If you follow my twitter account, you already know that I am planning a vacation to Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia and the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Of course these are great locations for any trip, but I think they are especially fantastic for any history enthusiast or genealogist (or “nerd”!). I have been to both sites once on a family vacation around 15 years ago, and I loved it, but I was around 12, so of course I couldn’t fully grasp the magnitude of the historical sites I was taking in.
My husband and I are thinking of going around the end of May, which means I have about 2 months to accomplish my research goals before we set out on our journey.
I know that I can trace some of my family to both Virginia and North Carolina. What I would love to be able to do is either locate the grave sites, former homes, or other significant places of those ancestors so that I can see them and take some photos for my records. Obviously, I won’t go hours out of our way to take a shot of a headstone (that wouldn’t be a fun trip for my husband!), but if I can locate something fairly “on our way,” then that would be amazing.
Here is where it gets a little tricky: I don’t know where many of these particular ancestors are buried, and I have few records for my colonial ancestors. Find a Grave is a great resource, but it only has so many graves indexed and often very old graves are hard to read.
Luckily, only a few of my surnames are possible matches for the areas we are going to, so that does narrow it down a bit. My research will be focuses primarily on:
- William S. Daugherty (1867-1935 Indiana), my great-great grandfather’s family. It appears most of his entire line, through his great-great grandparents were either from Virginia or resided/died there.
- Hardy Horn (1838,North Carolina-1900, Indiana), my 3x great grandfather’s family. He fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War. Almost every one of his ancestors were from North Carolina or Virginia.
- Elias Simpson Bowden (1793 North Carolina-1881 Tennessee), my 4x great grandfather’s family. It looks like almost all of his family was from North Carolina/Virginia (some I have tentatively marked down as far back as 1699!) I believe he is a veteran of the War of 1812.
- Clark Franklin (1803 either Virginia or Tennessee-1880, Indiana). I know that the Franklin side has been in America for a very long time, and have a strong hunch they have roots in Virginia/New England. This is one of my brick walls.
I know this seems like I bit off more than I can chew, but I am really looking forward to giving my research some focus.
In college, my major was history and I focused primarily on American colonial history, so this trip is really exciting for me. Even if I don’t uncover anything particular to my family, it will be neat just to experience some of that history in person again, now as an adult.
Have you ever taken a trip for family history or genealogy? How did you prepare? Do you have suggestions of “must see” sites or activities in the Outer Banks or Colonial Williamsburg?