Monday, October 15, 2012
A Personal Connection to Your Ancestor
Every time I find a little book on local history or an historical diary my curiosity gets the best of me. I've done my bit on gathering names, dates, and places in search for my genealogical origins, but there is so much you can do at any one time without traveling to the out of the way places. So when I find one of these historical accounts I want to jump back in time and ask, which of my ancestors could have lived here while this was going on?
Our neighboring county, Monroe County, Indiana called me a few months ago and informed me they were downsizing some of their collection. So I made a visit to their History/Genealogy library to see what they had. I was determined to find some good items and bring them back to share and hopefully place in our local library for visiting genealogists to use. I wanted our local Genealogy Society to have use of them for a short while before they went to the library for a permanent home. Much of it was historical accounts/genealogy records from other states that covered local items such as church records, marriage records, etc.
My latest find was a short little booklet of a diary of a Surveyor traveling down the Ohio River in 1774 by Thomas Hanson. This brought to mind several of my ancestors. My Conners were surveyors when they moved into Kentucky territory. Traveling down the river is how many of our ancestors traveled especially when the forests in the wilderness was so dense that daylight hardly made it to the ground. I had even previously found an account written by a neighbor of my Booths that described the lower part of Indiana just this way. I just knew my John Booth had seen the same sight! For a short minute I found a way to make a personal connection to him.
My Samuel Stalnaker is mentioned in another historical account as having inhabited wilderness areas in southern Virginia. The accounts are made by travelers in the wilderness that came upon Stalnaker's cabin. It is a short mention of him, but at least it is a glimpse into his life. I guess what I'm seeking is to somehow make a connection to my ancestors that lived so long ago. After all their blood runs through my veins. I want that personal connection more so than just a cold DNA relationship.