Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Like a Gigantic Puzzle

Way back, last April, I was in touch with a Researcher who said he might be spending some time in Washington DC. Oh, be still my heart.

We chatted about the possibility of his going to the National Archives, and yes, that was a distinct possibility. I can think of only three things on the face of this earth that could get my heart pumping as hard and as fast as a runaway freight train. One of them would be a peek at the National Archives civil war files. (The taste of premier chocolate would be another, and the last would be… well, a lady has to have some secrets!)

I started to make a list of men whom I thought were “ours” based on information I compiled from’s civil war databases. Then, because I thought it would be useful, I started adding units and companies. After that, I thought it might be good to know when they enlisted and when they mustered out. Additionally, because the compiled military files listed the birthplace of each soldier, I highlighted those whose birthdates (after adding their ages at time of enlistment) fell before the move to Ohio. (I was hoping to firm up the Louisa County connection.)

By this time, I was well on my way to having a very large, very detailed Excel spreadsheet (because my brain tends to think in spreadsheet format, probably a result of my having been a business major). By that time, sad to say, the opportunity of getting a second hand look at the National Archive’s files had come and gone. Big sigh…

However, from time to time, I would continue working on the database. I added spouses, pension filing dates, parents (or probable parents), and physical descriptions when available. It is an ongoing work. The thing about working with all this data in so much detail, it tends to give you a better grasp on what you know, what you think you know, and what you would like to know.

Though the holidays will keep me busy, I hope to find some time to write a few posts based on this spreadsheet, as well as my making reference to the map I included for my post about the Color Line, and the post about The Vinton County Group.

I believe that in order to find answers to my own ancestral heritage, I need to look beyond my own specific lineage to that of the entire group. How were they all related? Did they really come from Louisa County? Are there any records left that will give us a clue to their true heritage?

It’s a bit like working a gigantic puzzle - A puzzle that came without a picture of how it looks when finished - A puzzle where some of the pieces have been lost - A puzzle, with a little luck and much perseverance, I’d like very much to complete.

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