March 19, 2020: So continuing from the previous post, I am providing information from my most recent DNA results on ancestry.com. I submitted the matrilineal DNA and my brother submitted the patrilineal DNA. The results are as follows:
Genealogists will tell you that in order to document your family history, start with yourself. Get your birth certificate and other similar documents and note parent’s names and then get their information, birth certificate, death certificate if they are deceased, and note their parent’s information. You can get copies of Social Security applications (if the person is deceased) which notes parent’s names. Doing this research is getting more expensive and the information is getting harder to get because of the concerns about identity theft. I regret not talking to my parents and grandparents more about family history when they were living. While I did pay attention to the stories they told, I was remiss at the time in not putting down the details. I am sure that when my father died there were probably old papers that I should have kept that might have filled in some blanks for me. At one time he and my grandfather did a search to find more information on the Thomas land in Hopwood, but if this information was in my dad’s papers when he died, I did not keep it because I did not have the interest then, that I do now, about finding out my history.
So, this is the lesson. If people are alive, talk to them and record the stories. Get copies of documents like, birth and death certificates, obituaries, baptismal records, wills, Social Security applications, etc. You can hire a genealogist but quite frankly my experience is that for the two times I used their expertise, they did not uncover any new information for me and were very expensive. It may have just been my experience. My plan is to go to Fauquier County, Virginia. My daughter, baby grandson and I did go to Columbia, Saluda, and other places in Newberry County, South Carolina back in December 2019 and discovered a wealth of information.
I believe it is so very important to understand where you come from and how that shapes who you are. For example, one of my uncles was a poet. He died before I was born. But I write poetry, and my daughter is a world famous poet and my brother and at least one of my sisters writes poetry as well. It would have been great to know this information when I was younger because someone might have had copies of his poetry which are probably all now lost. My daughter said she loved listening to the stories that I and my siblings would tell about our parents and grandparents and that we should write them down. Maybe that is part of the impetus for this blog as well.
Part of your legacy is to write your story. I think I have led a relatively boring life but to someone else it sounds exciting, interesting and most importantly unique. God put us all on this earth with our unique story which is the product of the stories of people who came before us. If you are adopted and don’t know the story of your birth parents, then the stories of the parents who adopted you or the foster homes in which you lived or whoever influenced you good and bad make up who you are. I will keep you posted if I make any breakthrough in getting back further in my family history and if I find any surprises along the way. Also, during this journey I have uncovered many family “secrets”, so you may open doors that others wanted to remain closed so beware of this as you move forward. Nothing stays hidden forever. Would love to hear about your journey in finding your roots!