Feb 3 2013
A couple years ago I had reached a brick wall on the line I was researching. I decided to review one of my Grandmother’s lines that had already been well documented. This had been researched back to a signer of the Magna Carta. I remember how proud my mother was when she gave me a membership to the lineage society National Society of the Magna Carta Dames. It was very exciting to see that I was descended from the likes of Kings and The Knights Templar. Given a little Mythology, you can take it back to the time of Christ.
With tongue in cheek, I told my daughter the line could be taken back to Adam and Eve!
To be perfectly honest, the allure of genealogy for me is about the hunt and putting the puzzle pieces together. I get the most joy from learning about the history and the geography of my predecessors. As I was reviewing this particular line, I began reading about my ancestors that were among the first settlers in the United States. They were adventurers, politicians and yes, slave owners. I stopped here. I realized that I knew nothing about the history and lives of African Americans.
I contacted one of my African American friends and asked if she would allow me to do some research on her family tree. She willingly provided me with names and vital statistics to get started. It was a challenging start that ended up being one of the most rewarding, valuable, educational, and eye opening genealogy adventures I have ever had. I learned a little about her black, white, mulatto, Mexican and Cherokee heritage; the slaves, the farmers, cowboys and the laborers. I also learned about the history of racism, and the struggles and success of overcoming it. Her roots are among the true Americans; the first settlers, the ones who fought in the wars and battles that made our country what it is today. The research can be difficult, especially prior to emancipation, but every find is a true gem and worth the effort. I continue to pick it up often in search of more clues.
I encourage all genealogists to expand their horizons. Reach out to your friends that don’t share the same ethnic background as yourself. You may be surprised to find out how much you learn that will add value to your own lineage.