Tuesday, December 29, 2009

2010 - Here WE Come!

As the year 2009 comes to a close, I find myself in almost continuous reflection about the state of my genealogy research. One thing that I’ve realized is that 2009 has truly been a year of transition for me with respect to my work. Though passionate from the start, it has been during this last 12 months that I’ve become truly driven in my quest to uncover the mysteries of my family history. This drive, which was once simply innate, has now become one with inherent expectations and shared support from others; my extended family members, who now receive a monthly (electronic) newsletter from me, updating them on the progress of my work, and from my blog-family, a support system of like-minded individuals that I never even dreamed was out there. I now feel accountable to both parties as I continue my quest to learn as much as I can about my family history, and to bring my findings into the light of the 21st Century.
My research journey has been filled with highs and lows. Not one, not two, but ALL of my family lines, paternal and maternal are hidden in the darkness of obscurity, and all for different reasons. Beyond my two grandmothers, I knew nothing of my ancestors before I started this work, and once I began asking questions, I quickly found that either my relatives didn’t know the answers, or if they did, they didn’t want to share them. Because of this, every discovery, for me, is truly a triumph, and is never taken lightly.

I, like many of my genea-friends, truly believe that my ancestors want me to find them, so the time I’ve spent in quiet libraries, dusty court-house basements, sterile file rooms (Register of Deeds), prowling through cemeteries, interviewing relatives, building websites, blogging, and putting in thousands of hours of online research has all been for and about those YARBOROUGHS, GREENS, DUNSTANS, HAWKINSES HILLS, BROWNS, and other individuals, yet unknown, who came before me and made me, ME.

In honor of those ancestors, I submit the following genea-goals for the year 2010.

1. To discover the parental roots of my great-great grandfather, Calvin YARBOROUGH, and his wife, Precilla SHAW. I’ve recently received less than encouraging results from the DNA testing, that lead me to believe that I may never be able to find Calvin’s actual parents, and that perhaps he never even knew them himself. It’s beginning to look more and more like ours might have been one of those unfortunate families whose children were separated from the parents, or perhaps who were parented by some “stranger”. More will come on this in 2010…
I’d also like to find out more about Calvin and Precilla’s lives as members of the Franklin County/Louisburg community, and specifically Calvin’s involvement as a trustee at Saint Paul’s Presbyterian Church.

2. To verify the actual name and origin of my gg-grandmother, Anna GREEN, and to find something – anything that corroborates the family stories about her relationship with my gg-grandfather, Nathaniel HAWKINS. I’d also like to find out when and where she died.

3. To find mention of Nathaniel HAWKINS (and hopefully his relationship with Anna) in the family papers at UNC Library. Also, to learn more about his work as a slave trader, and perhaps to find out how he and Anna ended up together. I would also like to find evidence of his cause of death in 1879 and locate his grave.

4. To secure the remaining funding from my GREEN relatives so that we can do the DNA testing that will prove us descendants of Nathaniel Hawkins.

5. To obtain the death certificate for William GREEN, who moved to New York and lived as White. I’d like to find out if he had any children, and if so, to attempt to discover and contact any descendants who may be alive today.

6. To discover the whereabouts of my maternal grandfather, Daniel Webster HILL, who abandoned his wife and family when my mother was just four years old, and was never heard from again.

7. To begin to learn more about my maternal ancestors, Walter and Minerva BROWN, who originated in Littleton, NC, but migrated to Norfolk, VA. I’ve done no more than pull census info on them and their families, since most of my work has been focused on my paternal side for the past 13 years.

8. To better organize my existing research, and to begin the tedious job of going back through it and properly sourcing everything that I already have.

9. To give back to the genealogy community by sharing more of my findings and continuing to volunteer as a keyer for various projects. I also hope to index the hundreds of funeral programs that I found at my aunt’s house in Louisburg, for the NC GenWeb, and then convince her to donate them to either the county library or the State Archives.

Yes, these are lofty goals, but it never hurts to dream big! So, 2010, here I come – and I’m bringing my ancestors with me!


  1. Great resolutions! And I too believe that our ancestors do want us to find them - and they do communicate that want in various ways. We just need to be open to listening.

  2. As I say on my Tribal Pages online tree "I was just looking for a few ancestors...I think many more were looking for
    You have a big list and should be thrilled to complete any of the items on there. Good luck to you.

  3. Thank you for sharing our goals with us. I look forward to reading your blog and watching your accomplish them in 2010.

  4. Renate,
    Just reading your list of 2010 goals is like a teaser to a great book. I am looking forward to knowing these characters of your book of RENATE.

  5. Thomas, I'm listening HARD! Lori, I'm so glad to know that someone else uses Tribal Pages. I thought I was the only one! Joan, it's coming.. it's coming! :)

    Thanks for the support, everyone!

  6. Looking forward to reading about you attaining your 2010 goals.

  7. So glad you joined the GeneaTribe Renate and here's to seeing all of your Ancrestal dots coming together in 2010!:-)


  8. Renate,
    You've set some high goals for yourself in 2010. I have no doubt you will accomplish many, if not all, of them. I look forward to reading about your progress. Good Luck!!