America: A Family Perspective

$7,110 of $10k goal

Raised by 51 people in 47 months
Aaron James  MEMPHIS, TN
Like most of you, I never really knew much about my family's history "“ certainly nothing beyond vague childhood memories of a few Great Grandparents. Then twenty years ago, while living in Boston, I began to fish around for any genealogical tidbits related to my birth surname Hollingsworth. When I discovered that a man named Valentine helped found the state of Pennsylvania with William Penn, I was hooked. I decided right then and there that I would one day write a book about the narrative history of America using my paternal lineage as the backbone for the story. Little did I know then that modern technology would eventually not only prove that I am a direct descendent of this historic figure about whom much has already been written, but that nearly every branch of my family tree "“ on both my mother's and father's side "“ can be traced back to the earliest chapters of American history and beyond.

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.
+ Read More
Update 6
Posted by Aaron James
2 months ago
Hello everyone! I am VERY excited to announce that I start a new research road trip on September 19th! The ultimate destination is New Bern, NC, but I will be visiting a couple dozen towns, cousins, cemeteries, and courthouses between here and there. If you haven't done so already, be sure to Like the book's Facebook page so you can keep up with my daily road journal!
https://www.facebook.com/AmericaAFamilyPerspective/
+ Read More
Update 5
Posted by Aaron James
9 months ago
The experience of researching the book has had almost as many plot twists and turns as the story itself. It’s laughable now to think that when I started this in late December 2012, I originally gave myself a year to complete the project. It wasn’t until Nov 12th 2015 that I discovered the Swiss Baron who founded the first organized colony in NC - a 9th GGF on my mother’s biological side - AND THEN Jan 9th when I discovered that one of the German immigrants he brought over to populate New Bern is a direct ancestor on her adoptive side!

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!

https://www.facebook.com/AmericaAFamilyPerspective/

+ Read More
Update 4
Posted by Aaron James
20 months ago
After a yearlong hiatus spent undoing numerous inaccuracies in the family tree, research has literally been going through the roof for the past month! Cousin-collaborators are popping up all over the place, offering insights into the family's history that I never imagined! The story, and in fact the work itself, has truly taken on a life of its own. I will be spending the summer not only immersed in research, but also participating in a myriad of local and regional history festivals, reenactments, and the like.

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.
+ Read More
Update 3
Posted by Aaron James
35 months ago
When I set out on this adventure just about this time last year, I gave myself a (somewhat arbitrary) deadline of one year to complete this book. If I had a million dollars, I would pay people to handle my daily chores so I could do nothing but write. As it is, I am extremely fortunate to have a fair amount of time to devote to researching and writing, but not so much that I am anywhere near complete. I am trying desperately to use the winter months to devote as much time as possible to the project before Mother Nature returns with her outside chores. The good news is that I continue to make mind-boggling discoveries that will add much needed depth and relevance to the book. The bad news is that with each new discovery comes more leads to be researched, which continues to push the finished product ever farther into the distance. All this to say that I am nowhere near finished with the book and at this point cannot honestly predict when I can expect to be finished with the book. But I am just as enthused and committed as a year ago, and it remains my a-number-one priority. And I thank you for your continued interest and support!
+ Read More
Read a Previous Update
Help spread the word!
 399 total shares
Rodney Nash
46 months ago

Now how do I SHARE this on facebook?!?

+ Read More
Rodney Nash
46 months ago

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.

+ Read More

$7,110 of $10k goal

Raised by 51 people in 47 months
Created January 02, 2013
$10
Anonymous
45 months ago
$10
Anonymous
42 months ago
DB
$10
David Benton
41 months ago
$15
Amie Vanderford
47 months ago

Good luck, Aaron!

TK
$25
Tamara and Kim
43 months ago (Offline Donation)
BS
$25
Bill Stanek
46 months ago (Offline Donation)
$25
Mara & Tom Jambor
45 months ago
$25
Shirley Wetzel
47 months ago

you are inspiring me to get busy on my own family story!

AH
$25
Ann Hays
47 months ago
MC
$25
Michele Campbell
47 months ago

Go for it!!

Rodney Nash
46 months ago

Now how do I SHARE this on facebook?!?

+ Read More
Rodney Nash
46 months ago

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.

+ Read More
or
Or, use your email…
Use My Email Address
By continuing, you agree with the GoFundMe
terms and privacy policy
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account. Our team has contacted them with the solution! Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account. Return to Campaign

Are you ready for the next step?
Even a $5 donation can help!
Donate Now
 Share on Facebook