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 first saw this week’s prompt, I didn’t know what I wanted to write about because honestly researching your family history is hard. This journey hasn’t been easy for me for various reasons, and in some ways the longer I research the harder it gets. But then I thought of an evening spent with family changed my research for the better. Easy for me was when I hit the genealogy jackpot one Saturday back in July 2015.
I remember it like it was yesterday. I had planned a trip to Little Rock for my first genealogy workshop at the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies. Little did I know when I had planned this trip weeks prior that I would come home with so much family history information. The workshop was wonderful. It was my first time learning about Lisa Louise Cooke and Genealogy Gems, her newsletter, and podcast. So all in all I was happy with what I had learned about and knew that I would be able to further my research with the techniques I had learned. The workshop had ended, so I thought I was done with family history for the weekend.
Once the workshop was over, I picked up my mom, and went by my brother’s house. Then my mom, my brother and his family, and I went to my Aunt Ninnie’s house. My mom’s sister, Aunt Lela, was visiting from Michigan with her daughter, so it was like a mini family reunion. My mom was telling everyone that I was researching our family history and had attended a genealogy workshop that afternoon. It was then that my cousin Patsy said that I needed to talk with a friend of the family, Kenny, because he had given Aunt Ninnie some family history information. He was at the house too, so I explained that I was researching and some of the things I had discovered. He said he would email me what he had. Now I was expecting a pedigree chart, some death certificates, or some family photos. But I was totally shocked when I looked at the email on my phone just minutes later to discover it was a 124 page document with eight generations of my mom’s paternal line written out in a word document. I couldn’t wait to get home a print it.
The first page of what I now call my Hatchett Book is titled the descendants of Sally Hatchett. I had never heard of Sally Hatchett before, so I was so excited to have some new ancestors to learn more about. My Hatchett Book gave me vital statistics, births, marriages, and deaths, but it also gave me some additional information on some of my ancestors as well. This is how I learned who my ancestor’s slave holder was and how my ancestors were emancipated from slavery. This document is how I learned about my family’s connection to the founding of Mt. Zion Baptist church in Jackson county Arkansas. I was able to learn about their migration from Alabama to Arkansas in 1860. I even found my name in the seventh generation section.
In my nine years of research, this was my easiest research efforts, because all I did was provide Kenny with my email address and open the document he sent me. This easy research has allowed me to become a part of a national lineage society, the Sons and Daughters of the US Middle Passage. This easy research has allowed me to add many generations to my family tree. This easy research gave me the confidence to start sharing my research with family and asking for help. This easy research has allowed me to be able to share family history during family reunions. This easy research has started an oral tradition in our family that we never had before. This easy research was something that wasn’t planned or sought after. I had no idea this document even existed. This easy research always reminds that genealogy and family history research, as hard as it can be sometimes, can also show up out of the blue when you least expect it. And this is why my journey continues…
To read more about my research of my mom’s paternal side click HERE
To read about more of my family history discoveries that weekend click HERE
To read more about my Sons and Daughters of the US Middle Passage membership click HERE
To read more about my interview with Lisa Louise Cooke of Genealogy Gems at RootsTech click HERE