Saturday, February 19, 2011

Reach Out You Will Be Glad You Did

How many of you have someone in your family you never knew but always wanted to?  Reach out you will be glad you did!

It has been 11 years since someone  reached out to me and my sister and changed our lives and theirs and their families forever - and in memory of that someone my older sister Margaret  I would like to share that story with you!


 By Sheila Patterson

Reprinted from the Owsley Newsletter Dec 2010.

Some of you may have been there at the Owsley Family Historical Society's summer meeting when Milancie Adams told what had to be the most heart warming find I'd ever heard.  She writes "one day a family history message board contacted me as they often did with a request from someone looking for help in their quest.  But this time the message turned out to be for me!

Looking for Milancie or Carolyn Adams father Eugene J. Adams

Replies: 1
Margaret Adams Menefee  (View posts)  Posted:  21 April 2000 1:59 PM GMT

Looking for half-sisters Milancie and Carolyn Adams.  Father Eugene J. Adams
Mother Edna.  Lived in Charlotte, NC, and Ormond Beach, FL. 
Approx. age early 50's. 
Please email any info to

So after falling off my chair, I answered:

Half-sister Margaret Adams Menefee1

Milancie Adams  Posted:  8 Jul 2000 5:47 AM

You found me!

Milancie had written "Somewhere in time I had a dream I was in a family as a child and my family was not just four women.  There was a father and I had an older brother and sister.  Having all three of those was actually true, but we just did not live together or even know each other.  My mother had met and married a divorced older man while she was living with her parents outside Chicago.  Gene was a VP for American Cyanamid, a highly decorated war army officer, and a true southerner.  His first marriage had yielded a son and a daughter.  His marriage to mother yielded my younger sister and me. 

My mother was a combination of New England and Midwestern heritage and from very well educated women who spoke their mind.   The marriage was that of opposites and doomed.  Mother once said she just did not know how to be window dressing!  
Women in my family just did not know their place, or maybe they did and only a New Englander like Grandfather Fred knew how to play the game. 

The four of us, my grandmother, my mother, my sister and I ended up living in a large rambling house over looking the river in the early 50's in a small Florida beach village."  (Note:  the house is an historic, large craftsman bungalow built in 1903.  It's still there in Ormond Beach, Florida, and is on the National Register of Historic Places--sp.) 

"Growing up I knew my older brother and sister existed, but my grandmother and mother kept us sheltered from all of the Adams.  So we grew up with little or no contact with our father and certainly no contact with cousins, siblings, aunts/uncles, or grandparents.  Mother dated, but never remarried, and Grandfather Fred died before I was born."

Milancie continues, "Many years advanced.  The father, mother and grandmother soon left the two girls alone.  Growing up we were told many wonderful stories of the Owsleys and the Hills and met many of our maternal line who would come to visit."  "Being a history major, genealogy came naturally to me, but I never glimpsed even at my
paternal lines."

What a story!  Milancie subsequently found out that her sister, Margaret, had come to visit when Milancie was about two and Margaret about seventeen.  Margaret was the only one of the four children to have felt she knew their father--as Eugene Adams
lived with his first family only until the brother was born.  Milancie's mother left her father when Milancie was three and Caroline a baby.  But even before that my only vivid memories were  the very long visits we spent with my grandmother in Ormond Beach.  The Adams grandparents came to visit once, but north and south didn't work out well together.

Once Margaret found her, Milancie went to meet her large family.  They happily met at holidays and were always in touch.  Sadly, Margaret died just five years after she found Milancie.  Milancie's older brother lives in Delaware where he and his friends constructed a large log house which is his home.  And Milancie at last knows her large Adams family.

As most of you know, Milancie Adams is the long time editor of the Owsley Family Historical Society's award winning Newsletter.  She descends in the Owsley family from Harry Bryan Owsley's (author of The Owsley Family in England and America, 1635-1890.  Chicago:  1890) twin brother, Heaton, through her grandmother, who was an Owsley.  Milancie has contributed many articles on her Owsley line to the Newsletter.  Before assuming the editorship, she often gave illustrated talks on how to do genealogy online at summer meetings.  That got me started online!

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