With the addition of nearly 200 members of the Carpenter family, the Jerry Banister family tree has now blossomed to nearly 24,000 relatives. As I sit here in viral times with little to do, genealogy work at least poses a challenge. With each name I enter, it’s a little bit or history and maybe some recognition for a long forgotten soul. I hope that someday an explorer like myself runs across my name and wonders about my life. By that time, I will have a dash between my 1951 birth date and the mystery year that inevitably  awaits. As they say, it’s what you do with that dash that defines your life. Most of my dash has already passed and I’m proud of my accomplishments. I’m just glad that in the process I’ve discovered the identities of the two people that brought me into the world.

About 5 years ago, I took my first DNA test through the 23andMe website. Sending a second sample to Ancestry.com led to the confirmed identity of my birth father via a strong genetic match with one of his daughters. It also first put me in touch with a DNA relative, Terry Grimshaw in nearby Washington state, who provided birth and census paperwork on my then presumed birth mother. (See Post #104). I had known her name of Edna Faye Banister for over thirty years, but had been unable to pinpoint her whereabouts. His information directed me to Shelbyville, Indiana when at the time I was thinking Rome, Georgia. This made more sense considering the closer proximity to Indianapolis and the Suemma Coleman adoption home that handled my case. Terry gave me the first small branch on my tree and we have since stayed in touch. I actually went up to visit him last summer, but despite our regular messages, neither of us has been able to find our common ancestor. 

I have searched both the Grimshaw and Ban(n)ister trees for the last three years, hoping to find a  connecting limb. Terry’s mother was Alta Constance Carpenter, so I’ve focused on that last name over the past three days through existing Family Search and Ancestry trees. In the process, I’ve found a couple of Carpenter marriages to the Cline or Kline family. Unfortunately, they are both huge ancestor groups  and after having already adding 300 new names cannot yet to find the link to Alta. I’ll have plenty of time today to continue this search that makes me think of some Tim Hardin lyrics credited to Bobby Darin in 1966 and other vocalists:

“If I were a carpenter
And you were a lady
Would you marry me anyway
Would you have my baby?”

“If you were a carpenter
And I were a lady
I’d marry you anyway
I’d have your baby.”

I will find my Carpenter soon!