David's Reformed Church Congregation

David's Reformed Church Congregation
Congregation of David's Reformed Church, Montgomery Co, Ohio, Circa, 1900

Monday, September 20, 2010

Mystery Monday - Who in the World Was Leland?

My Grandfather, Leland Vincent Norris


My grandfather's name was Leland Vincent Norris.  I never thought too much about his name until I began my digging into my family roots.   It didn't take too long to discover that the Vincent in the name was in honor of is uncle, Vincent Norris, who had been born in Frederick County, Maryland, and who came to Montgomery County, Ohio along with his brother, Harry.  Both brothers married ladies whose families owned farms; one in Van Buren Township in Montgomery County and the other in Beavercreek Township, Greene County, although they were actually only just a couple of miles away from each other.  After marrying into these farming families, the Norris brothers moved onto those properties and lived and worked with their in-laws.
As I looked a little further into the family history, I could not locate any of my grandfather's ancestors who shared the name "Leland" with him.  After finding no leads in either the Norris or Routsong families, I decided that my great grandparents may have simply chosen the name because they liked it.  I kept that opinion until I made another discovery.
I had always known that my grandfather's cousin, Dwight Barnes, middle initial was "L", but it wasn't until I found his World War II draft registration form that I discovered his middle name was "Leland".  I feel like it's too much of a coincidence that these two shared the name of "Leland" without there being some type of significance to it.  Who was the original "Leland" and why would the two Routsong sisters feel strongly enough about him to name their sons after him?  It is a mystery that continues to confound me!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday - "Remember Your Name"

My daddy, Estel Shoemaker, Jr. in his senior portrait.

On my father's 60th birthday, we gave him a surprise birthday party.  In fact, it ended up being more like a "roast" when just about everyone present stood up and told a funny or embarrassing story about him. During my brother's segment of the evening, he relayed a message that my father had always reminded him during his childhood. The statement was "always remember your name".  When he first said it, people laughed because it does sound like a joke.  But, my father meant it in a deeper context, because the sentence goes on, "Always remember your name, because there are those who share it with you".
His meaning to us was very clear. We were never to do anything to bring shame to ourselves or to our family.
I've thought about those words many times. In this day and age, when everyone seems to be thinking, "I'll do what I want. It's MY life and I am the only one who has to live with the consequences", it's interesting to ponder how life would be different if more people would think about how their actions affect their family members well-being and reputations before they act.  I realize there are many that might not care, but I think that my ancestors probably thought quite a bit about how their actions reflected upon their loved ones.  I know I have never wanted to bring any negative attention to my family, and although I may not have always lived up to my intentions I continue to hear my father's voice repeating, "Always remember your name".