I know it's not the New Year yet. I do have a resolution for that (make more timely blog posts).
I am talking about resolving issues in your family tree research. One thing I have learned over the years is that when you first start your family research, you just are so excited to find information that you are not quite as focused on whether or not it's fact and if it applies to your person or not. As time goes on, as you learn more about the significance of details, and as you realize that not everything is cut and dry you understand that your methods are not set to a specific standard.
With the recent years developments in the DNA world and the ability to chart a family tree with not only documents but science, it's been pretty obvious that my tree also has quite a few historical folk lore. Historical folk lore to me is worse than family stories passed on from generation to generation. These are documents that have been researched by well meaning ancestors who followed a valid paper trail by walking foot-to-ground and uncovering information in person. The documents they found supported the evidence they had which was then compiled into pamphlets, books and histories then published and populated in local and regional areas - sometimes even crossing the country.
The problem with many of these is the same problem we still have today. Much to our surprise there were more than two people named Thomas Jefferson Duke in the state and locale of research. WHAT?! .. it's true. Dozens of them. T J, Thos J, Tom J, J T, J Thomas..... it truly is exhausting. Many of them born within a few years of each other and most of them related in some way all born within a 50 mile radius.
But, when you are limited to the documents within your reach physically, it is impossible to know this. With the advent of digital access to all this information combined with DNA testing, we are able to see issues, recognize hundreds of name variations and family connections as well as resolve issues that we might never have seen 10 years ago.
Many of us joke about "starting over". In some cases, it may be completely necessary to resolve some of the historical folk lore in our trees and use only well researched and documented facts combined with a great DNA resource. Whatever you decide to do to resolve your folk lore family research, make sure you stay connected to the living while enjoying your Adventures in Genealogy.
I was born in New Jersey and raised in Pennsylvania. My father always called my mom a rebel and she always said we were damn Yankees. We'd all laugh. We made the choice to enjoy our heritage and revel in the differences.
Growing up, however, I was never really told about our family heritage. My mom always said, "You are a league of nations - a Heinz 57." That's where she'd leave it. As I got a little older, I heard a bit about my father's father. I would talk about history and wanting to learn about it all and my father would say, "The past is the past. What good is it?".
It never changed for me. I was always interested in the who, what, why, when and where. Have you wondered why your ancestors came to the place they lived? How did they get there? What made them leave where they were? When did they go? If you said yes, then you are already addicted to this passion that has taken hold of America. Genealogy.
When I moved to Alabama in 2008, I had only a vague idea that my family lived in the south, at least for a little while. I always pictured that they'd all come from Europe somewhere with me being a Heinz 57. The more I looked for them, the more I found out, I began to realize that I had migrated in nearly the same fashion that they did but only centuries later.
The Great Valley Road was an early path that was taken by Colonial settlers to parts of the south. Until recently, I had no idea how some of my family ended up in middle Alabama from North Carolina. On a trip to a local archives, a very smart, and enthusiastic Archivist reminded me of a map that hangs on her wall. It was trade routes showing how people came to Athens, Alabama from Virginia. One of the legs of the trade route went to Georgia. The other went through Tennessee.
It was like a light bulb. Suddenly, it was all clear. I could see in my head (like the writing on the wall-literally), the wagons moving across the mountains and the children growing up on a farm. I saw the items in their home as if I was there using them. The bed frame, hand made by paw with woven rope and a thick feather mattress. I saw the quilts that my ancestors made and the plow they used in the fields. I knew what they paid for them both monetarily and physically. It was if the bigger picture was suddenly visible.
From Colonial Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. To Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi. I knew the struggles and the why along with my who and where. It's easier to research them now that I can see it all. I truly believe that everything you do in your research should involve finding out why they were where they were and how they got there in the first place. If you focus on the side research - learn about the people and places they worked, the stores that were in their towns, the major events that happened around them - then your whole story will just suddenly unfold around you. No major work on your part needed.
