Chapter by Chapter: Adventures in Family History Investigation is Revealing.. to say the least

While writing my book about my grandmother, I want to tell the truest story of her life without her actual narrative of things because she died in June 2016.  I know some of her story, but not as much as I need. I started my ancestry . com quest to find out if: they could read and write post slavery?  For every last one of them, the answer, according to the the earliest census records I can find, is yes. Most went to school 6-8 years, and some only 4.  Which only makes me wonder if they were reading as slaves.  Maybe I'll find that out someday.

But I'm always shocked with additional findings in the endless public documents about my grandmother's 10+  siblings, live-in cousins, her laborer parents and their laborer parents and their parents, her in-laws, her siblings who died in their youth, as well as her own baby Bobby Jane who lived only 9 days in 1940.  Mama's story doesn't lack documentation, just formal interpretation. I'm trying to piece it altogether to make a pretty good read of it. 

Research seasickness sets in every night after I log on and click on the plethora of hint leaves that I rarely ignore.. unless it's information that is totally irrelevant to the specific family line I'm focused on that night.  My grandmother was born a Davis, but there are Harris', Baurds, Wises', Jacksons, Clarks, Kisines (no matter if you spell that with "sz" or just the "s") to learn about. I'm truly interested in all of them, though I'm particularly concerned with the Davis blood line right now. 

And then there's the seemingly deliberate misspellings of names by census takers.. Ok.. I'll give them credit for misspelling Emogene a hundred different ways, but I cannot forgive spelling it "Amma Jane."  Even if it was spoken that way. Hell. Ask.. "How do you spell that?"  Even on death certificates, names are often misspelled by the person writing the form, who was not usually the "informant" of the deceased.  Except.. I know Aunt Reva's handwriting because she and I exchanged hundred of letters while I was in the Navy. I've seen her handwriting on 1-2 death certificates, and I felt so close to her as she wrote out the cause of death of her own mother... "Senility."

So, as time consuming as the research is, it's also quite entertaining. It keeps me up into early mornings when I admit to myself, I know enough to complete the story I want to tell.  Then the next late night comes, and I find myself back there, looking for more fragments to build on the story.

So in my search for college and high school year book photos of one educated ancestor, I came across the one in this post. My ancestor is not in this photo but shares the same name as someone in it.  Take a closer look. Enlarge it.. 

Considering this was 1956, Bakersfield California, seeing an integrated high school baseball team was a surprise..  I ponder the fate of the ball player on the top row, 4th from the left -after it was developed and ... published in the year book?
As always:  Your heart is my art. Reach me via my contact page on the menu (upper left).

| This photo is a screenshot via ancestry archives & prose by Jackie D. Rockwell | All Rights Reserved © 2008-2018 |

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