Thursday, December 29, 2011

Reflections of a Sesquicentennial Year

On January 1st, 2012 it will be exactly one year since I will have launched this blog. My interest in Civil War and it's history began with my own discovery of brave men and women who were freedom seekers in my own family.

Some became soldiers.....

Some escaped as freedom seekers, to the contraband camps......

And yet others were held captive where they were enslaved, until their circumstances were changed by the war's outcome.

However, my discovery of these acts of resistance among my own ancestors and their stories needed to be told and they inspired me to create this blog.

A year ago, I was not certain if I had a year's worth of information to share. But somehow the stories came, new ideas formed and more stories emerged. I did fill up the blog each month with something to share. And I was not sure if I had many or any friends or associates who would follow my posts about the Civil War.  But now--as the year ends, and I have had over 8700 visits to the page, I have been so humbled. I have had followers from authors to fellow genealogists, to re-enactors who visit the blog.

But most importantly truly I have learned so much!

I have learned the value of telling both the story of ancestors who were freedom seekers, as well as speaking about those who remained. I have learned because I have seen empowerment in the eyes of those who listened.

At events where I spoke about Uncle Sephus and his escape from Nathan Bedford Forrest, I saw the eyes lighten up from  young cousins amazed at such courage of an ancestor so distant in time, but yet so close in our line.

At conferences when I shared methods of researching the history of US Colored Troops, I saw approving nods from my colleagues when they realized that they too, could explore this same chapter in their family history and embark upon their own Civil War research journey.

Now a year later, I look back at this blog which was created to honor the Sesquicentennial of the beginning of the Civil War.  I know however, that as each year of the Civil War went by in the past, each year in the present will mark a new landmark year with more to commemorate.

And there is so much more to tell. I am honored therefore to tell some of their stories, and I am grateful to the Ancestors that there is such a story to tell.

So as 2012 begins, new stories emerge as well.  I am humbled and I am honored to research them, to find what I can, and to pass them on.

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