Kristin Luce, June 2014
My brother once remarked that I preferred the dead members of the family tree to those still living, and at the time, he was correct. I was happier spending time squinting at barely legible census records than visiting with grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, or even my brother.
But recently it dawned on me that I probably wouldn’t want to spend much time with my dead relatives, if they were alive. As much as I’m hoping to find free-thinking foremothers, fun-loving forefathers — or even just a Democrat — most of the relatives I’ve been researching were probably boring. Farmers. Farmers’ wives. A spinster here, a tax collector there. They’re prohibitionists. They work hard, and most of their fun is centered around church socials. They’d make me feel guilty about not seeing them more, not calling them, not writing them, just like the ones I already have.
And then I stumbled upon Alice Martin Bishop. To get to her, I had to climb up a third cousin’s tree, but I think her research and sources are sound, even though I have yet to do the legwork. I did some googling, and landed on this fascinating blog, researched and written by a much more distant cousin, Erin Taylor. I posted one innocent comment and the next thing I knew, I was wheedled into the launch of AliceMartinBishop 2.0, exchanging numerous texts, emails, and phone calls with the person who is now my favorite relative.
But I have a LOT of catching up to do. Like Miranda in The Tempest, who, upon spotting her first colonist (circa 1609) exclaims: