As far back as I can recall, I have always been captivated by stories about real people. As an adult, I naturally gravitated towards genealogy. Over the course of the past year, I’ve ventured into personal history writing. What I found to be true in my quest to understand my family history is that we all have a personal history to tell.
The proof of our existence can be found in the documentation we generate and keep. Personal history is about more then sharing history just to share it. It includes an individual’s thoughts and experiences along their life’s journey. Personal source materials can include, but are not limited to, photographs, newspaper stories, letters, business records, vital records, tax filings, real estate records, estate planning documents, journals, blog posts, social media posts, etc. The list could go on and on depending on the person. These resources are like puzzle pieces that come together and breathe life into people and families from the past. Of course, personal records should be preserved over time to capture a personal history. But in the case where personal papers are not preserved, there is always hope for personal history writers to find documented resources of personal value in public or private record depositories. I wanted to share this post with you to highlight the value of personal record preservation.
For the past year I have been researching Henry G. McMorran. Henry G. McMorran, as most people know, was a pioneer of Port Huron, Michigan. In my research, I have stumbled upon other pioneers and their family members who have attracted my attention. One of these individuals is Mary L. Botsford. I do not profess to be an expert on Mary and I can’t tell you that much about her. What I can tell you is she was married to John Botsford aka J.E. Botsford. The Botsfords lived on Military Street in Port Huron close to Henry McMorran around the years 1892-1895. That is all the information I have put together on Mary’s background so far. The first time Mary showed up in my research was in a newspaper article. Two observations came to mind when I read the article. I wondered why John Botsford wasn’t the one quoted as to the reason behind his family’s move to Chicago and I was struck by Mary’s forthright manner of speech. I thought to myself, “Mary certainly doesn’t beat around the bush.” The second time Mary came into my life was via deposition testimony regarding a lawsuit her husband and McMorran were involved in as plaintiffs to the action.
I won’t go into the case in this posting, but I do want to share with you a powerful affirmation that was again confirmed for me this past month. Words are life. It’s as simple as that. So write them, speak them, share them, and preserve them. “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. And last, but not least, a big shout out to Mary for showing up, captivating my attention, and tickling my heart over a hundred years after your testimony. Bravo!