Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Disappearing act.

As I have mentioned before, one of my hobbies is Genealogy. I work on it together with my mom, and a few various other family members. For the most part, we are fairly successful in this endeavor. Having been able to reliably trace the majority of my family back at least as far as Colonial America, if not back to the British Isles or Europe, and a few even back as far as the late middle ages.

To me, this adds to my story. It means that my anscestors were the lucky few who didn't die in child birth, who made it past age 5, who didn't die of the plague, who weren't killed in one of the infinite numbers of wars which Europe can boast throughout its history, and didn't freeze or starve to death, and who weren't hanged for poaching a few ducks eggs.

But my family tree has a glaring black mark on it. In the form of my maternal grandfather's, father. We know his name, and the fact he was born in 1906. But we don't know a thing else about him except where he died. We don't know what town, county or state he was born in. Worse, he was born during a void in the draft, but after the state militia ceased to exist. Before the Income Tax began. Marriages, Births and Deaths were frequently unrecorded. And the vaunted U.S. Census only recorded head of household and how many people live there. Not their names.

His wife, who we know slightly more about, only goes back through her paternal grandmothers line. But it, is one of the few that goes back to the middle ages, and while I don't trust it, without some sort of paper trail to prove it at least.. to the dark ages.

This is nearly a full 1/4th of my ancestry that is proving elusive. I've searched and searched. And while I've got living relatives who might know, the annoying thing about Genealogy in the South Eastern United States is.. people are interested in breadth, not depth when it comes to "findin' Kin" They want to know who you are related too, that they are related too, but don't seem so much interested in where they came from to begin with, at least in my experience.

I feel that I am beginning to know how Pellinore must have felt during his endless chase for the questin' beast.


Trey said...

I would say that's a bit of an overbroad characterization of geneology in the Southeast. My parents are big geneology buffs, and most of their original research was oral reports from "kin"--though admittedly, that sometimes found people were wrong.

Have you tried one of the geneology websites or something? If you could connect with someone else more distantly related? Thier work might allow you to triangulate his likely location, so you'd a least know where to look.

Lagomorph Rex said...
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Lagomorph Rex said...

I've got a subscription to Genealogy.com, but it dosen't seem to help at all.

And I'll cop to it being over broad, but then I've only got one branch out of four of my family from the south. So it dosen't give me a very broad view of it in general.

I've amended my post to reflect that.