Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Over the past few years the internet has connected me with family that I didn't know about as it has with many others doing their family history research.
The most surprising came about 7 years ago when I was contacted by someone who saw my inquiry on a website regarding my Haynes family. My great-grandmother was Annie Haynes Fultz who passed away when I was 12 years old and I already knew quite a bit about her and her siblings, but not much about her parents and nothing at all about her grandfather (still trying to find out more about him!). Well, this person said we were related because her grandfather was Annie's brother. I said I'm sorry you must have the wrong Willis Haynes because Annie only had one brother and that was not your grandfather. I even have Annie's handwritten paper which lists her parents and siblings with their birth dates and he is not on there, and I have never heard his name before. He was not in the obituary or will, either. She was surprised that I didn't know of him and even provided me with his death certificate listing Willis and Margaret Haynes as his parents! I immediately called my dad (Annie's grandson) who also had no idea this person existed! Unfortunately, Annie's son (my grandfather) had died three years earlier and I really wish I had known about this when he was still alive so I could ask him. The person (the granddaughter) told me that Willis had an illegitimate child and brought him home to raise as his son. Willis died the following year and all of his children other than this son were already grown, so the son and Willis' wife moved in with their daughter and her husband. I have learned from other family members that there was a rumor that the child was actually the "out of wedlock" child of one of Willis' daughters, but it was 1906 and it was kept secret and he took the child in as his and his wife's. The child and Willis' wife did move in with that daughter after Willis' death. Perhaps I'll never learn the truth, but that was the BIGGEST surprise I've learned so far!