So while you are researching, take a moment to look around town. Use your minds eye and see it. Really see it! While you are make sure you are enjoying this awesome, wonderful, magical Adventure in your Genealogy!!
Most of us really take our time here for granted. For genealogists, we understand the value of time based on our research. To go into it deeper, we often see the degree to which time has an effect on tombstones for example. They weather, break, erode, are damaged by trees, brush and people.
This week, while out exploring a local cemetery, I found what I think is probably the oldest stone that I personally have seen so far in my own research and documentation. This is not to say that it's the oldest out there.
I find that this fascinates me because it isn't even someone that I am researching or in my tree, but a complete stranger that is now peeking my interest, only based on the date and place of his birth.
I'd like to point out that this script on this stone is so well preserved and readable, that I found this also to be an odd thing. I've come across so many even into the late 1800's whos stones are all but blank now. This one, has stood the test of time. It takes us back to the days.... back in time.
I hope that as you are researching that you consider all the things you see, from the very new pink silk flowers, to the degree of mold, to the position of the stone compared to others around it... what little things did you find out? What kind of adventure will they lead you on next? Wherever you go, enjoy your Adventures in Genealogy!
Wow. I'm very ADD I think. I just can't seem to complete anything lately. Well, let me tell you that I'm working on them all and I want to complete at least half of the things I've started. Including writing on this blog and updating all my pages with Genealogy information for friends, family and other researchers.
I hope you've stuck with me. I know it gets boring sometimes. But I've completely overhauled and updated this website and I hope it's more efficient this way.
Here is my thought for the week:
When life hands you lemons, sit down with an older relative, have a glass of lemonade and talk about your history. I promise you will never forget it. :)
Have a great week!
So, I've always known that my grandmother and her sisters believed that a bible notation from the book of Mary Belcher Duke stating that Thomas J Duke died in 1847 was true and correct. They also believe that Luther A Duke (their son) was born in 1851.
Something does not add up. Did you do the math?
The fate of the descendants of Luther A Duke rests in my hands on finding the true facts. Easier said than done. I can not find one fact or document on Thomas J beyond 1836. There are a Million (ok, maybe only 171) Thomas Duke(s) out there. He went somewhere. He was buried somewhere. He died somewhere. . I just don't understand.
I'm on a mission to figure this out. Can't be that hard right?
There have been many changes since I originally made this site with all the information posted. Much of which has changed and been added to, corrected and otherwise altered. In the next few weeks, I will be updating this page to match the changes in my files and in our family history.
I've met "cousins" I didn't know I had. I've read about people who fought and lived during the Civil War and uncovered mysteries that are still hanging around waiting to be solved.
I hope you are hanging on too. It's been quite a ride for me and as I get organized, I'll let you in on it.
Enjoy your week!
In 1996 my great Aunt Marie mailed me a box of papers in fear of her passing away and all her hard work and years of research with her two sisters (one my grandmother Caroline) would be lost. Both her sisters had recently passed away within months of each other and she was scared.
The odd part about this is that I was never really close to my mother's side of the family. Not by choice, but by circumstance beyond my control as a child.
I had only two years before started some research with my, at that time, husband's father's family. Rumors spread that I was a Genealogist and that I enjoyed it. (I don't know how that happens!)
Anyway, my Aunt Marie made me promise that one day I would publish a book. You see, they did not use the internet to research and really had no idea that you would be able to publish online and in digital formats.
I intend on keeping that promise. I lost touch with her after Hurricane Katrina. You see, she lived on the south side of Lake Pontchartrain and had moved to the north side. Or - at least that is what I was told.
I only recently (this month even) found out that she had passed away several months ago. I had so wanted to let her know how far I'd gotten and that her dream would soon come to reality.
This whole website would not be possible without the contributions of three very beautiful women. I so then dedicate it's existence to them:
Caroline Elizabeth Duke Wagner
Joann Duke Matthews
Ruth Marie Duke Mehrhoff
Rest in Peace. We love and Miss you all.
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