My ancestry.com membership provides me access to European records such as Church of England’s marriage, birth, baptism, and burial records. That has been a great resource because my family are all from Wales and England. Ancestry.com has documents that prove the identification of the relative for whom I searched.

The more I research, the more I learn. Many of the discoveries I am making validate family stories I have heard for most of my life. Those discoveries put a name and face on people about whom I have heard for many years. Today I am going to feature some of what I learned recently about my ancestry. It is an ongoing endeavor which I thoroughly enjoy.

The Terrells

I traced my father’s family, the Terrells, all the way back to the 1600s and recently made two astounding discoveries. Col. John Page, born Dec. 26, 1628, in Bedfont Middlesex, England, was my eighth great-great-grandfather. He was a merchant and a member of the House of Burgess. He died in Williamsburg, Virginia, Jan. 23, 1692. My seventh great-great-grandfather was James Stephen Dillard. Born in 1658 in Wiltshire, England, Dillard was the attorney for King George to Jamestown Colonies. He died in 1714 in Williamsburg, Virginia. Col. Page was Dillard’s father-in-law.

A Revolutionary War soldier

Nathaniel Sims, 1733-1803, is my fifth great-great-grandfather. When the British disregarded their promises, Private Nathaniel Sims joined the South Carolina militia. Robert Anderson was Private Nathan Sims’ commanding officer.

Private Sims married Agnes Bullock. Their granddaughter, Elizabeth “Louisa” Sims, married Thomas Thornton Hull in 1834. Thomas and Louisa’s son, George Samuel Hull, was my paternal great-great-grandfather. He and two of his brothers, Downs Hull and Mark Thomas Hull, fought for the Confederacy in the War Between the States. Downs was killed May 6, 1864, at the Battle of the Wilderness, which raged in Virginia for three days. An often told true story in our family is that Downs’ mother, Louisa, was never the same after she got word Downs was killed. Completely heartbroken, Louisa spent the rest of her life wandering around their house looking for him.

Joel Heard Babb of Mill Creek

Etta Marie Morris Griffin, from Mill Creek in Whitfield County, was my maternal grandmother. Her mother, Sarah Louise Babb, married Jacob LaFayette Morris. Sarah’s father, Joel Heard Babb, had a farm on Mill Creek at the foot of Rocky Face, at Dug Gap. His farm was squarely in the path of the Union Army on May 8, 1864. The Battle of Dug Gap erupted on my great-great-grandfather Babb’s farm that day. The battle location, and the Babb Settlement, are marked by a Georgia historical marker.

The story of Joel Heard Babb is chronicled in a book titled “As the Tree Is Bent.” I read the book. It was a page turner I couldn’t put down. The book is interesting because it not only contains names and dates, it tells family stories. One zany story was about a “flapper” who, in 1922, left Rocky Face for the Yukon and never looked back. She got a job working nights as a security guard at an oil field. One night, she went outside the guard shack to smoke a cigarette only to be chased back to the guard shack by a polar bear!

Researching my ancestry

Researching my ancestry is a hobby which has an unlimited hold on my interest. When I read the names of my ancestors, my imagination takes off. I try to imagine what life was like during Colonial Georgia. I wonder what my ancestors’ day to day lives were like as they ran their farms and raised their families in 19th century Georgia. I wonder what my ancestors were like and I have so many questions. Where did the children go to school? Who was their teacher? How did they celebrate birthdays? What were their Christmas traditions? Did any of them play the fiddle? Were any of them gifted storytellers? Who among them could draw or sketch well?

All of us have a unique story comprised of who we are, where we are from, and from whom we are descended. Ultimately, I am keenly aware your ancestors and mine were average Americans who worked long and hard to make this country great. We must never forget that. We must never forget our ancestors.

Native Roman Pam Walker is a paralegal, a writer, an avid cyclist, history enthusiast, and ardent reader of Southern fiction. She is the author of a new book, “Write Now.” Readers may email her at pamterrellwalker@gmail.com.

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