Taking Back What Was Once Lost

The Ku Klux Klan Hearings

The Ku Klux Klan Hearings

In 1871, the U.S. Government decided to hold hearings on the rampant violence in the South by the Ku Klux Klan and other white terrorist organizations. The official name of these records is the “Report of the Joint Select Committee Appointed to Inquire Into the Condition of Affairs in the Late Insurrectionary States,” but they are […]

Thomas S. Sudler Account Book

Thomas S. Sudler Account Book

I’ve written before about the information that can be found in what I call Community Papers: account books, diaries, ledgers, loose papers, family records, etc. These are the papers of (usually) men in the communities we are researching, such as doctors, merchants. Almost every library and archives has these kinds of papers housed in their […]

Perry Simpson Found in Freedmen’...

Perry Simpson Found in Freedmen’s Bureau Records

Finally- I found a needle in a haystack. I found my 4th great-grandfather, Perry Simpson, in Freedmen’s Bureau records! I have probably looked through thousands of pages of these records through the years and that is no exaggeration. I found his name in a Register of Letters Received in the Field Office Records for Maryland […]

“Passed and Present” and ...

“Passed and Present” and Other Family History Finds

Periodically, I like to offer suggestions on family history-related materials that may be of interest to my readers. There are a few books I’d like to recommend: One is called “Passed and Present: Keeping Memories of Loved Ones Alive,” by Allison Gilbert. I had not come across anything like this before and the topic intrigued […]

DNA Bombshell: John Smith Origins Unc...

DNA Bombshell: John Smith Origins Uncovered

This story is actually several months old—I think I had to let the emotion wear off a little to think clearly enough for a post. I’ve been aware for some time of the amazing discoveries that people have been having with DNA testing the past few years. I had taken a test about 10 years […]

The “Lost Friends” Slaver...

The “Lost Friends” Slavery Database

I’ve just discovered the wonderful “Lost Friends” database, which is composed of ads of former slaves searching for their loved ones after emancipation, mostly those sold away or otherwise taken away by slaveholders. I posted a few months ago about these ads, but I’m pleased to see a database devoted to these ads from the […]

How Were Slaves Sold?

How Were Slaves Sold?

It is a well-known fact when researching African-American enslaved ancestors that slaves were frequently sold. In fact, many enslaved people had a personal experience of their own sale or that of another family member. It’s recounted in numerous slave narratives, such as this excerpt from Leonard Black’s narrative: “As near as I can remember, my […]

Who’s Your Daddy? Bastardy Reco...

Who’s Your Daddy? Bastardy Records

One of the hidden gems inside court records are the aptly named “Bastardy Bonds” and Bastardy cases in general.  Genealogy is a constant reminder that human beings have not changed. Anything that happens now also happened in the past, and one of the most common occurrences was having children out of wedlock (or in wedlock, just not with […]

Follow the Witness: They May Have the...

Follow the Witness: They May Have the Answer

Many of our artificial brick walls are caused by our inability to extract every clue from each source. One of my favorite suggestions is to tell people to Follow the Witness. Many of the most common sources we use, such as deed records, probate records and marriage records, are legal documents that in many cases needed […]

Are Your Assumptions Leading You Astr...

Are Your Assumptions Leading You Astray?

It’s fine to make assumptions during your genealogical research. In fact, we all do it whether we think we do or not. Here’s the thing: as we review our sources and uncover evidence, we have to remember our assumptions and be willing to let them go in light of new information. We need to follow where […]

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About Me

I blog, teach, write and lecture about family history research and it's just as rewarding today as it was when I began 18 years ago. This lifelong quest has helped me to better know my past and I've taken back--reclaimed- my kin and some of that lost memory.  

Post History

What I Talk About

Locations and Surnames

Hardin, Chester and Lawrence Counties, TN
Holt, Barnes, Harbour, Bradley Springer and Fendricks
Lawrence County, AL
Springer and Fendricks
Montgomery County, MD
Prather, Simpson
Somerset County, MD
Waters, Fountain, Curtis
Duval and Madison County, FL
Smith, Harris, Garner

Favorite Family History Quotes

"The past is not dead. In fact, it's not even past."
-William Faulkner

"Call it a clan, call it a network, all it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one"
- Jane Howard

"Friends are God's apologies for relations."
-Hugh Kingsmill

"No matter what you've done for yourself or for humanity, if you can't look back on having given love and attention to your own family, what have you really accomplished?"
-Elbert Hubbard

"Families are like fudge; mostly sweet with a few nuts."
-Unknown

"If you can't get rid of the skeleton in your closet, you might as well make it dance!"
-Unknown

"Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city;)"
-George Burns

"Where does the family start? It starts with a young man falling in love with a girl. No superior alternative has yet been found."
-Winston Churchill

"The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never ever introduce yourself to had life not done it for you."
-Kendall Hailey

"If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all the generations of your ancestors. All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people."
-Thich Nhat Hanh

Geneabloggers

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