Sometime after the Civil War, my great-great-grandparents, Pleasant and Eunice, and his parents, George and Delilah, posed for formal photographic portraits in North Carolina. I was told we had a set in Ohio but have never been able to land a copy and their whereabouts are now mysterious.
Thanks to Hank Hodgin, whose line had copies of our common ancestral generation, you can view George and Delilah in an earlier posting, but I’d still like to see the other (younger) half of the set.
I do remember, though, hearing that my great-uncle Samuel Hodson used to have all four portraits displayed in his house, and later, after learning that my grandparents were married in a parlor ceremony there, I took a second look at their wedding photos. Here, behind one of the guests, Pleasant and Eunice look on.
As this Orphan George blog illustrates, my interest in genealogy goes far beyond any chart of names and dates. I want a story of their lives, an understanding of their passions and perceived purpose. Maybe I even want my ancestors – or at least some of them – to somehow speak to me, today. And maybe they have, in part through distant relatives who’ve become part of the project.
My interest in family roots came rather late – my mid-30s – and then by way of two unexpected facts related second-hand from a family reunion. The first was that our common ancestor had come from North Carolina (I’d long thought straight west from Pennsylvania – at least Yankee, nothing Southern) and second, more crucial, that the family had been Quaker, rather than the Wesleyan-based Evangelical United Brethren all of us seemed to attend through my formative years. All along I’d thought we were simply homogenized Midwestern American – a culture I largely rejected in a loop that had led me, by way of hippie-era yoga, to independently worship with the Society of Friends, or Quakers, starting in my late 20s. In my evolving Quaker practice, I’d heard mention of the family records the denomination had traditionally recorded and, after inquiring about them and being handed one very fat published directory, I plunged into my first index to some of those minutes – one of the six volumes of William Wade Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy. My quest had begun. As you’ll find in my postings, though, my particular ancestry had its own twists; my direct line may have lived and worshiped within the Quaker culture, but we weren’t always members. Not officially, where we would have been recorded. We were in the informal shadow. What Hinshaw definitely did for me came in his opening a full range of questions I needed to explore.
Since you’re already reading this on a genealogy blog, I’ll assume you have a similar story to relate. Just what piqued your interest? How much had already been gathered when you began your research? How have you gone about working the puzzle?