Motivation Monday

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?

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4 thoughts on “Motivation Monday

  1. First of all, it sounds like a great trip!! Second, set yourself up as navigator, then you can assure that none of the stops you need to take are “out of the way”. Sneaky, but within the rules. Third, don’t forget that in the earlier periods you are talking about, parts of “Virginia” are now part West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The family’s you mentioned should give you plenty of choices to find some on which you can focus.

  2. Ha ha, I love that! Very sneaky 😉 And that’s a good point. In fact, several of the counties I know that some of them lived in (such as Nansemond county in Virginia) no longer exist. Just adds another element of challenge to the adventure, I suppose 🙂

  3. I LOVE colonial Williamsburg! I can (and did) spend hours there without realizing the time is passing but I am also a history major who focused on colonial America. You’ll have a great trip! I recently went to Salt Lake City for a genealogy vacation and I prepared before hand by making sure I narrowed down who I’d look for and tried to keep a goal in mind of what I was hoping to have answered. I recommend seeing what archives or genealogical societies are in the area and what records are available for you to search. It sounds like a good time!

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