(Reposted from May 2012)
Earlier this month, I met my cousin Sandi Neal for the first time. Sandi was born Sandra Kay Walvoord and is the daughter of Frederick Lee Walvoord (1907-1962) and Reba Lenora (Stepp) Walvoord (1914-2003). She is the granddaughter of Frederick Walvoord (1869-1925) and Jennie (Lammers) Walvoord (1874-1970).
Sandi was in Nashville, Tennessee for two months to stay with a family friend who needed help.
Sandi and I had corresponded for several years about Walvoord family history and I felt like I had known her a long time.
When Sandi called to set up a time to meet, for some reason, I thought I might have met her in person before and had just forgotten.
When we finally met, Sandi showed up on our doorstep I was amazed at the family resemblance. She looks just like a — Walvoord! My cousin Cindy Horton saw pictures on Facebook and thought she looked a lot like my dad. Her smile reminded me of my grandfather’s smile, my great-uncle John’s smile and my cousin Mark’s smile all rolled into one. The Walvoords have a certain trademark smile that transcends generations. Sandi has that same wonderful SMILE!
I have admired Sandi’s work for many years. In the late 1970s, she published a family news bulletin on the Walvoord family.
Walvoord Family would write in with news stories of their particular branch of the family. Some articles were as simple as a wedding announcement or an obituary. Others sent detailed stories of trips to Europe and The Netherlands. And of course, many pages had Family Group Sheets that are the basic building blocks of the hobby of genealogy.
The artwork for the cover was done by Shirley Garrett (daughter of Evelyn [Walvoord] Beyer).
Unbelievable to me, this newsletter, only had three issues! I had to double check, because it seems like so much more. It has such a treasure trove of information. Years ago, I took my copies to Kinkos and had them copy and spiral bind it. It is about ½ an inch thick.
Sandi and I were able to talk about her side of the family and what is was like to be the descendant of a Homesteader in Montana.
As Sandi and my family visited that first day together. It seemed as though we had known each other all our lives. It was really an amazing experience to grow up thousands of miles apart from each others’ families and yet have the same heritage that binds us together as a family. My daughter just seemed to instinctively know that Sandi was family and went to give a hug as she came through our front door for the first time.
Sandi corresponded to Walvoord descendants for years and years from her remote location in the west (Montana, Wyoming and California) far removed from the Walvoord heartland in Wisconsin and Nebraska. She has known many Walvoords through the years but when we met, she said, “Scott, you’re the first Walvoord I’ve ever met outside my immediate family.” That really surprised me.
I was also able to briefly show Sandi the ins-and-outs of how WalvoordHistory.com works and about my idea to expand the number of authors and contributors to the site. Sandi has graciously agreed to help write articles on the newly renamed “Walv-Blog.”
I am hoping to get a guild of Walvoord family descendants from each of the different founding groups to become regular contributors or authors writing about their unique stories of Walvoord/Walvoort Family History.
Even if one writes an article every other month or so, think of how many wonderful posts we will have archiving these stories for future generations just like Sandi’s Newsletter did all those years ago.