T'was the night before Christmas....a Genealogy Tale
T'was the night before Christmas, her fingers tapping away
Typing piles of genealogy long into the dawn of the day.
Where's Ruth, George, Sally, Michael, Bill and Jean?
Putting families in order from bits that she gleaned.
Who is Marshall Ney Sterling? She never learned for sure
And, after years of search, his name carried much allure.
Joshua Alpheus's relatives each carried one part of his name
One Joshua, one Alpheus - why couldn't they be the same?
In the glow of computer light, her eyes worn and dreary
If she'd ever find her ancestors, of this she grew weary.
She'd whisper their names sometimes late at night
As though they'd answer and save her from this plight.
But no one answered -- she'd listened quite well you see
It was as though all wanted her to just leave them be!
"Oh Santa!" she thought, "If I could just figure it out,
I'd jump high from my chair, clap, scream and shout!"
She closed the file on the crumbling newspaper stack
Too many names, dates, and spouses she lacked.
She punched the OFF switch - rather too hard --
As she wondered if a misspelled name was just a fraud?
She thought of everyone often, before drifting off to sleep
Said a prayer to the heavens about secrets ancestors keep.
Once in awhile, a face from ago slipped into her dreams
Grandma wanted to tell her the family's story, it seemed.
But come light of day, the faces and stories all disappeared.
She was left with clues she'd never figure out, she feared.
This night was different...the faces and features oh so clear
As Grandma told story after story--oh my, was she a dear!
Awakening on Christmas, she wondered, "Am I insane?
"To be chasing my ancestors down every street and lane!"
She shook her head silently, vowing to just "Give it up!"
And went down the stairs to find the nearest coffee cup.
When what to her wonderment, familiar persons circled her tree
She couldn't get over how "they all look a little like -- ME!"
Her Grandma stepped forward, a Bible in her wrinkled palms
"I think you need this, it's got our names near the psalms."
The elated researcher was beside herself with glee
"All my ancestors heard and came looking for me!"
Dropping her head, she quickly searched the Bible's pages...
When she looked up, her family had slipped into the ages.
The star at the treetop twinkled, reflecting the many lights
While tears flowed as she remembered having this sight...
"Oh Santa, this was the best gift I've ever gotten, I swear!
"To have my sought-for ancestors standing right there!"
Standing silent she remembered her promise from before--
And leaping up and down, clapping, she gave a hearty roar!!
"Yes! Yes! I just knew I was chosen to trace our roots
And the "find" of this bible has me kicking up my boots!
Thank you Santa and Thank you God!
Thank you Grandma!
And... Thank you to all of my big extended family,
present and distant past,
who all trust me to unravel their lives, secrets,
and to tell their stories at last.
Merry Christmas--- and may you have a "visitation" in your Christmas dreams!
Permission granted to reprint "T'was the night before Christmas....a Genealogy Tale," by Judy Florian as long as this complete statement remains with the poem. Ms. Florian can be reached at: cageycat "at" gmail.com. Show love to someone on a holiday!