Sunday, May 2, 2010

Finding the Sentimental Stuff

One More Way to Answer the Questions

Sure we can all gather and find internet data, records and stuff on our ancestors. But have you treaded on unchartered paths to find the roads, trials, and successes or misfortunes of your family? Or, is your genealogy research limited to dates. What is your ancestor’s story?

Going to conferences, regardless of your experiences and skill level puts you in the midst of those who have one more record type to search, one more way of looking at data, and one more avenue to find Mr. and Mrs. Allusive – the “missing one” -- one more way to piece your ancestor’s life story.

Sure we can find out if our ancestor owned land or rented, but was the community kind to paupers? Were the neighbors generous to the poor? Did the community reject paupers and exile them? Were they able to change their social class through opportunities or marriage? Were they protected by civil laws, or prejudiced under a common law practice? Were your ancestors advocates for the poor?

We can find out through DNA (if following the correct branch [1]) an associated African tribe, but where and when did your ancestors come to the States/colonies? Did they enter America before the Revolutionary War? Was your family emancipated before the civil war? Based on wills, court records, etc. can you ascertain the treatment of the slaves? Were they slaves on a plantation, or small farm? Did they pick cotton or work in tobacco fields? Were they allowed to worship? These are the answers we want to know. However, this story is skipped if you jump straight to the DNA results and not fill in the time gaps between importation and 1870.

The questions are endless, but the good news: so are the records. And right when you have given up on Mr. and Mrs. Allusive, a good genealogy conference workshop (local or national) will lead you to the “missing one” or one more way to piece your ancestor’s life story. Your ancestor deserves to be known, and you can tell his/her story."

Accurate, Accessible Answers

[1] Following the African American Morris Family surname led us to Ireland/Wales/England.  No African or Native America.

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