My ancestors were busy bees. They made babies and built cities.
I have had to scratch out most of the work I had done when I found out I was only copying incorrect information, hearsay, family legends and falsehoods. I have forced myself to only write down facts that can be backed up with proper documentation: census, wills, marriage and military records. That applies to vital statistics: name, spouse, parents and offsprings, or “issue” as they’re called. That has scaled back my stack of index cards from over 100 to about 25. That’s a lot of culling, and it’s depressing! I still haven’t found the missing link between my own little self and the Mayflower passengers but I haven’t given up yet.
But there are a lot of stories within the wills, and in the historical archives around the country. My lot is responsible for the creation of 4 towns: Rogersville, Morgantown, Hoschton and Double Springs.
I am still not convinced. I do enjoy the stories, the high I get when I find an interesting anecdote, but when you take into consideration how common for instance the surname “Morgan” is, it is easy to believe you’re a descendant of “James Morgan” or any other popular names. If Edward Morgan had 10 children, and James is one of the most common names of the time, you’re pretty sure one of his sons will be a James. Does it make him your thrice-removed grandfather? I don’t think so. But a lot of these tidbits of information are available on the internet.
I have always imagined my ancestors, not on the pages of history books, but as the extras in the documentaries you see on the history channel (before it became about pawn shops). My people were the people in the background, the ones no one notices. The secondary characters no one remembers from Steinbeck’s novels. The ones with unmarked graves and without wills, but with loved ones who mourned them nonetheless.
The pictures of my grandmother’s generation look like Dorothea Lange’s work, and I am proud of that.
*on rock and roooooollllll……