When you start your family tree, start with yourself and gradually move through your tree by adding parents, grandparents and great grandparents. Capture what you know, then search the data bases on Ancestry (ancestry.com) or other genealogy sites for more information. If you have the ability to visit your home town, you should visit the local library, churches attended by your family, and seek out living members to fill in the blanks.
Between the Dashes was created because I desired more than just the birth and death dates. When you search the genealogical databases you find lots of information. One of the challenges is filling in the stories between the dashes. Who were they? What were their hobbies? What did they love to do? What were some of their challenges? Between the Dashes will focus on answering some of those questions about my family. Let’s start with my grandparents.
Melzar Williams was born in 1912 and raised in Mobile, AL by his parents Alice and Ervin Williams. Melzar attended the Southern Normal School in Brewton, AL. At the age of 8 years old, Melzar became interested in music. At the cost of $5 for a used trumpet, Melzar learned to play very well. Eventually his music became one of the significant sources of his income.
At the age of 20 years old, he married the love of his life, Inell Brown (daughter of Eva Jasper Brown). Melzar traded a college education for marriage and family. His mother, Alice Williams, did not like that decision because she wanted her son to go to college. At the time, I’m sure it was a hard pill to shallow, but looking back over Melzar’s life, it did not hamper his ability to reach for the stars and actually achieve them!
Melzar and Inell Williams lived in Mobile most of their lives. Melzar worked at the local grocery store on Wienacker Avenue while Inell did laundry and kept the children of affluent families. Melzar also made money playing the trumpet on Davis Avenue (Mobile, AL), and over time became a respected and notable trumpet player. Melzar got his nick name Chappy from his Uncles. Chappy played for parades, Mardi Gras, parties, clubs, funerals, church, and many other occasions.
The Williams had two children, one of which is my Mother. I’m sure Melzar and Inell were very excited and blessed to have such wonderful and talented children. Years later, my Mother told me, “We felt like we were the most loved and respected children in the neighborhood”. My mother enjoyed being raised in Mobile even though she says it was a Payton Place (more on that later). She lived in a neighborhood full of family and friends. If you didn’t like the meal at your own house, you could always venture out into the neighborhood for something you really liked!
Between The Dashes