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Thursday, October 2, 2014

If you know the history of any given area, you can find the ancestors!

Battle of New Hope Church : Battlefield
Genealogists learn about history via tracing ancestors.  Wars, diseases, plagues, railroads, ferries, even horse racing are some things to consider.  From wars you get pension records which provide some pretty good details about the fighting as well as the soldier's origin, like birth, marriage, even names of children.  Cemeteries are laced with children who died from childhood diseases.  Next time that you visit one and you see lots of people dying during the same period, this means contagious things, like whooping cough, measles, polio and fevers were spreading throughout the community. I have seen graves of whole families, all who died within weeks of one another.  When search during the 1400s and 1500s, there is one stark reality: the black plague wiped out 1/3rd of Europe.  And, the Hundred Years' War was in full flame.  Ferry crossings were used extensively to transport people across the river into another area.  There were a number of ferries along the Savannah River which took people into the thriving town of Edgefield.  Horse racing was a popular sport, particularly in Virginia and the gentlemen did not object to traveling long distances to meet friends and relatives, and make their wagers. These are just some of the elements which comprise the study of the movement of families. Of course, old deed records (in the description of the land) find other relatives and neighbors.  A neighboring farm meant friends to attend church with, bartering, sharing crops and marriages.  The location of old cemeteries was generic to the location of the church and the community itself.  But things were going on.  The economy was built by local plantations and sons went to war.  The Battle of New Hope Church in Paulding County was the hottest battle in Georgia. It included the entire region of that church and it is said that more blood was shed there than anywhere else.  When Sherman came through North Georgia, everyone was on their feet fighting.  There was a steep hill near the church, and a skirmish was fought there, with soldiers lying on their bellies. What I am trying to say here is that past history enveloped your ancestors and affected what they did next.  Therefore ....if you know the history of any given area, you can find the ancestors!

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