 13 Ways To Tell Your Ancestors Stories, and his efforts to build a group that will insure that our nation's family stories are told to future geneations [see this group on Facebook]. Be watching for a guest appearance by Dr. Bill right here tomorrow!!!
When we are able to record our family stories, we are able to give "life" to those simple dates and names, the facts, that we uncover otherwise.
How marvellous it's been to me to actually see this family's history come to life in these pages!
If you aren't already writing your family history in narrative, I encourage you to do so. I have been procrastinating much too long on this, and I am filled with new vigor to begin this task!
Let's all make that a priority in our lives for 2010. If it seems too daunting of a task to take on the whole family, then let's at least write our own narrative, the story of our own lives, for our children and future generations.
I'm starting today. How about you?

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