When I was young, my parents researched my Dad’s family history in dusty newspaper offices. I remember sitting for endless hours in the Fairplay Flume office as they searched newspapers for articles about my great-great-grandfather, Judge Wilburn Christison. Who would guess that years later I’d be looking at old newspapers for hours at a time?
As Mom and Dad found new information about Wilburn Christison, I often heard my Dad say, “I sure wish we had a picture of the Judge.” Dad always called him “the Judge.” That phrase stuck with me through the years as I dug up more details about Wilburn. But now the phrase became, “I wish I could find a picture of the Judge for Dad.”
One day, on a whim, I posted a message on the Rootsweb and MyGenWeb message boards asking if anyone had a picture of Wilburn Christison, son of Adam. The e-mails started trickling in. After e-mails saying, “I have a picture of my Uncle Wilburn,” I added dates and places to my posting. I never dreamed there would be more than one Adam with a son named Wilburn.
2 ½ months after the initial posting, I received an e-mail from Betty Regnier saying she had a picture of Wilburn. To say I was skeptical is an understatement. I wrote back with the dates and places. She replied, “Yes, that’s him. He’s my great-grandfather.”
I will never forget the day I opened my mailbox and found the large manila envelope. Pulling the photographs from the envelope, I stared at the dignified faces of Wilburn and Elizabeth; faces that matched the resilient pioneers I’d come to know through a few newspaper articles and snippets in local history books.
And the first thing I did was scan the photograph and e-mailed it to my Dad. He finally has his picture of “The Judge.”