Several Branches Short of a Full Tree

A Genealogy & Family Tree Blog

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Garrison Smith Welch

Whether you descend from one of these surnames or are just interested in genealogical adventures and stories of discovery, welcome!

A “Step” Closer


TOSSING. TURNING. SLEEPLESS. It’s hard to sleep when Grandpa is talking to you. And my grandfather had been dead for 13 years....

Over and over again, I kept hearing him say, “Call them. Call the Carver family.” The Carvers? Why? I’d met them only a few times in childhood. And then it struck me: Of course! They would know a lot about my grandpa. For my family story, they would have tons of clues!

You see, after my paternal grandmother died in 1972, my grandfather married again... to Ethel (Hahn) Carver, who had grown-up children of her own. So, Grandpa was technically their step-dad. What’s more, he was “Grandpa” to their children! In fact, because they lived next door to Grandpa (whereas I’d lived a state away), they would have known Grandpa better than I did. But how do I contact the Carver family?

First thing in the morning, I went to the Internet to find a phone number. Bingo! But wait... this was an obituary. Grandpa’s step-son, Terry Carver, had died just the previous week!

Last I’d heard from my grandfather, he’d “said” that I'd needed to understand my family history and heritage. That was when my genealogy research boomed with breakthrough discoveries. I telephoned my step-cousin to wish him and his family well during this chapter of their lives.

As few as they are, all my memories of “Mr. Carver” are ones of fun, in-the-moment presence, smiles, and a dad who seriously loved his family. As small as my family is (my dad had no siblings), I'm so happy to learn that someone else out there called my grandfather "grandpa," too. He's the only grandfather I ever knew, although I hardly got to know him, because we lived so far away–a sad truth I wish I could change. I was his only grandson by blood, but as good a man and family as the Carvers are, I’m glad that my grandfather got to hear the word “Grandpa” from them.