Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Photo of John T. Griffin

John T. Griffin

This is a picture of my second great-grandfather, John T. Griffin. I had never seen a photo of him until I received this image last week.

Firstly, I would like to say a huge thank you to Mary, who found my blog while searching online for Griffin family history. After realizing our families were connected, she emailed me and offered to share photos of John. It was such a kind and generous thing to do, and it means more than I can explain. If you recall my previous posts about my second great-grandfather, John T. Griffin was largely unknown to my immediate family until recently. He and my second great-grandmother, Annie Dickson, were ill-matched and their marriage lasted less than a year. They divorced and Annie moved to another state. Their son, George, never met his biological father. It's very likely he never even saw a photo of him.

Looking at the images of John T. Griffin's face for the first time was emotional. It was one of those moments when I wished desperately that my grandmother was still alive. She would have loved this. She was quite curious about the Griffins and always wanted to know more about John. I also thought of George, my great-grandfather, who never knew his father. How would he have felt, seeing a photo of John? I stared hard at the picture, trying to find some resemblance to George. Maybe there are some similarities in the nose? It's hard to tell. George looked very much like his mother.

George Roscoe Oliver Rutherfurd (formerly George Griffin)

These photos bring full circle a journey that started many decades ago, when Annie Dickson whispered to her granddaughter, my grandmother LaVerne, that George had a different father than his brothers. My grandmother researched the Griffins for many years, and eventually passed the quest along to me. Looking at the images of John T. Griffin connected me, once again, to my ancestors, and the story that started in 1893, when John and Annie met in Detroit. John never knew his son, George, or his granddaughter, LaVerne. He would never get to meet his five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and (currently) two great-great-grandchildren. But we all exist because of him.

John Griffin at age 88 with his third wife, Lizzie, and three of his great-grandchildren, Harry, Kennetha and Jessie Opel.

On another note, I will be speaking to my local genealogy society later this year about writing a family history blog. This story will be one that I use as a prime example of why you should write a blog, and why you should make it public. Mary would never have found me if not for this blog. I would not be looking at photos of my second great-grandfather if this blog was not public. Time and time again, this blog has connected me with family members I would otherwise never have met, and I'm so grateful to have had those conversations. When you share your stories, good things happen.

Thank you, Mary. I am so appreciative.