As my wife and I approach our first wedding anniversary (!), I’ve been thinking about how my personal memories of 2016 are very different than the larger cultural narrative of 2016 as one of the worst years in history.
I will gladly take my January wedding to Melissa, purchasing our home in May, and building our life together there over the rash of celebrity deaths (RIP, Carrie Fisher) and a divisive presidential election. On the professional side, 2016 also saw the completion of my project listing Michigan Masonic deaths in the 1930’s, and at work, the Archives of Michigan continues our digitization project of Michigan naturalization records from across the state. My Perfect Year!
Back at home, within days of returning from our honeymoon, I eagerly added Melissa to my family tree software. A whole new family to discover!
For years, Melissa shared research stories of her deep ancestral ties to West Virginia and the many generations of both sides of her family that lived there. Yet I could never personally relate to her research in War of 1812 or Revolutionary War-era records and share similar compelling tales of family triumph or tragedy.
So it was a real thrill when we visited Tennant Memorial Cemetery near Jakes Run, West Virginia. Located just a few miles from her family’s farm, the cemetery is home to 8 Tennants, 7 of them being War of 1812 veterans and the other a Revolutionary War veteran. As someone with half of his family arriving here as post-1900 Polish immigrants, Melissa’s deep American roots makes me rather envious.
Melissa and I have plans to research those War of 1812 Tennant ancestors further, both at the National Archives and onsite there in the local community. Given my family’s relative close proximity in western Pennsylvania, we might be able to fit in some work with my side of the family, too. Researching our families together is something that Melissa and I each eagerly look forward to. We hope that 2017 will bring even greater joy and triumphs than My Perfect Year.