Wednesday, September 29, 2010

This is my story about discovering my family history in Knox County, Ohio and people who helped me succeed. I am forever in the debt of the local main librarian, the two professors who put together "The Community Within" and my ancestors.

I went to the county of my great grandfather's birth and to the small library in that place to ask about the family. I was following up on clues I learned while doing research in California. When the group of family members I took along for the ride to the small town arrived, we took a tour of the family plot and spent time in the library looking through every piece of material they had in their collection. I should say that I wrote this library and asked if they had any information on the family. It was amazing that they found three obituaries for my great great grandfather. I am trying to understand a little bit about the day to day of their lives. While in the library, the wonderful person who works in the genealogy department came in while I was looking through the many many books about the people of this place. I didn't see much. She put a booklet in front of my person. It was yellow and had very handsomely dressed woman on the cover sitting next to a child. I didn't think too much of it and flipped through the pages looking for evidence of them being there. Before I arrived in the hamlet, I knew that that lived here because of my great great grandfather's purchased the place they called home and again the family plot in the cemetery. I couldn't find any information in the booklet so I put it down a little disappointed. The group of family members I arrived with put ourselves in my aunt's van and drove down the street to find the address of ancestor. Again I did some home or ground work prior to this trip. I knew his address after looking through city directories for late 1800s and early 1900s. I along with a few and current members of my family drove by and stopped in front of the building with the address I had come to know in legal documents. I couldn't believe that there was a building there. The house (in my eager eyes) looked old enough but it could have been rebuilt or built over. They were wowed! I think they started to believe the story I told them as the story began to unravel. Driving away from this information was difficult because after seeing that physical structure I wanted and needed to know more. I think the my traveling partners grew tired so driving away from this was in the cards.

I returned home to California and I had a surprise waiting in the post. The professor who had done a study of the blacks in the community sent me a copy of his work. It was the same work that the librarian placed on the table when I was in that place. The professor wrote a note explaining who was on the cover of his study. It was my great uncle Augustus' wife. I went all the way to Ohio, sat in the library, looked at this study, fail to realize who was on the cover and came all the way back to California just find out the name of the person on the cover. Whew!

Whether Augustus was on or off the stage, he was eldest son of my great great grandfather. Gus was born circa 1881. Uncle Gus, his father, my grandfather and several cousins share Henry as a middle name. My grandfather and I share my great great grandfather's full name.

Yesterday, I sent a query to Professor Sacks He is the same professor who I ten years ago sent a query via the Internet. He sent "Discovering African-American History" and told me to stay in contact.

I am still so overwhelmed by finding this information.

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