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A few years ago, I took on the task of learning my family history. Besides a few stories I learned from my Grandma, I knew nothing. However, with the help of Ancestry and Family Search, I learned a wealth of information about both sides of my family.
The stories I learned from my Grandma were funny. I remember the time she told me about her mom, Sallie, beating up her dad, Wille (also known as Tinne). If Sallie was mad at Tinne, she would give him a few licks. To be on the safe side, Tinne, would side his Stetson hat in the front door. If the hat came back outside he knew he needed to let his wife cool down. If the hat did not come back outside, after a short period, he knew it was safe to come inside.
As mentioned above, I used Ancestry and Family Search, to do the bulk of my family research. I was also able to use obituaries I found in the local newspaper, The State. With the help of the two sites and the obituaries I was able to learn the names of parents, date of births, spouses and kids.
I am related to the Watts through my mom. My grandma was a Watts before she got married. I learned many things about this branch of my family tree. First thing I learned is about my two times Great-grandma Hannah (Tinne’s mom). Like most girls during her time, she was a teenage bride and had three kids before she was 20. Her older two kids came from her a previous relationship. Her older children were with my two times Great-grandfather Zellie. I am going to assume Hannah was a widow when she met Zellie.
I learned of Hannah’s story through the 1910 census records, courtesy of Ancestry.com. At the time of this census report Hannah and Zellie had been married for two year. Lela, her youngest from her previous relationship was two years old. This brings me to one question: Did Hannah and Zellie marriage one of convenience. She was a single mother with two kids and here comes Zellie saving her life.
Hannah’s story stands out to me because it is different from most young girls today. Many young girls are not married with three kids when they are 20. As a teenager, she was expected to raise a children and look at husband. Today, most 20 year old girls do not have to worry about being a wife and a mother.
Before I end this post, I would like to give one story. This story will be about Albert. Due to Family Search, I found the name of my four times great-grandfather, Albert (Tinne’s granddad). Through the census records, I was able to learn that Albert was born around 1825 and was illiterate. If Albert’s information is correct, he would have been born a slave (assuming again). As a person of color, it is cool to learn about someone born in that time period. Most persons of color could not tell you the name of one slave ancestor and I can.
In closing, I can go on and on about my family history. I have learned so much (and still learning) about my family history. I would encourage anybody to learn about your family history.