I bet my title seems rather weird to you but the first number is the total number of children my grandparents had while the second is the number of children that are still living. This week has brought about funerals, death and tragedy all around the world. From the funeral of Margaret Thatcher to the terrorist bombings in Boston, America has seen its share of pain this week. My family has also suffered a lost this week. My Uncle Joseph Philip Yeldell affectionately called “Brother” to his siblings left us this week. Known to his nieces and nephews as Uncle Brother he was an extraordinary man. He picked up where his parents and other siblings left off in cementing the Yeldell name into the hearts and minds of native Washingtonians. Where his father started in the early 40s by founding a church he picked up and continued for three to four more decades by making himself known in politics.
Like most families there are stories both good and bad but my personal story didn’t start with him until my research. I went to see my uncle one day just out of the blue. I was in his area and decided to stop thru just to see how he was doing. When I knocked on the door he answered and I said “Hi Uncle Brother, I was in the neighborhood and something told me to stop by.” he responded by saying “Hey Papoose! I don’t normally answer the door but something told me to do so.” We laughed and he said “we must have been meant to see each other.” I came in the house and proceeded to talk to him about my research. He was the one person that I wasn’t sure of if he knew what I was doing. I talked to him about what I had found about his parents and grandparents on both sides. I even showed him our family tree. He expressed to me how proud he was and encouraged me to keep going. We talked a little while longer and I received some really great advice and then I left.
Now like most parents, aunts and uncles they are always proud of their children, nieces and nephews, but I didn’t know how proud he was until I learned how he would refer others to me when talking about the family history. When his brother Robert died and a building was named after him my Uncle did a speech at the unveiling of the new name on the building. He called my mom to get his numbers from me as to how large our family really was in 2007. He stated in his speech that day how the Yeldell family was its own tribe. He also referred me to Springfield’s own Trustee Charles Cooke. Charles wanted my Uncle to help with working on the history of Springfield and he told him, “I want you to contact my niece Donya. She is the historian of the family and has all the information you need” I was so honored to hear that he called me the family historian. I was even more honored when he and my cousin Freddy spoke about actually sending me to his parents, my grandparents home of Edgefield, SC. But nothing floored me more when he agreed to do the DNA swab to help me learn more about the family so that I could share our history. Now although the trip didn’t happen through him nor the DNA it will however happen, and I will continue to research, learn and share the history of this great family. I will continue to make My Uncle proud of me and I am truly glad I was able to know him and get the advice he shared with me.
Uncle Brother leaves behind his loving wife, his daughter, two sisters, his son-in-law, three granddaughters, one grandson and over 250 nieces and nephews. In the bible John 14:2 says: “2 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” Now I know that my uncle is not Jesus Christ but I believe he is helping to make sure that things will be ready for his family when we get there.
Until next time…