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Roots: Aunt Lura’s Story Inspired A Modern-Day Genealogist May 3, 2013

By Pennee Murphree, Guest Blogger for Julie’s Fresh Air
A few of my friends have asked me how I got started on my genealogy research.

 

It was my 100-year old and lovable Aunt Lura.

 

My great Aunt Lura (Andrew) Peacock was born in 1895. She lived in Jefferson, Iowa and was turning 100 years old in 1995 so Julie and I decided to fly into Des Moines, rent a car and drive over to visit her. It’s not everyday you can talk to someone who is 100 years old.

 

 It was delightful. She was spry and humorous. She kept saying, “I’m in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in.”

 

Then she insisted we go out and visit the Highland Township Cemetery near Churdan, Iowa, where my dad was born, so she could show us around. And take us around she did. We walked the entire cemetery with camera in hand and she knew everyone buried there, most of who were related to us. There were many Andrew, Hill, Howard and Flack family members resting there.

 

When we got back to her house she dug out family pictures and an extensive genealogy she had done herself. We quizzed her about the Howard side of the family and she filled me in on a lot but at a certain point she said, “Well, that’s all I’m going to say about that.”  

 

Aunt Lura lived to be 106 years old. Pat and I went to visit her the year before she passed away and she took us out to the cemetery once again. Of course. by now we were in the new millennium so she pointed out to us that they would have to change the inscription on her tombstone from 1895 -19?? to 1895 – 200?. She lived in three different centuries.

 

Aunt Lura wore a medical alert necklace and she said to us, “This thing has sure saved my bacon a few times.” Seems she was opening her window and got her hand caught and could not get it out. She used her medical alert to call for help and was worried the firemen would not be able to get in. However, the lock on the door was just a little hook and eye. You could give it an easy jerk and it would open. Anyway they rescued her and she was very sorry to have bothered them.

 

She also wrote poetry and worked as a volunteer at the Jefferson hospital into her nineties.

 

I could not resist organizing all the information Aunt Lura gave me so I purchased a family tree computer program. From then on the information just kept adding up like a puzzle, family member after family member.

 

I have some very interesting relatives. So that is how it all started.

 

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