Archive for February, 2007

My Genealogy Trek

Genealogy was once a topic I thought I would never approach.  Then, in the early 1990's, I was assigned a genealogy research project as part of a sociology class in college.  From that point on, my mind was changed!
What was it that changed genealogy from a dry topic to something exciting? Beginning to learn where I came from! As I look back, it was a pretty simple project. I only needed to draw up my family tree to my great grandparents. I got all of the information I needed from my parents and my grandmother's family Bible.

When I got out of college, I took a job right outside of Fort Wayne, Indiana. In talking to one of my co-workers, I learned about the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne. It has one of the largest genealogical collections in the public sector. I began to visit on a regular basis, searching census record after census record. I began to get more detail about my family tree. But, I also began to create more mysteries and missing puzzle pieces as my research continued. I would end up hitting a wall and then get burned out trying to find the missing piece. I'd give up on my research for a while… but I'd always come back. And, being refreshed, I'd usually find a new trail to chase.

All I have to go on in some cases, as is true with any genealogy, are census records. I'm from West Virginia and a number of courthouse records were lost or destroyed during the Civil War era. Through a lot of census piece-mealing, I was able to trace my ancestry back to Solomon Osborne. You'll find information about him here on the website, along with links to Solomon's Secret. Solomon was known for marrying a Cherokee indian and taking her off the Trail of Tears. In his day, it was kept a secret, as native Americans were not looked on highly. Today, many of the Osbornes from Clay county, WV, proudly embrace their Indian heritage.

My latest quest is to find the birth and/or death certificate of my great-grandfather David A. Osborne. He died when my grandfather was only 11 or 12. So far, I've found his marriage certificate. And, the census records tell me he died sometime between 1900 and 1910. Beyond that, I'm not sure. He could have been in one of four different counties, two of which I've already checked to no avail. My dad and I think we have located the graveyard where David was buried, but there's no marked stone. All my dad can remember is sitting in the car as a child while my grandfather would walk up the hill to this graveyard. I'm hoping to spend sometime this summer in the Archives at the Cultural Center in Charleston, WV. We'll see what new puzzle piece or mystery comes from it!