The foundation of my research on my paternal ancestors comes from documents donated by my distant cousin, Renee Smith. Renee gave her information on our family, including the amazing photo of my great, great-grandmother, Temple Burton with her former owners, the Stuarts to Ray Bellande, a historian in Ocean Springs, Mississippi where our family is from. He in turn gave the documents to the McCain Library and Archives at the University of Southern Mississippi. Ever since I came across Ray’s website several years ago, I’ve been trying to find my long-lost cousin, Renee. On Good Friday she showed up – in my email box of all places. It was a Good Friday indeed.
Here’s how Renee and I are related: Renee is the great-granddaughter of Mme Tempy Stuart-Smith, a piano teacher in Ocean Springs. Her son, the late John Baptist Smith was Renee’s grandfather. John Smith passed away at the age of 93 in 2004. Tempy Stuart-Smith’s father was Alfred Burton Stuart. Alfred was the child of Tempy Burton and Col. W.R. Stuart like my great-grandmother, Josephine Burton Ford. Renee’s great, great-grandfather, Alfred and my great-grandmother, Josephine were brother and sister. That makes Renee and I third cousins, once removed. (Don’t think for a minute I figured that out on my own. I used a handy-dandy cousin calculator!)
In our emails, I learned that Renee lives in Australia with her husband, a Scotsman (like our ancestor, Col. W.R. Stuart) and she has an 11 year-old niece named Monique Smith (the namesake of our cousin and genealogy buddy).
I so look forward to meeting Renee and echo her sentiments at the end of her email – “God Bless Our Family always.”
Is it just me, or are all of my cousins exceedingly beautiful?