Monday, July 8, 2013

I’m Still A Green Dot Bastard

Green Dots in 1992

As has been made evident in the past week or so, I am actively working on my family tree. I have been working off and on for about a couple years now and I am glad every day that I started on this project. With that in mind, there are some days/weeks/months that I want to pull my hair out and I have had to take breaks here and there on the research side but, overall, it has been satisfying to see the colors being filled in on many of the leaves.

When it comes to genealogy, everyone has gaps and mysteries in their family tree and mine is no different. They are the most frustrating and rewarding aspects of this kind of personal research. You can spend days trying to answer one question and not find a darn thing. However, when you find that missing piece of the puzzle buried deep in the pages of a book or in the far corner of a database it is an amazing experience.

Sometimes you just have to collect all the records, all the facts, lay them out in front of you and figure out how everything works together. This was the case when I had to put my mind to work and figure out where the third generation came from in my family. Who was Jacob Teaford’s (III) mother?

My earliest memories of learning about my family history go back to the Teaford family reunion in 1987. This is not your usual family reunion as this encompasses all branches of the tree. Anyone who can trace back to the original ancestor that came to the colonies on 27 October 1764 is welcome. Each of the six branches was assigned a colored dot on their name tag which also contained the numbered lineage below their name… I was a green dot with a question mark making us all green dot bastards.

With greater access to records in the digital age (most notably through ancestry.com) I have been pulling bits and pieces together to add to the hard copies of other, more obscure documents, which sit in a binder on my shelf. Combined with the work of previous generations and the smaller items I have been able to find I finally came up with a plausible scenario… I think I figured out the mystery. Based on the evidence, most notably minor sections in court documents, it seems likely that Jacob number three was born out of wedlock and cared for by his father and grandparents. So, we’re still bastards but at least I am comfortable in eliminating the question mark.

Of course, this was only the first of many questions that are throughout my tree and, sometimes, I wish I was still working on the first. There are many gaps in the digitization of records and I am nearing the end of the line when it comes to the information that is available online. I guess it’s time to put some miles on the car and get some dust on my hands. Who’s up for a road trip?

What mysteries are in your family tree? What questions have you been able to answer? What tips do you have when it comes to finding the facts?