NOTE: I accepted the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks challenge headed by fellow genealogy blogger Amy Johnson Crow in January 2019. The idea behind this challenge is that you will receive email prompts, a word or phrase, every week, and you find something about your research or family history to write about. I write in a journal about all the prompts, but I blog about at least one prompt a month. Click HERE to read about how I have incorporated this challenge in my blogging.
When I saw this week’s prompt, ‘At Worship’, I didn’t know what I would write about. Church has always been an important part of my life and my family. I could easily write about the two churches of my youth, St. Paul AME Church and Morning Star Baptist Church. I could write about finding my way and my church as an adult, St. James Baptist Church. But I decided to write about the church I have been researching, Mount Pisgah Baptist Church in Patterson, Arkansas.
This is the church of my great grandfather, Oscar Wright. I haven’t really consistently researched him during this journey. I did a 30X30 challenge that was devoted to researching him at least 30 minutes for 30 days at the beginning of the year. It was then that I looked at some information from a family reunion that listed his church as Mt. Pisgah. Not only was this his church, but according to my cousin, he was a founding member. So I looked up the church online and found that the church was still held regular Sunday services. I found the address and decided to write a letter to the pastor or his secretary explaining my research and to see if there were any records on the founding of the church.
After writing two letters and getting no response, I was venting to my husband about it and he suggested that I use Google Maps and Google Earth to ensure I had the correct address and Facebook to help find some members that could help. By using Google Maps not only was I able to verify that I had the correct address, and I was also able to see the what the church looked like and see the church sign that had the pastor’s name on it. Then I was able to not only look up the church on Facebook but the pastor as well.
A few days later I received a phone call from the church secretary. He told me that he had received my letters but unfortunately, there were no records from that far back due to a fire in the original building. I then asked if there was any information about the founders in any church anniversary programs. He said he didn’t think so, but would ask around to some of the members. That was in February of this year. I haven’t heard back from him, but I haven’t called him either. There’s a part of me that feels like I’m always bothering people asking for help and information when they aren’t as invested in my research as I am. So maybe my next step is to actually go to Patterson and attend church and ask some questions in person. A genealogy road trip sounds like fun. And this is how my journey will continue…