It was a labor of love for Susan Anderson, TRS Healthcare Professional, but her persistence and passion for genealogy paid off when she saw the joy it brought to her husband, John, a former TRS healthcare professional. He was in tears as he drove the road that was named after his great-great-great grandfather. “We drove from one end of it to the other,” she said. “That connection with family, it’s priceless.” John, a Vietnam veteran, passed away last year. He was a Corpsman in the Vietnam War and a respiratory therapist.
A lot of research went into finding that road and discovering John’s family history. He knew as far back as his grandfather before she started studying his genealogy. “No matter what you find on the Internet, you’ve got to go on the field trips,” she said. Her research led her to Tennessee. They traveled there, and John held his great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents wedding certificates. They also found where they were buried. That led them to his great-great-great-grandparents. She found where they had lived, and John and Susan went down the family road from end to end together.
John, who had comforted and restored lives with TRS, had planned to retire this year. “I wanted to do some traveling, and he would be my house husband,” Susan said. With everything that’s happened in the past year, why not travel, she said. And because she loves genealogy, a travel assignment gave her the perfect opportunity to do some more research. “Taking this assignment in Virginia is so exciting,” she said. Her daughter was so excited that she did a little research herself and found that Susan would be working near a national forest with the most beautiful waterfalls.
“I’m a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution,” she said. “You’re always trying to seek out more patriots.” Her and her husband’s ancestors both fought in the Revolutionary War. Her research would take her to the settling of America and beyond. They went to a family reunion and met cousins, who filled in a lot of gaps on her family tree. An uncle also helped. A cousin who owned a printing company had written a genealogy book on her family, and she ordered that book. Her research took her back eight generations just in America. She traced her family roots all the way back to England and Scotland. As she walked along the Thames in London or the River Clyde in Glasgow, she thought how her ancestors probably took the same steps she did.
Susan became a nursing assistant in 1978 and an RN in 1986. She married John in 2000, and together, they have four children and 11 grandchildren. Last year she received a bachelor’s degree and plans to earn a master’s degree so she can teach. “Education is the gift you give yourself,” she said. “Nobody can take that away from you.” She encouraged travelers to think if they had ancestors who lived near their travel destination, to do some research of their own. Susan, we are so glad you have the opportunity to continue your genealogy work while on a travel assignment. We’d like to thank John for his service and sacrifice to our country and to both of you for comforting and restoring lives across the nation. If you have an awesome story that you would like to share, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we might feature it on our blog.