Genealogy is one of my hobbies. My husband inspired me to give it a try about ten or so years ago. I never knew that finding out about my ancestors would really give me roots, a feeling of belonging to somebody, a history that could actually be traced through many people and to many places. I am excited by finding out about the famous, infamous and the common folk that I came from. I haven't actually traced my lines to anybody who is famous yet. Someone actually traced one of my husband's lines back to being related to most of the kings and queens of Europe in the 1700's.
Something else that I found from genealogy is that with some of the stories that my aunts have shared with me is how the line of abuse has come down from one generation to the next. With that knowledge, I can see why some of the abuse was done. It was what each generation before was taught.
Some things are passed down generation to generation. One good example of this would be the value of being thrifty that was taught by the generation that lived through the Depression of the 1920's and 1930's. I see this trait in my mother-in-law who was born in 1922. Thriftiness can be a good thing especially with the economic problems that the U. S. is beginning to experience today.
One of the things that I discovered is that the abuse didn't start with my dad or grandfather. It goes all the way back to my great-grandfather. It makes me wonder how much farther back the abuse went.
My great-grandfather William Thomas Caldwell was married three times. The first wife died shortly after giving birth to a daughter. At the burial of his wife, Thomas wanted to put the baby in the coffin and bury her with her mother. The baby girl was taken and raised by a neighbor family. I wonder if that baby girl was ever told the story of her birth. How horrible that story was. The first born son of this marriage was raised by the parents of his mother.
Next Thomas Caldwell married and had five children before the second wife filed for a divorce. This was in the early 1900's before divorce was popular. With the divorce, the lady also filed for a restraining order to keep him away from her and the children. I had no idea that you could even get a restraining order that long ago. I know this because I have a copy of the divorce papers that were on file in the Magnolia Courthouse from Columbia County, Arkansas.
My great-grandmother was the last wife of Thomas Caldwell that I have found evidence of. Someone at RootsWeb.com posted that Thomas went to Texas and married a fourth time while he was still married to my great-grandmother and that he got arrested for it. I haven't been able to prove this marriage.
The story that my aunts shared with me about my great-grandparents were that they separated when my grandfather was a small boy. The reason for the separation was that Thomas had tried at least twice to poison my grandmother. When she found out about it, she kicked him out. One of the boys stayed with my great-grandmother and the other one went with Thomas. A few years later, my great-grandmother died and both boys from the marriage to Thomas lived with Thomas. Thomas was my great-grandmother's second husband. The two boys from her first marriage were raised by her parents after her death.
The last time that my grandfather saw his father was on my grandfather's wedding day. The few times that my grandfather talked about his father, he didn't have anything good to say about the man.
I hope that you understand the reason for me sharing this family history with you is to show you that abuse can be generational. If it is, it is your responsibility to not pass the abuse on to the next generation---your children. The abuse can be stopped.