This week, Fisher visits with Katy Barnes of LegacyTree.com about the phenomenal records left to us by the "Society of Friends," or Quakers, who are still among us. Who were and are they, when did they begin, and what can you expect to find in their records? It's an interview you won't want to miss!
I've always maintained that taking down a brick wall in genealogy is like revealing a hidden city. And when it has sometimes taken decades to accomplish, it is a time to revel in the achievement. Assuming the records of the generations that preceded the ancestors on which you were stuck are reasonably well documented, you can spend a long, long time gathering the stories and records of those earlier folks.
In 2011, I had such a breakthrough. It had taken me nearly 30 years to fully identify my third great grandfather Samuel Downs and his wife Olive Leach. Digitized newspaper sites had only begun to publish enough pages to give researchers a real shot at making new inroads.
The breakthrough was a story in itself, but the real "cherry-on-top" was the discovery that I was a Mayflower descendant. Now I'm not one of those that believes your ancestors make you any more special or any worse... I love talking about scoundrel ancestors, too... but learning that THAT story was actually a part of MY story was an incredible moment. Enough so that I didn't tell anyone in the family until I was certain that the links were all valid. (There are too many bad lines to famous people waiting out there to sucker us in!)
Only a few years earlier some dear friends had given me a copy of Nathaniel Philbrick's Mayflower as a Christmas gift. While I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, it felt like an entirely new book when I read it again after the breakthrough. I was able to follow the adventures of these people and watch the bonding as well as the struggles between these Separatists... MY Separatists... and the natives unfold.
While I've always learned a lot from history, I've never learned more about it or from it than when it ties into our own family history. Have a great Thanksgiving!