America: A Family Perspective

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, 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.
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Aaron James 
Memphis, TN
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