The ground work for all of my research was laid by my aunt Carolyn "Adrene." She started many years ago while she was living in Atlanta. It was easier for her to visit courthouses in Tennessee and interview relatives living nearby.
When I caught the genealogy bug, I would call her with any theory or breakthrough. We would discuss our findings for hours like true "genie" geeks. Sadly, my aunt passed away four years ago. All of her documents, all her photos, all of her findings were passed on to me. And even though I immediately poured over the treasured inheritance, I am finding out that I missed things.
I missed things like the pages torn from the family bible. I didn't realize they were the originals until this year. I missed that my grandmother had another brother, a name I never heard of. He died young and in between censuses. As mentioned before, I missed that my great great great grandmother Amy was supposedly full blooded Cherokee. When I asked Adrene before, she told me it was another of my great grandmothers.
But what I miss most is my aunt Adrene. She was only two years older than me, the youngest of my mother's 11 siblings. We were more like sisters than aunt and niece. When we were growing up she was my confidante and my mentor. We lost touch as our lives went in different directions. Through our love for genealogy, we had connected again until death disconnected us. All I can do now is wonder what Adrene would have said about this or that.