I’ve been watching Finding Your Roots with Dr. Henry Lewis Gates Jr. for years. I’ve dreamed of having a professional study out my family tree, and bring me the results. I would laugh and cry. It would be an amazing day. I went so far as to write to the show and ask them to choose me for one of their episodes. I received a lovely rejection letter and started my 9 monthly investigations into the family. I think that I’ve learned all of the exciting nuggets that a professional could have found in a week. I’ve enjoyed the journey into the past so much that I am continuing this journey. Here’s how it all began:
Last Christmas, I gave myself the gift of history. I took the Ancestry.com DNA test to learn more about my family. I was surprised in a few areas. My cousin Jean had hinted that the Bullard line might have originated in France with the DeBoulard line. There was no proof of that in the bloodline.
I have always known about the ties to the Christian ministry, There are deacons and reverends galore. I was happily surprised to see doctors and lawyers also in the family. I was saddened to see many connections to the Salem Witch hunts both with the accusers and those accused. Our relative *** was the first person to be burned at the stake in the Salem Witch Trials.
For years I’ve known about George Soule (on the Bullard side) who came over on the Mayflower, but I also learned of the following people who made their way to the American Colonies:
Richard Gardiner, a seaman on the Mayflower. He is on the Gray side of the family. I wonder if the Soules and the Gardiners were friends? They must have known each other. Then 300 years later, the families join.
There are some Knights, Lords, Ladies and some Sherrifs as well. It all adds to the interest of the family history. We are all related so someone interesting. We just have to take the time and find the stories. The Spencers of Scofsdale ***
There are many stories that have been lost because no one took the time to sit, listen and learn. I’m thankful for the stories that I do have. In July I’ll spend some time in the New Salem Historical Society, looking at artifacts that the Bullards donated to the museum. My grandmother and two of her sisters were all married in the same ceremony. This has been known as The Triple Wedding of 1951. I’ll also take some time to look at the graves of my ancestors. I plan on passing on a multitude of stories in book form to my children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
To tell you the truth, I’ve learned more from my own research than I could have from being handed a beautiful report from Henry Gates and his experts. I have a certain amount of pride from my discoveries and my journey will continue. Perhaps one day I’ll hire an expert to see just how accurate my work is. Until that day, I’ll keep carefully studying, and wondering… Thank you Dr. Gates for the nicest rejection letter. You motivated me to take my own journey into my ancestors’ past.