Saturday, April 26, 2008

Genealogy has it's roots

I'm not sure why Genealogy or family history research is so attractive to us. In almost every family there is someone who does it or did it. I will try to use this blog to share some of the research about my family connections. I may not change the names because it is way too confusing to keep all the relatives straight as it is, to try and keep up with made up names.

Many of my relatives who did genealogy research are no longer around. An uncle on my father's side, an aunt on my wife's. They did it by visiting cemeteries and Courthouse basements trying to locate records of a lost ancestor.

One of our goals in genealogy research is to locate graves of ancestors. One of my memorable experiences was to locate the grave of my Great Grandfather, Andrew Jackson Green who died January 9, 1911. Andrew was born in Coffee County Georgia on February 10, 1855 and moved to Taylor County Florida with his father before 1860. Andrew's father died young and Andrew had heart problems that caused him to move his family to Lowndes County Georgia around 1910 to be closer to relatives. He soon died and after the funeral the family moved back to Taylor County Florida.

The family story was that Andrew had been buried in Georgia but none of the family knew exactly where. He had 13 children and the three youngest daughters were still at home when he died. The daughters, who to me were always called "the aunts" as if they were one person (another story for the future) said he was buried in Lovett, Georgia. As I researched the family this was confusing since it was a pretty good distance from where they were living. None of the family ever visited his grave and I guess it was not a high priority for folks who were living in a rural Southern community in the early 1900s.

In 2001 I was using a search engine with some family names and came up with a hit on Andrew J Green. It was a pretty common name for the mid 1800s so I was amazed to discover the web page had a list of graves at a small cemetery in Madison County Florida and the Andrew J Green was in fact my Great Grandfather. Growing up in nearby Tallahassee, I had driven by this place dozens of times and never had any idea my ancestor was buried there. I contacted a relative who lives in Perry, Florida about 50 miles away and he went by and took a photo of the marker for me. My curiosity about my Great Grandfather's resting place continued and eventually I discovered this part of Madison County Florida had at one time been called Lovett. So "the aunts" whichever one it was, were close. They had the name of the community just the wrong State.

The first time I visited the grave myself was in 2004, three years after I first found the location. My daughter was going to college in Tallahassee and after getting her moved into the dorm I drove over to find it. The Concord Missionary Baptist Church cemetery is about ten miles off the highway in a small farming community. I still don't know why he was buried in this cemetery. I don't know of any connection to the church or anyone else who is buried there. Andrew's grave is by itself, the only one in the plot. Maybe one day I will figure out how he ended up there but for now will have to just be happy to have found him.

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