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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Inner Self

Deeds often reflect that boundaries of a new land grant were "vacant"
The natural state of a genealogist is trying to find answers to names, places and timelines even though they may be deeply embedded in the past. Somewhere.  The key is to find specific dates and locations of the travels of the ancestor. And, of course, why did he move about so frequently?  To discover some of these answers, we must look to ourselves, to our own inward desires and ambitions.  We move about for a reason. During the modern age it is for a employment, family, health, and even regional climate temperatures and aesthetic locations.  In past days, people also migrated for better opportunities, except that their search was primarily agricultural, in need of rich soils. Expanding families along the eastern seaboard of the United States outgrew the land and needed to move on. The incentives were land grants for veterans of wars and lotteries dispersing tribal territories. This is how the country the Indians were pushed further westward.  The question, then, is not only "where was the family in 1850?" but also "which direction was everyone moving?" and "why?"  Actually, it is a series of historical questions. A state-by-state analysis of the histories for specific eras will help to produce answers.  There is so much that the historian still does not know!  That is because the meat of history is not taught in schools.  We must dig into the small details, observe that various religious congregations frequently settled together, then moved on.  The Puritans, Quakers, Lutherans and Mormons were all in search of religious freedom.  Also, family members seemed to trickle a trail from the original family seat southward.  When someone found a suitable settlement, other family members trickled in.  This is why it is important to thoroughly research all of the families with the same surname, to compare the migratory pattern to determine relationships. This is important.  The detail lies in the land grants, lotteries, tax digests, and court house records such as wills, estates, deeds, marriages, etc.  Given the circumstances of your ancestors, what would you do?

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