Dedication: Gloria McGrew Thomas

I want to dedicate my blog to my great-aunt, Gloria Marie (McGrew) Thomas who was my mentor, guide, and partner in crime, but most of all, my best friend. If not for her, much of the genealogy on my McGraw / McGrew lineage would be lost. In the beginning – make that the early 1990’s – I was unwilling to participate in genealogical research. You could say she “dragged me into it kicking and screaming” but that wouldn’t be accurate: I was simply reluctant. Aunt Glor persevered. After a few trips together to the Putnam County Courthouse and the WV Archives Library, I ventured out on my own to the courthouses in Fayette, Greenbrier, and Monroe Counties in West Virginia as well as the Greene County Library in Xenia, Ohio (between the college I attended in Dayton and home in Springfield).

From that time forward, I was hooked. I’d “caught the genealogy bug,” or so she called it and we shared everything that we learned with one another. Sharing was done mostly through the postal service back then. I was hesitant to share my genealogy with others because of the assumptions I made and lack of documentation, a point on which we often disagreed. I would share with her but Glor was not hesitant at all. Right or wrong, I see evidence of the early work in others’ family trees. What you need to understand is that documents were not as readily available back then as they are today and there was certainly no “online databases” to troll through: It was drive real far and troll through records at the courthouses or books at the library. But Glor had one-upmanship: she knew her aunts and cousins, stayed in contact with them, and recorded every story of every memory they shared with her: First-hand knowledge. Glor was an extrovert, a people person and that got her a lot of information that I would never have known.

It is my Aunt Glor who gets the praise and the accolades for taking this path and encouraging me to come with her. If not for her I don’t know that I’d have taken any interest in genealogy let alone become consumed with it. There are times when I make a new discovery – more like ironing out a wrinkle or (less frequently) busting through a brick wall – that I want to pick up the phone and call her, and tell her all about it before I burst. She would be as excited as me. I loved her dearly, love her still. What I know, I know because she started it.

If you learn anything in any of these McGrew / McGraw blog posts, you have my Aunt Glor to thank for that.

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