The Three A We
26 June 2010
In my generation, there are only three family members who share the surname Leslie. In the next generation, there is but one. After that, our family name will be relegated to the archives of history.
We contemporary three are Francine, Frank and Sharon. Collectively, our generation represents the survivors of painful, historical roots in Alabama. Our fathers were born there. As children, they were rescued from there and never looked back.
Francine and Frank are the children of my uncle Frank. His brother, Arthur, was my father. Frank had two children. Arthur had one. Their older brother, “Little Bob,” had none.
Our next generation is Francita — young Frank’s daughter. Although she is now a mother, she has chosen to retain the family name. Her son bears the name of his father.
It is a good thing that Francita continues to identify herself as a Leslie because her father is not able to have any more children. Nor are we — his sister and sister/cousin — because of our ages.
Francine’s two children are named for their father. My one son is named for the man who rescued him from being a fatherless child.
The end result, and the point of this rumination, is that Francita is the last of our line. She is the sole surviving person who will bear our family name. After her, the genetic manifestation of our Leslie name will expire.
That leads me to wonder: What happens when your family name is no longer extant?
As a genealogist, I am doing my best to record the fact that we LIVED — somewhere, somehow. In the annals of history, I wish for it to be known that we were here. We made our mark. I want us — our Leslie name — to be known and revered.
It is my hope that future generations will remember that our great grandfather, Tom Leslie, and his wife, Rhoda Reeves Leslie, came out of SLAVERY. In their circumscribed circumstances, they gave birth to eight children, who gave birth to four children, who gave birth to six children, who gave birth to four. Even though our name will die, our bloodline will continue.
I pray that future generations who share our patrimony will continue our memory so that the fact that we once lived never dies.