Genealogy questions, of course! (What else!?!?)
I’ve been actively tearing down, brick by brick, my ancestral wall…or on a more positive note – building my tree, limb by limb? However you might want to phrase it, for the past 5 years or so, my family’s history has been my passion. Maybe “obsession” is a better word for it.
Not to brag, but I was feeling pretty confident of my abilities to maneuver around a Google search engine to find my ancestors! (The real ones…not just the ones that so-and-so says we’re related to). So when a friend of a friend of a friend inquired about me taking on the task of helping him with his family tree, I thought “sure! How hard can it be?”
Let me tell you how hard it can be. I know that my ancestors were all dead and gone long before I came along, but I had my family’s oral history being passed down to me. Little tidbits about great-grandma or that cousin that made finding out more about their lives just that much easier. I “knew” them.
So when I started the journey of locating ancestors from years past for my friend, I quickly became overwhelmed. Not only did I not have a clue about these people and who they were, but unlike my family members who spent a great deal of time up north in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois (to name a few), I was suddenly thrown into the deep south of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama trying to locate records and online resources for a group of people I did not know at all. Throw into that, the other side of the Civil War, a world of slavery, and a completely different cultural attitude. This was a lot harder than what I ever expected!
I’m thrilled to say that I’ve been able to uncover 5 generations for my friend. I don’t know how far I will go for him, after all, my family is still sitting here on my bookshelf waiting patiently each day for me to return and uncover a new relative, or another intriguing story. But I know that when one search goes dry, and I need to refocus, I can pull out my new “family”…the one I’m slowly getting to know more and more each day. Who knows, maybe one day our family lines just may cross!!