Friday, June 25, 2010

Armchair genealogy can take you only so far

This blog is FMI--for my information. I am tracking down several lines and there are road blocks for every one of them. That is the reason why I am tracing so many lines at once. I would get so discouraged (I still get frustrated) if I was tracing only one line and kept bumping up against those blocks. By doing several at the same time, I make incremental progress and it keeps me going.

These are the mysteries I am working on. I have the most detailed information on the Koonce line. I can trace it back to our patriarch Solomon who was born in the Carolinas around 1826, possibly as early as 1822. I wish I could go back farther. My second wish is to find out more about Amy, the mother of his first set of children.

My great great grandfather is supposedly Charles Festherston of Dyer, Tennessee. I would like to trace that line back to England. Goodspeed says his people are from there but I can only trace the line back to another Charles Featherstone, born in the early 1700's in Virginia and who died around 1790. There is a will probated in Brunswick County, Virginia. After that, there is only uncorroborated data.

I wish I could figure out why the Cottens changed their name. If I could do that, maybe I could locate my great great grandfather Napoleon's siblings. It could also help me locate their Mississippi slave owner.

The same goes for the Warrens in Tennessee. I am 75% sure that the Warrens had another surname right after the emancipation of 1863. I can only locate them from 1900 on.

There are more mysteries popping up as I continue researching but these are the ones I am concentrating on. I keep hoping when I come back from a hiatus that the information will be easier to locate but this armchair genealogy research can only take you so far. That's why my biggest wish is to have all the time and money it takes to do nothing but concentrate on this research. Genie, did you hear that?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Back to the Drawing Board

Sometimes it's good to get away from genealogy. When you come back, you have fresh eyes.

I'm doing that with my Featherston line. In the past, I was quick to accept documentation from others that did the work. That was not always the correct choice because much of the information was wrong or not collaborated.

For example, I am trying to trace the Featherstons back to England. I have good sources for tracing my great great grandfather Charles R. Featherston back as far as 1790. His father was William J. Featherston Sr. William's father was Carolus Featherston of Virginia who died in Franklin County, Kentucky. There is a will as well as other sources. Carolus father was Charles Featherston of Charles City, Virginia. He left a will in Brunswick County that was probated in January 1790. That's where the line gets squiggly. There are so many Charles and William Featherstones that the lines need detangling like Christmas tree lights. To make matters worse, one Featherston family named two of the sons William so there's a William the elder and William the younger.

When I look on or family search, the lines are not distinguished from each other. It makes a big difference. So my family may or may not have come from Warwickwshire, England. So it's back to the drawing board for much of my information.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Yeomen Featherstones

Slowly I'm getting back into the groove. This obsession won't ever let me completely quit.
I began researching more on the Featherstones since visiting the castle and town. Looking on, I was able to trace the line back to 1428 in Warwickshire, England. The thing is, Warwickshire is not very close to Featherstone. Featherstone is farther north near the Scottish border. Warwickshire is south near Stratford-on-Avon.( It's kind of exciting to think that my ancestors may have known Shakespeare.) The Featherstones were yeomen. If I understand the title, yeomans were medieval middle class. The Featherstones of the castle were noblemen. They were first mentioned in the 13th century. Sounds like I have some more researching to do.

Visiting the area does make it feel more real. Maybe next time I will visit some of the genealogical sources and libraries.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Brick walls

I finally watched Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" yesterday. I had seen snippets before and was already in awe of the late professor. Now I am inspired to come out of my lethargy and achieve my dreams.

I only had one childhood dream--to be an author. I wrote my first play when I was nine. It was an Easter play that they put on in my 4th grade class. I can't remember if it was any good just that I did it. I started a novel when I was 11. I remember the title--"The Devil and the Joneses." I never finished it. I use to create family newspapers during that time complete with a comic strip. Since that time I have written professionally off and on and finally self-published my family history. But I feel that I have stop short of actually reaching that dream.

Now I have another dream, a grown-up one. I want to go as far back as I can go on as many lines of my ancestors as I can and to chronicle it so that my family and other interested people can profit from my research.

And I can't let the brick walls stop me. Pausch said in the video, "Brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to show how badly we want something." To me that also means that brick walls are not insurmountable. They can be conquered. It may take years. It may take someone else taking up the gauntlet. But they must be scaled, torn down or whatever to get to the information.

So these are my goals--to become an author and to tear down those brick walls.