I never knew my biological father, Stanley Edward Robertson, and had always thought that his father's wife was my biological grandmother. After grandma passed away, I found out that grandpa Ed Robertson was married before and that the grandmother I always knew was my step- grandmother.
This started a search for my paternal grandmother. The only name I had to go on was Evelyn and her parents names, Sol and Lulu. I looked through the marriage index at the Union County Circuit Court and found my grandfather's name listed with an Evelyn Twidwell. These records also listed Evelyn's parents names Solomon Randolph and Lulu Inez (Thomas) Twidwell. I also located the divorce papers which listed the age of Stanley at the time. After finding out the names of Evelyn's parents, I went to Eastern Oregon University looking through microfilm and found Census records which listed Evelyn with her parents. One last note about Stanley, I found out while working at the Family History Center that he had passed away. It was then that I realized that I would never get the chance to meet him or at least see him from a distance. Grandpa Ed, his father, didn't even know that he had passed away.
When we were 3 years old, mom married Loyde Wayman Knapp. Mom would always tell the story that she was surprised that dad actually married her because when we all went to Wallowa Lake, Ronna and I wouldn't stop crying the whole way up and on the ride home. Dad had 2 children from a previous marriage, Risa and Lynn. Instead of there being just the 3 of us, there were five. Growing up we would always try mom's patience. When she said no, we would keep bugging her until she said yes. All dad would have to do is say our name when we heard this we knew we were finished. It was so much easier going to dad with something because he just said yes or no. Mom, on the other hand, would say yes or no and would always give a lecture afterwards. On one occasion, I remember asking dad if I could use the Luv pickup to go into LaGrande. He, of course, said either yes or no and nothing else. This time he said yes, and I left. When I returned, mom said "ya know, that is my pickup too." Dad has been the best thing that could have ever happened to us. We are so blessed to have him in our lives and I can't imagine life without him. Dad is now 90 years old as I write this (02 Jan 2012) and he doesn't look a day over 70. Dad knows of my love for genealogy and finding out where I came from. He has been so gracious and understanding. I did Risa and Lynn's genealogy with their mother and also dad's line.
My twin sister, Ronna, and her husband went to an antique store in Joseph, Oregon and while my twin was paying for the items she purchased, her husband was looking at pictures on the wall. John, her husband had never met our Grandpa Jack, but had seen pictures of him. He looked at one picture and said to Ronna "isn't that your Grandpa Jack?" Ronna looked at the picture and she said "that isn't Grandpa, that is his parents." The owner of the antique store gave the picture to my twin. The story doesn't end there. The next day, my mother, grandmother, older sister, twin sister and myself went to Joseph to this antique store which use to be a house. Grandma looked at the house and had a shocked look on her face. We asked her what was wrong and she said "you aren't going to believe this, but that is the house that Jack's parents lived." Every time we go to the antique store after learning this, it is like going home.
My grandpa, Jack Halsey, was my rock. I remember asking him if I could have a rocking horse that he had made. Of course he said yes and afterwards grandma was so mad at grandpa for giving it to me because she wanted it. There were also times when my pickup would break down and grandpa would always come and tow me to his house. Grandpa was in Portland when he had passed away and was going to come home because there was nothing more they could do for him. Right before he took a turn for the worse, Ronna and I called him. Uncle Jeff said it was right after we had talked to him that he started going downhill. When grandpa died, I lost my best friend.
Grandma Fannie had started writing letters back in the 1960's and did find out some information, but never what she really wanted to know. Her paternal grandfather, Lemuel Rynearson, had 11 siblings and she only knew the names of 4 or 5. While at the Union County Circuit Court, I found a probate record of Abe Rynearson, one of the siblings, and on this, it listed all the names. During the time I was researching grandmas line, I asked her if she would write down everything she could remember about her life growing up. After she passed away, I got all of her genealogy and in it was an extra 3-ring binder with about 76 pages in her own handwriting. That meant more to me than anything! I was also given my great grandmother's account of coming across the Oregon Trail along with letters written in the late 1800's. I was able to find out everything my grandmother always wanted to know before she passed away.
I am so greatful to my grandmother for sharing her stories with me and helping me to turn a hobby into a passion. I know she is helping me now find what I was never able to locate when she was alive.
I love you Grandma Fannie and miss you more~