google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Moment I Knew - Andrea's Story | The Armchair Genealogist

The Moment I Knew - Andrea's Story

Ophelia Bryant 1923

In a way; it’s my first year blogging coming full circle. I started my blog on May 30, 2011 and now I literally just went to my Google reader and saw your post come out 4 minutes ago and I know for sure that for the rest of my life, this genealogy thing ain’t going away. Now before this, I knew when I was child that the image of my great grandmother Ophelia Bryant meant something. What does it mean to mean something? I think it means that no matter what goes on in your life, no matter what distractions may come up and try to take you away from something that is so part of your truth, no matter what, you will come back to it. For me, it has always been that picture of my great grandmother Ophelia hanging in my grandmother’s bedroom.  That picture meant family. It meant connection. It meant I was part of something greater than myself and I had a duty to share that with others.


Mary Horton and Andrea
My grandmother, Mary Horton, was special as was so many of the sweet cast of characters I got to know as family as I was growing up. I was so blessed as a child to have 3 grandmothers. You see, my mother’s parents divorced when she was young and my grandfather Lemuel Harrison remarried and had 3 additional children. He had two from his first marriage. My step-grandmother, Vadnie Harrison, was like the cherry on top of an extremely good sundae. So much love, so much positive motivation to be passed down to my brother and I. Somewhere within me, I think I just archived the emotions, the connections and memories, somehow knowing that what I felt should be passed down to those that followed. It was too good to just keep to myself.

Lemuel Harrison and Andrea 
Then life stepped in as it always does and puts things on the back-burner. I went to college away from home. I made new friends and had many adventures. I decided to make my life in upstate NY after I graduated from college, away from those strong memorable roots that I had been blessed to be given to get my life started on the right track, as opposed to the wrong, as happened for some in my family.  I started a career. I got married and had my children. Always in the background, was that picture of Ophelia, lying quietly waiting. She knew. I don’t know how she knew, but with the simple gesture of taking a picture with her then six month old daughter in the spring of 1923, she knew she was igniting a fire.

Well I carry that fire now within me. Through my blog and the through the connections I make through it, well, that fire keeps growing. I don’t know where this is going to take me but somewhere, wherever my great grandmother is, I know she is smiling.

Meet the Storyteller - Andrea Kelleher


Andrea Kelleher is a stay at home mother of two from Johnson City, NY. Her longing to want to know more about her roots stemmed from seeing a portrait of her great grandmother that hung in her maternal grandmother’s bedroom when she was a child. She began doing her research on her family tree in July 2009. She chronicles her discoveries on her blog, “How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy  Journey.” Her roots predominantly come from eastern North Carolina with her closest ties to Carteret and Craven counties.


You may ask why the name “How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey”?  She says, “The name is a constant reminder to myself that I stand on the shoulders of all those that came before me.  All those choices, sacrifices, hard work, and struggles for survival are all part of my DNA and my spirit. I feel a connection to my ancestors and I feel a duty to share these discoveries about them.”


You can find Andrea at her blog How Did I Get Here? My Amazing Genealogy Journey and you can catch up with her on Facebook



If you would like to have your story published on the Armchair Genealogist for our feature The Moment I Knew, click Everyone Has a Story  for all the details. 


7 comments:

  1. Thanks Lynn for sharing my story :)

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  2. You are very welcome Andrea, I love the picture of Ophelia, she certainly draws me in and makes me want to know more about her.

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  3. An inspiring, truly emotionally-rich story of getting hooked on your family history. The photo of Ophelia shows a woman of dignity and beauty. These ancestral photos, taken before people took thousands of pictures with their digital cameras, stand out for the way they capture the image of how the subject wanted to be portrayed. It's always interesting to me how some of us are instantly captivated by these photos and want to know more and others often can't be bothered. A beautiful post in every way. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Again, I do enjoy your blog and thoughts :)

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  5. What a wonderful story and sentiment, Andrea. Photographs are so powerful, aren't they! Keep blogging and exploring. Who knows where this will lead you!

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  6. I really like the way you say, "I just archived the emotions, the connections and memories." That is so true to life. I've done that with several relatives in my past . . . and when I meet them again, or even just think back to them and go over memories, they are still there. Solidly there. This is a kind of meaning that goes past death. Thank you for writing this beautiful post.

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