I was in my car on February 15, 2013 when I learned via a Genea-Traveler email from Felicia of Echoes of My Nola Past, Sandra TALIAFERRO had passed. It took my breath away. San and I hadn’t spoken in a long time. Too long really. I didn’t even realize Sandra had been ill.
Though the heaviness of her passing followed me for days, I couldn’t help feeling San was finally free. I could see her interviewing the TALIAFERRO and MIDDLEBROOKS Ancestors she’d spent countless hours searching for. I could see her getting to know her daddy, John Lawrence TALIAFERRO and reuniting with her Mama, Lillian MIDDLEBROOKS who passed on September 27, 2009 — San’s birthday.
I could see her walking and exploring and if she felt like it — probably running!:)
Many don’t know Sandra spent almost 45 years in a wheelchair. In route to student orientation on her first day of college at Clark Atlanta University, Sandra and friends were in a terrible car accident that nearly took her life. In spite of her physical constraints, Sandra rose — in every possible way.
Sandra TALIAFERRO was as stubborn as a mule, but she was truly amazing too! I hope she knows that now. So in October when San came and sat on my shoulders to say something had to be done to prevent her research from being lost, I knew better than to ignore her!:)
The timing stunk! I’d just loss Mama 8/5 and started AAGSAR 8/15. Small gestures of attempting to pay for her I Never Knew My Father domain or rescue research data from her old computer were unsuccessful. The only thing I could do, was re-post Sandra’s archived research work to a new domain.
So I promised Sandra [if she'd allow me to sleep] I’d complete our restoration project before the New Year. I added her last archived post penned January 7, 2012 – Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – Your Very Best 2011 Research Adventure to her new online home, The TALIAFERRO Project on December 31, 2013. Not even 1 day to spare!:)
There are 72 posts in all, and they tell us MUCH about who Sandra TALIAFERRO was as a daughter, sister, friend, human and researcher. The TALIAFERRO research is a meticulous body of record for any genealogist with connections to San’s family line. It’s also an EXCELLENT example for the methodical nature of good research — how it should be approached, documented and cited.
Without question, Sandra knows how much I love and respect her. We can’t bring her back but we can continue to champion the Ancestor work effort that was her lifeline. We can direct new researchers — connected or not — to the wealth of data and best practices it offers. We can continue working the leads to confirm the cousin connections either our hearts and/or DNA told us are there.
That’s how we honor Sandra — rise to whatever challenge is presented, live life without excuses, and be impeccable.
Do small things with GREAT ♥. The TALIAFERRO Project.
Happy New Year!:)