Friday, May 23, 2008

Finding a Black Sheep

Sometimes you just luck out and in this case I did. I was going through my 4G relatives searching for information but taking a different tact than I have so far. Up until this point, I have been going through one generation at a time finding out all I can about my ancestors before moving onto the next generation. It allows me to do things in an orderly manner so that I don't skip anything. This worked fine through my 3G grandparents is not well suited to earlier generations. The reason being is that earlier than 1850, Federal Census records only listed the name of the head of household and then just check marks for children or other dependents that fell into age ranges. It makes it almost impossible to guarantee that the person with the same name as your ancestor is actually your ancestor. But there is still other ways.

Back around the time Census records were filling in more information, it was common for people to write large volumes on family genealogy. Finding these volumes is easy but cost excessive amounts of money to obtain. A few volumes are in collections in libraries and a few are in online collections. In the particular case of the "Boggs" (not actual surname) family, I struck gold and found an online source that goes back to the time of my 9G grandfather John Boggs, one of the first settlers in this country. There is a lot of information there, some which I will probably write about in the future.

But a question arose as I was sifting through this that I decided to quickly look into. Was my ex-neighbor Paul Boggs part of this lineage and thus a distant cousin to me? If you remember, Paul was a family friend and neighbor who molested his daughter over a seven-year period and tore our community apart into lots of little pieces. Due to the request of his wife, our family and the entire community will no longer communicate with him. But the pieces of her family are shattered and are already showing up in the next generation and will perhaps continue to plague future generations. It is a horrible story to even think about.

So I pulled up a family tree of someone who had mapped out the various generations of the Boggs family from my 4G grandfather down, and sure enough, Paul's father is on that list meaning I am a distant cousin and my 4G grandfather Salmon is the closet shared relative. I suppose every family has some black sheep but that is one BLACK sheep to have. My main interest has been in finding my direct ancestors and not cousins so I will feel no guilt in not even connecting that link to my tree. What a small world.

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