Saturday, June 20, 2009

Researching This Clan

First, you will notice, I left off midstream, in a discussion about the children of Frances and Nicholas Thacker. Mary Francis, their daughter, was the chief culprit. I suddenly realized that I didn’t know if I had her death record, or possibly the death record of her sister-in-law. So, while pausing to decide how best to resolve this little quandary, I continued my research of the Thacker clan – off line.

I still haven’t solved the Mary/Mary riddle yet, but I missed writing about the Thacker clan, so I’ve decided to drop into this blog, and update some of my discoveries, and my thoughts.

I have been struggling to decide whether to make this into a private blog, so that I can use it to reflect my thoughts on my search. When the subject of mixed race comes up, and you have the audacity to write about it, there are going to be some people who are unhappy about what you write. Some of those people you don’t want to offend. Some of those people you don’t want to make unhappy, and let’s face it, if you are a people pleaser like me, you don’t like ANY people not liking you because of something you have written.

In the past, I tried to pull my punches, for all of those people mentioned above. It made me sound like some kind of wishy-washy nut, which for all I know, I may very well be – a wishy-washy nut. It also made me sound like I was obsessed with the whole racial aspects of this branch of the family. Which I am – guilty, guilty, guilty.

There are a number of reasons why, the race of this family fascinates me.

1. First, it came as a complete surprise that I do not descend solely from good ole white European stock. What if you suddenly found out that you were, I don’t know, adopted. Wouldn’t you suddenly be obsessed with finding out more? That is what this revelation has been like for me.

2. For the Thacker’s and their clan, their mixed race identity played a significant role in their lives – it shaped them in ways that I cannot fathom - who they were, who they became and how they saw themselves. I am an unforeseen consequence of all these machinations. How could this not matter to me?

3. Separate from my own personal stake, I think they were a cultural oddity that deserves to be studied. If race shaped the lives of the 19th century man, what of a group of individuals who traipsed back and forth across the color line? Sometimes listed as white, sometimes listed as free colored – with the letters “w,” “b” and “m” changing beside their name. Did they ever feel like they belonged?

4. Finally, perhaps the most potent reason of all, this is a mystery. Their racial background is an unresolved question. Tantalizing tales exist to explain how, after several centuries of prohibited miscegenation, these people managed to exist.

I am hopelessly attracted to this puzzle of a family in much the same way an errant piece of steel is attracted to a large magnet. Having come too close, I am irresistibly drawn to its core. '

For now, I will continue to keep this public. My hope is that I, along with other family researchers, can put together the pieces of this family puzzle, so that we may better understand how each of us came to be.


Becky said...

Terry, I'm glad that you have decided to keep the blog public. I enjoy reading about your quest and if the blog wasn't public I wouldn't be able to follow along! Also, you never know who might read it and have just "that bit" of information that helps you.

I was going to suggest that you enable comment moderation, but I see you've already done that. You don't have to publish all comments so if someone is too harsh or foul mouthed, it's your prerogative to not publish it. I suppose, if you get too many weirdo comments you could turn off comments altogether.

You might also set up a separate gmail account for this blog and use that for contact purposes for this blog only...

JamaGenie said...

Yes, DO keep this public because as Becky said, the person with the missing piece of the puzzle just might see it.

Also, same as Becky, how can those of us as fascinated as you are with this mystery follow along if it's private? But the separate email address would be a smart move.

Renate said...

Hi, Terry. I just happened upon your blog and I must say I'm definitely intrigued. I have a lot of thoughts swimming through my mind right now, but having only read this initial post, I won't say much more. The one thing I want you to know though, is that the feelings you've expressed, and the work that you are up against is now like that the African-American researcher. I applaud you for publicly acknowledging your discovery of your family's past, and I look forward to catching up on your blog and following your research.

Karen said...

Hello Terry,
I am a descendant of the Thackers of GA,NC,and TN. I strongly suspect that my gg grandfather was a slave in North or South Carolina. Would you like to compare notes to see if we are related?


Absolutely, Karen. I will look forward to connecting with you. You can reach me at

I don't remember to look at this email very often, but for the next week or so, I will check daily. My first question is, how far back are you able to research your Thackers. I can safely go back to Nicholas Thacker's birth about 1818 in Louisa County, Virginia. I strongly suspect he is David Thacker and Sally Lemay's son. Which gets me back to 1790.

Terry Snyder

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