In about 1989, when my uncle Samuel D. Gaston's job required him to periodically visit the court house in most of West Virginia's 55 counties, his curiosity caused him to occasionally check the birth, death and marriage records for anyone named Gaston or Husk. His thinking was that anyone in sparsely populated West Virginia who had the same relatively uncommon surnames as his parents was probably related to him in some way. Little did he realize!
Sam soon got my mother, Geneva Gaston Brown, involved in his little project. Together, they went through his voluminous handwritten notes, visited cemeteries, interviewed relatives, created makeshift Family Group Sheets, and assembled it all into a 3-ring binder. Tracing her roots and identifying all the leaves on the family tree quickly became Geneva's raison d'etre. It was important to her, and it therefore became important to everyone around her. She and Sam continued to pursue their mission together
In about 1991, my mother and uncle, still determined to complete their project, were struggling with the sheer volume of information that they were collecting. It became clear to me that the only solution was a computer, something that neither of them had any experience with. But I gave one to my mother, loaded it with games and genealogy software, and coaxed her into using it. That made all the difference. Soon, everyone in the family had their own book-length report of all their known ancestors and all the known descendants of our earliest Gaston and Husk ancestors.
In 1997, following a 20-year Army career and a few other adventures, I moved from Baltimore to Doddridge County to be near my mother. While Geneva and Sam remained the principal compilers of the genealogy, I soon became the de facto editor.
When my mother died in December 2001, genealogy took a back seat with us for a while. But Sam stayed with it and kept me involved. His enthusiasm and commitment motivated me to develop this website, launched in August 2005. With greater visibility and input from the site's visitors, this led to an expansion of our scope. At the same time, although never stated as such, it seemed that Sam wanted to document all the families that he remembered growing up with in the Oxford area of the county. Interesting to him, beneficial to others. And so it continued.
But Sam's health took a turn for the worse in 2011, and we lost him in March 2012. I am now left to continue the work begun by my mother and uncle. As I still feel inspired by them, I will continue to say "we" and "our" in reference to the information that you find here. I know that it was their hope that our work might help others learn their own ancestry in the same way that so many had helped us discover ours.