Hoover-Thompson: A Genealogical Study

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Genealogical Enterprises, 1985 - 300 pages
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Marjorie Harland Diedrich is my cousin on my mother's side. I never knew her for most of my life. However, by the time I married ( for the first time) in 1992, she was in touch with my father, James Lee Woodworth. They had discussed the fact that she had written a book about the family history, and she presented a copy of the book to me in December of 1992. At that time I was not particularly interested in the contents (geneology was not a fascination and I was well entangled with my life in the present), but I tucked it away with family photos and other things, that ultimately became more interesting to me as various members of my family passed on, leaving me the (virtual) sole survivor of my particular branch in the tree. Today, many years later, I looked through the book for a while. It is clinical, interesting in a way..obviously the result of exhaustive research and work, which I respect. Not quite exhaustive enough, however...being essentially self centered like most people, I looked up my own family and there it was: Woodworth, a few short lines on page 124. I discovered that the information about my mother and aunt is, in fact, wrong. My mother and her sister, the product of their mother's first marriage, which did not last, were adopted by her second husband when they were pre adolescents. The facinating part of that story (to me) has always been that their names were changed by their new stepfather, as part of the process. I have long wondered how that would feel, to have your name changed at the age of twelve or thirteen years old. I have known for most of my life that my mother, who I always knew as Beverly, used to go by the name of Mavis Lee when she was a young girl, and my Aunt Pat used to be called Barbara. Marjorie claims the opposite in her book: that Barbara became Beverly, and "Avis" Lee (not even the right name) became Patricia. I read this over multiple times because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I know that by now it's a very small thing...one page in an exhaustive book that probably nobody even reads any more. But when I remember my mother (who passed away in 1990), I remember that she struggled all her life with issues around her own identity; of being seen and heard in this world, of leaving her personal mark. I gradually have developed perhaps a small understanding of where that yearning came from, in part, and it makes my heart ache for her. I know that this will in no way right any wrongs or change a thing, but I felt compelled to speak about it. My takeway for all authors of books of this type: check your facts and check them again. These are not simply dates and numbers and names on a page. They are human beings and their lives. Thank you. Victoria Seares Woodworth ("Vickie", which I have always spelled, "Vicky") 

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