Sunday, August 21, 2011

Clearing the Air


I’ll always remember the day I stood in the Wardlow Cemetery, looking at my great-grandfather Hite Ballein’s grave and telling my parents that if I would ever do any family history research, I would like to research the Ballein family.  At that time, I was most interested in the Ballein family for a couple of reasons.  First, I bear a resemblance to my grandmother, Jennie Esther Ballein, who died when I was a toddler and whom I don’t remember.  Second, I was intrigued with the unusual Ballein surname, as well as the name Hite. 
Of course, I did begin researching my family history, starting with my paternal grandmother’s branch of the family, which includes the Balleins.  I then branched out to the other side of my dad’s family and later to my mom’s family also.  Along the way I have met a lot of distant relatives with whom I have shared information and am always excited when I meet a “new” relative.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had much success with the family that inspired me to start this journey, the Balleins.   Although I have corresponded with a couple of descendants of the siblings of my great-grandfather Hite, I have struck out with the descendants of Hite’s children, my grandmother’s siblings.  I have tried to write to a couple of my dad’s cousins with no response.  There have been other situations when I have made contact with Ballein relatives who initially seemed quite interested in sharing information, but from whom I never heard again.  I couldn’t help but wonder why this happens, when most people I contact or who contact me are happy to share information.
I know there are a lot of reasons they might not have responded.  They might not trust me, be interested in their family history, or have any information to share.  Maybe they didn’t have time to respond, had difficulies in their lives, or didn’t want to go to any trouble for someone they didn’t know. 

I suspect, though, that it could be related to events following the death of my grand uncle Oscar Ballein.  I won’t go into any details - I don’t know most of the details.  However, there is one thing I can state with no hesitation or doubt.  Neither my father Russell Lee Davis nor I had anything to do with what transpired.
My dad spoke kindly of his mother’s family, his grandparents, aunt and uncles, and cousins.  Like all families, this family has a story needs to be preserved and shared.   There is so much more I need to know.  I would also love to have at least one photograph of Hite Ballein – I suspect there has to be one somewhere.  I hope that someday a Ballein family member will find this post and contact me through the Post a Comment section on this blog so we can share information. 

I feel that those of us in possession of family photographs, documents, and bibles are not owners of these items, but only caretakers.   I look forward to meeting a lot more distant relatives in the future and sharing photos, information, and family stories with them.  And maybe, just maybe, one of them will be a Ballein. 
I would like to end by stating that the purpose of this post is not to complain about, blame, or embarass anyone.  My intention is simply to reach out to these family members and clear the air in the event there has been some misunderstanding in the past.  If any family members are uncomfortable about this post, please contact me through the Post a Comment section and I will remove it.  Your comment will not be visible to the public.

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