Relatively Speaking: If You Can?›ƒ?ªƒ?›t Have Robert Try John

Relatively Speaking is a throwback to another time in the world of genealogy. These are anecdotal stories to inspire those who search for their ancestors. Although, many of these stories are from before the world of computers and certainly the age of the internet, I believe that all of us have benefited from serendipity in our research.

If You Can?›ƒ?ªƒ?›t Have Robert, Try John

In our family we never say “if at first you don?›ƒ?ªƒ?›t succeed ?›ƒ?ª??” We say “If you can?›ƒ?ªƒ?›t have Robert, Try John” ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? a wry tribute to my indomitable grandmother.

Grandmother decided to join the DAR, established her Revolutionary ancestry, and was accepted. Next she decided her daughter should join ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? on grandfather?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s ancestry, thus having two lines.

Family tradition related the valor of Robert Buchanan, and his Revolutionary War sword was a family heirloom. Grandmother filed mother?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s application based on his record. The reply was stunning: “We regret to inform you that Robert Buchanan died as a British prisoner without ever having been married.”

“Well, the least said about that ancestor the better,” mother said. “Ridiculous,” snapped grandmother. “There?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s some mistake. Your ancestor had to be married.”

With that she set to work again. Carefully documenting each generation, she went back ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? not to Robert Buchanan, but to his brother, John, who had also fought. There had indeed been a mistake, but grandmother?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s painstaking efforts cleared it up, and mother was accepted by the DAR.

Grandmother?›ƒ?ªƒ?›s persistence and tenacity left its mark ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? even to the third generation ?›ƒ?ªƒ?? for her great grandchildren still quip “If you can?›ƒ?ªƒ?›t have Robert, try John.”


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