For several years now, I’ve been very interested in my ancestry and conducting genealogical research. It is an interesting hobby which, if you become acutely interested in it, takes a lot of time. Ancestry DNA has become very popular. Everybody, it seems, is doing research on their ancestry. Doing so educates us as to where we are from, and from whom we are descended.

When I began conducting ancestry research, I learned right away that everybody has a story. I want to know my ancestors’ stories and I have so many questions. Were any of them talented musicians? What were their Christmas and birthday celebrations like? Were any of them mischievous enough to like playing pranks on their friends and family? How did they make their living?

Family stories

My maternal grandmother, Etta Marie Morris Griffin, had a copy of the ancestry of several of her family lines. Although I do not know my connection to them, the family names are Babb, Roach and Ault, all of whom are from Whitfield County.

The Babb family published their family tree in a book called, “As The Twig Is Bent.” The book featured many family stories. Those stories told where the people lived, and how they made their living.

One of those stories was about a young woman who, in 1922, left Tunnel Hill, Georgia, to work in the Yukon as a security officer. She never married or had children. One night she went outside to smoke a cigarette and a polar bear chased her back to the guard shack! I read many fascinating stories about the Babb family. “As The Twig is Bent” was a page turner. I couldn’t put it down.

My maternal great-great-grandfather, William Henry Griffin of Whitfield County, enlisted in the Confederate Army in Walker County in 1862. William had four brothers, one of whom was Needham Griffin. William and Needham’s father was Jopy Griffin. The family has been told, for many generations, that Jopy had connections in Nashville. We have also been told that Needham was sent behind enemy lines to work for the railroad in Nashville during the War Between the States.

Correct family stories

The most delightfully enthralling aspect of ancestry research is getting family stories correct. That can mean correcting erroneous stories which have been passed through the family for many generations. Stories like the one about Needham Griffin working for the railroad in Nashville during the war.

Recently, while doing some research, I came across a roster of Confederate soldiers from Walker County. I saw Needham Griffin’s name on that roster. Right away I thought of the story about Needham Griffin having worked for the railroad in Nashville during the war. I am going to drill down on this. If he is determined to be my great-great-grandfather’s brother, then we’ve been told an incorrect story all these years!

Discover your family stories

Griffin is a very common Welsh name. Georgia was settled primarily by Celtic people like the Griffins. Celtic people love a good story and Celtic people are very talented story tellers. The stories they tell are family stories, like the one I read about the woman working in the Yukon.

I encourage you to do all the research you can on your ancestry. Find out where you are from. Learn your family’s story, particularly how your family made their living.

Everybody has a story. As I continue to conduct research on my family, I am thoroughly enjoying reading my ancestors’ stories.

Native Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal, a writer, avid cyclist, history enthusiast and ardent reader of Southern fiction. Readers may email her at pamterrellwalker@gmail.com.

Recommended for you