12 Nov

I recently saw a statistic claiming less that 5% of people can name each of their 8 great grandparents.

I tested this theory using my middle child, Liam McConnell Melegari. He recently turned 18, on November 10, 2019. He has one great grandparent still alive. Liam was lucky enough to know FIVE of his great grandparents. Additionally, he has watched his mother do genealogy research his entire life. He has been dragged to graveyards, courthouses and libraries. I had faith in him. Something must have sunk in, right?

He failed miserably.

He, of course, immediately name his living 97-year-old great grandfather, Samuel Joseph. He remembered my beloved grandma Ruthie, Samuel’s wife, but could not tell me her maiden name. Ruth Marie Spore Joseph died when Liam was 10.

He remembered his paternal great grandfather Deblis “Dave” Melegari. He did not know Dave’s wife Lucille Kondrot Melegari.

I reminded him about his maternal great grandfather Elmer Jay Cathell, whom my kids always called P-Pap. I told him Elmer’s wife was Hildegarde “Marie” Peaslee.

I showed him the picture of my grandfather, Orville T. McConnell, who died when I was 16. He then remembered great grandma Gracie, who could never pronounce his name and always called him Lime. She was Grace Helen Besner. We lost her in 2007.

This exercise was very powerful for me. I spend hours documenting our history, but I am forgetting to bring it to life.

Over the next few weeks, I will focus on each of my eight great grandparents individually. Eight souls who’s blood runs through my veins. Eight souls that should not be forgotten.

First up, the short life of Louise Marie Gauthier Besner...NEXT WEEK.

In the mean time, do you know your EIGHT greats?

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