CULTURE: A Look Back at Who Came Before You

Jul 2 2014

by Kate Spears

A few months ago, I signed up for a free trial membership of At first I wasn’t sure if I would spend much time looking at it, but then it sucked me in. I loved reading all the names and other information of my grandparents’ grandparents.

There’s something about seeing historical documents (census papers, tax records, etc) with your loved ones names on them…as well as names of ancestors you’ve never met. It’s strange to think about the members of my family I never got to know.

Of course, this always causes me to spend time thinking about my family members that I did know…the ones I was close to and the ones I’m still close to.

No matter what we do in life, the people who are part of us are carried with us in every new adventure. I feel such strong ties to the people I come from…as different and diverse as they all are.

I come from people who came from Canton, North Carolina; Lovejoy, Tennessee; Denison, Texas; and a place called the ‘Bloody 8th District.’

I come from people who say ‘liberry’ instead of ‘library.’

I come from people who went to work each day in the shirt factory, the grocery store, the church pulpit, the university bursar’s office, the steel mill, and the tobacco field.

I come from people who made their beds hard and lay in them; from people who got up before the sun; from people who kept the home fires burning; from people who believed all you get out of life is what you enjoy.

I come from people who praised the Lord; from people who rebuked the devil; from people who blessed your heart; from people who wanted my life to be better and easier than theirs had been.

My life is better and easier than theirs were. And while I don’t deserve the fruits of the labor of all those folks who came before me…I sure am enjoying it. I let my trial expire, but I’m thinking about signing up again…who knows what I’ll discover this time!

What kind of people do you come from? I bet they had some stories to tell.


Kate Spears View More Blog Posts from this Author

Kate Spears is a self-proclaimed Southern belle who grew up in a tiny town near Nashville, but now calls Knoxville home. She graduated from the University of Tennessee (Big Orange Country!) with an undergraduate degree in art history and a master’s in public relations & advertising. In 2009, she started her blog, Southern Belle Simple, with the simple hope of giving herself a creative outlet. She continues to be amazed each time it leads to a new opportunity and cherishes the relationships that are formed along the way.

Kate is passionate about family history, time-honored traditions, and her Southern heritage. Her people hail from across the South, from the Lone Star State of Texas to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. She grew up spending summers on her great-grandparents’ Tennessee farm where she developed a deep appreciation and admiration for people who could coax beautiful and delicious things out of a mound of dirt. She comes from faithful men, devoted women, hard workers and wickedly good cooks.

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2 responses on “CULTURE: A Look Back at Who Came Before You

  1. cathypercefull

    Join the search on Ancestry! I get lost researching my family’s history. As a result of Ancestry and all the online records, I found my 2nd ggrandfather was a POW, having been taken prisoner at the surrender of Island 10, Civil War. He was in a prisoner exchange at Vicksburg, which fit the story my mother was told that he walked back from the war from MS. Time flies while researching. My trips to the genealogy library in Salt Lake City have been wonderful. Enjoy your search to find your family.

  2. whitneylong

    Beautiful post and tribute to your ancestors. I “come from” a similar bloodline and also benefit today from the fruits of their labor.

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