Digging Your Roots In Sunny Cal

(08/30/2003)

Dear Bob,

We are indeed very fortunate to have the resources we do. "We" meaning the genealogists and history buffs that aren't able to travel to WV, and those that do travel the many miles to be able to further our research and to help others with theirs.

All the resources you mentioned in the article are among the top three that I have used for many years. Linda has one of the most comprehensive web sites I've seen for genealogy research, and I've seen more than a few! Norma's web site is great, too, and I read the Hur Herald every morning with my coffee.

The Herald has not only been an asset to my own research as I've met many cousins I didn't know I had through the website, but the history, photos, and up to date news keep me in touch with what is current in the area and has taught me much about what was current when my kinfolk, long since gone, walked the paths of Calhoun county. My heartfelt thanks to you, Linda and Norma for all you've done for the genealogists and historians that can't go home.

The ladies at the library and the folks at the courthouse have always been so very helpful. Calhoun county researchers are very fortunate to have all these resources.

I've been doing my family research for over 10 years but it's only been the last 6, going on 7 years, that I have been able to travel to Calhoun county and I make the trip several times a year. Most of my family still live on both sides of the Ohio (and a few are still on the banks of the LK).

We moved to California when I was a small child. I lived there until I was in my 40s. All my life I yearned to go home. I couldn't have explained that to you as I was growing up. It was only after I moved to Tennessee and was able to go home that I began to feel that a part of me had been returned, and understood that for what it was. The moment we cross the VA/WV state line, I feel the excitement and the serenity that going home gives to me.

As I said, I've been doing my own family research for over 10 years. Since moving closer to home, I've been able to further that and to give back to those that have helped me over the last 10 years. What started out as simply a place on the web to store and protect my own family photos soon became a website dedicated to helping those who aren't able to get home.

My own web site, "Calhoun, Roane, Braxton & Clay Co., WV Tombstones" now boast 435 members (many of whom come to the site every day), 16,972 posts and close to 9,000 tombstone photos from the counties mentioned in the site name. No, it's not a "conventional" website, where one simply goes and gathers information that has been posted by the owner of the site, but rather, is one that allows interactivity among its members.

I can't tell you the number of folks who have met new cousins and found information they might not have found for many years, if at all, because of the interaction allowed. We share so much and have built relationships we might not have been able to, without the interaction. It is a 'by invitation only web site' and open to anyone who has an interest in the documentation of the death of their ancestors.

We also have a sister site now where the history of the people and the places is our primary focus. Launched only a couple of months ago, the 'Calhoun, Roane & Wirt County WV Cousin Connection' has 115 members with new members being added weekly. I hope you will inform your readers of these sites as well because they are truly a wonderful resource for Calhoun co. researchers. Anyone desiring an invitation to these sites can get a sneak preview at The Tombstone Site and contact me via the e-mail link there. (or simply contact me at molli2@myfamily.com)

My heartfelt appreciation to all who have contributed so much to Calhoun county researchers. I'm proud to be a part of it all.

Charlene Sampson-Ramel