213 Questions Without Answers

One of those idle moments…no purpose to it really. Every once in awhile I dabble. It’s one of those ‘Brick wall? What Brick Wall?” things that make you laugh and cry all at once. A rare bit of random flotsam floating in the world that for some reason makes itself known to a methodical, experienced and determined genealogical researcher as an elfish bit of whimsy. Oh sure…I used all of the educated strategy that is now part of my wiring and NADA. ZILCH. GOOSE EGG. So I marked my place…Elizabeth Austin Williams, wife of Isaac…and most likely my maternal 4th great grandparents. I just based that on the fact that Elizabeth is buried in Christian Cemetery in Enfield, New York. The cemetery is just down the road from the home of Dr. Parvis Austin Williams…my 3rd great grandfather. A modest assumption…but a good place to start.

Old Doc Williams has been such a serious challenge for me. The Williams name in the Ithaca area is a common one, but you would think with the moniker Parvis Austin that it would be a walk in the park to find something. But my grandfather fancied his initials and P.A. Williams put me pretty much back to square one. His wife, Lorinda SMITH Williams, on the other hand was a tiptoe through the tulips.

So P.A. Williams, M.D., coroner of Tompkins County…deliverer of so many babies that bore the name Parvis that the county was an embarrassment of Parvis boys…PARVIS…New York State Assemblyman and charter member of the New York State Medical Society…I find all these things about your life…wonderful things and I have NO idea where you came from. Like you were dropped out the clear blue skies of central New York to that lovely spot above Cayuga Lake. Perhaps there IS something to alien visitation.

I had this carefully constructed family of his…based on odd bits cobbled together that seemed to make sense, but definitely flimsy fancy. It assumed his parents…Elizabeth Austin and Isaac Williams to start with…and cherry picking some attractive options of Williams siblings that lived nearby. And one possible brother…Oliver. Possible. Assumption. And perhaps some day I might dig in and prove my assumption. Lots of coffee…burning the midnight oil kind of research.

Well, all of that work ethic romantic notion took a hike tonight when I dabbled…anything new out there, Parvis? You can infer a snarkiness…I had asked that question so many times over the years and CRICKETS. It’s so easy to be bitter.

Except my grandfather’s voice echoed out of the cyber void…outer space, if you will, and pretty much told me…”HERE! Now stop fussing and get on with it.” His brother, Oliver, reached out and handed me a path to their parents, Isaac and Elizabeth Austin Williams through the Williams family bible that belonged to him and his wife, Rachel Swift. And a pamphlet given to him by his brother, Parvis Austin Williams…!

The Christian Faith: 213 Questions Without Answers”, published in London.

It begins…

1.Be ready to give an answer-be prepared. 2. Be ready ALWAYS-do not put off a Question.

I guess my grandfather had enough of my questions…and I have my answer.

Deborah Martin-Plugh

Author, Historian and Genealogical Researcher

(c) Copyright 2012.  All Rights Reserved

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