Sunday, March 10, 2013


Oatmeal Cemetery**

“The choices that we make in life are not unique to us. They are a distillation of all that has come before us. The more we become aware of our ancestral lineage, the more freedom we will have to honor what is best and let go of the rest.” Denise Linn, Descendants

We are who we are today, in part because of those who have gone before us.  It amazes me that as I find more and more information about my family's past, the more I understand myself and my brothers. Our ancestors are the foundation upon which our lives rest.

Recently in Texas, I found family I never knew existed, which was exciting and enlightening. They came from the Dallas area, Houston area and locally in Burnet and Oatmeal (yes there is actually a place with this name) to meet me. There were seven of us, and for the most part we had never met before, yet with all of us there was an immediate connection. Even my god-daughter and two Oblate friends who were with me felt the bond. One day was not enough time to cram many lifetimes into it, but we managed to accomplish much, plotting future studies and meetings.

Amzy & I doing research
My cousin, Amzy, was able to get Fort Croghan open for the day and many came to help us: the director, the genealogist, the director's husband who gave us the tour, and even the man who owned the rifle which killed our great great grandfather. In 1849 Fort Croghan was the third of the first four forts established by the United States government to protect settlers from hostile Indians along the Texas frontier.  In this fort there are hundreds of documents from as far back as the 1850s of our family life:  everything from land deeds, census records and receipts from daily work and life.  Cousin Mark will scan the most important documents and send to all of us.

Some of the most important information we can gather to help us understand our ancestors’ lives isn’t directly related to them. Instead, we must take a broader look at the time and place in which they lived. As much information as I can find about both sides of my grandfather's family, there are still gaps.
Cousin Mark, Ft. Croghan, Burnet Texas

The small county of Burnet has an amazing amount of historical and genealogical research which has been put into two huge volumes where we can put together the history of our own family.  For example, I, who have always prided myself a Yankee, found that my grandfather's family fought on the Confederate side of the Civil War, owned slaves and originally came from the South.  We can also trace his family back to this country in the early 1700s. Some came from Germany, others Scotland and Ireland.

My Great Great Grandparents (Roundtrees)

It is amazing to think that my own grandfather (maternal) grew up in such a beautiful part of Texas.  This hill country with many lakes, is nothing like the rest of the state, and, when we were there the weather was more like our islands in winter.

I believe that our ancestors love and watch over us still, and want to be involved in our daily lives. Through remembrance, we give life back to those who gave us life. I found information about the Roundtrees (none of my family that day were from this line) who came to this country before the American Revolution (some fighting on the English side).

Oatmeal Cemetery
**  My great, great grandparents donated the land for the Oatmeal cemetery & school, though they are buried in Burnet, 4 miles away.

Fairland Cemetery where my Great grandparents are buried
and area where my Grandfather grew up

We die with the dying:
See, they depart, and we go with them.
We are born with the dead:
See, they return, and bring us with them.

T. S. Elliot, "Four Quartets"

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