This Genealogy mystery solved has been a mixed bag…
My dad’s younger half brother, doesnt seem to want any contact with us at all. I found him, his daughter and his granddaughter, in Texas… she has, very reservedly, made contact with me, but really, mainly just to say that they they are the people I was looking for, now kindly quit looking and leave us alone…
I guess I don’t blame them, his mom left Grampa James Earl when Dad’s little brother just a baby, year old I think. Apparently James Earl had been hurting her, and she was afraid Earl would hurt the baby… so she fled Washington, ot at least Earl. My uncle didnt see hhis father again until he wasd a teenager… and then from what I understand, the contact didnt last that long. So I can see why he would be reticent…..
Anyhow, his daughter emailed me a couple times. She is a nurse in Texas, has a daughter…. so there is one living cousin, and her offspring. But they arent interested. I guess, given what I ave been learning about my grandfather, I cant blame them. Nothing good seems to have come to them from the Shumate side of their family.. why would they expect any different from me and mine? Perhaps not fair to me, but entirely sane on their part.
Now My dad had another half brother,Lavoid, they called him Sonny. Irony, that he was living in Salem, Oregon, just 60 miles North of us, for most of my childhood.
He died in the 90’s, there in Salem. We never got to meet him, obviously. He was also somewhat of a loner, not having much contact with the Shumates back home, as it were. Those I have found, dont know much about Lavoid ‘Sonny’ Shumate. Lavoid did have a son, but unfortunately, he preceded his father in death, back in the late 80’s, during the early days of the Aids Crisis.
So thus far, no family connections or reunions of any sort from my father’s half brothers on the Shumate side. Wow, that’s a mouthfull!
Now I have had some contact with my father’s half sister, Becky and her children, in California. She has 2 sons and 2 daughters, around my age. They would be my first cousins. I have had a little bit of contact with her daughters, though it is still, rather tentative.
It is kinda like little fb emoji dogs, sniffing each others butts, and circling round to keep opur own butts from being sniffed… These polarizing times arent helpful, either.
I am a firebrand, and I might be a hard pill to swallow, to some, blood relative or not. I am finding, that peraps, some of my new found relatives have the same effect on me… I may find them a bit hard to take…. But… this is family, these days… I have plenty of family members, amongst the 3 branches of my family I knew all of my life, that I cant stand to ear pontificate on much of anyting, religion, politics, proper way to fold towels,,, you know.. anything of import.
But like I said, I have heard from one of Becky’ daughters, pretty regularly on fb…. Ironically, I have less in common, at least fb wise, with Becky’s sons, at least thus far… again, we are still sniffing about, trying to figure out what the other has been eatin’.
Dad has another half sister, I think her name is Janice. Becky’s Mother, James Earl’s wife, was pregnant when she left him, but never told him. She had the child, and gave it to her sister to raise. So this woman was raised as if she were a cousin to my Shumate kin. I have yet to find out anything about her.
As I said, this as been a mixed bag, leaning toward the ani-climatic. It seems James Earl Shumate did alot of damage to his family. So did his father, Chester Earl Shumate. So much damage, they, the remaining extended family, don’t really want much to do with each other, much less with us… Again, I don’t feel that I can blame them. Still, this sure isn’t that lovey dovey long lost family reunion we keep seeing on those genealogy shows!
I am not complaining, well, not too much. I am grateful to have finally found my true last name, and the identity of my grampa. I am grateful that I can now flesh out my ancestry, and know the history and the cultures of my progenitors. But I would be lying if I said wasn’t a little disappointed. I wasn’t expecting to inherit some long lost Spanish Land Grant. But I was hoping for someone to be happy me and my amazing kids, my siblings and my nieces and nephews, found them.