I turned 40 years old last week. To celebrate this milestone birthday, I decided that I would spend some time that day doing what I love, researching my family history. I chose to spend my birthday morning at the University of Arkansas library reading some books that have been on my list for a while now. I arrived at the library a little after 7 am. It was so quiet and peaceful since it was early. I loved being back on campus. Anytime I’m back on campus, I am always filled with memories of my college days. This particular morning, I was in search of four books, A.C. Pickett’s Private Journal of the US Mexican War, M. Belinda Tucker and Claudia Mitchell-Kernan’s The Decline in African-Americans Marriages, George E. Lankford’s Bearing Witness: Memories of Arkansas Slavery, and Randy Finley’s From Slavery to Uncertain Freedom: the Records of the Freedmen Bureau of Arkansas.
I decided to start with A.C. Pickett’s Private Journal of the US Mexican War. A.C. Pickett is the brother of W.H Pickett. W.H. Pickett is the man who owned my 3X great-grandfather, Robert Hatchett. I was hoping this journal of A.C. Pickett’s would have some information about his family and his slaves. The beginning of the book did discuss his family but not his slaves and other property. I wasn’t learning any new information about the Pickett family after I read the first couple of chapters. So I then read the acknowledgments and saw that most of the people the author thanked were from Arkansas. I then wondered was the author from Arkansas as well? So I googled the author’s name and the book title. In one of the search results was the publishing company’s contact information. So I emailed them to explain about my 3X great-grandfather, Robert Hatchett, and his relationship to the Pickett family. I also explained that I have been researching my family history and wanted to know if the author had come across any family documents that could assist me in researching my family.
After I sent my email, I went back to reading the other books from my list. So I picked up From Slavery to Uncertain Freedom next. I found this book by googling my 2X great grandfather’s name in Google Books. So I went to the index to see if I could find his name on a particular page. And there was his name on page 78, Peter Hatchett. He and his brothers were mentioned in records about living with a woman they weren’t married to at the time. I will have to do some more investigating to see what this particular situation is all about because the book didn’t go into what happened. But honestly, I love seeing my ancestor’s names in books, no matter what the reason. I wasn’t able to find any references to my family in the other two books that I had on my list. So, all in all, I had a wonderful birthday morning researching my family history.
Celebrating turning 40 wasn’t the only milestone that has happened. I realized that my last blog post was #20. I believe in celebrating all milestones, and this one is especially big for me because although I have aspirations to write about my genealogy journey, I never knew exactly where or how to start. I started this blog with no real experience in writing or telling stories, and I had very little confidence in my writing skills. Writing this blog is still hard for me, but it is getting easier. The more I write about this journey, the more I want to talk about it to other people. This blog is not only helping my writing skills, but it is also helping me to be less introverted about this journey. I can’t wait to see what blog post #40 will be about. And this is why my journey continues….
Click HERE to read blog #40
Click HERE to read blog #100