As our family’s historians we turn the pages of old books in libraries, walk through almost forgotten cemeteries and scroll down long lists of names on websites. We take notes on index cards or notebooks or laptops. Our knowledge slowly grows one name, one fact at a time.
Do YOU still get excited or is your research just the usual routine? When I first learned I could find out information about my family I was very excited. I shared my discoveries with my family, my friends, with anyone who was unfortunate enough to sit beside me. (Ha!) I was excited and I wanted to share that excitement. Are you still that excited about your discoveries?
I recently decided to focus my research on the First US Census. This was the very FIRST US Census, approved on 1 March 1790 to count our early inhabitants for the purposes of taxing each state and paying off the expenses related to the Revolutionary War. On the first Monday in August the US Marshals mounted their horses and started on their nine-month task. The marshals and their assistants traveled through every county, town and city in the new country. I can picture those men on foot or horseback crossing streams and mountains, following earthen paths and avoiding dangerous animals to seek out the strong, independent early settlers of our country. The census takers were educated men who could read and write. They were organized and resourceful.
Did those early census takers walk into the home of your ancestors? In Jones County, North Carolina they walked into a home on the north side of the Trent River on the Black Swamp. It was the home of Edward Brown, my fifth great grandfather. He was sixty years old and had seven other people in his household.
That excites me. Those first census takers, who were sent out across our country by our founding fathers stepped into the home of my 5th great grandfather, sat down on a chair or a bench and spoke to the man whose surname I share. Two hundred and twenty-eight years later, I am excited that my family has a little connection to history!
I will continue to go through my list of ancestors to find others who were visited by those first census takers. And as I learn those names I will share. Be careful if you plan to sit down next to me.
What excites YOU about your research?