Jan 062012

Christmas is not a just day.  Instead, it is a 12 day celebration that begins (in some traditions) on December 25th and continues for 12 days (until January 6th).  As a reminder, we have the 12 Days of Christmas carol. 

For each of the 12 days of Christmas, I will be posting one event / person from my genealogical research that relates (sometimes in a rather convoluted way)  to the particular gift of that day in The 12 Days of Christmas.  If you wish to peruse the entire schedule, check previous posts for Days 1-6  and   Days 7 – 12.

 January 6 – Twelve Drummers Drumming   (Day 121)

12 is the number of completion, fullness, or wholeness.  In Old Town St. Charles, Missouri, each Saturday and Sunday between Thanksgiving and Christmas, there is a parade down Main Street of 50 or more storybook characters and Santas from around the world.  The parade is led by the Lewis and Clark Youth Fife and Drum Corps.  Santa and Mrs. Clause are given the honored position of riding in the horse-drawn carriage at the end of the parade.   If your genealogy were to be on parade, who would lead the parade and who would be in the horse-drawn carriage at the most honored position in the parade?

Without any hesitation or equivocation, I would have Dana Jack Bode (1920 – 2007) in the place of honor for my genealogy parade. Dana’s mother, was the sister of my paternal grandfather.  Dana is my cousin, once removed.  Over 30 years ago, Dana (“Dan”) stopped in for a visit as he was on his way from Texas to Pennsylvania.  He showed me his two genealogy notebooks — one for the Bodes and one for the Brenners.  Each notebook contained hand-drawn family group sheets, along with photos of the individuals and of various documents pertaining to their lives. I was not interested in genealogy at the time, but I knew a treasure trove when I saw one…     and this was definitely a treasure trove.   With Dana’s permission I copied all the pages in Dana’s Brenner notebook.  (I have since digitized those images.)  Because I had made copies of Dana’s files, other family members looked to me as the family historian (or, at least, the family history repository).  Periodically I would be sent pictures or documents that “someone” needed to save.  I simply put all that material in a box, thinking that I might spend time with it after I retired.  Before retirement I had begun to put data in a FamilyTreeMaker database.  I collaborated with a brother-in-law regarding my wife’s family.  And then, toward the end of 2007, as I retired I began to work in earnest on genealogical research for my family.  Since Dana’s death, his sister’s (Mary Anna and Miriam) have given me access to his Brenner notebooks (now there are 2 of them).  They have formed the foundation of my research.

Thank you, Dana, for your love of genealogy, for the research you conducted and preserved, and for planting the genealogy seeds in me.

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