America: A Family Perspective
Now the desire to write their story "“ in tandem with a firsthand account of the development of America herself - has become more compelling than anything I have ever experienced. This project has grown from something I may get around to someday, to something that eclipses everything else. It's as if all those ancestors (570 so far) are chanting from on high "Write our story! Write our story! We lived it you lazy so-n-so, all you have to do is write it!"
I have already completed the initial research on Ancestry.com, and have gone far beyond discovering all sixteen Great Great Grandparents. It turns out that my people pioneered just about everywhere they went, whether it was being among the first Europeans to settle in Virginia, Pennsylvania, western Mississippi and southwest Tennessee, or among the first to build in Cooper Young - the neighborhood in midtown Memphis that we've called home for the last 100 years.
But now the real work begins. I have given myself one year to write America: A Family Perspective. Apart from devoting April, May, and June to restoring the Apple family farm in Batesville, Arkansas, (during which time I will also write, of course), I see myself spending 2013 doing little else. I have set a budget for this project of $20,000. This includes my own time (which would otherwise be spent scratching out a living), travel for hands on research, editorial and research assistance, and production of the initial run of 500 copies.
Please know that I am extremely grateful that you are interested enough in my beloved project to have even read this far. Now all I ask is that you peruse the contribution levels with associated incentives, and consider tossing a few dollars into the kitty. Unlike similar online fundraisers, with my project you can make regular modest contributions, with the accumulated total over the course of the year earning you that level's incentive.
Thank you in advance for whatever assistance you may be willing or able to offer.
Even with only researching my direct parental pairs (parents, GP’s, 2nd GP’s, etc.), and stopping with the generation that crossed the pond, I have discovered a total of 460 ancestors. Obviously, nothing readable (or writable!) can include that many potential characters, so I’ve trimmed that down to where I’m comfortable with most of the storyline and players (in my head, as of yet unshared elsewhere.) I need to make one last deep research cross country road trip in the spring (meaning from Memphis to the NC coast, with a few dozen stops along the way.) In the meantime, thanks for your support and stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates!
I realize in a world where so many seem to be in need, it just doesn't make sense to think anyone would have a penny to spare for something so non-benevolent as a book, which is why I have decided NOT to ask for additional financial contributions. But you can still help make this dream come true by pre-purchasing a copy of the book, which you can do either in digital ($10), print-on-demand paperback ($15), signed first edition paperback ($25) or personalized first edition paperback ($50), formats. If you already have a copy coming, then you can help by sharing and asking your friends to 'Like' the book's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AmericaAFamilyPerspective. I am leaving the other incentives in place, but please be aware that I have a backlog of genealogical research already owed to previous contributors. (And man oh man, is that one hand tooled, leather-bound, hardcopy first edition going to be worth a mint after I win my Pulitzer!)
Thank you for your continued support. Next to building an ever bright and promising future with my Nancy, it is by far the most significant undertaking of my life.
I have held the 1872 family bible that once belonged to my paternal 2nd GGF and read one of his handwritten sermons. Next Saturday I will meet a heretofore unknown batch of cousins at a family reunion hosted by this 2nd GGF's last living grandson (who I met thru my research.) Tomorrow I hope to touch the headstone of a 5th GGM, which will be the oldest such discovery to date. In fact, not only do I now know who all 16 of my GGGP's were, but I have visited all of their graves.
Long story short, this tale of approximately 700 Americans I previously never even knew existed but who all boiled down to my parents, is proving to be more captivating that I ever imagined possible. They were here literally on day one. They fought in every war and on both sides of the Civil War. They were from the religious north, as well as the aristocratic old south. They were among the first white settlers to cross the Blue Ridge and were the first white settlers to cross into north Mississippi. Their ranks included those who fought the "savages" and those who pursued a more symbiotic relationship. There were slave owners and people who fought to end slavery. A maternal 2nd GGF lost a leg at Gettysburg (in Pickett's charge, no less), only to return home to north MS to start the first school for freed slave children. (I have actually read the journal of the surgeon who amputated his leg!) Basically, if it happened east of the Mississippi, they were there. They may not be listed among the more common rank of Founding Fathers but they were standing right beside them.
My ancestors ranged from Quakers to Klansmen. They came here seeking religious freedom, as military exiles, on prison ships, with land grants from the Crown, and as indentured seekers of fortune. They came from England, Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, and Switzerland - with a just dash of ancient Hebrew ancestry for flavor. There is even strong indication of indigenous (aka Indian) blood, although the near complete void of records in this regard makes this impossible to prove conclusively.
America: A Family Perspective, is - in every sense of the word - the story of early 1600's to mid-1900's America. Shared not as rote facts or historical fiction, but from the very words and deeds of the people who lived it. For me, this project has become the most significant undertaking of my life. And I have connected with dozens of fellow Ancestry.com enthusiasts whose lineage in some way overlaps my own, all of whom have gladly consented to my referencing their work in the book.
Having a clearer understanding of the hardships our ancestors endured over the last 350 years has helped renew my faith that we may actually overcome those we now face - which I pray reveals itself as one of the primary underlying messages of the book.
Now how do I SHARE this on facebook?!?
This is the least I could do... Well I could have donated less, but I sure didn't want to donate $500 & risk finding out we're related! Love you, brother, & very excited to see the results of your efforts.