The deadline for the census has come and gone, but that was far from the end of the story for me. With all the interest in Genealogy sprouting up from shows like Dr. Gates’ “Faces of America” and NBC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”, it brought my deep seated family questions to the forefront.
I started my family tree some time ago, but never spent too much time on it. After seeing Emmit Smith’s story on TV, and also the pressure of an upcoming family reunion, I said OK to signing up for an Ancestry.com subscription, finding out a little more information is better than finding out no information at all.
I knew I already had the most important information, that my family was based in the Carolinas. My only other obstacles were misspellings and lack of respect for African-American records (especially back in the day). For instance, my paternal great-grandmother’s death certificate, her married last name was spelled wrong. My grandmother (the one that this blog is based on) they could not find her birth record at all, yet they did find her brother’s (my grand-uncle). I’m also just realized the my name was also spelled wrong on my Mom’s certificate as well, and that was only a few years ago.
Anyway, back on track. My point is to think out of the box, especially when researching African American Genealogy. Similar sounding last names, may be relatives.
How far did I get? On my father’s side, I found relatives that served in the Civil War, and I got as far as my 3rd great grandparents yet they were not listed in the Census. And on the maternal side (the Mama’s Keeper line) I got to my 5th great grandmother who was born in the late 18th Century and also found more cousins who were also researching the line.
The lesson here. If you are fortunate to have elders around, even if they are not your blood, go ahead any ask questions. Record them, tape them. You never know where it may lead.