For many years, I have been interested in finding out about the people who came before my grandparents, who were the oldest relatives that I knew growing up, but I felt that my ability to find out more was stagnant, and after their deaths, so many questions went unanswered. I was intimidated because I didn’t think I had the time, money, or know-how to research my genealogy. It seemed like such a daunting task.
Of course, growing older has given me the confidence to finally begin my search, and growing older has a lot to do with the urgency of my interest. My curiosity has turned into an obsession to find out as much as possible about the people who are responsible for my existence. The first major discovery occurred by happenstance. For years, I’ve collected obituaries, and while I was going through my grandfather’s, I discovered the name of my paternal great-grandmother. I’ve had this obituary since 1991 but had never realized that this information was right there, just waiting to be read. After finding this out, I remembered other important conversations that my mom and I had had about family members that had passed long before I was born. This little piece of information, along with my mom’s knowledge, was the spark that lit the fire that now fuels my renewed interest. My involvement with the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association also plays a big part in my interest in my and our collective history. As a member and a president, it is our duty to preserve the legacy of the Seminole Negro Scouts and their descendants.
I believe it is crucial to find out as much about one’s past as possible. Once you begin searching, you’ll find out so much that sometimes it’s overwhelming, but it is truly a worthwhile endeavor. The wonderful thing is that technology has been very helpful. While there are many resources available locally, there are many resources that can be found online. There are also many groups that you can join that give great tips and encouragement.
So I would like to encourage you to begin your own search, if you haven’t already. Who knows what amazing information you might find? Just waiting to be discovered could be an ancestor who played an important role in history, or a brave ancestor who has an unbelievable story to tell. You might find out where or how your family name came to be or that you are named after someone who lived a century or more ago.
Be thankful to your ancestors for their lives. Some of them faced seemingly insurmountable odds just to make it through the day, let alone life. No matter what you find out, be proud of where you came from.
Merry Christmas from the Seminole Indian Scout Cemetery Association!
Note: This blog appeared as an article in the 12/22/16 edition of the Kinney County Post.