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Uncovering Jane’s Life

As is my custom, this holiday season I will add a chapter to my ongoing family history project. Each year I choose an ancestral couple, write their story, and compile relevant photos. My subjects this year are my great-great grandparents Jane and Caleb Reed of Ashmore, Illinois.

Through 2015 I have worked mostly to research Jane and her family because so much was already known about Caleb. I even had the opportunity to visit Jane’s birthplace in Wayne County, Kentucky.

Towards the end of the year I thought I had uncovered all the information I could about her. Then I decided to dig into a Boyd notebook left to me by a relative who passed away earlier this year. Jane had a sister who married a Boyd.

The notebook was not about those Boyds, but it did contain a remarkable document. In 1988, Jane’s great-grandchildren through another line had compiled a lengthy family history of their own, A Wright Interesting Story by Jean Greggs Wright and Mary Jane Wright Coartney. It contained a lot of their grandmother Martha Reed Wright’s memories of Jane, stories that had not come down through my own family.

Armed with this information, I can now prepare a much more personal account of the lives of my great-great grandparents. Before my discovery, I knew just the dates and places for Jane. Now I feel like I know her a little bit.

This discovery just goes to show the importance of searching for collateral relatives. Had I not sought to look for more information on Jane’s Boyd in-laws or recognized her daughter’s married name of Wright, I would not have found this information. My own family history will be the richer for it.

2 Responses to “Uncovering Jane’s Life”

  • Stephenie L Coartney:

    Mary Jane Wright Coartney was my grandmother. I remember when she and Jean were working on “A Wright Interesting Story”. It was all compiled by hand and grandma gave each of us a copy for Christmas. I have used my copy several times for a reference myself. I was lucky enough to have the ability to speak to grandma directly before she passed in 2009 and hear the “little fun facts”.

    Stephenie L Coartney

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